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Important Current Affairs 8th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

China becomes second nation to plant flag on the Moon

• China has become the second country in the world to unfurl its national flag on the moon surface. Earlier this feat was achieved only by the USA when it planted its flag on the Moon during the Apollo mission in 1969. China achieved the historic feat when ‘Chang’e 5‘ probe of China, which was launched to collect soil and rock samples of the lunar surface, took off from the moon to return to earth after planting the national flag on 3rd December 2020.

• If the return journey concludes successfully, China becomes the only third country globally to have samples from the moon. Till date, this record is maintained only by the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1960s and 1970s.

SPORTS

Sergio Perez wins Sakhir Grand Prix 2020

• Sergio Perez (Mexico-Racing Point-BWT Mercedes), won the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix at the Bahrain International Circuit in Sakhir, Bahrain. Esteban Ocon (Renault-France) secured the second position, followed by and Lance Stroll (Racing Point-BWT Mercedes-Canada) at third place.

• The race was the maiden edition of the Sakhir Grand Prix and sixteenth race of the 2020 Formula One World Championship. This is the first Formula One win for Perez. He is also the first Mexican Formula One driver to win a race since Pedro Rodríguez won the 1970 Belgian Grand Prix.

Sri Lanka to host Asia Cup in 2021

• Sri Lanka will host the Asia Cup in June 2021 while Pakistan has earned the rights to host the tournament in 2022. As per the original schedule, the tournament was supposed to be hosted by Pakistan in 2020, however, it got postponed due to the C-19 pandemic.

• Now the event has been moved forward to June 2021, with Sri Lanka Cricket taking the hosting rights from PCB. As compensation, PCB has got the hosting rights for the 2022 edition.

Jehan Daruvala becomes first Indian to win F2 race

• Jehan Daruvala created history, as he became the first Indian to win a Formula 2 race at the 2020 Sakhir Grand Prix, Bahrain. This was the final race of the F2 season. The Formula 2 Championship is a second-tier single-seater racing championship.

• The 22-year-old Jehan Daruvala is currently a member of the Red Bull Junior Team and competes for Carlin Motorsport. His Japanese teammate, Yuki Tsunoda came second while Britain’s Daniel Ticktum was in a third spot. Racing legend Michael Schumacher’s son Mick Schumacher was crowned as the overall F2 champion of the season.

OBITUARY

Father of Fibre Optics Narinder Singh Kapany passes away

• Narinder Singh Kapany, also known as the father of fibre optics, passed away. The India-born American physicist was named as one of the seven “Unsung Heroes” by Fortune in their ‘Businessmen of the Century’ issue of November 1999.

• Kapany was the first to transmit images through fibre optics back in 1954 and laid the foundation for high-speed internet technology. He not only founded fibre optics but also used his own invention for the business. He founded the Optics Technology Incorporation and Kaptron Incorporation in 1960 and 1973 respectively. He studied at Agra University and then moved to Imperial College in London. He received his PhD from the University of London in 1955.

• He received ‘The Excellence 2000 Award’ from the USA Pan-Asian American Chamber of Commerce in 1998, a fellow of numerous scientific societies including the British Royal Academy of Engineering, the Optical Society of America, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Serum Institute’s Adar Poonawalla named as 1 of 6 “Asians Of The Year”

• Adar Poonawalla, the Chief Executive of the Pune-based Serum Institute of India (SII), has been named among six “The Straits Times Asians of the Year” for 2020, by Singapore’s leading daily, The Straits Times, for their work in fighting the C-19 pandemic.

• SII has collaborated with the University of Oxford and the British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca to develop C-19 vaccine, ‘C-19 shield’, and is conducting trials in India.

The other five Asians of the Year includes:

• Chinese researcher Zhang Yongzhen

• China’s Major-General Chen Wei,

• Japan’s Dr Ryuichi Morishita

• Singapore’s Professor Ooi Eng Eong

• South Korean businessman Seo Jung-jin

• The Straits Times has collectively referred these 6 winners as “the virus busters”, because they are heroes of a kind, having devoted themselves to the pressing cause of resolving the C-19 pandemic, each in their own capacity.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ICICI Bank Launches iMobile Pay to offer Payments

• The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a new version of its mobile payment app called iMobile Pay, to offer payment and banking services to customers of any bank. The latest version of the app is interoperable and will now allow payments and other banking services to even those customers who do not hold an ICICI Bank account.

• Using the app, the customers of other banks can link their bank account, generate a UPI ID and start paying, shopping, transfer funds to any bank account or to any other payment apps or digital wallets; or bill payments and online recharges, among others.

• It also offers instant banking services such as savings account, investments, loans, credit cards, gift cards, and travel cards, among others.

Kotak AMC launches REIT Funds of Funds scheme

• Kotak Mahindra Asset Management Company (Kotak Mutual Fund), has launched Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds, India’s first diversified REIT Mutual Fund. REIT stands for Real Estate Investment Trust.

• Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds is an open-ended mutual fund scheme that will invest in units of SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund.

• This mutual fund scheme will have a diversified investment portfolio comprising of listed REITs which will invest in real estate projects like residential, office, data centres, warehousing, retail and hospitality.

• The Kotak International REIT Fund of Funds will invest in units of Japan-based SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund.

• The SMAM Asia REIT Sub Trust Fund is one of the largest Asia Pacific (Ex Japan) REIT funds investing in listed REITs in the Asia Pacific region.

• It is managed by Sumitomo Mitsui DS Asset Management Company, which has a significant portfolio of listed Real Estate Investment Trusts in Singapore, Australia and Hong Kong.

PNB launches loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a tech-based loan management solution ‘LenS-The Lending Solution’, to speed up and maintain accuracy in online loan processing and sanctioning of credit proposals. It is envisaged to be implemented in a phased manner for all kinds of loans. Under the Mudra scheme, the processing and sanction of credit proposals up to Rs 10 lakh including Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises ( MSME) loans (fresh, renewal, enhancement and review) will be done by LenS.

• To standardise the system, process and assess formats for credit processing

• To auto-generate the loan documents for each type of credit facilities

• To reduce delay, cost and human errors involved in manual processing, digital record maintenance, security & data privacy.

• Ready to use monitoring and MIS reports for better tracking and transparency.

ADB approves $190 million loan to upgrade power distribution in Bengaluru

• The Manila-based Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a loan of $190 million (approx Rs 1,400 crore) to modernize and upgrade the power distribution system in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The financial-assistance by ADB will be used for the Bengaluru Smart Energy Efficient Power Distribution Project.

• The $190 million loan includes a $100 million sovereign loan and a $90 million non-sovereign guarantee loan to Bangalore Electricity Supply Company Limited (BESCOM). BESCOM is one of five state-owned distribution utilities and the largest in Karnataka. This combination of sovereign and non-sovereign loans is being deployed by ADB in India on a pilot basis for the first time.

RTGS system to be available on 24×7 basis from December 14

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Real Time Gross Settlement (RTGS) system will be made available round the clock on all days of the year with effect from 00:30 hours on December 14, 2020. Presently RTGS system is available for customers between 7:00 AM and 6:00 PM.

