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Important Current Affairs 15th July 2020

National

Government to increase public health expenditure to 2.5% of GDP by 2025

•  The Union Health Ministry has called for increased expenditure on public health. Union Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan highlighted during a meeting with the 15th Finance Commission that the government aims to gradually increase the public health expenditure to 2.5 percent of the nation's GDP by 2025.

•  The Minister asserted that the outlay for primary health expenditure will also be made nearly 2/3rd of the total public health expenditure in the country. The Health Minister further emphasized on the importance of increasing the state’s health sector spending to nearly 8 percent of their total budget.

•  The Health Ministry has also revised its requirement of around 4.9 lakh crores to 6.04 lakh crores in the wake of the C-19. The Ministry has asked for additional resources for the states that will be utilized for the achievement of the National Health Policy targets.

Iran drops India from Chabahar rail project

• Iran has dropped India from Chabahar rail project which comprises rail line from Chabahar port to Zahedan, along the border with Afghanistan. The Iranian government cited delays from the Indian side in funding and starting the project, for its decision of dropping India from the project.

• Now, Iranian Railways will go ahead without India’s assistance and utilize around $400 million from the Iranian National Development Fund.

International

Singapore enters into recession, GDP falls by 41.2 percent

• Singapore has entered into the phase of economic recession after the country's GDP contracted by around 41.2 percent in last 3 months.

• The extended C-19 amid has adversely impacted the economy of the nation. The announcement was made by Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore.

Banking and Economy

Reliance Industries becomes first Indian company to hit Rs. 12 lakh crore market cap

• Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL) has become the first Indian firm to hit a market capitalisation mark of Rs. 12 lakh crore. The shares price of the company surged to a record high of Rs. 1,947 on 13 July 2020, after which the Market cap of the firm rose to Rs 12.32 lakh crore.

• The increase in Reliance Industries m-cap comes after it secured deal with Qualcomm Ventures to invest in Jio Platforms for a 0.15 percent equity stake.This is the 13th deal secured by Jio Platforms in a span of 12 weeks, bringing the total funds raised by the company to Rs 1.18 lakh crore.

NABARD organised ‘Digital Choupal’ to mark its 39th foundation day

• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) organised its first ‘Digital Choupal’ to mark its 39th foundation day. During the ‘Digital Choupal’ session, NABARD also announced Rs 5,000 crore of refinance scheme for banks and financial institutions.

•  “Digital Choupal” was conducted in the form of a video conference which was attended by participants of different projects initiated by NABARD, to share their experiences about the projects they are involved in.

Awards

ISRO Chief K Sivan named for Von Karman Award 2020

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chief, Kailasavadivoo Sivan has named for Von Karman Award 2020 by the International Academy of Astronautics (IAA).

• The Von Karman Award is known as the highest distinction of the IAA. Dr K. Sivan is going to receive an award in March 2021 at Paris France.

• Udupi Ramachandra Rao was the first Indian to receive the von Karman award.The award was presented to him in 2005 and Dr Krishnaswamy Kasturirangan received the Von Karman award in 2007.

Appointments and Resignations

Hemang Amin appointed as interim CEO of BCCI

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Hemang Amin as its interim chief executive officer (CEO).

• He will replace Rahul Johri who recently resigned as the chief executive officer (CEO) of BCCI and his resignation was accepted by the BCCI office-bearers.

Days

World Youth Skills Day

• United Nations celebrates World Youth Skills Day globally on 15 July every year. The theme of World Youth Skills Day 2020 is “Skills for a Resilient Youth“.

• The day is celebrated as an opportunity for young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, and public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge as well as celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.

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Important Current Affairs 14th July 2020

National

NITI Aayog presents India’s second Voluntary National Review at UN’s High-Level Political Forum

• NITI Aayog presented India’s second Voluntary National Review (VNR) at the United Nations High-level Political Forum (HLPF) on Sustainable Development, 2020.It is organised annually in July for eight days under the auspices of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the UN.

• The India VNR 2020 report was titled Decade of Action: Taking SDGs from Global to Local. The report was presented by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog.

• The HLPF is the foremost international platform for countries to present its follow-up and review of progress on achieving the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

United States remains India’s top trading partner for 2nd consecutive year in 2019-20

• According to the data of the Union Ministry of Commerce, United States remained India’s top trading partner for the second consecutive fiscal in 2019-20. The recently released data shows increasing economic ties between the two nations.

