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Important Current Affairs 11th August 2020

National

PM releases financing facility of Rs. 17,000 crores for farmers

• Prime Minister on August 9 launched a financing facility of Rs. 1 lakh crores under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for agri-startups, entrepreneurs, farmer groups, agri-tech players for the post-harvest management and nurturing farm assets.

• Under the government launched PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, Prime Minister transferred Rs. 17,000 crores into the bank accounts of 8.5 crores farmers. It was also informed that the amount went straight to farmers without any middlemen and commission.

• The new Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was launched via a video conference by PM Modi. Agriculture Minister  Narendra Singh Tomar and other senior ministry officials were also present at the occasion. 

• Under the scheme, around Rs. 1 lakh crores will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with the multiple lending institutions as loans to farmer groups, primary agri-credit societies, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), agri-tech players and startups.

NPCI launches omni-channel loyalty platform ‘nth Rewards’

• The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a loyalty platform named ‘nth Rewards’. Here nth represents “infinite possibilities”.

• It is an analytics-enabled omni-channel multi-branded loyalty platform. It allows users to earn “nth” (infinite) loyalty points through various bank transactions. These rewards point can be redeemed for various purposes including online shopping.

• Customers will earn loyalty points on almost every transaction made digitally, especially while using the credit and debit cards. ‘nth Rewards’ platform has a smart dashboard for users where they can see their points accumulation.

Andhra Pradesh launches state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23

• The Andhra Pradesh government launched state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23 on August 10, 2020. The State Industries Minister Gautam Reddy unveiled the much-awaited policy.

• While speaking at the launch, Reddy said that the state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23 envisages all-round and holistic development with the idea of empowerment being crucial.

• It will also enable the development of specific industrial parks as per local needs. The Industrial zoning will be a key focus area to ensure planned Industrial development.

• The policy will further aim to provide a ‘risk-free’ investment-friendly environment for industries in the state. It will also ensure minimised impact on the environment.

Gujarat launches Industrial Policy 2020

• Gujarat Industrial Policy 2020 has been unveiled by the state that aims to provide an estimated Rs 40000 crores as subsidies to the industries within the next five years.

• The aim of this policy is to lease out government land to industrialists, provide incentives to private industrial parks and also provide relocation incentives to units intending to relocate in wake of C-19.

International

Walter Roger Martos Ruiz Becomes New Prime Minister of Peru

• President of Peru(Republic of Peru) Martin Vizcarra appointed Walter Roger Martos Ruiz, the former defense minister and retired army general, as the country’s new Prime Minister.

•  He succeeds Pedro Álvaro Cateriano Bellido . The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Government Palace in Lima. The president also appointed attorney Luis Inchishategui as head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Banking and Economy

Centre Constitutes Panel to fix ceiling rates under Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme

• The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has constituted a three-member committee to determine the ceiling rates for reimbursement of taxes and duties to exporters under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme.

• The committee would comprise of former Home Secretary G K Pillai as Chairman. The committee shall interact with the administrative ministries, export promotion councils, commodity boards, trade bodies and other stakeholders so as to take their views on the ceiling rates under RoDTEP scheme.

• The Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme for reimbursement of taxes was announced by the government to replace Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and make Indian products competitive in global markets..

• The RoDTEP scheme aims to reimburse the taxes and duties incurred by exporters such as duty on power charges, VAT on fuel in transportation, farm sector, captive power generation, mandi tax, stamp duty and central excise duty on fuel used in transportation, which are not exempted or refunded under any other existing scheme.

Obituary

Wrestling legend 'Kamala' passes away

• Wrestling legend James 'Kamala' Harris passed away at the age of 70 on August 9, 2020. The news was confirmed by WWE.

• The WWE released an official statement saying that it was "saddened" to learn about the death of the former wrestler. He was 70.

• James Harris, known popularly as Kamala in WWE, made his pro wrestling debut in 1978,. He was best known for his appearances with WWE (formerly named WWF) from 1984 to 2006.

Former Congress leader and eight-time MP, Nandi Yellaiah, passes away

• A senior Congress leader and eight-time Member of Parliament from Telangana, Nandi Yellaiah has passed away due to C-19. He was 78.

• Yellaiah was the vice-president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. (TPCC).He was a six-term member of LokSabha and two-time Rajya Sabha member.

Sports

Max Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

• Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a sensational surprise victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to bring Mercedes' domination to an end. This race was officially called as Emirates Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix 2020.

• The race was the fifth round of the rescheduled 2020 Formula One World Championship. Lewis Hamilton finished second and Valtteri Bottas finished third.

• Max Emilian Verstappen from Netherland had won at the Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, United Kingdom and became the first non-Mercedes driver to win a race in the 2020.

