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Important Current Affairs 11th August 2020

National

PM releases financing facility of Rs. 17,000 crores for farmers

• Prime Minister on August 9 launched a financing facility of Rs. 1 lakh crores under the Agriculture Infrastructure Fund for agri-startups, entrepreneurs, farmer groups, agri-tech players for the post-harvest management and nurturing farm assets.

• Under the government launched PM Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana, Prime Minister transferred Rs. 17,000 crores into the bank accounts of 8.5 crores farmers. It was also informed that the amount went straight to farmers without any middlemen and commission.

• The new Agriculture Infrastructure Fund was launched via a video conference by PM Modi. Agriculture Minister  Narendra Singh Tomar and other senior ministry officials were also present at the occasion. 

• Under the scheme, around Rs. 1 lakh crores will be sanctioned under the financing facility in partnership with the multiple lending institutions as loans to farmer groups, primary agri-credit societies, agri-entrepreneurs, farmer producer organisations (FPOs), agri-tech players and startups.

NPCI launches omni-channel loyalty platform ‘nth Rewards’

• The National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a loyalty platform named ‘nth Rewards’. Here nth represents “infinite possibilities”.

• It is an analytics-enabled omni-channel multi-branded loyalty platform. It allows users to earn “nth” (infinite) loyalty points through various bank transactions. These rewards point can be redeemed for various purposes including online shopping.

• Customers will earn loyalty points on almost every transaction made digitally, especially while using the credit and debit cards. ‘nth Rewards’ platform has a smart dashboard for users where they can see their points accumulation.

Andhra Pradesh launches state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23

• The Andhra Pradesh government launched state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23 on August 10, 2020. The State Industries Minister Gautam Reddy unveiled the much-awaited policy.

• While speaking at the launch, Reddy said that the state Industrial Development Policy 2020-23 envisages all-round and holistic development with the idea of empowerment being crucial.

• It will also enable the development of specific industrial parks as per local needs. The Industrial zoning will be a key focus area to ensure planned Industrial development.

• The policy will further aim to provide a ‘risk-free’ investment-friendly environment for industries in the state. It will also ensure minimised impact on the environment.

Gujarat launches Industrial Policy 2020

• Gujarat Industrial Policy 2020 has been unveiled by the state that aims to provide an estimated Rs 40000 crores as subsidies to the industries within the next five years.

• The aim of this policy is to lease out government land to industrialists, provide incentives to private industrial parks and also provide relocation incentives to units intending to relocate in wake of C-19.

International

Walter Roger Martos Ruiz Becomes New Prime Minister of Peru

• President of Peru(Republic of Peru) Martin Vizcarra appointed Walter Roger Martos Ruiz, the former defense minister and retired army general, as the country’s new Prime Minister.

•  He succeeds Pedro Álvaro Cateriano Bellido . The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Government Palace in Lima. The president also appointed attorney Luis Inchishategui as head of the Ministry of Energy and Mines.

Banking and Economy

Centre Constitutes Panel to fix ceiling rates under Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme

• The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has constituted a three-member committee to determine the ceiling rates for reimbursement of taxes and duties to exporters under the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme.

• The committee would comprise of former Home Secretary G K Pillai as Chairman. The committee shall interact with the administrative ministries, export promotion councils, commodity boards, trade bodies and other stakeholders so as to take their views on the ceiling rates under RoDTEP scheme.

• The Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products (RoDTEP) scheme for reimbursement of taxes was announced by the government to replace Merchandise Exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and make Indian products competitive in global markets..

• The RoDTEP scheme aims to reimburse the taxes and duties incurred by exporters such as duty on power charges, VAT on fuel in transportation, farm sector, captive power generation, mandi tax, stamp duty and central excise duty on fuel used in transportation, which are not exempted or refunded under any other existing scheme.

Obituary

Wrestling legend 'Kamala' passes away

• Wrestling legend James 'Kamala' Harris passed away at the age of 70 on August 9, 2020. The news was confirmed by WWE.

• The WWE released an official statement saying that it was "saddened" to learn about the death of the former wrestler. He was 70.

• James Harris, known popularly as Kamala in WWE, made his pro wrestling debut in 1978,. He was best known for his appearances with WWE (formerly named WWF) from 1984 to 2006.

Former Congress leader and eight-time MP, Nandi Yellaiah, passes away

• A senior Congress leader and eight-time Member of Parliament from Telangana, Nandi Yellaiah has passed away due to C-19. He was 78.

• Yellaiah was the vice-president of the Telangana Pradesh Congress Committee. (TPCC).He was a six-term member of LokSabha and two-time Rajya Sabha member.

Sports

Max Verstappen wins 70th Anniversary Grand Prix

• Red Bull's Max Verstappen took a sensational surprise victory in the 70th Anniversary Grand Prix to bring Mercedes' domination to an end. This race was officially called as Emirates Formula 1 70th Anniversary Grand Prix 2020.

• The race was the fifth round of the rescheduled 2020 Formula One World Championship. Lewis Hamilton finished second and Valtteri Bottas finished third.

• Max Emilian Verstappen from Netherland had won at the Silverstone Circuit, Silverstone, United Kingdom and became the first non-Mercedes driver to win a race in the 2020.

Ranking

Mukesh Ambani now Fourth-Richest Person in the World

• According to Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mukesh Ambani, the Chairman of Reliance Industries, has become the fourth wealthiest person in the world.

