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Important Current Affairs 31st October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

India extends $1 bn credit line to Central Asian countries

• The second meeting of the India-Central Asia Dialogue was held virtually, under the chairmanship of the External Affairs Minister of India Dr S Jaishankar. The foreign minister of all the five Central Asian countries- Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Kyrgyzstan– participated in the meeting.

• During the meeting, India announced US $1 billion line of credit for “priority developmental projects” in Central Asian countries in the fields of connectivity, energy, IT, healthcare, education, agriculture and offered to provide grant assistance for implementation of High Impact Community Development Projects (HICDP) for furthering socio-economic development in the countries of the region.

• Apart from this, the Acting Foreign Minister of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan also attended the meeting as a special invitee. The first India-Central Asia Dialogue was held in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand in 2019.

NATIONAL

Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao launches ‘Dharani’ Portal

• Telangana Chief Minister, K Chandrasekhar Rao has launched the web portal ‘Dharani’ for land and property registrations. The state government will now undertake all the property transactions, including registrations and mutations, through a web portal.

• The Dharani is a one-stop portal for all land and property-related transactions as well as documentation.

• The portal will do away with any loopholes in the registration process as well as store all land and property-related information online.

• It will simplify the registration, succession and even partition of agriculture lands, to ensure that the entire process is completed within a few minutes and the e-pattadar passbook is provided to the landowners immediately.

IIT Kanpur, ASI sign MoU with Italian institutes for restoration of monuments

• The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) and the Archaeological Survey of India have signed an agreement with two institutions from Italy, seeking restoration and protection of historical monuments.

• The MoU was signed among IIT-K, Ca’Foscari University of Venice, Soprintendenza Archeologia, Belle Arti E Paesaggio, Venice, on creating a network and sharing skills for restoration and protection of historical monuments.

• All institutes have agreed to develop collaborative scientific study activities and sharing skills to restore and protect monuments on a reciprocal and equal basis.

• All institutes shall seek to promote collaboration and activities in areas such as collaboration in scientific studies and skill sharing, the exchange of knowledge, experience, academic materials and publications, conducting workshops, undertaking joint field studies and technology development.

Indian Army launches indigenous mobile application SAI

• The Indian Army has launched a secured messaging application platform named 'Secure Application for the Internet' (SAI).

• This mobile application for Android will support end-to-end secure voice, text and video calling services. This application is similar to applications like Telegram and WhatsApp.

• SAI has been vetted by CERT-in empanelled auditor and Army Cyber Group. It also informed that the process for filing Intellectual Property Rights (IPR) hosting the infrastructure on NIC and working on iOS platform is currently in progress.

• Ministry of Defence also informed that SAI will be used by pan Army to ensure securing messaging.

• Upon reviewing the functionalities of the application, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh praised Col Sai Shankar for his skill and ingenuity for developing the application.

SPORTS

Plastic Premier League tournament to be played in Indore

• A unique Plastic Premier League (PPL) tournament is being played in Indore, Madhya Pradesh to free the city from single-use plastic. Indore is known for its innovative efforts regarding cleanliness. Indore has been awarded as the cleanest city in the country four times so far.

• Four teams have been formed for the Plastic Premier League competition.

• The 19 zones of Indore Municipal Corporation are divided into these four teams.

• For the competition, the team captain Radio Jockey will encourage citizens to donate more and more plastic from their radio station.

• These teams have been provided by municipal workers and five vehicles to collect plastic.

• The team that collects the most single-use plastics in this 45-day competition will be awarded the PPL Trophy.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

NASA’s SOFIA discovers water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

• Two new studies published in Nature Astronomy suggest there could be much more water than previously thought, including ice stored in permanently shadowed “cold traps” at lunar polar regions. Using data from the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) Airborne Telescope, researchers scanned the lunar surface at a more precise wavelength than had been used before — six microns instead of three. This allowed them to distinguish the spectral fingerprint of molecular water.

• Previous research has found indications of water by scanning the surface, but these were unable to distinguish between water (H2O) and hydroxyl, a molecule made up of one hydrogen atom and one oxygen atom. But a new study provides further chemical proof that the Moon holds molecular water, even in sunlit areas.

OBITUARY

Award-winning author and editor Daniel Menaker passes away

• Daniel Menaker, an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction and a longtime editor at The New Yorker and Random House who worked with Alice Munro, Salman Rushdie, Colum McCann and many others, passed away.

• Daniel Menaker was the author of several books, including the memoir My Mistake and the comic psychological novel The Treatment, adapted into a 2007 movie starring Chris Eigeman and Ian Holm. He was also known for the O Henry Award-winning title story of his collection The Old Left.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India hosts 19th Meeting of SCO Ministers of Foreign Economy

• India hosted the 19th Meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Ministers of Foreign Economy and Foreign Trade. The virtual meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Union Minister of Commerce and Industry of India Shri Piyush Goyal. It was attended by the Secretary-General of SCO Vladimir Norov and Ministers from Kyrgyz Republic, China, Kazakhstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

• Statement on the response to C-19: It highlights the need for greater cooperation for access to medicines and facilitation of trade.

• Statement on the Multilateral Trading System of Ministers of SCO Countries who are WTO Members: It highlights the importance of the rules-based multilateral negotiations.

• Statement on SCO Cooperation on Intellectual Property Rights (IPR). It relates to the cooperation of intellectual property and include sharing information/experience on legislation and enforcement, cooperation in international organisations and other areas.

• Action Plan for Implementation of MOU to stimulate cooperation within the framework of SCO in the field of MSMEs. It looks at the number of areas of cooperation among MSMEs, including the exchange of information, organisation of events and collaboration on research and capacity building.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

14th Asian Film Awards 2020 announced

• The 14th edition of Asian Film Awards was organized by the Asian Film Awards Academy. Indian Movie Gully Boy has received the award for the Best Original Score at 14th Asian Film Awards. The award went to Karsh Kale and The Salvage Audio Collective. Gully Boy has been directed by Zoya Akhtar. In Gully Boy, Ranveer Singh and Alia Bhatt played leading roles.

14th Asian Film Awards Winners List:

Award

Name Winner

Best Actor

Lee Byung-hun – The Man Standing Next (South Korea)

Best Actress

Zhou Dongyu – Better Days (China)

Best Cinematography

Dong Jinsong – The Wild Goose Lake

Best Costume Designer

Pacharin Surawatanapongs– Happy Old Year

Best Director

Wang Xiaoshuai for So Long, My Son (China)

Best Editing

Yang Jin-mo – Parasite

Best Film

Parasite (South Korea)

Best Newcomer

Jackson Yee – Better Days

Best New Director

Hikari – 37 Seconds

Best Supporting Actor

Ryo Kase – To the Ends of the Earth

Best Supporting Actress

Ko Shu-chin – A Sun

Best Screenplay

Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won – Parasite

Best Original Music

Karsh Kale, The Salvage Audio Collective – Gully Boy

Best Production Design

Ha-jun Lee – Parasite

Best Visual Effects

Tomi Kijo, Renovatio Pictures – Detention

Best Sound

Yoshifumi Kureishi – Listen to the Universe

Anzar Mustaeen Ali wins special prize in Global Art Competition

• A six-year-old Bangladeshi boy, Anzar Mustaeen Ali won a special prize of USD 1000 for his artwork in the global art competition organised by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (ICCR). The ICCR had launched a global painting competition named ‘United Against C -19- Express through Art’ which attracted 8000 artwork entries from around the world. After the first round of competition 210 artworks were shortlisted.

