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Important Current Affairs 20th August 2020

National

Cabinet approves setting up of National Recruitment Agency

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal to set up a National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

• NRA will be the nodal agency to conduct the Common Eligibility Test (CET) for jobs in the government and state-owned banks. NRA will comprise of representatives of Ministry of Railways, Ministry of Finance/Department of Financial Services, the SSC, RRB as well as IBPS.

•  NRA is expected to be a specialist body which will offer the state-of-the-art technology and best practices to the field of Central Government recruitment. A sum of Rs. 1517.57 crore has been sanctioned by the Government of India for the National Recruitment Agency (NRA).

• The NRA will hold online exams every year for non-gazetted government posts and each district will have at least one exam centre. The score in these exams would be valid for three years and the candidate would have the option of taking the exam again to improve the score. The best of the three scores would be used during the selection process.

Banking and Economy

Fino Payments Bank launches Jan BachatKhata

• Fino Payments Bank has launched Jan BachatKhata (JBK), which is an Aadhaar Authentication based digital savings account that brings neo-banking experience to consumers.

• Under the JBK, customers can transact at a Fino branch or merchant point with fingerprint and OTP combination, while at non-Fino points they need Aadhaar authentication.

• Earlier, Fino Payments Bank had introduced Shubh and Bhavishya, subscription-based savings accounts targeted at specific customer segments.

• Neo bank means– A bank without any branches. A bank that is entirely online rather than being physical. Neo banking provides complete digital banking experience through mobile applications.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Reliance Retail acquires majority stake in online pharmacy Netmeds for Rs 620 crore

• Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), the subsidiary company of Mukesh Ambani owned Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has acquired a majority equity stake in online pharmacy Vitalic Health Pvt Ltd and its subsidiaries (commonly known as Netmeds) for a cash consideration of around Rs 620 crore ($83.08 million).

• The announcement regarding this was made by the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL). Reliance Retail Director Isha Ambani stated that the deal is in line with the commitment to provide digital access to all in the country.

• Chennai-based Netmeds is a licensed e-pharma portal, incorporated in 2015, that offers authenticated prescription and over the counter (OTC) medicine along with other health products in India.

Obituary

Computer Scientist Russell A. Kirsch, who Invented Pixel, passes away

• Computer scientist Russell A. Kirsch, the inventor of the pixel, and developer of the first digital photograph. has passed away. He was 91 years old.

• His pioneering contributions to computer science made digital imaging possible.

• He created a small, 2-by-2-inch black-and-white digital image of his son, which was among the first images ever scanned into a computer. Pixels are the digital dots that are used to display photos, video and more on phone as well as computer screens.

Sports

England World Cup winner Laura Marsh retires

• England World Cup winner all-rounder, Laura Marsh has announced her retirement from all forms of cricket. She was a key member of the England Women’s team that won the 2017 World Cup.

• Marsh had played in 103 one-day internationals, 67 T20 and 9 Test matches during her career.

Appointments and Resignations

Rohit Sharma appointed Oakley’s brand ambassador in India

• Sports eyewear brand “Oakley” has appointed Indian cricketer, Rohit Sharma as its brand ambassador for a period of two years in India.

• With this appointment, Sharma joins the likes of athletes such as Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh and Milind Soman who have endorsed the brand before.

Days

Indian Akshay Urja Day 2020

• Indian Akshay Urja Day or Renewable Energy Day is observed on 20th August every year. Indian Akshay Urja is observed to mark the importance of renewable energy resources in India.

• This day marks the birthday anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi, former Prime Minister of India.

World Mosquito Day

• World Mosquito Day is observed on 20 August annually to raise awareness about the causes of malaria and how it can be prevented.

• The day also commemorates the discovery made by British doctor Sir Ronald Ross in 1897 that female mosquitoes transmit malaria between humans.

Sadbhavana Diwas

• Every year on 20th August, the birth anniversary of Rajiv Gandhi is celebrated as Sadbhavana Diwas or Harmony Day. This year on 20th August 2020, we are going to celebrate the 76th birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.

•  The Indian National Congress instituted Rajiv Gandhi Sadbhavana Award in 1992, a year after his death.

World Photography Day

• The World Photography Day is celebrated on 19 August every year to promote photography as a hobby and also inspire photographers around the globe to share a single photo with the rest of the world.

• The first official World Photo Day was observed on August 19, 2010.

• The origin of World Photo Day comes from the invention of the Daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Frenchmen Louis Daguerre and Joseph Nicephore Niepce in 1837.

