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Important Current Affairs 19th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Microsoft buys AI speech tech company Nuance for $19.7 billion

• Microsoft has made its second-biggest acquisition after LinkedIn. The tech giant has bought AI speech tech firm Nuance for $19.7 billion. The move will help Microsoft’s prowess in voice recognition and will give it a boost in the health care market. Nuance is known for its Dragon software which helps to transcribe speech using deep learning. In 2016, Microsoft had purchased LinkedIn for $26 billion.

• The acquisition will combine solutions and expertise to deliver new cloud and AI capabilities across healthcare and other industries, and represent the latest step in Microsoft’s industry-specific cloud strategy.

• Nuance provides the AI layer at the healthcare point of delivery and is a pioneer in the real-world application of enterprise AI.

• Nuance’s products include multiple clinical speech recognition software as a service (SaaS) offerings built on Microsoft Azure. The firm’s solutions work with core healthcare systems, and are currently used in 77% of U.S. hospitals.

NATIONAL

DRDO to reopen its C-19 Hospital

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will reopen its Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Covid Hospital in Delhi Cantt today. The facility was shut in the first week of February after daily Covid-19 cases came down. The 1,000-bed DRDO medical facility got 250 additional ICU beds last November to provide treatment to patients.

• This took the total number of ICU beds at the hospital to 500. The hospital was built by DRDO in record time of 12 days with assistance from the armed forces, ministry of home affairs, ministry of health and family welfare and Tata Trust. The facility became operational in July last year. 

RT-PCR test mandatory for kumbh returnees: State Government

• The Odisha government has made the RT-PCR test mandatory for people who had travelled to Haridwar for the Kumbh Mela earlier this month. It also said that all Kumbh Mela returnees will have to follow a 14-day quarantine period.

• Special Relief Commissioner (SRC) PK Jena has shared the list of persons who had registered with the Uttarakhand government to participate in the event, with all district collectors and municipal commissioners and asked them to contact all these persons and find out their location and travel plans.

First ever online exhibition on Ramayana

• Tourism and Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has inaugurated the first-ever online exhibition on Ramayana. The weblink for the online exhibition is www.nmvirtual.in/Virtual_Tour/Ramayan. Mr Patel addressed a webinar 'India's Heritage: Powering Tourism' on the occasion of World Heritage Day 2021 yesterday.

• The online exhibition showcases forty nine miniature paintings collections of National Museum, New Delhi from different art schools of India.

Railway to run "Oxygen Express" trains

• The Railways will run ‘Oxygen Express’ trains over the next few days to transport liquid medical oxygen and oxygen cylinders across the country.

• Amid spiralling coronavirus cases in the country, the demand for medical oxygen in the country has gone through the roof.

• Empty tankers will begin their journey from Kalamboli and Boisar railway stations in and near Mumbai on Monday to load liquid medical oxygen from Vizag, Jamshedpur, Rourkela and Bokaro.

SPORTS

Asian Weightlifting Championships: India's Mirabai chanu creates world record

• India's Mirabai Chanu set a new World Record in the women's 49kg Clean and Jerk with an impressive 119 kg lift at Asian Weightlifting Championships in Tashkent yesterday. The 26-year-old lifted 86kg in snatch and a world record of 119kg in clean and jerk for a total of 205kg which also won her the bronze medal at the event.

• The gold medal went to Hou Zhihui of China who created a new world record in snatch and total weight with an effort of 213kg while her compatriot Jiang Huihua clinched the silver, lifting 207kg  in the gold level Olympic qualifier.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

NASA Awards $2.9 billion contract to SpaceX

• The United States space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has picked Elon Musk’s SpaceX for its Artemis programme, to develop the first commercial lander and take the next two US astronauts to the moon. The total value of this contract is $2.89 billion.

• SpaceX will develop a spacecraft ‘SpaceX Starship’ to land next to two US astronauts, including a women astronaut at the lunar south pole region, by 2024.

• NASA also aims to bring the first person of colour to the moon’s surface as part of the Artemis programme.

• Between 1969 and 1972, the US brought 12 astronauts to the moon.

OBITUARY

Former Indian Footballer Ahmed Hussain Passes Away

• Former India’s International Football defender, Ahmed Hussain Lala has passed away due to C-19. He represented India in the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, where India finished fourth. Besides, he was also part of the Indian team that won the gold medal in the 1951 Asian Games.

• Ahmed also took part in the 1958 Asian Games in Tokyo, Japan, in which India finished fourth. In Club Football, Ahmed played for Hyderabad City Police, Mohun Bagan and Mohammedan Sporting Club. In his career, he had won two Santosh Trophy, three Durand Cups and six Rovers Cups.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Liver Day observed every year on 19 April

• World Liver day is observed on the 19 April every year to spread awareness about the second largest organ in the body. The liver is the second largest and the most complex organ in the body, with the exception of the brain.

• Liver diseases can be caused by hepatitis A, B, C, alcohol and drugs. Viral Hepatitis occurs due to consumption of contaminated food and water, unsafe sexual practices and drug abuse.

World Heritage Day observed every year on 18 April

• World Heritage Day observed globally on 18 April every year. The day is observed to raise awareness about the cultural heritage that we see around us. It is also aimed at promoting historical monuments and sites through which we can actually preserve the cultural integrity of a community as well.

• This year’s theme “Complex Pasts: Diverse Futures” reflects on the need to acknowledge global calls for greater inclusion and recognition of diversity.

• The International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) in 1982 announced, 18 April as the World Heritage Day. This was approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983, with an aim of enhancing awareness about the importance of cultural heritage, monuments and conserving them.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Rating Agencies downgrade India’s GDP forecasts for financial year 2022

• With the resurgence of C-19 cases posing risks to economic recovery, the leading brokerages have downgraded India’s GDP growth projections for the current fiscal year 2021-22. Current fiscal year to as low as 10 per cent on local lockdowns threatening fragile recovery.

• In the C-19 ravaged 2020-21 fiscal (April 2020 to March 2021), the economy is projected to have contracted by up to 8 per cent. The low base of FY’21 was seen aiding a double-digit growth rate in the current fiscal before moderating to 6.8 per cent in FY’23.

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Important Current Affairs 18th April 2021

NATIONAL

Tap water connection by 2022 in Madhya Pradesh

• Madhya Pradesh presented their Annual Action Plan (AAP)under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM)today via video conferencing setting out the State’s action plan to provide tap water connections to rural households in 2021-22 as well as the saturation plan, so that every rural home of the State gets tap water supply in a time-bound manner. Madhya Pradesh is likely to get about Rs 3,000 Crore Central fund in 2021-22. Considering this quantum jump of allocation of almost 2.5 times of previous year, the State has to make provision for matching State share and prepare a realistic expenditure plan for effective utilization funds.

• A month-long planning exerciseis currently underway which involves two States/ UTs presenting their AAP dailyto a committee chaired by Secretary, Department of drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shaktiand members from different Central Ministries/ Departments and NITI Aayog. The committee jointly reviews the proposed Annual Action Plan (AAP) before finalizing the same. Thereafter, fund is released in tranches throughout the year and regular field visits, review meetings are held to ensure implementation of the AAP to achieve the goal of Jal Jeevan Mission.

• Madhya Pradesh has 1.23 Crore rural households, out of which 37.69 lakh (31%) have tap water supply in their homes. In 2020-21, Madhya Pradesh has provided 19.89 lakh tap water connections and has been one of the top performers in the country under Jal Jeevan Mission. In 2021-22, the State has planned for saturation of 7 districts and 22 lakh new tap water connections.

Manipur presented its annual Action Plan

• State of Manipur presented its Annual Action Plan under Jal Jeevan Mission today via video conferencing before the committee of the Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation, Ministry of Jal Shakti, with members from different Central Ministries/ Departments and NITI Aayog.

