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Important Current Affairs 14th August 2020

National

Education Minister launches Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020

• Union Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank virtually launched the Minimum Standards of Architectural Education Regulations, 2020 in New Delhi on August 11, 2020.

• During the launch, the Minister highlighted about unique architectural beauty of India, its monuments and temples. He highlighted how the architecture of India is rooted in its history, culture and religion.

• He further added that the Council of Architecture should draw inspiration from the present and past treasures of Architecture and bring a paradigm shift in the field of Architecture to make India a world leader again.

Goa’s ‘Khaje’, ‘Harmal Chilli’ and ‘Moira banana’ get GI tag

• Goa’s traditional festive sweet dish ‘Khaje’, spicy Harmal Chilli and Myndoli Banana (Moira Banana) has obtained Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indications Registry.

• A GI tag protects the produce from being illegally used, and ensures benefits to the local growers’ community.

International

Historic peace agreement between UAE & Israel

• President of USA, Donald J. Trump, Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the United Arab Emirates, Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Nahyan have agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

• Israeli and UAE delegations will meet in the coming weeks to sign bilateral agreements regarding investment, tourism, direct flights, security and the establishment of reciprocal embassies, they said.

Israel & United States successfully tests an advanced missile defense system Arrow 2

• Israel's Defense Ministry conducted a successful test of the nation’s advanced missile defense system against long-range ballistic attacks on August 12, 2020.

• Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that the successful flight test of the Arrow-2 interceptor was part of Israel's technological effort, which ensure that they will always be one step ahead of their enemies.

• The test was conducted overnight jointly with the US Missile Defense Agency in central Israel. The Arrow-interceptor is a part of the multi-layered system, which Israel has developed to defend against both short and mid-range missiles. It can also intercept long-range missiles.

• The advanced missile defense system including the Arrow-3 system, Irone Dome and David’s Sling is also capable of defending against threats from outside the atmosphere.

Banking and Economy

RBI announces ‘positive pay’ feature to help avert cheque frauds

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced to introduce a mechanism of ‘Positive Pay’ feature for all cheques of value Rs 50,000 and above. This feature helps to avert cheque frauds. The limit of Rs 50,000 will cover approximately 20 per cent of transactions by volume and 80 per cent by value.

• Positive pay is a fraud-prevention system offered by most commercial banks to companies to protect them against forged, altered and counterfeit checks.

Summits and Mou’s

Reliance Foundation partners with W-GDP & USAID to bridge gender digital divide in India

• Reliance Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Reliance Industries Ltd, has entered into partnership with US Agency for International Development (USAID) to bridge the gender digital divide in India.

• The partnership will enable Reliance Foundation to join forces with Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative.

• Under this, various W-GDP Women Connect Challenge would be organised across India in 2020, with the shared goal to help bridge both the gender divide and the digital divide in India.

• The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative was launched in 2019 by President Donald Trump to advance global women’s economic empowerment. It is led by Ivanka Trump.

Obituary

Noted Sports Journalist GK Menon Passes away

• Veteran sports journalist Gopal Krishna Menon has passed away. He was 93.He had worked with the Indian Express and The Times of India.

Appointments and Resignations

SS Mundra becomes new non-executive Chairman of IBH

• Former RBI deputy governor, Subhash Sheoratan Mundra has been appointed as non-executive chairman of Indiabulls Housing Finance (IBH) with immediate effect.

• He had joined the board of IBH in 2018 as an independent director.

PESB selects Soma Mondal as next chairman of SAIL

• Soma Mondal has been selected by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as the next chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL).

• She will be taking charge when the present Chairman Anil Chaudhary.

Days

World Organ Donation Day

• The World Organ Donation Day is celebrated every year on August 13 to raise awareness about the importance of organ donation and motivate people to donate organs after death.

• The day provides an opportunity to all to come ahead and pledge to donate their precious organs, because one organ donor can save up to eight lives.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” by Dalai Lama

• The Tibetan spiritual leader, Dalai Lama, will release a new book titled “Our Only Home: A Climate Appeal to the World” on climate change with German environmental journalist, Franz Alt in November.

• It follows his 2019 publication dedicated to children, “The Seed of Compassion: Lessons from the Life and Teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama“, his autobiography and a book on philosophy.

