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Important Current Affairs 9th November 2020

NATIONAL

NGT bans sale and use of firecrackers in Delhi-NCR

• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has imposed a total ban on the sale and use of firecrackers in the Delhi-NCR region from 9 November to 30 November. The ban will be applicable in cities and towns where the air quality is in the “poor” category.

• NGT further added that in cities or towns where the air quality is “moderate” or below, only green firecrackers will be sold and the time duration of bursting them will be restricted to two hours during festivals such as Diwali, Chhath, New Year/Christmas Eve as may be specified by the state. Currently, the state governments have their own set of guidelines with regard to permitting/banning the sale and use of firecrackers during the festive season.

Kerala launches “Parivarthanam” scheme for better livelihood of fisherfolk

• The government of Kerala has launched a pioneering eco-sustainable programme called ‘Parivarthanam’, to improve the livelihood of the fishing community. The scheme aims at improving the livelihood skills of youngsters along the coastline and also enable socio-economic uplift of the fishermen community.

• Parivarthanam, which means change, will be headed by Kerala State Coastal Area Development Corporation (KSCADC).

• The scheme will promote the processing and marketing of clean fish and its fresh products.

• Parivarthanam will also guarantee a fixed price to fish-catchers as fair compensation.

• It would also provide jobs to college dropouts and migrant workforce returning home due to C-19.

• Apart from this, the Central Institute of Fisheries Technology (CIFT) of Union governments will monitor the procurement and processing of fish besides ensuring its quality.

1st solar-based water supply project of India launched in Arunachal Pradesh

• Union Jal Shakti Minister, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat has launched India’s first solar-based Integrated Multi-Village Water Supply Project (IMVWSP) in Arunachal Pradesh. The solar-based lift water supply project is ‘first of its kind’ in the country, and has been commissioned at a cost of Rs 28.50 crore. However, such projects will be carried out in other parts of the country too.

• The project would provide drinking water to 17,480 people in 39 villages of Lower Dibang Valley district in Arunachal Pradesh.

• The solar-based Integrated Multi-Village Water Supply Project has been designed as an integrated project with three components, which are drinking water, green energy and tourism.

• The project uses a green energy-solar grid, SCADA automation system, pre-fabricated zinc alum storage tank and HDPE conduit for mains, sub-mains and distribution networking system. The project also includes amusement park including swimming pool, amphitheatre, fountains, and sit-outs.

AIM and Sirius jointly launch ‘AIM-Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0’

• The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), a flagship initiative by the NITI Aayog, and Russia’s Sirius (Scientific International Research In Unique Terrestrial Station) have jointly launched ‘AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0’. AIM–Sirius Innovation Programme 3.0 is a 14-day virtual programme for Indian and Russian schoolchildren.

• It is the first Indo-Russian bilateral youth innovation initiative, which seeks to develop technological solutions, both web-based and mobile-based, for the two countries.

• During the event, around 48 students and 16 educators and mentors will create 8 virtual products and mobile applications to address global challenges across a wide range of areas, in the wake of the C-19 pandemic.

• These areas include culture, distance education, applied cognitive science, health and well-being, sports, fitness, and games training, chemistry, artificial intelligence, and digital financial assets.

PM Modi: Shipping ministry to be renamed

• The Ministry of Shipping is being expanded and renamed as the Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways. This information was given by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 8 November 2020, during a launch event of Ro-Pax terminal at Hazira and flagging off the Ro-Pax ferry service between Hazira and Ghogha in Gujarat, which will reduce the 370-km road distance between the two places to 90-km by sea route.

• The service will also cut the travel time between the two places to about four hours from 10 to 12 hours. The ferry will make three trips daily, annually transporting five lakh passengers, 80,000 passenger vehicles, 50,000 two-wheelers and 30,000 trucks, as per the release.

OBITUARY

Filmmaker Sudarshan Rattan passes away

• Bollywood filmmaker Sudarshan Rattan passed away due to C-19. He was known for his 1986 film Manav Hatya, starring Madhuri Dixit and Shekhar Suman.

• Apart from this, the late filmmaker had also written, directed and produced the 1996 action drama film Hahakaar, starring Sudhir Pandey, Shafi Inamdar, Neelima Azeem and Johny Lever among others.

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Legal Services Day: 09 November

• In India, 09 November is celebrated as “National Legal Services Day” every year by all Legal Services Authorities, to commemorate the enactment of the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987.

• The Day is celebrated to make people aware of the various provisions under the Legal Services Authorities Act and the right of the litigants. The aim of celebrating this day is to offer free of charge, proficient and legal services to the people belonging to weaker sections of society. It also seeks to make sure the availability of free services to weaker section people as well as making them conscious about their rights.

