Current Affairs

4 August, 2021


19-Year Old Pakistan Climber becomes the Youngest to reach the Summit of K2

Shehroze Kashif, a 19-year old from Lahore, Pakistan became the Youngest person in the world to reach the summit of K2 (8,611 metres or 28,251 ft) in Karakoram range on the border of Pakistan and China. In May 2021, Kashif became the Youngest Pakistani to scale Mount Everest (8,849 metres), the highest peak in the world. Pakistan, Nepal, and China are home to the 14 highest peaks in the world, also known as the 8,000ers.

Union Minister Piyush Goyal Addressed 2nd Indo-US Services Summit

The Union Minister of Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal addressed the ‘2nd Indo-US Services Summit’, organised by Indo American Chamber of Commerce (IACC). At the summit, he remarked the 12-fold increase in Services Exports from India to the world over 20 years i.e. from $17 billion in 2001-02 to $205 billion in 2020-21.

Piyush Goyal’s Address:
i.He stated the services trade as an important tool for expanding business ties between India and the US.
ii.He further noted India’s 97 percent recovery of services exports (compared with 2020) and India’s progress to become one of the world’s largest digital markets.
iii.By pointing out the 57 Start-Up Unicorns as an example, he mentioned India’s transition from a ‘low-cost service provider’ to a ‘high value add partner’ and the evolution of back offices in India into brain offices.
iv.The areas where India and the US could cooperate with mutual benefits include Hospitality, Fintech, Agritech, Law, Cybersecurity, Healthcare, tourism, etc.
v.Indo-US combination: He mentioned the combination of the US’s innovation, technology, research & quality education with India’s skilled and intelligent manpower at a competitive cost.
About Ministry of Commerce & Industry:
Union Minister – Piyush Goyal (Constituency – Maharashtra)
Minister of State – Anupriya Singh Patel (Constituency – Mirzapur, Uttar Pradesh), Som Parkash (Constituency – Hoshiarpur, Punjab)


44th Session of WHC: 34 Cultural, Natural sites added to UNESCO Heritage List

The Extended 44th Session of the World Heritage Committee (WHC) was held in Fuzhou, China from July 16-31, 2021. It was organized by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in cooperation with China.

The 44th session was chaired by Tian Xuejun, Vice Minister of Education and Chairperson of the National Commission of China for UNESCO. During the session, 34 properties (29 Cultural & 5 Natural sites) were inscribed on the UNESCO Heritage List. 3 properties were extended. The current session’s inscriptions bring the total number of sites on UNESCO’s World Heritage to 1154. The 45th session of the WHC has been scheduled to take place in Kazan, Russia from June 19-30, 2022, under the Chair of Alexander Kuznetsov.

Indian Sites
i.From India, 2 sites were added to the World Heritage List. They are Kakatiya Rudreshwara (Ramappa) Temple, Telangana (Cultural Site) – India’s 39th World Heritage Site. Dholavira: a Harappan City, Gujarat (Cultural Site) – 40th World Heritage Site.

ii.India now has 40 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (32 Cultural, 7 Natural & 1 Mixed Property). It enters the Super-40 club for World Heritage Site inscriptions. Apart from India, Italy, Spain, Germany, China and France have 40 or more World Heritage Sites.
iii.Maharashtra has the most UNESCO World Heritage Sites (5).

Haryana Police secures 1st Position in India under CCTNS

The Haryana Police with 100 per cent marks, secured the 1st position in India under Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS). Gujarat Police secured the 2nd position, while Himachal Pradesh was placed third.CCTNS was created for a comprehensive and integrated system for effective policing through e-Governance.

Crime and Criminal Tracking Network System (CCTNS)
i.The system was approved by the Cabinet in 2009. An allocation of INR 2000 crores was made for the CCTNS Project.
ii.It is a Mission Mode Project under the National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Government of India and is implemented by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).
About National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB)
It is part of the Ministry of Home Affairs
Director – Ramphal Pawar
Headquarters – New Delhi

112th Annual Day of NCDC celebrated; Presided by Union Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya

The 112th Annual Day celebrations of National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) were held in New Delhi. Its function was presided over by Union Minister Mansukh Laxmanbhai Mandaviya, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).

During the event, he virtually inaugurated the Whole Genome Sequencing National Reference Laboratory for Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) and Biosafety level (BSL) 3 Laboratory along with a PG (Paying Guest) hostel and Guest House.