• Ambani is now worth $ 80.6 billion after adding $22 billion in 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 10th August 2020

National

India bans import of 101 Defence items, gives big push for ‘Make in India’

• The Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has announced that the Department of Military Affairs (DMA), Ministry of Defence (MoD) has prepared a list of 101 defence items for which there would be restriction on the import, beyond the timeline indicated against them.

• This step has been taken to boost indigenisation of defence production in India and push the country towards becoming Aatmanirbhar Bharat. The embargo on imports is planned to be progressively implemented between 2020 and 2024.

• The list includes high technology weapon systems such as assault rifles, artillery guns, sonar systems, corvettes, light combat helicopters, transport aircraft, radars, and many other items.

• As per the Defence Ministry, the list also includes wheeled Armoured Fighting Vehicles (AFVs) with an embargo date of December 2021, of which the Indian Army is expected to contract almost 200 AFVs at an approximate cost of over Rs. 5,000 crores.

• In addition to this, the defence ministry has also bifurcated the capital procurement budget for the financial year 2020-21 between domestic and foreign capital procurement routes.

International

Mauritius declares a state of environmental emergency after massive oil spill

• Mauritius' Prime Minister Pravind Jugnauth declared a state of environmental emergency on August 7, 2020 after a shipreck caused massive fuel spill.

• A Japanese-owned ship, which ran aground on July 25, has been leaking tons of oil into the Indian Ocean. The ship is reportedly carrying nearly 4000 tons of fuel oil and 200 tons of diesel on board.

• The Mauritius PM made the brief statement by tweeting that Mauritius does not have the skills and expertise to refloat stranded ships, so he has asked for help from France.

Banking and Economy

Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies by RBI in August 2020

• The Reserve Bank of India has released the Monetary Policy Statement on Developmental and Regulatory Policies 2020-21.The major points that are important from exam point of view is mentioned below:

• Additional standing liquidity facility (ASLF)- National Housing Bank (NHB) and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will be provided with an additional standing liquidity facility (ASLF) of Rs 5,000 crore each.

• Advances against Gold Ornaments and Jewellery– Presently, loans sanctioned by banks against pledge of gold ornaments and jewellery for non-agricultural purposes should not exceed 75 per cent of the value of gold ornaments and jewellery.  RBI has increased the permissible loan to value ratio (LTV) for loans against pledge of gold ornaments and jewellery for non-agricultural purposes from 75 per cent to 90 per cent. This relaxation shall be available till March 31, 2021.

• Positive Pay Mechanism for Cheques– The RBI shall soon launched a mechanism named Positive Pay for all cheques of value ₹50,000 and above to further augment customer safety in cheque payments and reduce instances of fraud occurring on account of tampering of cheque leaves

RBI introduces Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) System for Digital Payments

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced the introduction of an Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) system for resolving customer disputes and grievances pertaining to digital payments.

• This ODR shall be a system-driven and rule-based mechanism with zero or minimal manual intervention.Subsequently, the ODR arrangement would be extended to cover disputes and grievances other than those related to failed transactions.

IndusInd Bank acquires 7.82% stake in Eveready by invoking pledged shares

• Private sector lender IndusInd Bank has acquired 7.82 percent stake in battery maker Eveready Industries by invoking pledged shares following loan default.

• The bank invoked pledge on 56,83,320 shares which constituted 7.82 percent of paid-up equity share capital of Eveready Industries.

• As per the information, the equity shares of Eveready Industries India Ltd. held by Williamson Magor and Co. Ltd were pledged with the IndusInd bank for securing the outstanding dues of Seajuli Developers & Finance Limited (Seajuli), the borrower company.

RBI constitutes committee for financial parameters to be factored in Resolution Framework for C-19 related Stress

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced the constitution of an Expert Committee to make recommendations on the required financial parameters to be factored in the Resolution Framework for C-19 related Stress’.

• The committee will be headed by Shri K.V. Kamath. (President of New Development Bank.

Summits and Mou’s

Flipkart partners with the U.P. Government’s ODOP scheme

• India’s homegrown e-commerce marketplace, Flipkart has signed an MoU with One District, One Product (ODOP) scheme of the Government of Uttar Pradesh. The MoU will bring the artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme into the scope of the “Flipkart Samarth” initiative.

• This will provide artisans, weavers and craftsmen under the ODOP scheme a momentum to expand their business online as they face social and economic challenges.

Days

World Biofuel Day

• The International Biofuel Day (World Biofuel Day) is observed every year on August 10 to raise awareness about the importance of non-fossil fuels as an alternative to conventional fossil fuels and highlight the various efforts made by Government in the biofuel sector.

• The theme for 2020 World Biofuel Day is ‘Biofuels Towards Atmanirbhar Bharat’. The Day is being observed by the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas since 2015.

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Important Current Affairs 8th August 2020

National

Jal Shakti Ministry launched new version of India Water Resources Information System

• The Ministry of Jal Shakti has launched a new version of the India Water Resources Information System (India-WRIS).The new version of India-WRIS is open to the public, and accessible through the web portal www.indiawris.gov.in.

• The new system provides with new functionalities and features. The advanced version is to address the requirement of a strong data base and a reliable information system.

