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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

24 Apr 2021

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Iran Seeks to Enhance Security and Economic Cooperation with Pakistan

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for the enhancement of security and economic cooperation between Tehran and Islamabad.
  • "Security is a common concern for the two countries, and it is essential to boost cooperation in this regard," Rouhani said in a meeting on Wednesday with visiting Pakistani Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi.
  • He also stressed the need to promote security along the Iran-Pakistan borders, Xinhua news agency reported.
  • The Iranian President urged for the promotion of Tehran-Islamabad ties in trade, energy and border markets, adding it is necessary for both sides to implement the signed agreements to further cooperation.

Russia Orders Troops Back after Massive Drills near Ukraine

  • Russia's Defence Minister ordered troops back to their permanent bases following massive drills in Crimea that involved dozens of Navy ships, hundreds of war planes and thousands of troops in a show of force amid tensions with Ukraine.
  • He said the troops should return to their bases by May 1, but he also ordered to keep the heavy weapons deployed to western Russia as part of the drills for another massive military exercise later this year.
  • The Russian troop buildup near Ukraine that came amid increasing violations of a ceasefire in Ukraine's east has raised concerns in the West, which urged the Kremlin to pull its forces back.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Tiger Global Makes its First India Cryptocurrency Firm Investment

  • CoinSwitch Kuber, an Indian cryptocurrency investment platform, has raised $25 million (Rs. 181 crore) in a Series B round of funding from Tiger Global Management, at a valuation of over $500 million.
  • This marks the New York-based Tiger Global's first investment in an Indian cryptocurrency company. This also makes CoinSwitch the highest-funded cryptocurrency player in India. It sets CoinSwitch on the growth trajectory of global cryptocurrency platforms like Coinbase and Binance in the Indian market.

Torrent Power Bags 300 Mw Long-term Solar Power Generation PPA

  • Ahmedabad-based Torrent Power Limited has been awarded a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) for 300 Mw capacity of solar power generation to be set up in Gujarat. The PPA was awarded from its licensed distribution business unit towards fulfilment of its renewable purchase obligation (RPO).
  • To be commissioned within 18 months from the date of execution of the PPA, the project will have a tariff of Rs. 2.22/ kWh for a period of 25 years. According to Torrent Power, the cost involved in the project is about Rs. 1,250 crore.
  • Having entered the renewable energy space with a 50 Mw wind power plant in 2012, Torrent Power has to date implemented various renewable projects aggregating to around 786.5 Mw (648.5 Mw wind project and 138 Mw solar projects).

Tata Steel Takes Liberty Steel to Court in UK over Missed Payments

  • Indian steel major Tata Steel has filed a commercial court claim in the UK against British Indian steel tycoon Sanjeev Gupta led GFG Alliance, which owns Liberty Steel, over alleged missed payments from an acquisition dating back to 2017.
  • Liberty Steel had stepped in to acquire Tata's Speciality Steels business employing more than 1,700 people in Yorkshire, Lancashire and the West Midlands in an estimated 100 million pounds deal, which Tata Steel announced as complete in May 2017.
  • Now, it has emerged that payments have been missed in that transaction resulting in Tata launching proceedings against Liberty Speciality Steels, Liberty House Group PTE and Speciality Steel UK all parts of GFG Alliance.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Small NASA Rocket Will Study Boundary of Interstellar Space

  • For a few brief minutes, a suborbital rocket from NASA has an ambitious plan to seek out particles from interstellar space.
  • A mission called Spatial Heterodyne Interferometric Emission Line Dynamics Spectrometer (SHIELDS) will lift off from the White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico no earlier than Monday (April 19). It will soar to a peak height of 186 miles (roughly 300 kilometers) — a little more than half the altitude of the International Space Station — and peer at the sky for a few minutes with its telescope.
  • With this capability, it is possible to see light from particles from beyond our solar system even on a short flight outside the Earth's atmosphere. The mission follows a similar study in 2014; this mission will extend the project's scope.
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SPORTS

Kohli Becomes First Player to Reach 6,000 Runs in IPL History

  • India and Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) skipper Virat Kohli became the first batsman to get to 6,000 runs in the Indian Premier League (IPL) history.
  • Kohli, who scored a half-century in a huge century partnership with Devdutt Padikkal for the opening wicket against Rajasthan Royals, turned one to fine leg fence to reach the landmark.
  • Just before reaching the 6000-run landmark, the right-handed batsman had reached his first half-century of this IPL season.
  • Kohli is way ahead of Suresh Raina (5448) and Shikhar Dhawan (5428), who both are over 500 runs behind the talismanic batsman.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Goa's Five Municipal Councils Go to Polls

  • Amid a severe spike in Covid-19 cases in the state, voting is underway for elections to five municipal councils in Goa.
  • According to the State Election Commission, 1.85 lakh voters are eligible to cast ballot for elections to five municipal councils in Mapusa, Margao, Quepem, Sanguem and Mormugao towns.
  • Elections to six other municipal councils and one municipal corporation were conducted on March 20. The second phase of municipal polls were necessitated after the Bombay High Court, last month, faulted the state government and the State Election Commission for erroneous procedures adopted while reserving municipal constituencies for women, ST, SC and OBCs.

