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14 Aug 2020 Current Affairs Headlines and GK Updates

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National Headlines

Swachh Bharat Mission Academy launched by Jal Shakti Minister

The Swachh Bharat Mission Academy has been launched by the Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Shri Gajendra Singh Shekhawat. The SBM academy was launched during the current week-long behaviour change campaign ‘GandagiMukt Bharat’.

The launch of SBM academy is a crucial part of phase 2 of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen). It will ensure behaviour change and promote the capacity building of the key stakeholders such as Swachhagrahis, PRIs members, community-based organizations, NGOs, SHGs etc.

PM Modi launches ‘Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest’ platform

Prime Minister Narendra Modi started Transparent Taxation – Honoring the Honest. He said it will increase the efforts of improving and simplifying India’s tax system. The Prime Minister also revealed the next phase of direct tax reforms pointed at easing compliance and compensating honest taxpayers in a bid to rebuild the Indian economy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the effort is to make the tax system seamless. The Prime Minister said, amidst all the reforms introduced by the Centre, the number of people who have filed income tax returns has increased by about two-and-a-half crores in the last 6-7 years. He, however, stated, it is also true that in a country of 130 crores and it is still very less.

International Headlines

Bangladesh to get 3.1 billion loan package from Japan

Japan has signed its largest-ever loan package worth dollar 3.1 billion for Bangladesh. The embassy of Japan stated that the loan under its Official Development Assistance (ODA) will be given for seven projects of Bangladesh under concessional terms.

The loan will cover the construction of Jamuna railway bridge in parallel to the existing Bangabandhu Bridge, expansion of the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport, Dhaka Mass Rapid Transit Development Projects and Chattogram-Cox’s Bazar Highway improvement project among the seven projects. The loan carries an interest rate of 0.65 per cent with a repayment period of 30 years including an initial 10 years as a grace period.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • Bangladesh Capital: Dhaka
  • Bangladesh Currency: Bangladeshi taka
  • Japan Capital: Tokyo
  • Japan Currency: Japanese yen

Business and Economy

Atal Innovation Mission & Dell Technologies launches “SEP 2.0”

The second version of the Student Entrepreneurship Programme (SEP 2.0) has been rolled out by the Niti Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) in collaboration with Dell Technologies.

The Student Entrepreneurship Programme has been launched for the young innovators of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) as it will enable them to work closely with Dell volunteers.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • Chief Executive Officer of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog: Amitabh Kant.

Reliance Foundation launches “W-GDP Women Connect Challenge”

Reliance Foundation has started the W-GDP Women Connect Challenge across India in association with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP).

This new programme has been started to connect the gender divide as well as the digital divide in India. The Women’s Global Development and Prosperity (W-GDP) Initiative was established by the White House in February 2019.

This is the first whole-of-government approach to women’s economic empowerment by reaching about 50 million women in the developing world by 2025. The initiative focuses on three pillars namely: women prospering in the workforce, women succeeding as entrepreneurs, and women enabled in the economy.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • Founder and Chairperson, Reliance Foundation: Nita M Ambani.
  • Acting Administrator of US Agency for International Development: John Barsa.

RBI announces ‘positive pay’ feature to help avert cheque frauds

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has declared to launch a mechanism of ‘Positive Pay’ feature for all cheques of value Rs 50,000 and above. This feature helps to prevent cheque frauds. The limit of Rs 50,000 will cover around 20 per cent of transactions by volume and 80 per cent by value.

Positive pay is a fraud-prevention system offered by most commercial banks to companies to protect them against forged, altered and affected checks.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikanta Das; Headquarters: Mumbai; Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.

Mergers and Acquisitions

CCI approves formation of joint venture between HAMCL & HL

The proposed combination filed by Keihin Corporation, Nissin Kogyo Co., Ltd., Showa Corporation and Hitachi Automotive Systems, Ltd has received the approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI). The two companies have filed for the formation of a Joint Venture between Honda Motor Co. Limited (HAMCL) and Hitachi Limited (HL).

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • Chairperson of Competition Commission of India: Ashok Kumar Gupta.


Pramod Bhasin becomes new Chairman of ICRIER

Pramod Bhasin has been selected as a new Chairman of the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER). He is currently the vice-chair of the board of governors at ICRIER. He will replace Isher Judge Ahluwalia, who has stepped down due to health reasons.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • Director & Chief Executive of ICRIER: Dr Rajat Kathuria.
  • Headquarters of ICRIER: New Delhi.

PESB selects Soma Mondal as next chairman of SAIL

Soma Mondal has been chosen by the Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) as the next chairman of Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL). She will be taking charge when the present Chairman Anil Chaudhary.

Soma Mondal had taken over as Director (Commercial) of SAIL in September 2018. Prior to this, she was Director (Commercial), NALCO, Bhubaneswar which was history in making as was NALCO’s first-ever female director.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • SAIL Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • SAIL founded: 19 January 1954.

Awards & Rewards

Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation, 2020

A total of 121 Police personnel have been awarded the “Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation” for the year 2020. The award of Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation seeks to encourage high professional standards of investigation of crime and to recognize such Excellence in Investigation by investigating officers.

The list of Police personnel who have received the Union Home Minister’s Medal for Excellence in Investigation, 2020 includes 21 women police officers.

Forbes magazine released “The Highest-Paid Actors Of 2020” list

Forbes magazine has released “The Highest-Paid Actors Of 2020” list. Bollywood actor, Akshay Kumar is the only Indian star to be listed among the top 10 world’s highest-paid actors of 2020.

With total earnings of $48.5 million. Akshay is placed at sixth place in the list. Most of his income came from product endorsements. The list takes into account the earnings between June 1, 2019, and June 1, 2020.

The list has been topped by Wrestler-turned-movie star Dwayne Johnson, for a second straight year, with the total earning of $87.5 million. Dwayne Johnson is also known by his other name The Rock.

Schemes and Committees

LIC starts ‘Special Revival Campaign’ to revive lapsed policies

Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has announced a special scheme to revive lapsed policies named ‘Special Revival Campaign’. This campaign is open from 10 August to 9 October during which customers can revive their individual lapsed policies.

The policies of specific eligible plans can be revived within five years from the date of the first unpaid premium subject to certain terms and conditions.

Useful Notes for all competitive exams: 

  • LIC Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Chairman of LIC: M R Kumar.
  • LIC founded: 1 September 1956.

Dr V K Paul chairs Expert Committee meet on Vaccine Administration

Dr V K Paul, Member Niti Aayog has chaired the meeting of National Expert Group on Vaccine Administration for COVID-19. The committee held a meeting to deliberate on measures to ensure the availability of vaccines as well as its delivery mechanism. It also discussed the mechanisms for the establishment of a digital infrastructure for inventory management.

The V K Paul led committee also deliberated on delivery mechanism of the vaccine including tracking of vaccination process while focusing particularly on last-mile delivery. Broad parameters guiding the selection of COVID-19 vaccine candidates was also a key subject of discussion during the meet.

Other key subjects were procurement mechanisms for COVID-19 vaccine, guiding principles for prioritization of population groups for vaccination, financial resources required for procurement of COVID-19 vaccine and various options of financing the vaccine.


Veteran sports journalist GK Menon passes away

Veteran sports journalist, GK Menon passed away. He worked with the Indian Express and The Times of India and ended his freelance career in the early 1990s. He played cricket at the club level and also was an active member of the Shivaji Park Gymkhana in Dadar, central Mumbai. He was manager of the 1952-53 Bombay University team which won the Rohinton Baria Trophy by beating Delhi in the final at Bengaluru.

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