• On 11 October 1987, the Legal Services Authorities Act 1987 was enacted, while the act took effect on 9 November 1995. The day was started by the Supreme Court of India in 1995 to provide help and support to poor and weaker sections of the society. It was established with a mandate to offer help and support to a weaker and poor group of sections of people which may be women, disabled persons, Scheduled Tribes (STs), children, Scheduled Castes (SCs), human trafficking victims as well as natural calamities victims.

International Day of Radiology: 08 November

• International Day of Radiology is observed globally on 8th November every year. The day is celebrated to promote the awareness of the value that radiology contributes to safe patient care, and improving public understanding of the vital role radiologists and radiographers play in the healthcare continuum.

• In 2020, the International Day of Radiology will therefore be dedicated to all imaging professionals and their essential role in fighting the C-19 pandemic making an indispensable contribution to the diagnosis and treatment of C-19 patients. The motto of International Day of Radiology 2020: ‘Radiologists and radiographers supporting patients during C-19’.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Vidya Balan’s short film ‘Natkhat’ eligible for Oscar nomination

• The Indian film ‘Natkhat’, starring and co-produced by Vidya Balan, has won the top prize at the third edition of Best Of India Short Film Festival 2020. By winning the festival, the film has become eligible for 2021 Oscar qualification. The film has been directed by Shaan Vyas and co-produced by Ronnie Screwvala and Vidya Balan.

• The film also won cash prize money of $2,500 (approximately Rs 1,85,497) and an opportunity for a television broadcast deal on ShortsTV. The Best of India Festival has been established by ShortsTV since 2018 to honour and recognize the exceptional work of the Indian (India) filmmaker.

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Important Current Affairs 8th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Joe Biden wins the US presidential election

• Joseph Robinette Biden Jr. has defeated Donald Trump to become the 46th U.S. president. Biden will become the oldest president-elect in U.S. history and the first to oust a sitting commander-in-chief after one term since Bill Clinton defeated George H.W. Bush in 1992. Biden’s electoral college vote to 290, surpassing the 270 needed to win the White House. Biden’s running mate, California Senator Kamala Harris, becomes the first Black and Indian-American woman to serve as vice president.

• Biden Jr. was born November 20, 1942, at St. Mary’s Hospital in Scranton, Pennsylvania. A member of the Democratic Party, Biden previously served as the 47th vice president from 2009 to 2017 and United States Senator for Delaware from 1973 to 2009.

NATIONAL

India-Italy Virtual Bilateral Summit 2020

• The Bilateral Summit between India and Italy was held virtually on 6th November 2020. The Summit was attended by the Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Italy Prof. Giuseppe Conte. The two leaders reviewed the broad framework of the bilateral relationship and reaffirmed their commitment to strengthen cooperation against common global challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic.

• A wide range of issues was discussed including political, economic, scientific & technological, space and defence cooperation. 15 MoUs/Agreements were signed during the Summit in various sectors such as energy, fisheries, shipbuilding, design etc.

ISRO launches PSLV C49 with 10 satellites

• The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO)  has launched the 51st mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). This is the first mission by ISRO in 2020. The carrier vehicle PSLV C49 will deliver 10 satellites in all with EOS-01 as the primary one. It is the 51st mission of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV). The carrier was launched from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre (SDSC) in Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.

• The EOS-01, an earth observation satellite, was intended to provide agriculture, forestry and disaster management support. The nine customer satellites are from Lithuania (1), Luxembourg (4) and USA (4). The customer satellites were being launched under a commercial agreement with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), department of space.Two-day joint coastal security exercise ‘Sagar Kavach’ begins

• A two-day joint coastal security exercise, “Sagar Kavach” was launched at Paradip Coast, Odisha. The exercise is being carried out by a joint effort of the state of Odisha and West Bengal governments.

• The main purpose of the exercise is to carry out the exercise on the coast of Paradip this year, just like every year after the 26/11 Mumbai attacks. The exercise is being carried out to prevent a repeat of the Mumbai attacks by sea.

• More than 10 such departments, including the Indian Navy, the Indian Coast Guard, the

Odisha Police, the local fishermen, the forest department, and the port marine department, have joined the joint exercise.

It will run for two days, with red and green forces being formed to infiltrate and prevent attacks. This year for coastal security the exercise was named “Sagar Kavach”.