• The portal contains information related to Water Resources for rainfall, water levels & discharge of rivers, water bodies, groundwater levels, reservoir storages, evapotranspiration and soil moisture, and modules on water resources projects, water bodies, hydro-met data availability and tools for GIS layer editing.

Serum Institute of India, Novavax sign agreement for C-19 vaccine supply

• Pune's Serum Institute of India and US-based Novavax signed an agreement for supply of the Novavax C-19 vaccines in India as well as in other low- and middle- income countries.

•  Under the agreement, at least 1 billion doses of vaccine, also known as NVX-CoV2373, will be made available for India and other countries.

International

Mahinda Rajapaksa’s SLPP party wins landslide victory in Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections

• Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa-led Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) registered a landslide victory in the Sri Lankan Parliamentary Elections on August 5, 2020. The party and its allies secured two-thirds of the seats at the elections.

• Sri Lanka People’s Party (SLPP) won 145 seats in the 225-member parliament, while the allies managed to clinch more than five seats. Out of the total vote percentage, SLPP got around 59 percent of the popular vote, while SJB garnered around 23 percent of votes. The SJB is an offshoot of UNP, which was formed earlier this year.

US Senate approves TikTok ban on government devices

• The United States Senate has unanimously passed a bill banning the Chinese-owned video-sharing app TikTok on government devices.

• The bill will now go to President Donald Trump to be signed into a law, which will prohibit federal employees from downloading or using TikTok.

Banking and Economy

RBI launches pilot scheme for Offline Retail Payments Using Cards and Mobile Devices

• The Reserve Bank of India has launched pilot scheme for small value payments in offline mode. The pilot scheme shall be undertaken till March 31, 2021 only.

• Under the scheme, authorised Payment System Operators (PSOs) – banks and non-banks – will be able to provide offline payment solutions using cards, wallets or mobile devices for remote or proximity payments.

• This has been done to do away with the impediments caused due to lack of internet connectivity or low speed of internet, especially in remote areas.

Obituary

Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Shirley Ann Grau passes away at 91

• Shirley Ann Grau, a Pulitzer Prize-winning fiction writer from America, whose stories and novels were based primarily in the Deep South,  has passed away. She was 91.

• Grau won the 1965 Pulitzer Prize for her fourth book, “The Keepers of the House.”

• During her writing career, Grau wrote six novels and four short story, all of which were set in the Deep South, from New Orleans to north Louisiana and Alabama, telling both the dark secrets and the beauty of the Deep South.

Appointments and Resignations

Pradeep Kumar Joshi takes over as new Chairman of UPSC

• Pradeep Kumar Joshi, an Educationist Professor, has been appointed as the new Chairman of the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) on 7 August 2020.

• He succeeds Arvind Saxena, whose tenure as UPSC chairman ended on 7 August 2020.Joshi will serve as the chairman of the UPSC till May 12, 2021.

P S Ranipse becomes new IG of CRPF

• Odisha cadre IPS officer, P S Ranipse has been appointed as Inspector General (IG), in Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

• He will hold the post on Central deputation for a period of five years from the date of joining.

Days

Quit India Day

• Every year, the Quit India Day (or August Kranti Day) is observed on 8 August to commemorate the anniversary of Quit India Movement, launched by Father of Nation, Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, on 8 August 1942 at the All-India Congress Committee session in Bombay.

• In 2020, we are celebrating the 78th anniversary of Quit India Day.

• Quit India Movement also known as Bharat Chodo Andolan and August Kranti Movement was a ‘do or die’ call to the people of India initiated by Gandhiji to demand an end to the British rule in India.

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Important Current Affairs 7th August 2020

National

First ‘Kisan Rail’ to run from 7 August between Maharashtra, Bihar

• Railways Ministry will run India's first ‘Kisan Rail’ from August 7, 2020 between Maharashtra and Bihar. The train will begin from Devlali, in Maharashtra at 11 am and its last stop will be at Danapur, Bihar.

• The train will be making several stoppages at stations carrying fruits and vegetables. It will not carry regular passengers.

First Mobile RT-PCR lab of India developed by IISc launched in Karnataka

• The State Government of Karnataka launched India’s first mobile RT-PCR lab in Bengaluru. The lab was developed by Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.

• The lab has been named Mobile Infection Testing and Reporting (MITR) lab. It is capable of conducting 9000 tests per month. Apart from testing C-19, the lab can also be utilised to test HCV, H1N1, TB, HIV, HPV, etc.

• The main advantage of the lab is that it can be used for molecular diagnostic testing in C-19 hotspots quickly.

International

Tick-borne SFTS virus re-emerges in China; 7 dead so far

• Tick-borne SFTS virus re-emerges in China, claiming 7 lives so far and infecting around 60. The spread of virus has raised the warning of chances of human-to-human transmission

• . The cases of the virus have been reported from East China.

Banking and Economy

RBI 7th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy

• The six-member Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of Reserve Bank of India held its meeting in New Delhi. The committee was headed by RBI Governor Shakti kanta Das.

• The repo rate was kept the same at 4%.The reverse repo rate was kept at 3.35%

• The members decided to provide Rs 10,000 crore additional liquidity facility to National Housing Bank (NHB), National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). In order to mitigate C-19 impact on households, loans against gold have been enhanced to 90% of the value as against the current 75%

• In June, the retail inflation was 6.09%.This includes food items such as meat, cereals, fish and pulses.