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Important Current Affairs 19th August 2020

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to contract 16.5 per cent in April-June quarter

• State Bank of India’s research report Ecowrap expects the country’s GDP to contract by 16.5 per cent during the first quarter of the current fiscal.

• Earlier in May, Ecowrap had estimated Q1 FY21 GDP contraction at over 20 per cent and now pegs it at much lower contraction of 16.5 per cent for the quarter.

RBI releases framework for authorisation of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments

• Reserve Bank of India has released the ‘framework for authorization of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments’ in India.

• This means that RBI has allowed companies/entities to apply to RBI to set-up pan-India umbrella entity/entities focussing on retail payment systems in India. After receiving approval from RBI, the entity may start functioning as an Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments in India just like NPCI.

• Presently NPCI is the only Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments in India.

Awards

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020

• The National Sports Awards Committee recommended cricketer Rohit Sharma, wrestler Vinesh Phogat, table tennis champion Manika Batra and Paralympian Mariappan Thangavelu for the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020.

Sports

Kevin de Bruyne named Premier League Player of the Season 2019-20

• In Football, the Manchester City midfielder Kevin De Bruyne has been named as the Premier League Player of the Season 2019-20.

• He is the only third Belgian footballer to win the award for the league’s top performer, after Eden Hazard (2014-15) and Vincent Kompany (2011-12).The 29-year-old scored 20 goals in the 2019-20 season.

• Other awards includes:

 Young Player of the Season – Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool)

 Manager of the Season – Juergen Klopp (Liverpool)

 Goal of the Season – Son Heung-min (Tottenham Hotspur)

 Premier League 2 (PL2) Player of the Season – Curtis Jones (Liverpool)

Dream 11 wins title sponsorship rights of IPL 2020

• The title sponsorship rights of Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been bagged by the fantasy gaming start-up “Dream 11“. The fantasy gaming start-up has bagged the title sponsorship rights for Rs 222 crore.

• This comes after the previous sponsor, Vivo backed out of IPL 2020.The IPL will be held from September 19 to November 10, 2020.

Appointments and Resignations

Ashok Lavasa resigns as Election Commissioner of India, appointed as ADB Vice President

• Ashok Lavasa resigns as Election Commissioner of India to join the Phillippines-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) as its Vice- President in September 2020.

• Earlier on 15th July 2020, Lavasa was appointed as the Vice President of Asian Development Bank (ADB).

Satya Pal Malik appointed as Governor of Meghalaya

• Satya Pal Malik, Governor of Goa, has been appointed as the Meghalaya Governor, succeeding Tathagata Roy. Roy completed his 5-year tenure by serving as Tripura Governor for 3 years and the Governor of Meghalaya for the remaining two years.

• Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari has been asked to perform duties of Goa Governor for the time being.

SEBI appoints G P Garg as Executive Director

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) said it has appointed G P Garg as executive director (ED).

• Prior to his promotion as ED, Garg was Chief General Manager in Sebi and has handled several assignments since joining in January 1994.

Ranking

IIT Madras Tops Atal Rankings (ARIIA) 2020

• The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras has retained the top position in the ‘Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements,’ (ARIIA) 2020 for being the best centrally funded institution in India.

• The premier institute has topped in the list of top centrally funded innovative educational institutes in India for the second consecutive year.IIT Bombay, IIT Delhi, IISc Bengaluru and IIT Kharagpur are the among the top five centrally funded institutions in the list respectively.

• The ARIIA ranking was launched in 2019 by the Innovation Cell of the Ministry of Education. The objective of ARIIA is to rank higher education institutions and universities in India as per Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Startup, and Development amongst faculty and students.

Days

World Humanitarian Day

• The World Humanitarian Day (WHD) is observed every year on 19 August to pay tribute to humanitarian personnel and those workers who lost or risked their lives while doing humanitarian service. In 2020 we are celebrating the 11th WHD.

• The theme for 2020 WHD is #RealLifeHeroes. The theme is a tribute and a heartfelt thanks to all aid and health workers who have committed their lives to helping others, during this difficult time of pandemic.

 Books and Authors

Former Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam pens book titled “Full Spectrum: India”s Wars, 1972-2020″

• Retired Air Vice Marshal Arjun Subramaniam has written a book which throws light on comprehensive account of war and conflict in contemporary India over the past five decades next month.

• The book titled “Full Spectrum: India”s Wars, 1972-2020″ is a sequel to his previous book “India”s Wars: A Military History, 1947-1971″. It has been published by HarperCollins India and will be released in September 2020.