• Manipur has around 4.51 lakh rural households, out of which 2.27 lakh households have tap water supply, as on 31st March 2021. 1.96 lakh new tap water connections were provided in 2020-21 despite Covid- 19 pandemic. The State has planned for 100% saturation by 2021-22 under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) by providing tap water connections to remaining 2.25 lakh households.

8th Indo-Kyrgyz Special Forces Exercise ‘Khanjar’ Flags off

• The 8th Indo-Kyrgyz Joint Special Forces Exercise “Khanjar” was inaugurated at the Special Forces Brigade of National Guards of the Kyrgyz Republic in Bishkek, the capital of the host Kyrgyzstan. Initiated first in 2011, the two-week-long special operations exercise focusses on high-altitude warfare, mountain warfare and counter-extremism exercises.

• The Indian contingent for the exercise and felicitated their role as a bridge in promoting the shared mountain and nomadic heritage of both nations. A ceremonial parade graced the occasion along with a display of equipment’s and weapons and a visit to the training arena and barracks.

SPORTS

BCCI agrees to issue visas to Pakistan team

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has got the approval for visas for the Pakistan cricket team as well as the touring media for the upcoming T20 World Cup that is scheduled to begin in India in October this year. It was announced at BCCI's Apex Council meeting yesterday.

• The BCCI has informed the apex council that the Indian government has agreed to issue visas to the Pakistan cricketers and the touring media for the T20 World Cup.

• While the details are still being worked out, the apex council members were informed that the Board has received a nod from the government over the visas, even though a call on the fans will be taken by the ministry in due course. However, this wouldn't yet break the deadlock between the Indian and Pakistan cricket boards.

• The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) chairman Ehsan Mani had earlier said that they are looking for visas for not just the players and the media but also for their fans. A failure on that count from the Indian board will push them into asking the International Cricket Council (ICC) to host the tournament in UAE.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

NASA to launch SpaceX Crew 2 on April 22

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is set to launch four astronauts to the International Space Station on World Earth Day (April 22). NASA is to launch the mission along with SpaceX. It is the second crewed operational flight of Crew Dragon Spacecraft.

• The mission will transport four scientists to the International Space Station. The astronauts to travel to the International Space Station are from NASA, JAXA and ESA. JAXA is the Japanese Space Agency and ESA is European Space Agency.

• Crew Dragon was the first space vehicle to launch humans from American soil in nine years. It was first launched in May 2020.

• It was funded through NASA’s Commercial Crew Programme. It evolved from an earlier design called Dragon 1.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Lifetime Achievement Award received by Director Roberto Benigni

• Director Roberto Benigni will be receiving the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement at the 78th Venice International Film Festival, which runs from September 1 to 11. The organisers confirmed the news about the two-time Oscar-winning actor-director.

• The filmmaker had starred in and directed the holocaust comedy-drama film Life Is Beautiful (1997), for which he received the Academy Awards for Best Actor (the first for a non-English speaking male performance) and Best International Feature Film. He was last seen in Matteo Garrone’s live-action Pinocchio, for which he won a David di Donatello Award.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Modi Ji released 4 books related to Babasaheb Ambedkar

• PM Narendra Modi has paid tribute to India’s first law minister and the architect of the Indian Constitution Babasaheb Bhimrao Ambedkar on his birth anniversary and released four books based on his life. PM Modi has addressed the 95th Annual Meet and National Seminar of Vice-Chancellors of the Association of Indian Universities via video conferencing and launched four books related to Dr BR Ambedkar, written by Kishor Makwana.

Suresh Raina’s memoir ‘Believe’ to release in May 2021

• A book titled ‘Believe – What Life and Cricket Taught Me’, the much-awaited Suresh Raina autobiography is set to hit the bookstands in May 2021. The book is Co-authored by Raina and sports author Bharat Sundaresan, the biography will be published by the prestigious publishing house, Penguin India.

• The book expected to follow Raina’s lightning-fast rise in the Indian cricket team and the hardships that he encountered on the way to becoming a record-breaking batsman. The book should also help unwind the story of Raina’s early days as a budding cricketer in UP.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

RBL Bank and Mastercard have announced their partnership

• RBL Bank and Mastercard have announced their partnership to launch a mobile-based consumer-friendly payment solution ‘Pay by Bank App’, a first-of-its-kind payment functionality in India. RBL Bank account holders can now enjoy contactless transactions across the world through their mobile banking application both in-store and online. This functionality will be available at all Mastercard accepting merchants, worldwide that accept contactless and online payments.

• To provide enhanced security, ‘Pay by Bank App’ ensures that Bank customer’s payment credentials are never exposed to the merchant, making the transaction completely secure.

• Customers will continue to receive the Mastercard consumer protection benefits that they currently enjoy on their debit cards.

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Important Current Affairs 17th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

US President Biden announced complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan by September

• US President Joe Biden has announced that all American troops would be withdrawn from Afghanistan by September 11 this year, thus bringing to end the country’s longest war. US troops, as well as forces deployed by our NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) Allies and operational partners, will be out of Afghanistan before the 20th anniversary of that heinous attack on September 11 (2001).

• Biden and his team are refining national strategy to monitor and disrupt significant terrorist threats not only in Afghanistan, but anywhere they may arise — Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and elsewhere.

• Before making the announcement, Biden had spoken with former US presidents Barack Obama and George Bush.

• The US and the Taliban signed a landmark deal in Doha on February 29, 2020, to bring lasting peace in war-torn Afghanistan and allow US troops to return home from America’s longest war.

NATIONAL

‘Aahaar Kranti’ mission launched by Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan

• Union Health Minister, Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched Aahaar Kranti, a mission dedicated to spreading awareness about nutrition. It is designed to address the peculiar problem of hunger and diseases in abundance, being faced by India and the world. Studies show that India produces as much as two times the amount of calories it consumes.

• However, many in the country are still malnourished. The root cause of this strange phenomenon is a lack of nutritional awareness. Keeping this in mind, Aahaar Kranti has been launched with the motto of Uttam Aahaar- Uttam Vichaar or Good Diet-Good Cognition.

• The movement proposes to address the problem by working to rouse the people to the values and richness of India’s traditional diet, to the healing powers of local fruits and vegetables and to the miracles of a balanced diet. Vijnana Bharati, Global Indian Scientists and Technocrats Forum, Vigyan Prasar, and Pravasi Bharatiya Academic and Scientific Sampark have come together to launch this mission.

OBITUARY

Former election commissioner G.V.G. Krishnamurthy passed away

• Former election commissioner, GVG Krishnamurty passed away due to age-related ailments.

• An Indian Legal Service officer, Krishnamurty became the election commissioner in October 1993 to September 1996.

Former CBI Chief Ranjit Sinha passed away

• Former Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) Director Ranjit Sinha has passed away. He was a 1974-batch IPS officer of the Bihar cadre, who served as CBI Director from 3 December 2012 to 2 December 2014.

• Prior to being appointed as CBI Director, Sinha had headed Director General of Indo-Tibetan Border Police (ITBP) force, the Railway Protection Force and several other senior positions in the CBI in Patna and Delhi.

Renowned Radiologist Dr. Kakarla Subba Rao Passed Away

• Renowned radiologist, Dr Kakarla Subba Rao, who served as the first director of Nizam’s Institute of Medical Sciences (NIMS), Hyderabad, has passed away.

• Rao was conferred Padma Shri in 2000, by the Government of India for his contributions to the field of medicine. He was the founder president of the Telugu Association of North America (TANA), an umbrella organisation for Telugu speaking people in the United States.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Hemophilia Day observed globally: 17 April

• World Hemophilia Day observed globally on 17 April every year. This day is observed to raise awareness for hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. The date was chosen in honour of the World Federation of Hemophilia founder Frank Schnabel birthday. This year is the 30th edition of World Haemophilia Day.

• The theme for 2021 World Hemophilia Day is “Adapting to Change: Sustaining care in a new world”. The day is being held since 1989, which marks the birthday of Frank Schnabel, founder of the World Federation of Hemophilia.

