Current Affairs

Weekly Current Affairs 16thto 22nd November 2020

PM Modi Virtually Attends 12th BRICS Summit

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has virtually addressed the 12th (BRICS) Summit. The Summit was held under the Chairmanship of Russian President Vladimir Putin. India will be taking over the Chairmanship of the BRICS in 2021 and host the 13th BRICS Summit in 2021. It would be the third time that India will take over the BRICS Presidency since its inception. Previously India was the Chair in 2012 and 2016. The theme of the 12th edition of BRICS Summit was “Global stability, shared security and innovative growth”. The key issues discussed by the leaders included intra-BRICS cooperation and other key issues in the global context, like the reform of the multilateral system, measures to mitigate the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, cooperation in CounterTerrorism, trade, health, energy and people to people exchanges.

National Affairs

• The Chief of Janata Dal (United), Nitish Kumar has taken an oath as the Chief Minister of Bihar and he will begin his 7th term on 16th November 2020. Bihar Governor Phagu Chauhan administered the oath of office and secrecy to Mr Kumar at Raj Bhavan in Patna. BJP legislature party leader Tarkishore Prasad and Deputy leader Renu Devi have been made the new Deputy Chief Ministers.

• The Madhya Pradesh government, led by Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan, has decided to set up a ‘Gau Cabinet’ for the protection, conservation and promotion of cows in the state. The Cabinet will comprise of the departments of animal husbandry, forests, panchayat and rural development, revenue, home and farmers welfare.

• The world heritage site of Hampi, the erstwhile capital of the Vijayanagar empire, will soon be part of a new district. The Karnataka Government has approved to carve out Vijayanagara as a new district of the state. Vijayanagara will be the 31st district of the State. The new district would be carved out of Ballari and named after the Vijayanagara empire that ruled from this region.

• The Government of India and the New Development Bank(NDB) have signed a loan agreement for lending USD 500 million for the ‘Delhi-Ghaziabad-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System Project’. This Regional Rapid Transit System provide fast, reliable, safe and comfortable public transport system in the National Capital Region (NCR).

• India has extended financial contribution of USD 1 million to the COVID-19 ASEAN Response Fund. This was announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the 17th ASEAN-India Summit, which was held virtually.

International Affairs

• Japan and Australia have signed a ‘landmark’ defence pact in a bid to counter China’s growing influence in the South China Sea and over the Pacific island nations. The deal called Reciprocal Access Agreement (RAA) was signed between Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison.

Banking Awareness

RBI puts Lakshmi Vilas Bank under moratorium

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has placed cashstrapped Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB) under a moratorium for a period of one month and restricted withdrawals at Rs 25,000 for depositors, owing to a serious deterioration in the lender’s financial position. The central bank also superseded the board of directors of LVB for a period of 30 days owing to a serious deterioration in the financial position of the bank. The move was announced through an order by the Ministry of Finance. Reserve Bank has come to the conclusion that in the absence of a credible revival plan, with a view to protecting depositors’ interest and in the interest of financial and banking stability, there is no alternative but to apply to the Central Government for imposing a moratorium under section 45 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

• The Investment bank, Goldman Sachs has revised upwards the growth forecast for India in FY21 to - 10.3% from its earlier projection of -14.8% in September 2020. For the financial year 2021-22 (FY22), the Goldman Sachs has projected India’s GDP at 13%.

• Moody’s Investors Service has revised India’s GDP growth forecast to -10.6 per cent for the current fiscal 2020-21 (FY21), in its November 2020 update, from its earlier estimate of -11.5 per cent in September 2020. For next fiscal 2021-22, Moody’s projected India to grow at 10.8 per cent, as against the previous estimate of 10.6 per cent. • Barclays has revised down its GDP forecast for India in the current fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21) to – 6.4% from its earlier estimate of – 6%. However, Barclays has raised its FY22 (2021-22) growth forecast to 8.5 per cent from 7 per cent.

Defence News

• India successfully test-fired the Quick Reaction Surface to Air Missile (QRSAM) system off the coast of Balasore in Odisha. The system achieved a major milestone by a direct hit on to a Banshee Pilotless target aircraft at medium range and medium altitude. Indian forces have carried out at least seven tests earlier of the missile system.

• The second phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 has been organised in the Northern Arabian Sea from 17 to 20 November 2020. The first Phase of Exercise Malabar 2020 was conducted in the Bay of Bengal from 03 to 06 November 2020. Exercise Malabar 2020 is the 24th edition of MALABAR. The second phase will witness joint operations, centred around the Vikramaditya Carrier Battle Group of the Indian Navy and Nimitz Carrier Strike Group of the US Navy.

• The 30th edition of India-Thailand Coordinated Patrol (Indo-Thai CORPAT) was held between the Indian Navy and the Royal Thai Navy. The Indian Naval Ship (INS) Karmuk, an indigenously built Missile Corvette and Thailand Ship (HTMS) Kraburi, a Chao Phraya Class Frigate along with Dornier Maritime Patrol Aircraft from both the navies participated in the CORPAT.

