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Manduadih railway station was renamed Banaras
- The Manduadih railway station has been finally renamed as Banaras by the North eastern railways (NER).
- The newly painted signboards were put up with Banaras written in Hindi, Sanskrit, English, and Urdu.
- The formal renaming of Manduadih railway station as Banaras Railway Station was done on September 16, 2020.
- The code for the station with the new identity will now be ‘BSBS’.
Pakistan, Russia sign terms of the accord
- Pakistan and Russia have signed an agreement for the construction of about 1,100-km gas pipeline from Port Qasim in Karachi to Lahore.
- It will be constructed at an estimated cost of USD 2.5-3 billion by the end of 2023.
- The two sides also signed minutes of the third meeting of the Russia-Pakistan Joint Technical Committee (JTC) for implementation of the PPakstream Gas Pipeline Project.
Digital platform Kisan Sarathi launched
- The government has launched a digital platform Kisan Sarathi to facilitate farmers to get the right information at right time in their desired language.
- The platform was launched on the occasion of 93rd ICAR Foundation Day.
- Farmers can avail personalised advisories on agriculture and allied areas directly from scientists of Krishi Vigyan Kendra through the digital platform.
NCW signs MoU with BPR&D
- The National Commission for Women (NCW) has signed an MoU with the Bureau of Police Research and Development.
- The aim of the programme is the gender sensitization of police personnel across the country.
- It will be fully sponsored by the Commission and facilitated by BPR&D with a special module in coordination with its units and other stakeholders.
Wasim Jaffer appointed Odisha coach
- The former India opener Wasim Jaffer has been appointed as Chief Coach for the Odisha cricket team for two seasons.
- Jaffer played 31 Tests for India and scored 1944 runs with the highest score of 212.
- Prior to accepting the Chief Coach offer from the Odisha Cricket Association, he was also the Head Coach of the Uttarakhand Ranji Trophy Team for the year 2020-21.
Gokulam FC to represent India in AFC C’ship
- The All India Football Federation (AIFF) has nominated Gokulam Kerala FC to represent India in the AFC Club Championship 2020-21.
- The winners of the Women League compete in the tournament but since it will not be held, the national federation nominated the champions of the fourth edition.
- The 5th edition was originally supposed to be held in Bhubaneswar by Odisha Sports with AIFF.
Naval exercise ‘Shield’ held in Mumbai
- A tri-nation tabletop anti-narcotics and maritime search and rescue exercise, ‘Exercise Shield’, was held between Indian and Sri Lankan Navies and Maldives National Defence Force through virtual mode.
- The tabletop exercise and simulation were held virtually on July 14 and 15, 2021.
- It was coordinated by Maritime Warfare Centre (MWC) in Mumbai.
Maruti Suzuki to set up a new plant
- Maruti Suzuki has decided to set up a new plant in Haryana with an annual production capacity of 7.5-10 lakh units.
- The project will see an investment of around Rs. 18,000 crore.
- The upcoming factory will replace the brand’s Gurugram-based facility.
- Maruti Suzuki began its India operations in 1983 by rolling out the Maruti 800 from its Gurugram facility.
Italy bans cruise ships from Venice lagoon
- Italy has banned cruise ships from the Venice lagoon.
- Cruise companies will have to scrap Venice from their itineraries until the industrial port of Marghera is repurposed for passenger use.
- The government has appointed a commissioner to fast-track the job, which would ordinarily take about six months.
Bezos donates $200 mn to Smithsonian
- Jeff Bezos will donate $200 million to Smithsonian, the largest gift the institution has received since its founding in 1846.
- A $70 million portion will go to renovating the National Air and Space Museum and $130 million will be used to launch a new education center.
- It will also help enable a technological transformation of the museum’s galleries and public spaces.
RBL Bank ties up with Visa
- RBL Bank has tied up with card network Visa Worldwide to issue fresh credit cards after the RBI had barred Mastercard Asia/Pacific from issuing new cards in India.
- RBL Bank currently issues credit cards on the Mastercard network only.
- As of date, RBL Bank has 3 mn credit card customers and is the 5th largest credit card issuer in the country with roughly five percent market share.
Retail Parks Policy launched in Andhra Pradesh
- The Andhra Pradesh government has released the Retail Parks Policy 2021-2026.
- The objective of the policy is to boost organized retail trade within the state in order to increase the GSDP.
- The policy, to be in force for five years, eyes new investments to the tune of Rs 5,000 crore and the creation of 50,000 additional direct employment opportunities in the retail industry by 2026.
India’s first ‘Grain ATM’ in Haryana
- Haryana government has set up India’s first-ever ‘Grain ATM’ as a pilot project in Gurugram.
- The newly installed machines can dispense approximately 70 kg of grains in five to seven minutes’ time.
- The ATMs will provide relief to the consumers who wait in long queues to get the ration outside depots.
- The grain machine is equipped with biometry and a touch screen.
‘Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021’
- The Assam Cattle Preservation Bill, 2021 was tabled in the Assam Legislative Assembly in July 2021.