Awards

DIAT wins 1st prize in Smart India Hackathon 2020

• The Defence Institute of Advanced Technology (DIAT) won the first prize in the Smart India Hackathon (SIH) 2020. The SIH grand finale was held between August 1-3, 2020 at the Noida Institute of Engineering and Technology, Uttar Pradesh.

• This 36- hour non-stop digital product building competition was a national level competition for software edition, which was organized jointly by the Ministry of Human Resource Development and All India Council for Technical Education.

Obituary

Renowned TV actor Sameer Sharma passes away due to suicide

• Veteran Television actor Sameer Sharma is no more. The 44-year-old actor committed suicide on 5 August 2020, by hanging from the kitchen ceiling of his home.

• Sharma has been part of some renowned TV serials like ‘Geet – Hui Sabse Parayi’, ‘Left Right Left’, ‘Kahaani Gha rGhar Kii’, ‘Four’ and ‘Ssshhhh….Koi Hai’.

• He was also seen in Sidharth Malhotra’s movies ‘Hasee Toh Phasee’ and ‘Ittefaq’.

Appointments and Resignations

Girish Chandra Murmu appointed as new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India

• Jammu and Kashmir Lt Governor Girish Chandra Murmu has been appointed as the new Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India. He will assume office on 8 August 2020.

• Murmu is the 14th CAG of India. He will replace Rajiv Mehrishi, a 1978 batch IAS officer of the Rajasthan cadre, as the CAG.

• Murmu, a 1985 batch IAS officer of the Gujarat cadre, was the first Lt Governor of the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.

Ajay Tyagi gets 18 Months extension as SEBI Chairman

• According to a Personnel Ministry, Ajay Tyagi has been given an 18-month extension, as the chairman of markets regulator SEBI.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the extension of Tyagi’s term for 18 months, with effect from September 1, 2020 up to February 28, 2022.

• Mr Tyagi, a 1984 batch IAS (retired) officer of Himachal Pradesh cadre, was appointed as the SEBI chairman in March 2017 for three years.

Ranking

Reliance Industries ranked No 2 globally after Apple

• Reliance Industries has been ranked second biggest brand after Apple on the Future Brand Index 2020.

• The 2020 list is topped by Apple, while Samsung is ranked third, followed by Nvidia, Moutai, Nike, Microsoft, ASML, PayPal and Netflix.Reliance ranks 91st on PWC 2020 list

• The Future Brand Index is a global perception study that reorders PwC’s Global Top 100 Companies by Market Cap on perception strength rather than financial strength.

Days

World Lung Cancer Day

• Every year, the World Lung Cancer Day is observed on August 1 to raise awareness about the causes and treatment of lung cancer and highlight the issues of lack of sufficient research funding for the ailment.

• The campaign was first organised in 2012 by the Forum of International Respiratory Societies (FIRS) , in collaboration with the International Association for the Study of Lung Cancer (IASLC) and also the American College of Chest Physicians.

• The IASLC is the largest organisation in the world of its kind that only deals with lung cancer.

National Handloom Day

• National Handloom Day will be celebrated on August 7, 2020 to commemorate the Swadeshi Movement which was launched on the same date in 1905.

• This year, the Union Ministry of Textiles will organise a virtual programme, which will have Textiles Minister Smriti Irani as the Chief Guest.

• The function will connect handloom clusters across India, NIFT campuses and all the 28 Weaver Service Centres and National Handloom Development Corporation.

• The main objective behind celebrating the day is to generate awareness about the Handloom Industry among the public and its contribution to socio-economic development.

Books and Authors

‘RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations’ authored by Yatish Yadav

• The book, titled “RAW: A History of India’s Covert Operations” has authored by investigative journalist and author Yatish Yadav.

• A new book gives a peep into the heroic covert operations carried by India’s external spy agency Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) and thereby narrates a gripping account of what actually happens behind the grey walls of the secret society.

Union Ministers Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and Smriti Irani launch the book Swachh Bharat Kranti

• The book “The Swachh Bharat Kranti” was officially launched by Union Minister of Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, and Union Minister of Textiles and Women & Child Development Smt. Smriti Irani in New Delhi.

• The book was edited by Shri Parameswaran Iyer, Secretary of Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation has been translated into Hindi and published as the Swachh Bharat Kranti.

• The translation of the book Swachh Bharat Kranti is “The Swachh Bharat Revolution”.

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Important Current Affairs 6th August 2020

National

India contributes USD 15.46 million to India-UN Development Partnership Fund

• India has contributed the next tranche of $15.46 million to the India-UN Development Partnership Fund, under its commitment to supporting developing nations in their developmental priorities across all the Sustainable Development Goals.

• This tranche of $15.46 million including $6 million for the overall fund, in which all developing countries are eligible for partnership, and $9.46 million is dedicated to Commonwealth countries.

• The cheque was handed over by India’s Permanent Representative to the UN Ambassador T S Tirumurti to the United Nations Office for South-South Cooperation (UNOSSC) Director Jorge Chediek.

Banking and Economy

National Bank of Bahrain selects Infosys to transform them digitally

• National Bank of Bahrain (NBB) has selected Infosys Finacle to digitally transform its transaction banking business.

• NBB will be implementing the Finacle Liquidity Management Platform, and upgrading its existing Finacle Corporate Online Banking platform to a full-fledged Digital Engagement Suite – with the latest versions of the Finacle Corporate Online and Mobile Banking solutions, along with the Finacle Digital Engagement Hub.