• The final jury evaluated and decided the winners from each category such as Indian and Foreign, Professional/Amateur/Children in four different sections.

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Important Current Affairs 30th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Japan to achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050

• Japanese Prime Minister, Yoshihide Suga has stated that the country will achieve zero carbon emissions by 2050. The Prime Minister stated he intends to make a sustainable economy a pillar of his growth strategy and put maximum effort into achieving a green society.

• Suga emphasized the need to shift away from fossil fuels to counter climate change as an opportunity rather than a burden. As per Japan’s current energy plan, 56 per cent of its energy requirements come from fossil fuels.

NATIONAL

BharatPe launches digital gold on its platform

• A leading merchant payment network, BharatPe has announced the launch of digital gold on its platform. The launch of this new category of fintech product is in line with the company’s commitment to offering the entire gamut of financial products to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

• BharatPe’s merchants will be able to buy and sell 99.5 per cent pure 24-carat gold. Merchants can choose to buy in rupees or grams, any time of the day and from anywhere, by using the BharatPe app.

• To facilitate this, BharatPe has also partnered with Safegold, a digital platform that allows customers to buy, sell and receive vaulted gold.

• SafeGold has appointed IDBI Trusteeship Services to protect the interest of merchants with regard to their gold purchases.

PM Modi Inaugurates 4th edition of India Energy Forum

• PM Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 4th India Energy Forum by CERAWeek organised by HIS Markit.

• The theme of this edition is "India's Energy Future in a World of Change". India is the third-largest and the fastest-growing aviation market in terms of domestic aviation and Indian carriers are projected to increase their fleet size from 600 to 1200 by 2024.

• According to PM, India’s Energy Plan aims to ensure energy justice while fully following India’s global commitments for sustainable growth.

• This means more energy is needed to improve the lives of Indians with a smaller carbon footprint. He envisioned India’s energy sector to be growth-centric, industry-friendly and environmentally conscious.

Kerala becomes the first state to fix floor price for vegetables

• Kerala becomes the first state in the country to fix the floor price for vegetables.

• The floor price will be 20 per cent above the production cost of the vegetable. Even if the market price goes below the floor price, the product will be procured at the floor price from the farmers.

• This is the first time in the country that the floor price is being fixed for vegetables produced in the state.

Odisha CM launches 'Sumangal' & Student Scholarship web portals

• Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has launched two web portals named 'Odisha State Scholarship Portal' and 'Sumangal Portal'.

• The former portal is to help eligible students of the state to avail scholarship benefits in a seamless and transparent manner, while the latter one is to help people avail inter-caste marriage incentives.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Yashvardhan K. Sinha appointed as new Chief Information Commissioner

• Government of India has approved the name of Former Foreign Service officer, Yashvardhan Kumar Sinha as the new Chief Information Commissioner. He was already the Information Commissioner and was also the most senior. The post of CIC chairman had been vacant for several months after Bimal Zulka retired.

• A Marathi journalist, Uday Mahurkar has been selected for the post of Information Commissioner. Uday Mahurkar worked as a deputy editor in India Today Group and is considered close to the Sangh Parivar. Uday Mahurkar has also written a book on Prime Minister Modi titled “Merging with a Billion” and “Center Stage: Inside Narendra Modi”.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Microsoft & NSDC tie-up to empower 1 lakh women with digital skills

• Microsoft has collaborated with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to impart digital skills to more than one lakh underserved women in India over the next ten months. This initiative is an extension of Microsoft’s partnership with NSDC to provide digital skills to over 1 lakh youth in the country.

• The programme will curate a series of live training sessions and digital skilling drives to help create opportunities for young girls and women, particularly first-time job seekers and those whose jobs may have been impacted by C-19, to join the future workforce.

India Post, US Postal Service sign pact for electronic exchange of customs

• Indian Posts & US Postal Service entered into an agreement for the electronic exchange of customs data related to postal shipments. It will enable to transmit & receive electronic data of international postal items prior to their physical arrival.

• The agreement will make it possible to transmit and receive electronic data of international postal items prior to their physical arrival at the destination and would enable customs clearance of postal items in advance in line with the evolving global postal framework.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr Satish Mishra bags "Dr Tulsi Das Chugh Award-2020

• The National Academy of Medical Sciences (India) has selected the Principal Scientist, Division of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, (CSIR-CDRI)-Lucknow, Dr Satish Mishra for "Dr.Tulsi Das Chugh Award 2020".

• He is awarded for his research work on Malaria parasite's life cycle which is a complex process involving two hosts and three invasive stages.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

DMRC & SBI card launch multi-purpose smart card

• The SBI Card in association with the Delhi Metro Rail Corporation launched a contactless multi-purpose card that can function as a credit card and as a metro smart card.

• The credit card Delhi Metro SBI Card is designed for regular commuters on Delhi Metro.

• It will enable its users to use it as a smart card with an auto-top up facility whenever the balance is below Rs 100.

• The credit card facility will automatically recharge a top-up value of Rs 200 from the user’s linked card/bank account.

• The card offers an enhanced daily commute experience to millions of metro commuters together with a rewarding experience on their daily purchases.

• The DMRC has identified 100 stations to put up kiosks from where commuters can purchase the card.

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Important Current Affairs 29th October 2020

NATIONAL

Vice President launches virtual festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020

• Vice President, M Venkaiah Naidu has launched the virtual festival of “Parampara Series 2020-National Festival of Music and Dance” organised by Natya Tarangini in partnership with the United Nations. Natya Tarangini has been organising this for the past 23 years.

• This dance and music festival as the normal life has been disrupted by C-19, economic downturns and lack of social interaction caused by the pandemic. It may be noted that this festival has been organized to coincide with the World Day for Audio-visual Heritage.

GoI sets up committee to commemorate 400th anniversary of Guru Tegh Bahadur

• The Centre has set up a high-level committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to commemorate the 400th birth anniversary of Shri Guru Tegh Bahadur.

• Union Home Secretary Ajay Kumar Bhalla will be the member secretary of the 70-member high-level committee.

• The committee will look into the approval of policies, plans, programmes and supervision and guiding the commemoration, as well as for deciding dates for detailed programmes of celebration.

Arjun Munda launches two Centers of Excellence for tribal welfare

• The Union Minister of Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda has launched two Centers of Excellence (CoE) for Tribal Welfare in a collaboration between Ministry of Tribal Affairs (MoTA) and Art of Living (AoL) through video conference.