• As per the data, the bilateral trade between the US and India has increased from $87.96 billion in 2018-19 to $88.75 billion in the fiscal year 2019-20. China was India’s top trading partner since 2013-14 to 2017-18.

International

Russia first nation to complete clinical trials of vaccine

• Russia has successfully completed the human trials of Chinese virus vaccine. With this, Russia has become the first country to complete the trials of C-19 vaccine.

• The volunteers who took part in the trials will be discharged soon. The trials were aimed at showing the safety of vaccine for human health.

Andrzej Duda wins Poland’s presidential election

• Andrzej Duda has been re-elected as the President of Poland. He won the presidential elections recently held in Poland after winning 51.21% of the votes, defeating the opposition candidate, liberal Warsaw Mayor Rafal Trzaskowski who got 48.79% votes.Voter turnout was a record high at 68.12 percent.

Banking and Economy

Google for India Digitization Fund of USD 10 billion launched

• Google CEO Sundar Pichai has announced the launch of ‘Google for India Digitization Fund’. Through this fund, Google will be investing USD 10 billion or Rs. 75,000 crore in India over next 5-7 years.

• The investment comes amid the C-19 crisis that has deeply impacted the economy of India. The investment will be made through a mix of partnerships and equity investments.

• Google Investment will focus on four areas important to India’s digitization

1. Enabling affordable access and information to every Indian in their own language.

2. Building new services and products that are deeply relevant to India’s unique needs.

3. Empowering businesses as they continue on digital transformation.

4. Leveraging technology in AI- Artificial Intelligence for social good in areas like education, health, and agriculture.

FICCI survey predicts India’s GDP to contract by 4.5% in FY21

• Industry body FICCI has projected the Indian economy to contract by (-) 4.5 percent in 2020-21, as per its latest Economic Outlook Survey released on 12 July 2020.

• The minimum and maximum GDP growth estimate stood at (-) 6.4 percent and 1.5 percent, respectively, for FY21.

Summits and Mou’s

Visa Partners With Federal Bank For Rolling Out Visa Secure For E-Commerce

• Visa, a global leader in payments technology has tied-up with Federal Bank to launch “Visa Secure” to the bank's cardholders.The upgraded technology provides a quicker and frictionless checkout experience to consumers.

• “Visa Secure ‘is a global authentication program that uses the latest standards of the EMV 3DS (3D Secure) protocol.

Obituary

Padma Shri award winning journalist Nagindas Sanghvi passes away

• Padma Shri award winning veteran Gujarati journalist, columnist, writer and political analyst Nagindas Sanghvi passed away. Government of India conferred him Padma Shri award in the year 2019.

• He had written many books on Mahatma Gandhi, Gujarat and other subjects. Besides writing in Gujarati language, Sangvi also wrote in English and Hindi languages.

Books and Authors

A book titled ‘A Song of India’ authored by Ruskin Bond to be released

• The book titled ‘A Song of India’ authored by Ruskin Bond to be released on July 20, 2020. This book will mark the 70th year of the author’s literary career. The book has been published by Puffin Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House India.

• The new book is the fourth instalment in his memoir series after “Looking for the Rainbow” (2017), “Till the Clouds Roll By” (2017) and “Coming Round the Mountain” (2019).

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Important Current Affairs 13th July 2020

National

Chhattisgarh Government organises India’s first e-Lok Adalat

• Chhattisgarh government has organised the first e-LokAdalat of India amid the C-19 C-19. The virtual hearings were conducted through video conferencing under the e-Lok Adalat along with its live streaming.

• The “e-Lok Adalat” was organized by the High Court and Chhattisgarh State Legal Services Authority and was inaugurated by P R Ramchandra Menon, the Chief Justice of Chhattisgarh High Court.

NITI Aayog Atal Innovation Mission launches ATL App Development Module for school children

• The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) of NITI Aayog has launched the ATL App Development Module for school children across the country, in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of AtmaNirbhar Bharat.

• The ATL App is an online course by AIM and is completely Free.The course has been jointly developed by AIM and Indian startup, Plezmo.

• The innovative course will have six project-based learning modules and online mentoring sessions to enable the young innovators learn how to build mobile apps in various Indian languages and showcase their talent.

Awards

Kezang D Thongdok bags Dada Saheb Phalke Award 2020

• Arunachal Pradesh filmmaker Kezang D Thongdok has bagged the Dada SahebPhalke Award 2020 for a short documentary “Chi Lupo“. Chi Lupo, documented by Kezang D Thongdok is a short documentary on honey hunting.