• RTGS shall continue to be governed by the RTGS System Regulations, 2013. RTGS shall be available for customer and inter-bank transactions round the clock, except for the interval between ‘end-of-day’ and ‘start-of-day’ processes, whose timings would be duly broadcasted through the RTGS system. Intra-Day Liquidity (IDL) facility shall be made available to facilitate smooth operations.

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Important Current Affairs 7th December 2020

NATIONAL

Pixxel to launch remote-sensing satellite on ISRO rocket

• The Bengaluru-based space-technology start-up “Pixxel”, has signed a pact with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to launch its first remote-sensing satellite on Isro’s workhorse Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket in early 2021. Earlier, the startup had planned to launch this satellite towards the end of 2020 and on a Russian Soyuz rocket.

• Pixxel aims to put a constellation of 30 earth observation micro-satellites into a sun-synchronous orbit by mid-2023. The data through these satellites will help in various sectors, ranging from agriculture to urban monitoring, such as track on air and water pollution levels, forest biodiversity and health, coastal and marine health, and changes in the urban landscape.

• The agreement was signed between Pixxel with NewSpace India Limited (NSIL), a Government of India company under the Department of Space.

• This agreement with NSIL is the first-of-a-kind private earth-observation mission and one of the first since the setting up of IN-SPACe, the authorisation and regulatory body under the Department of Space (DoS) to enable private players undertaking space activities in India.

SPORTS

New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson retires from all forms of Cricket

• New Zealand all-rounder, Corey Anderson has announced his retirement from international cricket. Anderson has played 13 Tests, 49 ODIs and 31 T20Is for New Zealand, scoring 2277 runs with two hundred and 10 half-centuries and 90 wickets.

• Anderson has signed a 3-year contract with Major League Cricket (MLC) in the USA, where he will serve in the Major and Minor League Cricket and coaching ventures at the cricket academies that come under the MLC.

• Anderson rose to fame after scoring fastest 100 in the history of One Day International cricket (ODI), in 36-ball against West Indies in January 2014. However, this record was broken by AB de Villiers, in January 2015 who scored the fastest ODI century against the West Indies in Johannesburg in 31 balls.

OBITUARY

Veteran Marathi actor Ravi Patwardhan passes away

• Ravi Patwardhan, a popular face in Marathi entertainment industry, has passed away. The veteran actor became a household name for his role in Marathi TV series Agabai Sasubai.

• Apart from this, Patwardhan has also starred in a few Hindi movies namely Tezab, Jhanjaar, Bond and Yeshwant.

Veteran Bengali actor Manu Mukherjee passes away

• Veteran Bengali actor Manu Mukherjee passed away. He started his film career with Mrinal Sen’s Nil Akasher Niche (1958).

• The actor is best remembered for his roles in Satyajit Ray’s Joy Baba Felunath and Ganashatru. He had also been part of children’s fantasy film Patalghar’.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Armed Forces Flag Day: 7 December

• In India, the Armed Forces Flag Day (also known as the Flag Day of India) is observed annually on December 7 since 1949 as an honour to the soldiers, sailors and airmen of India who fought on the borders to keep the country safe.

• The three branches of the Armed Forces of India, namely, the Indian Army, the Indian Air Force and the Indian Navy are remembered on this day. The ‘Armed forces Flag Day Fund’ (AFFDF) has been constituted by the Government of India for the welfare and rehabilitation of the Ex-Servicemen (ESM) community.

International Civil Aviation Day: 07 December

• The International Civil Aviation Day is celebrated every year on December 7 to recognize the importance of aviation to the social and economic development of the world. The purpose of International Civil Aviation Day is to help generate and reinforce worldwide awareness of the importance of international civil aviation to the social and economic development of States, and of the unique role of ICAO in helping States to cooperate and realize a truly global rapid transit network at the service of all mankind.

• The Council has decided that from now until 2023, the theme will be: “Advancing Innovation for Global Aviation Development”.

• The Day was established in 1994 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). The United Nations General Assembly proclaimed the day in 1996.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Bangladesh signs maiden Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)

• Bangladesh has signed its first Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA) with Bhutan, which will allow duty-free access to a range of goods between the two countries and hence boost bilateral trade between them. Under the PTA, 100 Bangladeshi products will get duty free access to Bhutan, while 34 items from Bhutan will get duty free access into Bangladesh. Further items can be added in the list later on the basis of discussion between the two countries.

• This is the first PTA signed by Bangladesh with any country in the world since its independence in 1971. The PTA was signed on 6th December 2020, to mark 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Bangladesh and Bhutan. In 1971, Bhutan was the first country in the world to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.

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Important Current Affairs 6th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Gitanjali Rao becomes 1st-ever TIME’s “Kid Of The Year”

• The Indian-American young scientist and inventor, Gitanjali Rao, has been named as the first-ever ‘Kid of the Year’ by the iconic TIME magazine. This is the first time that the TIME magazine has launched the Kid of The Year” award.

• The 15-year-old Gitanjali Rao was chosen from among more than 5,000 nominees, for her “astonishing work” using technology to tackle issues ranging from contaminated drinking water to opioid addiction and cyberbullying.

• She has created applications named ‘Kindly’ to help people, especially kids, fight opioid addiction and cyberbullying.

• TIME magazine had partnered with Nickelodeon and searched social media and school districts across the country to shortlist the most influential child of 2020.

NATIONAL

V. Naidu virtually releases postage stamp in former PM IK Gujral’s honour

• Vice President Venkaiah Naidu has virtually released a commemorative Postage Stamp in honour of the late Prime Minister of India & Freedom Fighter, I K Gujral (Inder Kumar Gujral).

• I K Gujral was the 12th Prime Minister of India, he served as the Prime Minister from April 1997-March 1998. He was born in Jhelum (now in Pakistan) in 1919. During his tenure as India’s External Affairs Minister, I K Gujral laid a set of five principles – ‘Gujral Doctrine’ to guide the conduct of foreign relations with India’s immediate neighbours. He passed away in 2012 due to a lung infection.

PASSEX conducted by Indian Navy and Russian Navy

• The Indian Navy (IN) and the Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) are undertaking Passage Exercise (PASSEX) in the Eastern Indian Ocean Region (IOR). The exercise will help in enhancing interoperability, improving understanding and imbibing best practices between both the friendly navies. It involves advanced surface and anti-submarine warfare exercises, weapon firings, seamanship exercises and helicopter operations.

• Indian Navy is being represented by indigenously constructed guided-missile frigate Shivalik and anti-submarine corvette Kadmatt along with integral helicopters. Russian Federation Navy includes guided-missile cruiser Varyag, the large anti-submarine ship Admiral Panteleyev and medium ocean tanker Pechenga. The PASSEX’s are conducted regularly by Indian Navy with units of friendly foreign navies.

Majerhat Bridge named “Jai Hind” to Mark Netaji’s 125th Birth Anniversary

• West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee named the newly built “Majerhat bridge” in Kolkata as ‘Jai Hind’ bridge to commemorate the 125th Birth Anniversary of Subash Chandra Bose.