- It bars the sale and purchase of beef or beef products in areas predominantly inhabited by Hindu, Jain, Sikh, and other non-beef-eating communities, or within a radius of 5 km of any temple or sattra.
- It aims to regulate the “slaughter, consumption, illegal transportation” of cattle.
UNWFP partners with the Rajasthan government
- The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) in India and the Rajasthan government have joined hands to improve the Targeted Public Distribution System (TDPS) in the state.
- An agreement has been signed in this regard.
- The partnership will provide a real-time and long-term solution to improve the food and nutritional security for millions.
Pakistan parliament passes FATF-related bill
- Pakistan’s parliament has passed a bill for providing legal assistance in international criminal matters as part of efforts to fulfil the conditions set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
- The bill is called the Mutual Legal Assistance (Criminal Matters) Amendment Bill.
- Pakistan was placed on the grey list by FATF in Jun 2018 and was given a plan of action to complete it by Oct 2019.
93rd foundation day of ICAR celebrated
- Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) celebrated its 93rd foundation day virtually on 16 July 2021.
- As part of the celebration, Union Minister for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Narendra Singh Tomar announced awards in various categories.
- ICAR is an autonomous body responsible for coordinating agricultural education and research in India.
- It was founded in 1929.
Appearing and disappearing stars found
- An international collaboration of astronomers has identified a curious occurrence of nine stars like objects that appeared and vanished in a small region within half an hour in an old photographic plate.
- Scientists from Sweden, Spain, USA, Ukraine, and India, including Dr. Alok C. Gupta did the investigation.
- Such a thing has been detected for the first time in the history of astronomy.
Automated toilet sewerage disposal system
- An automated technology for the collection of toilet waste which is easy to maintain and 7 times cheaper alternative to the bio-toilets, has been developed.
- It can be used to maintain the toilet system of the Indian Railways.
- The technology developed by Dr. R.V. Krishnaiah from Chebrolu Engineering College is an automated system for the collection of toilet waste from running trains.
World Day for International Justice: 17 July
- World Day for International Justice is observed across the globe on July 17 every year.
- It marks an emerging modern system of justice against international criminal acts.
- On this date, the International Criminal Court (ICC) was formally established in 2002, following the adoption of the Rome Statute.
- The theme for the year 2021 is “social justice in the digital economy.
India to get its first pod taxi service
- India will see its first pod taxi running between Noida Airport and Noida Film City.
- Pod taxis have been a popular mode of commute in several western countries and can accommodate four to six passengers per car.
- Indian Port Rail and Ropeway Corporation Limited have submitted the final DPR (Detailed Project Report) to Yamuna Expressway Industrial Development Authority for the project.
NCGTC issues guidelines for a scheme
- The National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Ltd (NCGTC) has issued operational guidelines for the Rs 50,000-crore credit guarantee scheme.
- The scheme was announced as part of the Rs 6.29-lakh-crore stimulus package in June 2021 by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
- The scheme would be applicable to all eligible loans sanctioned during the period from May 7, 2021, till March 31, 2022.
IBM skills 5000 youth in data science
- IBM Corp. in partnership with Nasscom Foundation has skilled about 5,000 underserved youth in data science and cloud computing, from Karnataka, Telangana, and Delhi-NCR.
- As part of IBM SkillsBuild career readiness program, both worked with 23 colleges to certify enrolled students on IBM-certified courses on emerging technologies in 2019.
- 2000 students have already been placed in jobs.
Web Werks signs MoU with Karnataka government
- Web Werks, one of India’s independent data center providers, has signed an MoU with the Government of Karnataka.
- It will set up a data center in Bangalore.
- It will be investing ₹750 crores in the project which will be fully operational in 2 years.
- The government of Karnataka will aid this development by facilitating required permissions, registrations, approvals, and clearances.
Reliance Retail acquires stake in Just Dial
- Reliance Industries retail arm, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), is acquiring a majority stake in local search company Just Dial for ₹3,497 crores.
- Reliance Retail will hold 40.95% stake in the company as per the definitive agreements on 16 July 2021.
- It would also make an open offer to acquire up to 26% in accordance with takeover regulations set by market regulator SEBI.
Veeda acquires majority stake in Bio needs
- Veeda Clinical Research Ltd, a full-service clinical research organization (CRO), has acquired a controlling 50.1% stake in Bioneeds India Pvt Ltd.
- Earlier in June 2021, Veeda had also received an equity investment of $16 million led by a private equity fund, Sabre Partners.
- Headquartered in Ahmedabad, Veeda offers a range of early and late phase bioequivalence studies and clinical trials.
DRDO launches biodegradable packaging products
- DRDO in collaboration with Acharya Nagarjuna University and Ecolastic Private Limited has launched environmentally safe packaging products made from natural and plant-based food-grade materials.
- The bags which come in two forms, soluble and insoluble, can be biologically degraded in 3 months and cause no harm to the environment whatsoever.
- These bags are cost-effective and ocean-safe.