PM Modi Chairs Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR) 2020

• Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi chaired the Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR) 2020 Conference, aimed at attracting investment in the country. It provided a platform for exclusive dialogue between leading global institutional investors, Indian business leaders and the highest decision-makers from the government of India and financial market regulators. The Indian side included business leaders, financial market regulators, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman and RBI governor Shaktikanta Das.

• The conference focused on discussions around India’s economic and investment outlook, structural reforms and the government’s vision for making the country a $5 trillion economy.

• The Virtual Global Investor Roundtable (VGIR) was organised by the Ministry of Finance and the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund.

• The roundtable witnessed participation from 20 of the world’s largest pension and sovereign wealth funds with total assets under management of about USD 6 trillion.

• These global institutional investors represent key regions including the US, Europe, Canada, Korea, Japan, Middle East, Australia, and Singapore.

Manipur’s Gyanendro Ningombam becomes new president of Hockey India

• Manipur’s Gyanendro Ningombam was elected unopposed as the President of Hockey India, while former President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad is back in the Hockey India Executive Board after being Elected Unopposed for the Senior Vice President post.

• Earlier, Gyanendro Ningombam has been serving as the Officiating President of Hockey India since July 2020.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Dharmendra Pradhan co-chairs 4th Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue

• The 4th High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue was hosted by the OPEC Secretariat. The Meeting was co-chaired by HE Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo, Secretary-General of OPEC and Shri Dharmendra Pradhan, India’s Minister of Petroleum and Natural Gas and Minister of Steel.

• Key matters discussed at the meeting included rapidly changing global energy landscape, overcoming energy challenges, global oil price mechanisms, measures being taken by OPEC and its partners for balancing oil markets, and on ensuring oil supply security for India.

• This was the first time that the meeting of this Institutional Dialogue was held virtually due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

• The virtual meeting was joined by OPEC Member countries, Secretary Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas, Government of India and CMD & MDs of India’s oil and gas industry from both the public and the private sector.

• The first such dialogue was held in 2015. It was informed that the next High-Level Meeting of the OPEC-India Dialogue will be held in 2021, and if possible in person, in New Delhi.

Whatsapp Partners with 5 Banks for UPI Payment

• WhatsApp has partnered with five Indian banks to process its payment services. These are State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Jio Payments Bank. The Facebook-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp Inc., has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payments services in India, to let users send or receive money across the country.

• The service can however be expanded in a graded manner. It means that initially, Whatsapp can only roll out the payments service to only its 20 million users. The payment system will be rolled out in ten Indian regional languages in the latest version of WhatsApp app.

AAI Signs MoU With NTPC Subsidiary, NVVN

• The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with a subsidiary of NTPC Ltd, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN), to promote usage of electric vehicles and set up solar power plants at the airports managed and operated by AAI.

• NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) will be provided adequate land and rooftop space by AAI, free of cost, at identified AAI airports to set up solar power plants.

• Initially, NVVN will begin working on the projects at airports in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan.

• The solar capacity required at airports in Tamil Nadu and Rajasthan is around 55 MW and 8 MW, respectively to become 100% solar-powered airports.

• Apart from this, AAI and NVVN will jointly work towards supporting the government of India’s initiatives for the adoption of electric vehicles by the creation of public charging infrastructure and promoting the usage of electric vehicles at airports.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SEBI increases Overseas Investment limits for Mutual Funds

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has enhanced the investment limits for Mutual Fund companies for overseas investments. Mutual Funds can make overseas investments subject to a maximum of US $ 600 million per Mutual Fund, within the overall industry limit of US $ 7 billion. Earlier it was USD 300 million.

• Mutual Funds can make investments in overseas Exchange Traded Fund (ETF) subject to a maximum of US $ 200 million per Mutual Fund, within the overall industry limit of US $ 1 billion. Earlier it was Rs 50 million.

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Important Current Affairs 4th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Portugal’s Duarte Pacheco elected as President of IPU for 2020-23

• Portugal MP, Duarte Pacheco has won the elections for the post the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The term of the Duarte Pacheco will be from 2020-2023. He will be the 30th President of the IPU and will succeed Mexican MP Gabriela Cuevas Barron who completed the tenure in October 2020.

• Candidates from four countries were in the race for elections. The other three participants were Pakistan’s Muhammad Sanjrani, Uzbekistan’s Akmal Saidov and Canada’s Pakistani origin Salma Ataullahjan.

Priyanca Radhakrishnan becomes first Indian-origin minister of New Zealand

• Indian-origin New Zealand politician, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has created history by becoming the first Indian-Kiwi woman to become a minister in New Zealand. Radhakrishnan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

• The 41-year-old was one of five new ministers inducted into the Cabinet. She was appointed as Minister for the Community and Voluntary Sector, Minister for Diversity, Inclusion and Ethnic Communities, Minister for Youth and Associate Minister for Social Development and Employment in Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern’s cabinet.

