General Knowledge & Current Affairs

September 2021 - 9th to 15th

1.Cuba becomes first country in world to begin vaccinating toddlers.

  • Cuba became the first country in the world to vaccinate children from the age of two against COVID-19, using home-grown jabs not recognized by the World Health Organization.
  • The communist island of 11.2 million people aims to inoculate all its children before reopening schools that have been closed for the most part since March 2020.
  • Countries such as China, the United Arab Emirates and Venezuela have announced they plan to vaccinate younger children, but Cuba is the first to do so. The Cuban vaccines, the first developed in Latin America, have not undergone international, scientific peer review.

2. China successfully launches new Earth observation satellite “Gaofen-5 02”.

  • China successfully launched a new Earth observation satellite, Gaofen-5 02, into space, aboard a Long March-4C rocket, from the Taiyuan Satellite Launch Centre in north China’s Shanxi Province.
  • The Gaofen-5 02 satellite is the 24th in the series of Gaofen Earth-observation satellites of China, to monitor environmental protection efforts and boost its natural resources surveillance.
  • Gaofen-5 02 is a hyperspectral satellite that will be used for comprehensive environmental monitoring, to improve the country’s hyperspectral observation capacity of the atmosphere, water and land.

3. Aziz Akhannouch elected as new PM of Morocco.

  • Aziz Akhannouch has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Morocco by the country’s King Mohammed VI. Akhannouch’s National Rally of Independents (RNI) party secured 102 out of the 395 seats in the parliament election, held on September 10, 2021.
  • Prior to this appointment, the 60-year-old was the Minister of Agriculture from 2007 to 2021.
  • The announcement came after Akhannouch’s National Rally of Independents (RNI) party triumphed in Wednesday’s parliamentary polls. The pro-business RNI managed to secure 102 out of the 395 seats in parliament, toppling the moderate Islamist Justice and Development Party (PJD), which won a paltry 13 seats.

1.Uttarakhand, Punjab, Tamil Nadu get new governors.

  • President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Lt Gen Gurmit Singh, who retired as the deputy chief of Army, governor of Uttarakhand, a post which fell vacant after Baby Rani Maurya tendered her resignation.
  • According to a Rashtrapati Bhavan communique, President Ram Nath Kovind accepted the resignation of Maurya and appointed Singh as the governor of the state.
  • The President also appointed Banwarilal Purohit, currently the Governor of Tamil Nadu, as the Governor of Punjab. 
  • R.N.Ravi, presently the Governor of Nagaland, has been made the Governor of Tamil Nadu. 
  • Professor Jagdish Mukhi, Governor of Assam is appointed to discharge the functions of the Governor of Nagaland in addition to his own duties until regular arrangements are made.

2. India’s 1st Emergency Landing Facility on National Highway in Rajasthan.

  • Union Defense Minister, Rajnath Singh and Union Highways Minister, Nitin Gadkari inaugurated the Emergency Landing Facility on a National Highway in Rajasthan.
  • This emergency landing facility has been constructed on the Satta-Gandhav stretch of National Highway (NH) 925A in Barmer, Rajasthan.
  • This is the first time that a national highway (NH-925) will be used for the emergency landing of IAF aircraft. The project will cost ₹765.52 crores under the Bharatmala Pariyojana.
  • The National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed a 3-km section of the Satta-Gandhav stretch of NH-925A, as an emergency landing facility (ELF) for the IAF.

3. India’s largest open air fernery opened in Uttarakhand.

  • India’s largest open-air fernery has been inaugurated in Ranikhet of Uttarakhand. The new center will serve the dual objective of ‘conservation of fern species as well as ‘create awareness about their ecological role and promote further research.
  • The fernery is home to a large number of fern species, some of which are endemic to the state, some hold medicinal value while some are threatened species that demand care and conservation.
  • The Ranikhet fernery has around 120 different types of fern, spreads over four acres of land at an altitude of 1,800 meters.
  • The facility has been developed under Central Government’s Compensatory Afforestation Management Funds Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme, by the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department over a period of three years.