• The new bridge has been built in the place of an old one which collapsed in September 2018. It is 650-metres long and connects the Central part of Kolkata to the Southwestern suburbs of Behala and others.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Ranjitsinh Disale becomes 1st Indian to win 2020 Global Teacher Prize

• Ranjitsinh Disale, a government teacher from Zilla Parishad Primary School, in Paritewadi village, Solapur district of Maharashtra, has won the 2020 Global Teacher Prize. He is the first Indian to win this award, which carries prize money of $1 million (Rs 7.4 crore).

• The 32-year-old has won the annual Global Teacher Prize 2020 in recognition of his efforts to promote girls’ education in his village and trigger a quick-response (QR) coded textbook revolution in India. He made efforts and added QR codes to textbooks of primary classes to provide links to audio poems, video lectures, stories and assignments. He also worked towards education for girls and teaching people about the ill-effects of teenage marriage and even helped to achieve 100% attendance of girls.

• Ranjitsinh has also created history by announcing to share half the prize money with the nine finalists from across the world for the award, where each one will receive about $55,000 each. He also becomes the first winner to share the prize money with the finalists.

• The Global Teacher Prize is an annual prize founded by the Varkey Foundation in 2014 to recognise an exceptional teacher who has made an outstanding contribution to the profession. The award is given in partnership with UNESCO.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Vice President releases a book on Former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

• The Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has released the book titled “40 Years with Abdul Kalam- Untold Stories”, a book on the life of the former President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The book was authored by Dr A.Sivathanu Pillai. The book is published by Pentagon Press LLP and the foreword was written by Pranab Mukherjee, former president of India.

• The book provided a first-hand account of the life of Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, who was described as the epitome of simplicity, honesty and wisdom.

• Dr. Kalam strengthened the Defence sector of India and contributed to the development of India’s space capabilities.

• The book discusses his life events including the events at ISRO, DRDO and BrahMos and his interaction with the power corridors

• Dr A. Sivathanu Pillai has assisted Dr Vikram Sarabhai during the evolution of the ten-year space profiles and worked with Dr APJ Abdul Kalam in Satellite Launch Vehicle-3 (SLV3) and Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) configuration design and with Prof. Satish Dhawan in the study of future ISRO launch vehicles and missions.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Axis Bank launches ‘Axis Bank Rupi Business Credit Card’ for MSMEs

• Axis Bank Ltd in partnership with Rupifi and Visa launched ‘Axis Bank Rupifi Business Credit Card’ for MSMEs(Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). This Contactless Co-Branded credit card, powered by Visa is applicable only to the MSMEs businesses that transact on the aggregator platforms partnered with Rupifi PAN (Permanent Account Number) India for their business purchases. The card offers credit solutions to such MSMEs. It is only for domestic transactions.

Average Credit Limit

• The average credit limit offered by the card will be between the range of Rs 1 Lakh and Rs 2 lakh per month.

• This will be decided on the basis of the business data of the transaction of the MSME with the aggregator platforms, GMV (Gross Monthly Volume) of the last 6 months and overall revenue among other factors.

Joining and Annual Fees

• The joining fee is Rs 1000 and the annual fee is not required for this card.

Revolve feature & Interest-free Credit Period

• The card comes with a 51 days interest-free credit period.

• The revolving feature of the card provides the customers with an option to pay the full balance at the end of each billing cycle or to carry over the balance from one month to the next by paying a minimum amount.

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Important Current Affairs 5th December 2020

NATIONAL

International Sand Art Festival & Konark Festival 2020 begins

• The 9th edition of the International Sand Art Festival and the 31st edition of the Konark Festival has kicked-off in Odisha. International Sand Art Festival is being held at the Chandrabhaga Beach of Konark in Puri district of Odisha. About 70 artists from across the country are taking part in the festival. The world-renowned sand artist and Padmashree Awardee, Sudarsan Pattnaik, has been appointed as Chief Curator of the festival.

• The festival is organised every year as part of the Konark Dance Festival, to provide a platform for both national and international sand artists to showcase their talent. However, in 2020 international artists are not participating due to the ongoing global C-19 pandemic.

• Meanwhile, the Konark Festival is organised by Odisha Tourism to showcase the best of India’s traditional and classical dance forms, and offer interesting insights into the rich cultural heritage of the country.

• Leading exponents and dance enthusiasts of almost all classical dance forms of India, including Odissi, Bharatanatyam, Manipuri, Kuchipudi and Kathak, are participating in the five-day classical dance carnival.

OBITUARY

Lakshadweep Administrator Dineshwar Sharma passes away

• Lakshadweep Administrator, Dineshwar Sharma passed away. He was earlier headed the Intelligence Bureau and was also the Interlocutor for Jammu and Kashmir.

• The 66-year-old retired IPS officer of the Kerala cadre had been appointed administrator of the Lakshadweep Union Territory in October 2019. He was assistant director in the IB in Kashmir between 1994 and 1996 and then went on to serve on the Kashmir desk of the bureau in the national capital.

Former PM of Pakistan Zafarullah Jamali passes away

• The 15th Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zafarullah Khan Jamali passed away. He served as PM from November 2002 to June 2004 for a duration of 1 Year, 7 Months and 3 days. He is the first politician from Balochistan to become Prime Minister.

• Jamali served the country when former military dictator Pervez Musharraf was the President of the country. As PM, Jamali vowed to sign a peace agreement and cease-fire in the disputed Kashmir region. In 2004, Jamali made the first high-level visit from Pakistan to Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban government in 2001.

Former French President Valéry Giscard d’Estaing passes away

• The former President of France, Valery Giscard d’Estaing has passed away at the age of 94, from the complications of coronavirus. He had served as the third president of the Republic of France from 1974 to 1981. He was born on 2nd February 1926 in Koblenz, French-occupied Germany (now Germany).

• Giscard founded the Union for French Democracy, a centre-right political party in 1978 to counter the Gaullist preponderance over the political right in France. He lowered the voting age from 21 to 18 and he also liberalised the laws on divorce, abortion and contraception during his tenure as the President.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Kuldeep Handoo appointed as “Fit India” movement ambassador

• Srinagar born Wushu coach and the first Dronacharya Awardee from the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Kuldeep Handoo is appointed as the Ambassador of Fit India movement. He won 11 gold medals in National and 6 in International stage, is the Wushu coach of Team India. Under his guidance Athletes have won two gold medals at the world championship and one at the World Cup. He also serves as Inspector of police in Jammu and Kashmir.

• Jammu and Kashmir Police medal award, for meritorious service

• The Parshuram Award, an honour of sports in the state of Himachal Pradesh

• Fit India movement was launched in August 2019, to encourage Indians to include fitness activities and sports in their daily lives to pave the way for a healthy and fit lifestyle.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Soil Day: 05 December

• The World Soil Day is celebrated every year on December 5 to raise awareness of the importance of soil quality for human well-being, food security and ecosystems. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) campaign “Keep soil alive, protect soil biodiversity” aims to raise awareness of the importance of sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being.