• Chi Lupo sketches the tradition of honey hunting practised in the Shertukpen community in which “Chi” means honey while “Lipo” means hunters.

NTPC Limited wins prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Award 2019

• The centrally-owned, National Thermal Power Corporation, (NTPC) Limited, under the Ministry of Power has won the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Award 2019, under Outstanding Accomplishment in Corporate Excellence Category.

• The company has also received Commendation for Significant Achievement in the category of CSR in the 15th CII-ITC Sustainability Award.

• The CII-ITC Sustainability Awards recognise and reward excellence in businesses that are seeking ways to be more sustainable and inclusive in their business.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Qualcomm Ventures to invest Rs. 730 crore in Jio Platforms

• Qualcomm Ventures announced on July 12 that it has decided to invest Rs. 730 crore in Jio Platforms. Qualcomm Ventures which is an investment arm of Qualcomm Incorporated will make an investment for a 0.15% stake.

• With an announced investment, Qualcomm Ventures has become a 12th investor in Reliance Industries Ltd’s digital and telecom business in less than a time period of two months.

• The new investment by Qualcomm Ventures will take the total investments in Jio Platforms to Rs. 1,18,318.45 crore for a combined 25.24% holding.

Obituary

Renowned Gujarati Cartoonist Avad Bin Hassan Jami passes away

• One of the most senior and popular cartoonist of Gujarat, Avad Bin Hassan Jami, has passed away in Jamnagar. He was 77.

• He was popularly known as “Jami”. His cartoons were regularly published in leading Gujarati daily newspapers and news magazines for more than two decades.

Sports

Mercedes’s Lewis Hamilton won Styrian Grand Prix 2020

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Britain) has won the Styrian Grand Prix 2020 at the Red Bull Ring in Spielberg, Austria. ValtteriBottas (Mercedes-Finland) finished second while Max Verstappen( Red Bull- Belgium) was third.

• It was the second race of the 2020 Formula One World Championship and the first running of the Styrian Grand Prix.

Ranking

Mukesh Ambani becomes world's seventh richest, overtakes investor tycoon Warren Buffett

• Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has become the world's 7th richest person after overtaking legendary investor tycoon Warren Buffett in terms of net worth.

• The Indian billionaire's net worth currently stands at $69.9 billion, while Warren Buffer's net worth stands at $69.1 billion. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos is ranked at the top of the world's richest individuals list with a net worth of $189.2 billion.

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Important Current Affairs 12th July 2020

National

All India Tiger Census 2018 sets new Guinness World Record for largest camera-trap wildlife survey

• The fourth edition of the All India Tiger Estimation 2018 has created the Guinness World Record for being the world’s largest camera trap wildlife survey.

• The All India Tiger Estimation is conducted every four year since 2006, by the National Tiger Conservation Authority with technical support from the Wildlife Institute of India.

• These cameras surveyed an effective area of 121,337 square kilometres (46,848 square miles).A total of 34,858,623 photographs of wildlife were captured by the 26,838 camera traps installed. Of the total photographs 76,651 were tigers and 51,777 were leopards while the remaining were other native fauna.

White Paper launched for Recommendations on Immediate Technology and Policy Impetus to Make India ATMANIRBHAR

• At a virtual event, White Papers prepared by the Technology Information, Forecasting and Assessment Council (TIFAC) was launched by Dr. Harsh Vardhan (Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare) on 10th July 2020.

• India has set the target of achieving ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)’ by adopting appropriate technology and policy reforms that will provide a thrust to the ‘Make in India’ initiative in the post-C-19 era.

• The White Papers are on:

a) Focused Interventions for Make in India: Post C-19 19

b) Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients: Status, Issues, Technology Readiness and Challenges

Banking and Economy

Global economy to contract by 5.2 pc in 2020: D&B Report

• The global economy is likely to contract by 5.2 percent in 2020, according to Dun and Bradstreet’s (DNB) Country Risk and Global Outlook Report that covered 132 countries.

• The reason behind this decline is the C-19, which is still spreading, and the economic prospects of countries across the world are uncertain.

SEBI Revamps advisory committee on mutual funds; Usha Thorat new head

• The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has re-constituted its advisory committee on mutual funds that advises the capital markets regulator on matters related to regulation and development of mutual fund industry.