• In 2018, “Ecology, Ethics, and Interdependence: The Dalai Lama in Conversation with Leading Thinkers on Climate Change” was published.

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Important Current Affairs 13th August 2020

National

Paytm launched India’s 1st pocket android POS device

• Paytm has launched India’s 1st Pocket Android POS (Point of Sale) Device named ‘Paytm All-in-One Portable Android Smart POS’ for contactless ordering and payments in India.

• This is the first such Android-based device to be introduced in India and is much more powerful than the portable Linux based POS devices presently available in the country.

• It is an effort to digitise and empower a large number of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The company aims to issue over 2 lakh devices within the next few months which will generate over 20 million transactions per month.

Union Minister Nitin Gadkari Addresses ‘India@75 Summit: Mission 2022’ for upliftment of MSME

• The Union Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari addressed the ‘India@75 Summit: Mission 2022’ on 8 August in New Delhi, via video-conferencing.

• The event was organised by the Confederation of Indian Industries (CII) to look towards improving presence of MSME industry in the 115 identified aspirational districts of the country.

Google launches People Cards in India

• Google has launched its new "People Cards" feature in India that let users create their virtual visiting card and build their public profile for search engine. The Google People Cards feature has been in a testing phase for a few years in India and has finally been launched now.

• People Cards is a new listing feature of Google that help users create their virtual Visiting or Business Cards and enhance their online presence.The People Cards feature uses Knowledge Graph of the Google to display information shared by the users.

• Individuals, entrepreneurs, employees, influencers, self-employed people, businesses, online marketplaces, freelancers, and anyone can be benefitted through the People Cards by getting discovered easily on being searched.

PM to launch platform for Transparent Taxation 'Honoring the Honest'

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi is scheduled to launch the platform for Transparent Taxation-Honoring the Honest through video conference on August 13, 2020.

• The Central Board of Direct Taxes, CBDT had carried out several major tax reforms in direct taxes in recent years.

• The Corporate Tax rates were reduced from 30 percent to 22 percent last year and for new manufacturing units, the rates were reduced to 15 percent. The board had also abolished the Dividend distribution Tax.

• The main aim behind the tax reforms is a reduction in tax rates and simplification of direct tax laws.

Awards

Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation, 2020

• A total of 121 Police personnel have been awarded the “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation” for the year 2020.

• The award of “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation” seeks to encourage high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such Excellence in Investigation by investigating officers.

Appointments and Resignations

Pramod Bhasin becomes new Chairman of ICRIER

• Pramod Bhasin has been appointed as a new Chairman of Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). He is currently the vice-chair of the board of governors at ICRIER.

• He will replace Isher Judge Ahluwalia, who has stepped down due to health reasons. Isher had been in this position for 15 years.

Ranking

Mumbai becomes first Indian city to get female symbol on traffic signage

• Mumbai has become the first city in India to have women symbols on traffic signals and signage, as a symbolic gesture towards gender equality in public spaces..

• The Brihan mumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has installed female traffic signals, that display female icons sporting triangular frock, a shift from the default representation of men.

Days

International Lefthanders Day

• The International Left Handers Day is observed on August 13 every year to celebrate the uniqueness and differences of the left handers and raise awareness of the advantages and disadvantages of being left-handed in a predominantly right-handed world.

• The day was first observed in 1976 and was officially declared in 1997.

World Elephant Day

• World Elephant Day is observed every year on August 12 worldwide for the preservation and protection of the global elephants.

• The main objective of World Elephant Day is to create awareness on elephant conservation, and to share knowledge and positive solutions for the better protection and management of wild and captive elephants.

• The day is being officially celebrated since 2012.

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Important Current Affairs 12th August 2020

National

Jal Shakti Minister launches Swachh Bharat Mission Academy

• Jal Shakti Minister Gajendra Singh Shekhawat launched Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM Academy) on August 11, 2020 in New Delhi, as part of the ongoing week-long behaviour change campaign Gandagi Mukt Bharat.

• After launching the SBM Academy by dialing the designated IVR toll-free number, the Minister stated that IVR based free mobile online learning course on ODF Plus will be crucial in achieving goals underlined in Phase - 2 of Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin).