NATIONAL

CJI inaugurates e-resource centre, virtual court in Nagpur

• The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, jointly inaugurated India’s first-ever E-resource centre and the virtual court called “Nyay Kaushal” at Judicial Officers Training Institute in Nagpur.

• The Nyay Kaushal will facilitate electronic-filling of cases in the Supreme Court, any High Court as well as district courts across the country to enable speedy justice for litigants, by utilising technology. The virtual court will be working from Katol in Nagpur district of Maharashtra.

India’s 1st solar-powered miniature train launched in Kerala

• India’s first of its kind solar energy-driven miniature train was inaugurated at the Veli Tourist Village, Kerala by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan.

• The train, which would be an attraction for children especially, was part of a string of projects totally worth Rs 60 crore taken up to elevate the facilities at the panoramic destination to international standards.

AAI hands over Lucknow airport to Adani group

• The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has handed over the Lucknow airport to the Adani group on lease for a period of 50 years.

• Apart from this, the Adani group has taken over/will take over operations of 5 more airports. In February 2019, the Central Govt had privatised six major airports of the country namely Lucknow, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Mangaluru, Thiruvananthapuram, and Guwahati.

• The right to run all these 6 airports has been won by Adani Group for 50 years.

• Adani group has taken over the operations of Jaipur, Guwahati and Thiruvananthapuram in September 2020, Mangaluru on October 31, 2020, Lucknow on November 02, 2020, and will take on the operations of Ahmedabad Airport on November 11, 2020.

SPORTS

Lewis Hamilton wins F1 Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2020

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix 2020 at Autodromo Internazionale Enzo e Dino Ferrari race track, Italy.

• This was his 9th win of the season and 93rd F1 win of his career. Valtteri Bottas finished second while Daniel Ricciardo finished third. Mercedes won the seventh consecutive constructors’ title for 2020.

Shane Watson retires from all forms of cricket

• Australian all-rounder, Shane Watson has announced his retirement from all forms of cricket.

• The 39-year-old will hang up his boots after an illustrious career during which he won two ICC Men’s Cricket World Cups and two ICC Champions Trophy titles.

• He played 59 Tests, 190 ODIs and 58 T20Is.

OBITUARY

James Bond actor Sean Connery passes away

• The Scottish actor, best known for his portrayal of James Bond, Sean Connery passed away.

• Scottish movie legend Connery, who shot to international stardom as the suave and sophisticated British agent James Bond and went on to grace the silver screen for four decades. Connery will be remembered first as British agent 007.

Filmmaker-actor Ashish Kakkad passes away

• Noted actor, filmmaker and voiceover artiste, Ashish Kakkad, has passed away. He was one of the most prominent artists from the Gujarati film industry. As a filmmaker, Ashish was known for his Gujarati projects namely Better Half (2010) and Mission Mummy (2016).

• As an actor, he was seen in several Hindi films such as Kai Po Che! in 2013, and psychological thriller ‘Beyond Blue: An Unnerving Tale of a Demented Mind’ in 2015, including other Gujarati films.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

IISc and Indian Oil R&D inks MoU for hydrogen-generation technology

• The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) and the Research and Development Centre of Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) have signed an MoU to develop and demonstrate biomass gasification-based hydrogen generation technology. This technology will be used for producing fuel cell-grade hydrogen at an affordable price.

• The IISc and IndianOil will work jointly on the optimisation of both biomass gasification and hydrogen purification processes, The developed technology will be scaled up and demonstrated at IndianOils R&D Centre at Faridabad, Haryana.

• Hydrogen generated from this demonstration plant will be used to power fuel cell buses.

• This initiative to produce fuel cell grade hydrogen from biomass is another step by IndianOil jointly with IISc to bring hydrogen fuel to the major energy matrix of India while using the agricultural forces of India.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

A book titled “Pandemonium: The Great Indian Banking Tragedy” by T. Bandyopadhyay

• Tamal Bandyopadhyay has authored a book titled “Pandemonium: The Great Indian Banking Tragedy” and will be released on November 09, 2020. This book, published by Roli Books, provides an understanding of the challenges and economic potential of India.

• The book “Pandemonium” accounts how many promoters had swapped equity with debt while the managements of the banks were finding a way to protect their balance sheets until the intervention of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) against their bad loans.