• The first CoE has been launched in Aurangabad district of Maharashtra for training about 10000 tribal farmers in the field of sustainable natural farming based on Go-Adharith farming techniques.

• The second CoE has been launched in Jharkhand in the field of ‘Strengthening PRIs’ in 5 districts of the state covering 30 Gram Panchayats and 150 villages.

Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurates ‘Direct Port Entry Facility’

• The Union Minister of State for Shipping (I/C), Mansukh Mandaviya has inaugurated the ‘Direct Port Entry (DPE) facility’ of V.O. Chidambaranar Port Trust in Tamil Nadu.

• This will help in increasing Ease of Doing Business for the exporters, as the facility will bring efficiency and reduce dwell time, lower tariff cost and improve the competitiveness of shipper in the international trade.

• The state-of-the-art Direct Port Entry (DPE) facility would enable direct movement of containers from factories, without intermediate handling at any Container Freight Station (CFS), thus facilitating the shippers to Gate-In their factory stuffed exports directly to the Container Terminal on 24×7 basis.

UP Govt to establish anti-human trafficking Police Stations

• Uttar Pradesh Government has decided to establish anti-human trafficking Police Stations in each and every district in a major step towards the security of women and children.

• These Police Stations will be given enough powers to register the case and investigate the matter independently.

• The state government is going to establish 40 new anti-trafficking units which will work like police stations in districts and will conduct the investigation after registering the cases.

• Earlier, only 35 districts in the state had Police stations of anti-human trafficking unit which was established in 2011 and 2018.

• The new Police stations are being established after directives from women safety division of union Government. Union Government has also allocated funds for these units.

Young Advocates Welfare Fund launched in Tamil Nadu

• The Young Advocates Welfare Fund has been launched in Tamil Nadu. The Young Advocates Welfare Scheme is aimed at helping such fresh candidates to withstand the initial challenges. It provides monthly financial assistance of three thousand rupees each for two years to the lawyers who just come out of law colleges.

• Normally a fresher from law colleges takes three to four years to begin practice as an advocate in the court as the registration in the Bar Council, and the mandatory practicing under a senior advocate takes time. Unable to sustain themselves during the initial period, many from poor and rural backgrounds shifted their profession.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Om Birla participates in 6th BRICS Parliamentary Forum virtually

• The 6th BRICS Parliamentary Forum has been organised virtually under the chairmanship of Vyacheslav Volodin, the Chairman of Russian Parliament.

• The Indian Parliamentary Delegation is being led by Lok Sabha Speaker, Om Birla and also consists of Member of Lok Sabha Kanimozhi Karunanidhi.

• The forum provides an effective platform to facilitate inter-parliamentary dialogue and Parliamentary Diplomacy among the Parliaments of BRICS countries with a view to strengthening the role of Parliaments on a range of contemporary global issues.

• Speakers and members of five BRICS Parliaments namely Brazil, Russian, India, China and South Africa are attending the Forum. The theme of the Forum is ‘BRICS partnership in the interest of global stability, general safety and innovative growth: Parliamentary dimension’.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled “Night of the Restless Spirits” authored by Sarbpreet Singh

• A book titled “Night of the Restless Spirits: Stories from 1984″ authored by Sarbpreet Singh. The author Sarbpreet Singh’s recounts the Sikh massacre of 1984 in this book.

• The book is a fictionalised version of real happenings comprising just eight chapters. It shows the events of 1984 through the prism of many lives & impact on Sikhs. The book is published by Penguin Publication.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI signs $1 billion loan agreement with JBIC

• State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a loan agreement of up to $1 billion with The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC). The loan will facilitate the operations of Japanese car companies in India. The financing will assist in Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative.

• While $600 million will be financed by JBIC, the rest will come from other participating lenders which include the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation, MUFG Bank, , Mizuho Bank, Shizuoka Bank and Bank of Yokohama. JBIC will provide a guarantee for the portion co-financed by the participating banks. The loan is intended to promote the smooth flow of funds for the whole range of business operations of Japanese automobile manufacturers in India.

RBI bars payment system operators from launching any new QR codes

• The Reserve Bank of India has barred Payment System Operators (PSOs) from launching any new proprietary QR code for payment transactions.

• Currently, there are two interoperable QR codes — UPI QR and Bharat QR.

• The decision to continue with the two existing Quick Response (QR) codes was based on the recommendations of the committee which was set up by the Reserve Bank under the chairmanship of Deepak Phatak to review the current system of such codes in India and suggest measures for moving towards interoperable QR codes.

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Important Current Affairs 28th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Indian-origin Wavel Ramkalawan elected President of Seychelles

• Indian-origin Wavel Ramkalawan has been elected as the President of Seychelles. Seychelles has elected an opposition candidate as president for the first time since 1977. He has defeated the incumbent Danny Faure.

• Ramakalwan is a priest of Indian Origin whose grandfather came from Gopalganj, Bihar.

Luis Arce declared as Bolivia’s president-elect

• Luis Arce has been chosen as the President-elect of Bolivia, after winning a landslide victory in the 2020 Bolivian general election. He captured 55.1% of the total votes. Arce will take the charge of the office on 8 November 2020. He would succeed Jeanine Anez, who is serving as the interim President of Bolivia.

• The 57-year-old, Luis is a member of the political party Movement Toward Socialism. Previously, Arce served as Minister of Economy and Public Finance from 2006 to 2017 and in 2019 under the President Evo Morales.

Alpha Condé won the 3rd Term as President of Guinea

• Alpha Condé, the incumbent president of Guinea and leader of Rally of the Guinean People (Rassemblement du Peuple Guinéen – RPG) party won the 3rd the term as the President of Guinea by winning the 2020 presidential elections.

• He won the election against Cellou Dalein Diallo with 59.49 % votes. Diallo got 33.5% votes in the election. Winning the 2020 elections, Alpha Condé is set to govern the country for the next 6 years.

NATIONAL

NATO plans to set up new space center in Germany

• The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) alliance, plans to build a headquarters for space operations at its airbase in Ramstein in Germany, to counter a rising Russian and Chinese threat.

• The new centre is to be a central point of contact to support NATO missions with communication and satellite images. It will also be a place to exchange information on potential threats to satellites. Some 2,000 satellites orbit the Earth, more than half of which are operated by NATO members, allowing everything from mobile phone services to weather forecasts. Currently, at least 40 per cent of NATO’s communications are via satellite.

Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri launches ‘e-Dharti Geo portal’

• Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the ‘e-Dharti Geo Portal’ to integrate legacy drawings such as maps and lease plans in the management information system and make its geographic information system (GIS)-enabled.

• The Land and Development Office deals with more than 60000 residential, commercial, industrial and institutional properties. Now with the launch of the portal the property certificate details and outline map of the property can be easily accessed online. The portal is highly beneficial to the elderly public. It will help avoid unnecessary litigation. Also, the portal will help a purchaser to learn about the details of the property whether any lawsuit is pending in respect of the property.

SPORTS

Under-19 World Cup-winner Tanmay Srivastava retires from cricket

• Tanmay Manoj Srivastava, who was part of India’s Under-19 World Cup-winning team in 2008 announced his retirement from all forms of domestic cricket.