Ranking

Mukesh Ambani now Fourth-Richest Person in the World

• According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, has become the fourth wealthiest person in the world.

• Ambani is now worth $ 80.6 billion after adding $22 billion in 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 10th August 2020

National

India bans import of 101 Defence items, gives big push for ‘Make in India’

• The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared a list of 101 defence items for which there would be restriction on the import, beyond the timeline indicated against them.

• This step has been taken to boost indigenisation of defence production in India and push the country towards becoming Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 and 2024.

• The list includes high technology weapon systems such as assault rifles, artillery guns, sonar systems, corvettes, light combat helicopters, transport aircraft, radars, and many other items.

• As per the Defence Ministry, the list also includes wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) with an embargo date of December 2021, of which the Indian Army is expected to contract almost 200 AFVs at an approximate cost of over Rs. 5,000 crores.

• In addition to this, the defence ministry has also bifurcated the capital procurement budget for the financial year 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes.

International

Mauritius declares a state of environmental emergency after massive oil spill

• Mauritius' Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency on August 7, 2020 after a shipreck caused massive fuel spill.

• A Japanese-owned ship, which ran aground on July 25, has been leaking tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. The ship is reportedly carrying nearly 4000 tons of fuel oil and 200 tons of diesel on board.

• The Mauritius PM made the brief statement by tweeting that Mauritius does not have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships, so he has asked for help from France.

Banking and Economy

Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies by RBI in August 2020

• The Reserve Bank of India has released the Monetary Policy Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies 2020-21.The major points that are important from exam point of view is mentioned below:

• Additional standing liquidity facility (ASLF)- National Housing Bank (NHB) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will be provided with an additional standing liquidity facility (ASLF) of Rs 5,000 crore each.

• Advances against Gold Ornaments and Jewellery– Presently, loans sanctioned by banks against pledge of gold ornaments and jewellery for non-agricultural purposes should not exceed 75 per cent of the value of gold ornaments and jewellery.  RBI has increased the permissible loan to value ratio (LTV) for loans against pledge of gold ornaments and jewellery for non-agricultural purposes from 75 per cent to 90 per cent. This relaxation shall be available till March 31, 2021.

• Positive Pay Mechanism for Cheques– The RBI shall soon launched a mechanism named Positive Pay for all cheques of value ₹50,000 and above to further augment customer safety in cheque payments and reduce instances of fraud occurring on account of tampering of cheque leaves

RBI introduces Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) System for Digital Payments

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced the introduction of an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) system for resolving customer disputes and grievances pertaining to digital payments.

• This ODR shall be a system-driven and rule-based mechanism with zero or minimal manual intervention.Subsequently, the ODR arrangement would be extended to cover disputes and grievances other than those related to failed transactions.

IndusInd Bank acquires 7.82% stake in Eveready by invoking pledged shares

• Private sector lender IndusInd Bank has acquired 7.82 percent stake in battery maker Eveready Industries by invoking pledged shares following loan default.

• The bank invoked pledge on 56,83,320 shares which constituted 7.82 percent of paid-up equity share capital of Eveready Industries.

• As per the information, the equity shares of Eveready Industries India Ltd. held by Williamson Magor and Co. Ltd were pledged with the IndusInd bank for securing the outstanding dues of Seajuli Developers & Finance Limited (Seajuli), the borrower company.

RBI constitutes committee for financial parameters to be factored in Resolution Framework for C-19 related Stress

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced the constitution of an Expert Committee to make recommendations on the required financial parameters to be factored in the Resolution Framework for C-19 related Stress’.

• The committee will be headed by Shri K.V. Kamath. (President of New Development Bank.

Summits and Mou’s

Flipkart partners with the U.P. Government’s ODOP scheme

• India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart has signed an MoU with One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The MoU will bring the artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme into the scope of the “Flipkart Samarth” initiative.

• This will provide artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme a momentum to expand their business online as they face social and economic challenges.

Days

World Biofuel Day

• The International Biofuel Day (World Biofuel Day) is observed every year on August 10 to raise awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlight the various efforts made by Government in the biofuel sector.

• The theme for 2020 World Biofuel Day is ‘Biofuels Towards Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The Day is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas since 2015.

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Important Current Affairs 9th August 2020

National

Delhi Govt launches new “Electric Vehicle Policy”

• Delhi government has launched the “Electric Vehicle Policy” for the national capital under which will waive registration fee, road tax, and provide an incentive of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh for new cars. The government aims to generate employment to give a boost to Delhi’s economy and reduce pollution levels in the national capital.

• There is already the Centre’s scheme on electric vehicles called ‘Fame India Phase-2’, under which the Union government also provides some incentives.