• It is a rare disorder in which your blood doesn’t clot normally because it lacks sufficient blood-clotting proteins /factors. If you have hemophilia, you may bleed for a longer time after an injury than you would if your blood clotted normally.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Marathi film “Puglya” wins Best Foreign Feature at Moscow International Film Festival 2021

• The Marathi film “Puglya” has won the Best Foreign Language Feature award at Moscow International Film Festival, 2021. The film Puglya has been directed and produced by Vinod Sam Peter under the banner Abraham Films.

• So far, this film has won over 45 awards and recognitions at various international film festivals. The film is yet to be released in India. The film revolves around a pug and two boys, who are around 10 years old.

Wisden Almanack’s 2021 edition announced

• To perpetuate the 50th anniversary of the first One-Day International, five ODI cricketers of the decade have been listed in Wisden Almanack’s 2021 edition. One cricketer has been selected from each decade between 1971 and 2021, with the Indian captain been granted the award for the 2010s.

• India captain Virat Kohli Wisden Almanack’s ODI player of the 2010s.

• Sachin Tendulkar is the ODI Cricketer of the 1990s.

• Kapil Dev was named as the ODI Cricketer for the 1980s.

• England all-rounder Ben Stokes is ‘Leading Cricketer of the Year’.

• Australia’s Beth Mooney is ‘Leading Women’s Cricketer in the World’.

• West Indies all-rounder Kieron Pollard was adjudged the ‘Leading T20 Cricketer in the World’.

• Meanwhile, Jason Holder, Mohammed Rizwan, Dom Sibley, Zak Crawley, and Darren Stevens have been awarded the Wisden Cricketers of the Year 2021.

RANKING

Inclusive Internet Index 2021: India has been ranked at 49th spot globally

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU), in partnership with Facebook, has released the Inclusive Internet Index 2021. India has been ranked at 49th spot globally. It shares its rank with Thailand. This index measures the extent to which the internet is available and affordable by region, and highlights additional insight into how people around the world are using the web.

Top 5 Countries:

1. Sweden

2. United States

3. Spain

4. Australia

5. Hong Kong

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Punjab National Bank launched digital initiative PNB@Ease

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) has launched a digital initiative “PNB@Ease” under which every transaction undertaken by a bank branch will be initiated and authorised by customers themselves. This facility will enable the customers to avail all banking services under one roof.

• On its 127th foundation day, PNB announced other digital initiatives such as the instant opening of online saving accounts via video-KYC, insta pre-approved loan, insta Demat account and insurance facility through internet and mobile banking services. PNB’s 127th Foundation Day celebrated on Apr 12, 2021.

• This facility will enable the customers to avail all banking services under one roof, he said, adding, PNB@Ease outlets would boost the bank’s distribution capability and lower the cost of customer acquisition.

• The service can range from savings accounts opening to availing various loans and more, without visiting a branch or help from the bank employees.

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Important Current Affairs 16th April 2021

NATIONAL

Government to set up oxygen plant under PM-CARES

• With hundreds of C-19 patients gasping for breath due to shortage of medical oxygen at hospitals across states, the central government on Thursday formulated a plan under which the PM-Cares Fund would be used to set up medical oxygen manufacturing units at 100 hospitals so that they become self-reliant.

• Medical oxygen is a critical component in the treatment of C-19 patients.

• The decision was taken at a meeting of the central 'Empowered Group-2' on C-19. During the meeting, the group took three key decisions to create short and long-term availability of medical oxygen in the country.

First woman mayor of Bathinda municipal corporation

• Raman Goyal was unanimously appointed as mayor of Bathinda city, Thursday. She is the first woman mayor to head the Bathinda Municipal Corporation. While Ashok Pradhan was appointed senior deputy mayor, Master Harmandar Singh Sidhu’s name was unanimously agreed to for the post of deputy mayor of Bathinda city.

• Punjab Finance Minister Manpreet Badal said that new development projects would be undertaken for Bathinda city in coming days under the leadership of Raman Goyal.

• In the recently held civic polls, Congress had won 43 out of 50 wards in Bathinda Municipal Corporation.

“Online Grievance Management Portal” launched

• Union Minister for Communication & IT and Law & Justice Ravi Shankar Prasad launched the “Online Grievance Management Portal of National Commission for Scheduled Castes (NCSC)”.

• NCSC Grievance Management portal would make it easier for Scheduled Castes population of our country to register their complaint from any part of the country.

• The portal shall enable them to file their application and other atrocity and services related grievances online and to get them addressed in a time bound manner.

• NCSC aims to streamline the grievance redressal specially of the Scheduled Caste population through this portal.

• The portal designed in collaboration with the Bhaskaracharya Institute for Space Applications and Geoinformatics (BISAG-N), a Centre of Excellence under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, Government of India will facilitate an end-to-end e-filing of complaints and grievances and their tracking.

• Finally, it is intended to make the hearing process work on similar lines as e-courts.

• This portal is linked to the Commission’s website and one can file one’s complaint upon registering on it.

• The facility to upload documents and audio/video files is also available. This would supplement the physical submission of complaints and grievances.

Mental-Health Digital Platform MANAS Launched

• The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India virtually launched the “MANAS” App to promote wellbeing across age groups.

• MANAS stands for Mental Health and Normalcy Augmentation System.

• MANAS is a comprehensive, scalable, and national digital wellbeing platform and an app developed to augment mental well-being of Indian citizens.

• The App integrates the health and wellness efforts of various government ministries, scientifically validated indigenous tools with gamified interfaces developed/researched by various national bodies and research institutions.

• It was initiated by the Office of the Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government of India.

• It was jointly executed by NIMHANS Bengaluru, AFMC Pune and C-DAC Bengaluru.

• The app must be integrated with the public health schemes like the National Health Mission, Poshan Abhiyan, e-Sanjeevani and others so that it is used widely.

• Catering to the overall wellbeing of people of all age groups, the initial version of MANAS focuses on promoting positive mental health in the age group of 15-35 years.

Union Minister for Commerce and Industry Launched “e-SANTA”, an Electronic Marketplace For Aqua Farmers

• Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal has inaugurated e-SANTA, an electronic marketplace, to provide a platform for connecting aqua farmers and buyers. e-SANTA aims to raise income, lifestyle, self-reliance, quality levels, traceability, of aqua farmers.

• e-SANTA stands for Electronic Solution for Augmenting NaCSA farmers’ Trade-in Aquaculture.

• Here, the term National Centre for Sustainable Aquaculture (NaCSA) is an extension arm of the Marine Products Export Development Authority.

• It will act as an alternative marketing tool between farmers & buyers by eliminating middlemen.

• The platform will help the farmers to get a better price and the exporters to directly purchase quality products from the farmers and enhancing traceability.

• e-SANTA Portal can be accessed through the following link: https://esanta.gov.in/

NITI Aayog launched ‘Poshan Gyan’, a digital repository on health, nutrition

• NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Centre for Social and Behaviour Change, Ashoka University launched called “Poshan Gyan”, a national digital repository on health and nutrition. The website can be accessed through eh following link: https://poshangyan.niti.gov.in/

• The unique feature of the repository is that it has a crowdsourcing feature that allows anyone to submit communication material for inclusion on the website, followed by a review by a designated committee.

• Poshan Gyan repository enables the search of communication materials on 14 thematic areas of health and nutrition across diverse languages, media types, target audiences and sources.

• Content for the repository has been sourced from the Ministries of Health and Family Welfare and Women and Child Development and developmental organizations.

• The website provides an intuitive interface that means multi-parametric search, multiple downloads at a point in time, easy sharing of materials via social media and easy viewing on any type of smartphone.

• The portal will have a dedicated “Theme of the Month” in line with MoHFW and MoWCD guidelines to promote key topics.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Indian space agency, ISRO has signed an agreement

• The Indian space agency, ISRO has signed an agreement with the space agency of France CNES for cooperation in its first human space mission, Gaganyaan. CNES will train Indian flight physicians and CAPCOM mission control teams at French facilities. The Gaganyaan orbital spacecraft project was kicked off in August 2018. It originally intended to send astronauts from Indian soil to mark the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022.