• The new book covers every major operation that the armed forces have participated in since 1972, including the Kargil conflict of 1999

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Important Current Affairs 18th August 2020

National

Ministry of Tribal Affairs launches Tribal Health & Nutrition Portal – ‘Swasthya’

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs has launched the e-portal on tribal health and nutrition named ‘Swasthya’. It is a first of its kind e-portal, providing all health and nutrition-related information of the tribal population of India in a single platform.
  • Apart from this, an e-newsletter on health and nutrition ALEKH was also announced. It is a quarterly newsletter.
  • Opening of National Overseas Portal and National Tribal Fellowship Portal (for inviting online applications for the academic year 2020-21) was another important announcement that was made.

Ministry of AYUSH launches campaign “Ayush for Immunity”

  • The Ministry of AYUSH launched a campaign on “Ayush for Immunity”. It is a three-month campaign and aims to promote Ayush solutions in the entire world for a healthier and happier life.
  • The theme of the event is: accessible and affordable health for all, through Ayush solutions
  • The campaign was rolled out during a webinar that featured the participation of More than 50 thousand people. The webinar was streamed by the Ministry of AYUSH on its new digital communication platform Ayush Virtual Convention Centre (AVCC).

Banking and Economy

MCX to launch India’s first bullion index named “Bulldex”

  • Multi Commodity Exchange of India (MCX), India’s largest commodity derivatives exchange, will launch India’s first bullion index named “Bulldex”, on August 24, 2020. Bullions, viz. gold and silver are already being traded as individual commodities on the country’s premier commodity exchange. 
  • With gold and silver as underlying, Bulldex will have a market lot size of 50 and be a cash-settled futures contract. MCX had tested bullion index futures trade in mock trading exercises in July.

HDFC Bank launches Shaurya KGC Card

  • The largest private sector bank in the country, HDFC Bank, launched ‘Shaurya KGC (Kisan Gold Credit) Card, a loan product for the armed forces.
  • This is the first-of-its-kind scheme meant for the army personnel in the country and is based on the Kisan Credit Card guidelines of the government. This credit card comes with a life cover of Rs 10 lakhs.

Obituary

Renowned classical vocalist Pandit Jasraj passes away

  • Indian classical vocalist, Pandit Jasraj passed away. He was born in Haryana in 1930, his musical career spanned eight decades. His performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have become albums and film soundtracks.
  •  Jasraj has taught music in India, Canada, and the US. Pandit Jasraj was an Indian classical vocalist, belonging to the Mewati Gharana. His musical career spanned for more than eight decades. Many of his performances of classical and semi-classical vocals have now become albums and film soundtracks.
  •  Pandit Jasraj was a recipient of India’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri in 1975; Sangeet Natak Akademi Award in 1987 and Padma Bhushan in 1999. In the year 2000, the government of India conferred him with Padma Vibhushan, the second-highest civilian honor in the country. 
  • In 2019, the International Astronomical Union had named a minor planet after Pandit Jasraj. The minor planet is located between Mars and Jupiter.

Filmmaker Nishikant Kamat passes away

  • Director-actor Nishikant Kamat passed away. He made his directorial debut in 2005 with Marathi movie Dombivali Fast, which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi. 
  • Nishikant had directed some popular Bollywood movies like Force, Drishyam, and Madaari. He made his silver screen debut in 2004 with the Hindi movie Hava Aney Dey. In 2008, Kamat helmed his first Bollywood film Mumbai Meri Jaan. 
  • As an actor, he was known for his performances in Daddy, Rocky Handsome, Julie 2, and Bhavesh Joshi.

Appointments and Resignations

Rakesh Asthana becomes new DG of BSF

  • The government of India has appointed Rakesh Asthana as the new director-general of the Border Security Force (BSF). Currently, DG Indo-Tibet Border Police (ITBP) chief S S Deswal was holding the additional charge of BSF since March this year.
  • Asthana is currently heading the Bureau of Civil Aviation Security (BCAS) with an additional charge of Narcotics Control Bureau (NCB).

The central bank of India appoints Ashwini Kumar Shukla as Chief Risk Officer

  • The central bank of India has appointed Mr. Ashwini Kumar Shukla as Chief Risk Officer.
  • As part of the reform agenda announced by the Ministry of Finance last year in August 2019, the Central bank of India is the first one to appoint a CRO from the market.
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Important Current Affairs 17th August 2020

National

PM Modi Announces One Sun, One World, One Grid (OSOWOG) initiative

  • PM Modi in his speech of Independence Day 2020, announced the “One Sun, One World, One Grid” (OSOWOG) plan. Under this, there will be a trans-national electricity grid, for supplying solar power across the globe.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi first announced this idea of OSOWOG in 2018 during the first assembly of the International Solar Alliance (ISA).
  • As per the draft plan prepared by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the OSOWOG will connect 140 countries through a common grid that will be used to transfer solar power.

