26th August 2020 Daily GK Update

26th August 2020 Daily GK Update

International News

1. World Health Organization certifies Africa free from wild Polio

  • The Africa Regional Certification Commission (ARCC), an independent body set up by the World Health Organization (WHO), has certified the African continent free from wild Polio virus.
  • The landmark feat related to public health has been achieved by the continent after decades of work along with international health bodies, national and local governments, community volunteers and survivors. According to the previous records, about 75,000 children in Africa were paralysed by polio in year 1996.
  • The last case of Polio was recorded four years ago in the northern Nigeria.
  • In this fight of Africa with the polio virus, the World Health Organization played a central coordinating role within the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, and local leaders working with Unicef, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Rotary International as well as the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Director-general of World Health Organization: Tedros Adhanom.

State News

2. Kerala’s 1st-ever Dragonfly Festival

  • WWF-India Kerala State Office is joining hands with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Thumbipuranam for the first-ever state "Dragonfly Festival" in Kerala, christened ‘Thumbimahotsavam 2020’.
  • This is part of the National Dragonfly Festival organised by WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society and Indian Dragonfly Society in association with National Biodiversity Board, UN Environmental Programme, UN Development Programme and IUCN-CEC.
  • The official mascot of the festival is “Pantalu” which is the genus of dragonfly in the family Libellulidae commonly known as rain pool gliders.
  • A ‘Dragonfly Backyard Watch’ has also been announced to enhance the participation of people and improve their observation skills.
  • A field guide on ‘Common Dragonflies of Kerala’ and a ‘Children’s Dragonfly Coloring & Activity Book’ is also under development.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Kerala Capital: Thiruvananthapuram.
  • Kerala Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan.
  • Kerala Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan.

Banking News

3. NABARD rolls out Debt and Credit Guarantee Product

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development has revealed a dedicated debt and credit guarantee product named as "Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Program for Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFC)-Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs)".
  • The newly launched product seeks to offer undisturbed flow of credit to the last mile in rural areas hit by the pandemic.
  • The Structured Finance and Partial Guarantee Program for NBFC-MFIs includes offering partial guarantee on pooled loans offered to small and mid-sized MFIs.
  • It will help in facilitating Rs 2,500 crore funding in the initial phase which is expected to be scaled up in the future. The program is targeting to cover over 1 million households across 28 States and 650 districts.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development: Govinda Rajulu Chintala.

4. ICICI Bank uses satellite data to assess creditworthiness of farmers

  • ICICI Bank uses satellite data to assess the creditworthiness of farmers.
  • ICICI Bank has become the 1st bank in India to use such a technique to measure an array of parameters related to the land, irrigation and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make quick lending decisions for farmers.
  • The satellite data with demographic and financial details provides strong information on the land asset of the farmers.
  • Usage of this technology will help farmers with existing credit to expand their eligibility and help new-to-credit farmers to get better access to formal credit.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • ICICI Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • ICICI Bank MD & CEO: Sandeep Bakhshi.
  • ICICI Bank Tagline: Hum Hai Na, Khayal Apka.

5. SBI General Insurance launches "Shagun – Gift an insurance" policy

  • SBI General Insurance has launched a first-of-its-kind insurance product called ‘Shagun – Gift an Insurance”, which is a unique gift of Personal Accident policy.
  • The unique feature of this policy is that it can be gifted to anyone, which means it is not necessary for the policy buyer to be related to the insured.
  • A Gift giver (policy buyer) can gift this product to anyone like family, friends, extended family and even domestic helpers, chauffeurs, drivers, cook, etc.
  • Gift Receiver (insured) should be in the age group of 18 years to 65 years. It can be availed for up to 1 Year.
  • Shagun covers personal accident insurance which provides complete financial protection to the insured person against uncertainties such as accidental death and partial or total disabilities, and permanent as well as temporary disabilities resulting from an accident.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • SBI General Insurance Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • SBI General Insurance  MD and CEO: Prakash Chandra(P.C.) Kandpal.


6. Indian Energy Exchange MD & CEO Rajiv Srivastava resigns

  • Indian Energy Exchange (IEX), Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Rajiv Srivastava has resigned form the post.
  • The Board of Directors of Indian Energy Exchange(IEX)  accepted his resignation. He was relieved from his position with immediate effect from 24th August 2020.
  • Satyanarayan Goel, the current non-executive chairman of the board of IEX was given additional charges as the interim MD and CEO of the company.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Energy Exchange MD & CEO: Satyanarayan Goel (Interim).
  • Headquarters of Indian Energy Exchange: New Delhi.
  • Indian Energy Exchange Founded: 27 June 2008

Awards & Rewards

7. Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash bags Gold Medal in MCWC

  • Hyderabad's, Neelakantha Bhanu Prakash Jonnalagadda has bagged the first-ever Gold Medal for India in Mental Calculations World Cup (MCWC) by Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO).
  • He has created a new All-Time Record and has beaten the records of Math Maestros like Shakuntala Devi and Scott Flansburg.
  • Bhanu Prakash had secured the gold medal with a score of 167, Lebanese contender Mohammed El Mir secured the Silver Medal with a score 102 and Asmita Pal from the UAE bagged the Bronze medal with a score of 100 points.