Awards & Recognitions

• Sadat Rahman from Bangladesh has been awarded the prestigious International Children’s Peace Prize 2020. He was awarded the prize for his involvement in setting up his social organization and mobile app ‘Cyber Teens’ to stop cyberbullying. The award was presented to 17-year-old Sadat by Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai, during a ceremony in the Netherlands. He was selected out of 142 applicants from 42 countries.

• Dr Susanta Kar, Senior Scientist, Molecular Parasitology and Immunology, Council of Scientific & Industrial Research- Central Drug Research Institute (CSIR-CDRI) was honoured with “Prof. A N Bhaduri Memorial Lecture Award 2020” by Society of Biological Chemists (India), Bengaluru. The award is given to him for his contribution towards defining the survival tactics of Leishmania Donovani.

• Union Education Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ will be conferred with the Vatayan Lifetime Achievement Award. This award will be conferred to the Minister for writing, poetry and other literary works.

• Scottish writer Douglas Stuart has won the 2020 Booker Prize for Fiction. He has been awarded for his debut novel, “Shuggie Bain”. The 44-year-old Stuart is only the second Scot to have won the prestigious literary prize.

• The North Police Station in Kohima was awarded ISO 9001:2015 certification for Quality Management System. It is the first government agency of the state that has received such recognition. The ISO certificate helps to ensure that the police personnel routinely evaluates its working and implement remedial measures, as and when required.

Sports News

• Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Turkish Grand Prix 2020 at Istanbul Park, Turkey. Sergio Perez (Racing Point-BWT- Mexico) secured the second position and Sebastian Vettel of Ferrari finished third.

• Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic has given the ATP Tour No. 1 trophy on 15 November 2020, for finishing 2020 as the year-end No. 1 (world number one). With this, he has become the only second player in tennis history, after Pete Sampras, to receive the trophy sixth time.

• The 2021 U-17 Women’s World Cup, which was scheduled to be held in India, has been cancelled due to the Coronavirus pandemic. It has also been decided that India will host the 2022 edition of the World Cup. While Costa Rica will get the chance to host the 2022 U20 Women’s World Cup.

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has announced its partnership with Mobile Premier League (MPL) Sports, the athleisure wear and sports merchandise brand from Mobile Premier League, India’s largest sports platform, as the new kit sponsor and official merchandise partner for the Indian Cricket Team.


• Noted journalist and writer Ravi Belagere passed away. He was from Karnataka. He was famous for writings on the crime world and his column ‘Paapigala Lokadalli’ was very popular.

• The legendary Bengali actor and Dadasaheb Phalke award recipient Soumitra Chatterjee passed away. He became famously known after his collaborations with Oscar-winning film director Satyajit Ray, with whom he worked in fourteen films. He had won a number of awards in home and abroad.

• Former Lt Governor of Pondicherry, Chandrawati passed away. She has a number of 1st to her credit as she was the 1st Member of Parliament (1977), the 1st MLA, 1st minister (1964-66 and 1972-74) & 1st leader of Opposition in the Haryana assembly (1982- 85).

• Physicist Masatoshi Koshiba, who shared 2002 Nobel prize for the detection of cosmic neutrinos, passed away. Koshiba’s most famous work involved detecting neutrinos from a distant supernova explosion using a vast detector based in a mine in central Japan. Koshiba, a distinguished professor at the University of Tokyo.

• Rajasthan Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Bhanwarlal Meghwal passed away. The five-time MLA represented the Sujangarh assembly constituency of Churu district of the state.

• Former Governor of Goa and veteran BJP leader, Mridula Sinha passed away. She was the first woman Governor of Goa.

Weekly Current Affairs 02ndnovember to 8th November 2020

PM Modi launches India’s first seaplane service in Gujarat

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the country’s first seaplane service between the Statue of Unity near Kevadiya in Gujarat’s Narmada district and Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad. He travelled in the maiden flight of the twin-engine plane from pond-3 close to Sardar Sarovar Dam and landed at Sabarmati riverfront where a water aerodrome has been set up.

About the seaplane service:

• The 19-seater seaplane will be managed by private airline SpiceJet

• The service will cover the 200km distance between Sabarmati and Kevadia, in just 45 minutes by flight, which usually takes 4 hours.

• The flight will be able to accommodate 12 passengers and tickets will cost Rs 4,800 per person.

• There will be four flights a day between Ahmedabad and Kevadia on each side, which means four arrivals and four departures.

National Affairs

• The Union Minister of Science and Technology, Harsh Vardhan has launched the ‘SERB – POWER’ schemes which aim to encourage and support emerging as well as eminent women researchers to undertake R&D activities in frontier areas of science and engineering. SERB-POWER stands for Science and Engineering Research Board – Promoting Opportunities For Women in Exploratory Research.

• The Chief Justice of India (CJI) Sharad Arvind Bobde and Justice DY Chandrachud of the Supreme Court, jointly inaugurated India’s first-ever E-resource centre and the virtual court called “Nyay Kaushal” at Judicial Officers Training Institute in Nagpur.