Summits and Mou’s

MoD signs MoU with IIT Kanpur & Department of ARPG

• Department of Defence (DoD) Ministry of Defence (MoD), Department of Administrative Reforms & Public Grievances (DARPG), and Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IITK) signed a tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

• The MoU aims to conduct predictive analysis of public grievances.

• The project is aimed to help the MoD to identify the cause and nature of grievances and bring about systemic changes and policy interventions wherever required.

• Under the MoU, IIT-Kanpur will develop Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) Techniques to conduct exploratory and predictive analysis of Public Grievances received on the web-based Centralized Public Grievances Redress & Monitoring System (CPGRAMS) pertaining to the MoD.

Obituary

Former Maharashtra CM Shivaji rao Patil Nilangekar passes away

• Former Maharashtra Chief Minister Shivaji rao Patil Nilangekar passed away on August 5, 2020 due to prolonged illness. He was 89.

• Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar had served as the Chief Minister of Maharashtra between 1985 and 1986.

Sports

Former Spain goalkeeper Iker Casillas retires from football

• Former Real Madrid and Spain goalkeeper, Iker Casillas have retired from football. He made 725 appearances for Real during a 16-year career at the Bernabeu, winning three Champions League titles and five La Liga crowns.

• He also helped Spain win the 2010 World Cup and two successive European Championships in 2008 and 2012.

• He won 167 international caps for Spain between 2000 and 2016.

Appointments and Resignations

Manoj Sinha appointed as new LG of Jammu and Kashmir

• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed former Union minister Manoj Sinha as the next Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir. He will replace Girish Chandra Murmu who resigned. Murmu’s resignation has been accepted by the President.

• Sinha has represented the parliamentary constituency of Ghazipur in eastern Uttar Pradesh thrice in the Lok Sabha. Sinha has also served as junior railways minister.

• Murmu officially took charge as the first L-G of the Union territory of Jammu and Kashmir on October 31, 2019, under the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019.

Ranking

Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020

• The Hurun Research Institute released Hurun Global Unicorn List 2020, a global ranking of the world’s billion-dollar tech startups founded in the 2000s, and not yet listed on a public exchange. The 2020 list is the second edition of the annual list and has ranked a total of 586 unicorns in the world, based in 29 countries and 145 cities.

• The total value of these unicorns adds to US$1.8 trillion, which is equivalent to the GDP of Italy. The average age of these unicorns is nine years. The valuations of the startups is as on March 31, 2020.

• The United States has the highest number of Unicorns, at 233, followed by China at 227. These two countries represents 80% of the world’s known unicorns. The United Kingdom was third with 24, followed by India at fourth position with 21 unicorns.The total value of these stands at $73.2 billion.

• Among all Indian unicorns, the Fintech company Paytm is India’s highest valued unicorn, at $16 billion.The average age of Indian unicorns is seven years.

Days

Hiroshima Day (Anti Nuclear Day/ Nagasaki Day

• Annually 6th of August marks the anniversary of the atomic bombing in Hiroshima during World War II. The horrific incident took place on August 6, 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb named “Little Boy”, on the town of Hiroshima in Japan, followed a few days later by another drop on the city of Nagasaki on August 9.

• This was the first time in the history of warfare when a nuclear bomb was used against a nation.Although these bombings effectively ended World War II, the two cities were terribly destroyed and casualties were estimated at around 200,000, mostly civilians.

• This day is remembered to promote peace and spread awareness about the danger of nuclear energy and nuclear weapons.

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Important Current Affairs 4th August 2020

National

First Pan India 1000 Genome sequencing of SARS- CoV-2 completes successfully

• Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare announced the completion of Pan-India Genome Sequencing of SARS-CoV-2. He reviewed the C-19 activities of Department of Biotechnology (DBT), Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council (BIRAC) and DBT-Autonomous Institutions (AIs) in the meeting with DBT.

• He also launched the establishment of Five C-19 Bio Repositories by the DBT at Faridabad, Bhubaneshwar, New Delhi, Pune and Bangalore

Obituary

William English, the co-inventor of the computer mouse, passes away

• William Kirk English, the American computer engineer who co-invented the world’s first computer mouse, has passed away. He was 91 years old.

• In 1964, he was the first person to co-develop the mouse along with Douglas Engelbart, at the Stanford Research Institute and ‘demonstrated it in 1968, in what was dubbed ‘the mother of all demos.’

Sports

Central Government gave nod to Indian Premier League 2020 in UAE

• The Indian Government has provisionally granted permission for the 13th edition of Indian Premier League’s (IPL’s) 2020 to be rescheduled in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) from September 19 to November 10, 2020, due to C-19.

• Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Sharjah will be the three venues of the tournament. No spectators to be allowed in the initial phase of the tournament. BCCI has also decided to host a Women’s T20 Challenge to be held from November 1 to 10 in UAE.

Appointments and Resignations

Mohamed Irfaan Ali named as President of Guyana

• Former Guyanese housing minister Mohamed Irfaan Ali(40 years old)became the President of the country after he was declared as the winner of the disputed March 2, 2020 general election following a recount.

