General Knowledge & Current Affairs

September 2021 - 24th to 30th

1.WHO revises air quality norms for first time since 2005?

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has announced a tight revision in its air quality guidelines (AQG).
  • This is the first revision in the global air quality by WHO since 2005.
  • In the new guidelines, WHO has lowered the acceptable exposure levels to key pollutants, including ozone, nitrogen dioxide, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter (PM).
  • India continues to remain one of the most polluted countries in the world. Air pollution has become the main threat to health in many countries.
  • The average concentration of PM2.5 in 2020 in New Delhi was 17 times higher than the recommended levels.
  • The pollution level is also higher than the recommended levels in Mumbai, Chennai, and Kolkata.

2. Fumio Kishida to become Japan’s next PM.

  • Japan’s former Foreign Minister, Fumio Kishida has won the ruling party’s leadership election, virtually ensuring that he will become the country’s next prime minister.
  • Kishida won 257 votes in a runoff to defeat Taro Kono, a popular vaccines minister who previously held the positions of defense and foreign minister.
  • The 64-year-old replaces outgoing party leader Prime Minister Yoshi hide Suga, who is stepping down after serving only one year since taking office last September.
  • Kishida previously served as LDP policy chief and was foreign minister between 2012-17, during which he negotiated accords with Russia and South Korea, with whom Japan’s relations are often frosty.

3. North Korea tests fire hypersonic missile “Hwasong-8”.

  • North Korea successfully tested a new hypersonic missile called Hwasong-8, in a bid to increase the nation’s capabilities for self-defense.
  • The missile was one of the five most important new weapons systems laid out by North Korea in the five-year military development plan.
  • This was the country’s third missile test in a month. Earlier it tested a new type of cruise missile, as well as a new train-launched ballistic missile system.
  • Hypersonic missiles fly at lower altitudes compared to ballistic weapon systems and can attain more than five times the speed of sound, restricting the interception capabilities of adversaries.

1.PM Modi to roll out National Digital Health Mission.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will announce the nationwide roll-out of the National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), which has been renamed as Pradhan Mantri Digital Health Mission (PM-DHM), on September 27.
  • Under this, a unique digital health ID will be provided to the people, which will contain all the health records of the person. The id will be created using details such as Aadhaar and the user’s mobile number.
  • The mission essentially consists of four main building blocks — unique digital health id, health care professionals registry, health facility registry and electronic health records.
  • To begin with, three components, unique health id, doctor’s registry and the health facility registry, have been made operational, the officials cited above said.
  • The initiative supports Universal Health Coverage in an efficient, accessible, inclusive, affordable and safe manner through the provision of a wide range of data, information and infrastructure services.

2. Supreme Court introduces FASTER system.

  • Supreme Court of India has approved an electronic system named FASTER (Fast and Secured Transmission of Electronic Records). The FASTER system will be used for transferring e-authenticated copies from courts to prisons.
  • A three-judge bench of Chief Justice N.V. Ramana, Justice Nageswara Rao and Justice Surya Kant has instructed state governments, Union territories, prison departments and other authorities concerned to make arrangements at prisons to accept e-authenticated copies.
  • Under the FASTER system, courts can send e-authenticated copies of bail orders, stay orders, interim orders and proceedings through secured electronic communication to duty officers at prisons. The apex court was hearing a suo motu case which it took up in July this year after a news report indicated that inmates at a prison in Agra continued to be lodged in jail three days after they had been granted bail.

3. India to bag IAEA external auditor job.

  • India has been elected as the external auditor to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), a prestigious institution that promotes peaceful use of nuclear energy, for a period of six years from 2022 to 2027 after beating Germany and the United Kingdom among other counties.
  • India’s comptroller and auditor General GC Murmu was selected as the external auditor of IAEA and the ministry of external affairs (MEA).
  • In the first round of voting for the post, Germany got 36 votes, India 30, the UK eight, Russia 11, Turkey 9, Egypt 20, Republic of Korea 2 and the Philippines 7 votes. The second round boiled down to the race between India and Germany with India managing to beat the European country.