• The revamped advisory committee on mutual funds has 20-member and will be headed Usha Thorat, former deputy governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI)

Appointments and Resignations

Lee HsienLoong became Prime Minister of Singapore

• Lee HsienLoong has become the Prime Minister of Singapore after the ruling People’s Action Party won the General Elections held in the country. PAP won 83 of the 93 seats contested in General Election.

• With this, Lee HsienLoong has won a fourth term as the Prime Minister of Singapore.

Days

World Population Day

• World Population Day is observed globally on 11th July every year. Objective is to raise awareness among people about the impact of a growing population and issues including gender equality, the importance of family planning, poverty, maternal health, human rights, etc.

• This year theme of World Population Day 2020: Putting the brakes on C-19: Safeguarding the health and rights of women and girls.

Malala Day Observed

• July 12 was declared by the United Nations as World Malala Day on July 12, 2013 to honour the young activist, Malala Yousafzai.

• July 12 also marks the birth anniversary of Yousafzai, the Pakistani human rights activist, and the youngest Nobel Prize laureate.

Books and Authors

A book on Dalai Lama's biography to release in 2020

• The biography of the current Dalai Lama titled “His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama: An Illustrated Biography”, is set to hit the stands in October 2020.

• The 352-page book has been written by Tenzin Geyche Tethong, one of the Dalai Lama’s closest aides and advisor of over 40 years. The book is published by Roli Books.

• The book features nearly 400 never seen before photographs and documents from the life and times of the Tibetan spiritual leader. It also has a personal message by the spiritual leader, along with a foreword by his younger brother, Tenzin Choegal.

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Important Current Affairs 11th July 2020

National

Govt launches AI-based ASEEM digital platform

• The Ministry of Skilled Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) on July 10 launched Aatamanirbhar Skilled Employee Employer Mapping (ASEEM) digital portal which will help skilled people find sustainable livelihood opportunities.

• The step will improve the information flow and will bridge the demand-supply gap in the skilled workforce market. The Artificial Intelligence (AI) based system apart from recruiting the skilled workforce will also help in exploring job opportunities.

• ASEEM is developed and managed by National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) in collaboration with the Bangalore based company, Betterplace which specializes in blue-collar employee management.

Asia’s Largest and World’s Second Largest Data Centre Inaugurated In Mumbai

• Union Minister for Communications, Electronics and IT, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad and Maharashtra chief minister Uddhav Thackeray jointly inaugurated the second-largest Tier IV data centre of the world in Mumbai.

• The world-class ‘Yotta NM1 data centre’ building has been set up at Mumbai’s Panvel data center park, to cater to the needs of engineering and real estate businesses.

• It is the largest of its kind data centre in India and Asia, as well as the second largest in the world. The Yotta NM1 facility has been developed and owned by the Hiranandani Group through its fully owned subsidiary, the Yotta Infrastructure Group. The Yotta NM1 offers 7200 racks and 50MW of power with 48-hour backup.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to contract by 3% in FY21: BofA

• The US brokerage firm BofA Securities has projected the India’s GDP to contract by 3 percent in FY21 because of the C-19 C-19, assuming the economy is opened up fully from August 2020.

• The GDP is likely to grow at 9 percent in FY22, expects BofA, the multinational investment bank division under the auspices of Bank of America.

Summits and Mou’s

15th meeting of the India-European Union Summit

• The 15th meeting of the India-European Union Summit will be held in virtual mode. The summit will deliberate on India-EU cooperation by covering various aspects such as political and security relations, trade and investment and economic cooperation.

• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, President of European Commission Ursula von der Leyen, and President of European Council Charles Michel will co-chair the 15th meeting of the India-European Union Summit to be held virtually.

Science and Technology

ISRO to Launch Brazil’s Amazonia-1 Earth Observation Satellite on PSLV

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) is set to launch the Amazonia – 1 onboard the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) as a primary payload by August 2020. Amazonia -1 is Brazil’s first satellite for Earth observation – designed, assembled and tested in Brazil.

• Amazonia – 1 will help in observing and monitoring the deforestation in the region of Amazon through the satellite images.

Obituary

Ivory Coast’s Prime Minister Amadou Gon Coulibaly passes away

• The incumbent Prime Minister of Ivory Coast, Amadou Gon Coulibaly, passed away on 8th July 2020. He was 61.

• Coulibaly was a candidate for president in a coming election, to be held in October. He took over as the 10th PM of the country in January 2017.