• He played 90 first-class games, scoring 4918 runs. He also played 44 List A matches and 34 T20s. He also played IPL (Indian Premier League), where he represented Kings XI Punjab, Deccan Chargers and Kochi Tuskers Kerala.

Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports appoints Bimal Julka as Chairman

• Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports (FIFS) has announced the appointment of Bimal Julka as its Chairman. In his new role, Julka will work closely with all the stakeholders to further strengthen the operating standards of the Indian fantasy sports industry. Bimal Julka is an Indian Administrative Service (IAS) Officer of the 1979 batch belonging to the Madhya Pradesh Cadre.

• Julka is taking over from John Loffhagen, who served as the Chairman of FIFS for over three years. Loffhagen will assume the role of a Strategic Advisor and support FIFS on collaborating with relevant international bodies in the industry.

OBITUARY

Veteran Gujarati Film Musician, Former MP Mahesh Kanodia passes away

• Famous Gujarati film musician, singer and former Parliamentarian Mahesh Kanodia passed away. He was born at Kanoda village of Mehsana district on January 27, 1937.

• Kanodia was a three-time BJP MP from Patan in north Gujarat. He represented Patan Lok Sabha constituency as a Member of Parliament of the BJP thrice between 1991 and 1999. He had received several accolades and awards for his performance as a music composer and singer for Gujarati films including Jigar and Ami, Tanariri, Jog Sanjog and Laju Lakhan.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

HDFC Bank MD & CEO Aditya Puri retires

• The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of HDFC Bank, Aditya Puri has stepped down, after 25 years of a highly successful career at India’s largest private sector lender. The 70-year-old Puri had transformed a start-up in a sector dominated by state-owned banks into an industry leader. At nearly Rs 6 trillion, HDFC Bank leads the industry in terms of market capitalisation and remains the most profitable by a long margin.

• Sashidhar Jagdishan has been appointed as the new chief executive and managing director of the HDFC Bank w.e.f. 27 October 2020.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Indian Army celebrates 74th Infantry Day in J&K

• Every year, October 27 is celebrated as Infantry Day by the Indian Army in Jammu & Kashmir (known by the nickname, Chinar Corps).

• The Chinar Corps celebrated the 74th Infantry Day on October 27, 2020, to honour the supreme sacrifice of the gallant soldiers in fighting the Pakistani invaders, in Jammu and Kashmir, in 1947.

International Animation Day: 28 October

• International Animation Day is observed globally on 28 October every year. The day has celebrated the art of animation and also recognise the artists, scientists and technicians behind animation.

• This year marks the 19th International Animation Day. The day was created in 2002 by International Animated Film Association (ASIFA), an International Animated Film Association, a member of UNESCO.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

3rd India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue begins in New Delhi

• India is hosting the third India-US two plus two Ministerial Dialogue at Hyderabad House in New Delhi. The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Dr S. Jaishankar are leading the Indian delegation. The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Secretary of Defence Mark Esper are leading the US delegation. The First two plus two dialogue was held in New Delhi in September 2018 and the Second in Washington DC in 2019.

• Besides, covering all bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual interest during the third dialogue, the two sides also signed the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement for Geo-Spatial Cooperation (BECA) to further expand the geospatial cooperation between them and improve the accuracy of missile systems of India.

IIT Jodhpur, NHAI sign MoU for betterment of Highway Infrastructure

• Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Jodhpur and National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to share expertise for the betterment of highway infrastructure.

• The two institutions will work in domains which include transportation engineering, structural engineering, geotechnical engineering.

• They will also cooperate in hydraulics engineering, infrastructure systems, earthquake engineering, urban and rural planning and disaster management and planning domains.

• The MoU will enable Undergraduate and Postgraduate students of IIT Jodhpur to undertake internships from the above-mentioned domains.

• The joint activities will bridge the industry-institution gap and develop technologies that would be adopted in practice by NHAI.

RANKING

Haryana tops Anemia Mukt Bharat Index in country

• Haryana is the best State in Anemia Mukt Bharat (AMB) Index with 46.7 among 29 states in the country. Further, in the year 2019-20, the state had achieved 93 per cent of immunization.

• This information came to light during the 8th Governing Body Meeting of the State Health Society of the National Health Mission (NHM) in Chandigarh. The meeting was presided over by the Haryana chief secretary, Vijai Vardhan.

Samsung Tops Forbes’ list of World’s Best Employer 2020

• South Korea based electronics conglomerate, Samsung Electronics has topped the list of ‘World’s Best Employer 2020′ published by Forbes’. Amazon, IBM, Microsoft and LG are among the top 5 in the list respectively. The global list features 750 multinational and large corporations headquartered in 45 countries.

• From India, HCL Technologies is the top industry in the list. It is placed at the 30th position globally. In the Banking sector, HDFC Bank is top from India. It is at 176th position.

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Important Current Affairs 27th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Bangladesh govt orders ‘no mask, no service’ policy

• Bangladesh government has decided that no service will be provided to people who don’t wear a mask. The cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina decided that no one will be allowed to enter offices without the mask. It decided that all offices must install notice boards saying ‘no mask, no service’ in order to control the spread of COVID 19 virus in the country.

• Involving community leaders in the campaign to wear a mask, the Cabinet Secretary said that the government has also talked to the Islamic scholars and religious leaders to publicise this at all mosques through the Imams.

ICICI Bank has shut down his operations in Sri Lanka

• ICICI Bank has shut down his operations in Sri Lanka after getting approval from the Sri Lankan monetary authority. The Monetary Board of the Central Bank of Sri Lanka, having considered the request made by ICICI Bank, has granted approval to close down the business operation of the bank in Sri Lanka and cancel the licence issued to it.

• The Director of Bank Supervision being satisfied with the bank complying with the terms and conditions imposed by the Monetary Board, the licence issued to the bank to carry on banking business in Sri Lanka is cancelled with effect from October 23, 2020.

NATIONAL

Prahlad Singh Patel virtually launched “Life in Miniature” project

• Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (I/C), Prahlad Singh Patel has virtually launched the “Life in Miniature” project, a collaboration between the National Museum, New Delhi, Ministry of Culture, and Google Arts & culture.

• On the Google Arts & Culture app, online viewers can experience the first Augmented Reality-powered art gallery designed with traditional Indian architecture, and explore a life-size virtual space where you can walk up to a selection of miniature paintings.

• The artworks showcased are presented along with five universal themes of the human relationship with nature, love, celebration, faith, and power.

• Users will be able to see famous miniature collections of the National Museum, like the Ramayana, Royal Saga, Pahari style paintings in never before seen ways and in extraordinary detail, in just a few clicks at co/LifeInMiniature.

IMPORTANT DAYS

59th ITBP Raising Day: 24 October

• Indo Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) has observed his 59th raising Day on 24th October. The ITBP was raised in the aftermath of the 1962 Chinese aggression and it has a strength of about 90,000 personnel with 60 battalions on the ground.

