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Important Current Affairs 30th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Quarantine’ named Cambridge Dictionary’s Word of the Year 2020

• Cambridge Dictionary has named ‘quarantine’ as Word of the Year 2020. The word has been named the word of the year based on data that showed that it was one of the most highly searched words on the Cambridge Dictionary this year. Cambridge editors have noticed that people are using the word in a new way this year describing a “general period of time in which people are not allowed to leave their homes or travel freely so that they do not catch or spread a disease.” This new sense of quarantine has now been added to the Cambridge Dictionary.

• “Quarantine was the only word to rank in the top five for both search spikes and overall views (more than 183,000 by early November), with the largest spike in searches (28,545) seen in the week of March 18-24, when many countries around the world went into lockdown as a result of C-19,” as per an official release.

NATIONAL

PM Modi Chairs 33rd PRAGATI Meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has chaired the 33rd PRAGATI meeting to review multiple projects, grievances and programmes. PRAGATI stands for “Pro-Active Governance and Timely Implementation”.

• The projects worth around Rs 1.41 lakh crore, related to ten states and union territories, were reviewed. They included Odisha, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Gujarat, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Dadra and Nagar Haveli.

• These projects were related to the Ministry of Railways, MORTH, DPIIT and Power Ministry.

PM Modi visits 3 cities to review vaccine development

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has embarked on a three-city visit on 28 November 2020, to personally review the C-19 vaccine development and manufacturing process at facilities in these cities.

Facilities visited by PM Modi are:

Zydus Biotech Park in Ahmedabad,

Bharat Biotech in Hyderabad

Serum Institute of India in Pune

• The scientists at these facilities expressed their joy that the Prime Minister met them face to face in order to boost their morale and help accelerate their efforts in the vaccine development journey.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare

• The United Nation recognised Day of Remembrance for all Victims of Chemical Warfare on 30th November every year since 2005. The day marks a tribute to the victims of chemical warfare, as well as to reaffirm the commitment of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to the elimination of the threat of chemical weapons, thereby promoting the goals of peace, security, and multilateralism.

• The history of the serious efforts to achieve chemical disarmament that culminated in the conclusion of the Chemical Weapons Convention began more than a century ago. Chemical weapons were used on a massive scale during World War I, resulting in more than 100,000 fatalities and a million casualties.

OBITUARY

British Actor David Prowse passes away

• British character actor David Prowse, best known for playing ‘Darth Vader’ in the original Star Wars trilogy, passed away. He was a weightlifter-turned-actor, was selected to portray Darth Vader for his imposing physique of 6-foot-7 inch. However, the role was voiced by James Earl Jones.

• Prowse wore the black suit and helmet to play Darth Vader.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

UBS Projects India’s GDP at -10.5% for FY21

• The UBS has projected India’s real GDP to contract 10.5% in FY21, in its Global Economics & Markets Outlook 2021-2022 report. For the fiscal 2021-22 (FY22) UBS expect India’s real GDP growth to rebound to +10%  in FY22. UBS also estimates India’s GDP to stabilise at 6.2 per cent YoY in FY23.

YES Bank launches ‘SMS Pay’ on POS Terminals

• Private lender YES Bank has launched an ‘SMS Pay’ functionality on POS terminals, which would allow merchants to accept contactless and remote payments from their customers. YES Bank has collaborated with French payment services company Worldline to launch the new facility.

• SMS Pay will facilitate merchants to accept remote payments on their POS machines and enable their customers to transact safely without leaving the comfort of their homes.

• Through SMS Pay, local merchants & department stores could request payments from their customers by entering their contact details in the POS terminal following which an SMS would be triggered to the customer’s mobile number instantly, with a payment URL link.

• Customers can complete the payment through their domestic debit and credit cards.

IRDAI approves ICICI Lombard acquisition of Bharti Axa General

• The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has given its in-principle approval for the merger of Bharti AXA General Insurance with ICICI Lombard. The merged entity will have a market share of around 8.7 per cent on a proforma basis in the general insurance business.

• Based on the share exchange ratio recommended by independent valuers, shareholders of Bharti AXA will receive two shares of ICICI Lombard for every 115 shares of Bharti AXA. At present, promoter ICICI Bank Ltd holds is 51.89% stake in ICICI Lombard, while the rest is with the public. After the proposed deal, the promoter stake will come down to 48.11%.

• The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has already approved the acquisition of the two entities while approvals request from other concerned regulators for the transaction has been applied. The policyholders should benefit from an enhanced product suite and deeper customer connects touchpoints.

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Important Current Affairs 29th November 2020

INTERNATIONAL

Russia test-fired Tsirkon hypersonic missile in the Arctic

• Russia successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in the Arctic. the frigate Admiral Gorshkov in the White Sea fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile, hitting a naval target 450 km away in the Barents Sea at a speed of over Mach 8.

• In early January, the same frigate test-fired a Tsirkon missile for the first time, striking a ground target over 500 km away. Last month, the warship deployed in the White Sea destroyed a naval target in the Barents Sea with a Tsirkon missile.

NATIONAL

Bengaluru’s Bowring Medical College named after Atal Bihari Vajpayee

• The Bowring and Lady Curzon Medical College and Research Institute in Bengaluru have been named after former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The institute was set up in 2018-19 on the campus of Bowring and Lady Curzon Hospital in Shivajinagar in the heart of Bengaluru.

• Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the first leader from the Bharatiya Janata Party to become the Prime Minister. He served as Prime Minister thrice — briefly in 1996, from 1998 to 1999, and then for a full five-year term between 1999 and 2004. Among his several portfolios, Vajpayee had also served as External Affairs Minister during PM Morarji Desai’s tenure during 1977 and 1979.

Indian Army launches cycling expedition in Gujarat & Rajasthan

• Konark Corps of Indian Army has launched a 1971 kilometres cycling expedition in Gujarat and Rajasthan to commemorate the commencement of the Golden Jubilee Victory Celebrations of Indian Armed Forces in the Indo-Pak War of 1971. 1971 Kilometers ‘Swarnim Vijay Varsh Cyclothon’ across Gujarat & Rajasthan has been joined by the relay teams of 20 participants each of the various Army Formations across the two states.

• The cycle expedition was flagged off from an outpost near Lakhpat in Kutch by Honorary Captain Gumansinh Jhala, an 87-year-old War Veteran who had participated in both Indo-Pak wars of 1965 & 1971 then serving with 7 Grenadiers.