Sports News

8. Indian Table Tennis star Poulomi Ghatak announced retirement

  • Indian Table Tennis star, Poulomi Ghatak has announced retirement.
  • She had represented India at the Commonwealth Games in 2006 and Commonwealth championships between 2000 and 2008.
  • She entered the Olympics in Sydney for the first time when she was 16.

Ranks & Reports

9. Tamil Nadu women top the list of MUDRA loan scheme

  • According to the data provided by Ministry of Finance to Rajya Sabha, Tamil Nadu has topped the list of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY) in availing loans to women.
  • It was followed by West Bengal and Karnataka. According to the data produced by the Ministry of Finance, around 15 crore loans amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crores were disbursed to women borrowers since the inception of Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana.

As of March 31, 2020, Tamil Nadu had availed Rs 58,227 crores. The loans provided by other states are as follows

  • West Bengal: Rs 55,232 crores
  • Karnataka: Rs 47,714 crores
  • Bihar: Rs 44,879
  • Maharashtra: Rs 42,000 crores
  • All the above states have received 52% of MUDRA loans for women. The loans were availed to activities allied to agriculture, services, trading, processing, manufacturing, etc. Of the total number of loans provided under MUDRA scheme, 70% of borrowers were women.


10. Former Congo President Pascal Lissouba passes away

  • Former President of the Republic of Congo, Pascal Lissouba passed away. He became the minister of agriculture in 1960 after Congo became an independent country. He served as the president from 1992 to 1997.
  • He served as the Prime minister under the Presidency of Alphonse Massamba Debat.
  • The high court of Justice in the Republic of Congo sentenced Pascal Lissouba in absentia to 30 years forced labour for treason and corruption in 2001.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • The Republic of Congo President: Denis Sassou Nguesso.
  • The Republic of Congo Prime Minister: ClĂ©ment Mouamba.
  • The Republic of Congo Capital: Brazzaville.

Miscellaneous News

11. Ahmedabad Railway Division launches Baggage Sanitization & Wrapping machine

  • Baggage Sanitization & Wrapping machine has been launched by the Ahmedabad Railway Division at Ahmedabad Railway Station, Gujarat.
  • The machine is a first of its kind across the Indian Railways. The recently launched machine aims to ensure safe travel amid the pandemic. It uses ultraviolet radiation for 360 degree sanitization of the luggage.
  • The Baggage Sanitization & Wrapping machine has been installed in around 69-sq metre space on Ahmedabad Railway Station in order to provide safe journey to the passengers travelling by the Railways amid the pandemic.
  • According to the Ahmedabad Railway Division, the UV rays used by the machine will not have any harmful effects on tiffins, food, vegetables or water kept in the baggage.

12. E-auction portal rolled out to promote trading of ‘Kashmir Saffron’

  • The Agriculture Department of Jammu and Kashmir has set up an e-auction portal to enhance trading of GI-tagged ‘Kashmir Saffron’.
  • The portal has been launched with the primary objective of assuring buyers to have access to quality ‘Kashmir Saffron’.
  • The Departmnent, under the aegis of India International Kashmir Saffron Trading Centre (IIKSTC) has established the portal in partnership with NSE-IT.
  • The Saffron growers of Kashmir valley as well as the buyers across India have been appealed to get themselves registered as sellers and buyers for E- trading on the portal. The portal will ensure free e-Trading between registered growers and buyers.


NITI Aayog releases report on Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020

NITI Aayog has released the report on Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020 in partnership with the Institute of Competitiveness. The report evaluates the export preparedness and performance of Indian states. It aims to identify the challenges and opportunities; improve the effectiveness of government policies; and promote a facilitative regulatory framework. Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu occupied the top three ranks in the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020.

About the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020:

The structure of Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020 comprises of 4 pillars:

  • Policy
  • Business Ecosystem
  • Export Ecosystem
  • Export Performance

The Export Preparedness Index will guide the state governments to benchmark regional performance with respect to export promotion and also provide key policy insights on how to improve and enhance the same.