• The date of 5 December was chosen because it corresponds with the official birthday of the late H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej, King of Thailand, who was one of the main proponents of this initiative.

• An international day to celebrate Soil was recommended by the International Union of Soil Sciences (IUSS) in 2002. Under the leadership of the Kingdom of Thailand and within the framework of the Global Soil Partnership, FAO has supported the formal establishment of WSD as a global awareness-raising platform. The FAO Conference unanimously endorsed World Soil Day in June 2013 and requested its official adoption at the 68th UN General Assembly. In December 2013, the UN General Assembly responded by designating 5 December 2014 as the first official World Soil Day.

International Volunteer Day: 05 December

• The International Volunteer Day (IVD), also called International Volunteer Day for Economic and Social Development is observed on 5 December every year. IVD 2020 Theme: “Together We Can Through Volunteering”. The IVD international observance was mandated by the UN General Assembly in 1985.

• The purpose of the day to celebrate the efforts of volunteers and organizations and offer the opportunity to promote volunteerism, encourage governments to support volunteer efforts and recognize volunteer contributions to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at local, national and international levels.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India & USA signs MoU on Intellectual Property Cooperation

• The Government of India and the United States of America (USA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in the field of Intellectual Property Cooperation. As a part of this MoU, the two sides will develop Biennial Work Plan to implement the MoU which will include the detailed planning for carrying out of the co-operation activities including the scope of action. The Union Cabinet had approved the signing the MoU for the same on 19 February 2020.

• The MoU was signed between Dr Guruprasad Mohapatra, Secretary, DPIIT and Mr Andrei Iancu, who represented the Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry and the United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO), Department of Commerce of the United States of America respectively.

RANKING

Manipur’s Nongpok Sekmai Police Station best in India

• The Nongpok Sekmai Police Station in Manipur topped the list of best police stations in India, while Sooramangalam All Women Police Station at Salem, Tamil Nadu was adjudged the second best police station in the country. The Kharsang PS, Arunachal Pradesh‘s Changlang district was adjudged the country’s third-best police station.

State

District

Police Station

Manipur

Thoubal

Nongpok Sekmai

Tamil Nadu

Salem City

       AWPS-Suramangalam

Arunachal Pradesh

Changlang

Kharsang

Chhattisgarh

Surajpur

Jhilmili (Bhaiya Thana)

Goa

South Goa

Sanguem

• The top 10 Police Stations were selected from among the 16,671 Police Stations in the country through data analysis, direct observation and public feedback.

HCL’s Roshni Nadar tops Kotak Wealth-Hurun wealthy women list 2020

• Chairperson of HCL Technologies, Roshni Nadar Malhotra has topped the list of wealthiest women in India, according to the second edition of ‘Kotak Wealth Hurun–Leading Wealthy Women’ report. The report is compiled by Kotak Wealth Management, a division of Kotak Mahindra Bank, and Hurun India.

• Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw of Biocon and Leena Gandhi Tewari of USV are at the second and third rank respectively in the Kotak Wealth Hurun wealthy women list 2020. Shaw is also the wealthiest self-made woman on the list. 19 women from this list also feature in the Hurun India Rich List 2020, and 6 women have made it to the Hurun Global Rich List 2020.

• The ranking is based on the net worth of women as on September 30, 2020, and focuses exclusively on women who play an active role in their family business, entrepreneurs and professionals.

Reliance Industries tops Fortune India 500 Ranking 2020

• Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has topped the 2020 Fortune 500 list of Indian companies, released. The revenue of RIL clocked Rs 615,854.00, accounting for 7% of cumulative revenues and 11 per cent profit of the companies. The country’s biggest oil firm, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd (IOC), bagged the second spot, followed by Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) at the third position. The list was published by Fortune India, which is part of the Kolkata-based RP Sanjiv Goenka Group.

Top 10 companies on the 2020 Fortune India-500 list:

1. Reliance Industries

2. Indian Oil Corporation

3. Oil and Natural Gas Corporation

4. State Bank of India

5. Bharat Petroleum Corporation

6. Tata Motors

7. Rajesh Exports

8. Tata Consultancy Services

9. ICICI Bank

10. Larsen & Toubro

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Important Current Affairs 4th December 2020

INTERNATIONAL

New Zealand declares climate emergency

• New Zealand has declared a “climate emergency” and promised to make its public sector carbon neutral by 2025. New Zealand now joins 32 other countries that have declared a climate emergency. They include Japan, Canada, France and the United Kingdom.

• Prime Minister of  New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern told legislators that the climate emergency declaration was “an acknowledgement of the next generation – an acknowledgement of the burden that they will carry if we do not get this right and do not take action now”.

India invites UK’s Johnson as 2021 Republic Day chief guest

• United Kingdom Prime Minister, Boris Johnson is expected to be the chief guest at 2021 Republic day with Prime Minister Narendra Modi formally inviting him. Johnson, on his part, has invited PM Modi to the G-7 summit in the United Kingdom next year.

• The last British prime minister at the Republic Day parade was John Major in 1993.

NATIONAL

Karnataka’s 1st 11.5 megawatt power plant being set up at Bidadi

• In Karnataka, Chief Minister, BS Yediyurappa laid the foundation stone for a 11.5 megawatt power plant based on municipal waste in Bidadi, Bengaluru. It is first of its kind power plant in the state being set up by the Karnataka Power Corporation Limited (KPCL) and will help in converting 600 tonnes of municipal waste into 11.5-megawatt energy.

• This power plant will add 80.59 million units of power to the existing power grid. The power plant project is being constructed at a cost of Rs. 260 crore and is likely to be operational by 2022.

SPORTS

England’s Dawid Malan achieves highest-ever rating points in T20I

• Dawid Malan of England has attained the highest-ever rating points for batsmen in the MRF Tyres ICC Men’s T20I Player Rankings. The 33-year-old Malan has reached 915 points, and thus became the first player to cross the 900-point mark in the format.

• Before him, Australia’s Aaron Finch reached exactly 900 points in July 2018. Babar Azam (871) of Pakistan and Aaron Finch (835) of Australia is second and third in the list. India’s KL Rahul is at fourth position, while Virat Kolhi’s rank has dropped to 9th in the list.

Virat Kohli fastest to 12000 runs in ODI cricket

• Virat Kohli became the fastest to reach 12,000 runs in One-day International cricket. Kohli breached the mark in the third ODI against Australia in Canberra. He got to the milestone in his 242nd inning thus bettering the previous record set by Sachin Tendulkar, who got his 12000th run in his 300th inning.

• Kohli is the second-highest scorer for India in ODIs behind Tendulkar’s 18,426 from 463 ODIs. The India captain also holds the record for the fastest batsman (in terms of innings) to 10,000 and 11,000 runs in ODIs. Kohli reached 11,000 runs in 222 innings and became the fastest to breach the 10000-run mark by doing so in his 205th inning.

OBITUARY

World’s greatest athlete-turned actor Rafer Johnson passes away

• American decathlete and film actor, Rafer Johnson, who was 1960 Olympic gold medalist in the decathlon, has passed away.