• He is a member of the opposition People’s Progressive Party (PPP). He succeeds David Arthur(A.) Granger.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Siyasat Mein Sadasyata” authored by Vijay Kumar Choudhary

• Bihar Chief Minister, Nitish Kumar has released a book titled “Siyasat Mein Sadasyata” authored by Bihar Assembly Speaker Vijay Kumar Choudhary. The book is a compilation of the author’s views, three dozen articles on different important issues and his life journey.

• The book was published by Bihar Assembly Secretariat.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd August 2020

National

Government approves Khadi Agarbatti AtmaNirbhar Mission

• The Union Government approved Khadi Agarbatti AtmaNirbhar Mission on August 2, 2020 to generate employment and make India self-reliant in agarbatti production.

• Union Minister for MSME, Nitin Gadkari approved the unique employment generation scheme, which was proposed by Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) to help India become Aatmanirbhar in Agarbatti production.

• The “Khadi Agarbatti Aatmanirbhar Mission” will help create employment for a large number of unemployed and migrant workers in different parts of the country.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurated upstream carriageway of Mahatma Gandhi bridge in Bihar

• As a part of the renovation of the Mahatma Gandhi Bridge/Setu over river Ganga in Bihar, Union Minister for Road Transport, Highways and MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) Nitin Jairam Gadkari virtually inaugurated its upstream carriageway. This means the two lanes are completed of the 4-lane bridge which is being renovated at a cost of Rs1,742 crore.

• During the inauguration ceremony, a new 5 km long, 4-lane Bridge over river Ganga in parallel to MG Setu, was also announced by Nitin Gadkari to facilitate movement of ships under it. With an outlay of Rs 2,926.42 crore, it will get completed by 2024.

International

UAE becomes first gulf nation to produce nuclear energy

• The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has become the first country in the Arab world to produce nuclear energy. This was confirmed after it was announced on August 1, 2020 that Unit 1 of the Abu Dhabi-based Barakah nuclear power plant has now become operational. Unit 1 of the Barakah nuclear power plant is now using nuclear fuel to produce energy as part of the ‘criticality’ phase. which was initiated on July 31st. The nuclear reactor will be connected to the power grid will provide electricity during the upcoming testing phase.

• The plant is powered by South Korean technology and is situated  in the Al Dhafrah region of Abu Dhabi. It will produce 5.6 gigawatts of electricity and meet up to 25% of the UAE’s electricity needs.

Obituary

UP Cabinet Minister Kamal Rani Varun passes away

• Cabinet Minister in the Government of Uttar Pradesh, Kamal Rani Varun passed away due to C-19. She was the minister of technical education in the state government.

• Kamal Rani Varun had also served as an MP twice. Once in the Eleventh LokSabha and then Twelfth Lok Sabha. She was MLA from Ghatampur in Kanpur.

Sports

Lewis Hamilton wins British Grand Prix 2020

• Mercedes driver, Lewis Hamilton has won the Formula One British Grand Prix 2020 held at the Silverstone Circuit, United Kingdom.

•  Max Verstappen (Red bull) ended up second in this F1 race while Charles Leclerc (Ferrari) came third. This is the third win for Hamilton in this season of F1 races.

Days

World Sanskrit Day 2020

• World Sanskrit Day, (also known as Sanskrit Diwas), is celebrated every year on Shraavanapoornima, that is the Poornima day of the Shraavana month in the Hindu calendar, which is also marked as Raksha Bandhan.

• In 2020, this day is being observed on 3 August 2020.The day commemorates the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit and aims to promote its revival and maintenance.

• The Government of India decided to celebrate World Sanskrit Day in 1969, on the occasion of Raksha Bandhan that falls on the full moon day of the Hindu month of Shravana.

Books and Authors

‘Greenlights’ the debut book authored by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey

• ‘Greenlights’ the debut book authored by Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey published by Crown Publishing Group is set to be released on 20th October 2020. The book was described as “not a traditional memoir but a playbook” based on the adventures and life experiences of McConaughey.

• McConaughey describes ‘Greenlights’ as an album, a record and the story of his life and he shared his anecdotes, poems and life lessons in this book.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd August 2020

National

‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ scheme extended to 4 more states, taking total states to 24

• Four additional states, namely Jammu & Kashmir, Manipur, Nagaland and Uttarakhand have been  to the One Nation One Ration Card scheme have been integrated with the ‘One Nation, One Ration Card’ plan of the Central government.

• With this, now a total of 24 States/UTs are connected under One Nation One Ration Card effective from 01 August 2020.These 24 States/UTs includes: Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu, Goa, Gujarat, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan, Sikkim, Telangana, Tripura, Uttar Pradesh, and Uttarakhand.

International

PM Modi inaugurates Supreme Court building of Mauritius

• Indian Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Mauritian Prime Minister Pravin Kumar Jugnauth on Thursday virtually inaugurated the new Supreme Court building at Port Louis.

• The building has been constructed with Indian assistance as India’s sign of cooperation with countries in the Indian Ocean Region.

• It has been completed with the grant assistance of S28.12 million from India.

Banking and Economy

SIDBI & Trans Union CIBIL launches portal “MSME Saksham”

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has launched one-stop knowledge portal named as “MSME Saksham” in association with Trans Union CIBIL.

• The platform has been launched for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). MSME Saksham is a comprehensive financial education and knowledge platform for MSMEs and will support them in managing their credit obligations.

Summits and Mou’s

R Power & JERA inks loan agreement for Bangladesh’s power plant

• Reliance Power and Japanese energy major JERA have signed an agreement with a group of banks for their new gas-fired thermal power generation project in Bangladesh.