• The Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin) has transformed rural India by manifesting into a Jan Andolan for sanitation. This had led to the historic achievement of Open Defecation Free declaration by all villages, districts and states on October 2, 2019.

SC rules daughter is entitled to equal property rights even born before 2005

• Supreme Court has ruled that daughters enjoy equal property rights even if they are born before the 2005 amendment to Hindu Succession Act, 1956.

• Daughters have equal rights in the properties of Hindu Undivided Family (HUF).This is valid even if the father was not alive at the time of 2005 amendment.

International

Russia announces world’s first C-19 vaccine named “Sputnik V”

• Russian President, Vladimir Putin has announced that a C-19 vaccine named “Sputnik V” developed in the country has been registered for use.

• Russian Ministry of Health has given regulatory approval for what it claims is the world’s first C-19 vaccine, developed by Moscow’s Gamaleya Institute. Russia is the first country to register a Chinese virus vaccine.

• Phase 3 trials would start on August 12, 2020, industrial production was expected from September.   20 countries had pre-ordered more than a billion doses.

Ex- Defence Minister Walter Roger Martos Ruiz takes over as new Prime Minister of Peru

• The former defence minister and retired army general, Walter Roger Martos Ruiz becomes new Prime Minister of the country. His appointment was confirmed by President of Peru, Martin Vizcarra.

• Ruiz will succeed Pedro Álvaro Cateriano Bellido. The swearing-in ceremony took place at the Government Palace in Lima.

Lebanon PM  Hassan Diab Announces Resignation Over Deadly Beirut Blasts

• Lebanon's PM Hassan Diab and his government resigned on August 10, 2020 following the public outrage over Beirut blast that has caused massive destruction and claimed many lives.

• While announcing his resignation, Diab stated that he wants to stand with people and join their battle. He also added that the explosion was a result of endemic corruption.

Mohamed Ould Bilal becomes new Prime Minister of Mauritania

• Mohamed Ould Bilal has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Mauritania. The appointment was made by the Mauritanian President Mohamed Ould Ghazouani.

• Mohamed Ould Bilal is a veteran public administrator and has served as the head of the country’s national water agency, a presidential aide and a cabinet minister.

Obituary

Noted Urdu Poet Rahat Indori passes away

• Noted Urdu poet Rahat Indori passed away. He was also a bollywood lyricist and known for the lyrics of songs like “M Bole to” from Munna bhai MBBS (2003), and “Neend Churai Mei” from Ishq (1997).

• His poem  “Bulatihaimagarjanekanahi” went viral on social media earlier this year.

Former India defender and Mohun Bagan captain Laishram Manitombi Singh passes away

• Former Indian footballer and Mohun Bagan captain, Laishram Manitombi Singh has passed away, after suffering from a prolonged illness.. He was 39.

• He captained Mohun Bagan for consecutive two seasons (2003-2004) wherein he scored three goals, and also led the club to win the Airlines Gold Cup in 2004.

• Manitombi was a key member of the India Under-23 side that lifted the LG Cup in 2003 by defeating Vietnam 3-2 in Ho Chi Minh City. He also represented India in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan.

Appointments and Resignations

Former NABARD Chief Harsh Bhanwala appointed as executive chairman of Capital India Finance

• Former NABARD Chief, Harsh Kumar Bhanwala has been appointed as executive chairman of the Capital India Finance Limited. Prior to this, Bhanwala was chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) for over six years.

• He was appointed as the chairman NABARD in December 2013 and demitted the office on May 26, 2020.

Days

International Youth Day

• The International Youth Day (IYD) is observed on August 12 annually to draw attention of governments and others towards youth issues worldwide.

• The day was designated by the United Nations in 1999.The first IYD was observed on 12 August, 2000. Theme of 2020 is’ Youth Engagement for Global Action’.

Books and Authors

Third series of book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’ comprising collection of speeches by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu released

• The Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting, Shri Prakash Javadekar unveiled an e-version of the book titled ‘Connecting, Communicating, Changing’.

• Apart from this, the print coffee table version of the book was also released by Union Minister of Defense Shri Rajnath Singh.

• The book chronicles Shri M Venkaiah Naidu’s three years in office as the Vice President of India.