• ITBP is one of the five bodies of the Central Armed Police Forces (CAPF). It keeps Vigil on the northern borders and prevents border violations. It checks illegal immigration, trans-border smuggling, and maintains peace.

World Day for Audiovisual Heritage: 27 October

• The World Day for Audiovisual Heritage is observed globally on 27 October every year. The day was chosen by UNESCO to raise awareness of the significance and preservation risks of recorded sound and audiovisual documents. The theme of the World Day for Audiovisual Heritage 2020: “Your Window to the World”.

• The 33rd session of UNESCO’s General Conference adopted 33 C/Resolution 53 to proclaim 27 October as World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, in commemoration of the adoption, in 1980 by the 21st session of the General Conference, of the Recommendation for the Safeguarding and Preservation of Moving Images.

India Posts releases 75th Anniversary of UN Commemorative Stamp

• Department of Posts (DOP), Ministry of Communications released a commemorative postage stamp on the 75th anniversary of the United Nations Organisations.

• External Affairs Ministry spokesperson, Anurag Srivastava stated India attaches the highest priority to the expansion of the UN Security Council so that it reflects contemporary realities of the world. He stated reformed multilateralism will be a key pillar of the overall approach in the upcoming innings of India as a non-permanent member.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

BSE inks MoU with ICCI to support SMEs & start-ups

• Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has signed an agreement with Inventivepreneur Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) to support small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and start-ups, and promote their listing on the exchange.

• ICCI will offer assistance to BSE in evaluating SMEs and start-ups for listing on BSE SME board.

• ICCI will also help to offer industry connections to respective BSE start-ups globally and support entrepreneurship nationwide through knowledge transmission on government announced programs, acceleration fund, international presence and global business relations.

RANKING

NTPC ranks 1st among Indian PSUs in Forbes’ World’s Best Employer 2020

• National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has featured on the top on the list of Indian PSUs under the ‘World’s Best Employer 2020’, published by Forbes. The recognition is testimony to NTPC’s commitment towards inculcating best in class practices that are thoughtfully designed and robustly executed, the company stated in a statement.

• The modules have helped thousands of workers from NTPC to grow and think beyond the professional sphere.

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Important Current Affairs 26th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

World Bank sanctions Rs 3 crore for Sand Dune Park in Goa

• India’s first sand dune parks and interpretation centres are set to be developed in Goa. World Bank has sanctioned around Rs.3 crore under the programme. The Goa state biodiversity board has proposed the project, which will be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank.

• Andorra has joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to become its 190th member.

• Andorra is a microstate situated between France and Spain. However, it is the largest microstate in Europe.

• IMF’s Membership allows the Andorran government to benefit from IMF policy advice, especially as the country tackles the crisis caused by COVID-19 and can now receive an annual review or “health check” of its economy by the IMF, tap technical assistance, and access IMF lending if needed.

NATIONAL

India-assisted hydroelectric project in Bhutan wins UK engineers’ body award

• India-assisted Mangdechhu Hydroelectric project in Bhutan has been awarded the Brunel Medal-2020, an award conferred by the UK’s top engineering body, Institute of Civil Engineers.

• The 720-MW Mangdechhu run-of-river power project is built on the Mangdechhu River in Trongsa Dzongkhag district of central Bhutan at a cost of Rs 4,500-crore.

• The project was jointly inaugurated by the prime ministers of the two countries in August 2019, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s state visit to Bhutan.

Pakistan to remain in grey list of FATF till Feb 2021

• The global terror financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has announced that Pakistan will continue to remain on its grey list till February 2021.

• This decision has been taken since Pakistan has not been able to fulfil six out of the 27 mandates to check terror funding. FATF has strongly urged Pakistan to swiftly complete its full action plan by February 2021.

PM Modi launched 3 projects in Gujarat

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated three projects in his home State Gujarat, one each related to farmers’ welfare, healthcare, and tourism development, via video conference from New Delhi. The projects inaugurated include:

Kisan Suryodaya Yojna

• The ‘Kisan Suryodaya Yojna’ is an Agri scheme which aims to provide power supply during daytime from 5 am to 9 pm (16 hours) for irrigation purposes to farmers.

• The state government has allocated a budget of Rs 3,500 crores for installing transmission infrastructure under this scheme by 2023.

• Initially, Dahod, Patan, Mahisagar, Panchmahal, Chhota Udepur, Kheda, Tapi, Valsad, Anand and Gir-Somnath districts have been covered under the scheme for 2020-21. The rest will be included in a phased manner by 2022-23.

India’s biggest cardiac hospital in Ahmedabad

• The Paediatric Heart Hospital was inaugurated at U.N Mehta Institute of Cardiology and Research Centre at Civil Hospital campus in Ahmedabad and a Mobile Application for telecardiology.

• The new facilities have been set up at the cost of Rs 470 crore and will be India’s biggest hospital for cardiology.

• It has increased the existing 450 beds to 1251 beds, 531 cardiac ICU beds, 15 cardiac modular operation theatres and 6 cardiac cath labs.

World’s longest temple ropeway project at Girnar in Junagadh

• Girnar hill ropeway at Junagadh is Rs 130 crore project. It would attract more tourists and pilgrims to this historical place which will boost employment opportunities.

• The 2,320 metres long ropeway has a capacity of carrying 1,000 passengers every hour.

SPORTS

Lewis Hamilton wins Portuguese Grand Prix 2020

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the 2020 Portuguese Grand Prix, held at Algarve International Circuit, Portugal. This was the 12th round of the 2020 Formula One World Championship. This is Hamilton’s 8th win of the season and 92nd career race victory.

• With this win, he has surpassed the record of 91 wins set by German great Michael Schumacher. Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes- Finland) came second followed by Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) at the third spot.

OBITUARY

Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee passes away

• The chairman of South Korea’s largest conglomerate, Samsung Group, Lee Kun-hee has passed away. Lee helped to transform Samsung from a small trading business to become the world’s largest producer of smartphones and memory chips.

• The firm’s overall turnover today is equivalent to a fifth of South Korea’s GDP. Lee was also the richest person in South Korea, according to Forbes, with a net worth of nearly $21bn.

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Important Current Affairs 25th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

World Bank sanctions Rs 3 crore for Sand Dune Park in Goa

• India’s first sand dune parks and interpretation centres are set to be developed in Goa. World Bank has sanctioned around Rs.3 crore under the programme. The Goa state biodiversity board has proposed the project, which will be implemented with financial assistance from the World Bank.

• Andorra has joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to become its 190th member.

• Andorra is a microstate situated between France and Spain. However, it is the largest microstate in Europe.

• IMF’s Membership allows the Andorran government to benefit from IMF policy advice, especially as the country tackles the crisis caused by COVID-19 and can now receive an annual review or “health check” of its economy by the IMF, tap technical assistance, and access IMF lending if needed.

Saad al-Hariri reappointed as Lebanon Prime Minister

• Former Lebanese Prime Minister, Saad al-Hariri has been re-appointed to the post, after winning a slim majority of votes in parliament election. Hariri received 65 parliamentary votes out of 118, giving him the mandate to form his new government.