• The signed agreement will provide full finance of about $642 million (approxRs 4,798 crore) for a new 745 MW natural gas combined-cycle power project in Meghnaghat in Bangladesh. This is one of the largest funding tie-ups for a project in Bangladesh’s power sector.

Obituary

Rajya Sabha MP & former SP leader Amar Singh passes away

• Rajya Sabha MP and former Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh passed away. He was undergoing treatment in Singapore since past few months.

• Amar Singh, who hailed from Aligarh district of Uttar Pradesh, was elected to the Rajya Sabha for the first time from Uttar Pradesh in 1996 and got re-elected in 2003.

• Amar Singh was the general secretary of the Samajwadi Party and was later expelled from the party by chief Mulayam Singh Yadav on February 2, 2010.

Sports

Sport committee formed for National Sports Awards 2020

• The Union Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports formed a selection committee for selecting awardees for various sports awards for the National Sports Awards 2020.

• The committee will be headed by Retired Justice of Supreme Court Justice Mukundakam Sharma along with Virendra Sehwag (Cricket), Sardar Singh (Hockey), Monalisa Baruah Mehta (Table Tennis), Deepa Malik (Para-athletics), Venkatesan Devarajan (Boxing) and Sports Commentator Manish Batavia and Sports Journalists Alok Sinha and Neeru Bhatia.

Ranking

Microsoft India most attractive employer brand

• According to Randstad Employer Brand Research (REBR) 2020, Technology giant Microsoft India has emerged as the country’s most attractive employer brand, followed by Samsung India and Amazon India in the second and third place, respectively, says a survey.

• Microsoft India scored high on financial health, strong reputation and utilisation of the latest technologies.

• The REBR revealed that in 2020, work-life balance emerged as the top Employee Value Proposition (EVP) driver for the Indian workforce while choosing an employer as it was cited by 43% respondents, followed by attractive salary and employee benefits (41%) and job security (40%).

Apple dethrones Saudi Aramco to become world’s most valuable company

• Technology giant Apple Inc. has become the world’s most valuable publicly traded company in the world on 31st July 2020, surpassing the state oil giant Saudi Aramco.

• The shares of Apple closed up 10.47% on 31 July, giving it a market valuation of $1.84 trillion.

• Meanwhile, Saudi Aramco, which had been the most valuable publicly listed company since its market debut in 2019, now trails at $1.76 trillion as of its last close.

Days

World Breastfeeding Week 2020

• The World Breastfeeding Week is marked every year in the first week of August, between 1 to 7 August to raise awareness on the importance of breastfeeding for mothers and infants

• The theme of World Breastfeeding Week 2020 is “Support breastfeeding for a healthier planet”

• The annual week is organized by WABA, WHO and UNICEF since 1991.

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Important Current Affairs 1st August 2020

National

Central government to set up single-window clearance for business

• The central government is working on a single window portal which will reduce the time for businesses to get clearances; further increasing India’s ranking in the ease of doing business.Single Window System is completely digital and provides for unified and integrated business procedures.

• With six states on board, it will showcase five lakh hectares of land that has already been identified.This will allow online viewing of land available for companies, from their distant offices, precluding the need to frequently visit the offices of land-owning agencies.

International

Russia chaired 6th BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting

• The 6th BRICS Environment Ministers’ Meeting was held under the presidency of Russia. The Environment Ministers of the Federative Republic of Brazil, the Russian Federation, the Republic of India, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa participated in the meeting held via the video conference.

• The meeting was preceded by the BRICS Working Group meeting. India will host the next meeting in 2021.

Banking and Economy

SIDBI, TransUnion CIBIL launched financial knowledge platform ”MSMESaksham” for MSMEs

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) in association with TransUnion CIBIL has launched a comprehensive financial education and one-stop knowledge platform for micro, small and medium enterprises “MSMESaksham”, which will guide MSMEs (micro, small and medium enterprises) seeking quick access to finance and will also support them in managing their credit obligations.

• The portal will have a consolidated list of all the schemes launched by the Centre and state governments for MSMEs.

MobiKwik Launched mpay.me, a Personalized UPI Payment Link

• Digital wallet company, MobiKwik has launched “mpay.me” UPI link service that allows users to send and receive money from any UPI payment app. Users can share it with anyone over chat, SMS, email, etc to collect payments.

• This single link created using mpay.me can be shared anywhere to send and receive money and will work seamlessly on mobile as well as desktop.Through mpay.me, users will now be able to generate their own mini personal payment gateways using their phone numbers.

Obituary

Padma Shri awardee Sonam Tshering Lepcha passes away

• Folk musician and Padma Shri awardee, Sonam Tshering Lepcha passed away. He was 92.He started his career as a soldier.He travelled to various parts of Sikkim and complied a wide range of Indian folk and traditional Lepcha songs and played folk music on All India Radio in 1960.

• He was highly reverred in Sikkim, where he spent much of his time for his role in the revival of Lepcha culture, which is an indigenous one in Sikkim. He was awarded the Padma Shri for his contribution in the field of folk music.

Malayalam actor Anil Murali passes away

Malayalam actor, Anil Murali passed away.He made his silver screen debut with Kanyakumariyil Oru Kavitha in 1993.He went on to star in over 200 movies across Malayalam, Tamil and Telugu film industries.