• CNES will provide equipment developed by it, tested and still operating aboard the International Space Station (ISS) to Indian crews.

• It will also supply fireproof carry bags made in France to shield equipment from shocks and radiation.

• The agreement provides for the CNES to support the implementation of a scientific experiment plan on validation missions, exchange information on food packaging and the nutrition programme, and above all the use by Indian astronauts of French equipment, consumables and medical instruments.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Amazon launched $250-million Venture Fund for Digitizing SMEs in India

• The e-commerce giant Amazon has launched a $250 million (Rs 1,873 crore) venture fund called “Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund”, to invest in Indian startups and entrepreneurs, with a focus on digitizing SMEs. The launch of the Amazon Smbhav Venture Fund aims to attract the best ideas and empower entrepreneurs in the country to partner in this vision.

• Digitisation of small and medium businesses (SME) in India

• Drive innovation in Agri-tech innovations to empower farmer productivity and reach

• Drive innovation in Health-tech to provide universal and quality health care

• As a part of its first investment through the ‘Smbhav’ fund, Amazon invested in Gurugram-based M1xchange which connects SMEs with banks and financiers.

Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be set up a new Regulations Review Authority

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be set up a new Regulations Review Authority (RRA 2.0) from May 1, 2021, to review the regulations, circulars, reporting systems and compliance procedures of the central bank for streamlining them and making them more effective. The RRA will be set up for a period of one year unless the timeline is extended by the RBI.

• M Rajeshwar Rao, Deputy Governor, RBI will be the head of the Regulations Review Authority.

• RRA will be tasked with making regulatory and supervisory instructions more effective by removing redundancies and duplications if any.

• It must be noted that prior to this, a similar RRA was set up by RBI on April 1, 1999, for a period of one year to review the regulations, circulars, reporting systems, based on the feedback from the public, banks, and financial institutions.

Ashok Leyland incorporates new unit for freight business

• Commercial vehicles maker Ashok Leyland on Thursday said it along with Hinduja Leyland Finance has incorporated a company to take care of the freight mobility business.

• The company and its subsidiary Hinduja Leyland Finance Ltd have jointly incorporated a firm in the name of 'Gro Digital Platforms Limited' on April 14, 2021, Ashok Leyland said in a regulatory filing.

• "'Gro Digital Platforms Ltd (GDPL) is incorporated to carry on the business of freight mobility and associated services relating to fleet-owners," it added.

• The firm, with its registered office in Chennai, is yet to commence operations, Ashok Leyland added.

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Important Current Affairs 15th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

3400-year-old ‘Lost golden city of Luxor’ discovered by archaeologists in Egypt

• ‘Lost golden city of Luxor’ discovered by archaeologists in Egypt. The 3400-year-old royal city was built by Amenhotep III, abandoned by his heretic son, Akhenaten, and contains stunningly preserved remains.

• Egyptologist Betsy Bryan has called the discovery ‘the second most important one since the tomb of Tutankhamun’. Akhenaten, who left the ‘golden city’ for a new capital at Amarna, encouraged a startlingly different style of Egyptian art. Here he is shown with his wife, Nefertiti, and three daughters.

NATIONAL

Defence Minister inaugurated IAF Commanders’ Conference 2021 in New Delhi

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated the First bi-annual Indian Air Force, IAF Commanders’ Conference 2021 at Air Headquarters Vayu Bhawan in New Delhi. The conference is attended by the Air Officers Commanding-in-Chief of all Commands of IAF, all Principal Staff Officers and all Director Generals posted at Air Headquarters.

• The conference of apex level leadership is aimed at addressing the issues of IAF’s operational capabilities in the times to come.

• A series of discussions would be conducted over a period of three days to address strategies and policies related to capabilities that would give IAF a significant edge over its adversaries.

• Various welfare and Human Resource measures to improve HR and administrative efficiency will also be discussed. The Conference provides a forum to the senior leadership of the IAF to discuss critical issues pertaining to Operations, Maintenance and Administration.

“To Honour” BR Ambedkar, Indian-American Congressman Introduces Resolution

• In the US House of Representatives, an Indian-American Congressman has introduced a resolution for a second consecutive year to honour Bhimrao Ambedkar, the architect of India’s Constitution on his 130th birth anniversary.

• Indian-American Democratic Congressman Ro Khanna said “Today, I’m reintroducing my resolution to honour B R Ambedkar, in the hopes that young leaders around the world will read his work and be inspired by his vision for equalitu.”

Maharashtra gets India’s first Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU)

• First Floating Storage and Regasification Unit (FSRU) of India has arrived at H-Energy’s Jaigarh Terminal in the Ratnagiri district of Maharashtra, on the west coast of India. FSRU based LNG Terminals aim at providing the ability to enhance the pace of natural gas import capability in an environment-friendly and efficient manner”. The port is the first deepwater, 24×7 operational private port in Maharashtra.

• Höegh Giant will deliver regasified LNG to the 56-km long Jaigarh-Dabhol natural gas pipeline, connecting the LNG terminal to the national gas grid. The facility will also deliver LNG through truck loading facilities for onshore distribution, the facility is also capable to reload LNG onto small-scale LNG vessels for bunkering services.

SPORTS

Babar Azam becames No. 1 ODI batsman

• Pakistan captain Babar Azam is now the No.1-ranked ODI batsman, ending India captain Virat Kohli's long reign at the top of the charts. Babar's match-winning 82-ball 94 in the third ODI against South Africa helped him gain 13 rating points to reach career-best 865 points.

• Azam made a total of 228 runs in Pakistan's famous series win against South Africa, including a century in the first match in Centurion. That helped him move ahead of Kohli - who has been No. 1 since displacing AB de Villiers in October 2017 - by a point, but he dropped to 852 after his score of 31 in the second ODI and remained at No. 2 by the time of the last weekly rankings update.

Kane Williamson awarded Sir Richard Hadlee medal

• New Zealand star cricketer Kane Williamson was recently awarded the Sir Richard Hadlee medal. It was his 4th Sir Richard Hadlee award in 6 years. He had a great test season. He scored 251 against West Indies followed by a century on the boxing day. Williamson’s staggering performance against Pakistan helped New Zealand book a place in the ICC World Test Championship final. He captained the team to 17 wins out of 20 resulting in victory in all 7 series.

• On the other hand, the Women’s team all-rounder Amelia Kerr was also honoured along with the upcoming star Devon Conway at the New Zealand Cricket Awards for the 2020-21 season. Meanwhile, Devon Conway was awarded the Men’s Player of the year award in both ODIs and T20s.

• Whereas the 21-year old Fin Allen was honoured with the Super Smash player of the year award for his staggering strike rate of 193.

Bhuvneshwar Kumar has won the ICC Player of the Month award

• India seamer Bhuvneshwar Kumar has won the ICC Player of the Month award for his superlative show in the recent limited over series against England in March. Bhuvneshwar became the third successive Indian recipient of the award since its inception early this year.

• The 31-year-old Indian took six wickets with an economy rate of 4.65 in the three ODIs while capturing four wickets with a fantastic economy rate of 6.38 in the five T20Is to emerge as the standout bowler on either side in the white ball series.

OBITUARY

Eminent Historian Yogesh Praveen passed away

• Eminent Historian and an expert on Awadh especially Lucknow Yogesh Praveen. Through his books and articles, he enabled the public to know about the rich heritage and culture of Avadh.

• He was awarded Padma Shri in 2019. The titles of his books like ‘Dastan-e-Avadh’, ‘Tajdare-Avadh’, ‘Bahar-e-Avadh’, ‘Gulistan-e-Avadh’, ‘Doobta Avadh’, ‘Dastan-e-Luknow’ and ‘Aapka Lucknow’ tell a long-lasting affair he had with the city.