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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 9th August 2020

National

Delhi Govt launches new “Electric Vehicle Policy”

• Delhi government has launched the “Electric Vehicle Policy” for the national capital under which will waive registration fee, road tax, and provide an incentive of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh for new cars. The government aims to generate employment to give a boost to Delhi’s economy and reduce pollution levels in the national capital.

• There is already the Centre’s scheme on electric vehicles called ‘Fame India Phase-2’, under which the Union government also provides some incentives.

• Under the policy, the Delhi government will give an incentive of up to Rs. 30,000 for two-wheelers, autos, e-rickshaws and freight vehicles while for cars, it will provide an incentive of up to Rs. 1.5 lakh.

• The new EV policy as “progressive” and the policy also aims to constitute 25% electric vehicles by 2024, which is currently just 0.29% in the national capital.

• The Delhi government will also give a low-interest loan on electric commercial vehicles.

• The Delhi Chief Minister said his government will also set up 200 charging stations in a year to ensure that people driving these vehicles can get a charging station within the radius of three kilometres.

• The Delhi government will give a ”scrapping incentive” under the electric vehicle policy, which will be first-of-its-kind in the country.

Maharashtra ties up with Google to start virtual classes

• Considering the shutdown of schools due to the C -19, the state government of Maharashtra has tied up with technology giant Google to launch online education project for the students in the state.

• Under the tie-up, students and teachers will get access to Google Classroom and G Suite for Education to provide solutions to support remote learning. Maharashtra is the first state in the country to introduce such a project.

• Key features of Google Classroom and G Suite

1. The Google Classroom and G Suite allows interactive sessions, which will enable teachers to explain lessons using audio or video presentations.

2. Students can also ask their doubts while sitting at home

3. Homework and assignments can be uploaded, and teachers can check them online.

4. Parents can submit their complaints or suggestions through the system

5. Around 250 participants can attend the class at a time.

6. The initiative will cover over 1.09 lakh government, private, aided, and unaided schools, and benefit over 22.03 million students.

Sports

India To Host 2021 ICC Men’s T20 World Cup, Australia to Host 2022 Edition, Women’s CWC Postponed

• The Cricket governing body, International Cricket Council (ICC) has confirmed that the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2020 that was postponed due to C -19 will be held in Australia in 2022.

• Also, India will be the host country for the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 as planned earlier.

• ICC has also decided to postpone the ICC Women’s Cricket World Cup 2021 in New Zealand till February – March 2022 because of the impact the C -19 on cricket globally.

Appointments and Resignations

Former SBI Card head Hardayal Prasad appointed new MD& CEO of PNB Housing Finance

• PNB Housing Finance Ltd. has appointed Hardayal Prasad as the new Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

• The former SBI Card head, Hardayal Prasad will assume charge on August 10.

• Currently, the housing finance company is headed by its interim Chief Neeraj Vyas.

Days

International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples

• The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples (World Tribal Day) is observed on 9 August annually to protect the rights of the world’s indigenous population and recognize the achievements and contributions that indigenous people make to improve world issues such as environmental protection.

• The day was recognised by the General Assembly of the United Nations in December 1994.The theme for 2020 is C -19 and indigenous peoples’ resilience.

Books and Authors

A book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ authored by Neena Rai

• The book titled ‘Amazing Ayodhya’ has been authored by Neena Rai. The book is publishing by house Bloomsbury.

• The book offers “authentic information” about the city, which will not only help understand the life and times of ancient Hindus but also the revered figures of Rama and Sita.

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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 5th August 2020

National

Government forms draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020

• The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has formulated a draft Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 (DPEPP 2020), with the objective to make India self-reliance in defence manufacturing and to position the country amongst the leading countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors.

• The new policy is a part of the announcements made under the ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat Package’ to provide impetus to self-reliance in defence manufacturing. The policy framework aims to position India among the leading countries of the world in defence and aerospace sectors.

• The Defence Production and Export Promotion Policy 2020 has laid out the following goals and objectives:

I. To achieve a turnover of Rs 1,75,000Crores (USD 25 Billion) including export of Rs 35,000 Crore (USD 5 Billion) in Aerospace and Defence goods and services by 2025.

II. To develop a dynamic, robust and competitive Defence industry, including Aerospace and Naval Shipbuilding industry to cater to the needs of Armed forces with quality products.