• As a part of Mission Sagar-II, the Indian Naval Ship (INS) Airavat has reached Sudan with 100 tonnes of food aid. Under Mission Sagar-II, INS Airavat will deliver food aid to Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti and Eritrea amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Ganga Utsav-2020 has been organised by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) jointly with the Ministry of Jal Shakti. The three-day-long Ganga Utsav-2020 has been organised from 02 to 04 November 2020, virtually amidst COVID-19 precautions.

• Union Minister of State (IC) for Tourism & Culture, Prahlad Singh Patel virtually inaugurated the “Tourist Facilitation Centre” facility at Guruvayur, in Kerala. The facility has been constructed under the project “Development of Guruvayur, Kerala” under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual, Heritage Augmentation Drive’ (PRASHAD) Scheme of the Ministry of Tourism, at the cost of Rs. 11.57 Crores.

• The Chief of Army Staff General, MM Naravane was conferred the honorary rank of General of the Nepali Army by President Bidya Devi Bhandari. He was honoured at a special ceremony at the President’s official residence ‘Shital Niwas’ in Kathmandu, Nepal.

• The Ministry of Information & Broadcasting has constituted a four-member committee, to assess the existing Television Rating Points (TRP) of TV channels. The committee will be chaired by Prasar Bharati CEO, Shashi S Vempati.

• The committee will be responsible to address the ‘needs of the stakeholders’ and make necessary recommendations for a rating system which shall be ‘robust, transparent and accountable’.

International Affairs

• Super Typhoon Goni, claimed as the world’s strongest typhoon of 2020 has hit the south of the Philippines’ main island of Luzon. Goni is one of the strongest storms to hit the Philippines since 2013’s Haiyan, which killed more than 6,300 people.

• Portugal MP,

• Duarte Pacheco has won the elections for the post the President of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU). The term of the Duarte Pacheco will be from 2020-2023. He will be the 30th President of the IPU and will succeed Mexican MP Gabriela Cuevas Barron who completed the tenure in October 2020.

• The incumbent President of Ivory Coast, Alassane Ouattara, has won a third 5-year term in a landslide victory, gaining more than 94 per cent of the votes polled.

• Bangladesh and US navies launched the ‘Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training (CARAT) Bangladesh 2020’ to expand relationships and broaden maritime awareness between the two countries.

• The President of Tanzania, John Pombe Magufuli has been sworn for a second five-year term.

• The United States has officially withdrawn from the Paris climate accord on 04 November 2020. With this, the US has now become the only country to formally pull out of the deal since it was adopted in 2015.

Banking/Economy/Business News

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) imposed monetary penalty on DCB Bank and Jio Payments Bank for various rule violations. The central bank has imposed a penalty of Rs 22 lakh on DCB Bank for noncompliance with certain provisions on marketing/distribution of mutual fund/insurance etc. The penalty has been imposed in exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of Section 47A(1)(c) read with Section 46(4)(i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.

• Private lender ICICI Bank has launched a comprehensive banking programme for its millennial customers, (in the age bracket of 18 years to 35 years ), called ‘ICICI Bank Mine’. The ‘ICICI Bank Mine’ is India’s first and unique product launched by the bank to offer a mobile-first, highly personalised and experiential led banking experience to the millennial customers.

• The Airports Authority of India (AAI) has handed over the Lucknow airport to the Adani group on lease for a period of 50 years. Apart from this, the Adani group has taken over/will take over operations of 5 more airports.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has enhanced the investment limits for Mutual Fund companies for overseas investments. Mutual Funds can make overseas investments subject to a maximum of US $ 600 million per Mutual Fund, within the overall industry limit of US $ 7 billion. Earlier it was USD 300 million.

• WhatsApp has partnered with five Indian banks to process its payment services. These are State Bank of India, HDFC Bank, ICICI Bank, Axis Bank and Jio Payments Bank. The Facebook-owned messaging platform, WhatsApp Inc., has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to launch its Unified Payments Interface (UPI) based payments services in India, to let users send or receive money across the country.


• Indian Administrative Services (IAS) officer, Rajiv Jalota has been appointed as the chairman of Mumbai Port Trust (MbPT).

• The Electronics Sector Skill Council of India (ESSCI) announced the appointment of PVG Menon as its chief executive officer.

• AK Gupta, the new Managing Director and CEO of ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) took charge. Before this, he was Director (Operations) of the company.

• National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) Chairman, Dilip Rath has been unanimously elected to the board of global dairy body International Dairy Federation (IDF). Manipur’s Gyanendro Ningombam was elected unopposed as the President of Hockey India, while former President Mohd Mushtaque Ahmad is back in the Hockey India Executive Board after being Elected Unopposed for the Senior Vice President post.

Defence News

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) successfully test-fired an air-launched version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from a Sukhoi fighter aircraft in the Bay of Bengal. The aircraft took off from an airbase in Punjab & reached the Bay of Bengal after mid-air refuelling.

• The Navies of India, the US, Japan and Australia began the four-day-long phase first of the Malabar naval exercise in the Bay of Bengal. From the Indian side, destroyer Ranvijay, frigate Shivalik, off-shore patrol vessel Sukanya, fleet support ship Shakti and submarine Sindhuraj will be part of the drill. US Navy Ship USS John S McCain (Guided-missile destroyer), Australian Navy Ship HMAS Ballarat (long-range frigate) and Japan Maritime Self Defence Ship (JMSDF) Ship JS Onami (destroyer) are participating along with Indian Navy units.