• In October 2019, Hariri announced his resignation amid 2019-20 mass-protests. Previously he had served as Prime Minister of Lebanon from 9 November 2009 to 13 June 2011 and then from 18 December 2016 to 21 January 2020.

• Hariri is the third person to be tasked with forming a government this year, after academic Hassan Diab, who succeeded in forming a government but resigned and then diplomat Mustafa Adib.

NATIONAL

Mandi district bags top position for implementation of PMGSY

• Union Ministry of Rural Development has declared the list of top-performing 30 districts in the country for implementing the PMGSY programme.

• Himachal Pradesh's, Mandi district has bagged top position among 30 districts of the country in the successful implementation of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana (PMGSY).

• Himachal Pradesh has also secured the second position at the national level for construction of roads under PMGSY.

India gets Chairmanship of ILO Governing body after 35 years

• India has assumed the Chairmanship of the Governing Body of International Labour Organization (ILO), after a gap of 35 years.

• The Labour and Employment Secretary, Apurva Chandra, has been elected as the Chairperson of the Governing Body of the ILO for the period October 2020- June 2021.

• Chandra is a 1988 batch Indian Administrative Service officer of Maharashtra Cadre. He would preside over the upcoming the Governing Body’s meeting, to be held in November 2020.

• The Governing Body is the apex executive body of the ILO which decides policies, programmes, agenda, budget and elects the Director-General.

• At present, ILO (Headquarter- Geneva, Switzerland) has 187 members. It meets three times a year, in March, June and November.

NITI Aayog panel for reforms in urban planning education

• NITI Aayog has constituted a 14-member advisory committee to look into introducing reforms in the urban planning education system. The panel will be headed by NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar.

• The members of the committee include Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog and secretaries of Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs(MoHUA), Ministry of Education(MoE) and Ministry of Panchayati Raj.

• The committee will examine the current system in terms of multidisciplinarity, curriculum and other related issues at the level of graduates and postgraduates against the challenges of rapid urbanization.

• The committee will examine the urban planning education system in India and examine the availability, demand and supply of the qualified urban planners in India.

IMPORTANT DAYS

United Nations Day: 24 October

• 24th October has been celebrated as United Nations Day since 1948.

• The United Nations was founded in 1945 to support collective action to realize peace, development and human rights for all.

• With the ratification of the UN Charter by the majority of its signatories, including the five permanent members of the Security Council, the United Nations officially came into being.

World Polio Day: 24 October

• The World Polio Day is celebrated annually on October 24, to raise awareness for polio vaccination and eradication of polio.

• World Polio Day provides an opportunity to highlight global efforts toward a polio-free world and honour the tireless contributions of those on the frontlines in the fight to eradicate polio from every corner of the globe.

• The Day was established by Rotary International to commemorate the birth of Jonas Salk, who led the first team to develop a vaccine against poliomyelitis. 2020 theme for World Polio Day is “A win against polio is a win for global health.”

• As of August 2020, Afghanistan and Pakistan are the only two nations which remain with the continued transmission of wild poliovirus.

World Development Information Day: 24 October

• The United Nations’ World Development Information Day is held on October 24 every year.

• The day aims to draw the attention of world public opinion to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them for overall growth and development.

• The General Assembly in 1972 established World Development Information Day to draw the attention of the world to development problems and the need to strengthen international cooperation to solve them.

• The Assembly decided that the date for the Day should coincide with United Nations Day, 24 October, which was also the date of the adoption, in 1970, of the International Development Strategy for the Second United Nations Development Decade.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Mastercard partners with Atlantis to expand Digital First Program in India

• Mastercard has entered into a partnership with Atlantis to expand the Digital First Program in India.

• The partnership aims to provide the users of Mastercard, a technology solution that enables them to enjoy a best-in-class digital banking experience.

• After the launch in India, the partnership will expand to Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The partnership allows the users of the Mastercard to have immediate account access and convenient payments.

Bank of Baroda ties up with Toyota Kirloskar Motor

• Bank of Baroda (BoB) has entered into a tie-up with Toyota Kirloskar Motor (TKM), whereby the bank will be one of the preferred financiers for the entire range of vehicles sold by the latter.

• India’s third-largest public sector bank, in a statement, stated that under the tie-up, customers can avail customised solutions such as high on-road funding of 90 per cent, long repayment period of 84 months, no prepayment or foreclosure charges.

• On the other hand, TKM dealers will benefit from ‘digitised supply chain finance’ with competitive interest rates.

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Important Current Affairs 24th October 2020

NATIONAL

Uttarakhand CM launches Integrated Model Agricultural Village scheme

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister, Trivendra Singh Rawat has inaugurated Integrated Model Agricultural Village scheme (Ekikrit Adarsh Krishi Gram Yojana) in the state in partnership with NABARD.

• Putting emphasis on mechanised farming for boosting productivity, state Agriculture Minister Subodh Uniyal urged National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) Chairman G R Chintala to lend a helping hand to farmers to switch over to mechanised farming.

OBITUARY

Playback singer and actor K J Mohammed passes away

• Playback singer, music director and actor K J Mohammed Babu, popularly known as ‘Zero’ Babu passed away.

• He was a recipient of the Sangeetha Nataka Akademi Award. He has sung in nearly 90 films and various plays. His first movie was the 1964 film 'Kudumbini'.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Vega ropes in Rohit Sharma as brand ambassador

• Ace Indian cricketer and Captain of Mumbai Indians, Rohit Sharma has been signed up by India’s leading beauty accessories brand, Vega, for its men’s personal grooming electronics range under the ‘Vega Men’ brand.

• Rohit Sharma will feature as the brand ambassador for ‘Vega Men’ range in the upcoming digital campaign.

Sushil Kumar Singhal appointed as next Ambassador to Solomon Islands

• Sushil Kumar Singhal, a 2000-batch IFS officer, has been concurrently accredited as the next High Commissioner of India to the Solomon Islands.

• He is presently serving as the High Commissioner of India to the Independent State of Papua New Guinea.

Neena Malhotra appointed as Ambassador to Republic of San Marino

• Indian diplomat Dr Neena Malhotra, 1992-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, appointed as next Ambassador to the Republic of San Marino. She will have a residence in Rome.

• Presently, she is serving as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Italy.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Snow Leopard Day: 23 October

• World Snow Leopard Day is observed globally on 23rd October. The main purpose of this day is to show the importance of snow leopard conservation and raise awareness about this incredible animal.

• The day also emphasizes the importance of taking measures to stop poaching, as well as consolidating efforts in terms of an environmental organization in the countries of the snow leopard range.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr Jajini Varghese honoured with Outstanding Young Person 2020

• UK-based Indian-origin plastic surgeon, Dr Jajini Varghese has been named an ‘Outstanding Young Person of the World 2020’ by a non-profit NGO for her “incredible” scientific contributions to diagnosing and treating breast cancer.

