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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

20 Apr 2022

DAILY G.K. TEST

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India, Maldives Ink Seven MoUs to Implement Community Development Projects

  • India and Maldives signed seven Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) for projects to be built under the Indian grant assistance scheme for the High Impact Community Development Project through local bodies (HICDP). The ceremony was attended by respective Members of Parliament, Island Councils, senior officials from the Government of the Maldives and the High Commission of India.

Indian-American Navy Veteran Appointed Kamala Harris's Defence Advisor

  • Indian-American US Navy veteran Shanti Sethi joined Vice President Kamala Harris's office as her executive secretary and defence advisor. In her new role, Sethi coordinates National Security Advisor documentation across the Office of the Vice President. Sethi commanded the guided-missile destroyer, USS Decatur, from December 2010 to May 2012. She was also the first female commander of a US naval vessel to visit India.
  • Sethi's father immigrated to the US from India in the early 1960s.
  • Harris is the first-ever person of Indian origin to be elected as the vice-president of the United States.

US Announces Ban on Anti-satellite Missile Tests to Cut Space Debris

  • US vice president Kamala Harris declared that the US will no longer conduct destructive, direct ascent anti-satellite (ASAT) missile testing to reduce space debris and safeguard satellites in low-Earth orbit. The US is the first nation to make such a declaration.
  • The commitment addresses one of the most pressing threats to the security and sustainability of space, as demonstrated by Russia's November 2021 destructive direct ascent ASAT missile test. China also conducted a similar test in 2007.
  • The Biden-Harris Administration had made clear that the US will engage the international community to uphold and strengthen a rules-based international order for space.
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ENVIRONMENT

India's First Portable Solar Rooftop System Unveiled in Gandhinagar

  • The first portable solar rooftop system in India has been inaugurated at Swaminarayan Akshardham temple complex in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. The 10 Photovoltaic PV Port system has been manufactured by New Delhi-based Servotech Power Systems Ltd and designed by the German development agency Deutsche Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ). The systems have been installed under the initiative of the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy to develop renewable energy cities across India.
  • The PV Ports have been manufactured by New Delhi-based Servotech Power Systems Ltd (SPSL), a leading maker of high-end solar products like LEDs, oxygen concentrators and EV charging equipment under the Make in India project, it added. The PV Port system is highly cost-effective, requires low maintenance, has a long shelf life of 25-30 years, can be easily installed by a single person and is ideal for the Indian climate.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

HCL Technologies Launches a Dedicated Microsoft Business Unit

  • HCL Technologies announced the launch of a dedicated HCL Microsoft Business Unit focused on Microsoft technologies. This will extend Microsoft's offerings of Business Applications, Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Azure, loT, and Al/Machine Learning, as well as help employees accomplish more in the modern workplace with Microsoft 365 and Windows 10.
  • The HCL Microsoft Business Unit will create intellectual property extending the Microsoft platform for customer-specific scenarios and will also provide additional support to clients in the financial services, healthcare and life sciences, manufacturing, retail, and travel industries.

SBI Raises $500 Million Through IFSC Gift City Branch

  • The country's largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) raised USD 500 million (over Rs. 3,800 crore) through its IFSC Gift City branch. This is the first offshore USD Secured Overnight Financing Rate (SOFR) linked syndicated loan raised by SBI through its Gift City branch. MUFG, Bank of America and JP Morgan were the joint lenders for this offering whereas Fist Abu Dhabi Bank acted as the facility agent.
  • It is another step towards the bank's commitment to develop IFSC Gift City as an international financial hub.

IMF Cuts Global Growth on Ukraine War, Trims India Forecast to 8.2%

  • The IMF cut its forecast for India's GDP growth in the current fiscal year to 8.2%, a 0.8 percentage point reduction from its previous projection, as it downgraded the outlook for global growth citing the economic impact of the Russia-Ukraine war. The International Monetary Fund's latest World Economic Outlook also projected India's economy to expand by 6.9% next year, putting it on course to be the fastest growing large economy over the next two years.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

A First, Himachal Begins DNA Database Creation

  • Himachal Pradesh has become the first state in the country to initiate creation of DNA database that will be of immense help in investigating heinous crimes, identification of disaster victims and unclaimed bodies, missing persons and habitual offenders. The Directorate of Forensics Services, Junga, has procured DNA profile databasing and matching technology (Smallpond TM software from the USA) at a cost of Rs. 55 lakh. It has a capacity of about 20,000 DNA profiles that can be scaled up further.
  • Local database of DNA profile information can be created and maintained with this facility that enables efficient matching of new DNA profiles with the existing ones in seconds. On average, 600 cases with biological evidence come for DNA profiling in the state every year.
  • The State Forensic Science Laboratory, Junga, is the first lab to acquire this technology and the facility is on a par with international standards.
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SPORTS