• The enhanced version of PINAKA rocket system was successfully flight tested by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) from Integrated Test Range, Chandipur off the coast of Odisha. This enhanced version of the Pinaka rocket would replace the existing Pinaka Mk-I rockets. While Mk-1 had a range of 40 km, the new variant can hit a target 45 to 60 km away.

• India receives the second batch of three Rafale Aircraft, bringing total Rafale Jets with IAF to eight. The second batch of three Rafale jets landed in Jamnagar, Gujarat on 4th November 2020, after flying non-stop from France.

• Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC) has conducted a three-day Tri-Service Combat Exercise code-named “Bull Strike” at Teressa Island in Nicobar Group of Islands. The exercise focussed on interoperability and synergy among three services – Army, Navy and Air Force to maximise combat potential.

• A two-day joint coastal security exercise, “Sagar Kavach” was launched at Paradip Coast, Odisha. The exercise is being carried out by a joint effort of the state of Odisha and West Bengal governments.

Awards & Recognitions

• Noted Malayalam writer, Paul Zacharia has been selected for this year’s Ezhuthachan Puraskaram, the Kerala government’s highest literary honour. Zacharia was chosen for his contribution to Malayalam literature during the past five decades.

• Noted filmmaker Hariharan has been selected for the JC Daniel Award, the state government’s highest honour for lifetime contributions to Malayalam cinema. The award carries a purse of Rs 5 lakh, a citation, and a sculpture.


• Veteran Politician and former prime minister of Turkey, Mesut Yilmaz has passed away.

• The Scottish actor, best known for his portrayal of James Bond, Sean Connery passed away.

• Noted actor, filmmaker and voiceover artiste, Ashish Kakkad, has passed away.

• Noted violin maestro and Padma awardee, TN Krishnan passed away. His full name was Tripunithura Narayanaiyer Krishnan.

• Former Chief Minister and Socialist of Bihar, Satish Prasad Singh passed away. He was born on January 1, 1936, in Korchakka(now known as Satish Nagar) Village, Khagaria district, Bihar.

• Bollywood actor Faraaz Khan passed away. He had acted in several popular Bollywood films in the late 1990s and early 2000s.


• The Indian Railways has introduced a new initiative called “Meri Saheli” to provide safety and security to women passengers during their train journeys. The Meri Saheli initiative has been launched by the Railway Protection Force (RPF) of Indian Railways.

• India’s border areas with Pakistan in Rajasthan would soon be illuminated with renewable energy. The state government will soon ink an MoU with National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) to establish Ultra Mega Renewal Energy Power Park. The park to be set up near borders areas will be of 8,000 megawatts (MW) capacity, which will comprise 4,310 MW of wind energy; 3,760 MW of solar energy and 120 MW of power from biomass.

• Indian-origin New Zealand politician, Priyanca Radhakrishnan has created history by becoming the first Indian-Kiwi woman to become a minister in New Zealand. Radhakrishnan was born in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

• The iconic Indian superhero, Chacha Chaudhary, whose brain works faster than a computer has now come forward to join hands with the Namami Gange Programme.

Weekly Current Affairs 05th to 11th of October 2020

1. Swachh Bharat Awards 2020 announced

The Union Minister for Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat and the Minister of State for Jal Shakti, Rattan Lal Kataria virtually conferred the Swachh Bharat 2020 Awards to the best performing States/UTs, districts, blocks, GPs in various categories. The Ministry of Jal Shakti is observing the Swachh Bharat Diwas, 2020 on 2nd October to mark six years of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM).

The Swachh Bharat 2020 Awards were conferred under three categories which are:

1. Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) campaign

2. Samudayik Shauchalaya Abhiyan (SSA)

3. Gandagi Se Mukt (GMB) campaign.

Swachh Sundar Samudayik Shauchalaya (SSSS) campaign

• Best State: Gujarat

• Best District: Tirunelveli, Tamil Nadu

• Best Block: Khachrod, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh

• Best Gram Panchayat: Chinnaur, (Salem).

Samudayik Shauchalaya Abhiyan (SSA)

• Best State: Uttar Pradesh (GKRA) and Gujarat (NonGarib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan (GKRA)]

• Best District: Prayagraj (GKRA) and Bareilly (NonGKRA)

• Best Gram Panchayat: Borigaon, Bongaigaon, Assam.

Gandagi Se Mukt (GMB) campaign

• Best State: Telangana and Haryana.

• Best District: Moga, Punjab.

GoI appoints three new economists as RBI’s MPC members

The Government of India has appointed three new economists as members of the six-member rate-setting Monetary Policy Committee(MPC) of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The government had formed a committee for selection of these three new members of MPC. This search-cum-selection committee for MPC was headed by Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj.

The new members are:

• Prof. Ashima Goyal, a professor at the Mumbai-based Indira Gandhi Institute of Developmental Research

• Prof. Jayanth R Varma, a professor of finance at the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad

• Dr. Shashanka Bhide, an agricultural economist and a senior adviser with the National Council of Applied Economic Research in New Delhi.