Prakash Javadeker launches India Climate Change Knowledge Portal

• Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Prakash Javadekar has launched the “India Climate Change Knowledge Portal”.  According to Prakash Javadekar, India has practically achieved its pre-2020 climate action targets. He said, though India is not responsible for climate change it is taking responsible action to mitigate the challenge.

• The portal will have all the major steps the Government is taking at both national and international levels to address the climate change issues.

• Portal will be a single-point information resource that provides information on the different climate initiatives taken by various Line Ministries enabling users to access d status on these initiatives.

SPORTS

India rise four spots to 104th in latest FIFA rankings

• The Indian national team have moved up a spot to 104 in the latest FIFA Rankings. The Indian team were ranked 108th in the October 2020 rankings. In two months, India has climbed 5 spots after being 109th in September.

• Meanwhile, on the global scene, the top six remain unchanged. Belgium continues to lead the rankings followed by France, Brazil, England, Portugal and Spain. Argentina is seventh, having interchanged spots with eighth-placed Uruguay. Mexico and Italy complete the top 10.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

L&T bags Rs 7,000-cr order to construct part of Bullet Train project

• Infrastructure major Larsen and Toubro (L&T) has bagged an order worth over Rs 7,000 crore to construct a part of the Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail (MAHSR), also known as the Bullet Train Project. The scope of the order includes the construction of viaducts, one station, major river bridges, maintenance depots, and other auxiliary works.

• The approximately 508 km Mumbai-Ahmedabad High-Speed Rail project will cover Maharashtra, Union Territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Gujarat, with 12 stations along the route. Upon completion, the high-speed rail will operate at a speed of 320 kmph, covering the entire distance in approximately 2 hours with limited stops and in 3 hours with all stops.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

India’s GDP Contracts 7.5% in September Quarter

• The National Statistical Office (NSO) has released the estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter (July-September) Q2 of 2020-21.

• The GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q2 of 2020-21 is estimated at Rs 33.14 lakh crore, as against Rs 35.84 lakh crore in Q2 of 2019-20, showing a contraction of 7.5% as compared to 4.4% growth in Q2 2019-20.

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Important Current Affairs 28th November 2020

NATIONAL

SpiceJet launches dedicated freighter services to Leh in Ladakh

• SpiceJet has launched dedicated freighter services connecting Leh with the rest of the country. This is the first time a civil airliner has started freighter services to Leh. Accordingly, the airline operated its first freighter flight from Delhi to Leh carrying 13 tonnes of cargo supplies. SpiceXpress, the dedicated cargo arm of SpiceJet, will deploy its Boeing 737 freighter on this route.

• The dedicated cargo flights will help transport fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, perishables, pharmaceuticals, medical equipment, and other general cargo. Besides improving logistics and connectivity, the new freighter service will ensure transportation of these essential commodities remains unaffected due to dipping temperatures and adverse weather conditions during these winter months.

• The new flights launched are seasonal and will operate during the winter months when surface transportation is disrupted owing to harsh weather conditions. In line with its commitment to ensuring seamless transportation of essential commodities, SpiceJet aims to address the geographical challenges while offering seamless connectivity through its cargo service.

Nitin Gadkari inaugurates Highway projects in Uttar Pradesh

• Union Minister Nitin Gadkari has inaugurated and laid the foundation stones of 16 National Highway projects in Uttar Pradesh. The construction cost of these infra projects is estimated to be around Rs 7477 crore.

• These highway projects include a road length of 505 kilometres and will provide better connectivity, convenience to the public as well as lead to economic growth in the state. National Highways works worth two lakh crore rupees are being undertaken in UP.

Uttar Pradesh Cabinet has cleared the proposal to rename the Ayodhya airport as Maryada

• Purushottam Sri Ram Airport, Ayodhya, Uttar Pradesh. The proposal for the same will be sent to the Ministry of Civil Aviation after it is passed by the state Assembly.

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Adityanath had announced on the occasion of Deepotsav on Diwali eve in November 2018 that Ayodhya will have both international and domestic terminals and could potentially be one of the largest airports of UP.

Ladakh gets largest solar project at Leh Indian Air Force station

• The Union Territory of Ladakh has got the largest solar power project set up under the Centre’s ‘Make In India’ initiative at Leh IAF station to provide sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuel and traditional methods of energy generation. The project namely ‘Provision of Solar Photo Voltaic Powerplant 1.5 MW’ has been completed within 12 months well before the completion deadline of March 31, 2021.

• The largest solar project at a high altitude in the entire Leh in the Union Territory of Ladakh has been established at IAF Station Leh.

• The project was conceptualised under Make In India, and executed to provide sustainable energy alternative to fossil fuel and traditional methods.

• It is the largest installed solar project till date out of the target of 300 MW in three phases for defence sectors and 14 MW for Leh region as set by the Union Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.

• The project worth Rs 122 crore was recently inaugurated by Air Marshal V R Chaudhari, Commander-in-chief, Western Air Command.

OBITUARY

Former World Bank President James Wolfensohn passes away

• Australian-American lawyer, investment banker, and economist James Wolfensohn, who served as the President of the World Bank for 10 years, passed away. He had served as the ninth president of the World Bank Group from 1995 to 2005.

• Together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Wolfensohn launched the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative in 1996, a program that eventually provided more than $53 billion in debt relief to 27 of the world’s poorest countries.

Father of Indian IT industry FC Kohli passes away

• Founder of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), Faqir Chand Kohli, better known as the Father of the Indian IT industry, passed away. Besides being the founder, he was also the first CEO of TCS.

• Kohli also worked as the deputy general manager of Tata Power Company and was the Chairman of the Board of Governors of College of Engineering, Pune.  As the first CEO of TCS, he pioneered India’s IT revolution and helped the country build the $190-billion IT industry.  A visionary and pioneer by nature, he was a recipient of Padma Bhushan from the Government of India.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Mercedes-Benz joins hands with SBI to target HNI customers

• Mercedes-Benz has joined hands with State Bank of India (SBI) to offer financial benefits to the lender’s High Net Worth Individual (HNI) customers. This collaboration will give the luxury automobile manufacturer access to State Bank of India’s High Net Worth Individual (HNI) customer base, while the bank’s customers will enjoy exclusive benefits at the time of booking a Mercedes-Benz car. The collaboration with SBI gives an exciting opportunity to expand our customer base and reach out to the potential HNI customers of the bank with products and services.