1.AP Govt. appoints former SBI Chairperson Rajnish Kumar as economic advisor.

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has appointed Rajnish Kumar as its economic advisor. A former SBI chairman, Rajnish Kumar’s tenure in the cabinet rank position is for two years.
  • Rajnish Kumar who had retired as SBI chairman in October 2020, is an independent non-executive director at the Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation. He joined SBI as a Probationary officer in 1980.
  • The appointment comes amid the growing concerns over the state’s financial situation which has been badly hit by the Covid pandemic, even as the opposition has been critical over the sops and freebies being distributed by the Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy-led state government. Rajnish Kumar’s appointment is expected to help the state government steer through the financially tough juncture.

2. Gujarat govt launches Vatan Prem Yojana.

  • The Government of Gujarat announced, that it plans on undertaking public welfare projects worth Rs. 1,000 crores jointly with non-resident Guajarati’s by December 2022.
  • The projects will be under the state government’s ‘Vatan Prem Yojana’. The Yojana was launched in Gujarat focusing on rural development through public and state contributions.
  • The state government will undertake various rural development projects and activities.
  • This scheme will be undertaken with 40% state government’s contribution and 60% contribution from the general public.
  • The state government has invited Non-Resident Guajarati’s and NRIs are also invited to contribute.
  • This scheme aims to provide them with an opportunity to change their love for the nation into service for the nation. This scheme aims at making the rural areas self-reliant. It is an important step in the holistic development of villages.

3. ‘Medicine from the Sky’ initiative launched in Telangana.

  • Civil aviation minister Jyotiradtiya Scindia has launched a first of its kind “Medicine from the Sky” project in Telangana. The project has aimed at transporting vaccines and other essential products to remote areas using drones.
  • The Medicine from the Sky project will be taken up on a pilot basis in 16 green zones in Telangana and later scaled up on the national level based on data.
  • “This ‘Medicines from the Sky’ project will be taken up in 16 green zones.
  • The data will be analyzed for three months.
  • Along with the health ministry, IT ministry, state government and the Centre will together analyze the data and make a model for the whole country. 

4. Haryana topped in installation of solar pumps under PM-KUSUM.

  • Haryana has topped among all other states of the country in terms of installation of off-grid solar pumps under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Urja Suraksha Evam Utthan Mahaabhiyaan (PM-KUSUM), as per the data by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • Haryana has installed 14,418 pumps against 15,000 sanctioned pumps for the year 2020-21. Haryana was given a target of 15,000 pumps for the year 2020-21 with a total cost of Rs 520 crore.
  • The centrally-sponsored PM-KUSUM scheme was launched in 2019 with the target to install 20 lakh standalone solar pumps.
  • Under this scheme, farmers have to bear 40 per cent of the pump’s cost, while the central and state governments subsidize the remaining 60 per cent for solar pumps that have a capacity of up to 10 HP.
  • However, Haryana and some other states have provided additional top-up on the subsidies, which has reduced the farmer’s share to less than 25 per cent.

1.RBI announces Opening of Third Cohort under the Regulatory Sandbox.

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced the theme for the Third Cohort under the Regulatory Sandbox (RS) as ‘MSME Lending’. The application for the Third Cohort will be kept open from October 01, 2021 to November 14, 2021.
  • Regulatory Sandbox (RS) refers to live testing of new products or services in a controlled/test regulatory environment for which regulators may (or may not) permit certain regulatory relaxations for the limited purpose of the testing.

1.Skyroot Aerospace becomes first Spacetech startup to formally tie-up with ISRO.

  • A Hyderabad-based Space technology startup, Skyroot Aerospace has become the first private company to formally enter into an agreement with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).
  • The Framework MoU will allow the company to undertake multiple tests and access facilities at various ISRO centers and avail the technical expertise of ISRO for testing and qualifying their space launch vehicle systems and subsystems.
  • Skyroot, founded by former ISRO scientists, is building the Vikram series of rockets to carry small satellites into space.
  • The startup has already test fired its solid propulsion rocket engine named Kalam-5, whose bigger version will power its rockets.
  • Skyroot Aerospace is building the Vikram series of rockets to carry small satellites into space. The first launch vehicle in the series, Vikram-1 is scheduled to be launch in 2022.