• Under the policy, the Delhi government will give an incentive of up to Rs. 30,000 for two-wheelers, autos, e-rickshaws and freight vehicles while for cars, it will provide an incentive of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh.

• The new EV policy as “progressive” and the policy also aims to constitute 25% electric vehicles by 2024, which is currently just 0.29% in the national capital.

• The Delhi government will also give a low-interest loan on electric commercial vehicles.

• The Delhi Chief Minister said his government will also set up 200 charging stations in a year to ensure that people driving these vehicles can get a charging station within the radius of three kilometres.

• The Delhi government will give a ”scrapping incentive” under the electric vehicle policy, which will be first-of-its-kind in the country.

Maharashtra ties up with Google to start virtual classes

• Considering the shutdown of schools due to the C -19, the state government of Maharashtra has tied up with technology giant Google to launch online education project for the students in the state.

• Under the tie-up, students and teachers will get access to Google Classroom and G Suite for Education to provide solutions to support remote learning. Maharashtra is the first state in the country to introduce such a project.

• Key features of Google Classroom and G Suite

1. The Google Classroom and G Suite allows interactive sessions, which will enable teachers to explain lessons using audio or video presentations.

2. Students can also ask their doubts while sitting at home

3. Homework and assignments can be uploaded, and teachers can check them online.

4. Parents can submit their complaints or suggestions through the system

5. Around 250 participants can attend the class at a time.

6. The initiative will cover over 1.09 lakh government, private, aided, and unaided schools, and benefit over 22.03 million students.

Sports

India To Host 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Australia to Host 2022 Edition, Women’s CWC Postponed

• The Cricket governing body, International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due to C -19 will be held in Australia in 2022.

• Also, India will be the host country for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned earlier.

• ICC has also decided to postpone the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand till February – March 2022 because of the impact the C -19 on cricket globally.

Appointments and Resignations

Former SBI Card head Hardayal Prasad appointed new MD& CEO of PNB Housing Finance

• PNB Housing Finance Ltd. has appointed Hardayal Prasad as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

• The former SBI Card head, Hardayal Prasad will assume charge on August 10.

• Currently, the housing finance company is headed by its interim Chief Neeraj Vyas.

Days

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

• The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (World Tribal Day) is observed on 9 August annually to protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population and recognize the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

• The day was recognised by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994.The theme for 2020 is C -19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience.

Books and Authors

A book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ authored by Neena Rai

• The book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ has been authored by Neena Rai. The book is publishing by house Bloomsbury.

• The book offers “authentic information” about the city, which will not only help understand the life and times of ancient Hindus but also the revered figures of Rama and Sita.

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Important Current Affairs 8th August 2020

National

Jal Shakti Ministry launched new version of India Water Resources Information System

• The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a new version of the India Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS).The new version of India-WRIS is open to the public, and accessible through the web portal www.indiawris.gov.in.

• The new system provides with new functionalities and features. The advanced version is to address the requirement of a strong data base and a reliable information system.

• The portal contains information related to Water Resources for rainfall, water levels & discharge of rivers, water bodies, groundwater levels, reservoir storages, evapotranspiration and soil moisture, and modules on water resources projects, water bodies, hydro-met data availability and tools for GIS layer editing.

Serum Institute of India, Novavax sign agreement for C-19 vaccine supply

• Pune's Serum Institute of India and US-based Novavax signed an agreement for supply of the Novavax C-19 vaccines in India as well as in other low- and middle- income countries.

•  Under the agreement, at least 1 billion doses of vaccine, also known as NVX-CoV2373, will be made available for India and other countries.

International

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s SLPP party wins landslide victory in Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections

• Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) registered a landslide victory in the Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections on August 5, 2020. The party and its allies secured two-thirds of the seats at the elections.

• Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) won 145 seats in the 225-member parliament, while the allies managed to clinch more than five seats. Out of the total vote percentage, SLPP got around 59 percent of the popular vote, while SJB garnered around 23 percent of votes. The SJB is an offshoot of UNP, which was formed earlier this year.

US Senate approves TikTok ban on government devices

• The United States Senate has unanimously passed a bill banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on government devices.

• The bill will now go to President Donald Trump to be signed into a law, which will prohibit federal employees from downloading or using TikTok.

Banking and Economy

RBI launches pilot scheme for Offline Retail Payments Using Cards and Mobile Devices

• The Reserve Bank of India has launched pilot scheme for small value payments in offline mode. The pilot scheme shall be undertaken till March 31, 2021 only.

• Under the scheme, authorised Payment System Operators (PSOs) – banks and non-banks – will be able to provide offline payment solutions using cards, wallets or mobile devices for remote or proximity payments.