• The Same issue trouble also affected the developing non-banking financial companies of India who were quick to identify the post-demonetisation easy liquidity and the reluctance of banks to lend which promoted them to borrow short to lend long.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd November 2020

NATIONAL

Harsh Vardhan launches SERB-POWER schemes to support women scientists

• The Union Minister of Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan has launched the ‘SERB – POWER’ schemes which aim to encourage and support emerging as well as eminent women researchers to undertake R&D activities in frontier areas of science and engineering. SERB-POWER stands for Science and Engineering Research Board – Promoting Opportunities For Women in Exploratory Research.

• This scheme is formulated to mitigate gender disparity in science and engineering research funding in various S&T programs in Indian academic institutions and R&D Laboratories, to ensure equal access and weighted opportunities for Indian women scientists engaged in research and development activities.

• The schemes have been launched to provide two categories of research support which are:

1. SERB – POWER Fellowship

2. SERB – POWER Research Grants

1. SERB – POWER Research Grants

• This scheme will encourage emerging and eminent women researchers for the individual-centric and competitive mode of research funding. Under this, the funding will be under the following two categories:

Level I: The scale of funding up to 60 Lakhs for three years.

Level II: The scale of funding up to 30 Lakhs for three years.

2. SERB – POWER Fellowship

• The Power Fellowship scheme will identify and reward outstanding women researchers and innovators working in Indian academic institutions and R&D laboratories, holding Ph.D.degree in any branch of science and engineering.

• Fellowship of Rs. 15,000/- per month in addition to regular income.

• Research grant of Rs.10 Lakh per annum.

UNESCO allots India’s Panna Tiger Reserve ‘Biosphere Reserve’ status

• In Madhya Pradesh, the Panna Tiger Reserve has been included in the ‘World Network of Biosphere Reserves’ list of the UNESCO. This is the 12th biosphere reserve from India to be included in the ‘World Network of Biosphere Reserves’, and third from Madhya Pradesh, after Pachmarhi and Amarkantak. Currently, Panna Tiger Reserve is home to 54 tigers.

• The UNESCO World Network of Biosphere Reserves (WNBR) covers internationally designated protected areas (known as biosphere reserves) that demonstrate a balanced relationship between people and nature (like encourage sustainable development).

PM Modi launches India’s first seaplane service in Gujarat

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the country’s first seaplane service between the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya in Gujarat’s Narmada district and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. He travelled in the maiden flight of the twin-engine plane from pond-3 close to Sardar Sarovar Dam and landed at Sabarmati riverfront where a water aerodrome has been set up.

• The 19-seater seaplane will be managed by private airline SpiceJet.

SPORTS

Jio named title sponsor for BCCI’s Women T20 Challenge 2020

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced Jio as the Title Sponsor of the 2020 edition of the Women’s T20 Challenge. The partnership will also have the support of Reliance Foundation Education and Sports For All (RF ESA).

• This is a historic partnership, as for the first time a sponsor has signed with BCCI exclusively for the women’s matches. The Jio Women’s T20 Challenge to be played from 4th November to 9th November will be held in Sharjah. Three teams are Velocity, Supernovas and Trailblazers will play each other once to decide the finalists on November 9, a day before the IPL final.

OBITUARY

Former Turkish Prime Minister Mesut Yilmaz passes away

• Veteran Politician and former prime minister of Turkey, Mesut Yilmaz has passed away. He was the Chief of the now-defunctional centre-right Motherland Party or ANAP from 1991 to 2002. He served as prime minister of Turkey three times in the 1990s. His first two prime-ministerial terms lasted for just one month, in 1991 and then in 1996, while the third term was from June 1997 to January 1999.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists

• The International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists is an UN-recognized day observed annually on 2 November. The day draws attention to the low global conviction rate for violent crimes against journalists and media workers, estimated at only one in every ten cases.

• The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed 2 November as the ‘International Day to End Impunity for Crimes against Journalists’ in General Assembly Resolution A/RES/68/163. The Resolution urged the Member States to implement definite measures countering the present culture of impunity. The date was chosen in commemoration of the assassination of two French journalists in Mali on 2 November 2013.

World Vegan Day: 01 November

• World Vegan Day is observed globally on 1st November every year. This day is celebrated to spread benefits of veganism for humans, non-human animals, and the natural environment.  Vegan Day is an opportunity to promote the benefits of a vegan diet and veganism in general.