About Monetary Policy Committee:

• MPC committee of RBI comprises six members which include three officials of the Reserve Bank of India and three external members nominated by the Government of India.

• The three members from RBI Side are Dr. Mridul K. Saggar, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra and Shri Shaktikanta Das.

• Governor of RBI is the Ex-Officio Chairman of MPC.

• They replace the three previous external MPC candidates, Chetan Ghate, Ravindra Dholakia and Pami Dua, whose terms expired with the last policy meeting in August 2020.

RBI’s 3rd Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Statement 2020-21 Released

The Monetary Policy Committee of the Reserve Bank of India met on 7th, 8th and 9th October for its third meeting of 2020-21. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das has announced crucial policy decisions at the Bank’s 3rd bi-monthly monetary policy.

On the basis of an assessment of the current and evolving macroeconomic situation, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) at its meeting decided to:

• The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been kept unchanged at 4.00%.

• The reverse repo rate under the LAF has been kept unchanged at 3.35%.

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been kept unchanged at 4.25%.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will introduce on-tap targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO) for banks to borrow up to Rs 1 trillion from the window and invest in corporate bonds and other debt instruments of certain sectors. The on-tap TLTROs will have tenors of up to three years at a floating rate linked to the policy repo rate and the scheme will be available up to 31 March 2021.

• Real GDP growth is expected to be negative. The RBI’s MPC has pegged the real GDP growth for FY21 to contract by 9.5%.

Accommodative stance of RBI’s Monetary Policy Statement:

The MPC also decided to continue with the accommodative stance as long as it is necessary to revive growth and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on the economy, while ensuring that inflation remains within the target going forward.

2. Indian Air Force Day: 08 October

Indian Air Force Day is celebrated every year by the Indian Air Force on 8th of October. This year Indian Air Force celebrated its 88th anniversary. Indian Air Force was officially established on 8 October 1932 by the British Empire as the Royal Indian Air Force. The name was changed to Indian Air Force in 1950. The special occasion will be celebrated with a ceremonial parade and flypast involving a variety of aircraft at the Hindon airbase. IAF’s frontline warplanes like Rafale, Su30MKI, Apache, Tejas, ‘Gajraj’ will showcase its lethal firepower. 56 aircraft, including 19 fighters and seven transport aircraft along with 19 helicopters, would be taking part in aerial display during this year’s Air Force Day Parade. The Rafale fighter aircraft would fly in the ‘Vijay’ formation along with the Jaguars and then in the ‘Transformer’ formation with the Sukhoi-30 MKI and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter aircraft during the IAF Day parade this year.

3.PM Modi dedicates Atal Tunnel to the nation

The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has dedicated Atal Tunnel to the nation, on 3rd October 2020. In December 2019, the Government has decided to name the Rohtang Tunnel as Atal Tunnel in honour of the former Prime Minister and scholar Atal Bihari Vajpayee. The Atal Bihari Vajpayee government had taken the decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass on June 3, 2000, and the foundation stone for the access road to the south portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.

About Atal Tunnel:

• Atal Tunnel is the world’s longest highway tunnel above 10,000 feet from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).

• The tunnel has been named after former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee.

• Atal tunnel has been built, by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO), under the Rohtang Pass in the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas on the Leh-Manali Highway in Himachal Pradesh.

• The total length of the tunnel is 9.02 km and at an elevation of 3,100 metres (10,171 ft).

• The overall cost of completion of the project is around Rs. 3200 crore.

4.International Affairs

• An IEEE Spectrum report, the Beijing-based company is set to send the world’s first mining robot named ‘asteroid mining robot’ into space by November 2020 to identify and extract resources. The mining robot will be launched into space by a Chinese Long March series rocket.

• The Kuwaiti government, headed by Prime Minister(PM) Sabah Al Khalid Al Sabah submitted its resignation to Emir Nawaf Al Ahmed Al Jaber Al Sabah in anticipation of the upcoming general elections that are due to be held in November 2020. He took charge as the PM in 2019.

• Russia successfully test-fired a Tsirkon hypersonic cruise missile in the Arctic. The Missile was fired from the Admiral Gorshkov frigate in the White Sea, Russian Arctic. The missile covered a distance of 450 km with the maximum altitude of its trajectory at 28 km.

• King of Jordan, Abdullah II ibn Al Hussein has appointed Bishr al-Khasawneh, policy advisor to the king, as new Prime Minister of the country.

5.Banking/Economy/Business News

The World Bank projected India’s GDP to contract by 9.6% this FY-21, which is reflective of the national lockdown and the income shock experienced by households and firms due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The World Bank earlier in June had estimated the Indian economy to shrink by 3.2% in the current fiscal.

6. Defence News

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired a new version of the surface-to-surface nuclear-capable ballistic missile “Shaurya” at Balasore, off the coast of Odisha


• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully flight tested the “Supersonic Missile Assisted Release of Torpedo” (SMART) from Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha.