4. GoI increases the income limit of disabled dependents for family pension to 30%.

  • Ministry of defense and union government has decided to increase the income limit of disabled dependents for family pension to children/siblings suffering from mental or physical disability.
  • The child/sibling will be eligible for family pension for life if his/her overall income from sources other than a family pension is less than 30% of the last pay drawn by the deceased government servant/pensioner concerned plus the dearness relief admissible thereon.
  • The financial benefit in such cases will accrue with effect from 08 February 2021. Presently, the disabled child/sibling is eligible for family pension if the overall monthly income of the disabled child/sibling from sources other than the family pension is not more than Rs 9,000, along with dearness relief.

1. World’s Highest EV Charging Station inaugurated in Himachal Pradesh.

  • The world’s highest electric vehicle charging station has been inaugurated in Kaza village of Lahaul and Spiti district in Himachal Pradesh. The electric vehicle charging station is set up at a height of 500 ft.
  • The aim of this initiative is to check vehicular pollution and promote electric vehicles for a clean and green environment in the region. India is gaining good momentum in the electric vehicle (EV) ecosystem.
  • There is a good response for battery-operated small electric vehicles like e-scooter, electric three-wheelers, e-rickshaws, e-carts, and e-bikes in the country. Both battery electric vehicle and fuel cell vehicle technologies are complementary to each other and are all set to overtake fossil-run automotive by 2050 in the country.

2. Naga Cucumber from Nagaland gets geographical identification tag.

  • Nagaland’s “sweet cucumber” was awarded a geographical identification (GI) tag as an agricultural product under provisions of The Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999.
  • The cucumber is one of the most important crops in the Northeast region. Nagaland has the fifth-highest cultivation of this fruit area-wise and ranks third in production.
  • Naga cucumber is recognized for its sweetness and unique green colour. It is rich in potassium and has low calories. The cucumber is not the first product from the small state to receive a vaunted GI tag. Both the regional variants of tree tomato (tomatillo) and the famed Naga king chilly are also GI tagged.

1.Asiamoney 2021 Poll: HDFC Bank most outstanding company in India.

  • According to Asiamoney 2021 Poll, HDFC Bank has received the most votes among listed companies in India, leading to the bank being awarded the ‘Overall Most Outstanding Company in India.
  • This is in addition to the bank being voted ‘Most Outstanding Company in India – Banking Sector,’ for the 4th consecutive year, since the inception of the poll in 2018. The poll aims to identify and recognize publicly listed companies by country and sector.
  • The poll, known as Asia’s Outstanding Companies Poll, is designed to acknowledge listed companies that have excelled in areas such as financial performance, management team excellence, investor relations, and CSR initiatives.
  • Further, the poll aims to identify and recognize publicly listed companies in 2 categories: by country and by sector, in which it operates.
  • Over 1,070 fund managers, analysts, bankers, and rating agencies took part in the voting which concluded on July 16, 2021.

1.Lunar Crater named after Arctic explorer Matthew Henson.

  • The International Astronomical Union has named a crater at the Moon’s South Pole after the Arctic explorer Matthew Henson, a Black man who in 1909 was one of the first people to stand at the very top of the world.
  • The proposal to name the crater after Henson was put forward by Jordan Bretzfelder who is an Exploration Science summer intern with Lunar & Planetary Institute, in Houston.
  • Henson was an experienced explorer and skilled carpenter & craftsman. He stood at the front lines of almost a dozen Arctic expeditions that were organized by Robert Peary over the period of 18 years, including the one that reached the North Pole. The final push of that expedition was made by Henson. He was born in Maryland in 1866.

1.Lewis Hamilton wins the Russian Grand Prix 2021.

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain), has won the F1 Russian Grand Prix 2021. This is his 100th Grand Prix win. It was Hamilton’s fifth win of the season and his first since the British Grand Prix in July.
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull–Netherlands) came second while Carlos Sainz Jr. (Ferrari-Spain) came third in the Russian Grand Prix 2021.

2. Sania Mirza & Zhang Shuai Win Ostrava Open WTA Doubles Title.

  • India’s Sania Mirza and her Chinese partner Zhang Shuai won the women’s doubles title in the women’s doubles final at the Ostrava Open in Ostrava, Czech Republic.
  • The second-seeded Indo-Chinese duo defeated the third seeded pair of American Kaitlyn Christian and New Zealander Erin Routliffe 6-3 6-2 in the summit clash in one hour and four minutes.
  • This was Sanai’s second final of the season, following a runner-up finish at the WTA 250 Cleveland event in the US last month with Chirstina Mchale.

