Current Affairs

17 December, 2020


India Slips to 131 in Human Development Report 2020 released by UNDP:Norway tops the list

According to the “Human Development Report 2020 – The next frontier:Human Development and the Anthropocene” released by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), India (score of 0.645) was ranked 131 in the list of 189 countries based on Human Development Index (HDI). Norway topped the list with a score of 0.957, the second place was grabbed by 2 countries – Ireland (0.955) and Switzerland (0.955). The report provides HDI ranks for the year 2019.
i.India slipped two spots to 131, it ranked 129 in 2019 HDI.
ii.HDI is measured based on 3 criterias which are – Life Expectancy, Education and Per Capita Income, in the 2020 report ‘Planetary pressures’ a new experimental Index has been introduced.
About United Nations Development Programme (UNDP):
Administrator – Achim Steiner
Headquarters – New York, United States of America (USA)


Bihar’s 1st Migratory Birds Festival held in Bhagalpur, Bihar

Bihar’s 1st Migratory Birds Festival was organized for 3 days from 11th to 13th December, 2020 in Bhagalpur, Bihar.The event will Showcase hundreds of Migratory birds yearly visiting the Bhagalpur region during the winter season.
i.Bird watch at Jagatpur lake, Ganga river course in the Vikramshila Gangetic Dolphin Sanctuary (VGDS), Kadwa Kosi diara, Sundervan region and Jaiprakash Udyan.
ii.Garud Saviors, NCC cadets, college students and various stakeholders pledged to act as watch guard to protect migratory birds.
iii.Photography competition to identify migratory birds.
About Bihar:
Tiger Reserve- Valmiki Tiger Reserve
Bird Sanctuary- kawar Jheel Bird Sanctuary, Baralia Jheel Salim Ali Jubba Sahni Bird Sanctuary, Nakti Dam Bird Sanctuary.

QCI Launched Recognition Scheme for Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies

After the launch of Food Hygiene Rating Scheme (FHRS) by Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), on December 15, 2020, Quality Council of India (QCI) has come out with a Scheme for approval of Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies.
Objective – The scheme aims to allow consumers to make informed choices/decisions pertaining to the food outlets where they eat by encouraging food businesses to improve their hygiene and safety standards.
• The recognised agencies verify compliance with food hygiene and safety procedures laid down by FSSAI.
• This was done on the instruction of FSSAI to scale up Hygiene Rating by increasing the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies.
• Currently, this scheme is applicable for Food service establishments (such as hotels, restaurants, cafeteria, dhabhas, etc), sweet shops, bakeries and meat retail stores.
• The Scheme will scale up Hygiene Rating by increasing the number of recognised Hygiene Rating Audit Agencies in the country.

PM Narendra Modi Visit to Kutch, Gujarat: Foundation Stone Laid for 1st-of-its-kind World’s Largest Renewable Energy Park

i.Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi undertook a visit to Dhordo in Kutch, Gujarat where he virtually laid the Foundation Stone of several development projects in the State viz. world’s largest hybrid renewable energy (RE) park, a desalination plant and a fully automated milk processing and packing plant. These are detailed as below:
ii.The first-of-its-kind world’s largest hybrid RE park, spanning over 72,600 hectares (ha) of waste land with 30,000 megawatt (MW) capacity will be located at Dhordo near the India-Pakistan border in Kutch, Gujarat. This park will use both wind and solar energy.
iii.He also laid the foundation stone for the Desalination Plant in Mandvi along the Arabian Sea coast. It will have a 10 crore litre per day capacity (100 MLD) to strengthen water security in Gujarat.
About Gujarat:
Governor – Acharya Devvrat
Chief Minister – Vijay Rupani
Capital– Gandhinagar


SBI General Insurance Partners with IntrCity RailYatri to Provide Domestic Travel Insurance For Bus Travellers

i.SBI General Insurance Company Limited has partnered with IntrCity RailYatri to provide domestic travel Insurance to bus customers who travel through IntrCity RailYatri.
ii.Under this partnership, the travel premium charges to the domestic bus travellers have been waived off, i.e., every IntrCity SmartBus traveler can avail complementary travel cover of Rs. 5 Lakhs along with the travel ticket.
About IntrCity RailYatri:
It is India’s 1st SmartBus network. It is a multi-modal intercity mobility platform
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Manish Rathi
Head Office– Noida, Uttar Pradesh
About SBI General Insurance Company Limited:
It commenced its operations in 2010 as a Joint Venture(JV) between State Bank of India (SBI) and Insurance Australia Group (IAG). SBI owns 70% of the total capital.
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Promoters– SBI and Premji Invest
MD & CEO– Shri Prakash Chandra(P.C.) Kandpal

SBI Card and BPCL Jointly Launches ‘BPCL SBI Card OCTANE’ for Consumers who Spend Significant Amount on Fueli.

SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited(SBI Card) and Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd(BPCL) jointly launched ‘BPCL SBI Card OCTANE’, a premium co-branded credit card.
ii.The card is designed to offer maximum savings to the affluent customer segment that spends a significant amount on fuel.
About SBI Cards and Payment Services Limited(SBI Card):
Headquarters– Gurgaon, Haryana
Managing Director(MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Ashwini Kumar Tewari
Founded– October 1998
About Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd(BPCL):
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman and Managing Director(CMD)– K. Padmakar

Department of Posts Conducted Meghdoot Award Function 2020 in New Delhi; Launched Digital Payment App “Dakpay”

i.Department of Posts (DoP) conducted Meghdoot Award Function 2020 in the Conference Hall of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) in New Delhi. It was attended by Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad, MoC, and Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY), as the Chief Guest and Sanjay Dhotre, Minister of State (MoS) for MeitY as Guest of Honour.
ii.The General category for Grameen Daksevakwas conferred upon Kirtan Nayak of Odisha Circle while the Best Woman Employee was presented to Rinchen of Himachal Pradesh Circle.
About India Post Payments Bank (IPPB):
Establishment – 2018
Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– J Venkatramu
Motto– Every customer is important, every transaction is significant and every deposit is valuable
Headquarter– New Delhi


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ICG Launches 5th & Final OPV ‘Saksham’ in Goa; to be delivered to ICG by October, 2021

Indian Coast Guard (ICG) launched the 5th & Final Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘Saksham’ into water at Vasco da Gama, Goa. The OPV is being built by Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) and is expected to be delivered to the ICG by October 2021. The ship was launched by Jayanthi Natarajan, wife of K Natarajan, Director General (DG) of Indian Coast Guard.
i.The OPVs are part of the second batch of vessels of Samarth class ordered by the ICG.
ii.It will be used for protection of Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) in India.
iii.It is equipped with features like Quick Response Boats for rescue and anti-piracy, Gunnery simulators.
iv.With computerised control systems, they are the most advanced patrol vessels in service with the Coast Guard.
v.It has an indigenous content of about 70% and weighs 2400 tonnes.
About ICG:
i.It operates under the Ministry of Defence.
ii.It was established on 18th August, 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India

Israel successfully Test fires 3 Missile Defence Systems over Mediterranean Sea

Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) together with United States Missile Defense Agency (MDA) successfully test fired a series of Israel’s 3 multi-range missile defence systems namely – “Arrow”, “David’s Sling” & “Iron Dome” over the Mediterranean Sea. The tests are being conducted amidst heightening tensions between Israel & Iran.
i.The tests showcased the interoperability of the multilayered air-defense mechanisms (Arrow Missile, David’s Sling and Iron Dome).
ii.The drills showcased the capability of the systems to intercept a range of aerial targetsfrom drones to long range ballistic missiles.
iii.“Arrow Missile” – An anti-ballistic missile intercepts long-range missiles, “David’s Sling” – shoots down medium-range missiles, and “Iron Dome” air defence system to engage incoming rocket fire.
About Israel:
Prime Minister- Benjamin Netanyahu
Capital– Jerusalem
Currency– Israeli Shekel

ICGS C-454 commissioned in Hazira Plant, Gujarat; Built by Larsen & Toubro

Indigenously built Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) – C-454 Interceptor boat was commissioned at Hazira, Surat, Gujarat by Surat Police Commissioner Ajay Tomar. The ship has been built by Larsen & Toubro (L&T).
i.The ship will be used for tightening securityalong Gujarat’s maritime borders.
ii.C-454 Interceptor Boat is the 54th boat built by L&T for ICG.
iii.C-454 will operate from Gujarat under the control of Commander Coast Guard Region (North-West) of ICG.
iv.C-454 will be used for patrolling, preventing illicit activities like infiltration, smuggling, and illegal fishing activities along the International borders. It is also capable of operating in shallow waters.
About Indian Coast Guard (ICG):
Director General of ICG (DG ICG) – Krishnaswamy Natarajan
Motto – Vayam Rakshamah (“We Protect”)

Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana Won 2nd Term as the President

Incumbent President of Ghana Nana Akufo-Addo(76 year old) from center-right New Patriotic Party (NPP) won the presidential election with 51.302%(6730587 votes) of the vote. In accordance with the constitution of Ghana, this will be his 2nd and final term as the president of Ghana.
Note: This is Ghana’s 8th presidential election since the constitution of Ghana was redrawn in 1992.
About the 2020 Re-Election:
i.John Dramani Mahama from center-left National Democratic Congress (NDC), the former president of Ghana lost the election receiving 47.359%(6213182 votes) of the vote.
ii.The NPP won 137 out of 225 parliamentary seats and NDC won 136 seats.
iii.The total voter’s turnout was around 79% and the chairperson of the Electoral commission inadvertently rejected the 2.33% ballots and used 13433573 as the total valid votes cast.
About Ghana:
The Republic of Ghana is a West African country.
Capital- Accra
Currency- Ghanaian Cedi

Kylie Jenner tops Forbes 2020 Highest Paid Celebrity List

Famous American Media Personality and founder of Kylie Cosmetics, Kylie Jenner topped the Forbes 2020’s highest paid celebrity list with an earning of USD 590 million in 2020. She was followed by popular American singer Kanye West in the second spot with 170 million.
i.The 23-year-old topped the list after she sold a 51% stake in Kylie Cosmetics for $600 million to Coty.
ii.Due to the impact of COVID-19 Pandemic, the combined earnings of the entertainment industry fell short.
Rank Celebrity Earning (USD in million)
1 Kylie Jenner 590
2 Kanye West 170
3 Roger Federer 106.3
4 Cristiano Ronaldo 105
5 Lionel Messi 104
6 Tyler Perry 97
7 Neymer 95.5
8 Howard Stern 90
9 Lebron James 88.2
10 Dwayne Johnson 87.5

About Forbes:
The 103-year-old, American business magazine which releases a list of the world’s top billionaires every year.
Editor-in-chief – Steve Forbes
Headquarters– New Jersey, United States of America

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