• The term vegan was coined by Donald Watson and derived from the word Vegetarian. At that time, the differentiation was that Vegans did not consume dairy products. Later this extended to eggs, and by 1951, veganism had become a movement of people who did not partake in the exploitation of animals. Each year there are a number of festivals and exhibitions held around the world by vegan societies. In addition, there are many local events, talks and cooking demonstrations organised by individuals. Vegan Day is an opportunity to promote the benefits of a vegan diet and veganism in general.

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Important Current Affairs 31st October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

India extends $1 bn credit line to Central Asian countries

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

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

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

NATIONAL

Telangana CM Chandrasekhar Rao launches ‘Dharani’ Portal

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Indian Army launches indigenous mobile application SAI

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS

Plastic Premier League tournament to be played in Indore

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

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

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

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

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

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

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

NASA’s SOFIA discovers water on Sunlit Surface of Moon

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

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

OBITUARY

Award-winning author and editor Daniel Menaker passes away

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

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

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India hosts 19th Meeting of SCO Ministers of Foreign Economy

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

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

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

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

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

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

14th Asian Film Awards 2020 announced

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

14th Asian Film Awards Winners List:

Award

Name Winner

Best Actor

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

Best Actress

Zhou Dongyu – Better Days (China)

Best Cinematography

Dong Jinsong – The Wild Goose Lake

Best Costume Designer

Pacharin Surawatanapongs– Happy Old Year

Best Director

Wang Xiaoshuai for So Long, My Son (China)

Best Editing

Yang Jin-mo – Parasite

Best Film

Parasite (South Korea)

Best Newcomer

Jackson Yee – Better Days

Best New Director

Hikari – 37 Seconds

Best Supporting Actor

Ryo Kase – To the Ends of the Earth

Best Supporting Actress

Ko Shu-chin – A Sun

Best Screenplay

Bong Joon-ho, Han Jin-won – Parasite

Best Original Music

Karsh Kale, The Salvage Audio Collective – Gully Boy

Best Production Design

Ha-jun Lee – Parasite

Best Visual Effects

Tomi Kijo, Renovatio Pictures – Detention

Best Sound

Yoshifumi Kureishi – Listen to the Universe

Anzar Mustaeen Ali wins special prize in Global Art Competition

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 29th October 2020

NATIONAL

Vice President launches virtual festival of ‘Parampara Series 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arjun Munda launches two Centers of Excellence for tribal welfare

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

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

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

Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurates ‘Direct Port Entry Facility’

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

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

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

UP Govt to establish anti-human trafficking Police Stations

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

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

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

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

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

Young Advocates Welfare Fund launched in Tamil Nadu

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

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

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Om Birla participates in 6th BRICS Parliamentary Forum virtually

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

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

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

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

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

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

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI signs $1 billion loan agreement with JBIC

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

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

RBI bars payment system operators from launching any new QR codes

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 28th October 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Indian-origin Wavel Ramkalawan elected President of Seychelles

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

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

Luis Arce declared as Bolivia’s president-elect

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

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

Alpha Condé won the 3rd Term as President of Guinea

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

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

NATIONAL

NATO plans to set up new space center in Germany

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS

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

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

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

Federation of Indian Fantasy Sports appoints Bimal Julka as Chairman

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

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

OBITUARY

Veteran Gujarati Film Musician, Former MP Mahesh Kanodia passes away

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

HDFC Bank MD & CEO Aditya Puri retires

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

Indian Army celebrates 74th Infantry Day in J&K

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

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

International Animation Day: 28 October

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

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

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

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

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

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

IIT Jodhpur, NHAI sign MoU for betterment of Highway Infrastructure

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

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

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

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

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

RANKING

Haryana tops Anemia Mukt Bharat Index in country

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 24th October 2020

NATIONAL

Uttarakhand CM launches Integrated Model Agricultural Village scheme

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

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

OBITUARY

Playback singer and actor K J Mohammed passes away

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Vega ropes in Rohit Sharma as brand ambassador

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

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

Sushil Kumar Singhal appointed as next Ambassador to Solomon Islands

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

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

Neena Malhotra appointed as Ambassador to Republic of San Marino

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

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

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Snow Leopard Day: 23 October

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

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

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr Jajini Varghese honoured with Outstanding Young Person 2020

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

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

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

BANKING AND ECONOMY

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 17th October 2020

National

Union Education Minister launched “KAPILA” Kalam Program

• Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has virtually launched the campaign ‘KAPILA’, which stands for Kalam Program for Intellectual Property Literacy and Awareness campaign on 15th October 2020. The day was launched in honour of 89th birth anniversary celebration of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

• Through the campaign, the government will spread awareness through educational programs about the importance of patenting an invention, to lead India towards self-reliance. In order to promote awareness in the field, the Ministry has decided to celebrate the week from 15 to 23 October as ‘Intellectual Property Literacy Week’. Various awareness programs will be organised to create awareness about the system and the importance of the process of applying for a patent.