3. India claim three silver medals at 2021 Archery World Championships.

  • The team India archers settled for three silver medals at the 2021 World Archery Championships, held in Yankton, South Dakota, United States.
  • The three silver medals were won in Women’s Compound Individual, Women’s Compound Team and Compound Mixed Team competitions.

4. Rohit Sharma first to score 1,000 runs against one team in IPL.

  • Rohit Sharma became the first batter in the Indian Premier League (IPL) history to score 1000 runs against a single team during Mumbai Indians’ (MI) contest against Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium, Abu Dhabi.
  • The 34-year-old achieved the feat in the fourth over of MI’s innings. Rohit now has 1015 runs against KKR at an average of 46.13 and a strike rate of 132.16, including six fifties and one hundred.

1.Cyclonic Storm ‘Gulab’ hits Andra and Odisha.

  • The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has issued a red alert for Odisha and Andhra Pradesh after the ‘Cyclone Gulab’ made landfall over Northwest and adjoining West-central Bay of Bengal.
  • Cyclone Gulab was named by Pakistan. The word “Gulab” refers to Rose in English.  During the landfall, the wind speed could hover between 90 kmph and 100 kmph.
  • The name Gulab is from the list of cyclone names that is maintained by the World Meteorological Organization/United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (WMO/ESCAP) Panel on Tropical Cyclones (PTC).

2. MGR Railway Station gets powered by solar energy.

  • Dr. MG Ramachandran Central (DRM) or Chennai Central railway station will get 100 per cent of energy through Solar Energy.
  • The Chennai Central railway station comes under the South Central Railway (SCR) zone and which is going to become the world’s largest green railway network.
  • The station will now become the first Indian Railways station, which will get 100 per cent day energy through solar panels.
  • The solar power capacity of the station is 1.5 MW and Solar panels are installed on the shelters of the station.
  • South Central Railways has adopted the concept of ‘energy neutral’ railway stations and become the first Indian Railway zones to do so.
  • India has targeted to become “net-zero carbon emission” before the year 2030.

3. Sojat Mehndi and Judima rice wine gets GI tag.

  • Judima, homemade rice wine from Assam and Sojat Mehndi (Henna) from Rajasthan, has been awarded the geographical indication (GI) tag. A GI tag is awarded to products associated with a specific geographical origin.
  • Award of a GI sign not only helps in tracing the origins of products but also helps in confirming authenticity and marketing of indigenous specialties.
  • Judima is a local fermented drink made with rice, brewed by the Dimasa community in Assam.
  • Sojat Mehendi, originating from Mehendi leaves grown in Sojat, is naturally cultivated using rainwater.

1. Air India chief Rajiv Bansal appointed Civil Aviation Secretary.

  • Rajiv Bansal appointed as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Bansal is currently Chairman & Managing Director (CMD) of Air India. He is a 1988-batch IAS Nagaland cadre, Bansal was serving as additional secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas before Air India.
  • He will replace the current Aviation Secretary Pradeep Singh Kharola, who retires on 30 September. Last year in February, Bansal was appointed as the chairman and managing director of Air India for a second time.
  • His appointment came just days after the government announced 100% stake sale of the debt-ridden Air India.

2. CavinKare CMD CK Ranganathan named as new AIMA president.

  • Chairman & managing director CavinKare Pvt Ltd, CK Ranganathan has been appointed president of All India Management Association (AIMA) for a period of one year till the National Management Convention is held in September 2022.
  • He takes over from Harsh Pati Singhania, vice chairman & managing director, JK Paper Ltd. Under his leadership, technology will drive AIMA”s services and the new initiatives would include face recognition tools for admission and recruitment testing services and remotely proctored semester examination for education institutes.
  • AIMA is the national apex body of the management profession in India. It works closely with industry, government, academia and students to further the cause of the management profession in India.

3. Aveek Sarkar re-elected as Press Trust of India Chairman.

  • Aveek Sarkar, the Editor Emeritus and Vice Chairman of the Ananda Bazar Group of Publications, was re-elected Chairman of Press Trust of India (PTI), the country’s largest premier news agency.
  • Sarkar is a man of varied interests and counts books, food, wine and art among his principal loves. He was captain of the Royal Calcutta Golf Club (RCGC) for 10 years. Sarkar’s re-election for a two-year term was ratified by PTI’s Board of Directors at their meeting.
  • K N Shanth Kumar, Director of The Printers (Mysore) Pvt. Ltd. which brings out Deccan Herald and Kannada language daily Prajavani, was elected as the Vice-Chairman.