Indian GM Gukesh Wins La Roda International Tourney Title

  • Young Indian Grandmaster D. Gukesh emerged victorious in the 48th La Roda International Open Chess tournament, scoring eight points from nine rounds. The 15-year old GM from Chennai, who remained unbeaten through the nine rounds, defeated Israel's Victor Mikhalevski in the final round to emerge a clear winner ahead of Haik M Martirosyan of Armenia, who secured 7.5 points.

Asian Wrestling Championship, Mongolia: 3 Greco Roman Indian Wrestlers Win Bronze Medals

  • On a memorable day for India at the Asian Wrestling Championships, three of the five Greco-Roman grapplers in action, including Sunil Kumar, won bronze medals. This is the second time that Kumar has earned a podium finish at the Championships, having won the 87 kg category title in the 2020 edition.
  • In the 55 kg class, Arjun Halakurki defeated Davaabandi Munkh Erdene 10-7 in the bronze playoff. In the 63 kg category, Neeraj got the better of Uzbekistan's Islomjon Bakhramov 7-4 to earn a podium finish.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

BRO to Build World's Highest Tunnel at Shinku La Pass

  • BRO Director General Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary announced that the Border Roads Organisation will build the world's highest tunnel at Shinku La Pass, at 16,580 feet, to connect Himachal Pradesh and Ladakh. He said this while opening the strategically crucial Himachal to Zanskar Road at Shinku La Pass, where more than a half-dozen vehicles crossed from the Zanskar side towards Manali.
  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO), according to Lieutenant General Rajeev Chaudhary of PTI, would begin construction of the tunnel connecting Himachal Pradesh and the Zanskar Valley in Ladakh by July 2022. He stated that the Centre has already established BRO's 'Mission Yojak' to carry out this ambitious project. The tunnel, which is expected to be completed by 2025, will transform the economy of Zanskar Valley.

Union Agriculture Minister Inaugurates National Conference on Agriculture- Kharif Campaign - 2022

  • Union Agriculture Minister, Sh Narendra Singhr Tomar inaugurated National Conference on Agriculture for Kharif Campaign 2022-23 at NASC Complex, New Delhi. The Minister expressed satisfaction that that as per 2nd Advance Estimates (2021-22), total food grains production in the country is estimated at 3160 lakh tonnes which will be an all time record. The pulses and oilseeds production will be 269.5 and 371.5 lakh tonnes, respectively. As per third advanced estimates, horticulture production during 2020-21 is 3310.5 lakh tonnes which is the highest ever for Indian horticulture.
  • The objective of this conference was to review and assess the crop performance during the preceding crop seasons and fix crop-wise targets for Kharif season in consultation with State Governments, ensure supply of critical inputs and facilitate adoption of innovative technologies with a view to enhance production and productivity of the crops.

The Solar Plant in the Palli Panchayat of Samba District of Jammu and Kashmir Completed in Record Time

  • Ahead of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit on 24th April on the occasion of "Panchayati Raj Diwas", the 500 Kilowatt Solar Plant at Palli Panchayat in Samba district of Jammu and Kashmir was completed in a record time and is ready to become functional. 500 Kilowatt Solar Plant installed on a total area of 6,408 square metres was completed in a record time of 20 days that will provide clean electricity and light to 340 houses in the Panchayat.
  • Panchayat Palli in Jammu was selected for the Panchayati Raj Diwas function this year and an exhibition showcasing latest innovations will be put up enabling farmers, sarpanchs and village heads to improve their income and their produce.
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DEFENCE

IAF Successfully Test-fires BrahMos Missile from Su30-MkI Fighter Jet

  • The Indian Air Force, in coordination with the Indian Navy successfully tested a BrahMos missile from a Su30-MkI aircraft on the Eastern seaboard. The BrahMos missile provides the IAF with a much-desired capability to strike from large stand-off ranges on any target at sea or land with pinpoint accuracy by day or night and in all weather conditions.
  • The capability of the missile coupled with the high performance of the Su-30MKI aircraft gives the IAF a strategic reach and allows it to dominate the battlefields over land and sea.