• After he retired from athletics, Johnson turned to act and appeared in a number of films, including the James Bond film Licence to Kill in 1989.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Indian Navy Day: 04 December

• In India, December 4 is observed as the National Navy Day every year, to celebrate the achievements and role of the naval force to the country. The theme of Navy Day 2020 is “Indian Navy Combat Ready, Credible & Cohesive”.

• The day is marked in recognition of the launch of Operation Trident during the Indo-Pakistan war in 1971. During Operation Trident, on December 4 in 1971, the Indian Navy sank four Pakistani vessels and also killed over 500 Pakistani Navy personnel, meanwhile, the Indian side suffered no losses.

• The Indian Navy is the marine branch of the Indian Armed Forces and is led by the President of India as Commander-in-Chief. The Maratha Emperor, Chhatrapati Shivaji Bhosle of the 17th century is considered as “Father of the Indian Navy”.

International Day of Banks: 4 December

• International Day of Banks is observed globally on the 4th of December. On 19 December 2019, the UN General Assembly adopted resolution 74/245, which designated 4 December as the International Day of Banks.

• The day is celebrated to the recognition of the significant potential of multilateral development banks and other international development banks in financing sustainable development and providing know-how, and also in recognition of the vital role of the banking systems in the Member States in contributing to the improvement of the standard of living.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBI Monetary Policy: Policy Rate unchanged

• The six-member Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), headed by Governor Shaktikanta Das, has decided to maintain the status quo on policy rate amid sticky rate of inflation. At this point, the repo rate or the rate at which RBI lends to banks stands unchanged at 4 per cent. The reverse repo rate also stayed unchanged at 3.35 per cent. The MPC committee members voted unanimously in favour of the decision.

• The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been kept unchanged at 4.00%.

• The reverse repo rate under the LAF has been kept unchanged at 3.35%.

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been kept unchanged at 4.25%.

RBI Monetary Policy Highlights & Key Decisions:

• Governor Shaktikanta Das proposes to put in place criteria for NBFC dividend distribution, introduces risk-based audit in large NBFCs & co-op banks.

• RTGS will soon be made 24X7 in the next few days.

• The bus iness sentiment of manufacturing firms is gradually improving.

• CPI inflation is seen at 6.8% for Q3 and 5.8% for Q4.

• Real GDP growth for FY21 is projected at -7.5%. Q3 FY-21 GDP is seen at +0.1% while Q4 FY-21 GDP is seen at +0.7%.

• Corporate bond spreads have narrowed to pre-covid levels.

• RBI proposes to enhance limits for contactless card payments from ₹2000 to ₹5000 from Jan 2021.

• On-tap Targeted Long Term Repo Operations (TLTRO) will be expanded to cover other stressed sectors in tandem with Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) scheme.

RBI orders HDFC Bank to halt its digital launches

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued an order to HDFC Bank with regard to certain incidents of outages in the internet banking, mobile banking and payment utilities of the lender over the past 2 years, the private sector bank informed to the stock exchanges. The RBI also noted the recent outages in the HDFC Bank’s internet banking and payment system on November 21, 2020, owing to a power failure in the primary data centre.

The RBI vide Order has advised the Bank to temporarily stop:

i)  All launches of the Digital Business generating activities planned under its program ‐ Digital 2.0 (to be launched) and other proposed business generating IT applications.

(ii)  Sourcing of new credit card customers.

(iii)  In addition to this, the order also states that HDFC Bank’s board should examine the lapses and fix accountability.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd December 2020

NATIONAL

IOCL launches India’s first 100 Octane Premium Petrol

• Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas and Steel, Dharmendra Pradhan launched India’s first indigenously developed ‘100 Octane premium petrol’ through video conferencing. Octane ratings are measures of fuel stability that increases engine efficiency. The high octane premium grade petrol will be marketed under the brand ‘XP-100’. It has been developed by Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) at its Mathura refinery in Uttar Pradesh.

• XP-100 will be made available in a phased manner across the country and in the first phase, it will be made available in 10 cities. The cities are Delhi, Gurgaon, Noida, Agra, Jaipur, Chandigarh, Ludhiana, Mumbai, Pune and Ahmedabad.

• With this launch, India has joined a select league of nations globally that have such superior quality fuel.  Till date, such quality of fuel is available only in six countries including USA, Germany, Greece, Indonesia, Malaysia and Israel.

West Bengal launches massive ‘Duare Sarkar’ outreach campaign

• West Bengal Chief Minister, Mamata Banerjee has launched a massive campaign titled ‘Duare Sarkar’ (government at doorsteps) to aware people about the 11 state-run welfare schemes and help them avail its benefits. The two-month-long outreach programme has been launched keeping in view the 2021 state assembly elections which are due in April-May.

• The campaign will continue from December 1, 2020, to January 30, 2020, in four phases, with slogan ‘jar jekhane darkar, asche apnar duare sarkar’ (government will be at your doorsteps whenever you need it). The 11 schemes will be made available to the beneficiaries through camps set up for the purpose.

Arjun Munda e-launches "Virtual Aadi Mahotsav-Madhya Pradesh"

• The Union Minister for Tribal Affairs, Arjun Munda has launched the first-ever virtual edition of Aadi Mahotsav – Madhya Pradesh. The event will showcase the tribal traditions of the various tribal communities by having their crafts and natural products on display. Videos showcasing different aspects of their culture – music, dance etc, will also be shared. In essence, it will still be a celebration of the tribes and their diverse, varied lifestyle but on a different platform.

• The 10-day long festival will begin from December 1, 2020. It is being hosted on the Tribes India website – www.tribesindia.com. The highlights of the virtual launch included a virtual tour of the artisans’ workplace and glimpses of the tribal dance and music from Madhya Pradesh. The main focus of the first virtual Aadi Mahotsav is on the tribal craft and culture of Madhya Pradesh. The next focus state of the programme would be Gujarat ( from 11th December 2020), followed by West Bengal from the 21st December 2020.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Indian Army successfully testfires Anti-Ship version of BrahMos missile

• India successfully test-fired the anti-ship version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. The test was conducted as part of the ongoing trials being conducted by the Indian Navy. The DRDO-developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missile with a strike range of 300 Km was launched from Indian Navy’s INS Ranvijay and it successfully hit its target ship near the Car Nicobar Islands in the Bay of Bengal.

• Recently the land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile was also successfully test-fired from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the world’s fastest operational system in its class.

OBITUARY

MDH owner ‘Mahashay’ Dharampal Gulati passes away

• The owner of MDH Masala, Dharampal Gulati passed away. He was born in 1923 in Sialkot, Pakistan. He was fondly called ‘dalaji’ and ‘Mahashayji’. A school dropout, Dharampal Gulati joined his father’s spice business in the early days. Back in 2019, the government honoured him with Padma Bhushan, the third-highest civilian award in the country.

• After partition in 1947, Dharampal Gulati moved to India and stayed at a refugee camp in Amritsar. He then moved to Delhi and opened a store in Delhi’s Karol Bagh. Gulati officially established the company in 1959. The business did not just flourish in India only but Gulati became a distributor and exporter as well. His company exports Indian spices to various parts of the world including the UK, Europe, UAE, Canda, etc.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary becomes new Director General of BRO

• Lt Gen Rajeev Chaudhary has been appointed as the 27th Director General of Border Roads Organisation (BRO). His appointment is effective from 1st December 2020.