Other Launches:
i.The Union Minister launched the National Health Adaptation Plan on Air Pollution and National Health Adaptation Plan on Heat along with infographics.
ii.He also launched the first newsletter under the ‘National Programme on Climate Change and Human Health’ developed by Centre of Environmental and Occupational Health, Climate Change and Health at NCDC.
iii.The minister along with Minister of State (MoS) Dr. Bharati Pawar, MoHFW unveiled IEC materials (Print, Audio & Video) on 7 priority zoonotic diseases namely Rabies, Scrub Typhus, Brucellosis, Anthrax, CCHF, Nipah, Kyasanur Forest Disease in India created by ‘National One health Programme for prevention and Control of Zoonoses’ under the Division of Zoonotic Disease Programme at NCDC.


SEBI Ordered Forensic Audit of MSE’s Accounts

SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has ordered a forensic audit into the workings of the Metropolitan Stock Exchange of India (MSEI) Ltd formally known as MCX SX, on allegations of mismanagement and financial irregularities.
A forensic audit will detect any mis-statement in financials, mis-appropriation or diversion of funds.

PhonePe Launched UPI-based AutoPay Functionality for MF SIP Investments

PhonePe launched the UPI based AutoPay functionality for its Mutual Fund (MF) Systematic Investment Plans (SIPs) offerings, became the 1st digital investment platform in India to introduce such a feature. The UPI AutoPay will enable its customers to set up their MF SIPs in 3 steps: Selecting the fund, Entering the monthly SIP investment amount, and Authentication with a UPI PIN to make regular investments. The UPI AutoPay option for SIP is available for all the existing and new investors on the PhonePe app. The UPI AutoPay was made available, even when the PhonePe customers opt for monthly SIPs through any of the MF investment options available on PhonePe
About PhonePe:
The platform has over 307 million registered users.
Establishment – 2015, Flipkart acquired PhonePe in 2016
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
CEO – Sameer Nigam

Rs 24,356 crore of unclaimed deposit lying with SCBs; Performance-based challenge fund of Rs 8,000 cr recommended to States

i.In accordance with the information provided by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), the total amount of unclaimed deposits of Scheduled Commercial Banks (SCBs) was Rs. 24,356 crore, as on July 31, 2020.
ii.The 15th Finance Commission, in its latest report to the Centre, has recommended a performance-based challenge fund of Rs 8,000 crore to 8 states for incubation of new cities.
iii.The amount available for each proposed new city is Rs 1,000 crore and a state can have only one new city under the proposed scheme.
About Ministry of Finance:
Union Minister– Nirmala Sitharaman (Constituency – Karnataka).
Ministers of State– Pankaj Chaudhary, and Dr. Bhagwat Kishanrao Karad

SBI Launches ‘SIM Binding’ Feature in YONO, YONO Lite

State Bank of India (SBI) has launched a ‘SIM Binding’ feature in its digital banking platform YONO (You Only Need One), YONO Lite. The technology allows Only one user per device with a Registered Mobile Number (RMN). It is aimed at protecting customers from various digital frauds. The SIM Binding feature will work with the basic rule of One Mobile Device – One User – One RMN.

i.YONO the integrated digital banking platform of SBI is India’s 1st comprehensive digital service platform.
ii.It was launched on 10th December, 2017 by Former Finance Minister Arun Jaitley.
About State Bank of India (SBI)
Establishment – 1st July 1955
Chairman – Dinesh Kumar Khara
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Tagline – The Banker to Every Indian

Indian Bank Signed MoU with SINE, IIT Bombay for Financing Start-ups

The Indian Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT (Indian Institute of Technology) Bombay to provide a credit facility to the startups and small businesses through its loan product ‘IND Spring Board’.

Background: In October 2020, the Indian Bank launched the ‘IND SpringBoard’ in collaboration with IIT Madras Incubation Cell (IITMIC) to provide a credit facility of Rs 50 crore to start-ups for their working capital requirements. Under the MoU, SINE, IIT Bombay will support the bank by referring the start-ups and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) that are in need of financial assistance (based on their credentials and past experience).