• This has been done to do away with the impediments caused due to lack of internet connectivity or low speed of internet, especially in remote areas.

Obituary

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Shirley Ann Grau passes away at 91

• Shirley Ann Grau, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer from America, whose stories and novels were based primarily in the Deep South,  has passed away. She was 91.

• Grau won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for her fourth book, “The Keepers of the House.”

• During her writing career, Grau wrote six novels and four short story, all of which were set in the Deep South, from New Orleans to north Louisiana and Alabama, telling both the dark secrets and the beauty of the Deep South.

Appointments and Resignations

Pradeep Kumar Joshi takes over as new Chairman of UPSC

• Pradeep Kumar Joshi, an Educationist Professor, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 7 August 2020.

• He succeeds Arvind Saxena, whose tenure as UPSC chairman ended on 7 August 2020.Joshi will serve as the chairman of the UPSC till May 12, 2021.

P S Ranipse becomes new IG of CRPF

• Odisha cadre IPS officer, P S Ranipse has been appointed as Inspector General (IG), in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

• He will hold the post on Central deputation for a period of five years from the date of joining.

Days

Quit India Day

• Every year, the Quit India Day (or August Kranti Day) is observed on 8 August to commemorate the anniversary of Quit India Movement, launched by Father of Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, on 8 August 1942 at the All-India Congress Committee session in Bombay.

• In 2020, we are celebrating the 78th anniversary of Quit India Day.

• Quit India Movement also known as Bharat Chodo Andolan and August Kranti Movement was a ‘do or die’ call to the people of India initiated by Gandhiji to demand an end to the British rule in India.

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Important Current Affairs 7th August 2020

National

First ‘Kisan Rail’ to run from 7 August between Maharashtra, Bihar

• Railways Ministry will run India's first ‘Kisan Rail’ from August 7, 2020 between Maharashtra and Bihar. The train will begin from Devlali, in Maharashtra at 11 am and its last stop will be at Danapur, Bihar.

• The train will be making several stoppages at stations carrying fruits and vegetables. It will not carry regular passengers.

First Mobile RT-PCR lab of India developed by IISc launched in Karnataka

• The State Government of Karnataka launched India’s first mobile RT-PCR lab in Bengaluru. The lab was developed by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

• The lab has been named Mobile Infection Testing and Reporting (MITR) lab. It is capable of conducting 9000 tests per month. Apart from testing C-19, the lab can also be utilised to test HCV, H1N1, TB, HIV, HPV, etc.

• The main advantage of the lab is that it can be used for molecular diagnostic testing in C-19 hotspots quickly.

International

Tick-borne SFTS virus re-emerges in China; 7 dead so far

• Tick-borne SFTS virus re-emerges in China, claiming 7 lives so far and infecting around 60. The spread of virus has raised the warning of chances of human-to-human transmission

• . The cases of the virus have been reported from East China.

Banking and Economy

RBI 7th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy

• The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India held its meeting in New Delhi. The committee was headed by RBI Governor Shakti kanta Das.

• The repo rate was kept the same at 4%.The reverse repo rate was kept at 3.35%

• The members decided to provide Rs 10,000 crore additional liquidity facility to National Housing Bank (NHB), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). In order to mitigate C-19 impact on households, loans against gold have been enhanced to 90% of the value as against the current 75%

• In June, the retail inflation was 6.09%.This includes food items such as meat, cereals, fish and pulses.

Awards

DIAT wins 1st prize in Smart India Hackathon 2020

• The Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) won the first prize in the Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2020. The SIH grand finale was held between August 1-3, 2020 at the Noida Institute of Engineering and Technology, Uttar Pradesh.

• This 36- hour non-stop digital product building competition was a national level competition for software edition, which was organized jointly by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and All India Council for Technical Education.

Obituary

Renowned TV actor Sameer Sharma passes away due to suicide

• Veteran Television actor Sameer Sharma is no more. The 44-year-old actor committed suicide on 5 August 2020, by hanging from the kitchen ceiling of his home.

• Sharma has been part of some renowned TV serials like ‘Geet – Hui Sabse Parayi’, ‘Left Right Left’, ‘Kahaani Gha rGhar Kii’, ‘Four’ and ‘Ssshhhh….Koi Hai’.

• He was also seen in Sidharth Malhotra’s movies ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ and ‘Ittefaq’.

Appointments and Resignations

Girish Chandra Murmu appointed as new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India

• Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu has been appointed as the new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. He will assume office on 8 August 2020.

• Murmu is the 14th CAG of India. He will replace Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, as the CAG.

