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Important Current Affairs 21st December 2020

NATIONAL

India International Science Festival begins from 22 December

• Ministry of Science and Technology and Ministry of Earth Sciences in association with Vijnana Bharati (VIBHA) are organized the India International Science Festival (IISF) from 22 December. This year this festival will be through virtual mode.

• The central theme of this year’s festival is “Science for Self-reliant India and Global Welfare”.

• India International Science Festival (IISF) launched in 2015 is a celebration to promote Science and Technology.

Indian Railways initiates National Rail Plan in the country

• Indian Railways has launched National Rail Plan with an aim to increase modal share of the Railways.

• This plan is being circulated among various Ministries for their views now. Railways aim to finalize the final plan by January 2021.

• As part of a national commitment to reduce Carbon emission, The railways will also increase the modal share of Railways from 27 per cent currently to 45 per cent in freight by 2030.

SPORTS

Yogasana recognized as a competitive Sport in India by Sports Ministry

• Union Sports Minsitry has approved Yogasana as a competitive Sport in India. The Objective for this recognition is to spread awareness about Yoga and its advantages to people.

• Yogasana will be introduced as a sport discipline in Khelo India, National Games and International Sports Events.

• After this approval now Yogasana becomes eligible to enter several sports event.

OBITUARY

Veteran Journalist and first official RSS Spokesperson MG Vaidya passes away

• Senior Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) ideologue, MG Vaidya has passed away. He was a veteran journalist, a Sanskrit scholar and the first official spokesperson of the RSS. He became a member of the RSS in 1943.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Human Solidarity Day: 20 December

• International Human Solidarity Day is observed globally on 20 December every year to celebrate unity in diversity and raise awareness about the importance of solidarity. According to the United Nations Millennium Declaration, solidarity is among the fundamental values that are essential to international relations.

• Solidarity is defined as an awareness of shared interests and objectives that create a psychological sense of unity and ties in a society that bind people together as one.

• The General Assembly, on 22 December 2005, by resolution 60/209 identified solidarity as one of the fundamental and universal values that should underlie relations between peoples in the twenty-first century, and in that regard decided to proclaim 20 December of each year International Human Solidarity Day.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Ratan Tata honoured with “ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award”

• Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi addressed the ‘ASSOCHAM Foundation Week 2020’ via video conferencing. The week-long Associated Chambers of Commerce of India (ASSOCHAM) Foundation Week was organised from 15 to 19 December 2020. The theme of the programme was ‘India’s resilience: Atmanirbhar roadmap towards $5 trillion economies.’

• As a part of the celebration, PM Modi also presented the ‘ASSOCHAM Enterprise of the Century Award’ to Shri Ratan Tata, on behalf of the TATA Group, for his distinguished contributions to the country. In the last 100 years, ASSOCHAM and the entire Tata group has worked very hard to strengthen India’s economy and help the common Indian.

Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards announced

• Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has presented the Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay Telecom Skill Excellence Awards, including a cash award of Rs 50,000 and Rs 30,000 respectively, to both awardees. The nominations were called for the first time for the year 2018.

First Prize:

• Sreenivas Karanam, Bengaluru was selected for the FIRST prize for his contribution in developing a cost-effective customized technical solution under the brand ‘C mobile’, for deep-sea communication, operating along the Kerala coast, facilitating communication among fishermen and issue of weather alerts etc.

• The service enables the fishermen to have one-one voice calls, group calls, SMS, Location services and Emergency services while they are out of GSM coverage area. The service is available from Thiruvanathapuram to Calicut, almost 500km along Kerala coast, with devices installed in nearly 900 motorboats.

Second Prize:

• Subrat Kar, New Delhi was selected for the SECOND prize for his innovative solution on development & deployment of a large scale sensor network and devices to avoid a train-animal collision, which works without interfering with natural movements/behaviour of animals, thereby helping in wildlife conservation.

• The system under the pilot phase is installed in Rajaji National Park in Uttarakhand, to prevent elephant deaths by train-elephant collision.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI extends restrictions on PMC Bank for 3 months

• Reserve Bank of India has further extended the restrictions on crisis-ridden Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank by three months till 31 March 2021. The bank has also received four Expression of Interest (EoI) for its revival. To examine them, the bank would need some more time. These proposals will be examined by the bank with regard to their viability and feasibility taking into account the best interest of the depositors.

• As per the Expression of Interest, the bank wants to identify a suitable equity investor/ group of investors willing to take over management control so as to revive the bank and commence regular day-to-day operations.

• The PMC bank was placed under Directions by RBI with effect from the close of its business on September 23, 2019, and superseded the bank’s board due to a huge fraud perpetrated by the promoter of a real estate group and some bank officials.

• The Directions for PMC Bank were last extended for a further period of six months from June 23, 2020, to December 22, 2020.

World Bank approves several projects to support development in India

• The World Bank has approved 4 India projects worth over $800 million. The projects will support a range of development initiatives that supports the efforts of India to rebuild itself by creating a sustainable and resilient economy.

The projects that have been approved are:

1. $400 million Second Accelerating India’s C-19 Social Protection Response Program.

2. $100 million Chhattisgarh Inclusive Rural and Accelerated Agriculture Growth Project (CHIRAAG).

3. $68 million Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project.

4. $250 million Second Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Project (DRIP-2).

$400 Million Second Accelerating India’s C-19 Social Protection Response Program:

• The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $400 million Second Accelerating India’s C-19 Social Protection Response Program.

• The project supports and protects India’s efforts to provide social assistance to poor and vulnerable households, severely affected by the C-19 pandemic.

• It is the 2nd operation in a programmatic series of 2. The 1st operation of $750 million was approved in May 2020. The Program builds on the outcomes achieved by the 1st operation.

CHIRAAG project:

• Amount sanctioned: USD 100 million

• CHIRAAG aims at promoting nutrition-supportive agriculture for tribal households in Chhattisgarh

• It will develop sustainable production systems that allow tribal households in remote areas of Chhattisgarh to practice round-the-year production of diversified and nutritious food.

• It will be implemented in the southern tribal-majority region of the state where a large population is undernourished and poor.

• The project will benefit over 180,000 households from about 1,000 villages in eight districts of Chhattisgarh.

Nagaland: Enhancing Classroom Teaching and Resources Project

• Amount approved: USD 68 million

• It will improve classroom instruction; create opportunities for the professional development of teachers, and build technology systems to provide students and teachers with more access to blended and online learning as well as allow better monitoring of policies and programs.

• It will enhance overall quality education in the state

Dam Improvement and Rehabilitation Project (DRIP-2):

• Financial aid approved: USD 250 million.

• DRIP-2 will improve the safety and performance of existing dams across various states of India, and strengthen dam safety by building dam safety guidelines; bring in global experience; and introduce newer technologies.

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