Legendary musician Charlie Daniels passes away

• Country Music Hall of Fame musician, Charlie Daniels passed away. He was country music and southern rock icon who entertained fans for decades with songs like “Long-Haired Country Boy,” “In America,” and his signature fiddle tune “The Devil Went Down To Georgia”, who won his only Grammy Award in 1979.

• He was inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2016.

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Important Current Affairs 10th July 2020

National

UP Cabinet approves State Startup Policy 2020

• Uttar Pradesh cabinet has approved the UP Startup Policy 2020 with an aim to invite new business ideas in the state. The policy aims to set up 100 incubators in all 75 districts.

• It is expected to generate over 1.5 lakh employment opportunities including around 50,000 direct jobs in the state. The cabinet meeting was chaired by CM Yogi Adityanath.

Tamil Nadu tops market borrowings among States

• According to data from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Tamil Nadu has raised Rs. 30,500 crores in the fiscal 2020-21 and has topped market borrowings among States in the country.

• Tamil Nadu, which has accounted for 17% of the borrowings done through the issue of bonds (known as state development loans), has been followed by Maharashtra Rs. 25,500 crores (14%), Andhra Pradesh Rs. 17,000 crores (9%) and Rajasthan Rs. 17,000 crores (9%).

International

Maldives & Sri Lanka eliminate measles & rubella, ahead of 2023 target

• According to the World Health Organisation’s (WHO), South-East Asian Region (SEAR) office, Maldives and Sri Lanka were verified for having eliminated measles and rubella.

• Now, Maldives and Sri Lanka are the first two countries in the WHO South-East Asia Region to achieve measles and rubella elimination ahead of the 2023 target.

• The Maldives reported last endemic case of measles in 2009 and of rubella in October 2015, while Sri Lanka reported last endemic case of measles in May 2016 and of rubella in March 2017.

Banking and Economy

AIIB provides USD 50 mn to L&T Infra Finance for renewable energy

• L&T Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (LTIFCL) has received USD 50 million from the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), for funding Renewable Energy projects in the country.

• The loan amount is first tranche of the total USD 100-million ECB (External Commercial Borrowing) loan approved by Beijing-based AIIB.

• The fund will be used for on-lending large and mid-scale wind and solar power infrastructure projects in India. Also, this is the first loan by AIIB to a non-banking financial company (NBFC) in India.

Summits and Mou’s

CBDT, SEBI signs MoU for data exchange between the organizations

• Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for data exchange between the two organizations.

• The MoU was signed by Smt. Anu J. Singh, Pr. DGIT (Systems), CBDT, and Smt. Madhabi Puri Buch, Whole Time Member, SEBI in the presence of senior officers from both the organizations via video conference.

BDL signs licence agreement & ToT with DRDO

• Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) has signed License Agreement and Transfer of Technology (ToT) with Defence Research and Development Organisation–Defence Research and Development Laboratory (DRDO–DRDL) for Akash Missile Weapon System (Indian Army Variant).

• Akash Missile is the first medium-range Surface to Air missile produced in India which can engage multiple targets from multiple directions.

Awards

IOC receives EU Green Building Leadership Award 2020

• The International Olympic Committee (IOC) has announced that its new headquarters in Lausanne has been awarded the European 2020 US Green Building Council (USGBC) Leadership Award.

• Olympic House, which also holds the rigorous LEED Platinum certification, is one of the most sustainable buildings in the world.

• The Olympic House is the first international headquarters and the second building overall to obtain the highest (Platinum) level of the Swiss Sustainable Construction Standard (SNBS).

Science and Technology

Google Rebrands its Social Networking App Google+ as Google Currents

• Internet search giant Google has officially relaunched its former social networking platform Google+ as Google Currents on 7th July 2020. The new app is targeted more towards businesses and enterprise users.

• The company launched Google Plus as a social network platform to compete with the likes of Facebook. However due to low usage and some security bugs that were recently discovered, Google+ was shut down in April 2019.

• The latest version of the app is available for download on Android and iOS system. However, the URL plus.google.com will continue to function and automatically redirect users to currents.google.com.

Books and Authors

A Book Titled ‘Mahaveer:The Soldier Who Never Died’

• The book, titled ‘Mahaveer: The Soldier who never died’ is authored by award winning author A.K. Srikumar and his wife, Rupa Srikumar.

• The book is a patriotic story about thecourage and selfless love of Jaswant Singh Rawat who is one of the legendary Garhwali soldiers fought in Indo-Chinese battle of Nuranang in 1962 .