International

European Union’s 1-Million-Euro ‘Nirmanshree’ Project To Skill Women In Housing Sector

  • European Union has launched project ’Nirman shree’ for enhancing the women skill towards housing construction sector. This is the first-of-its-kind sustainable housing on a large scale in India with 1-million-euro.The project will be implemented in Beed and Osmanabad districts of Maharashtra and the Dhenkanal and Jajpur districts of Odisha.
  • A non-profit organisation, Habitat for Humanity India has also join hands with EU for funding this project.
  • The total cost of the project is EUR 9,49,694 (INR 7,40,85,628 or US$1,075,307).90 percent of fund provides by EU and remaining 10 percent will be issued by Habitat for Humanity India.
  • 3,000 women will be trained for technical and entrepreneurial skills in housing sector which focus on area such as masonry, plumbing and electrical fitting, among others.

Science and Technology

Chandrayaan-2 captures crater on Moon, ISRO names it after Vikram Sarabhai

  • Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on Friday announced that Chandryaan-2 has captured images of the Moon, and named one of the craters after Vikram Sarabhai. Sarabhai is the father of the Indian space programme.
  • Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office Jitendra Singh said that it is a fitting tribute to his legacy, who completed his birth centenary year on August 12. Singh also lauded the the achievements of Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) which has put India in a leading position for space research.
  • The Sarabhai Crater is around 250 to 300 kilometres east of the crater where the Apollo 17 and Luna 21 Missions had landed.

ISRO and IISc Researchers develops sustainable process for making ‘Space Bricks’ on Moon

  • Team of researchers of Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bengaluru, Karnataka and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) developed a sustainable process for making brick-like structures named “Space Bricks” on the surface of the moon. The process uses the lunar soil, bacteria and guar beans to make the space brick.
  • The process uses the Urea – sourced from human urine and lunar soil as the raw materials for the construction on the lunar surface which reduces the overall expenditure.

Obituary

Former Indian cricketer and Uttar Pradesh Minister Chetan Chauhan

  • Former Indian cricketer and Uttar Pradesh minister ChetanChauhan has passed away due to multiple organ failure. He was 73.
  • Chauhan played 40 Tests matches for India, during his 12-year-long cricket career, scoring 2084 runs with 16 half-centuries and two wickets.
  • He was Minister for youth and sports in the state of Uttar Pradesh Cabinet in 2018 and has also served as Minister of Sainik Welfare, Home Guards, PRD and Civil Security in the UP Cabinet.

Sports

Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Spanish Grand Prix 2020

  • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Spanish Grand Prix 2020 held on August 16, 2020. This was his 4th win of the season and the 88th win of his career.
  • Max Verstappen (Red Bull – Netherlands) came second followed by Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) at third.

Appointments and Resignations

Kaushik Khona appointed as CEO of GoAir

  • Kaushik Khona has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of GoAir. He will replace Vinay Dube.
  • GoAir is an Indian low-cost airline based in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It is owned by the Indian business conglomerate Wadia Group.
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Important Current Affairs 16th August 2020

National 

GoI launches National Digital Health Mission

  • While addressing the nation on 15 August 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the launch of a new campaign called National Digital Health Mission, under which all Indians will be given health IDs.
  • This Health ID will work as each Indian’s health account. Every test, disease and diagnosis, medicines prescribed by doctors and medical reports along with medicines will be stored in every citizen’s health ID.
  • The National Digital Health Mission (NDHM), has been launched under the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY).
  • It is expected to improve the efficiency, effectiveness, and transparency of health services in the country.

All villages to be connected with optical fibre in next 1,000 days: PM Modi

  • PM Modi in his speech of Independence Day 2020, made the announcement that the project to connect all the villages of India with optical fibre network will be completed in the next 1,000 days.
  • Under this project, more than six lakh villages will be connected with optical fibre network in the coming 1,000 days in India.
  • Apart from this, a high-speed internet connectivity via submarine optical fibre cable will be extended to Lakshadweep in the next 1,000 days to provide high-speed internet services in the region.

NITI Aayog’s AIM, NASSCOM launch Artificial Intelligence Step-up modules for school students

  • On August 14, 2020 National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog)’s Atal Innovation Mission(AIM) in collaboration with National Association of Software and Service Companies (NASSCOM) has launched Artificial Intelligence(AI) based Step-up module for school students.
  • The module was launched in a virtual platform attended by CEO NITI Aayog Mr Amitabh Kant, Mission Director Atal Innovation Mission Mr R Ramanan and NASSCOM President Debjani Ghosh.