About Indian Bank:
Establishment – 1907
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
MD & CEO – Padmaja Chunduru
Tagline – Your Own Bank


Sri Lanka Cricketer Isuru Udana retires from International Cricket

Sri Lankan All-Rounder Isuru Udana (33) announced his retirement from International cricket. However, Udana will continue playing domestic cricket and will be available for franchise tournaments. Isuru Udana is a left arm bowler. He made his debut in the 2009 T20 World cup held in England. He has played in 21 One Day Internationals (ODIs), 35 Twenty20 Internationals (T20Is) picking up 45 wickets.
About ICC (International Cricket Council)
Chairman – Greg Barclay
Headquarters – Dubai

F1: Esteban Ocon wins Hungarian Grand Prix 2021

Alpine Renault’s Esteban Ocon (France) won the Formula One Hungarian Grand Prix 2021 held at Hungaroring, Budapest, Hungary. It is Esteban Ocon’s maiden F1 victory. Mercedes’ driver Lewis Hamilton (United Kingdom) finished 2nd, while Scuderia Ferrari’s Carlos Sainz Jr (Spain) finished 3rd. Aston Martin Mercedes’ driver Sebastian Vettel (Germany) who finished 2nd in the race was disqualified after the post race inspection which revealed insufficient fuel load. With the 2nd place finish, Lewis Hamilton regained the lead in the F1 2021 Drivers Championship. The F1 Championships are organised by Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA).
About Federation Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA)
President – Jean Todt
Headquarters – Paris, France


India Assumed the UNSC Presidency for August 2021

India, the non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), took over the presidency of the UNSC from France for the month of August 2021. During its presidency, India will be hosting events related to maritime security, peacekeeping, and counter terrorism.

India, the Non-Permanent Member:
i.India’s 8th term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC under the Asia-Pacific category for 2 years (2021-2022) started on January 1, 2021. Click here to know more
ii.The current presidency for August 2021 was India’s 1st presidency as a non-permanent member during its 8th term.
iv.India’s Policy perspective: India plans to focus on issues related to the international community. On August 9, 2021, India will organise a virtual Open Debate for heads of state and government titled ‘Maintenance of international peace and security: Enhancing maritime security — A case for international cooperation’.
Note – Through rotation India will also serve the presidency again in 2022.

About United Nations Security Council (UNSC):
UNSC is the only U.N. body that can make legally binding decisions like imposing sanctions and authorizing the use of force.
Establishment – 1945
Headquarters – New York, United States
Ambassador of India to UN – TS Tirumurti

Govt Appointed Deepak Das as 25th CGA

On August 1, 2021, the Government of India has appointed Deepak Das, the 1986-batch Indian Civil Accounts Service (ICAS) officer as the 25th Controller General of Accounts (CGA) under the Ministry of Finance, Department of Expenditure. He replaced Soma Roy Burman, (the 7th women CAS) who held the position from December 2019. Prior to his appointment as CGA, he was the principal chief controller of accounts in the Central Board of Direct Taxes.

About Deepak Das:
i.During his career as ICAS, he held different positions in Ministries such as Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade & Heavy Industries, Environment & Forest, Commerce & Textile, Agriculture & Farmers Welfare, Science & Technology, Road Transport, Highways, Shipping, Home Affairs, and Central Board of Indirect Taxes & Customs.
ii.He also served as the Director of the Institute of Government Accounts and Finance (INGAF), the training academy of the ICAS.
About Controller General of Accounts (CGA):
CGA is the Principal Accounting Adviser to the Government of India, they will set up and manage a better Management Accounting System. They will prepare the accounts of the Union and State Government, and also control the exchequer and internal audits.

Cyrus Poonawalla to receive Lokmanya Tilak National Award 2021

Dr. Cyrus Poonawalla, Founder and Chairman of the Serum Institute of India (SII), Pune has been selected for Lokmanya Tilak National Award, 2021.
i.Poonawalla will be honoured for his work during the COVID-19 pandemic by manufacturing Covishield vaccine and thereby saving many lives.
ii.Under his leadership, Covishield vaccines were produced on a larger scale at affordable prices in a record period of time.
iii.Currently, SII is the World’s Largest Vaccine Manufacturer by the number of doses produced and sold globally.
Lokmanya Tilak National Award
i.It is awarded annually since 1983 by Lokmanya Tilak Trust. The award is given on August 1st, the death anniversary of Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak. In 2021, due to a pandemic it will be given on August 13.
ii.The award includes a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh and a memento. Several prominent personalities from different walks of life were the recipients of this award.
iii.Lokmanya Tilak National Award-2020 was awarded to Sonam Wangchuk, a renowned Education reformist.
About Serum Institute of India (SII)
CEO – Adar Poonawalla
Headquarters – Pune
About Lokmanya Tilak Trust
President – Deepak Tilak

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