• The book is published by Rupa Publications and represented by The Book Bakers.

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Important Current Affairs 9th July 2020

National

India Global Week 2020 to start from 9 July

• PM Narendra Modi will be addressing the audience worldwide on July 9 to mark the start of India Global Week 2020. The event will be held for three days during July 9 - July 11 with main focus on Trade and Investment prospects in India.

• The event will be held virtually and is expected to be attended by 5000 people.

Prakash Javadekar Participated in 4th edition of the Ministerial on Climate Action

• The 4th edition of international meeting named “Ministerial on Climate Action (MoCA)” was held on July 7, 2020, which was co-chaired by European Union (EU), China and Canada. From India, Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar participated in the meet.

• This meet was held virtually for the first time in view of the ongoing C-19. MoCA is held annually since 2017.Developed nations’ Target of USD 1m funding by 2020 for developing nations is not achieved yet

International

The US formally announced its withdrawal from the World Health Organization

• The United States has formalized to withdraw from the World Health Organization (WHO). The actual project of disentangling the U.S. from WHO began on July 6, 2020, with a letter signed by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. It will take one year to go into effect.

• In April, the US stopped funding to WHO as the Trump administration reviewed the ties.

Banking and Economy

Fino Payments Bank launches ‘Bhavishya’ Savings Account for minor children

• Fino Payments Bank Limited (FPBL) has launched a savings bank account ‘Bhavishya’ for minor children aged between 10 and 18 years on 7th July 2020 to make children banking ready from early age and inculcate a savings habit among them.

• Bhavishya is an annual subscription-based savings account, which can be opened with just Rs. 349 (inclusive of GST).

• Initially, the bank is introducing the Bhavishya Savings Account in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh and gradually it will launch in other states.

Summits and Mou’s

Microsoft partners NSDC to provide digital skills

• Microsoft has partnered with the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) to offer digital skills to India’s youth in the next 12 months.

• This partnership will help in creating a digital skills ecosystem which will prepare India’s workforce for jobs of the future.

• As a part of the partnership, “Microsoft Learn” a learning resource center of Microsoft will be integrated with the eSkill India digital platform and offer access to personalized learning paths and resources that are required in today’s economy and expected to continue to grow in the future. e-skilling events, webinars and virtual sessions would be co-hosted across the country by eSkill India and Microsoft in order to support students, training partners and higher-education trainees enrolled under NSDC’s skill training programs.

Obituary

Veteran bollywood actor Jagdeep passes away

• Veteran Bollywood actor-comedian, Jagdeep passed away. He was born as Syed Ishtiaq Ahmed Jafri, the legendary actor was popularly known as Jagdeep, his stage name.

• He was best known for his roles in films such as Sholay, Purana Mandir and Andaz Apna Apna.

Appointments and Resignations

UKIBC appoints Jayant Krishna as Group CEO

• The UK India Business Council (UKIBC) has appointed Jayant Krishna as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the group. Jayant will replace the current Group CEO, Richard Heald.

• Prior to this, Jayant Krishna has served as the CEO of Prime Minister’s Skill India mission as well as the Executive Director & Chief Operating Officer of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC).

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Important Current Affairs 8th July 2020

National

Himachal Pradesh becomes first state with LPG connections in all households

• Himachal Pradesh has become the first state where all the households have LPG gas connections. The announcement regarding this was made by HP Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

• The gas connections were provided for free to women in the state. Over 1.35 lakh families have been benefitted under Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana in the state.

Banking and Economy

World Bank approves $400 mn for rejuvenation of river Ganga

• The World Bank has signed a loan agreement of $400 million withGovernment of India to enhance support for the Namami Gange programme. The loan agreement aims to make the Ganga a clean and healthy river.

• The loan amount of $400 million comprises a loan of $381 million and a proposed Guarantee of up to $19 million.

• The new project will aim to stem the pollution levels in the iconic river and work towards strengthening the management of the river basin which is home to more than 500 million people.

Summits and Mou’s

India, Indonesia Coast Guards sign MoU to boost maritime relations

• The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) and Bakamla RI (Indonesian Coast Guard) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on ‘Maritime Safety and Security’ to boost maritime relations.

• India and Indonesia are historically connected through the Indian Ocean and it has been the resolve of both nations to ensure safe and secure sea passage for all seafarers in the region.

Science and Technology

ISRO to release Space policy, Space Activities Bill soon

•  Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman K Sivan announced recently that the space policy and space activities bill are in the final stages. A dedicated space policy was in making for some time now for legislation of space activities.