Banking and Economy

Punjab National Bank launches campaign named ‘DIGITAL APNAYEN’

  • Punjab National Bank has launched a campaign named ‘DIGITAL APNAYEN’ to encourage customers to use digital banking channels. The campaign launched by the bank’s Managing Director S S. Mallikarjuna Rao on the occasion of Independence Day is till March 31, 2021. 
  • PNB encourage customers to use digital channels and participate in the noble cause of donating to the PM CARES Fund for C-19.

Barclays Slashes India’s GDP growth to -6% in FY21

  • Barclays has predicted India’s GDP to contract by 6% in 2020-21 (FY21). Earlier it had estimated a contraction of 3.2%.
  • The reason for this downward revision of GDP is India’s rising C-19 infection curve.
  • For FY22, Barclays has predicted India’s GDP at 7% as compared to 7.4% earlier.

LIC starts ‘Special Revival Campaign’ to revive lapsed policies

  • Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has announced a special scheme to revive lapsed policies named ‘Special Revival Campaign’.
  • Those policies that have lapsed during the premium- paying term and not completed policy term as on the date of revival, are eligible to be revived during the campaign.
  • The campaign is launched to benefit those policyholders who were not able to pay the premium due to unavoidable circumstances and their policy lapsed.
  • The policies of specific eligible plans can be revived within five years from the date of the first unpaid premium subject to certain terms and conditions.

Sports

MS Dhoni retires from international cricket

  • Former Indian skipper, MS Dhoni announcement his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020. The 39-year-old World Cup-winning captain made the announcement through his social media account.
  • Dhoni shared this information on Instagram on August 15, 2020 as- “Thanks. Thanks for ur love and support throughout. from 1929 hrs consider me as Retired”
  • Dhoni is the only Captain to win all three major International Cricket Council (ICC) trophies — the World Cup, the World Twenty20 and the Champions Trophy.
  • Since he has announced retirement from International cricket, he will continue to play for Indian Premier League (IPL).
  • Dhoni has been the recipient of many awards including the ICC ODI Player of the Year award in 2008 and 2009 (the first player to win the award twice), the Rajiv Gandhi KhelRatna award in 2007 and the Padma Shri, India's fourth highest civilian honour, in 2009. Mahendra Singh Dhoni has emerged as one of India's most successful cricket captains.

Suresh Raina retires from International Cricket

  • Suresh Raina, a renowned Indian Cricket player has announced his retirement from international cricket on August 15, 2020. 
  • His announcement came right after MS Dhoni's announcement of retirement from international cricket. Suresh Raina informed about his decision through his Instagram account, which shocked millions of his fans all around the country. 
  • He also especially acknowledged playing with MS Dhoni and mentioned that with pride he has decided to join in the journey of retirement with the former captain of the Indian Cricket team.
  • Suresh Raina became the first batsman in the world and the first Indian to hit the T20I century. He is also the only Indian to score centuries in both T20I and ODI World Cup.
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Important Current Affairs 15th August 2020

National

India celebrates its 74th Independence Day

• One of the largest democracies in the world, India will celebrate its 74th Independence Day on 15th of August, 2020. This day is celebrated to pay tribute and to remember the sacrifice and struggle of our brave heroes in the fight for freedom.

• The main function was held at the Red Fort of the national capital where Prime Minister hoisted the National Flag.Various cultural programs involving schools and organisations are held in Delhi. But this year due to the C-19 the celebrations will be different.All states and government offices have been ordered to webcast their events.

'Air India One' to be handed over to India soon

• A joint team of senior officials of Air India, security officers, and senior government officials has left for the United States to accept the delivery of the Special Extra Section Flight (SESF) or VVIP aircraft Air India One.

• One out of the total two Boeing-777 ER aircraft is ready for delivery in August to India. The Air India One has been specially designed for the Prime Minister, President and Vice President of India.

• Air India One is equipped with an advance and secure communication system which allows availing audio and video communication function at mid-air without hacked or taped. Air India will receive the aircraft and later hand it over to the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Sports Ministry organises Fit India Freedom Run during 15 August to 2 October

• Union Sports Ministry will be organising the ‘Fit India Freedom Run’ from 15th August to 2nd October 2020. The largest country-wide run was launched by Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju.

•  In order to ensure social distancing amid the C-19 situation, people have been advised to run at their own pace anytime and anywhere.