Some important highlights of the report:

  • Most Indian states performed well on average in the sub-pillars of Exports Diversification, Transport Connectivity, and Infrastructure.
  • Gujarat, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu occupied the top three ranks in the Export Preparedness Index (EPI) 2020.
  • Delhi has performed the best, followed by Goa and Chandigarh among the Union Territories.
  • According to the report, India faces the following three fundamental challenges in the export promotion

i) intra- and inter-regional disparities in export infrastructure
ii) poor trade support and growth orientation among states
iii) poor R&D infrastructure to promote complex and unique exports.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog: Amitabh Kant.

NeGD signs MoU with CSC E-Governance Services India Limited

The National e-Governance Division (NeGD), Ministry of Electronics & IT (MeitY) has partnered with CSC (Common Service Center) e Governance Services India Limited. The partnership aims to enable delivery of UMANG services to citizens through the network of 3.75 lakh CSCs.

The CSC operators Village Level Entrepreneurs (VLEs) will facilitate citizens to use e-Governance services of 140 Departments with the help of UMANG App. This will help those citizens who either do not have access to smartphones or are not comfortable accessing App based e services on their own.

Vinay Tonse becomes new MD and CEO of SBI Mutual Fund

Vinay Tonse has been appointed as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of SBI Mutual Fund (MF). He will replace Ashwani Bhatia, who has been now appointed as the managing director (MD) of State Bank of India.

Tonse joined SBI as a Probationary Officer in 1988 and has worked across different locations in India and abroad. Over his tenure of 32 years with the State Bank of India, he has traversed through various functions and assignments possessing rich experience in several facets of commercial banking such as corporate credit, treasury, retail and international banking.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • SBI Mutual Fund Founded: June 1987.
  • SBI Mutual Fund Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.

James Anderson becomes 1st fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets

England’s James Anderson became the first-ever fast bowler to take 600 wickets in a Test Match Cricket. He achieved this feat against Pakistan when he dismissed Azhar Ali. Overall he is the 4th bowler to take 600 test wickets after 3 spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne, and Anil Kumble.

ISRO signs MoU with VSSUT to set up Incubation Centre

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Veer Surendra Sai University of Technology (VSSUT) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) to set up the first of its kind innovation cum incubation centre, VSSUT Space Innovation Centre (VSSSIC) to promote space research. ISRO and VSSUT will collaborate to develop high-end simulation tools, miniature test facilities like Static test facility and solid propulsion research lab and establishment of testing facilities for the scaled-down model.

Important features of MoU:

  • ISRO will offer technical consultancy support and financial assistance of Rs.50 lakhs for the development of infrastructure of VSSUT.
  • ISRO and VSSUT will collaborate to develop high-end simulation tools, miniature test facilities like Static test facility and solid propulsion research lab and establishment of testing facilities for the scaled-down model.
  • VSSSIC will explore the latest global trends in space technology and will take up related projects that benefit India.
  • ISRO will ease the limited utilisation of rocket launching facilities like Thumba, Sriharikota or Balasore (under Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • These facilities have all kinds of safety systems that are required for the launch of future sounding rockets of VSSSIC.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • ISRO Chairman: K.Sivan.
  • ISRO Headquarters: Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • VSSUT Vice-Chancellor: Atal Chaudhuri.
  • VSSUT Headquarters: Sambalpur, Odisha.

Women’s Equality Day 2020

The 100th anniversary of the Women’s Equality Day is being observed in the United States on August 26,  Women’s Equality Day is now often observed across the world to encourage and spread awareness about women’s empowerment.

History of Women’s Equality Day:

The 19th Amendment to the US Constitution was adopted in 1920.Since then, every US president has issued a proclamation designating August 26 as Women’s Equality Day.

NITI Aayog to launch NDC-TIA India Component

The India Component of the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC)–Transport Initiative for Asia (TIA) will be launched by the NITI Aayog. It will aim to set up a multi-stakeholder dialogue platform in order to decarbonize transport in India. NITI Aayog will be the implementing partner for the India Component of NDC-TIA.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of NITI Aayog: Amitabh Kant.

NHAI develops a “Vendor Performance Evaluation System”

National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) has developed a “Vendor Performance Evaluation System” to create a transparent and comprehensive ‘Performance Rating’ System for its Consultants, Contractors and Concessionaires. NHAI has also commenced the portal based objective assessment of vendors to track the performance of the vendors for various NHAI projects.

The vendors are required to conduct a self-assessment on the portal. They are required to upload the documents pertaining to the project activities being executed by them. NHAI will evaluate this data and generate ratings for the Vendors and will be shared with them. Those vendors who were unable to upload the requisite documents on the portal will not be permitted to participate in the bids of NHAI.

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