• Murmu, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, was the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

Ajay Tyagi gets 18 Months extension as SEBI Chairman

• According to a Personnel Ministry, Ajay Tyagi has been given an 18-month extension, as the chairman of markets regulator SEBI.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the extension of Tyagi’s term for 18 months, with effect from September 1, 2020 up to February 28, 2022.

• Mr Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS (retired) officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, was appointed as the SEBI chairman in March 2017 for three years.

Ranking

Reliance Industries ranked No 2 globally after Apple

• Reliance Industries has been ranked second biggest brand after Apple on the Future Brand Index 2020.

• The 2020 list is topped by Apple, while Samsung is ranked third, followed by Nvidia, Moutai, Nike, Microsoft, ASML, PayPal and Netflix.Reliance ranks 91st on PWC 2020 list

• The Future Brand Index is a global perception study that reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap on perception strength rather than financial strength.

Days

World Lung Cancer Day

• Every year, the World Lung Cancer Day is observed on August 1 to raise awareness about the causes and treatment of lung cancer and highlight the issues of lack of sufficient research funding for the ailment.

• The campaign was first organised in 2012 by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) , in collaboration with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and also the American College of Chest Physicians.

• The IASLC is the largest organisation in the world of its kind that only deals with lung cancer.

National Handloom Day

• National Handloom Day will be celebrated on August 7, 2020 to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on the same date in 1905.

• This year, the Union Ministry of Textiles will organise a virtual programme, which will have Textiles Minister Smriti Irani as the Chief Guest.

• The function will connect handloom clusters across India, NIFT campuses and all the 28 Weaver Service Centres and National Handloom Development Corporation.

• The main objective behind celebrating the day is to generate awareness about the Handloom Industry among the public and its contribution to socio-economic development.

Books and Authors

‘RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations’ authored by Yatish Yadav

• The book, titled “RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations” has authored by investigative journalist and author Yatish Yadav.

• A new book gives a peep into the heroic covert operations carried by India’s external spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and thereby narrates a gripping account of what actually happens behind the grey walls of the secret society.

Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Smriti Irani launch the book Swachh Bharat Kranti

• The book “The Swachh Bharat Kranti” was officially launched by Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development Smt. Smriti Irani in New Delhi.

• The book was edited by Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary of Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been translated into Hindi and published as the Swachh Bharat Kranti.

• The translation of the book Swachh Bharat Kranti is “The Swachh Bharat Revolution”.

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Important Current Affairs 6th August 2020

National

India contributes USD 15.46 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund

• India has contributed the next tranche of $15.46 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, under its commitment to supporting developing nations in their developmental priorities across all the Sustainable Development Goals.

• This tranche of $15.46 million including $6 million for the overall fund, in which all developing countries are eligible for partnership, and $9.46 million is dedicated to Commonwealth countries.

• The cheque was handed over by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Director Jorge Chediek.

Banking and Economy

National Bank of Bahrain selects Infosys to transform them digitally

• National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has selected Infosys Finacle to digitally transform its transaction banking business.

• NBB will be implementing the Finacle Liquidity Management Platform, and upgrading its existing Finacle Corporate Online Banking platform to a full-fledged Digital Engagement Suite – with the latest versions of the Finacle Corporate Online and Mobile Banking solutions, along with the Finacle Digital Engagement Hub.

Summits and Mou’s

MoD signs MoU with IIT Kanpur & Department of ARPG

• Department of Defence (DoD) Ministry of Defence (MoD), Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

• The MoU aims to conduct predictive analysis of public grievances.

• The project is aimed to help the MoD to identify the cause and nature of grievances and bring about systemic changes and policy interventions wherever required.

• Under the MoU, IIT-Kanpur will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Techniques to conduct exploratory and predictive analysis of Public Grievances received on the web-based Centralized Public Grievances Redress & Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) pertaining to the MoD.

Obituary

Former Maharashtra CM Shivaji rao Patil Nilangekar passes away

• Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shivaji rao Patil Nilangekar passed away on August 5, 2020 due to prolonged illness. He was 89.

• Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar had served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra between 1985 and 1986.

Sports

Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas retires from football

• Former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, Iker Casillas have retired from football. He made 725 appearances for Real during a 16-year career at the Bernabeu, winning three Champions League titles and five La Liga crowns.

• He also helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and two successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

• He won 167 international caps for Spain between 2000 and 2016.

Appointments and Resignations

Manoj Sinha appointed as new LG of Jammu and Kashmir

• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed former Union minister Manoj Sinha as the next Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He will replace Girish Chandra Murmu who resigned. Murmu’s resignation has been accepted by the President.

• Sinha has represented the parliamentary constituency of Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh thrice in the Lok Sabha. Sinha has also served as junior railways minister.