Banking and Economy

GoI to borrow Rs 1.1 lakh crore to meet shortfall of GST compensation

• The central government will borrow Rs 1.1 lakh crore under the special window to meet the shortfall of Goods and Services Tax (GST) compensation. Under the Special Window, the estimated shortfall of Rs 1.1 lakh cr (assuming all States join) will be borrowed by Government of India in appropriate tranches. The borrowed amount will be passed on to the States as a back-to-back loan in lieu of GST Compensation. This will not have any impact on the fiscal deficit of the Government of India.

• The amounts will be reflected as the capital receipts of the State Governments and as part of the financing of its respective fiscal deficits. This will avoid differential rates of interest that individual States may be charged for their respective SDLs and will be an administratively easier arrangement. The govt also clarified that the General Government (States+Centre) borrowings will not increase by this step. The States that get the benefit from the Special Window is likely to borrow a considerably lesser amount from the additional borrowing facility of 2% of GSDP (from 3% to 5%) under the Aatma Nirbhar Package.

Appointments & Resignations

SC appoints former judge to monitor steps to prevent stubble burning

• The Supreme Court has appointed Justice Madan B Lokur, a former judge of the apex court, as a one-man monitoring committee to prevent stubble burning in the states of Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, amid rising levels of pollution in the national capital and adjoining regions.

• The bench also directed court-appointed Environment Pollution Control Authority (EPCA) and chief secretaries of Haryana, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh to help the Lokur panel with physical surveillance of fields to check instances of stubble burning and other related matters.

• The new committee will monitor the stubble burning and take preventive steps. It will get assistance from chief secretaries of all states as well as National Cadet Corps (NCC), National Service Scheme and Bharat Scouts. The panel shall submit its report on stubble burning within 15 days to the apex court.

Days

International Day for the Eradication of Poverty

• International Day for the Eradication of Poverty is observed globally on 17 October every year. The day aims to raise awareness of the need to eradicate poverty and destitution around the world, particularly in developing countries.

• 2020 Theme: “Acting together to achieve social and environmental justice for all”. The theme for the Day this year addresses the challenge of achieving social and environmental justice for all.

• This year marks the 27th anniversary of the declaration by the General Assembly, in its resolution 47/196 of 22 December 1992, of 17 October as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty. This year also marks the 32nd anniversary of the Call to Action by Father Joseph Wresinski — which inspired the observance of October 17 as the World Day for Overcoming Extreme Poverty — and the recognition by the United Nations of the day as the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty.

Obituary

“Nightingale of Gujarat” Kaumudi Munshi passes away

• The “Nightingale of Gujarat”, Kaumudi Munshi passed away due to C-19. During the early stage of her career, Munshi sang mostly in Gujarati, gaining fame with songs like ‘Sachi re maari satre bhavani maa’. The singer also sang Bhojpuri songs, for the 1963 movie Bidesiya she sang ‘Neek Saiyan bin’ with renowned singer Geeta Dutt.

• Singer and musician Kaumudi Munshi were born in Varanasi. She completed her education with an arts degree in music from Banaras Hindu University. She trained under the likes of Siddheshwari Devi and Taj Ahmed Khan. After shifting to Mumbai, she got selected in an audition for All India Radio. This is also where she met and later married Ninu Mazumdar, a music director associated with All India Radio.

Bihar Panchayati Raj Minister Kapil Deo Kamat passes away

• The senior Janata Dal (United) leader Kapil Deo Kamat, who was serving as the Panchayati Raj Minister of Bihar, passed away due to C-19.

• He was a JDU MLA from Babubarhi assembly constituency in Madhubani district, Bihar.

Sports

Constantina Dita named ambassador for Half Marathon C’ships Gdynia 2020

• Romania’s 2008 Olympic champion, Constantina Dita has been named an ambassador for the World Athletics Half Marathon Championships Gdynia 2020. The 2020 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships, originally scheduled for 29 March 2020 in Gdynia, Poland, was postponed until 17 October 2020, due to the C-19 pandemic.

• Dita competed at eight editions of the World Half Marathon Championships and earned seven medals in the process, making her one of the most successful athletes in the history of the event. Her double victory in Edmonton in 2005, taking individual and team gold medals, remains one of the highlights of her career.

• She won the marathon gold medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, China.