•  The policy was fast-tracked after the government announced major reforms in the space sector, allowing the private sector to use ISRO’s services to carry out space activities such as building rockets and satellites.

•  The space policy and the Space Activities Bill will help address legal issues in the space sector. A new navigation policy is also being proposed along with necessary changes in the Remote Sensing Data Policy and SATCOM policy.

Sports

Akash Become India’s 66th Grandmaster

• The 23 year-old G. Akash from Chennai, Tamil Nadu becomes the country’s 66th Grandmaster with rating of 2495.The title was confirmed at the recent meeting of International Chess Federation (FIDE) Council

• M Pranesh, from Chennai, Tamil Nadu and Ameya Audi, from Goa earned International Master Titles.

Ranking

India Ranked 31st in INFORM Risk Index 2020 for Humanitarian crises & C-19s

• In accordance with the “INFORM Report 2020: Shared evidence for managing crises and C-19s” released by research centre INFORM, operating under European Commission (EU), India has ranked at 31st place with an inform risk of 5.4, means risk of humanitarian crises and C-19s.

• The report ranked the countries based on “INFORM Risk Index” which has been topped by Somalia with an inform risk of 8.9.

• The report has analyzed 191 countries. This report is produced by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA).

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Important Current Affairs 7th July 2020

National

PM Modi to launch Asia’s largest Solar Power Plant

• PM Narendra Modi will on July 10, 2020 inaugurate the Asia's largest solar power plant at Rewa district in Madhya Pradesh. PM Modi will dedicate 750 MW plant to the nation through the means of video conferencing.

• The plant is spread over 1,590 acres of land and is one of Asia's largest single-site solar power plant.

India’s 1st NPNT compliant Drone flight successfully completed

• India’s First No-Permission No-Takeoff (NPNT) compliant drone flight on the A200 Remotely Piloted Aircraft System (RPAS) has been completed successfully by Quidich Innovation Labs and Asteria Aerospace.

• This NPNT drone flight is under the Ministry of Civil Aviation MoCA& DGCA comprehensive policy on the use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), which came into effect on 1st Dec 2018.

• Quidich, in collaboration with the Drone Federation of India (DFI), has extended its services to Police Departments across multiple states, providing drones for crowd monitoring and surveillance operations.

Odisha Govt launches ‘Balaram Yojana’ to provide crop loan

• Odisha government has launched ‘Balaram Yojana’ to provide crop loans to landless farmers. Under the new scheme, the landless cultivators will get loans through joint liability groups (JLGs).

• This is a first-of-its type scheme in India, targeting landless farmers of the country. The scheme will provide agriculture credit worth Rs 1,040 crore to landless farmers of the state in the next two years.

• The scheme has been designed in collaboration with the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD)

International

Jean Castex appointed as Prime Minister of France

• Jean Castex has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of France. The appointment of Jean Castex as the new french PM was made by the french President Emmanuel Macron.

• He replaced the former french Prime Minister Edouard Philippe who resigned from the post ahead of a government reshuffle.

Israel launches a new spy satellite

•  Israel's Defence Ministry announced on July 6, 2020 that it has successfully launched a new spy satellite. The satellite is expected to serve as an additional tool to keep tabs on many threats across the region.

•  The spy satellite, “Ofek 16” will join other Israeli spy satellites that have been launched in the past two decades.

•  The satellites are being used to monitor any threats on the state of Israel, including arch-enemy Iran.

Banking and Economy

SBM Bank India, Mastercard to facilitate cross border transactions, remittances

• SBM Bank India (promoted by Government of Mauritius) and Mastercard have joined hands to facilitate cross-border payments and remittances services by using ‘Mastercard Send’.

• Mastercard Send is a secured and innovative solution – crafted to modernize domestic and cross-border payments and remittances.

• SBM Bank India is the first bank to receive universal banking licence from the RBI to set up and operate as a scheduled commercial bank through the wholly-owned subsidiary mode.

Sports

Valtteri Bottas wins Austrian Grand Prix 2020

• Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) has won the Austrian Grand Prix 2020.

• This was the first race of 2020 Formula One season and was held on 5th July 2020.

• Charles Leclerc finished second for Ferrari while McLaren’s Lando Norris came third.

Appointments and Resignations

Injeti Srinivas appointed as chairman of IFSCA

• InjetiSrinivas has been appointed as the Chairman of the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA.His appointment is for a period of three years.