III. To reduce dependence on imports and take forward “Make in India” initiatives through domestic design and development.

IV. To promote export of defence products and become part of the global defence value chains.

V. To create an environment that encourages R&D, rewards innovation, creates Indian IP ownership and promotes a robust and self-reliant defence industry.

National Programme ‘Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan 2020-21’ launched

• Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan has launched ‘Vidyarthi Vigyan Manthan, 2020-21’. It is a national programme which has been launched to popularize science among school students of Class 6th to 11th.

• The programme has been designed to identify the talent in the field of science and to promote the scientfic acumen among the students.

Andhra Pradesh government launches ‘E-RakshaBandhan’

• Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has launched a one month-long innovative virtual cybercrime awareness programme ‘E-Rakshabandhan’ on 3 August 2020

• The campaign organised by the Andhra Pradesh CID and the police, aims to bring awareness among the public in cyberspace, especially women, youth and children.

• The slogan for the campaign is “Let us make August a month of e freedom and e-safety.”Cybercrime experts will speak on different types of cyber crimes and create awareness among the public.

Obituary

Theatre maestro Ebrahim Alkazi passes away

• Indian theatre director and drama teacher, Ebrahim Alkazi, has passed  away. He was 94. He was the first and longest serving Director of the National School of Drama (NSD), and held the position from 1962-77.

• Ebrahim was considered as the father of modern Indian theatre and has mentored generations of actors, including Naseeruddin Shah, Om Puri, Rohini Hattangadi, Surekha Sikri and Pankaj Kapoor.

• The thespian has a lot of accolades to his name and has won many of India’s most prestigious awards, such as Padma Shri (1966), the Padma Bhushan (1991), and India’s second highest civilian award the Padma Vibhushan in 2010.SangeetNatakAkademi Award in Direction in 1962, and the Akademi’s highest award the Sangeet Natak Akademi Fellowship for lifetime contribution to theatre.

Nobel Peace Prize winner John Hume passes away

• The prominent Northern Ireland politician and former Nobel Peace Prize winner, John Hume passed away. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1998, along with David Trimble, for his role in ending the conflict in Northern Ireland.

• He was a founding member of the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) in 1970 and led the party from 1979 until 2001.

Sports

World Cup winner Benedikt Howedes retires from soccer

• The professional German footballer, Benedikt Howedes, who helped Germany win the World Cup title in 2014, has announced his retirement from soccer, citing family reasons.

• The 32-year-old defender, represented the Germany national football team from 2011 to 2017 during which he played 44 matches.

Appointments and Resignations

RBI approves Sashidhar Jagdishan as HDFC Bank CEO and MD

• The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of Sashidhar Jagdishan as the Managing Director (MD) and CEO of HDFC Bank. Mr. Jagdishan will take charge of the outgoing MD Aditya Puri on October 27, 2020 and will remain on the position for three years.

• HDFC Bank mentioned that a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Bank will be held in due course to approve the appointment of Sashidhar Jagdishan as the new MD and CEO of the bank.

• Along with Sashidhar Jagdishan, HDFC Bank had also submitted the names of Sunil Garg, Global CEO of Citi Commercial Bank, and Kaizad Bharucha (ED at HDFC Bank) for the RBI’s consideration.

• Sashidhar Jagdishan had joined HDFC Bank in 1996 as a manager in the finance function and later became a business head-finance in 1999.

Mark Phillips sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana

• Former Chief-of-Staff of the Guyana Defence Force Brigadier (retired), Mark Anthony Phillips has been sworn in as Prime Minister of Guyana. Additionally, former President Bharrat Jagdeo was named Vice President.

• Mohamed Irfaan Ali, a former member of parliament and housing minister, has been sworn in as the President of Guyana on 2 August 2020.

• The 40-year-old People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) candidate has taken over as the 10th President of the country. He succeeds David A. Granger.

Books and Authors

A book titled “Vishesh: Code To Win” authored by Nirupama Yadav

• The book, titled “Vishesh: Code To Win”, has been written by sportswoman-turned-author Nirupama Yadav and published by the publishing house Bluerose.

• The inspirational story on the life of Vishesh Bhriguvanshi, India’s youngest basketball team captain, is set to be released on August 29, the National Sports Day.

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