• This collaboration includes financial benefits like ‘attractive’ rate of interest on loans with tenure up to five years and offers on the processing fee.

• There is also an additional benefit of Rs 25,000 for customers booking a Mercedes-Benz vehicle via SBI Yono platform.

• They can even get a car loan sanctioned through SBI Yono after fulfilling the eligibility criteria.

• The customers need to produce online booking confirmation and SBI loan sanction letter at the Mercedes-Benz dealership to avail the benefits.

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Important Current Affairs 27th November 2020

NATIONAL

PM Modi Inaugurates 3rd global renewable energy event “RE-INVEST” 2020

• Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 3rd Global Renewable Energy Investment Meeting and Expo (RE-Invest 2020) through video conferencing. The summit is organised by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. The theme for RE-Invest 2020 is ‘Innovations for Sustainable Energy Transition’. The first two editions of RE-Invest were held in 2015 and 2018.

• The two day virtual programme will provide an international forum for investment promotion in renewable energy sector and an opportunity to various countries, states, business houses & organizations to showcase their strategies, achievements and expectations. It must be noted that India has set an ambitious target of having 175GW of renewable energy by 2022 and 450GW by 2030.

Thaawarchand Gehlot e-launches National Portal for Transgender Persons

• Union Minister for Social Justice & Empowerment, Thaawarchand Gehlot has e-launched a ‘National Portal for Transgender Persons’ and e-inaugurated a ‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ in Vadodara, Gujarat.

• This National Portal for Transgender Persons has been developed within 2 months of Notification of Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Rules, 2020 on 29 September 2020.

• This highly useful Portal would help a transgender person in applying for a Certificate and Identity card digitally from anywhere in the country.

• The most important benefit is that it helps the transgender person to get the I-Card without any physical interface and without having to visit any office.

• Through the Portal, they can monitor the status of their application that ensures transparency in the process. The issuing authorities are also under strict timelines to process the applications and issue certificates and identity cards without any necessary delays.

• Once the Certificate and I-card are issued, the applicant can download them from the Portal itself. In case of delay or rejection, the applicant has the options to submit grievances through the Portal which are forwarded to the concerned person and will be resolved at the earliest.

• This portal will help a lot of people from the community to come forward and get Transgender Certificate and Identity Cards as per their self-perceived identity which is an important provision of The Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019.

‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’

• ‘Garima Greh: A Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ will be run in association with Lakshya Trust, a Community based organisation entirely run by the Transgenders.

• The purpose of the Shelter Home is to provide shelter to Transgender persons, with basic amenities like shelter, food, medical care and recreational facilities.

• Besides, it will provide support for the capacity-building/skill development of persons in the Community, which will enable them to lead a life of dignity and respect.

• The Scheme of ‘Shelter Home for Transgender Persons’ includes shelter facility, food, clothing, recreational facilities, skill development opportunities, yoga, meditation/prayers, physical fitness, library facilities, legal support, technical advice for gender transition and surgeries, capacity building of trans-friendly organizations, employment and skill-building support, etc.

• The Nodal Ministry has taken the first step in improving the conditions of Transgender persons and has identified 10 cities to set up the 13 Shelter Homes and extend the facilities to Transgender persons, in association with selected 13 CBOs in the country on a pilot basis.

• The cities include Vadodara, New Delhi, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Jaipur, Kolkata, Manipur, Chennai, Raipur, Mumbai, etc. The scheme will rehabilitate a minimum of 25 transgender persons in each home identified by the Ministry.

• This is a pilot project, and on its successful completion, similar schemes will be extended to other parts of the country.

SPORTS

Sports Minister launches 2nd edition of Fit India School Week

• Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has launched the 2nd edition of the “Fit India School Week” program in the presence of Fit India Mission. Sports Minister encourages school children to participate in the Fit India movement.

• To participate in the program the schools have to register themselves on www.fitindia.gov.in/fit-india-school-week. The Fit India School week program was launched in November last year and saw participation from over 15 thousand schools across the country.

OBITUARY

AIMPLB vice president Maulana Kalbe Sadiq passes away

• Vice president of the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB), Maulana Kalbe Sadiq passed away. He was born in Lucknow and was known for his lectures, mostly during Muharram. He was an educationist, Islamic scholar and ambassador of communal amity.

• Sadiq was the first to organise a Shia-Sunni namaz in the history of Lucknow. He received his early education from madrasa Sultan ul Madaris. He then moved to Aligarh Muslim University where he obtained a bachelor of arts degree. He later went on to pursue his master’s degree in Arabic literature from the same University. He then secured a doctoral degree from Lucknow University.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Lt Gen Harpal Singh appointed new Engineer-in-Chief of Indian Army

• Lt Gen Harpal Singh has appointed new Engineer-in-Chief of Indian Army.  He is presently the Director-General of Border Roads Organisation and would take over his new appointment on 1 December.

• Lt Gen Harpal Singh, an alumnus of National Defence Academy, Khadakwasla, was commissioned into the Corps of Engineers on 24 December 1982. He later commanded a Border Roads, Task Force, in Jammu and Kashmir valley. He has also been the Chief Engineer of Project Dantak (BRO) at Bhutan, Chief Engineer (Navy), Mumbai and Chief Engineer HQ Eastern Command. Lt Gen Harpal Singh is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington, the Higher Command and National Defence College courses.

• Major Gen Rajeev Chaudhary has been appointed as the new Director-General of the Border Roads Organisation. The BRO is responsible for the construction and maintenance of roads along the borders with China and Pakistan.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

UNDP and Invest India tie-up to launch the SDG Investor Map for India

• The National Investment Promotion and Facilitation Agency, Invest India has partnered with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) India to develop the first-ever ‘SDG Investor Map for India’. The map lays out 18 Investment Opportunities Areas (IOAs) in six critical SDG enabling sectors, that can help India to move forward on Sustainable Development path. This initiative is an instrumental stride in India’s development trajectory.