• Srinivas is a 1983 batch IAS officer from the Odisha cadre, who has previously served at the Corporate Affairs Ministry. He retired as the Corporate Affairs Secretary on May 31.

• The IFSCA was established on April 27 this year. It is a unified body to regulate all financial services in International Financial Services Centres (IFSCs) in the country.

Days

World Chocolate Day

• World Chocolate Day (also known as International Chocolate Day) is an annual observance taking place globally on 7th July.

• The day is said to be chosen to celebrate the introduction of chocolate to Europe in 1550.

Books and Authors

Former RBI governor U. Patel pens book ‘Overdraft: Saving the Indian Saver’

• Former RBI Governor, Urjit Patel, has written a book titled ‘Overdraft: Saving the Indian Saver’ which focuses on the non-performing assets (NPAs) issue that has afflicted Indian banking in recent years, its causes and Patel’s efforts as the RBI Governor in dealing with it.

• The book is likely to be released on 31 July 2020.It has been published by HarperCollins India.

“Getting Competitive: A Practitioner’s Guide for India” authored by R C Bhargava

• The Chairman of Maruti Suzuki, RC Bhargava has authored the book “Getting Competitive: A Practitioner’s Guide for India” from his experience as a policymaker and a leading industrialist.

• The book published by HarperCollins India.

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Important Current Affairs 6th July 2020

National

Elyments: Vice President launches first Indian social media super app

•  Honorable Vice President of India, Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, launched an indigenous social media app ‘Elyments’ on 5th July 2020, through video conferencing.

•  Elyments is a first Made-in-India social media super-app, developed by Bengaluru-based software company, Sumeru Software Solutions Pvt Ltd, in close competition with similar platforms like Facebook, Whatsapp and Instagram.

•  India has more than 500 million social media users, but most of these social media platforms are owned by companies outside India, which creates doubt regarding the privacy of data and data ownership.

Hardeep Singh Puri launched the 6th edition of the annual cleanliness survey of urban India 2021 Swachh Survekshan

•  The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs (MoHUA) Shri Hardeep Singh Puri launched the sixth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of urban India, the toolkit for Swachh Survekshan 2021.

•  The survey was conducted by MoHUA.

Maharashtra Government and UKIBC signs MoU

•  A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed virtually on 4th July 2020 between the non-profit organization UKIBC- UK India Business Council and the MIDC-Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation. MIDC is the Maharashtra Government’s premier agency for industrial infrastructure development.

•  The MoU will help in strengthening the collaboration of Maharashtra Government with the businesses in the United Kingdom (UK), also it will proactively improve the business environment in the state.

Summits and Mou’s

CBSE tie-up with Facebook to introduce curriculum on digital safety

•  The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has partnered with social media giant Facebook to launch free and comprehensive training program in virtual mode for teachers and students of its affiliated schools.Schools have to online nominate their teachers and students for the training programs.

•  The first phase of the training program is scheduled from August 2020 to November 2020.The registration process for the first phase of the training program will be held from 6th to 20th July 2020.

Science and Technology

Reliance launches unlimited free conferencing app Jio Meet

•  Billionaire Mukesh Ambani-led Reliance Industries has launched a video conferencing app, Jio Meet, with unlimited free calling facility. It is a close competitor of US-owned Zoom app. The Jio Meet video conferencing app is available to work across Android, iOS, Windows, macOS and web since July 2 after beta testing.

•  Jio Meet supports HD audio and video call quality and allows up to 100 participants at a time. It offers features like screen sharing, meeting schedule feature and more.

•  Unlike Zoom, it does not impose a 40-minute time limit. Calls can go on for as long as 24 hours, and all meetings are encrypted and password-protected.

Obituary

Hollywood comedy legend Carl Reiner passes away

•  Writer, director, actor and comedy legend Carl Reiner passed away of natural causes at an age of 98.

•  Reiner was a recipient of nine Emmy awards, five of which were for ‘The Dick Van Dyke Show’.

•  Some of his most popular films as a director are ‘Oh God,’ ‘The Jerk,’ and ‘All of Me.’

Appointments and Resignations

GoI extends tenure of Sukhbir Singh Sandhu as NHAI Chairman

•  The extension of Sukhbir Singh Sandhu‘s tenure as the chairman of the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has been approved by the Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).

•  His tenure has been extended for a period of six months beyond 21st of July 2020 to 21st of January 2021.

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