1.Guinness World Records recognize Ronaldo for most goals scored.

  • Portuguese captain Cristiano Ronaldo has broken the world record for most goals scored in men’s international football. Ronaldo surpassed Iranian striker Ali Daei’s long-held record of 109 international goals by scoring a brace against Ireland in a World Cup Qualifier.
  • Ronaldo at 36 years of age is now a Guinness world record holder of most international goals of all time with 111 goals.
  • The Guinness world book of records has recognized Cristiano Ronaldo as a world record breaker for the most goals scored in international football (soccer) matches scored by an individual (male).

2. MS Dhoni to mentor Indian team for the T20 World Cup.

  • BCCI announced that the former India captain MS Dhoni will mentor the team for the tournament, which will be played in UAE and Oman in October and November. He announced his retirement from international limited-overs cricket on August 15, 2020.
  • Dhoni had last played for India in the 2019 ICC World Cup semi-final against New Zealand. Dhoni, who leads Chennai Super Kings, is a three-time IPL-winning captain and has brought home three major ICC trophies — World T20, Champions Trophy and World Cup.

3. Joe Root, Eimear Richardson named ICC Players of the Month for August.

  • England Test skipper Joe Root and Ireland’s Eimear Richardson have been voted as the winners of the ICC Players of the Month for August 2021.
  • Root was voted the ICC Men’s Player of the Month for August for his consistent performances in the Test series against India that was part of the next cycle of the ICC World Test Championship (WTC).
  • In women’s cricket, Ireland’s Eimear Richardson has had a sensational August as well and was adjudged the ICC Women’s Player of the Month for August 2021.

1.India’s tallest air purifier tower installed in Chandigarh.

  • India’s tallest air purification tower has been inaugurated in the Union Territory of Chandigarh. The tower has been installed at the initiative of the Chandigarh Pollution Control Committee (CPCC) at Transport Chowk, Sector 26, by Pious Air Pvt Limited.
  • This is the highest air purifier tower of the country and covers an area of around a 500-meter radius and is 24-meter-high. The purification tower will clean 3.88 crore cubic ft. of air from the surrounding environment.

2. India’s first high ash coal gasification based methanol production plant inaugurated.

  • India’s first indigenously Designed High Ash Coal Gasification Based Methanol Production Plant at Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) Research and Development Centre, Hyderabad was inaugurated.
  • The project was funded by the Department of Science and Technology, which provided a Rs 10 crore grant, at the initiative of NITI Aayog, PMO-India and the Ministry of Coal.
  • The facility can create 0.25 ton per day (TPD) Methanol from high ash Indian coal using a 1.2 TPD Fluidized bed gasifier.
  • The purity of the crude methanol produced is between 98 and 99.5 per cent.

3. World’s largest plant capturing carbon from air opens in Iceland.

  • The world’s largest plant designed to capture carbon dioxide out of the air began its operations in Iceland. The plant is named Orca, which means ‘Energy’ in Icelandic word. It will suck out up to 4,000 tons of CO2 per year.
  • The carbon dioxide captured directly from the air will be deposited underground at a depth of 1,000 meters, where it would be turned into rock.
  • The facility has been developed by Icelandic carbon storage firm Carbfix, in partnership with Swiss start-up Climeworks AG, which specializes in capturing carbon dioxide directly from the air.
  • The technology launched may become a major tool in the fight against climate change.

4. PM Narendra Modi lays foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh University.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh State University at Aligarh, in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The Uttar Pradesh government is establishing the university in memory and honor of noted Jat figure, Raja Mahendra Pratap Singh, the great freedom fighter, educationist and social reformer.
  • The University will be spread over an area of over 92 acres at Lodha village and Musepur Kareem Jarouli village of Kol tehsil in Aligarh and will provide affiliation to 395 colleges of the Aligarh division.