AIM & NIITI Ayog with Dell Technologies launched Student Entrepreneurship 2.0 Programme

• Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog, in collaboration with Dell Technologies has launched Student Entrepreneurship Programme 2.0 (SEP 2.0) for young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs).The programme was launched following the success of SEP 1.0.

• SEP 2.0 will allow student innovators to work closely with Dell volunteers. The students will receive mentor support, end-user feedback, prototyping and testing support, intellectual property registration and patenting of ideas, processes, and products, manufacturing support, and the launch support of the product in the market.

• The main objective of the programme aims to create over a million neoteric innovators and potential job creators of the country.

Banking and Economy

RBI approves Rs 57,128 crore as surplus to the Central Government for 2019-20

• The Reserve Bank of India has approved Rs 57,128 crore as surplus to the Central Government for the accounting year 2019-20.

• The decision was taken at the 584th meeting of the Central Board of RBI under the chairmanship of Shri Shakti kanta Das, Governor RBI.RBI has decided to maintain the Contingency Risk Buffer at 5.5%.

Awards

ACJ Journalism Awards 2019 announced

• Journalists Nitin Sethi and Shiv Sahay Singh were declared winners of the Asian College of Journalism’s (ACJ) Award 2019 for Investigative Journalism and the K. P. Narayana Kumar Memorial Award for Social Impact Journalism, respectively.

•  The awards were presented in a virtual ceremony by Soumya Swaminathan, chief scientist of the World Health Organisation(WHO), at the inauguration of the Class of 2021.

• ACJ with the support of the Media Development Foundation has instituted two awards to recognise and encourage the best works of investigative journalism and journalism for social impact produced for an Indian audience.

Science and Technology

India’s first upper-stage rocket engine test-fired by Skyroot Aerospace

• Aerospace startup venture Skyroot Aerospace has successfully test-fired an upper-stage rocket engine, thus becoming the first private company in India to demonstrate the capability to build a homegrown rocket engine.

• The engine is 3-D printed and named as Raman, after the Nobel Laureate CV Raman.

• It has fewer moving parts and weighs less than half of conventional rocket engines with similar capacity.

Appointments and Resignations

Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi assumes charge as DGNO

• Vice Admiral Dinesh K Tripathi, AVSM, NM has become the Director General Naval Operations (DGNO). He is a specialist in Communication and Electronic Warfare and was commissioned in the Indian Navy on 01st July 1985.

• The alumnus of National Defence Academy Khadakwasla, has served on frontline warships of the Navy as Signal Communication Officer and Electronic Warfare Officer.

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Important Current Affairs 14th August 2020

National

Education Minister launches Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020

• Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank virtually launched the Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020 in New Delhi on August 11, 2020.

• During the launch, the Minister highlighted about unique architectural beauty of India, its monuments and temples. He highlighted how the architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture and religion.

• He further added that the Council of Architecture should draw inspiration from the present and past treasures of Architecture and bring a paradigm shift in the field of Architecture to make India a world leader again.

Goa’s ‘Khaje’, ‘Harmal Chilli’ and ‘Moira banana’ get GI tag

• Goa’s traditional festive sweet dish ‘Khaje’, spicy Harmal Chilli and Myndoli Banana (Moira Banana) has obtained Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indications Registry.

• A GI tag protects the produce from being illegally used, and ensures benefits to the local growers’ community.

International

Historic peace agreement between UAE & Israel

• President of USA, Donald J. Trump, Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Nahyan have agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

• Israeli and UAE delegations will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies, they said.

Israel & United States successfully tests an advanced missile defense system Arrow 2

• Israel's Defense Ministry conducted a successful test of the nation’s advanced missile defense system against long-range ballistic attacks on August 12, 2020.

• Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the successful flight test of the Arrow-2 interceptor was part of Israel's technological effort, which ensure that they will always be one step ahead of their enemies.

• The test was conducted overnight jointly with the US Missile Defense Agency in central Israel. The Arrow-interceptor is a part of the multi-layered system, which Israel has developed to defend against both short and mid-range missiles. It can also intercept long-range missiles.

• The advanced missile defense system including the Arrow-3 system, Irone Dome and David’s Sling is also capable of defending against threats from outside the atmosphere.

Banking and Economy

RBI announces ‘positive pay’ feature to help avert cheque frauds

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced to introduce a mechanism of ‘Positive Pay’ feature for all cheques of value Rs 50,000 and above. This feature helps to avert cheque frauds. The limit of Rs 50,000 will cover approximately 20 per cent of transactions by volume and 80 per cent by value.

• Positive pay is a fraud-prevention system offered by most commercial banks to companies to protect them against forged, altered and counterfeit checks.