• The Map comes at a critical time for India. With the emergence of the C-19 pandemic, the financing gap for the SDGs in India has only widened further and decades of development progress is nearly on the verge of a reversal. Investing in the SDGs at this point is crucial to ‘Building Back Better’ and making the economy and our societies more resilient and sustainable. Enhanced productivity, technology adoption and increased inclusion are all critical factors that this map uses to identify the most attractive sectors for investors.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

PM Modi releases book on the Life of Sri Guru Nanak Dev ji

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi has released a book on the life and ideals of Guru Nanak Dev, the founder of Sikhism and first of its ten gurus.

• The book has been penned by Kirpal Singh Ji. Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi was also present during the book release.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

HDFC Bank signs MoU with ICCI to support SMEs and Start-ups

• HDFC Bank has signed an MoU with Inventivepreneur Chamber of Commerce and Industries (ICCI) to support SMEs and Start-ups. Through this association, ICCI will engage, enrol and support various Startups /SMEs /MSMEs to facilitate inter-alia financial and other facilities to/from HDFC Bank.

• ICCI and HDFC Bank jointly conduct diverse networking activities, awareness camps and interactive sessions, Business Events.

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Important Current Affairs 26th November 2020

National

Centre, States can't have indefinite right over citizens' acquired properties: Supreme Court

• The Supreme Court on November 24, 2020 ruled that the central and state governments cannot be have an indefinite or overriding right over the acquired properties of citizens.

• The court ruled that though the right to properties is not a fundamental right, the governments cannot occupy citizens' properties.

• The ruling was made by a bench comprising Justices Indira Banerjee and S Ravindra Bhat.

Tenth edition of National Science Film Festival kicks off virtually

• The tenth edition of prestigious National science film festival kicked off on 24th November 2020 in a virtual mode.

• The four-day long film festival has been jointly organized by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous agency under the Department of Science and Technology, Govt. of India and the Tripura State Council of Science and Technology, Govt. of Tripura from 24 to 27 November 2020.

• A total of 372 films in different languages were received for participation, of which 115 films have been shortlisted by the ten-member jury to be screened during the festival.

Himachal Pradesh govt launches ‘Him Suraksha Abhiyan’

• Himachal Pradesh government has launched ‘Him Suraksha Abhiyan’ to sensitize the people regarding C-19 pandemic and also to collect information regarding symptoms of diseases like TB, Leprosy, sugar and blood pressure by the door to door campaign throughout the State.

• Under this Abhiyan about 8000 teams comprising of Health, Ayurveda, Women and Child Development, Panchayati Raj Departments, District Administration and NGOs would be involved in this campaign. It would ensure door to door data collection of health parameters of the people.

Narendra Singh Tomar virtually inaugurates Phagwara mega food park

• Union Food Processing Industries Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has virtually inaugurated the Rs 107.83 crore mega food park at Phagwara in Kapurthala district of Punjab.

• So far, 37 mega food parks have been sanctioned across the country, of which 20 have started functioning.

• The mega food park, spread over 55 acres of land and that will benefit 25,000 farmers, is equipped with warehouses in 3,944 square meters, silos with 20,000-tonne capacity, cold storage with 3,000-tonne capacity as well as individually quick-frozen and deep freezer units and other facilities.

Banking and Economy

Merger of Lakshmi Vilas Bank & DBS Bank approved by Union Cabinet

• The Union Cabinet on November 25, 2020 approved the merger of Lakshmi Vilas Bank Limited (LVB) with Singapore-based DBS Bank India Limited. With this development, there will be no restrictions on the depositors for withdrawing money from their deposits from Lakshmi Vilas Bank.

• Under the ‘Scheme of Amalgamation of Lakshmi Vilas Bank with DBS Bank India Limited’, DBS would invest Rs 2,500 crore in the equity of the bank, to improve the capital position of the merged entity.

• DBIL is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Singapore based DBS Bank Ltd.The merger will increase the branches of DBIL to around 600 from the current 27 branches.

India Post Payments Bank launches PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana

• India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has launched a low-cost insurance scheme ‘Pradhan Mantri Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana (PMJJBY)’ for its customers to bring large sections of the underserved and unserved population into the financial mainstream.

• IPPB has collaborated with PNB MetLife India Insurance Company for this product.

Awards

Malayalam film Jallikattu is India’s official Oscar entry

• Malayalam film Jallikattu has been selected as India's official entry for Oscars in the foreign-language film category. The film was unanimously chosen among 27 entries across Hindi, Marathi and other languages.

• Directed by Lijo Jose Pellissery, Jallikattu revolves around a bull that escapes from a slaughterhouse in a hilly remote village on the eve of its scheduled slaughter and an entire tribe of men coming together to stop the bull.

Obituary

Football legend Diego Maradona passed away

• Football legend from Argentina, Diego Maradona passed away on November 25, 2020, after suffering a heart attack. He was 60-years old.

• The Footballer suffered cardiac arrest and paramedics failed to revive him.

• The star footballer had begun his professional career at the age of 16 with Argentinos Juniors and later he went on to become of the greatest players ever to play football.

• Maradona represented Boca Juniors, Napoli, Barcelona, Newell’s Old Boys as a player. He was also considered the main player in taking Argentina to the country’s second World Cup title in 1986.

Appointments and Resignations

Greg Barclay of New Zealand elected as ICC Chairman

• Greg Barclay of New Zealand was appointed as the Chairman of the International Cricket Council (ICC). Barclay, an Auckland-based commercial lawyer, will succeed Shashank Manohar, who resigned from the post earlier in 2020.

• Barclay is currently the representative of New Zealand Cricket (NZC) on the board of the ICC.

Days

Indian Constitution Day

• Constitution Day (National Law Day), also known as Samvidhan Divas, is celebrated in India on 26 November every year to commemorate the adoption of Constitution of India. Previously this day was celebrated as Law Day

• The Government of India under Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi declared 26 November as Constitution Day on 19 November 2015.

• On 26 November 1949, the Constituent Assembly of India adopted the Constitution of India, and it came into effect on 26 January 1950.

National Milk Day

• In India, November 26 is celebrated as National Milk Day, since 2014, to commemorate the birthday of the father of India’s White Revolution, Dr. Verghese Kurien (also nicknamed as Milkman of India).

• The day was fixed by all the dairy majors of the country including the National Dairy Development Board (NDDB), the Indian Dairy Association (IDA), along with 22 state level milk federations.

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Important Current Affairs 25th November 2020

                                                                                                         National

43 mobile apps banned by Indian Government for users

• The Union Electronics and Information Technology Ministry has banned 43 more mobile apps for the users. The Ministry issued an order on November 24, 2020, blocking access to 43 apps under section 69A of Information Technology Act.