Hockey Player Balbir Singh Junior passed away

• Balbir Singh Junior, who was a member of the silver medal-winning 1958 Asian Games Indian hockey team passed away.

• In 1962, he joined the Army as an emergency commissioned officer. He played for the Services hockey team in the national tournaments at Delhi. Singh retired as a Major in 1984 and later settled in Chandigarh.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Siddharth Longjam take over as the National Anti-Doping Agency’s Director-General

• IAS officer, Siddharth Singh Longjam will take over as the National Anti-Doping Agency’s Director-General. Longjam is currently serving as joint secretary in the sports ministry and is also the CEO of the currently suspended National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL).

• He will replace Navin Agarwal who listed the creation of Athletes Biological Passport (ABP) for around 60 elite Indian sportspersons as one of the highlights of his tenure.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Spanish city of Seville will host the 22nd Laureus World Sports Awards in a virtual ceremony

• The Spanish city of Seville will host the 22nd Laureus World Sports Awards in a virtual ceremony owing to the raging C-19 pandemic. The awards show, featuring presentations and related news stories will be available to the world’s media and broadcast extensively on Laureus social media platforms. The winners of Laureus World Sports Awards are selected by a jury comprising 69 members of the Laureus World Sports Academy. The last was in Barcelona in 2007, which is a long time.

• Among the many big names who have had a year to remember and who will be in contention for the awards are Rafael Nadal, Lewis Hamilton, LeBron James, Robert Lewandowski (Sportsman), Naomi Osaka, Federica Brignone (Sportswoman).

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Important Current Affairs 14th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Sanskrit learning app ‘Little Guru’ has launched in Bangladesh

• A Sanskrit learning app ‘Little Guru’ has launched in Bangladesh by the Indira Gandhi Cultural Centre of the High Commission of India. The Sanskrit learning app is part of the campaign being run by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations to promote the Sanskrit language among students, religious scholars, Indologists and historians across the world.

• The Sanskrit learning app ‘Little Guru’ is based on an interactive platform that will make Sanskrit learning easy, entertaining and fun.

• This app will help people who are already learning Sanskrit or those who are desirous to learn Sanskrit to do so in an easy manner based on games, competition, rewards, peer to peer interactions, etc.

• This App combines education with entertainment, said a press release issued by the High Commission of India.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the 2021 “Raisina Dialogue”

• Prime Minister Modi has inaugurated the 2021 “Raisina Dialogue”, through video-conferencing. The Raisina Dialogue 2021 is the sixth edition of the annual dialogue, organised from April 13 to 16, 2021, in full digital form for the first time due to the coronavirus pandemic. Raisina Dialogue is India’s flagship conference on geopolitics and geoeconomics, organised annually since 2016.

• The theme for the 2021 conference is “#ViralWorld: Outbreaks, Outliers and Out of Control”.

• The four-day dialogue is jointly organised by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and the think-tank Observer Research Foundation.

• President of Rwanda, Paul Kagame and Prime Minister of Denmark, Mette Frederiksen joined the Inaugural Session as Chief Guests.

• The event will have a total of 50 sessions. Around 150 speakers from 50 countries and multilateral organizations are participating in the dialogue.

• The Raisina Dialogue is one of the leading global conferences on international affairs. It brings together leading minds from the global strategic and policy-making community to discuss broader foreign policy and strategic issues facing the world.

NATIONAL

Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam issues India’s first municipal green bonds

• Ghaziabad Nagar Nigam has announced successfully raising and listing India’s first Green Municipal bond issue. GNN raised ₹150 crores at a cost of 8.1 per cent.

• Money will be used to clean up dirty water by setting up a tertiary water treatment plant and supply piped water through water meters to places like Sahibabad. Ghaziabad is debt-free and has maintained a revenue surplus position in the last few years, according to India Ratings.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Poonam Gupta the new director-general of NCAER

• Poonam Gupta will be the new director-general of the policy think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER). Gupta will succeed the current head of the think tank, Shekhar Shah, to become the first woman to hold the post. Currently, Gupta is the lead economist at the World Bank in Washington DC.

• Prior to joining the World Bank in 2013, she was the Reserve Bank of India Chair Professor at the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy and a professor of macroeconomics at the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Chagas Disease Day is observed on 14 April Every year

• The World Chagas Disease Day is observed on 14 April to raise public awareness and visibility among people about Chagas Disease (also called American trypanosomiasis or silent or silenced disease) and the resources needed for the prevention, control or elimination of the disease. The World Health Organization approved the designation of Chagas Disease Day on May 24, 2019, at the 72nd World Health Assembly. It is one of 11 official global public health campaigns marked by WHO.

• The first World Chagas Disease Day was observed on 14 April 2020. The day has been named after Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, the Brazilian doctor who diagnosed the first case on 14 April 1909.

Ambedkar Jayanti or Bhim Jayanti is observed on 14 April Every year

• Ambedkar Jayanti (or Bhim Jayanti) is an annual festival observed on 14 April to commemorate the birth anniversary of Babasaheb Dr Bhim Rao Ambedkar who was born on 14 April 1891. The Day has been observed as an official public holiday throughout India since 2015. In 2021, we are marking the 130th birth anniversary of Babasaheb.

• Dr Ambedkar is known as the Father (chief architect) of the Indian Constitution. He was the first Law and Justice Minister of the country after the independence. Dr Bhim has been bestowed with the country’s highest civilian honour, Bharat Ratna in 1990 posthumously.

International Turban Day is observed on 13 April Every year

• International Turban Day is celebrated every year on April 13 since 2004 to bring awareness of the strict requirement on Sikhs to put the turban as a mandatory part of their religion.

• The 2021 Turban Day marks the 552nd birth anniversary of Guru Nanak Dev and the festival of Baisakhi. The turban, also known as “dastar” or “pagri” or “pag” refer to the garment worn by both men and some women to cover their heads.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards, 2020 in New Delhi

• The Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank recently presented the AICTE Lilavati Awards, 2020 in New Delhi. The awards were presented based on the theme “Women Empowerment”. The winners were selected by AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education) in six sub-themes.

• SWEAT (Sona Women Entrepreneurship and Training) from Sona College of Technology, Tamil Nadu won the award under the ‘Women Entrepreneurship’ sub theme.

• Another college from Tamil Nadu, Paritrana from St. Joseph’s College of Engineering won the award for the ‘Self Defense’ sub theme.

• Under the ‘Literacy’ sub theme, Bharatiya Vidyapeeth of the Institute of Management and Entrepreneurship Development Pune won the award.

• The Lilavati Award under the “Women’s Health” sub theme was won by the WIT Women Health Coalition from Walchand Institute of Technology, Maharashtra.

• Radiant Seetha from Thiagarajar Polytechnic College won the contest in the ‘Legal Awareness’ sub theme.

• Under the ‘Sanitation & Hygiene’ sub-theme, Smt. Kishoritai Bhoyar College of Pharmacy, Nagpur, Maharashtra won the award.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Axis Bank became co-promoter of Max Life Insurance Company Limited

• Axis Bank Ltd informed it has become co-promoters of Max Life Insurance Company Limited, after completion of the acquisition of 12.99% stake collectively by the Axis Entities in the company. Axis Bank and its two subsidiaries Axis Capital Limited and Axis Securities Limited will collectively own a 12.99% stake in Max Life after the consummation of the deal.

• The Axis Entities have a right to acquire an additional stake of up to 7% in Max Life, in one or more tranches, subject to regulatory approvals. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India gave its formal approval in February of 2021.

Bharti AXA Life and Fincare Small Finance Bank join hands for bancassurance partnership

• Bharti Axa Life and Fincare Small Finance Bank have joined hands for a bancassurance partnership under which the bank will sell insurance policies to its customers. This alliance will make life insurance solutions reachable to over 26.5 lakhs customers of Fincare Small Finance Bank and provide financial security to them.