1.GoI hosted first India-UK Consular Dialogue.

  • The government of India has hosted the first India-United Kingdom Consular Dialogue in the virtual medium.
  • Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Devesh Uttam led the Indian delegation while the UK delegation was led by Jennifer Anderson. Both sides discussed the ways to strengthen people-to-people contacts as part of the India-UK 2030 roadmap.
  • At this inaugural Consular Dialogue, the two sides discussed ways to further strengthen people-to-people contacts between the two countries as part of the India-UK 2030 roadmap.

2. Former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan to head education ministry’s panel.

  • The Union education ministry has formed a 12-member committee to develop new curriculums for school, early childhood, teacher and adult education.
  • The panel tasked with developing four national curriculum frameworks (NCFs) will be headed by National Education Policy-2020 (NEP-2020) drafting committee chairperson K Kasturirangan.
  • The committee will discuss “position papers” finalized by national focus groups on different aspects of the four areas drawing inputs from state curriculum frameworks. The NCFs serve as a guideline for syllabus, textbook and teaching practices for schools in India.

3. PM Modi addresses 76th UNGA in New York.

  • Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi has addressed the 76th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), in New York.
  • He is the first world leader scheduled to address the UN General Assembly at 6.30 PM IST. Prior to this, PM Modi had addressed UN General Assembly in 2019.
  • The theme of the 2021 UN General Assembly session was ‘building resilience through hope – to recover from Covid-19, rebuild sustainably, respond to the needs of the planet, respect the rights of people, and revitalize the United Nations.

4. Union Minister Jitendra Singh launches “Amrit Grand Challenge Program-जनCARE”.

  • As a part of the Aazadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav, Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh (Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Science & Technology) launched the “AmritGrand Challenge Program” titled “जनCARE”.
  • The Grand Challenge aims to identify 75 Start-Up and entrepreneurs, who come out with Innovative Ideas and Solutions for India’s healthcare challenges, that can work in Low Resource Settings, for strengthening Healthcare Delivery in India.
  • The Challenge has been launched jointly by Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC), NASSCOM and NASSCOM Foundation, as a nationwide “Discover – Design – Scale” program.
  • The “जनCARE” Amrit Challenge will recognize start-ups in fields like Innovations in Telemedicine, Digital Health, mHealth with BIG Data, AI, Block Chain and other technologies.
  • The Challenge will end on December 31, 2021.

5. Lok Sabha Speaker Launches ‘NIDHI 2.0’ scheme.

  • The Speaker of Lok Sabha, Om Birla has inaugurated the NIDHI 2.0 (National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry) scheme, during an event organized by the Ministry of Tourism, on the occasion of 2021 World Tourism Day.
  • The NIDHI 2.0 database will have more inclusivity, by not only including accommodation units, but also travel agents, tour operators, & others.
  • The NIDHI scheme was launched by the Ministry of Tourism to facilitate the digitalization of the tourism sector and promote ease of doing business for the hospitality & tourism sector, by encouraging all accommodation units to register themselves on the platform to become part of the hospitality industry.
  • As a part of the occasion, the Ministry of Tourism signed an MoU with the United Nations Environment Program me (UNEP) and The Responsible Tourism Society of India (RTSOI) to actively promote and support ‘sustainability initiatives’ in the tourism sector of each other.

1.Defense ministry places order for 118 Arjun Mk-1A tanks.

  • Ministry of Defense will procure 118 Main Battle Tanks, MBTs Arjun Mk-1A for the Indian Army. The order was worth Rs 7,523 crore with Heavy Vehicles Factory, Avadi to sharpen the army’s combat edge.
  • It will support the Make in India initiative in the defense sector and it will help in achieving the goal of Aatmanirbhar Bharat.
  • The Main Battle Tank Mk-1A is a new variant of the Arjun Tank. It has been designed to enhance firepower, mobility, and survivability.
  • Arjun Tank has been part of the Indian Army for the last 15 years. It has been designed and developed by Combat Vehicles Research and Development Establishment (CVRDE).
  • It will be manufactured at the government’s Heavy Vehicles Factory in Chennai. It can work during day and night conditions and can hit the target in both static and dynamic modes.