GC Murmu is External Auditor for Hague-Based OPCW

  • G C Murmu, who is India's Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG), has been appointed as external auditor of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) at The Hague. He will be the auditor of the OPCW for a three-year term starting in 2021. The appointment was made through an election process at the OPCW Conference on Wednesday where India received support ahead of others to be appointed as the External Auditor. Murmu, who was aide to then chief minister Narendra Modi, was handpicked to become the Lieutenant Governor of Jammu and Kashmir after the revocation of Article 370. As CAG, he has earlier been named as the auditor of UN's panel of external auditors and is also auditor to the Inter-parliamentary union.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

AK Walia, Senior Congress Leader and Former Delhi Minister, Passes Away

  • Senior Congress leader and former Delhi Minister Dr AK Walia passed away in Delhi due to COVID-19 at the age of 72 .
  • Dr AK Walia was a prominent name in the party's Delhi unit. He was one of the few to have served four terms as a member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA).
  • The four-time MLA had represented Laxmi Nagar assembly constituency in his fourth term and had the Health, Urban Development, Land & Building portfolios.
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DAYS AND EVENTS

National Panchayati Raj Day

  • The National Panchayati Raj Day is observed on 24th April every year. The 73rd Constitutional Amendment Act, 1992 came into force from 24 April 1993. Panchayati Raj Day paved the way for the 3 tier Panchayati Raj System in the country i.e. Gram Panchayat at the village level, Panchayat Samiti at Block level, and Zila Parishad at District level.
  • India is a very vast country and it is called the world's largest democracy. Due to the high population and large area in many states, the person sitting at the highest post (I mean Chief Minister of the state) in the state does not get actual scenario of the problems faced by the people of rural areas. So it was decided that the power of democracy should be decentralised.
  • In order to fulfill this requirement; a committee was constituted in 1957 under the chairmanship of Balwantrai Mehta. The Committee recommended the democratic decentralisation of power. Hence, the concept of Panchayati Raj was constituted in India for the first time in history.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

Atal Pension Yojana Sees 79 Lakh New Additions in FY21

  • Atal Pension Yojana (APY) subscribers crossed the 3-crore mark by the end of March 2021 with addition of over 79 lakh new subscribers to the scheme in 2020-21.
  • According to the Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), during the financial year 2020-21, more than 79 lakh new APY subscribers joined Atal Pension Yojana (APY) leading total enrolments to over 3.02 crore as on March 31, 2021.
  • With regard to 79.14 lakh new additions during 2020-21, SBI sourced as many as 28 per cent, equivalent to 22.07 lakh subscribers, followed by Canara Bank and Indian Bank, sourcing 5.89 lakh and 5.17 lakh subscribers, respectively.
  • Among others, Bank of Baroda, Airtel Payment Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank of India, Punjab National Bank, Union Bank of India, Indian Overseas Bank, Axis Bank, HDFC Bank, Aryavart Bank and Baroda UP Bank added between 1 and 5 lakh new APY accounts in 2020-21.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

IIM-Ahmedabad Inaugurates 16th Batch of the MBA-PGPX Programme

  • The Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA) announced the commencement of the 16th batch of the MBA-PGPX programme virtually due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases. The MBA-PGPX is a one-year full-time residential Post Graduate Programme in Management for Executives.
  • The MBA-PGPX programme is designed to enable high performing professionals to accelerate their growth to leadership positions, as well as entrepreneurs to scale up and expand their business ventures.
  • Launched in 2006, more than 1,500 students have graduated from the MBA-PGPX till date. The programme has seen a steady increase in aspiring students, which has, in turn, led to an increase in the intake of the students. The increased student intake has enhanced the classroom diversity in the class enabling better peer learning.
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ART AND CULTURE

TTD Declares 'Anjanadri' in Tirumala is Birthplace of Lord Hanuman

  • Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) made an official announcement stating that Anjanadri Hillock is the birthplace of Lord Hanumanji with concrete evidence.
  • The announcement was made by the TTD on the auspicious day of Sri Rama Navami at Tirumala.
  • Bhanwarilal Purohit, the Governor of Tamilnadu, also graced the event which was held at Nada Neerajana Mandapam.
  • TTD has made elaborate research with the expert committee before declaring Anjanadri as Lord Hanuman's birthplace.
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