• Under the partnership, Bharti AXA Life Insurance will offer its comprehensive suite of life insurance products, including protection, savings and investment plans, to the customers of Fincare Small Finance Bank across its 747 branches and digital network presence across the country.

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Important Current Affairs 13th April 2021

NATIONAL

Odisha Chief Minister has launched a 14-day “Mask Abhiyan”

• Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has launched a 14-day “Mask Abhiyan” as part of efforts to prevent the spread of coronavirus in view of rising cases and urged people to strictly follow the safety guidelines. Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik sought their cooperation in turning the use of mask into a habit to tackle the current resurgence of the virus. Bringing an amendment to the Odisha Covid-19 Regulations under the Epidemic Diseases Act-1897.

• In order to ensure that the 14 days mask Abhiyan gives results, the state government yesterday enhanced the fines for the violators from 1,000 rupees to 2000 rupees. Meanwhile, the state’s covid-19 active caseload mounted further to about 6000 with the detection of 1282 fresh cases yesterday, even as the state surpassed a milestone in administering more than 40 lakh vaccine doses as of date.

OBITUARY

Legendary actor Satish Kaul passes away

• Legendary actor Satish Kaul, who had 300 Punjabi and Hindi films to his credit and played the role of Lord Indra in the TV show Mahabharat, passed away.

• The actor began his career in the early ’70s, juggling between Hindi and Punjabi films. While his popular Bollywood films include Ram Lakhan, Pyaar Toh Hona Hi Tha and Aunty No 1 etc.

Renowned shooting coach Sanjay Chakravarty Passes away

• Legendary shooting coach Sanjay Chakravarty passed away due to C-19.

• The Dronacharya awardee had trained some of the finest Indian shooters including Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Anjali Bhagwat and Suma Shirur, Deepali Deshpande, Anuja Jung and Ayonika Paul.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Punjab appoints Sonu Sood as state’s C-19 vaccination ambassador

• Bollywood actor Sonu Sood has been made the brand ambassador for Punjab’s anti-coronavirus vaccination programme. During the coronavirus-induced lockdown last year, the actor had helped migrants reach their home states.

• Sood catapulted to the national spotlight for feeding thousands of underprivileged people amid the C-19 pandemic. During his meeting with Punjab Chief Minister, the actor presented his book ‘I am no Messiah’, which he said captures the experiences of his journey from Moga to Mumbai.

Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra named as next CEC of India

• The incumbent Election Commissioner (EC) Sushil Chandra has been named to become the next Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) of India. He will assume charge with effect from April 13, 2021. He will replace incumbent CEC, Sunil Arora, who will retire on April 12, 2021.

• The Election Commission of India consists of three members, namely Chief Election Commissioner and two Election Commissioners. The two ECs are Rajiv Kumar and Sushil Chandra.

IMPORTANT DAYS

102 years of Jallianwala Bagh Amritsar Massacre

• The Jallianwala Bagh massacre, also known as the Amritsar massacre, took place on 13 April 1919. This year we commemorate the 102nd anniversary of the terror that shook the entire country to a standstill. The Jallianwalabagh garden has been converted into a memorial. And thousands of people on this day come to pay their respects to the martyred men, women, who were killed on that fateful day for the nation.

• Acting Brigadier-General Reginald Dyer ordered troops of the British Indian Army to fire their rifles into a crowd of unarmed Indian civilians in Jallianwala Bagh, Amritsar, Punjab. General Dyer, the British India army officer, felt the people gathering for such a cause was anti-national. He ordered the 50 of his troops consisting of Sikh, Gurkha, Baluchi, and Rajput to open fire on the unarmed men and women. The resulting figures would make you go numb as 379 men and women were killed for no fault of theirs and 1100 injured.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Filmmaker Guneet Monga conferred with Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters honour

• Acclaimed filmmaker, Guneet Monga to be conferred with honour of the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier dans I’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). It is the second-highest civilian French honour and has earlier been awarded to big Hollywood names like Meryl Streep, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Bruce Willis.

• As a producer, Guneet has several critically acclaimed films to her credit. The list includes Masaan, Lunchbox, Haraamkhor, Peddlers; Oscar-winning short film documentary — Period, End of Sentence, among others.

• Earlier, Indian celebrities like Shah Rukh Khan, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Amitabh Bachchan, Nandita Das, Pandit Hariprasad Chaurasia, Anurag Kashyap, Kalki Koechlin, among others, have been felicitated with the honour.

Indian Business Tycoon Yusuffali MA Gets Top Civilian Award In UAE

• Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan has honoured Indian-origin businessman Yusuffali MA and 11 other individuals with Abu Dhabi’s top civilian award for their noble and charitable contributions to the community. The prestigious award was given to Mr Yusuffali, who was born in Kerala, for his outstanding contribution to Abu Dhabi’s business, industry and support to various philanthropic initiatives.

• Mr Yusuffali, the Chairman and Managing Director of Abu Dhabi-based LuLu Group which operates hypermarkets and retail companies in many countries, was honoured on Friday by the Crown Prince.

• The individuals were honoured for a wide range of contributions, including efforts in the healthcare field, community service and volunteering, humanitarian work, as well as culture, heritage and environmental preservation. The awards, which were given at the 10th edition of the Abu Dhabi Awards held at Qasr Al Hosn, a historical landmark and the oldest stone building in Abu Dhabi, celebrate compassionate individuals who have selflessly devoted their time and effort to spreading goodness and serving the community.

RANKING

Academic Ranking of World Universities 2020 published and released by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy

• The 2020 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) is released by Shanghai Ranking Consultancy. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc Bangalore) has secured the top position among the best higher education institutes in India, while Calcutta University became the best varsity in the country, as per the published Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU 2020).

• The Indian institutes are not even in the top 100 list, the best higher education institute, (IISc Bangalore) is in the category of 501- 600.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Nomura has revised India’s GDP forecast to 12.6% in FY22

• The Japanese brokerage company Nomura has revised the GDP forecast of India in the financial year 2021-22 (FY22) to 12.6 per cent from the previous estimate of 13.5 per cent, amid rising coronavirus cases and higher inflation.

• Nomura has pegged the calendar year GDP growth at 11.5 per cent, a decline from 12.4 per cent estimated earlier.

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Important Current Affairs 12th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

Bangladesh : International flight suspension

• The Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh (CAAB) on Sunday decided to suspend international flights for one week starting from April 14 with the commencement of the hard-lockdown in the country to contain the spread of Covid-19.

• However, no restriction will be imposed on the movement of chartered flights, cargo flights and special flights carrying high commissioners of different countries and foreign nationals, CAAB Chairman Air Vice Marshal M Mafidur Rahman said.

Singapore: Becomes first country to ratify mega free trade agreement ‘RCEP’

• Singapore ratified the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement, the world’s largest free trade agreement, led by China. In doing so, Singapore became the first among 15 participating countries to ratify RCEP.

• The RCEP must first be ratified by at least six ASEAN and three non-ASEAN member states to come into effect. Once implemented, RCEP would be the world’s largest free trade agreement, covering around one-third of the world’s population and about 30% of the world’s economy.

NATIONAL

Supreme Court:  Persons above Eighteen years are free to choose religion

• The Supreme Court ruled on April 9, 2021 that people above the age of Eighteen years are free to choose their religion. The ruling was delivered by an SC bench comprising Justices RF Nariman, BR Gavai and Hrishikesh Roy.

• The bench gave the direction while refusing to entertain a plea seeking directions to the Centre and states to control black magic and religious conversion.

• The bench came down heaving on the counsel of petitioner, senior advocate Gopal Sankaranarayana, demanding, "What kind of writ petition is this under Article 32. We will impose a heavy cost on you. You argue on your own risk."

Union Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs inaugurated Khelo India State Centre of Excellence in Srinagar

• Union Minister for Sports & Youth Affairs, Kiren Rijiju inaugurated the Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE) for Rowing discipline at the Jammu & Kashmir Sports Council Water Sports Academy at the Nehru Park in the world-famous Dal Lake in Srinagar. This is one of the two KISCEs from Jammu & Kashmir. The other being the Maulana Azad Stadium for Fencing discipline in Jammu.