1.Centre appoints G.S Pannu as Officiating ITAT President.

  • The Central Government has appointed G.S. Pannu as President of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. G. S. Pannu is presently a Vice-President, ITAT, New Delhi and will be Officiating President of ITAT with effect from September 6, 2021, till the appointment of regular President.
  • Mr. Pannu was born on 01 Aug 1962 at Hoshiarpur (Punjab), he is a C.A and joined Government Service 14 September 2000. Presently posted as Vice-President at ITAT, New Delhi. Before joining ITAT, practiced as a Chartered Accountant at New Delhi from 1986-2000.

2. Nirlep Singh Rai is new CMD of National Fertilizers Ltd.

  • State-owned fertilizer firm National Fertilizers Ltd (NFL) has Nirlep Singh Rai has been appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of the company.
  • In a regulatory filing, NFL informed that Nirlep Singh Rai, Director (Technical), has been appointed as Chairman & Managing Director, on the Board of the company with effect from the date of his assumption of charge.

3. Iqbal Singh Lalpura named chairman of National Commission for Minorities.

  • Former IPS officer Iqbal Singh Lalpura has been appointed chairman of the National Commission for Minorities. He hails from Punjab and has authored several books on Sikh philosophy.
  • He has also won several awards such as the president’s police medal, police medal for meritorious services, Shiromani Sikh Sahitkar Award and Sikh scholar award.
  • Lalpura, during his tenure as IPS officer, served as SSP Amritsar, SSP Tarantaran, and Additional inspector general CID Amritsar.
  • He joined BJP in 2012 after retirement. Lalpura has written nearly 14 books on Sikh philosophy and history, such as ‘Japji Sahib Ek vichaar’, Gurbaani ek vichaar’, and ‘Raj Karega Khalsa’.

4. CAG GC Murmu gets elected as ASOSAI chairman.

  • The Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India, GC Murmu was elected as the chairman of the assembly of the Asian Organization of Supreme Audit Institutions (ASOSAI) for a period of three years from 2024 to 2027.
  • Murmu was elected by the 56th governing board of ASOSAI and approval for the same was conveyed by the 15th assembly of ASOSAI. India will host the 16th assembly of ASOSAI in 2024.
  • The ASOSAI is one of the regional groups of the International Organisation of Supreme Audit Institutions (INTOSAI) which aims to promote understanding and cooperation among member institutions through the exchange of ideas and experiences in the field of public audit.
  • Established in 1979 with 11 members, the membership of the ASOSAI consists of charter members, members and associate members. The membership has since grown to 47 SAIs. The assembly consists of all members of the organization and meets once in three years.

5. Yahoo Appoints Jim Lanzone as its new CEO.

  • The web service provider, Yahoo has named Jim Lanzone as its new chief executive officer (CEO). He was currently serving as the CEO of the Dating app Tinder.
  • Jim Lanzone will replace Guru Gowrappan, to the post of Yahoo CEO. As for Tinder, Renate Nyborg has been appointed as the new CEO of the dating app to replace Lanzone.

6. Adobe appoints Prativa Mohapatra as India MD and VP.

  • US tech giant Adobe has announced the appointment of Prativa Mohapatra as vice president and managing director for Adobe India.
  • In this role, Mohapatra will lead Adobe’s India business across Adobe Experience Cloud, Adobe Creative Cloud and Adobe Document Cloud, reporting to Simon Tate, Adobe’s president for the Asia Pacific (APAC).

7. Justice Venugopal appointed as acting Chairperson of NCLAT.

  • Justice M. Venugopal has been named as the new Acting Chairperson of the appellate tribunal, National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). This is the third time in a row that an Acting Chairperson is at the helm of the NCLAT, after the retirement of permanent Chairperson Justice S J. Mukhopadhaya on March 14, 2020.
  • The NCLAT was constituted under Section 410 of the Companies Act, 2013 for hearing appeals against the orders of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).
  • It is also an appellate tribunal for hearing appeals against the orders passed by NCLT under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and by the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI).
  • It is also the appellate tribunal to hear and dispose of appeals against any direction issued or decision made or order passed by the Competition Commission of India (CCI).