• The seventh offshore patrol vessel of the Indian Coast Guard (ICG), ”Vigraha” was formally unveiled at the Kattupalli port, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The vessel, built by Larsen and Toubro, is the last in the series of seven OPVs contracted to the company by the Ministry of Defence in 2015.

• The DRDO has successfully flight-tested a new generation Anti-Radiation Missile (RUDRAM-1) at the Wheeler Island off the coast of Odisha. The missile was launched from SU-30 Mk1 fighter aircraft.

• A two-day Coastal Security Exercise namely ‘Sagar Kavach’ conducted by the Indian Navy along with Indian Coast Guard and all stakeholders involved in Coastal Security from the coast of Kerala. The exercise was monitored from Joint Operations Centre, Kochi.

7. Science and Technology

• World Space Week (WSW) is observed from October 4 to 10 every year to celebrate science and technology, and their contribution towards the betterment of the human condition. The 2020 theme is “Satellites Improve Life.”

• National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched the Northrop Grumman Cygnus resupply spacecraft named “SS Kalpana Chawla” after its astronaut Kalpana Chawla.

• The Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) will be commissioning India’s largest HPC-AI supercomputer ‘PARAM Siddhi – AI’. This initiative will place India among the top countries in global AI supercomputing research and innovation. The initiative was headed by Abhishek Das, Scientist and Program Director (HPC-AI Infrastructure Development) at C-DAC, who conceived the idea and designed the architecture for the largest HPC-AI infrastructure in India.

8. Awards and Recognitions

• The Right Livelihood Award Foundation has announced the four winners of the 2020 Right Livelihood Award 2020 which is also known as the alternative Nobel Prize in Stockholm. The four activists Ales Bialiatski of Belarus, Nasrin Sotoudeh of Iran, Bryan Stevenson of the United States(US) and Lottie Cunningham Wren of Nicaragua shared the 2020 award for their contribution towards equality, democracy, justice and freedom.

• The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2020 was awarded jointly to Harvey J. Alter(America), Charles M. Rice (America) and Michael Houghton (Britain) for the discovery of the Hepatitis C virus.

• The Indo-American Chamber of Commerce (IACC) has presented the lifetime achievement award to business icon Ratan Tata for his pioneering role in the Business Relations of India-USA and for his lifetime achievement in Global Leadership. This award was announced in the virtual event of IACC “COVID Crusader Award-2020”.

• The Nobel Prize in Physics 2020 was divided, one half awarded to Roger Penrose for the discovery that black hole formation is a robust prediction of the general theory of relativity. The other half jointly to Reinhard Genzel and Andrea Ghez for the discovery of a supermassive compact object at the centre of our galaxy.

• The 2020 Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded to Emmanuelle Charpentier and Jennifer A. Doudna “for the development of a method for genome editing”. The Nobel Prize in Chemistry is awarded by The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm, Sweden.

• The Nobel Prize in Literature for 2020 is awarded to the American poet Louise Glück “for her unmistakable poetic voice that with austere beauty makes individual existence universal”.

• Noted Odia poet, Nityanand Nayak will be conferred the prestigious Sarala Puraskar for his poetry work ‘Setebelaku Nathiba’, published in 2017.

• The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 to the World Food Programme (WFP). The World Food Programme is the world’s largest humanitarian organization addressing hunger and promoting food security. In 2019, the WFP provided assistance to close to 100 million people in 88 countries who are victims of acute food insecurity and hunger.

• The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) Chairman Mukesh Ambani, has topped the Forbes India Rich list for 2020. The tycoon added $37.3 billion to his net worth, to bring his total fortune to $88.7 billion, a rise of 73% over the previous year. The second spot has been retained by Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani, with a net worth of $25.2 billion. Tech tycoon Shiv Nadar acquired the third spot with a net worth of $20.4 billion.

9. Obituaries

• Three-time member of Legislative Council and veteran Samajwadi Party leader from Auraiya, Mulayam Singh Yadav passed away. He had been the block chief of Auraiya’s block, Bhagya Nagar for more than a decade.

• Veteran Bollywood actor, Vishal Anand has passed away. He came to fame with 1976 super-hit song and film ‘Chalte Chalte’..

• Union minister of consumer affairs, food and public distribution, Ram Vilas Paswan passed away. He was born on 5 July 1946. He was also the president of the Lok Janshakti Party, eight-time Lok Sabha member and current Rajya Sabha MP.

• Mario José Molina, the only Mexican scientist to receive the Nobel Prize, passed away. He was born on 19th March 1943 in Mexico City, Mexico. He shared the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry with Frank Sherwood Rowland of the United States(US) and Paul Crutzen of the Netherlands for their 1970 research on the damage to the Ozone layer.

• Former Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court, Justice KK Usha, passed away. She served as a judge from 1991 to 2000. And when she was appointed Chief Justice of the Kerala High Court from 2000 to 2001, Justice Usha became the first woman to join the High Court Judiciary from the Bar and became a Chief Justice.

