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Important Current Affairs 25th July 2020

National

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari launches ‘RestartIndia’ advisory platform for MSME sector

• The Union Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSMEs), Shri Nitin Gadkari launched a mentoring platform ‘www.restartindia.in’, on 23 July 2020, with the main objective to help the sector in restarting businesses across the country.

• This website has been developed jointly by Muthoot Fincorp and INKtalks as an open platform for advisory support, and is in sync with Atmanirbhar project.

• The objective of Restart India is to raise the self-confidence primarily of small businesses by creating an environment for the re-establishment and progress of their businesses.

Largest Solar Power Plant of Indian Navy Commissioned

• Vice Admiral Anil Kumar Chawla, Commanding-in-Chief of Southern Naval Command commissioned a 3 MW Solar Power Plant at the Indian Naval Academy, Ezhimala on July 22, 2020 through virtual conferencing.

• The solar plant is Indian Navy’s largest plant and has an estimated life of 25 years. Its launch is in line with the centre’s initiative of ‘National Solar Mission’ to achieve 100GW of solar power by 2022.

• All components of the plant were indigenously sourced including 9180 highly efficient monocrystalline solar panels employing the latest technology.

Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) Gujarat attains its first criticality

• The Unit 3 of the Kakrapar Atomic Power Project (KAPP-3) in Gujarat achieved its ‘first criticality’ at 9.36 am on 22 July 2020.

• KAPP-3 is India’s first 700 MWe (megawatt electric) Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR) as well as biggest indigenously developed variant of the Pressurised Heavy Water Reactor (PHWR).

• A nuclear reactor attains criticality when every nuclear fission event releases a sufficient number of neutrons to sustain an ongoing series of reactions or a self-sustaining chain reaction.

International

India-UK affirm shared commitment towards Free Trade Agreement

• India and the United Kingdom affirmed their shared commitment towards a Free Trade Agreement during the 14th Joint Economic and Trade Committee meeting on July 24, 2020.

• The virtual meeting was co-chaired by Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Piyush Goyal and UK Secretary of State for International Trade Elizabeth Truss.

• The Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Hardeep Singh Puri and UK’s Minister of State for International Trade Ranil Jayawardena had also attended the meeting.

Sports

IPL 2020 Schedule announced: IPL to begin from September 19 & finals on November 8

• The schedule of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2020 has been announced by IPL Chairman Brijesh Patel on July 24, 2020. As per the schedule, IPL will begin from September 19, 2020 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The IPL finals will be held on 8th November 2020.

• The final details of the tournament will be finalised by IPL Governing Council next week.

Appointments and Resignations

Sahil Seth appointed as honorary adviser for BRICS CCI

• Sahil Seth has been appointed as an honorary adviser to the steering committee for the BRICS Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) young leaders.

• He has been appointed for the period 2020-2023. Seth is presently serving as the Deputy Commissioner of Mumbai Customs.

Tata AIA Life Ltd appoints Naveen Tahilyani as its MD & CEO

• Naveen Tahilyani has been appointed by Tata AIA Life Limited as its Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

• He will take over from the current CEO Rishi Srivastava, who has been appointed as chief executive officer, group agency distribution, AIA Group, Hong Kong.

Partha Pratim Sengupta becomes new MD & CEO of IOB

• Government of India has appointed Partha Pratim Sengupta as the new Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB).

• He will replace Karnam Sekar, who retired from the post of the MD and CEO at IOB on June 30, 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 19th May 2020

National

National Migrant Information System launched to track movement of migrants

• The central government has launched the ‘National Migration Information System’  to track the movement of migrant workers in India. The portal will ensure smooth movement of migrants who have been stranded in different states/UTs.

• The system has been developed by the National  Management Authority (NDMA).

Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka initiative for migrant labourers

• In Madhya Pradesh, in a first of its kind of initiative, Charan Paduka campaign has been started for the migrant labourers passing through the state.

• Under this campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being providing shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.

International

PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in for the 5th time

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally swore in his new government on 17 May for the fifth time.

• The ceremony of the swearing-in of Israel’s new government, the Knesset, was held in accordance with directives.

• Netanyahu will be in power until 13 November 2021. This ended the 18-month political crisis in the country.

• Benny Gantz will serve in the specially created role of alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Cyclonic Amphan (Um-Pun) intensifies into a very severe cyclonic storm

• Severe Cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ over southeast bay and adjoining southwest bay has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm as it moved northwards.

• It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction before turning towards Bangladesh. It may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram.