• Earlier in September 2020, the Government had banned 118 mobile apps and banned 59 apps in June 2020.

IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launches International version of UMANG to mark 3 years of App

• On November 23, 2020, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, the Union Minister for Electronics and Information Technology, Communications and Law & Justice launched the international version of the UMANG app, to mark the occasion of 3 years of UMANG and also celebrate over 2000 services milestone.

• The international app has been launched for select countries that include USA, UK, Canada, Australia, UAE, Netherlands, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand.

• The UMANG (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) was launched on 23 November 2017 by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the fifth edition of the Global Conference on Cyberspace in New Delhi.

First cow hospital of Northeast inaugurated in Assam’s Dibrugarh

• A cow shelter in Assam’s Dibrugarh inaugurated Northeast’s first-ever cow hospital, on the occasion of Gopashtami.

• The hospital, Surbhi Aarogyashala, is set up by Shree Gopal Gaushala at a cost of Rs 17 lakh.

• There are 368 cows in the shelter.The hospital will provide services in 30 km radius.

                                                                                         Banking and Economy

RBI imposes six-month ban on Manta Urban Cooperative Bank

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has banned the Manta Urban Cooperative Bank in Jalna district of Maharashtra for six months for payment of money and loan transactions.

• The central bank has given some instructions to this bank, which will be effective for six months since the bank closed on 17 November 2020.

                                                                                          Summits and Mou’s

SBI Signs Pact With Luxembourg Stock Exchange

• State Bank of India (SBI) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Luxembourg Stock Exchange (LuxSe).

• The MoU will help SBI and LuxSE set up a long-term cooperation mechanism, and promote ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) and green finance.

• Through this MoU, the Luxembourg Stock Exchange would work towards creating a sustainable environment for issuers, asset managers, and investors in terms of ESG focused funds and bonds.

                                                                                                          Awards

Delhi Crime bags Best Drama Series at the International Emmy Awards

• The Netflix show, Delhi Crime has won the Best Drama Series award at the 48th International Emmy Awards 2020. Delhi Crime is the first web-series from India to win an International Emmy Award.

• The show is written and directed by Richie Mehta and features actress Shefali Shah as the main character.

Pilibhit Tiger Reserve gets global award ‘TX2’ for doubling tiger population

• The Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR), situated in the Pilibhit district and Shahjahanpur District of Uttar Pradesh has won the first-ever international award, TX2, along with the state Forest department, for doubling the number of tigers.

• *TX2 stands for ‘Tigers times two’, signalling the goal to double wild tigers.

ISRO Chairman K Sivan Conferred with Doctor of Science honorary doctorate by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala

• The Visvesvaraya Technological University, of the Government of Karnataka, has conferred the Doctor of Science honorary doctorate upon ISRO Chairman K Sivan.

• The doctorate was presented to the ISRO Chief by Karnataka Governor Vajubhai Vala on 21 November 2020.

                                                                                 Science and Technology

India test-fires land-attack version of BrahMos missile

• India successfully test-fired a land-attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the Andaman and Nicobar Islands territory at 10 am on November 24, 2020.

• The supersonic cruise missile successfully hit its target, which was on another island. The test-firing was conducted by the Indian Army.

• The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the world's fastest operational system in its class and recently DRDO has extended the range of the missile system from the existing 298 km to around 450 km.

                                                                                                    Obituary

Congress veteran Ahmed Patel passes away

• Senior Congress leader and Rajya Sabha MP, Ahmed Patel passed away. He was Lok Sabha MP for three terms from 1977 to 1989 and Rajya Sabha MP since 1993 representing Gujarat.

•  He also served as the political secretary to Congress president Sonia Gandhi and was one of the party’s top negotiators during the UPA regime.

Veteran TV actor Ashiesh Roy passes away

• Television actor Ashiesh Roy has passed away, suffering from kidney ailment during the C-19. He was 55.

• Some of his famous television shows includes Movers & Shakers, Yes Boss, Remix, Baa Bahoo Aur Baby, Chaldi Da Naam Gaddi, Burey Bhi Hum Bhale Bhi Hum, Sasural Simar Ka, Kuch Rang Pyar Ke Aise Bhi, Mere Angne Mein, Aarambh.

                                                                                                         Sports

Virat Kohli, R Ashwin nominated for ICC Player of the Decade Award

• India skipper Virat Kohli and spinner Ravichandran Ashwin have been nominated for the ICC Player of the Decade Award.

• Other cricketers nominated for the award include England’s Joe Root, New Zealand’s Kane Williamson, Australia’s Steve Smith, South Africa’s AB de Villiers and Sri Lanka’s Kumar Sangakkara.

• For the ODI Player of the Decade award, India’s MS Dhoni, Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma, Sri Lanka’s Lasith Malinga & Kumar Sangakkara, Australia’s Mitchell Starc and South Africa’s AB de Villiers have been nominated.

                                                                                                           Days

International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women

• The United Nations designated International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women is celebrated worldwide on November 25.

• Purpose: to raise awareness of the fact that women around the world are subject to various forms of violence and true nature of the issue is often hidden.

• 2020 Theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”.

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Important Current Affairs 24th November 2020

                                                                                                         National

India to host G-20 Summit in 2023

• India will host the Summit of the G20 Group in 2023. India was earlier slated to host the summit in 2022.

• However, now the G20 Summit be be hosted by Italy in 2021, Indonesia in 2022, India in 2023 and Brazil in 2024.

• India and Indonesia have swapped their respective hosting year of G20 as Indonesia would also chair the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) in 2023.

5th India International Cherry Blossom Festival cancelled

• The 5th India International Cherry Blossom Festival has been cancelled due to C-19 pandemic. The festival is held every year in Shillong, the capital of Meghalaya, to celebrate the unique autumn flowering of the Himalayan cherry blossoms and mark the beginning of India’s version of autumn.

• Every year, Shillong hosts a plethora of events like fitness art, fashion show, rock concerts and much more to mark the festival.

                                                                                                      International

Malaysia hosted 2020 APEC Summit

• The 2020 Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting was held under the Chairmanship of Malaysian Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

• This was the first time that all 21 APEC Economic Leaders met virtually due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The APEC 2020 ended with the adoption of the APEC Putrajaya Vision 2040 and the 2020 Kuala Lumpur Declaration. The APEC Summit 2021 will be hosted by New Zealand. This is the second time Malaysia hosted an APEC meeting, having hosted one in 1998.