Summits and Mou’s

Reliance Foundation partners with W-GDP & USAID to bridge gender digital divide in India

• Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, has entered into partnership with US Agency for International Development (USAID) to bridge the gender digital divide in India.

• The partnership will enable Reliance Foundation to join forces with Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.

• Under this, various W-GDP Women Connect Challenge would be organised across India in 2020, with the shared goal to help bridge both the gender divide and the digital divide in India.

• The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative was launched in 2019 by President Donald Trump to advance global women’s economic empowerment. It is led by Ivanka Trump.

Obituary

Noted Sports Journalist GK Menon Passes away

• Veteran sports journalist Gopal Krishna Menon has passed away. He was 93.He had worked with the Indian Express and The Times of India.

Appointments and Resignations

SS Mundra becomes new non-executive Chairman of IBH

• Former RBI deputy governor, Subhash Sheoratan Mundra has been appointed as non-executive chairman of Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBH) with immediate effect.

• He had joined the board of IBH in 2018 as an independent director.

PESB selects Soma Mondal as next chairman of SAIL

• Soma Mondal has been selected by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as the next chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

• She will be taking charge when the present Chairman Anil Chaudhary.

Days

World Organ Donation Day

• The World Organ Donation Day is celebrated every year on August 13 to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and motivate people to donate organs after death.

• The day provides an opportunity to all to come ahead and pledge to donate their precious organs, because one organ donor can save up to eight lives.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” by Dalai Lama

• The Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, will release a new book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” on climate change with German environmental journalist, Franz Alt in November.

• It follows his 2019 publication dedicated to children, “The Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama“, his autobiography and a book on philosophy.

• In 2018, “Ecology, Ethics, and Interdependence: The Dalai Lama in Conversation with Leading Thinkers on Climate Change” was published.

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Important Current Affairs 13th August 2020

National

Paytm launched India’s 1st pocket android POS device

• Paytm has launched India’s 1st Pocket Android POS (Point of Sale) Device named ‘Paytm All-in-One Portable Android Smart POS’ for contactless ordering and payments in India.

• This is the first such Android-based device to be introduced in India and is much more powerful than the portable Linux based POS devices presently available in the country.

• It is an effort to digitise and empower a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The company aims to issue over 2 lakh devices within the next few months which will generate over 20 million transactions per month.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Addresses ‘India@75 Summit: Mission 2022’ for upliftment of MSME

• The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari addressed the ‘India@75 Summit: Mission 2022’ on 8 August in New Delhi, via video-conferencing.

• The event was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to look towards improving presence of MSME industry in the 115 identified aspirational districts of the country.

Google launches People Cards in India

• Google has launched its new "People Cards" feature in India that let users create their virtual visiting card and build their public profile for search engine. The Google People Cards feature has been in a testing phase for a few years in India and has finally been launched now.

• People Cards is a new listing feature of Google that help users create their virtual Visiting or Business Cards and enhance their online presence.The People Cards feature uses Knowledge Graph of the Google to display information shared by the users.

• Individuals, entrepreneurs, employees, influencers, self-employed people, businesses, online marketplaces, freelancers, and anyone can be benefitted through the People Cards by getting discovered easily on being searched.

PM to launch platform for Transparent Taxation 'Honoring the Honest'

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the platform for Transparent Taxation-Honoring the Honest through video conference on August 13, 2020.

• The Central Board of Direct Taxes, CBDT had carried out several major tax reforms in direct taxes in recent years.

• The Corporate Tax rates were reduced from 30 percent to 22 percent last year and for new manufacturing units, the rates were reduced to 15 percent. The board had also abolished the Dividend distribution Tax.

• The main aim behind the tax reforms is a reduction in tax rates and simplification of direct tax laws.

Awards

Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation, 2020

• A total of 121 Police personnel have been awarded the “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation” for the year 2020.

• The award of “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation” seeks to encourage high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such Excellence in Investigation by investigating officers.

Appointments and Resignations

Pramod Bhasin becomes new Chairman of ICRIER

• Pramod Bhasin has been appointed as a new Chairman of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). He is currently the vice-chair of the board of governors at ICRIER.

• He will replace Isher Judge Ahluwalia, who has stepped down due to health reasons. Isher had been in this position for 15 years.

Ranking

Mumbai becomes first Indian city to get female symbol on traffic signage

• Mumbai has become the first city in India to have women symbols on traffic signals and signage, as a symbolic gesture towards gender equality in public spaces..

• The Brihan mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has installed female traffic signals, that display female icons sporting triangular frock, a shift from the default representation of men.