• Lt Gen Chaudhary succeeds Lt Gen Harpal Singh who has been appointed as the new Engineer-in-Chief of the Indian Army. The BRO is responsible for construction and maintenance of all border roads including those along the frontiers with China and Pakistan.

AR Rahman roped in as ‘BAFTA Breakthrough’ India ambassador

• Oscar and Grammy-winning Indian composer, AR Rahman has been roped in as ambassador of the BAFTA Breakthrough initiative in India. In 2020, BAFTA will identify and support up to five exceptional talents working in film, games or television in India.

• The BAFTA Breakthrough initiative, is part of the Academy’s year-long programme to support new talent, coming up in the film, games and television industries in the UK, China, India and the US and gives them access to unique career development and mentoring opportunities. It is a unique opportunity for promising artists to be supported by a world-renowned organisation, including connections with other talented creatives across the world and being mentored by BAFTA-winners and nominees.

Bata names Sandeep Kataria as global CEO

• Footwear major Bata Shoe Organization has appointed Sandeep Kataria as the new global Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He is the first Indian to be appointed to the global role of Bata (Headquarter-Lausanne, Switzerland). He takes over from Alexis Nasard, who has stepped down after almost five years in the role.

• Before this, Kataria was the CEO of Bata India since 2017. Under Kataria, Bata India managed to transform into the largest footwear retailer in India within a relatively short span.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Persons with Disabilities: 03 December

• The International Day of Persons with Disabilities is observed annually on December 3. The IDPWD day was proclaimed in 1992 by the United Nations General Assembly. The 2020 theme: ‘Not all Disabilities are Visible’.

• The day is celebrated to promote the rights and well-being of persons with disabilities in all spheres of society and development, and to increase awareness of the situation of persons with disabilities in every aspect of political, social, economic and cultural life.

RANKING

India ranked 8th in Global Terrorism Index 2020

• In the Global Terrorism Index (GTI) 2020, India has been ranked at 8th spot globally in the list of countries most affected by terrorism in 2019. The GTI score of India is 7.353 out of 10. India recorded 277 Deaths, 439 Injuries & 558 Incidents due to Terrorism in 2019. Regionally, South Asia was the most impacted region by terrorism in 2019, recording more deaths than any other region. Also, globally the deaths caused due to terrorism fell by 15 per cent to 13,286 in 2019 over 2018.

• Jammu and Kashmir was the most affected Region due to terrorism, it reported 165 attacks and 103 deaths. The three most active groups in Kashmir was Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM), Hizbul Mujahideen & Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT).

• Chhattisgarh was the second most affected region in India with 85 attacks and 53 deaths all from Maoist Extremists.

Countries Most Affected by Terrorism:

• With a score of 9.592, Afghanistan has topped the index as the worst terror impacted nation among the 163 countries.

• It is followed by Iraq (8.682) and Nigeria (8.314) at second and third place respectively.

Countries Least Affected by Terrorism:

• Qatar (0.014) took the 133rd Rank followed by Uzbekistan (0.010) in the 134th Rank and around 29 Countries (score of 0.000) took the 135th Rank which means they are Least Affected Countries or Face No Impact due to Terrorism.

US Air Quality Index: Lahore is world’s most polluted city

• Lahore, the cultural capital Pakistan, has been ranked as the world’s most polluted city, according to air pollution data released by the US Air Quality Index (AQI). Lahore reported a particulate matter (PM) rating of 423. New Delhi stood second with a PM of 229, while Nepal’s capital Kathmandu ranked the third with a PM of 178.

• The Air Quality Index (AQI) is released by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to give people an idea of whether it’s safe to breathe the air.

• AQI is based on the levels of five major pollutants regulated by the EPA: ground-level ozone, particulate matter (PM2.5), carbon monoxide, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen dioxide.

• AQI measures air quality by placing it on a scale of 0-500, where air quality is regarded as satisfactory if the AQI is under 50.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

ADB and India sign $50 million loan agreement for West Bengal

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have inked $50 million policy-based loan agreement to improve financial management procedures and operational efficiencies in West Bengal. Titled as the ‘West Bengal Public Finance Management Investment Programme’, the project will help to achieve more fiscal savings, promote informed decision making, and improve service delivery in the state.

• A centre for fiscal policy and public finance will be established to deepen the capacity of the state government officials on public finance management while developing a web-based grievance redress system for transport corporations and urban local bodies will provide a credible citizen-government interface.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd December 2020

NATIONAL

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat inaugurates Suryadhar Lake

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has inaugurated the Suryadhar lake at Doiwala, Dehradun. The Suryadhar lake is 550 meters long, 28 meters wide and 10 meters deep with a capacity of 77,000 cubic meters.

• Besides fulfilling the drinking water and irrigational needs of 18-20 villages, the lake will recharge the water resources in the area and help build a healthy eco-system that will attract migratory birds. The state government’s plans to organize a water sports festival at the lake either by Makar Sankranti or Basant Panchami next year to showcase the beauty of its surrounding environs.

Piyush Goyal inaugurates Dhigawara-Bandikui section of NWR

• The Union Minister of Railways, Piyush Goyal has inaugurated newly electrified Dhigawara-Bandikui section of North Western Railway (NWR) in the state of Rajasthan. The Minister also flagged off the first train on this newly electrified route. The Dhigawara-Bandikui section is on Delhi-Ajmer route via Jaipur.

• The Railways has set the target to electrify the entire percentage of railway lines across the country in a phased manner. Once these electrified trains start running, the trains that run on diesel will be stopped.

Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches “Sahakar Pragya” initiative

• The Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar recently unveiled a new initiative called Sahakar Pragya. Sahakar Pragya is an initiative of National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), to help in capacity development of the cooperative sector in India, through the training programme.

• Under this initiative, 45 new training modules have been developed for the farmers and would be imparted to primary cooperative societies in rural areas of the country by NCDC.

• The training modules aim to impart knowledge and organisational skills and attempt to prepare the primary cooperative societies across the country to be able to play a big role in the government’s AtmaNirbhar Bharat initiative.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

IAS officer Varsha Joshi named Chairperson of NDDB

• The Government of India has appointed IAS officer Varsha Joshi as the new Chairperson of National Dairy Development Board (NDDB). She is presently served as Joint Secretary (CDD), Department of Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry & Dairying, Government of India.

• With incumbent Dilip Rath’s tenure as Chairman of NDDB ends on November 30, 2020, Joshi’s appointment is made effective from December 1, 2020, until further orders.

Utpal Kumar Singh Appointed as Secretary-General of Lok Sabha

• Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has appointed senior IAS officer Utpal Kumar Singh as Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha and Lok Sabha Secretariat. His appointment will come into effect from December 1, 2020. He will succeed incumbent Snehlata Shrivastava.