India to achieve 20% ethanol blending goal
- India will achieve the target of 20 percent ethanol blending with petrol by 2023-24.
- This was announced by Union Minister Piyush Goyal in his address at the second valedictory session of Aatmanirbhar Bharat for Renewable Energy Manufacturing on 16 July 2021.
- From an overall renewable energy target of 175 gigawatts (GW) by 2022, India is now looking at 450 GW by 2030.
Tata Power to set up EV charging stations
- Tata Power will set up electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at state-run Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Ltd (HPCL) outlets in cities and on highways.
- This comes in the backdrop of EV prices expected to reach price parity with Internal Combustion Engine (ICE) vehicles before 2025.
- Tata Power has around 500 public chargers in over 100 cities.
Assam Finance Minister presents budget
- In Assam, Finance Minister Ajanta Neog presented a 566.20 crore rupees deficit state budget for the year 2021-22, on 16 July 2021.
- The budget promised to provide 1 lakh rupees each to the next of kin of COVID victims.
- It also proposed to constitute an Agriculture Commission under a scientist of international repute to focus on issues related to agriculture, animal husbandry in Assam.
Aruna Asaf Ali’s birth anniversary
- July 16, 2021, marked the 111th birth anniversary of freedom fighter Aruna Asaf Ali.
- She is widely remembered for hoisting the national flag at the Gowalia Tank Maidan in Bombay during Quit India Movement in 1942.
- She was popularly known as the “Golden Old Lady” of India’s Independence Movement for her bravery.
Indian journalist killed by Taliban
- Indian photojournalist Danish Siddiqui was killed in Afghanistan’s Kandahar province in July’21 while covering the region’s escalating conflict.
- His images of wars, riots, and human suffering won global accolades including the Pulitzer Prize in 2018.
- Siddiqui was the chief photographer for Reuters in India.
- His work spanned the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Rohingya refugee crisis, etc.
Power Minister releases 9th Integrated Ratings
- Power Minister R.K. Singh has released the 9th Integrated Ratings for State Power Distribution Utilities in New Delhi.
- The Annual Integrated Rating exercise covered 41 State Power Distribution Utilities for the rating period 2019-20.
- The Integrated Rating exercise is carried out on an annual basis since 2012 as per the methodology approved by Ministry of Power.
Government issues two gazette notifications
- Government has issued two gazette notifications for the jurisdiction of Krishna and Godavari River Management Boards.
- Jal Shakti Ministry has notified the jurisdiction in terms of administration, regulation, operation, and maintenance of listed projects in both rivers in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.
- This step is expected to ensure judicious utilization of water resources in the two states.
Navy gets two MH-60R Multi-Role Helicopters
- Indian Navy accepted the first two of its MH-60R Multi Role Helicopters (MRH) from the US Navy in a ceremony held at Naval Air Station North Island, San Diego on 16 July 2021.
- MH-60R helicopters manufactured by Lockheed Martin Corporation, USA is an all-weather helicopter designed to support multiple missions.
- Their induction would enhance the Indian Navy’s three dimensional capabilities.
50th anniversary of Vijay Diwas celebrated
- Chinar Corps observed the 50th anniversary of Vijay Diwas on 16 July 2201.
- 50 years ago, on December 16, over 93,000 Pakistani troops under the command of Lieutenant General AAK Niazi raised the white flags and surrendered unconditionally at Dhaka in the presence of commanders of the Indian Army, Navy, and Air Force.
- The year 2021 has been named “Swarnim Vijay Varsh” by the Govt of India.
Indian Grandmasters win in FIDE World Cup
- Indian Grandmasters R Praggnanandhaa and Adhiban Baskaran registered wins in the first game of the two-game mini-match in the second round of the FIDE chess World Cup.
- In the women’s event, Padmini Rout and Sarasadat Khademalsharieh shared honors in the first game of the second-round match.
- D Harika scored a win over Medina Warda Aulia of Indonesia in 48 moves.
World’s biggest floating solar panel farms
- Singapore has unveiled one of the world’s largest floating solar panel farms.
- It spans an area equivalent to 45 football fields and producing enough electricity to power the island’s five water treatment plants.
- The solar farm could help to reduce carbon emissions by about 32 kilotonnes annually.
- It has been built by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries.
Government launches 8 new routes
- Civil Aviation Minister Jyotiraditya Scindia on 16 July 2021 virtually flagged off eight new routes bolstering the aerial connectivity from Madhya Pradesh to Maharashtra and Gujarat.
- Operations will be started in eight new routes including Gwalior-Mumbai-Gwalior, Gwalior-Pune-Gwalior, Jabalpur-Surat-Jabalpur, and Ahmedabad-Gwalior-Ahmedabad route.
MeitY signs MoU with MapmyIndia
- Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY) has enabled map services in UMANG App ‘ through an MoU with MapmyIndia.
- Citizens will be able to find government facilities nearest to their location at the click of a button.
- The UMANG mobile app launched in 2017, is a single, unified, multi-service mobile app, providing access to high-impact services of various organizations.