Days

International Lefthanders Day

• The International Left Handers Day is observed on August 13 every year to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.

• The day was first observed in 1976 and was officially declared in 1997.

World Elephant Day

• World Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12 worldwide for the preservation and protection of the global elephants.

• The main objective of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.

• The day is being officially celebrated since 2012.

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Important Current Affairs 12th August 2020

National

Jal Shakti Minister launches Swachh Bharat Mission Academy

• Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM Academy) on August 11, 2020 in New Delhi, as part of the ongoing week-long behaviour change campaign Gandagi Mukt Bharat.

• After launching the SBM Academy by dialing the designated IVR toll-free number, the Minister stated that IVR based free mobile online learning course on ODF Plus will be crucial in achieving goals underlined in Phase - 2 of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

• The Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has transformed rural India by manifesting into a Jan Andolan for sanitation. This had led to the historic achievement of Open Defecation Free declaration by all villages, districts and states on October 2, 2019.

SC rules daughter is entitled to equal property rights even born before 2005

• Supreme Court has ruled that daughters enjoy equal property rights even if they are born before the 2005 amendment to Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

• Daughters have equal rights in the properties of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF).This is valid even if the father was not alive at the time of 2005 amendment.

International

Russia announces world’s first C-19 vaccine named “Sputnik V”

• Russian President, Vladimir Putin has announced that a C-19 vaccine named “Sputnik V” developed in the country has been registered for use.

• Russian Ministry of Health has given regulatory approval for what it claims is the world’s first C-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute. Russia is the first country to register a Chinese virus vaccine.

• Phase 3 trials would start on August 12, 2020, industrial production was expected from September.   20 countries had pre-ordered more than a billion doses.

Ex- Defence Minister Walter Roger Martos Ruiz takes over as new Prime Minister of Peru

• The former defence minister and retired army general, Walter Roger Martos Ruiz becomes new Prime Minister of the country. His appointment was confirmed by President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra.

• Ruiz will succeed Pedro Álvaro Cateriano Bellido. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Government Palace in Lima.

Lebanon PM  Hassan Diab Announces Resignation Over Deadly Beirut Blasts

• Lebanon's PM Hassan Diab and his government resigned on August 10, 2020 following the public outrage over Beirut blast that has caused massive destruction and claimed many lives.

• While announcing his resignation, Diab stated that he wants to stand with people and join their battle. He also added that the explosion was a result of endemic corruption.

Mohamed Ould Bilal becomes new Prime Minister of Mauritania

• Mohamed Ould Bilal has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Mauritania. The appointment was made by the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

• Mohamed Ould Bilal is a veteran public administrator and has served as the head of the country’s national water agency, a presidential aide and a cabinet minister.

Obituary

Noted Urdu Poet Rahat Indori passes away

• Noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori passed away. He was also a bollywood lyricist and known for the lyrics of songs like “M Bole to” from Munna bhai MBBS (2003), and “Neend Churai Mei” from Ishq (1997).

• His poem  “Bulatihaimagarjanekanahi” went viral on social media earlier this year.

Former India defender and Mohun Bagan captain Laishram Manitombi Singh passes away

• Former Indian footballer and Mohun Bagan captain, Laishram Manitombi Singh has passed away, after suffering from a prolonged illness.. He was 39.

• He captained Mohun Bagan for consecutive two seasons (2003-2004) wherein he scored three goals, and also led the club to win the Airlines Gold Cup in 2004.

• Manitombi was a key member of the India Under-23 side that lifted the LG Cup in 2003 by defeating Vietnam 3-2 in Ho Chi Minh City. He also represented India in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.

Appointments and Resignations

Former NABARD Chief Harsh Bhanwala appointed as executive chairman of Capital India Finance

• Former NABARD Chief, Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has been appointed as executive chairman of the Capital India Finance Limited. Prior to this, Bhanwala was chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for over six years.

• He was appointed as the chairman NABARD in December 2013 and demitted the office on May 26, 2020.

Days

International Youth Day

• The International Youth Day (IYD) is observed on August 12 annually to draw attention of governments and others towards youth issues worldwide.

• The day was designated by the United Nations in 1999.The first IYD was observed on 12 August, 2000. Theme of 2020 is’ Youth Engagement for Global Action’.

Books and Authors

Third series of book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’ comprising collection of speeches by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu released

• The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar unveiled an e-version of the book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’.

• Apart from this, the print coffee table version of the book was also released by Union Minister of Defense Shri Rajnath Singh.

• The book chronicles Shri M Venkaiah Naidu’s three years in office as the Vice President of India.

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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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