• Varghese has been recognised in the “Medical Innovation” category for making it her personal mission to attempt to restore the lives of millions of women affected by breast cancer and will be presented with the award at a ceremony at the 2020 Junior Chamber International (JCI) World Congress in Yokohama, Japan.

• In the UK, she is a Fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in Plastic Surgery (FRCS) and a Member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS). She is also on the Board of Examiners for the MSc in Plastic Surgery at University College London (UCL).

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Indian Bank, IIT-Madras in pact for start-up funding

• Indian Bank has introduced an initiative for funding start-ups, ‘IND Spring Board’, in collaboration with the IIT-Madras Incubation Cell (IITMIC).

• The Chennai-headquartered bank seeks to bridge the gap in funding for start-ups through this collaboration with IITMIC.

• Under the deal, IITMIC will refer start-ups with proven technology and established cash flows to the bank and also extend advisory to the bank on the business model.

• The bank will extend loans of up to 50 crores to these start-ups for their working capital requirements or purchase of machinery, equipment.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd October 2020

NATIONAL

Tamil Nadu Government launched “Smart Black Board Scheme”

• The state government of Tamil Nadu has launched the Smart Black Board scheme in 80,000 government schools of the state. The initiative aims to ensure a better teaching environment as well as lead towards Digital India and Atmanirbhar Bharat.

• Under this Smart Black Board scheme, audiovisual teaching material would be possible, that can even be fed into the computer screens in classes using widely available pen drives. The Tamil Nadu Govt has taken an important decision to lessen syllabus for season 2020-21 by 40 per cent.

Asan Conservation Reserve becomes Uttarakhand’s First Ramsar site

• Asan Conservation Reserve has become Uttarakhand’s first Ramsar site, making it a ‘Wetland of International Importance’, announced the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. The Reserve is located on the banks of Yamuna river near Dehradun district in Garhwal region of the Himalayan state.

• “Asan Conservation Reserve cleared five out of the nine criteria needed to be declared as a Ramsar site and get identified as a Wetland of International Importance. It cleared the category on species and ecological communities, one on water-birds and another on fish. Ramsar declares Asan Conservation Reserve as a site of international importance. With this, the number of Ramsar sites in India goes up to 38, the highest in South Asia and Uttarakhand gets its first Ramsar site.

Andhra Pradesh CM YS Jagan Mohan Reddy launched ‘YSR BIMA’ for BPL families

• The Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched ‘YSR Bima’, a scheme to provide financial assistance through insurance cover to the beneficiary in case of death or accident of their families members. All families with white ration cards are eligible for YSR Bima scheme. Village/ward volunteers will visit the families and enrol the names of the primary householders.

• The claim amount will be directly credited into the beneficiary bank account within 15 days of making the claim.

• Apart from this, immediate assistance of Rs 10,000 will be provided to the families through village and ward secretariats.

• The scheme will benefit 1.41 crore BPL families of the state.

• An amount of Rs 510 crore would be paid by the state government annually as an insurance premium for this scheme.

• This will also make Andhra Pradesh as the first state in the country to single-handedly fund the insurance scheme.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

“INS Kavaratti” commissioned into Indian Navy

• The Chief of Army Staff, General MM Naravane has commissioned the ‘INS Kavaratti’, the last of four indigenously-built anti-submarine warfare (ASW) stealth corvettes, into the Indian Navy in Visakhapatnam.

DRDO successfully conducts final trial of Nag anti-tank guided missile

• Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully carried out the final trial of the third generation, anti-tank guided missile ‘NAG’, from the Pokhran field firing ranges in Rajasthan.

• The successful final user trial of the missile makes the Nag anti-tank missile ready for induction in the Indian Army. Following the final trial, the missile will now enter into the production phase.

OBITUARY

Renowned economist Dr Jayanta Madhab passed away

• The renowned economist from Assam, Dr Jayanta Madhab passed away. He worked as financial adviser to Calcutta Metropolitan Development Corp and has served as a director at the ADB.

• He was the founder chairman of North Eastern Development Finance Corporation Ltd. He was also the financial advisor of the Chief Minister from 2003-2009.

First woman officer of  IAF’s Vijayalakshmi Ramanan passed away

• Indian Air Force 1st woman officer, Wing Commander (retd) Dr Vijaylakshmi Ramanan passed away. She was born in February 1924, she did her MBBS and later was commissioned in the Army Medical Corps on August 22, 1955. Besides having served as a gynaecologist at various Air Force Hospitals, including here, she had also attended to the troops wounded during wars and performed administrative duties.

• Ramanan was promoted to the rank of Wing Commander in August 1972 and honoured with the Vishist Seva Medal five years later.

• She had retired in February 1979. Ramanan was also trained in Carnatic music and had been an artist with the All India Radio at a very young age.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Lewis Hamilton named ambassador of LG Signature

• LG Electronics has named Lewis Hamilton a global ambassador for its home solutions brand, LG Signature. Hamilton, the epitome of skill, style and precision will be seen communicating the brand's philosophy.

• In the new campaign, he will share with audiences his thoughts on how to lead a stylish, sophisticated life, and what motivates him to be the best in his field.

Parle agro Named Priyanka Chopra Jonas as brand ambassador

• Parle Agro has roped in Priyanka Chopra Jonas as the national brand ambassador to maximise reach and awareness of its fruits plus fizz portfolio ‘B-Fizz’.

• The campaign will be aggressively promoted across IPL on Hotstar and YouTube. B-Fizz is a unique and refreshing apple juice-based malt flavoured carbonated drink that is set to revolutionize the taste experience of consumers across age groups.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ECI constitutes committee to examine issues concerning expenditure limits

• The Election Commission of India has set up a 2-member committee to examine the issue of revising the expenditure limit for candidates for Lok Sabha and assembly polls.

• The committee will comprise of Shri Harish Kumar, Ex. IRS and DG (Investigation), Shri Umesh Sinha, Secretary-General and DG (Expenditure). The need to set up this committee was felt in view of the increase in the number of electors and the rise in the Cost Inflation Index.

• It will submit its report within 120 days of its constitution.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Singapore becomes 1st country to use facial recognition to pay taxes

• Singapore became the World’s First Country to attach Facial verification in the National Identification Database. The function is called “SingPass Face Verification”. This technology is being rolled out to the city-state’s SingPass digital identity scheme, offering access to no less than 400 online services, including tax declarations and public housing applications.

• According to the Singapore authorities, the technology helps ensure that the right person is genuinely present in front of their screen, rather than a photograph, a video, a replayed recording or a deepfake.

NATIONAL

Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches ‘Mo Bidyut’ portal

• Odisha Chief Minister, Naveen Patnaik has launched the electricity consumer service portal ”Mo Bidyut” and a mobile app through video conference.

• The bilingual online electricity integrated consumer service portal www.mobidyut.com developed by the Energy Department and dedicated to the public under 5T (Teamwork, Transparency, Technology, Time leading to Transformation) initiative of the state government. Through this people will now be able to avail efficient, time-bound, and transparent online service delivery.