Sports

Stuart Broad becomes 7th bowler to take 500 Test wickets

• Stuart Broad joined one of cricket’s most exclusive clubs when he took his 500th Test wicket as England completed a series-clinching win over the West Indies at Old Trafford.

• The 34-year-old became fourth pacemen to reach the landmark when he had opener Kraigg Brathwaite plumb lbw for 19 on the fifth day of the third Test.

Appointments and Resignations

Kavita Devi, Babita Phogat appointed as Haryana Sports Deputy Directors

Babita Phogat and Kavita Devi have been appointed as Deputy Directors in the Haryana's Department of Sports and Youth Affairs. Babita Phogat stated that she will work to make sure that players in the state get all the facilities required by them.

Days

World Ranger Day 2020

• World Ranger Day is celebrated annually on July 31 around the world and it is promoted by the 54-member Association of the International Ranger Federation (IRF).

• The day celebrates the accomplishments done by rangers around the world and honors those who have died in the course of their duties.

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Important Current Affairs 31st July 2020

National

Govt establishes authority to protect and enforce consumer rights

• The government has set up the Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA), under Consumer Protection Act, 2019 with the objective to promote, protect and enforce the rights of consumers.

• The CCPA will begin its functioning in the premises of Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA).Smt. Nidhi Khare, the Additional Secretary in the Department of Consumer Affairs, has been appointed as the Chief Commissioner of CCPA.

• The CCPA has been set up under the section 10 of the Consumer Protection Act, 2019, which came into force on 20 July, 2020.

NITI Aayog, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation launch AIM iCREST incubator program

• NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), has launched AIM iCREST, a first of its kind initiative, for advancing innovation to enable the incubation ecosystem, at scale in India. AIMiCREST is an Incubator Capabilities enhancement program for a Robust Ecosystem focused on creating high performing Startups.

• AIM has collaborated with Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and Wadhwani Foundation, which will lend credible support and expertise in the entrepreneurship and innovation space.

• Under the initiative, the AIM’s incubators are set to be upscaled and provided requisite support to foster the incubation enterprise economy, that will help them to significantly enhance their performance.

Green-Ag project launched in Mizoram

• Green-Ag, a project funded by Global Environment Facility (GEF), which aims to catalyze sustainable transformation of Indian agriculture sector without compromising the country’s food security and farmers’ income, has been launched in Mizoram.

• In Mizoram, the project will be implemented in Dampa Tiger Reserve in west Mizorams Mamit district and Thorangtlang Wildlife Sanctuary in Lunglei district in the southern part of the state covering more than 30 villages.

• Mizoram is among five Indian states where the project will be implemented. The other four states are Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.

Banking and Economy

ADB approves USD 3 million grant to India

• Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved USD 3 million (about Rs 22 crore) grant to India from its Asia Pacific C-19 Response Fund to further support the government’s emergency response to C-19.

• The grant will be used to procure thermal scanners and essential commodities to strengthen India’s C-19 response.

 Summits and Mou’s

PFC signs agreement with IIT-Kanpur in smart grid technology

• Power Finance Corporation (PFC) has signed an agreement with the Indian Institute of Technology- Kanpur for Training, Research, and Entrepreneurship Development in Smart Grid Technology.

• The agreement was on a virtual platform. The objective of the pact is to provide support to IIT-Kanpur in developing infrastructure for research and development on smart grid technology.

• Under the agreement, PFC will provide financial assistance of worth Rs 2, 38,97000 to IIT-Kanpur.

Science and Technology

NASA launches its Mars Mission; to reach Mars by February 2021

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has its Mars mission named Mars Perseverance Rover 2020 on July 30. The Mars Rover aims to reach the Red Planet by the year 2021.

• The rover was launched aboard Atlas V-541 in Florida. The Mars Perseverance rover is a robot that will deploy first-ever interplanetary helicopter.

Obituary

Veteran Bollywood actor Kumkum passes away

• Veteran Bollywood actor Kumkum passed away. Her real name was Zaibunnissa. She has featured in over 100 Hindi films like Mother India, Kohinoor, Ek Sapera Ek Lootera, Naya Daur, Ujala, Raja Aur Runk, Lalkar, Aankhen, Geet, among others.

Bollywood action director Parvez Khan passes away

• Bollywood action director, Parvez Khan passed away. He had been working in the film industry since 1986. Some of his well-known films include Andhadhun, Badlapur, Bullett Raja, Fukrey, Ra-One, Johnny Gaddaar etc.

Appointments and Resignations

Rating Agency ICRA appoints N. Sivaraman as MD and Group CEO

• The board of directors of Indian credit rating agency ICRA Ltd has appointed N Sivaraman as the Managing Director & CEO of the Company and CEO of ICRA Group for a period of three years with effect from August 10, 2020.

• He will replace Naresh Takkar, whose service was terminated in August 2019 and the post was lying vacant since last one year.

Days

World Day Against Trafficking in Persons

• United Nations observes 30 July every year as World Day Against Trafficking in Persons.The 2020 theme for the World Day against Trafficking: “Committed to the Cause – Working on the Frontline to End Human Trafficking”.

• In 2013, the General Assembly designated July 30 as the World Day against Trafficking in Persons to raise awareness of the situation of victims of human trafficking and for the promotion and protection of their rights.

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