• Murmu officially took charge as the first L-G of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on October 31, 2019, under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

Ranking

Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020

• The Hurun Research Institute released Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020, a global ranking of the world’s billion-dollar tech startups founded in the 2000s, and not yet listed on a public exchange. The 2020 list is the second edition of the annual list and has ranked a total of 586 unicorns in the world, based in 29 countries and 145 cities.

• The total value of these unicorns adds to US$1.8 trillion, which is equivalent to the GDP of Italy. The average age of these unicorns is nine years. The valuations of the startups is as on March 31, 2020.

• The United States has the highest number of Unicorns, at 233, followed by China at 227. These two countries represents 80% of the world’s known unicorns. The United Kingdom was third with 24, followed by India at fourth position with 21 unicorns.The total value of these stands at $73.2 billion.

• Among all Indian unicorns, the Fintech company Paytm is India’s highest valued unicorn, at $16 billion.The average age of Indian unicorns is seven years.

Days

Hiroshima Day (Anti Nuclear Day/ Nagasaki Day

• Annually 6th of August marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima during World War II. The horrific incident took place on August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb named “Little Boy”, on the town of Hiroshima in Japan, followed a few days later by another drop on the city of Nagasaki on August 9.

• This was the first time in the history of warfare when a nuclear bomb was used against a nation.Although these bombings effectively ended World War II, the two cities were terribly destroyed and casualties were estimated at around 200,000, mostly civilians.

• This day is remembered to promote peace and spread awareness about the danger of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

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Important Current Affairs 5th August 2020

National

Government forms draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020

• The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formulated a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020), with the objective to make India self-reliance in defence manufacturing and to position the country amongst the leading countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors.

• The new policy is a part of the announcements made under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Package’ to provide impetus to self-reliance in defence manufacturing. The policy framework aims to position India among the leading countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors.

• The Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 has laid out the following goals and objectives:

I. To achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000Crores (USD 25 Billion) including export of Rs 35,000 Crore (USD 5 Billion) in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.

II. To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.

III. To reduce dependence on imports and take forward “Make in India” initiatives through domestic design and development.

IV. To promote export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.

V. To create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian IP ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

National Programme ‘Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan 2020-21’ launched

• Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched ‘Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan, 2020-21’. It is a national programme which has been launched to popularize science among school students of Class 6th to 11th.

• The programme has been designed to identify the talent in the field of science and to promote the scientfic acumen among the students.

Andhra Pradesh government launches ‘E-RakshaBandhan’

• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has launched a one month-long innovative virtual cybercrime awareness programme ‘E-Rakshabandhan’ on 3 August 2020

• The campaign organised by the Andhra Pradesh CID and the police, aims to bring awareness among the public in cyberspace, especially women, youth and children.

• The slogan for the campaign is “Let us make August a month of e freedom and e-safety.”Cybercrime experts will speak on different types of cyber crimes and create awareness among the public.

Obituary

Theatre maestro Ebrahim Alkazi passes away

• Indian theatre director and drama teacher, Ebrahim Alkazi, has passed  away. He was 94. He was the first and longest serving Director of the National School of Drama (NSD), and held the position from 1962-77.

• Ebrahim was considered as the father of modern Indian theatre and has mentored generations of actors, including Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi, Surekha Sikri and Pankaj Kapoor.

• The thespian has a lot of accolades to his name and has won many of India’s most prestigious awards, such as Padma Shri (1966), the Padma Bhushan (1991), and India’s second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 2010.SangeetNatakAkademi Award in Direction in 1962, and the Akademi’s highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.

Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume passes away

• The prominent Northern Ireland politician and former Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume passed away. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, along with David Trimble, for his role in ending the conflict in Northern Ireland.

• He was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970 and led the party from 1979 until 2001.

Sports

World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes retires from soccer

• The professional German footballer, Benedikt Howedes, who helped Germany win the World Cup title in 2014, has announced his retirement from soccer, citing family reasons.

• The 32-year-old defender, represented the Germany national football team from 2011 to 2017 during which he played 44 matches.

Appointments and Resignations

RBI approves Sashidhar Jagdishan as HDFC Bank CEO and MD

• The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Sashidhar Jagdishan as the Managing Director (MD) and CEO of HDFC Bank. Mr. Jagdishan will take charge of the outgoing MD Aditya Puri on October 27, 2020 and will remain on the position for three years.

• HDFC Bank mentioned that a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bank will be held in due course to approve the appointment of Sashidhar Jagdishan as the new MD and CEO of the bank.

