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Rajiv Gandhi’s birth anniversary: 20 August
- August 20, 2021, marks former PM Rajiv Gandhi’s 77th birth anniversary, also known as Sadbhavna Diwas.
- Rajiv Gandhi remains India’s youngest Prime Minister to date.
- He took charge in 1984 after his mother, then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assassinated by her bodyguards.
- In May 1991, he was assassinated by a Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) suicide bomber.
“Atal Progress-Way” to be included in BMP-I
- The Ministry of National Highways and Road Transport issued approval to include the ambitious Atal Progress-Way project of Madhya Pradesh in Bharat Mala Phase-I (BMP-I).
- Under it, an industrial corridor would be constructed around Gwalior-Chambal 404 km length expressway.
- It would pass through the Bhind and Sheopur districts of Chambal, connecting Jhansi in the east and Kota in the west.
Intel India collaborates with SINE-IIT Bombay
- Intel India announced a collaboration with Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay to launch Plugin Alliance.
- It aims to advance and scale emerging technology solutions, spanning artificial intelligence, machine vision, augmented reality, robotics, cybersecurity, 5G and edge, and mobility and other future emerging technologies to help accelerate digital transformation.
BARC India’s CEO Sunil Lulla quits
- Sunil Lulla has quit as Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of television viewership monitoring agency BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council) India.
- Lulla had joined the firm in October 2019, taking over from Partho Dasgupta, its first CEO.
- BARC India is a Joint Industry Body founded by stakeholder bodies that represent Broadcasters, Advertisers, and Advertising and Media Agencies.
Anirudh Balaji to be new President of IRITA
- Anirudh Balaji has been elected as the new President of the Indo-Russian IT Association (IRITA).
- Balaji is the founder and CEO of Horizon Group.
- IRITA strives towards conducting seminars, exchange programs, creating dialogue and deliberations between the leaders of the IT sectors of the two countries and finding ways to create formidable IT capabilities to serve the global market.
UP govt hikes dearness allowance (DA) to 28%
- The Uttar Pradesh government on 19 August 2021 announced that the dearness allowance (DA) for all its employees would be increased to 28 per cent from earlier 17 per cent.
- The increased DA would come into effect from July 1, 2021.
- The move would benefit at least 15 lakh state government employees in Uttar Pradesh.
- The government has also increased the dearness relief (DR) amount.
Athletics coach OM Nambiar passes away
- Renowned athletics coach OM Nambiar died in Kozhikode in August 2021.
- He served the Indian Air Force for 15 years and retired in 1970 as a sergeant.
- He also nurtured one of India’s greatest track and field stars PT Usha.
- Nambiar was conferred with Dronacharya Award and the year 2021’s Padma Shri award, the nation’s fourth-highest civilian honour.
Collegium recommends nine judges for SC
- The Supreme Court (SC) Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India (CJI) N.V. Ramana has recommended to the government nine names for appointment as apex court judges.
- The Collegium has for the first time, in one single resolution, recommended three women judges.
- It has scripted history by naming Karnataka High Court judge B.V. Nagarathna, who may become India’s first woman CJI.
Cabinet nod for Indo-Swiss medical agreements
- The Cabinet has approved agreements between the Indian Council of Medical Research and Swiss research agencies to promote collaboration on diagnostics and antimicrobial resistance.
- A Memorandum of Understanding was signed with Switzerland’s Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics in February 2021, according to which ICMR is committed to make available funding up to $100,000.
Jorhat jail to be preserved as a heritage site
- Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on 19 August 2021 announced that Jorhat central jail would be preserved as a heritage site.
- During the freedom struggle, prominent freedom fighters such as former President Fakaruddin Ali Ahmed, Gopinath Bordoloi, and Kamakhya Tripathi were imprisoned in this jail.
- Freedom fighters Beja Bauri and Kamala Miri breathed their last inside this jail.
Millets can reduce the risk of heart disease
- The consumption of millets could reduce total cholesterol, triacylglycerols, and BMI, hence reducing the risk of developing cardiovascular (CV) diseases.
- The above finding was the result of a study undertaken by five organizations and led by the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT).
- UN has declared 2023 as the International Year of Millets.
Punjab hike sugarcane SAP by Rs15 per quintal
- Punjab Chief Minister Amarinder Singh on 19 August 2021 approved a Rs 15 per quintal hike in the State Agreed Price (SAP) of all sugarcane varieties for the 2021-22 crushing season.
- With this decision, the SAP of sugarcane has gone up from Rs 310 to Rs 325 for early variety, Rs 300 to Rs 315 for mid-variety, and Rs 295 to Rs 310 per quintal for late-maturing variety.
Neelakurinji flowers blossom after 12 years
- Karnataka’s Mandalapatti hills have been found blossoming with the blue Neelakurinji flowers, which blooms once every 12 years.
- This time over 10 acres of Neelakurinji flowers have covered the Shalom Hills.
- The complete blossoming of these flowers after 12 long years comes after isolated flowering was reported in 2020 from Anakara Mettu Hills of the Western Ghats bordering Tamil Nadu.