• Mr Singh is a 1986 batch IAS officer of Uttrakhand Cadre and has been appointed as Secretary-General of the Lok Sabha in the rank and status of Cabinet Secretary.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Computer Literacy Day: 02 December

• The World Computer Literacy Day is observed annually on 2nd December to create awareness and drive digital literacy in underserved communities worldwide. The day promotes technological skills, especially in children and women. The World Computer Literacy Day controls the advanced gap that exists in the world today.

• The day was originally founded by the Indian computer company NIIT to mark its 20th anniversary in 2001. World Computer Literacy Day was first observed and held in the year 2001 on 2nd Dec.

National Pollution Control Day: 02 December

• In India, the National Pollution Control Day is observed every year on December 2 to commemorate the life of people lost in the unfortunate incident of Bhopal Gas Tragedy that occurred in the year 1984 on the night of 2–3 December.

• The year 2020 marks the 36th anniversary of the Bhopal Gas Tragedy. Through this day, awareness is created about the rising pollution of air, water, and soil, as well as shifts the attention of people with regards to the pollution control acts.

International Day for the Abolition of Slavery

• International Day for the Abolition of Slavery is observed annually on 2nd December since 1986 by the United Nations General Assembly. The focus of this day is on eradicating contemporary forms of slavery, such as trafficking in persons, sexual exploitation, the worst forms of child labour, forced marriage, and the forced recruitment of children for use in armed conflict.

• The International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, 2 December, marks the date of the adoption, by the General Assembly, of the United Nations Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Persons and of the Exploitation of the Prostitution of Others (resolution 317(IV) of 2 December 1949).

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Ministry of I&B release booklet on birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev Ji

• A booklet titled ‘PM Modi and his Government’s special relationship with Sikhs’ was released, on the occasion of birth anniversary of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji.It has been produced by Bureau of Outreach Communication under Ministry of Information and Broadcasting and is released in three languages Hindi, Punjabi and English.

• The booklet was jointly inaugurated by the Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shri Prakash Javadekar and Union Minister for Civil Aviation and Housing and Urban Affairs Shri Hardeep Singh Puri. The Minister credited the Prime Minister for personally supervising the smallest of arrangements and personally seeing off the first Jattha for Kartarpur Corridor.

• Mentioning other important decisions, the Minister highlighted the decision on no taxation on Langars, FCRA Registration to Sri Harmandir Sahib, allowing global Sangat participation, revision of ‘Blacklist’ as per the demand of Sikh community et al.

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Important Current Affairs 30th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Quarantine’ named Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020

• Cambridge Dictionary has named ‘quarantine’ as Word of the Year 2020. The word has been named the word of the year based on data that showed that it was one of the most highly searched words on the Cambridge Dictionary this year. Cambridge editors have noticed that people are using the word in a new way this year describing a “general period of time in which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely so that they do not catch or spread a disease.” This new sense of quarantine has now been added to the Cambridge Dictionary.

• “Quarantine was the only word to rank in the top five for both search spikes and overall views (more than 183,000 by early November), with the largest spike in searches (28,545) seen in the week of March 18-24, when many countries around the world went into lockdown as a result of C-19,” as per an official release.

NATIONAL

PM Modi Chairs 33rd PRAGATI Meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the 33rd PRAGATI meeting to review multiple projects, grievances and programmes. PRAGATI stands for “Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation”.

• The projects worth around Rs 1.41 lakh crore, related to ten states and union territories, were reviewed. They included Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

• These projects were related to the Ministry of Railways, MORTH, DPIIT and Power Ministry.

PM Modi visits 3 cities to review vaccine development

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a three-city visit on 28 November 2020, to personally review the C-19 vaccine development and manufacturing process at facilities in these cities.

Facilities visited by PM Modi are:

Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad,

Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad

Serum Institute of India in Pune

• The scientists at these facilities expressed their joy that the Prime Minister met them face to face in order to boost their morale and help accelerate their efforts in the vaccine development journey.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

• The United Nation recognised Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare on 30th November every year since 2005. The day marks a tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons, thereby promoting the goals of peace, security, and multilateralism.

• The history of the serious efforts to achieve chemical disarmament that culminated in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention began more than a century ago. Chemical weapons were used on a massive scale during World War I, resulting in more than 100,000 fatalities and a million casualties.

OBITUARY

British Actor David Prowse passes away

• British character actor David Prowse, best known for playing ‘Darth Vader’ in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away. He was a weightlifter-turned-actor, was selected to portray Darth Vader for his imposing physique of 6-foot-7 inch. However, the role was voiced by James Earl Jones.

• Prowse wore the black suit and helmet to play Darth Vader.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

UBS Projects India’s GDP at -10.5% for FY21

• The UBS has projected India’s real GDP to contract 10.5% in FY21, in its Global Economics & Markets Outlook 2021-2022 report. For the fiscal 2021-22 (FY22) UBS expect India’s real GDP growth to rebound to +10%  in FY22. UBS also estimates India’s GDP to stabilise at 6.2 per cent YoY in FY23.

YES Bank launches ‘SMS Pay’ on POS Terminals

• Private lender YES Bank has launched an ‘SMS Pay’ functionality on POS terminals, which would allow merchants to accept contactless and remote payments from their customers. YES Bank has collaborated with French payment services company Worldline to launch the new facility.

• SMS Pay will facilitate merchants to accept remote payments on their POS machines and enable their customers to transact safely without leaving the comfort of their homes.

• Through SMS Pay, local merchants & department stores could request payments from their customers by entering their contact details in the POS terminal following which an SMS would be triggered to the customer’s mobile number instantly, with a payment URL link.

• Customers can complete the payment through their domestic debit and credit cards.

IRDAI approves ICICI Lombard acquisition of Bharti Axa General

• The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has given its in-principle approval for the merger of Bharti AXA General Insurance with ICICI Lombard. The merged entity will have a market share of around 8.7 per cent on a proforma basis in the general insurance business.

• Based on the share exchange ratio recommended by independent valuers, shareholders of Bharti AXA will receive two shares of ICICI Lombard for every 115 shares of Bharti AXA. At present, promoter ICICI Bank Ltd holds is 51.89% stake in ICICI Lombard, while the rest is with the public. After the proposed deal, the promoter stake will come down to 48.11%.

• The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already approved the acquisition of the two entities while approvals request from other concerned regulators for the transaction has been applied. The policyholders should benefit from an enhanced product suite and deeper customer connects touchpoints.

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Important Current Affairs 29th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Russia test-fired Tsirkon hypersonic missile in the Arctic

• Russia successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in the Arctic. the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, hitting a naval target 450 km away in the Barents Sea at a speed of over Mach 8.

• In early January, the same frigate test-fired a Tsirkon missile for the first time, striking a ground target over 500 km away. Last month, the warship deployed in the White Sea destroyed a naval target in the Barents Sea with a Tsirkon missile.

NATIONAL

Bengaluru’s Bowring Medical College named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee

• The Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute in Bengaluru have been named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The institute was set up in 2018-19 on the campus of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Shivajinagar in the heart of Bengaluru.

• Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party to become the Prime Minister. He served as Prime Minister thrice — briefly in 1996, from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full five-year term between 1999 and 2004. Among his several portfolios, Vajpayee had also served as External Affairs Minister during PM Morarji Desai’s tenure during 1977 and 1979.

Indian Army launches cycling expedition in Gujarat & Rajasthan

• Konark Corps of Indian Army has launched a 1971 kilometres cycling expedition in Gujarat and Rajasthan to commemorate the commencement of the Golden Jubilee Victory Celebrations of Indian Armed Forces in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. 1971 Kilometers ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Cyclothon’ across Gujarat & Rajasthan has been joined by the relay teams of 20 participants each of the various Army Formations across the two states.

• The cycle expedition was flagged off from an outpost near Lakhpat in Kutch by Honorary Captain Gumansinh Jhala, an 87-year-old War Veteran who had participated in both Indo-Pak wars of 1965 & 1971 then serving with 7 Grenadiers.

Prakash Javadeker launches India Climate Change Knowledge Portal

• Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has launched the “India Climate Change Knowledge Portal”.  According to Prakash Javadekar, India has practically achieved its pre-2020 climate action targets. He said, though India is not responsible for climate change it is taking responsible action to mitigate the challenge.

• The portal will have all the major steps the Government is taking at both national and international levels to address the climate change issues.

• Portal will be a single-point information resource that provides information on the different climate initiatives taken by various Line Ministries enabling users to access d status on these initiatives.

SPORTS

India rise four spots to 104th in latest FIFA rankings

• The Indian national team have moved up a spot to 104 in the latest FIFA Rankings. The Indian team were ranked 108th in the October 2020 rankings. In two months, India has climbed 5 spots after being 109th in September.

• Meanwhile, on the global scene, the top six remain unchanged. Belgium continues to lead the rankings followed by France, Brazil, England, Portugal and Spain. Argentina is seventh, having interchanged spots with eighth-placed Uruguay. Mexico and Italy complete the top 10.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

L&T bags Rs 7,000-cr order to construct part of Bullet Train project

• Infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has bagged an order worth over Rs 7,000 crore to construct a part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR), also known as the Bullet Train Project. The scope of the order includes the construction of viaducts, one station, major river bridges, maintenance depots, and other auxiliary works.

• The approximately 508 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project will cover Maharashtra, Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Gujarat, with 12 stations along the route. Upon completion, the high-speed rail will operate at a speed of 320 kmph, covering the entire distance in approximately 2 hours with limited stops and in 3 hours with all stops.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India’s GDP Contracts 7.5% in September Quarter

• The National Statistical Office (NSO) has released the estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter (July-September) Q2 of 2020-21.

• The GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q2 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 33.14 lakh crore, as against Rs 35.84 lakh crore in Q2 of 2019-20, showing a contraction of 7.5% as compared to 4.4% growth in Q2 2019-20.

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Important Current Affairs 28th November 2020

NATIONAL

SpiceJet launches dedicated freighter services to Leh in Ladakh

• SpiceJet has launched dedicated freighter services connecting Leh with the rest of the country. This is the first time a civil airliner has started freighter services to Leh. Accordingly, the airline operated its first freighter flight from Delhi to Leh carrying 13 tonnes of cargo supplies. SpiceXpress, the dedicated cargo arm of SpiceJet, will deploy its Boeing 737 freighter on this route.

• The dedicated cargo flights will help transport fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, perishables, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other general cargo. Besides improving logistics and connectivity, the new freighter service will ensure transportation of these essential commodities remains unaffected due to dipping temperatures and adverse weather conditions during these winter months.

• The new flights launched are seasonal and will operate during the winter months when surface transportation is disrupted owing to harsh weather conditions. In line with its commitment to ensuring seamless transportation of essential commodities, SpiceJet aims to address the geographical challenges while offering seamless connectivity through its cargo service.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Highway projects in Uttar Pradesh

• Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of 16 National Highway projects in Uttar Pradesh. The construction cost of these infra projects is estimated to be around Rs 7477 crore.

• These highway projects include a road length of 505 kilometres and will provide better connectivity, convenience to the public as well as lead to economic growth in the state. National Highways works worth two lakh crore rupees are being undertaken in UP.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has cleared the proposal to rename the Ayodhya airport as Maryada

• Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The proposal for the same will be sent to the Ministry of Civil Aviation after it is passed by the state Assembly.

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had announced on the occasion of Deepotsav on Diwali eve in November 2018 that Ayodhya will have both international and domestic terminals and could potentially be one of the largest airports of UP.

Ladakh gets largest solar project at Leh Indian Air Force station

• The Union Territory of Ladakh has got the largest solar power project set up under the Centre’s ‘Make In India’ initiative at Leh IAF station to provide sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuel and traditional methods of energy generation. The project namely ‘Provision of Solar Photo Voltaic Powerplant 1.5 MW’ has been completed within 12 months well before the completion deadline of March 31, 2021.

• The largest solar project at a high altitude in the entire Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh has been established at IAF Station Leh.

• The project was conceptualised under Make In India, and executed to provide sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuel and traditional methods.

• It is the largest installed solar project till date out of the target of 300 MW in three phases for defence sectors and 14 MW for Leh region as set by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

• The project worth Rs 122 crore was recently inaugurated by Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, Commander-in-chief, Western Air Command.

OBITUARY

Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn passes away

• Australian-American lawyer, investment banker, and economist James Wolfensohn, who served as the President of the World Bank for 10 years, passed away. He had served as the ninth president of the World Bank Group from 1995 to 2005.

• Together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Wolfensohn launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in 1996, a program that eventually provided more than $53 billion in debt relief to 27 of the world’s poorest countries.

Father of Indian IT industry FC Kohli passes away

• Founder of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Faqir Chand Kohli, better known as the Father of the Indian IT industry, passed away. Besides being the founder, he was also the first CEO of TCS.

• Kohli also worked as the deputy general manager of Tata Power Company and was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of College of Engineering, Pune.  As the first CEO of TCS, he pioneered India’s IT revolution and helped the country build the $190-billion IT industry.  A visionary and pioneer by nature, he was a recipient of Padma Bhushan from the Government of India.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Mercedes-Benz joins hands with SBI to target HNI customers

• Mercedes-Benz has joined hands with State Bank of India (SBI) to offer financial benefits to the lender’s High Net Worth Individual (HNI) customers. This collaboration will give the luxury automobile manufacturer access to State Bank of India’s High Net Worth Individual (HNI) customer base, while the bank’s customers will enjoy exclusive benefits at the time of booking a Mercedes-Benz car. The collaboration with SBI gives an exciting opportunity to expand our customer base and reach out to the potential HNI customers of the bank with products and services.

• This collaboration includes financial benefits like ‘attractive’ rate of interest on loans with tenure up to five years and offers on the processing fee.

• There is also an additional benefit of Rs 25,000 for customers booking a Mercedes-Benz vehicle via SBI Yono platform.

• They can even get a car loan sanctioned through SBI Yono after fulfilling the eligibility criteria.

• The customers need to produce online booking confirmation and SBI loan sanction letter at the Mercedes-Benz dealership to avail the benefits.

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