Science and Technology

ISRO directs start-ups to build local tech for Gaganyaan mission

• India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has directed the startups to develop tools and machines for its maiden human space flight Gaganyaan-1 mission.

• ISRO focuses to potentially help them build products and solutions that they can exploit commercially.ISRO has identified a set of 17 technologies that to develop locally at lower costs for use in its Gaganyaan missions.

ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree ChitraTirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.

Appointments and Resignations

Jack Ma resigns from the Board of SoftBank

• Alibaba's Jack Ma has resigned from the Softbank's Board of Directors. The official reason of Ma's resignation has not been revealed yet. 

• Ma's resignation will come into effect on June 25, 2020, on the day of annual shareholder meeting of the Softbank. He served the group for nearly 13 years.

Rajesh Goel becomes new DG of NAREDCO

• Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). Prior to this, he was serving as the chairman and managing director, Hindustan Prefab Ltd.

• He is a professional with over 37 years of experience in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Books and Authors

A Book titled “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Fang Fang

• The book titled as “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Chinese literary writer Fang Fang is a compilation of online diary entries and social media posts, captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information & is a remarkable record of the extraordinary time.

• The book was released in India in an ebook format on May 15, 2020, published by Harper NonFiction, the audio will follow on May 26.The book will be translated into 15 languages.

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Important Current Affairs 17th May 2020

National

FM announces 4th tranche of economic support under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan

The announcement focusses on reforming 8 sectors which are (1) coal, (2) minerals, (3) defence production, (4) airports and airspace management, (5) MRO, (6) power distribution of companies in UTs, (7) space and (8) atomic energy.

• Coal- Commercial mining of coal on a revenue-sharing basis is being introduced.  Government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation through revenue sharing mechanism instead of the current fixed rupee per tonne. Coal Bed Methane will also be auctioned.

• Mineral- To enhance private investments in the mineral sector, a seamless composite exploration -cum-mining – cum production regime will be introduced. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process immediately.

• Make in India for  Defence Production- Foreign Direct Investment limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route is being raised from 49% to 74% to boost indigenous defence production.

• Airports and airspace- 6 airports will be put up for bidding by the Airports Authority of India for operation and maintenance on PPP mode.

• Maintenance- Repairs and Operations (MRO)- Tax regime for MRO ecosystem has been rationalised. Convergence between defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to create economies of scale

• Power Sector- Power distribution companies in Union Territories will be privatised.

• Social Infrastructure Projects- Boosting private sector investment in social infrastructure projects through revamped viability gap funding scheme of Rs 8,100 crore. The govt will enhance the quantum of viability gap funding up to 30 per cent each of total project cost as VGF by Centre and state

• Space & Atomic Energy- Private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. India to establish a research reactor in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes.

Government of India & AIIB signs agreement to improve irrigation services in West Bengal

• The Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has inked a loan agreement worth US$145 million to improve irrigation services and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in West Bengal.

• The loan sanctioned under West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project will benefit about 2.7 million farmers from five districts of West Bengal across 393,964 ha area.

• It will provide better irrigation services and improved protection against annual flooding to mitigate the impact of climate change.

AYUSH ministry & CSIR India to Begin Clinical Trial for 4 Ayurvedic Drugs

Minister of State(Independent/Charge) for ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy(AYUSH), Shripad Yesso(Y) Naik has announced that AYUSH ministry & Council of Scientific & Industrial Research(CSIR) are working together to validate 4 Ayush formulations Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu (Mulethi), Guduchi Pippali(Giloy) and AYUSH-64(poly herbal formulation).

Acquisitions and Mergers

Facebook acquires animated graphics startup GIPHY

• Facebook has announced that it has acquired the animated graphics startup GIPHY. Facebook will now integrate GIPHY in its Instagram visual social network.

• GIPHY is known for its use of stickers and other products using the graphics interchange format or GIFs.

Obituary

Sahitya Akademi winning Bengali author Debesh Roy passes away

• Veteran Bengali author Debesh Roy, who had five decades of career as a writer, passed away.

• He was awarded with the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel ‘Teesta Parer Brittanto’.

Days

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

• The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is observed every year on 17 May since 1969, to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

• The theme of 2020 is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

• The ITU was founded on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

World Hypertension Day

• The World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17 May worldwide to promote public awareness of increasing high blood pressure (BP) and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer.

• The day was held for the first time in May 2005.

• World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension.

• The theme for World Hypertension Day 2020 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.

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