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Important Current Affairs 15th October 2020

National

Union Cabinet approves World Bank-aided STARS project

• The Union Cabinet has approved implementation of the World Bank-aided STARS project. The project seeks to support the states in implementing, developing, evaluating and improving interventions with direct linkages to improve quality of education.  STARS stands for Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States.

• The total project cost is estimated to be around Rs. 5,718 crore, out of which the financial support from World Bank will amount to  USD 500 million (approximately Rs. 3700 crore). This was informed by Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar during a press briefing after the Cabinet meeting.

• The project will cover six states- Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha and Kerala. This is expected to mark an important milestone and mark the beginning of the New Education Policy.

World Economic Forum shifts annual meeting 2021 from Davos to Lucerne

• The World Economic Forum (WEF) has announced that the Annual Meeting 2021 will be held in Lucerne-Burgenstock, Switzerland, as against the traditional venue of ski resort town Davos.

• The meeting has been re-scheduled to be held from May 18 to 21, 2021 instead of the usual January-end each year.

• The Annual Meeting 2021 in Lucerne-Burgenstock will be held around the theme of ‘The Great Reset’.

International

Pakistan listed on ‘Enhanced Follow-up List’ by FATF

• Financial Action Task Force (FATF) Asia Pacific group has kept Pakistan in its ‘Enhanced Follow Up’ list.

• The organisation had downgraded Pakistan status from “regular follow-up” to “enhanced follow up”.

• According to the FATF’s report, Pakistan complied with only two of the 40 recommendations of Financial Action Task Force.

Banking and Economy

IMF projects India’s GDP to contract 10.3% in 2020

• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has projected the Indian economy to contract by 10.3 percent in 2020-21, from its earlier prediction of -4.5 percent due to rise in C-19 cases.

• IMF estimates the GDP of India to grow at 8.8 percent in 2021-22, as compared to 6 percent predicted earlier, regaining the position of the fastest growing emerging economy.

Banks’ aggregate exposure limit for small businesses raised to Rs 7.5 crore by RBI

• The credit card named Axis ACE Credit Card to entities with turnover up to Rs 50 crore to Rs 7.5 crore by Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

• RBI has also decided to extend the existing enhanced Held to Maturity (HTM) limit of 22 percent for SLR securities acquired between September 1, 2020 and March 31, 2021, up to March 31, 2022.

Summits and Mou’s

Tamil Nadu Chief Minister signs 14 MoUs to generate employment

• Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu, Edappadi K. Palaniswami signed 14 Agreements worth Rs. 10, 055 crore with potential to generate employment in the State.

• The Tamil Nadu State Government is also ranked first among Indian states in attracting investments during the first six months of this year.

Awards

Central bank of the year award 2020 awarded to “Bank of Ghana”

• Bank of Ghana has won the Central bank of the year award 2020.

• Apart from this, Mark Carney (Governor of the Bank of England) has won the Governor of the year at the Central bank of the year award 2020.

Appointments and Resignations

Bharate launches new brand campaign with 11 cricketers as brand ambassadors

• BharatPe has announced the launch of its high impact TV campaign starring ‘Team BharatPe’ with 11 Cricket stars.

• The TVC series has been directed by ace Bollywood director, Puneet Malhotra, and communicates the message ‘Hum Hai Team BharatPe – Jo Desh Ke Har Dukandaar Ke Saath Hai Khade’.

• This is the first time that a new age FinTech company has rolled out a TV campaign with 11 top cricket stars as its brand ambassadors. Team BharatPe includes Rohit Sharma, Jasprit Bumrah, KL Rahul, Mohammed Shami, Ravindra Jadeja, Suresh Raina, Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw, Sanju Samson, Yuzvendra Chahal, and Shubhman Gill.

Days

World Students’ Day

• World Students’ Day is observed every year on October 15 to mark the birth anniversary of former President A. P. J. Abdul Kalam.

• In 2010 the United Nations declared 15 October “World Students’ Day”, due to Kalam’s love for students and who himself was a dedicated teacher and identified himself foremost in that role before anything else.

• 2020 marks 89th birth anniversary of the former president and ‘Missile Man’ Dr APJ Abdul Kalam.

Books and Authors

Autobiography of former Union Minister Balasaheb Vikhe Patil

• Prime Minister released the autobiography of former Union Minister Dr Balasaheb Vikhe Patil through video conferencing on 13 October 2020.

• The autobiography of Dr. Patil has been titled ‘Deh Vechwa Karani,’ means ‘dedicating one’s life for a noble cause.’

• Dr Patil was a prominent leader from Maharashtra who served as seven time Member of Lok Sabha.

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