Uttar Pradesh emerges as top destination in 2019

• Uttar Pradesh has emerged as the top destination for attracting the highest number of domestic tourists visiting the state in 2019 as per the Indian Tourism Statistics (ITS) 2020, released by the Ministry of Tourism. About 53.6 crore domestic tourists visited Uttar Pradesh in 2019, which is 23.1% of the total travellers. Tamil Nadu (21.3%) came second followed by Andhra Pradesh (10.2%).

Tamil Top destination for attracting foreign travellers

1. In terms of Foreign tourists, Tamil Nadu has topped the list with nearly 68 lakh foreigners visiting the state in 2019.

2. Maharashtra (over 55 lakh) is at the second position in this list while Uttar Pradesh (over 47 lakh) has secured the third position in attracting foreign tourists visiting in 2019.

3. Goa came last on this list with over 9 lakh foreign tourist visits in 2019.

RPF launches ‘Meri Saheli’ initiative on AP Express

• Railway Protection Force (RPF), Visakhapatnam has started implementing ‘Meri Saheli’ initiative in AP Express (Visakhapatnam to New Delhi), in order to provide proactive security to women passengers.

• The main motto of ‘Meri Saheli’ is to provide safety and security to women passengers travelling in trains throughout their journey.

• A team of women Sub Inspectors and women constables of RPF will enter all coaches including ladies coaches and identify women passengers, who are travelling alone before the departure of the train.

• These passengers will be briefed about all precautions to be taken during the journey and inform about help no. 182 apart from giving contact numbers of RPF to contact in case of any issue.

Nokia selected by NASA to build 4G LTE Mobile Network on the Moon

• Nokia has been selected by NASA to build the first cellular network on the moon. NASA aims to return humans to the moon by 2024 and dig in for a long-term presence there under its Artemis programme. The first wireless broadband communications system in space would be built on the lunar surface in late 2022.

• The network will configure itself and establish a 4G/LTE communications system on the moon, Nokia said, though the aim would be to eventually switch to 5G. It will partner with a Texas-based private spacecraft design company, Intuitive Machines, to deliver the equipment to the moon on their lunar lander.

• The network will give astronauts voice and video communications capabilities, and allow telemetry and biometric data exchange, as well as the deployment and remote control of lunar rovers and other robotic devices.

• The network will be designed to withstand the extreme conditions of the launch and lunar landing and to operate in space. It will have to be sent to the moon in an extremely compact form to meet the stringent size, weight and power constraints of space payloads.

Narendra Singh Tomar launches AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme

• Union Agriculture Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar has launched “AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR”. The scheme is a unique way to assist cooperatives to play an important role in the creation of healthcare infrastructure in the country.

• AYUSHMAN SAHAKAR scheme has been formulated by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC).

• The NCDC would extend term loans to prospective cooperatives to the tune of 10 thousand crores in the coming years.

• NCDC’s scheme will be a step towards strengthening farmers welfare activities by the Central Government.

• NCDC’s Ayushman Sahakar scheme aims at bringing transformation in the health services primarily in the rural areas.

• The scheme also provides working capital and margin money to meet the operational requirements of the health facilities. It provides interest subvention of one per cent to women majority cooperatives.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

 IIT Kharagpur’s develops ‘COVIRAP’ Technology for C-19

• The researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed ‘COVIRAP,’ the C-19 diagnostic test technology, which is fairly easy to conduct and affordable as well and can produce results within one hour. This COVIRAP technology has been successfully validated for its efficacy in C-19 detection by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and been granted certification, after rigorous testing with patient samples by an authorized ICMR laboratory.

• This testing technology is comparable to the celebrated RT-PCR tests, and will just cost the common people with a testing cost of around Rs 500.

• COVIRAP is a cuboid-shaped portable testing device that can deliver results in an hour, making it an effective tool to scale up coronavirus screening in peripheral and rural areas.

• This machine can be developed at a cost of less than Rs 10,000 with minimal infrastructural requirement making the technology affordable to common people. The testing process in this new machine is completed within one hour.

• This implies influenza, malaria, dengue, Japanese encephalitis, tuberculosis and many other infectious, as well as vector-borne diseases, can be tested using the same machine.

• This will virtually minimise the need for thermal cyclers or real-time PCR machines, without sacrificing the expected high standards of a molecular diagnostic test.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Police Commemoration Day: 21 October

• In India, the National Police Commemoration Day is observed on 21st October every year. The day is marked to remember and honour the brave policemen who have laid down their lives in the line of duty.

• On 21 October 1959, twenty Indian soldiers were attacked by Chinese troops in Ladakh’s Hot Spring area, in which, ten Indian policemen lost their lives and seven were imprisoned. Since that day, 21 October has been observed as Police Commemoration Day in honour of the martyrs.

International Stuttering Awareness Day: 22 October

• International Stuttering Awareness Day is observed globally on 22nd October every year. The day is intended to raise public awareness of the millions of people who have a speech disorder of stuttering or stammering.

• This year’s theme is “Journey of Words – Resilience and Bouncing Back”.

• The International Stuttering Awareness Day, ISAD, (October 22) began in 1998, spear-headed by Michael Sugarman, Oakland, California. ISAD recognizes the growing alliance between SLPs and consumers, who are learning from each other and working together to share, give support, and educate one another and the general public on the impact that stuttering has on individuals’ lives. Online Conferences, organized by Judy Kuster, have been an integral part of International Stuttering Awareness Day since its inception.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India participates in 18th meeting of Prosecutors General of SCO

• The 18th meeting of Prosecutors General of SCO was held on 20 October 2020, via video conference. India was represented by the Solicitor General Tushar Mehta. During the meeting, all the prosecutors agreed to strengthen cooperation in preventing and combating corruption, mutual legal assistance and exchange of regulatory legal acts.

• India will host the SCO Prosecutors General Meeting in 2021. SCO is an important regional grouping which gives India an opportunity to engage its extended neighbourhood especially central Asian countries.

RANKING

India ranked 2nd in OECD International Migration Outlook report

• India has acquired the second rank in terms of the number of migrants going to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries and acquiring the citizenship of those countries. China retained its top spot with 4.3 lakh migrants, which was 1 per cent lower than the 2019 report.

• This is the 44th edition of the annual report. The data was released by the OECD in its 2020 edition of the annual International Migration Outlook report, which analyses the recent developments in migration movements and policies in its countries.

• From India, 3.3 lakh migrants moved, and this is 10 per cent more than the last edition. Romania emerged as the third-largest exporter of human capital to these countries. Paris-based OECD is an association of 37 developed countries which often attract immigrants for work opportunities, education and asylum.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

NK Singh launches his autobiography ‘Portraits Of Power’

• Veteran Economist and bureaucrat N K (Nand Kishore) Singh has released his autobiography titled “Portraits of Power: Half a Century of Being at Ringside”.

• The book portrays the life of NK Singh who played an active role in the development of the Indian economy. He is currently serving as the Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission. The book is published by Rupa Publications India.

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