First e-vehicle friendly highway
- The Delhi-Chandigarh Highway has become the first e-vehicle friendly highway in the country.
- It now has a network of Solar-based Electric Vehicle Charging stations (SEVCs) set up by Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) under the FAME-1 scheme of the Ministry of Heavy Industries.
- The EV charging station at Karnal lake resort is located at the midpoint of the Delhi-Chandigarh Highway.
DRDO develops Advanced Chaff Technology
- DRDO has developed an Advanced Chaff Technology to safeguard fighter aircraft of the Indian Air Force (IAF) against hostile radar threats.
- Defence Laboratory Jodhpur, a DRDO laboratory developed the advanced Chaff material and chaff cartridge-118/I in collaboration with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL).
- The IAF has started the process of induction of this technology.
LetsTransport appoints Parijat Rathore as CTO
- Logistics tech solution provider LetsTransport has appointed Parijat Rathore as its Chief Technical Officer (CTO).
- He has been previously associated with brands like Flipkart, Rivigo, and Unicommerce, to name a few.
- The startup also plans to hire 50+ people in engineering, data, product, and design in the next 6-8 months.
India ranks second in crypto adoption
- India has been ranked second in terms of crypto adoption only behind Vietnam, a new report by blockchain data platform Chainalysis showed.
- According to the report, which ranked 154 countries, worldwide crypto adoption grew by over 881% in 2020.
- Global adoption has grown by over 2,300% since the third quarter of 2019.
Country’s first smog tower to be inaugurated
- Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal will inaugurate the country’s first smog tower on August 23, 2021, at Baba Kharak Singh Marg, Connaught Place, Delhi.
- The smog tower will clean 1,000 cubic metres of air every second and reduce PM 2.5 and PM 10 levels in Delhi.
- The scientists of the Delhi Pollution Control Committee will accordingly assess the performance of the tower and present a monthly report.
Tamil actor Anandha Kannan passes away
- Tamil actor Anandha Kannan passed away in August 2021.
- He was also a popular TV host.
- He was a part of a science fiction Tamil film Adisaya Ulagam (2012).
- Anandha Kannan was awarded the International Youth Icon at World Universities Tamil Conference in 2013 and the ‘Best Actor’ in Television Actors Guild Award (South India).
- He was also honoured as ‘best host’ for Savaal Singapore.
RBI to put in place a “PRISM”
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is putting in place a Platform for Regulated Entities for Integrated Supervision and Monitoring (PRISM).
- It is a web-based end-to-end workflow automation system, to strengthen compliance by supervised entities (SEs).
- PRISM will have various functionalities with built-in remediation workflows, time tracking, notifications and alerts, etc.
TCS launches Google Cloud Garages
- Tata Consultancy Services Ltd has launched ‘Google Cloud Garages’.
- It will help enterprise customers evaluate cloud solutions, prototype applications, and apply analytics to address business opportunities.
- These new cloud garages, part of TCS’s strategic partnership with Google Cloud, will be launched at its co-innovation and advanced research centres in Amsterdam, New York, and Tokyo.
Nitin Chugh steps down as Ujjivan Bank CEO
- Nitin Chugh has tendered his resignation from the post of Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer at Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.
- He will step down from the office with effect from the close of business hours on September 30, 2021.
- Before coming to Ujjivan Small Finance Bank, Chugh completed an 18-year-long tenure with HDFC Bank as the Group Head for Digital Banking.
Women mountaineering team summits Mt Manirang
- An all-women team of the three armed forces successfully scaled Mt Manirang in Himachal Pradesh on August 15, 2021.
- They unfurled the national flag to celebrate the 75th Independence Day.
- The 15-member expedition was led by Wing Commander Bhavana Mehra of the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- Mt Manirang is one of the highest peaks of Himachal Pradesh.
Ubharte Sitaare Fund to be launched by FM
- Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will launch an ambitious ‘Ubharte Sitaare Fund’ for export-oriented firms and startups on 21 August 2021.
- The fund has been set up by Exim Bank and SIDBI.
- It will be launched in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.
- The fund is expected to identify Indian enterprises with potential advantages by way of technology, products or processes.
Government rolls out Karkhandar scheme
- The J&K Govt has unveiled the Karkhandar scheme for artisans and weavers.
- The scheme will be implemented throughout the UT by the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir/Jammu.
- Under the scheme, the meritorious trainees will be given Rs 2,000 per month as honorarium and the trainer will get Rs 2,000 per month for each trainee plus Rs 25,000 for logistics, raw materials, etc.
Shanti Lal: New MD and CEO of Indian Bank
- The Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has approved the proposal to appoint Shanti Lal Jain as the new MD and CEO of the Indian Bank.
- He is currently the Executive Director of the Bank of Baroda.
- Jain has been assigned his new post for a period of three years with effect “from the date of assumption of office on or after 1 Sept 2021, or until further orders, whichever is earlier”.
World Mosquito Day: 20 August
- Every year, August 20 is observed as World Mosquito Day to raise awareness about the illness and disease caused by mosquitos.
- It marks the day when Sir Ronald Ross discovered the link between female mosquitoes and malaria, which changed the course of medical history.