• There are currently 24 KISCEs across 23 States and Union Territories and each of them focuses on Olympics sports discipline. This is an ongoing endeavour to scale up existing centres from the States and Union Territories to the world standard level keeping in mind the big picture of getting India to excel at the Olympics.

Kerala’s High Court adoption guidelines

• The Kerala High Court on 10 April 2021 held that a child born to a couple in a live-in relationship will be treated as a child born to a married couple for the purpose of the Juvenile Justice Act and Adoption Guidelines.

• Therefore for surrendering a child for adoption, live-in couples to be treated as married couples.

Centre Government to start construction ravi canal

• Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office Dr. Jitendra Singh on 10 Apr'21 laid the foundation stone for the work of ‘construction of balance portion of Ravi Canal’ of Shahpur Kandi Dam Project at Basantpur,Kathua, Jammu.

• The project has been inaugurated after a gap of 60 yrs since Indus water treaty came into being.

• The project aims to utilize full water of Ravi river in Indian territory.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Day of Human Space Flight Celebrated globally on 12 April Every Year

• The International Day of Human Space Flight is observed globally on April 12 every year. The UN General Assembly passed a resolution on April 7, 2011, had declared April 12 to be celebrated as International Day of Human Space Flight.

• On 12 April 1961, was the date of the 1st human space flight was carried out by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen, who became the first person to journey into outer space. This historic incident opened the way for space exploration for the benefit of all mankind. 12 April was also the date of the 1st Space Shuttle STS-1 of Columbia launched in 1981, which is also commemorated on this date.

World Parkinson’s Day Celebrated on 11 April Every Year

• Every year, April 11 is observed as World Parkinson’s Day to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, which is a progressive nervous system disorder.

• The day marks the birthday of Dr James Parkinson from London, who was the first person to systematically described the six individuals with the symptoms of Parkinson Disease.

National Safe Motherhood Day observed on 11 April

• National Safe Motherhood Day is observed on April 11 every year. National Safe Motherhood Day is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI), to enforce that women must have availability and adequate access to care during pregnancy childbirth and postnatal services. The day also marks the birth anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi, the wife of the father of Nation Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi.

• At the request of WRAI, an alliance of 1800 organizations, in 2003, the Government of India declared April 11th, the anniversary of Kasturba Gandhi’s birth, as National Safe Motherhood Day. India is the 1st country in the world to have socially declared a National Safe Motherhood Day.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India-Netherlands Virtual Summit 2021

• Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mr Mark Rutte, held a Virtual Summit. During the India- Netherlands virtual Summit, the two leaders reviewed the existing bilateral engagements and also exchanged views on further expanding and diversifying the relationship in trade and economy, water management, agriculture sector, smart cities, science & technology, healthcare and space.

• Apart from this the two Prime Ministers also agreed on instituting a ‘Strategic Partnership on Water’ to further deepen the Indo-Dutch cooperation in the water-related sector and upgrading the Joint Working Group on the water to Ministerial-level.

• They also exchanged views on regional and global challenges such as climate change, counter-terrorism and the Covid-19 pandemic and agreed to leverage the emerging convergences in new areas like Indo-Pacific, Resilient Supply Chains and Global Digital Governance.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

BAFTA Awards 2021: Nomadland, Frances McDormand, Sir Anthony Hopkins wins big

• The 74th edition of the British Academy Film Awards- BAFTA 2021 was held at Royal Albert Hall in London with nominees attending the awards virtually.

• However, that was not the only unconventional part of this year’s award as, amid the pandemic, the ceremony of the prestigious BAFTA took place in over two days.

• The opening night ceremony was on April 10, 2021, during which the winners of the technical categories were announced while the remaining major awards were announced on April 11, 2021.

• India’s Netflix Film, The White Tiger, which was nominated for Best Actor and Best Adapted Screenplay lost to Sir Anthony Hopkins's ‘The Father’. Nomadland, the US road movie, won big and bagged four major awards including Best Actress, Best Film, and Best Director.

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Important Current Affairs 11th April 2021

NATIONAL

Lieutenant Colonel Bharat Pannu Breaks two Guinness World Records

• Indian Army’s Lieutenant Colonel, Bharat Pannu has earned two Guinness World Records for his fastest solo cycling feats from October 2020. The first record was created when Lt Col Pannu cycled from Leh to Manali (472 km distance) on October 10, 2020, in just 35 hours and 25 minutes.

• Lt Col Pannu created a second record when he cycled the 5,942-km-long ‘Golden Quadrilateral’ route, which connects Delhi, Mumbai, Chennai and Kolkata, in 14 days, 23 hours and 52 minutes.

Tika Utsav/ Vaccine Festival: C-19 Vaccination Drive

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently appealed to the Chief Ministers of the States to organise “Tika Utsav”. Tika Utsav is a vaccine festival. It is to be held between April 11, 2021, and April 14, 2021. The main objective of the festival is to vaccinate as many people as possible. It will also focus on zero wastage of the COVID-19 vaccine.

• Currently, three states are receiving a maximum number of COVID-19 doses. They are Maharashtra, Rajasthan, and Gujarat.

• COVAXIN and COVISHIELD are the two major COVID-19 vaccines that are currently administered in India.

• So far, India has shipped 64 million doses of vaccines to 84 countries in the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. The major recipient countries of the Indian COVID-19 vaccines are Mexico, Canada, and Brazil.

• The GoI has planned to cover 250 million people included in the “high priority” category by July 2021 under its vaccination programme.

Union Health Minister launched Integrated Health Information Portal

• The Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan virtually launched the Integrated Health Information Platform- IHIP.

• During the launch, the minister stated that this day will always be remembered as it marks a milestone in the history of disease surveillance.

• He added that we have started a new chapter in public health trajectory. India has become the first country to adopt such an advanced disease surveillance system.

• While terming IHIP as the biggest online disease surveillance platform in the world, the Union Minister informed that it is in sync with the National Digital Health Mission. It is also fully compatible with the other digital information systems that are currently being used in India.

Centre has approved 28 projects in Uttarakhand

• The Centre has approved 28 highway projects worth Rs 1,210.17 crore in Uttarakhand, union Minister Nitin Gadkari said.

• These projects are for building 231.04 kms of highways.

• These include strengthening work of National Highway-309B on EPC (engineering, construction and procurement) mode in Uttarakhand under State Public Works Department (PWD) with a budget of Rs 48.19 crore.

SPORTS

Tokyo Olympics 2021: Four Indian sailors qualify

• Four Indian sailors, in a historic first for the country, have qualified for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics. The pair of Ganapathy Chengappa, Varun Thakkar, and Vishnu Saravanan made the cut during an ongoing Asian Qualifiers in Oman on April 8, 2021.

• This was after Nethra Kumanan on April 7 became the first Indian woman sailor for qualifying for the Olympics in the laser radial event in Mussanah Open Championship. It is an Asian Olympic Qualifying event.

• It will also be the first time that India will be competing in three sailing events in the Olympics. So far, the country had competed in only one event in all the earlier Olympic games though two Indian sailors had represented the country on four occasions.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou as New Prime Minister of Niger

• Niger President Mohamed Bazoum appointed Ouhoumoudou Mahamadou to head his new cabinet as the country’s new prime minister.

• He was previously served as a minister in charge of the finance and mining portfolios. He was the chief of staff to former President Mahamadou Issoufou between 2015 and 2021. He was sworn as Niger’s first democratic transition of power since independence in 1960.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

SAG Awards 2021: ‘The Crown’, ‘Schitt’s Creek’ win top honours

• The winners of the 27th Screen Actors Guild Awards have been announced. The award ceremony aired on April 4, 2021, honouring excellence across TV and films.

• The starry cast of ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’, a 1960s courtroom drama, bagged the top prize. At the virtual award ceremony, the actors of color, for the very first time, won the individual movie awards.