• Along with Sashidhar Jagdishan, HDFC Bank had also submitted the names of Sunil Garg, Global CEO of Citi Commercial Bank, and Kaizad Bharucha (ED at HDFC Bank) for the RBI’s consideration.

• Sashidhar Jagdishan had joined HDFC Bank in 1996 as a manager in the finance function and later became a business head-finance in 1999.

Mark Phillips sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana

• Former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier (retired), Mark Anthony Phillips has been sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana. Additionally, former President Bharrat Jagdeo was named Vice President.

• Mohamed Irfaan Ali, a former member of parliament and housing minister, has been sworn in as the President of Guyana on 2 August 2020.

• The 40-year-old People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) candidate has taken over as the 10th President of the country. He succeeds David A. Granger.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Vishesh: Code To Win” authored by Nirupama Yadav

• The book, titled “Vishesh: Code To Win”, has been written by sportswoman-turned-author Nirupama Yadav and published by the publishing house Bluerose.

• The inspirational story on the life of Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, India’s youngest basketball team captain, is set to be released on August 29, the National Sports Day.

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Important Current Affairs 4th August 2020

National

First Pan India 1000 Genome sequencing of SARS- CoV-2 completes successfully

• Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare announced the completion of Pan-India Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. He reviewed the C-19 activities of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and DBT-Autonomous Institutions (AIs) in the meeting with DBT.

• He also launched the establishment of Five C-19 Bio Repositories by the DBT at Faridabad, Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore

Obituary

William English, the co-inventor of the computer mouse, passes away

• William Kirk English, the American computer engineer who co-invented the world’s first computer mouse, has passed away. He was 91 years old.

• In 1964, he was the first person to co-develop the mouse along with Douglas Engelbart, at the Stanford Research Institute and ‘demonstrated it in 1968, in what was dubbed ‘the mother of all demos.’

Sports

Central Government gave nod to Indian Premier League 2020 in UAE

• The Indian Government has provisionally granted permission for the 13th edition of Indian Premier League’s (IPL’s) 2020 to be rescheduled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19 to November 10, 2020, due to C-19.

• Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be the three venues of the tournament. No spectators to be allowed in the initial phase of the tournament. BCCI has also decided to host a Women’s T20 Challenge to be held from November 1 to 10 in UAE.

Appointments and Resignations

Mohamed Irfaan Ali named as President of Guyana

• Former Guyanese housing minister Mohamed Irfaan Ali(40 years old)became the President of the country after he was declared as the winner of the disputed March 2, 2020 general election following a recount.

• He is a member of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). He succeeds David Arthur(A.) Granger.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Siyasat Mein Sadasyata” authored by Vijay Kumar Choudhary

• Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar has released a book titled “Siyasat Mein Sadasyata” authored by Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary. The book is a compilation of the author’s views, three dozen articles on different important issues and his life journey.

• The book was published by Bihar Assembly Secretariat.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd August 2020

National

Government approves Khadi Agarbatti AtmaNirbhar Mission

• The Union Government approved Khadi Agarbatti AtmaNirbhar Mission on August 2, 2020 to generate employment and make India self-reliant in agarbatti production.

• Union Minister for MSME, Nitin Gadkari approved the unique employment generation scheme, which was proposed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to help India become Aatmanirbhar in Agarbatti production.

• The “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” will help create employment for a large number of unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurated upstream carriageway of Mahatma Gandhi bridge in Bihar

• As a part of the renovation of the Mahatma Gandhi Bridge/Setu over river Ganga in Bihar, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Nitin Jairam Gadkari virtually inaugurated its upstream carriageway. This means the two lanes are completed of the 4-lane bridge which is being renovated at a cost of Rs1,742 crore.

• During the inauguration ceremony, a new 5 km long, 4-lane Bridge over river Ganga in parallel to MG Setu, was also announced by Nitin Gadkari to facilitate movement of ships under it. With an outlay of Rs 2,926.42 crore, it will get completed by 2024.

International

UAE becomes first gulf nation to produce nuclear energy

• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first country in the Arab world to produce nuclear energy. This was confirmed after it was announced on August 1, 2020 that Unit 1 of the Abu Dhabi-based Barakah nuclear power plant has now become operational. Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant is now using nuclear fuel to produce energy as part of the ‘criticality’ phase. which was initiated on July 31st. The nuclear reactor will be connected to the power grid will provide electricity during the upcoming testing phase.

• The plant is powered by South Korean technology and is situated  in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi. It will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity and meet up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs.

Obituary

UP Cabinet Minister Kamal Rani Varun passes away

• Cabinet Minister in the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Kamal Rani Varun passed away due to C-19. She was the minister of technical education in the state government.