• The theme of the APEC Malaysia 2020 was “Optimising Human Potential Towards a Resilient Future of Shared Prosperity: Pivot. Prioritise. Progress”.

                                                                                                Banking and Economy

LIC launches 1st digital app ‘ANANDA’

• Life Insurance Corporation of India has launched a digital application for agents for onboarding to get a life insurance policy. The Digital Application is called “ANANDA”, which is an acronym for Atma Nirbhar Agents NewBusiness Digital Application.

• The Digital application is a tool for the onboarding process to get the life insurance policy through a paperless module with the help of the agent or intermediary.

                                                                                      Acquisitions and Mergers

IBM to Acquire SAP Consulting Partner TruQua

• IBM said that it has acquired TruQua, an IT services and consulting company focused on SAP’s finance and analytics technologies.

• Big Blue said the deal will support its hybrid growth strategy and expand its breadth of consulting services.

• IBM said the deal is expected to close in Q4 2020. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

                                                                                         Science and Technology

Indian Navy gets 9th P-8I anti-submarine warfare aircraft

• Indian Navy has got its ninth Boeing P-8I long-range maritime reconnaissance and anti-submarine warfare aircraft, part of the nearly $1 billion deal with the US for four additional planes signed in 2016.

• India, which had first signed a contract for eight such aircraft in 2009, is also negotiating a deal for six more P-8Is with the US under the government-to-government route. While the ninth aircraft was scheduled to be handed over to the Indian Navy in July this year, the C-19 pandemic delayed plans.

• The remaining three are scheduled to be handed over to India in 2021. Incidentally, the aircraft, the latest of which landed at INS Hansa in Goa.

                                                                                                            Obituary

Former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi passes away

• Three-time Assam Chief Minister from Congress party Tarun Gogoi, has passed away after been undergoing treatment for post-Covid complications. He was 84.

• Tarun Gogoi had served as the Chief Minister of Assam between 2001 and 2015.He was the longest serving chief minister of Assam.

• Apart from this, Gogoai had also served as the food and food processing industry minister in the Union Cabinet of India under Prime Minister Narasimha Rao between 1991 and 1996.

Sahitya Academy award winner Shaik Khaja Hussain passes away

• Noted Telugu poet, journalist, scriptwriter Shaik Khaja Hussain, has passed away after brief illness. He was 70.

• Popularly known as Devi Priya, the renowned poet bagged the Kendra Sahitya Akademi Award in 2017, for his book Gaali Rangu.

                                                                                                             Sports

Daniil Medvedev beat Dominic Thiem to win ATP Tour Finals 2020

• In Tennis, Daniil Medvedev (Russia) beat Dominic Thiem (Austria) to win the 2020 ATP Tour Finals, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4, held in London on 22 November 2020.

• This is the biggest title of his career. The 24-year-old will finish the year at fourth position in the world rankings.

• In the doubles final, Dutch-Croatian duo Wesley Koolhof and Nikola Mektic claimed their first title together after surpassing Jurgen Melzer and Edouard Roger-Vasselin 6-2, 3-6, 10-5.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd November 2020

                                                                                                                     National

India becomes 4th nation to have navigation satellite system as IRNSS Gets IMO Recognition

• The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) has been recognised by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) as a part of the World Wide Radio Navigation System (WWRNS) for operation in the Indian Ocean Region.

• With this, India has become the only fourth country in the world to have its independent regional navigation satellite system recognised by IMO.

• The other three countries that have its navigation systems recognised by the IMO are the US [Global Position System (GPS)], Russia and China.

• The IRNSS will  now be officially used to provide accurate position information services to assist in the navigation of ships in Indian ocean waters within the area of approximately 1,500 km from the Indian boundary

PM Modi called for Spirit of trusteeship towards planet Earth at 15th G20 Summit

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in the 15th G20 Leaders Summit on November 21, 2020. The two-day summit was convened by Saudi Arabia, chair of G20 for this year.

• The summit saw the participation of the heads of governments of 19 member countries, the European Union and other invited countries and international organizations. It was conducted virtually due to the C -19 pandemic.

• While speaking at the summit, PM Narendra Modi congratulated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its leadership for its successful Presidency of the G20 in 2020 and for organizing the second virtual G20 Summit in 2020 despite the challenges posed by the C-19 outbreak.

Second Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20 held in Andaman Sea

• The 2nd edition of India, Singapore and Thailand Trilateral Maritime Exercise SITMEX-20 was conducted from 21 to 22 November 20 in Andaman Sea.

• The 2020 edition of the exercise is being hosted by Republic of Singapore Navy (RSN).

• Indian Navy (IN) Ships including indigenously built ASW corvette Kamorta and missile corvette Karmuk participated in the exercise.

• The SITMEX series of exercises are conducted to enhance mutual inter-operability between IN, RSN and Royal Thai Navy (RTN) and also strengthen mutual confidence and develop common understanding and procedures towards enhancing the overall maritime security in the region. 

• The first edition of SITMEX was hosted by Indian Navy in 2019 off Port Blair.

                                                                                                             International

China to launch spacecraft to Moon to bring back lunar rocks, first attempt since 1970s

• China is all set to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the moon this week for bringing back the lunar rocks. It will be the first attempt by any nation in the world for retrieving the samples from the natural satellite of Earth since the 1970s.

• Named after the ancient Chinese Goddess of the moon, Chang’e-5 probe will seek on collecting the materials from the moon. It will help the scientists to understand more about its origin and surface.

• If China becomes successful in its mission, it will become the third country to retrieve moon samples, following the Soviet Union and the United States decades ago. The mission will also be testing China’s ability to remotely acquire the samples from space.

• China also plans on retrieving the samples from Mars by 2030. In July 2020, China had also launched an unmanned probe to Mars. It was its first independent mission to another planet.

                                                                                               Banking and Economy

Bank Credit Rises 5.67%, Deposits Up 10.63%, RBI Data Shows

• Bank credit grew by 5.67 per cent to Rs 104.04 lakh crore, while deposits increased by 10.63 per cent to Rs 143.80 lakh crore in the fortnight ended November 6, according to RBI data.