Weekly Current Affairs 28th September to 04th October 2020

1.RBI extends enhanced borrowing limit for banks under MSF till Mar 31, 2021

• RBI extended the enhanced borrowing facility provided to banks under the Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) scheme by six months till March 31, 2021. • It was initially available up to June 30, 2020, and was later extended up to September 30, 2020, due to economic disruptions amid COVID-19. • On March 27, this borrowing limit for scheduled banks was increased from 2% to 3% of their Net Demand and Time Liabilities (NDTL).

2.All India Football Federation awards 2019-20 announced

All India Football Federation (AIFF) awards 2019-20 has announced. Indian men’s team Goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu has won the 2019-’20 AIFF Player of the year awards in men’s category. The women’s squad’s midfielder Sanju Yadav from Haryana has won the 2019- ’20 AIFF Player of the year awards in women’s category.

Here is the complete list of 2019-20 AIFF AWARDS:

• 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Footballer of the Year: Gurpreet Singh Sandhu.

• 2019-20 AIFF Women’s Player of the Year: Sanju Yadav.

• 2019-20 AIFF Men’s Emerging Footballer of the Year: Anirudh Thapa.

• 2019-20 AIFF Emerging Women’s Footballer of the Year: Ratanbala Devi.

• 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Assistant Referee: P. Vaira-Muthu (from Tamil Nadu).

• 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Referee: L. Ajit Kumar Meetei (from Manipur).

• 2019-20 AIFF Award for the Best Grassroots Development Programme: West Bengal (based on E-licence courses and Golden Baby Leagues).

3. Kerala Tourism wins PATA Grand Award 2020

Kerala Tourism’s ‘Human by Nature Print Campaign’ bagged the Prestigious Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) Grand Title Winner 2020 for Marketing. The awards were announced during a presentation ceremony of Virtual PATA Travel Mart 2020 in Beijing. The PATA Awards are supported and sponsored by Macao Government Tourist Office (MGTO).

PATA Grand Title Winners 2020:


PATA Grand Title

Category winner


PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 for Marketing

‘Human by Nature Print Campaign’
by Kerala Tourism, India


PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 for Sustainability

‘Anurak Community Lodge’
by YAANA Ventures, Thailand


PATA Grand Title Winner 2020 in Human Capital Development

‘Unleashing Greatness’
by MGM China, Macao,China.

4. Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020 announced

The Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize 2020 was announced by the Union science and technology minister Dr Harsh Vardhan at the Foundation Day celebration of the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) on 26th September.

The Prize is awarded annually for notable and outstanding research, applied or fundamental, in the following disciplines:

• Biological Sciences

• Chemical Sciences

• Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences

• Engineering Sciences • Mathematical Sciences

• Medical Sciences • Physical Sciences.

Here is the list of (14) Fourteen scientists awardees:

Biological Sciences:

• Dr Subhadeep Chatterjee,

• Dr Vatsala Thirumalai

Chemical Sciences

• Dr Jyotirmayee Dash,

• Dr Subi Jacob George

Earth, Atmosphere, Ocean and Planetary Sciences

• Dr Abhijit Mukherjee

• Dr Suryendu Dutta

Engineering Sciences

• Dr Amol Arvindrao Kulkarni

• Dr Kinshuk Dasgupta

Mathematics Sciences

• Dr UK Anandavardhanan,

• Dr Rajat Subhra Hazra

Medicine Sciences

• Dr Bushra Ateeq

• Dr Ritesh Agarwal

Physics Sciences

• Dr Rajesh Ganapathy

• Dr Surajit Dhara

5.National News

• Dr Harsh Vardhan has launched the ICMR’s vaccine web portal and National Clinical Registry for Covid-19. This vaccine web portal will provide information related to the COVID-19 vaccine development in India and abroad. ICMR’s Mobile Stroke Unit was also launched. The Mobile Stroke Unit will ensure timely and appropriate treatment to people suffering from heart disease and hypertension.

• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development will begin a Sanitation Literacy Campaign (SLC) in Karnataka to promote literacy on ‘WASH’ (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) in 2,000 villages covering one lakh rural population.

• Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawarchand Gehlot e-launched the “Ambedkar Social Innovation and Incubation Mission (ASIIM)” under the Venture Capital Fund for Scheduled Castes (SCs) to promote innovation and enterprise among SC students studying in higher educational institutions.

• Union Minister of Tribal Affairs Shri Arjun Munda has launched the Tribal Entrepreneurship Development Programme. • National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has announced a special refinance facility of Rs 800 crore for Fiscal Year 2021. With this, NABARD will support the Government of India’s Water, Sanitisation and Hygiene (WASH) programme.

• West Bengal government has launched the “Pathashree Abhijan” scheme. It is a road repair scheme, where more than 7,000 stretches of roads comprising 12,000 kilometers across the state will be repaired in a mission mode and in a time-bound manner.

6.Banking/Economy/Business News

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has granted in-principle approval to Vakrangee Ltd to set up Bharat Bill Payment Operating Unit (BBPOU) to handle payment services related to bills. It will operate BBPOU under the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007.

• Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI) become the first to implement the new feature of document embedding facility with Letter of Credit (LC) / Bank Guarantee (BG) messages over SFMS (Structured Financial Messaging System) platform of Indian Financial Technology and Allied Services (IFTAS).