2. India Army to organize ‘Bijoya Sanskritik Mahotsav’ in Kolkata.

  • Indian Army will organize “Bijoya Sanskritik Mahotsav” from 26 to 29 September in Kolkata. This Mahotsav will be observed to mark the golden jubilee of the India-Pak war 1971.
  • The event will be inaugurated by Lieutenant General Manoj Pande, Army Commander, Eastern Command. Various cultural programs including a film screening, theatre plays, musical concerts, and band performances will be conducted during this event. It will be organized as part of the Swarnim Vijay Varsha celebrations to commemorate the golden jubilee of the India-Pak war.

3. DRDO conducts successful maiden flight test of Akash Prime Missile.

  • The Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) has carried a successful maiden test flight of a new version of the Akash Missile named ‘Akash Prime’ from Integrated Test Range (ITR), Chandipur, and Odisha.
  • The success of the test flight demonstrates the competence of DRDO in the design and development of world-class Missile systems. The missile intercepted and destroyed an unmanned aerial target mimicking enemy aircraft, in its maiden flight test after improvements.

1.MasterCard ropes Chess Champion Magnus Carlsen as its Global Ambassador.

  • The financial services company, MasterCard Inc. has named Magnus Carlsen, the highest-rated chess player of all time, as its global brand ambassador. This step is part of a move by MasterCard for adding chess in its coveted list of sports sponsorship.
  • It has joined the Melt water Champions Chess Tour as an official partner, in its first sponsorship move into chess.
  • The Norwegian chess Grandmaster Magnus Carlsen joins the like of other competitive player’s lineup of ambassadors like Lionel Messi, Naomi Osaka, Crystal Dunn and Dan Carter.

2. Lt Gen Gurbirpal Singh takes charge as DG of NCC.

  • Lieutenant General Gurbirpal Singh has taken charge as the 34th Director-General of the National Cadet Corps (NCC). He succeeds Lt Gen Tarun Kumar Aich. He was commissioned into the PARACHUTE REGIMENT in 1987.
  • An alumnus of the National Defense Academy, Khadakwasla, Indian Military Academy, Dehradun as well as NCC, he attended the Defense Services Staff College in Wellington and the National Defense College Course in New Delhi.
  • Lt Gen Singh has been a Company Commander in the counter-insurgency environment in Nagaland and the Siachen Glacier.

3. NASSCOM: Cryptotech industry can add $184B of economic value in India.

  • The crypto industry in India has the potential to add $184 billion of economic value, in the form of investments and cost savings, by 2030, according to a report from the country’s premier trade body for the tech industry.
  • The report, entitled “Crypto Industry in India,” was published by the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) in conjunction with Binance-owned crypto exchange WazirX.
  • The “CryptoTech” industry – companies involved in trading, payments, remittances, retail and more – is expected to reach a size of $241 million in India by 2030, and $2.3 billion globally by 2026. The industry currently employs 50,000 people in India, a number which NASSCOM expects to grow to over 800,000 by the end of the decade.

4. ICRA revise GDP growth of India to 9.00% in FY 2022.

  • ICRA has revised up the gross domestic product (GDP) growth rate of India for the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) to 9 per cent.
  • Earlier this rate was 8.5%. It can be noted that after the 7.3 per cent contraction in 2020-21, there were expectations of a higher growth number in 2021-22.
  • The key risk to its revised projection of 9 per cent GDP growth is a potential third wave and the existing vaccines being ineffective against newer mutations of the virus. ICRA is Gurgaon based credit rating agency, owned by Moody’s Corporation.

5. MCA extends the tenure of Company Law Committee by 1 year.

  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has once again extended the tenure of the Company Law Committee by one year until September 16, 2022.
  • Corporate affairs secretary Rajesh Verma is the present chairperson of the committee. The committee was constituted in 2019 and has a total of 11 members.
  • The committee was set up to suggest measures to improve the functioning of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), make recommendations on issues pertaining to the implementation of the Companies Act and Limited Liability Partnership Act. The tenure of the panel was extended in 2020 also, till September 17, 2021.

1.IIT Madras Retains Top Spot in Overall Category of NIRF India Ranking 2021.

  • The Union Minister of Education, Dharmendra Pradhan released the NIRF India Rankings 2021, on September 09, 2021, through video conferencing.
  • The NIRF India Rankings 2021 is the sixth edition of the annual list which ranks higher educational institutions in the country based on objective criteria to promote competitive excellence.
  • In Overall Winner: The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Madras has retained the top spot in the overall category.
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