• In the fortnight ended November 8, 2019, bank credit stood at Rs 98.46 lakh crore and deposits at Rs 129.98 lakh crore.

• On a year-on-year basis, non-food bank credit growth decelerated to 5.8 per cent in September 2020 from 8.1 per cent in the same month of the previous year.

• Credit to industry recorded ‘nil’ growth in September 2020 as compared to 2.7 per cent rise in September 2019.

• Credit to agriculture and allied activities rose by 5.9 per cent during the reporting month, as against a growth of 7 per cent in the same month last year.

• Loan growth to the services sector accelerated to 9.1 per cent in September 2020 from 7.3 per cent in September 2019.

• Personal loans registered a growth of 9.2 per cent in the month compared to 16.6 per cent growth in September 2019.

RBI becomes world’s first central bank with a million Twitter followers

• Reserve Bank of India, in a first among Central Banks, has become the first monetary authority that has gained 1 million followers on its official Twitter Handle.

• Shaktikanda Das, RBI Governor congratulated his colleagues on this occasion. He also has a separate Twitter Handle with 1.37 lakh followers. He shared the news of achievement through Twitter and congratulated everyone for the new milestone.

• India’s monetary authority has beaten the European Central Bank and US Federal Reserve on Twitter by becoming the most popular central bank to be followed on the microblogging site. Currently, the Reserve Bank of India is followed by as many as 10,00,513 followers on Twitter.

                                                                                                             Awards

Department of Fisheries presents Fisheries Sector Awards for the first time on World Fisheries Day

• Department of Fisheries presents Fisheries Sector Awards for the first time on World Fisheries Day The Department of Fisheries under the Ministry of Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying awarded best performing States for 2019-20 on 21 November 2020 on the occasion of the ‘World Fisheries Day’, to recognise their accomplishments in the field and their contribution into the growth of the sector. 

Top States

1. Marine states – Odisha

2. Inland states – Uttar Pradesh

3. Hilly and NE states – Assam

Top Organisations

1. Tamil Nadu Fisheries Development Corporation Ltd. (for Marine)

2. Telangana State Fishermen Cooperative societies Federation Ltd (for Inland)

3. Assam Apex Cooperative Fish Marketing and Processing Federation Ltd. (for Hilly region)

Top Districts

1. Best Marine District – Krishna District, Andhra Pradesh

2. Best Inland District – Kalahandi, Odisha

3. Best Hilly and NE District – Nagaon, Assam

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Important Current Affairs 22nd November 2020

                                                                                                         National

PM lays the foundation stone of rural drinking water supply projects in Vindhyachal region of Uttar Pradesh

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of rural drinking water supply projects in Mirzapur and Sonbhadra districts of Vindhyachal region in Uttar Pradesh on 22 November 2020 via video conference.

• The total estimated cost of the projects is around Rs 5,555.38 Crore.

• The projects are planned to be completed in 24 months.

• It will provide household tap water connections in all rural households of 2,995 villages and will benefit about 42 lakh population of these districts.

                                                                                                          Banking and Economy

Indian students contributed over $7 billion to US economy in 2019-20

• According to the report “Opens Doors 2020“, Indian students contributed USD 7.6 billion to the US economy in the academic year 2019-20, even though there was a 4.4 per cent drop in the total number of Indian students.

• China remained the largest source of international students in the US, with the number of Chinese students in the country increasing for the 16th consecutive year. There were over 372,000 Chinese students in the U.S. during 2019-20 year.

• According to the report, released by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs and the Institute of International Education (IIE), for the fifth consecutive year the United States hosted more than 1 million international students (1,075,496) in an academic year.

                                                                                                      Awards

Naseeruddin Shah honoured with Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar

• Veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah has been honoured with the 2020 Aditya Vikram Birla Kalashikhar Puraskar at annual Sangit Kala Kendra Awards.

•  Alongside, two emerging stars, in the firmament of theatrics – Neel Choudhary and Irawati Karnik were awarded the Aditya Vikram Birla Kalakiran Puraskars. “Theatre” is the central theme, for this year’s awards.

                                                                                        Acquisitions and Mergers

RBL Bank selects Amazon Web Services to drive digital transformation

• RBL Bank has selected Amazon Web Services (AWS) as its preferred cloud service to drive digital transformation. At present, around 40 per cent of the bank’s mission-critical applications are on the cloud.

• The bank first migrated its corporate website to AWS cloud and with the experience gained initiated a 10-in-10 project (a complete migration of 10 applications in 10 days).

• The bank chose AWS for its commitment to security and highly reliable global infrastructure.

                                                                                                           Ranking

Hong Kong, Zurich, and Paris most expensive cities in EIU’s Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL) Index

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released its biannual ‘Worldwide Cost of Living (WCOL)’ report of the World’s Most Expensive Cities in 2020, based on their cost of living.

• Hong Kong, Paris and Zurich shares the top spot as the most expensive cities in the list, which comprises of 133 cities.

• The report took into account the price of 138 items, used in every day for survival, and the falling or rising value of that country’s currency due to C-19 to rank the cities accordingly.

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Important Current Affairs 21st November 2020

                                                                                                               NATIONAL

Mastercard & USAID Partners to launch “Project Kirana”

• Mastercard and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) have collaborated under Women’s Global Development and Prosperity Initiative (W-GDP) to launch ‘Project Kirana’ in India, to help women entrepreneurs grow and thrive.

• Project Kirana is a two-year programme, and initially, it will be rolled out in select cities of Uttar Pradesh, including Lucknow, Kanpur and Varanasi. The programme will be implemented by DAI Digital Frontiers and ACCESS Development Services.

• Build financial and digital literacy skills;

• Improve basic business management skills including inventory management, accounting, budget management and customer loyalty;

• Addressing cultural and other barriers to women becoming successful Kirana entrepreneurs;

• It will work to increase revenue streams, expand financial inclusion and digital payments adoption of Kirana shops that are owned or operated by women.

Ravi Shankar Prasad releases “My Stamp on Chhath Puja”

• Union Minister of Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law and Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad has released a “My Stamp on Chhath Puja”. My Stamp is an innovative concept initiated by the Department of Posts. Any common person or corporate organisation can now book order and get a personalised photograph or an image of a Postage Stamp.

• My Stamp is one of the unique products being offered by India Post, which has gained its popularity in the customised gifting category. My Stamp on Chhath Puja is available in all Philatelic bureaus and major post offices across the country. A special cover on the theme “Chhath-A symbol of Simplicity and Cleanliness” was also released.