• Kamal Rani Varun had also served as an MP twice. Once in the Eleventh LokSabha and then Twelfth Lok Sabha. She was MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur.

Sports

Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix 2020

• Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula One British Grand Prix 2020 held at the Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom.

•  Max Verstappen (Red bull) ended up second in this F1 race while Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) came third. This is the third win for Hamilton in this season of F1 races.

Days

World Sanskrit Day 2020

• World Sanskrit Day, (also known as Sanskrit Diwas), is celebrated every year on Shraavanapoornima, that is the Poornima day of the Shraavana month in the Hindu calendar, which is also marked as Raksha Bandhan.

• In 2020, this day is being observed on 3 August 2020.The day commemorates the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and aims to promote its revival and maintenance.

• The Government of India decided to celebrate World Sanskrit Day in 1969, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan that falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana.

Books and Authors

‘Greenlights’ the debut book authored by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey

• ‘Greenlights’ the debut book authored by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey published by Crown Publishing Group is set to be released on 20th October 2020. The book was described as “not a traditional memoir but a playbook” based on the adventures and life experiences of McConaughey.

• McConaughey describes ‘Greenlights’ as an album, a record and the story of his life and he shared his anecdotes, poems and life lessons in this book.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd August 2020

National

‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme extended to 4 more states, taking total states to 24

• Four additional states, namely Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland and Uttarakhand have been  to the One Nation One Ration Card scheme have been integrated with the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ plan of the Central government.

• With this, now a total of 24 States/UTs are connected under One Nation One Ration Card effective from 01 August 2020.These 24 States/UTs includes: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

International

PM Modi inaugurates Supreme Court building of Mauritius

• Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravin Kumar Jugnauth on Thursday virtually inaugurated the new Supreme Court building at Port Louis.

• The building has been constructed with Indian assistance as India’s sign of cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

• It has been completed with the grant assistance of S28.12 million from India.

Banking and Economy

SIDBI & Trans Union CIBIL launches portal “MSME Saksham”

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched one-stop knowledge portal named as “MSME Saksham” in association with Trans Union CIBIL.

• The platform has been launched for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). MSME Saksham is a comprehensive financial education and knowledge platform for MSMEs and will support them in managing their credit obligations.

Summits and Mou’s

R Power & JERA inks loan agreement for Bangladesh’s power plant

• Reliance Power and Japanese energy major JERA have signed an agreement with a group of banks for their new gas-fired thermal power generation project in Bangladesh.

• The signed agreement will provide full finance of about $642 million (approxRs 4,798 crore) for a new 745 MW natural gas combined-cycle power project in Meghnaghat in Bangladesh. This is one of the largest funding tie-ups for a project in Bangladesh’s power sector.

Obituary

Rajya Sabha MP & former SP leader Amar Singh passes away

• Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh passed away. He was undergoing treatment in Singapore since past few months.

• Amar Singh, who hailed from Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time from Uttar Pradesh in 1996 and got re-elected in 2003.

• Amar Singh was the general secretary of the Samajwadi Party and was later expelled from the party by chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on February 2, 2010.

Sports

Sport committee formed for National Sports Awards 2020

• The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports formed a selection committee for selecting awardees for various sports awards for the National Sports Awards 2020.

• The committee will be headed by Retired Justice of Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma along with Virendra Sehwag (Cricket), Sardar Singh (Hockey), Monalisa Baruah Mehta (Table Tennis), Deepa Malik (Para-athletics), Venkatesan Devarajan (Boxing) and Sports Commentator Manish Batavia and Sports Journalists Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.

Ranking

Microsoft India most attractive employer brand

• According to Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2020, Technology giant Microsoft India has emerged as the country’s most attractive employer brand, followed by Samsung India and Amazon India in the second and third place, respectively, says a survey.

• Microsoft India scored high on financial health, strong reputation and utilisation of the latest technologies.

• The REBR revealed that in 2020, work-life balance emerged as the top Employee Value Proposition (EVP) driver for the Indian workforce while choosing an employer as it was cited by 43% respondents, followed by attractive salary and employee benefits (41%) and job security (40%).

Apple dethrones Saudi Aramco to become world’s most valuable company

• Technology giant Apple Inc. has become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in the world on 31st July 2020, surpassing the state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

• The shares of Apple closed up 10.47% on 31 July, giving it a market valuation of $1.84 trillion.

• Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco, which had been the most valuable publicly listed company since its market debut in 2019, now trails at $1.76 trillion as of its last close.

Days

World Breastfeeding Week 2020

• The World Breastfeeding Week is marked every year in the first week of August, between 1 to 7 August to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and infants

• The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”

• The annual week is organized by WABA, WHO and UNICEF since 1991.

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