National Level Pollution Response Exercise 'NATPOLREX-VIII' of Indian Coast Guard

  • The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) kicked off the 8th edition of the two-day National Level Pollution Response Exercise, 'NATPOLREX-VIII', on April 19, 2022, off Mormugao harbour, Goa. The marine spill preparedness exercise was inaugurated by Defence Secretary Dr Ajay Kumar. The exercise is being attended by more than 85 participants from 50 agencies, including 29 observers from 22 friendly foreign countries and international organisations and two Coast Guard ships from Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.
  • The objective of NATPOLREX-VIII is to enhance the preparedness and response capability of all the stakeholders in combating marine spills.
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AWARDS AND HONOURS

IndusInd Bank Wins Celent Model Bank Award

  • IndusInd Bank was awarded the global 'Celent Model Bank' award under the category of 'Payments System Transformation' for building a best-in-class Enterprise Payments Hub (EPH). The award recognises the Bank's outstanding journey in creating a cloud-based central payments hub. The award is given by Celent, leading research and advisory firm focused on technology for financial institutions globally.
  • This payment hub is capable of seamlessly processing high transaction loads originating across all forms of payment instructions, and across all originating client touchpoints.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

e-DAR Portal to Speed Up Accident Compensation Claims

  • A web portal designed by the government in consultation with insurance companies will provide instant information on road accidents with a few clicks and help accelerate accident compensation claims, bringing relief to victims' families.
  • The Ministry of Roads, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has developed the portal named 'e-DAR' (e-Detailed Accident Report). Digitalised Detailed Accident Reports (DAR) will be uploaded on the portal for easy access. The web portal will be linked to the Integrated Road Accident Database (iRAD). From iRAD, applications to more than 90% of the datasets would be pushed directly to the e-DAR. Stakeholders like the police, road authorities, hospitals, etc., are required to enter very minimal information for the e-DAR forms.

KVIC Breaks All Previous Records to Create Highest ever Employment under Prime Minister's Employment Generation Program

  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) broke all previous records to create highest ever employment under Prime Minister's Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) in Financial Year 2021-22.
  • This is for the first time since the launch of the PMEGP Scheme in 2008, that KVIC has established over one lakh new units in a financial year.
  • It's been a year full of historic feats for Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) in executing the flagship Prime Minister's Employment Generation Program (PMEGP). With setting up of an unprecedented 1.03 lakh new manufacturing and service units and creation of over 8.25 lakh jobs, PMEGP has emerged as government's most powerful tool of self-sustainability in the year 2021-22, even as the country was under partial lockdown for the first 3 months of the year during the second wave of Covid-19 pandemic.
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GENDER/ HEALTH/ EDUCATION

UGC Eases Norms for Dual and Joint Degrees with Foreign Varsities

  • Easing the rules for academic collaborations between Indian and foreign universities, the University Grants Commission (UGC) approved key amendments, including a provision for "dual degree programmes" — both the Indian and foreign institutions will give separate and simultaneous degrees for a course of the same discipline, and at the same level. The amendments also curb the regulator's supervisory role in facilitating such collaborations. Indian universities that meet a minimum academic standard will not need UGC's permission to offer such programmes.
  • For dual degrees, students will have to complete at least 30 per cent of their course credit at the foreign institution. The degrees awarded by both the Indian and foreign institutions will indicate the credits earned at the respective institutions. The course will have to be of the same discipline, and at the same level. For example, a student enrolled in a BA History programme in an Indian university can pursue a part of her course at a foreign institution. At the end of the course, the student will be awarded two degrees, separately and simultaneously, by the Indian and foreign institution.
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

'The Boy Who Wrote the Constitution' Book by Noted Playwright and Author Rajesh Talwar

  • A new book "The Boy Who Wrote a Constitution" seeks to inform children of the challenging boyhood and growing up years of India's first law minister. The fact-based drama, based largely on Ambedkar's own recollection of his childhood, is written by noted playwright and author Rajesh Talwar. It is published by Ponytale Books.
  • Born in Maharashtra in a Dalit family in 1891, Ambedkar was a jurist and economist who played an important role in India's freedom movement. Ambedkar championed the cause of the Dalit community which faced deep-rooted discrimination.
  • Talwar's previously authored books include "The Vanishing of Subhash Bose", "Gandhi, Ambedkar, and the Four Legged Scorpion", and "Aurangzeb".
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