• All the main acting awards went to a group of actors of color. It includes Chadwick Boseman for the Best Male Actor, Viola Davis for the Best Female Actor, Yun-Jung Youn for Best Female Supporting Actor, and Daniel Kaluuya for Best Male Supporting Actor.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

SBI MF becomes first mutual fund company to cross Rs 5 lakh crore AAUM

• SBI Funds Management Pvt. Ltd has informed that it has become the first mutual fund house in India to cross the Rs. 5 lakh crore average assets under management (AAUM) mark. SBI MF has seen a growth of 35% during the financial year 2020-21, with its average AUM increasing from Rs 3.73 lakh crore to Rs 5.04 lakh crore.

• The company, which is a joint venture between India’s largest lender, State Bank of India, and Europe’s largest asset manager, Amundi. The fund house’s SIP book has increased to ₹1,382 crores from ₹1,180 crores over the last year recording a growth of 17%.

RBI enhances temporary liquidity limit for states, UTs by around 46%

• The Reserve Financial institution of India has enhanced the momentary liquidity restrict for states and union territories by about 46% to assist them tide over their money movement mismatches.

• The revision of the restrict was really helpful by an advisory panel fashioned by the central financial institution to assessment the matter.

• The restrict was final enhanced in February 2016 beneath the methods and means advance (WMA) mechanism.

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Important Current Affairs 10th April 2021

INTERNATIONAL

India gifted Rs 100 crore patrol vessel “PS Zoroaster” to Seychelles

• India formally handed over Rs 100 crore patrol vessel “PS Zoroaster” to Seychelles during the virtual summit between Indian PM Narendra Modi and Seychelles President Wavel Ramkalawan. The PS Zoroaster is the fourth made-in-India patrol boat developed for Seychelles since 2005. The other vessels gifted by India include PS Topaz (2005), PS Constant (2014), Patrol Boat Hermes (2016).

• The 48.9-metre patrol boat has been built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineering at an estimated cost of Rs 100 crore.

• The vessel has a top speed of 35 knots and an endurance of 1,500 nautical miles.

• It will be used for multi-purpose operations, such as patrolling, anti-smuggling and anti-poaching operations, and search and rescue.

NATIONAL

Education Minister launched SARTHAQ initiative for implementation of National Education Policy

• Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched an initiative SARTHAQ which will help in the implementation of National Education Policy in the country.

• The students and teachers holistic advancement through quality education, SARTHAQ has been initiated as a part of the Amrit Mahotsav celebrations.

• The Education Minister said, it will pave the way for the children and youths to meet the diverse national and global challenges.

• It will also help them to imbibe 21st century skills, indian tradition, culture and value system as envisioned in National Education Policy.

• The implementation of SARTHAQ would benefit all stakeholders including 25 crore students, 15 lakh schools, 94 lakh teachers.

FM N. Sitharaman participated 103rd Development Committee Meeting of World Bank-IMF

• Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman participated in the 103rd Meeting of the Development Committee Plenary, via video conferencing. During the meeting, she shared the measures taken to combat C-19 including social support measures for the poor and vulnerable, and relief measures for firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters.

• World Bank Group (WBG) and International Monetary Fund Support for Debt Relief Under the Common Framework and Beyond;

• C-19 pandemic: World Bank Group Support for Fair and Affordable Access to Vaccines by Developing Countries;

• From C-19 Crisis Response to Resilient Recovery – Saving Lives and Livelihoods while Supporting Green, Resilient and Inclusive Development (GRID).

SPORTS

French Open 2021 tournament postponed due to C-19 pandemic

• The French Tennis Federation on April 08, 2021 announced that the 2021 Roland Garros tournament has been postponed by one week. The decision came in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic and nationwide restrictions in France.

• The 2021 Roland Garros tournament, also called the French Open and the only ‘clay-court’ Grand Slam tournament, will now run from May 24 till June 13, 2021. The qualifying rounds will be conducted from May 24 to May 28, 2021, followed by the main draw starting from May 30till June 13, 2021.

OBITUARY

Britain's Prince Philip passes away at the age of 99 years on April 9

• Britain's Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh passed away at the age of 99 years on April 9, 2021.

• The Buckingham Palace confirmed the same through a statement that read, "It is with deep sorrow that Her Majesty The Queen has announced the death of her beloved husband, His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh."

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Homeopathy Day is celebrated every year on April 10

• World Homeopathy Day is celebrated every year on April 10 to spread awareness about homoeopathy and its contribution to the world of medicine. The day marks the birth anniversary of German physician Dr Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann, who is considered the founder of the system of alternative medicine called Homeopathy. The year 2021 marks the 266th birthday of Hahnemann.

• The Central Council for Research in Homoeopathy (CCRH), Ministry of AYUSH, organised a two-day scientific conference on the occasion of #WorldHomoeopathyDay from April 10 & 11, 2021 in New Delhi.

• The theme of the conference is “Homoeopathy – Roadmap for Integrative Medicine”

• Objective: exchange of experience by policymakers and experts to identify strategic actions towards an effective and efficient inclusion of Homoeopathy in integrative care.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs attends 2nd Virtual G20 Finance Ministers

• Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman has participated virtually in the Second G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting. This meeting held under the Italian Presidency to discuss policy responses to global challenges to restore strong, sustainable, balanced and inclusive growth.

• The G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors discussed Updates of the G20 Action Plan in response to C-19.

• They also discussed supporting the financing needs of the most vulnerable economies, the progress on the international taxation agenda, promoting greener transitions and the pandemic related financial regulation issues.

• Smt. Sitharaman urged all G20 members to ensure equitable access and widespread distribution of vaccines.

• Smt. Sitharaman reflected on the global growth projections and underlined the need for continued coordination amidst the persistence of uncertainties associated with the virus.

• The Finance Minister said that the G20 Action Plan has served as a good guidance tool and shaping recovery is the mainstay of its current update.

India and Japan signed an MoU for Academic and Research Cooperation

• The Union Cabinet recently apprised an MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) signed between India and Japan. The MoU was signed between the National Atmospheric Research Laboratory (NARL) that operates under the Department of Space, GoI and the Research Institute for Sustainable Humanosphere called the RISH that operates under the Kyoto University of Japan.

• According to the MoU signed, the NARL and RISH will continue their cooperation in the areas of technology, atmospheric sciences, collaborative scientific experiments and other related modelling studies.

• They will exchange scientific materials, information, publications, students, faculty members and researchers.

• The MoU will allow the countries to utilize the facilities such as Middle and Upper atmosphere radar in Japan, Mesosphere-Stratosphere-Troposphere radar, Equatorial Atmosphere Radar in Indonesia.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dutee Chand chosen for Chhattisgarh Veerni Award

• Indian sprinter, Dutee Chand has been chosen for the inaugural edition of the Chhattisgarh Veerni Award, by the Chhattisgarh state government. The award, which recognises the contribution of Indian women in different fields, including sports, will be given virtually on April 14, 2021.

• The Odisha sprinter became the first Indian woman to win a gold medal at the World University Games held in Italy in 2019. She is a silver-medalist in 100 and 200 metres at the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games. Apart from this, Dutee holds the national record of 11.22 secs in 100m.

Ashutosh Bhardwaj has been awarded to the famous Devishankar Awasthi Award 2020

• The famous Devishankar Awasthi Award has been awarded to the prolific Hindi prose, journalist, and critic Ashutosh Bhardwaj. This honour has been given to him for his work ‘Pitra-Vadh’. He was elected by the selection committee of Ashok Vajpayee, Nandkishore Acharya, and Rajendra Kumar.

• Ashutosh Bhardwaj has been a native English journalist and his experiences of Bastar have been well discussed in both Hindi and English. This book has been published in English under the name of ‘The Death Trap’. Apart from this, his work on important topics like modernism and nationalism has been well-known in Indian novels. He has also been a fellow of the Shimla Institute of Advanced Studies and is writing independently.

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