CBIC Chairman Ajit Kumar inaugurates GST Bhawan

• Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) Chairman M. Ajit Kumar, along with members of the Board inaugurated the GST Bhawan, Panchkula,  Haryana. The state of the art building will house the offices of Central GST at Panchkula. It has been built at a cost of about 31 crores rupees.

• This is the first major infrastructure project of CBIC completed in these times of C-19. The building is a fully air-conditioned three-storied building built on a plot of about 1.4 acres with 7600 square metres covered area and seating capacity of about 200 persons.

                                                                                               IMPORTANT DAYS

World Television Day: 21 November

• World Television Day is observed on 21 November every year. The day is observed to acknowledge the role of broadcast media. On this day, the journalists, writers, bloggers, and others who are associated with the medium promote the role of television in communication and globalization.

• The 21 November was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in December 1996, because the first World Television Forum was held in 1996.

World Fisheries Day: 21 November

• World Fisheries Day is celebrated on 21 November every year throughout the world by the fisherfolk communities. It highlights the importance of healthy oceans ecosystems and to ensure sustainable stocks of fisheries in the world. 2020 is the fourth World Fisheries Day.

• The World Fisheries Day helps in highlighting the critical importance to human lives, of water and the lives it sustains, both in and out of water. Water forms a continuum, whether contained in rivers, lakes, and ocean. Fishing communities worldwide celebrate this day through rallies, workshops, public meetings, cultural programs, dramas, exhibition, music show, and demonstrations to highlight the importance of maintaining the world’s fisheries.

Africa Industrialization Day: 20 November

• Africa Industrialization Day is celebrated on November 20 each year. It is a time when governments and other organizations in many African countries examine ways to stimulate Africa’s industrialization process. It is also an occasion to draw worldwide media attention to the problems and challenges of industrialization in Africa.

• Theme 2020: “Inclusive and sustainable industrialisation in the AfCFTA era”.

World Children’s Day is celebrated on 20 November

• World Children’s Day is observed globally on 20 November every year. The day is celebrated to promote international togetherness, awareness among children worldwide, and improving children’s welfare. November 20th is an important date as it is the date in 1959 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration of the Rights of the Child.

• World Children’s Day was first established in 1954 as Universal Children’s Day and is celebrated on 20 November each year.  It is also the date in 1989 when the UN General Assembly adopted the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

                                                                                       SUMMITS AND MOU’S

World Bank Signs $120 Million Project to Improve Connectivity in Meghalaya

• The Government of India, the Government of Meghalaya and the World Bank has signed a $120-million project to improve and modernize the transport sector of Meghalaya. This will help Meghalaya to harness its vast growth potential for high-value agriculture and tourism. The $120 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a maturity of 14 years including a grace period of six years. The International Bank of Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) is a development bank administered by the World Bank.

• The Meghalaya Integrated Transport Project (MITP) will improve about 300 km of strategic road segments and stand-alone bridges by using innovative, climate-resilient, and nature-based solutions.

• The segments will serve major agriculture areas, important tourist destinations, small-scale industries, major towns and underserved populations by linking them to markets, health and education centres, and national and international corridors.

• It will also support innovative solutions such as precast bridges to reduce both time and cost of construction.

• This operation will also support the state’s government “Restart Meghalaya Mission” to revive and boost development activities affected due to C-19 pandemic.

• It will help restore transport services for the movement of agricultural produce, improve access to health facilities during C-19 type medical emergencies, benefit about 500,000 inhabitants, and generate direct employment of about 8 million person-days.

                                                                            AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Scottish Author Douglas Stuart wins 2020 Booker Prize

• Scottish writer Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction. He has been awarded for his debut novel, “Shuggie Bain”. The 44-year-old Stuart is only the second Scot to have won the prestigious literary prize.

• The Booker Prize for Fiction, (formerly known as the Booker–McConnell Prize (1969–2001) and the Man Booker Prize (2002–2019)), is a literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. It carries £50,000 prize ($66,000).

Dr Pokhriyal to be conferred with Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Award

• Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ will be conferred with the Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Award. This award will be conferred to the Minister for writing, poetry and other literary works. The Minister has penned more than 75 books on wide-ranging issues, which have also been translated into many national and foreign languages. Vatayan International Awards given by the Vatayan-UK organization in London honours poets, writers and artists for their exemplary work in their respective fields.

• Mr Pokhriyal has earlier received several awards in the field of literature and administration including Sahitya Bharati Award by the then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Sahitya Gaurav Samman by Former President A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, Bharat Gaurav Samman, Good Governance Award by Dubai Government, outstanding Achievement Award by Global Organization of Person of Indian Origin by Mauritius, awarded in Ukraine in the area of environmental protection, among others. Mr Nishank is also honoured with “Himal Gaurav Samman” by Nepal.

                                                                                                RANKING

India Ranks 77 in TRACE Bribery Risk Matrix 2020

• India is placed at 77th position in the TRACE Bribery Risk Matrix 2020. India has achieved a score of 45 in a global list that measures business bribery risks of 2020. India’s rank stood 78 positions in 2019. It was a better performance than neighbouring nations such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, Nepal and China. But, Bhutan scored better than India and got 48th place in the list.

• North Korea, Turkmenistan, South Sudan, Venezuela and Eritrea had the highest commercial bribery risk. Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden and New Zealand showed the lowest bribery risk.

• The TRACE Matrix list is released by TRACE International, an anti-bribery standard-setting organisation, which measures business bribery risk in 194 countries, territories, and autonomous and semi-autonomous regions.

                                                                                         BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh unveils two books

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has unveiled two books ‘The Republican Ethic Volume III’ and ‘Loktantra Ke Swar’ which are a collection of selected speeches of President Ram Nath Kovind during the third year of his presidency. Information and Broadcasting Prakash Javadekar unveiled the e-book versions of the two books.

• Mr Rajnath Singh stated that the President’s speeches depict his concern towards issues such as girls education, empowerment of women, and welfare of the weaker sections.  All the speeches in this book reflect on the self-confidence in this country. This book comprises speeches on the country’s efforts to fight C-19, where India is faring much better than other countries, to bravely defending its borders. This compilation of speeches of President Kovind presents a comprehensive picture of his work, personality and values.

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