8. Raja Randhir Singh appointed acting president of Olympic Council of Asia.

  • India’s Raja Randhir Singh has taken over as acting president of the Olympic Council of Asia as Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah appeals a guilty verdict in a Swiss forgery trial. A five-time Olympic shooter and an Asian Games gold medalist in 1978, Singh was promoted to the role from his position as an honorary life vice president.
  • During the interim period, Raja Randhir Singh will carry out the duties and responsibilities of the OCA President, starting with the OCA Executive Board Meeting scheduled to be held on 13th September 2021.”
  • Singh had been part of OCA as secretary-general for 24 years since 1991 and is the longest-serving executive board member. He is also an honorary member of the International Olympic Committee.

1.India to host G-20 summit in 2023.

  • India will hold the G20 presidency from December 1, 2022, and will convene the G20 leaders’ summit in 2023 for the first time.
  • Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry Minister has been appointed as India’s Sherpa for the G20 in 2023 (18th edition). A Sherpa is a diplomat who undertakes preparatory work prior to a summit conference.
  • The 2021 edition of the G20 meet will be held in Rome, Italy. The 2022 G20 meet will be held in Bali, Indonesia.

2. India and US launch the Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue.

  • India and the United States of America (USA) have launched the “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)”. It will strengthen India-US bilateral cooperation on climate and environment.
  • The dialogue was launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Bhupender Yadav and Mr. John Kerry, U.S. Special Presidential Envoy for Climate (SPEC) in New Delhi.
  • “Climate Action and Finance Mobilization Dialogue (CAFMD)” is one of the two tracks of the India-U.S. Climate and Clean Energy Agenda 2030 partnership launched at the Leaders’ Summit on Climate in April 2021. The other track is Strategic Clean Energy Partnership.
  • CAFMD will demonstrate how the world can align swift climate action with inclusive and resilient economic development, taking into account national circumstances and sustainable development priorities.

3. PM Narendra Modi to attend first in-person Quad Summit at White House.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi is set to attend the first-ever in-person QUAD (Quadrilateral Security Dialogue) Leaders’ Summit at the White House, in Washington D.C. on September 24, 2021.
  • Quad nation comprises of India, Japan, the US and Australia. PM Modi will also address the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York on September 25, 2021.
  • This will be the first visit of PM Modi to the United States since President Joe Biden assumed office and also the first in-person meeting between the two leaders since Biden assumed office.
  • The other two leaders, Prime Minister Scott Morrison of Australia and Japanese premier Yoshihide Suga will also be attending the Summit.
  • The Quad Summit aims to deepen ties and increase cooperation in areas such as combatting COVID-19, addressing the climate crisis, partnering on emerging technologies and cyberspace, and promoting a free and open Indo-Pacific.

1.India’s first long-range nuclear missile tracking ship INS Dhruv commissioned.

  • India’s first nuclear-missile tracking ship, named INS Dhruv, has been commissioned from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh.
  • The 10,00 tones satellite and ballistic missile tracking ship has been built by the Hindustan Shipyard Limited in collaboration with the DRDO and National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO). 
  • INS Dhruv is capable of tracking nuclear missiles at a long range, which makes it useful to provide early warning of attacks by ballistic missiles launched from Pakistan and China.
  • India now joins an elite list of countries consisting of France, the US, the UK, Russia, and China, who possess and operate such ships.

1.Centre appoints G.S Pannu as Officiating ITAT President.

  • The Central Government has appointed G.S. Pannu as President of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal. G. S. Pannu is presently a Vice-President, ITAT, New Delhi and will be Officiating President of ITAT with effect from September 6, 2021, till the appointment of regular President.
  • Mr. Pannu was born on 01 Aug 1962 at Hoshiarpur (Punjab), he is a C.A and joined Government Service 14 September 2000. Presently posted as Vice-President at ITAT, New Delhi. Before joining ITAT, practiced as a Chartered Accountant at New Delhi from 1986-2000.

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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