- In 1897, he discovered that female mosquitoes, namely Anopheles mosquitoes, are responsible for spreading malaria.
Akshay Urja Diwas: 20 August
- India celebrates Akshay Urja Diwas every year on 20 August.
- The day creates awareness about the importance of renewable resources of energy and to commemorate the birth anniversary of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi.
- The day is being observed since 2004.
- The aim is to make people aware of natural sources of energy like hydroelectric power, solar energy, wind energy, and biogas.
China approves three-child policy
- China’s national legislature has formally approved the three-child policy, in a major policy shift aimed to prevent a steep decline in birth rates in the world’s most populous country.
- The revised Population and Family Planning Law, which allows Chinese couples to have three children, was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC).
12 Indian firms in Hurun Global 500 list
- As many as 12 Indian companies found a place among the Hurun Global 500 for 2021 as Wipro Ltd, Asian Paints Ltd made it to the list of 500 most valuable firms in the world.
- Apple retained its position as the world’s most valuable company with a market capitalization of $2.4 trn, up by 15%.
- Reliance Industries Ltd topped the Indian list of companies with a market capitalization of $188 bn.
BPCL launches AI-enabled chatbot Urja
- Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), has launched Urja.
- It is a virtual assistant with AI/NLP (Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Processing) capabilities and trained on more than 600 use cases.
- With the objective of making BPCL’s customer interface comprehensive and integrated digitally, Urja, the Chatbot is now available on the company website for any queries.
Vidyasagar Kanade: Maharashtra Lokayukta
- Justice Vidyasagar M Kanade, former Judge of the Bombay High Court was sworn in as the new Lokayukta of Maharashtra on 19 August 2021.
- Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office.
- Justice Kanade succeeds Justice ML Tahaliyani whose term as Lokayukta ended in August 2020.
- He also served as the Chairperson of the Governing Council of the Government Law College.
India to host the second UNWGIC next year
- India will host the second United Nations World Geospatial Information Congress (UNWGIC) in October 2022, at Hyderabad.
- The theme would be ”Towards Geo-enabling the Global Village.”
- Every four years, the United Nations Committee of Experts on Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM) hosts UNWGIC.
- China in 2018 hosted the UNWGIC for the first time in October.
A third of India’s coastline underwent erosion
- As much as 32 per cent of India’s coastline underwent sea erosion and 27 per cent of it expanded between 1990 and 2018.
- The data was given in a recent technical report by the National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) under the Union Ministry of Earth Sciences.
- The West Bengal coastline has been particularly vulnerable: 60 per cent of the coastline underwent erosion during the period.
MP govt transfers over Rs 23.19 cr to people
- Madhya Pradesh govt has transferred an amount of over Rs 23.19 crore online into the accounts of flood-affected people in districts of Gwalior-Chambal division and Vidisha.
- The state government has so far transferred more than Rs 52 crore into the accounts of the flood-affected families.
- As immediate relief, the affected families have been provided with Rs 6000 and 50 kg of food grains.
Hefazat-e-Islam Junaid Babunagari dies
- The Chief of the hardline Islamist organisation of Bangladesh Hefazat-e-Islam Junaid Babunagari passed away in August 2021.
- He was made the head, known as Amir of Hefazat-e-Islam in 2020 after the death of its chief Ahmad Shafi in 2020.
- He has been accused of large-scale arson and violence in the country during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Bangladesh in March 2021.
IMF suspends Afghanistan’s access to funds
- The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has informed that Afghanistan will no longer be able to access the lender’s resources.
- The move follows the Taliban’s takeover of the country.
- Resources of over $370m from the IMF had been set to arrive on 23 Aug’21.
- Access to the IMF’s reserves in Special Drawing Rights assets, which can be converted to government-backed money, have also been blocked.
IIT Madras, Transport Ministry to collaborate
- IIT Madras will collaborate with Road Transport Ministry on pavement engineering and intelligent transportation systems.
- The research areas include pavement materials, hydrogen cell transportation, automatic vehicle classification, novel toll systems, Fast TAG data analytics, and traffic simulations beside transportation safety among others.
- The Institute will train eight to ten students.
N K Singh was elected as President of IEG Society
- N K Singh has been elected as the President of the Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) Society.
- He was earlier the Chairman of the Fifteenth Finance Commission.
- He succeeds Dr Manmohan Singh, former Prime Minister of the country.
- Tarun Das, former Director-General, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is the current Chairman.
President approves Constitution Act 2021
- President Ramnath Kovind has given his assent to the Constitution (105th Amendment) Act 2021.
- The Act restores the power of state governments to identify and specify Socially and Economically Backward Classes (SEBCs).
- The Constitution (One hundredth and twenty-seventh amendment) Bill 2021 was passed by the Parliament on 11 August 2021.
Apurva Chandra: Secretary in I&B Ministry
- 1988 batch Maharashtra Cadre IAS officer Apurva Chandra has been appointed as Secretary in the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- Currently, Mr. Chandra is serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Labour and Employment.
- Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare was holding the additional charge of the post of Information and Broadcasting Secretary for over a year now.