• Indian Bank has launched a green initiative named “IB-eNote” to enable a total paperless working environment. This tool enables processing and tracking of notes put up by various offices digitally. The Bank also launched ‘Ind Guru’, an e-learning platform for its employees.

• National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has projected the GDP growth for the Indian economy at -12.6% for 2020-21 (FY21). • Rating agency ICRA has revised its forecast for the contraction in India’s FY21 GDP to 11%.

7. Appointments/Resignations

• Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has appointed Neetu David as the Chairman of the 5 member women’s national selection panel. The other member of the newly-elected panel includes Mithu Mukherjee, Renu Margrate, Arati Vaidya and V Kalpana.

• The Khadi and Village Industries Commission has appointed Sunil Sethi as its Advisor. He will succeed fashion designer Ritu Beri.

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has appointed P.D. Vaghela as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory of India (TRAI). He will succeed RS Sharma.

• Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has announced Shekhar Kapur as the new President of Film and Television Institute of India (FTII) Society and Chairman of FTII Governing Council. He will replace television producer BP Singh.

8.Sports News

• Australian woman cricketer and wicketkeeper, Alyssa Healy broke the record of “Most Dismissal by Wicket Keeper” of MS Dhoni.

• Valtteri Bottas (Mercedes-Finland) has won the Formula One Russian Grand Prix 2020 held at Sochi Autodrom, Russia.

• The Minister of State for Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju has launched the new logo of Sports Authority of India’s (SAI). The new logo of SAI features a flying figure which indicates the freedom an athlete to leapfrog his/her career in SAI.

9. Science and Technology

• IIT Madras has successfully developed ‘MOUSHIK’, an indigenously-made microprocessor for the Internet of things (IoT) devices. ‘MOUSHIK’ is a processor cum a system-on-chip that can cater to the rapidly-growing IoT devices, an integral part of smart cities of a digital India.

10. Defence News

• The fourth edition of biennial Japan-India Maritime bilateral Exercise (JIMEX) kicked off in the northern Arabia Sea.

• ITBP Director General, S S Deswal has been given the additional charge of counter-terrorism force National Security Guard (NSG) as its incumbent chief A K Singh is going to retire on September 30.

• BrahMos surface-to-surface supersonic cruise missile featuring indigenous Booster and Airframe Section along with many other ‘Made in India’ subsystems was successfully flight tested from ITR, Balasore in Odisha.

• Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh launched the Defence India Startup Challenge (DISC 4) during the iDEX event. iDEX4Fauji initiative and Product Management Approach (PMA) guidelines were also launched by the Raksha Mantri during the event.

• The second edition of Indian Navy (IN) – Bangladesh Navy (BN) Bilateral Exercise Bongosagar commences in Northern Bay of Bengal. • The Indian Coast Guard Vessel Karnaklata Barua was commissioned at Kolkata. It is the fifth and last in a series of Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.

11. Obituaries

• The former Union Minister, Jaswant Singh passed away.

• Renowned economist, Dr Isher Judge Ahluwalia passed away. She served as the director and then the chairperson of Delhi-based Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER).

• Assam’s first and only woman chief minister, Syeda Anwara Taimur passed away.

• Veteran songwriter, Abhilash passed away. He was best known for the song ‘Itni Shakti Hame Dena Daata’ from the 1986 film Ankush.

• Veteran writer and critic Dr G S Amur passed away.

Weekly Current Affairs 21th to 27th of September 2020

1. 8 Indian beaches recommended for ‘Blue Flag’ eco-label

In a first-of-its-kind initiative, eight beaches of India have been recommended for the Blue flag certification. The selection of the beaches was made by an independent national jury composed of eminent environmentalists and scientists. This announcement was made by the Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC), Prakash Javadekar on 18 September during a virtual event. What is Blue Flag certification? • The Blue Flag certificate is an internationally recognized eco-label given by ‘Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark’. • Blue Flag beaches are considered the benchmark for clean and hygienic beaches in the world. The eight beaches selected for Blue flag certification are 1. Shivrajpur in Gujarat 2. Ghoghla in Daman & Diu 3. Kasarkod in Karnataka 4. Padubidri beach in Karnataka 5. Kappad in Kerala 6. Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh 7. The golden beach of Odisha 8. Radhanagar beach in Andaman and Nicobar During the event, Union Minister Javadekar also announced the launch of India’s own eco-label ‘Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services’ (BEAMS).
About BEAMS: This initiative has been launched under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project. The project will be implemented by the Society of Integrated Coastal Management (SICOM), under MoEFCC BEAMS program aims to mitigate pollution in coastal waters, promote sustainable development of beach facilities, maintain high standards of cleanliness, hygiene & safety for beachgoers in accordance with coastal environment & regulations.

2.RBI publishes “’Technology Vision for Cyber Security’ for UCBs

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will implement the “Technology Vision for Cyber Security’ for Urban Cooperative Banks (2020-2023) to enhance the IT security system of Urban Co-operative banking to prevent, detect, respond to and recover from cyber attacks. The Technology Vision Document aims at enhancing the cyber security posture of the Urban Co-operative banking sector against evolving IT and cyber threat environment. RBI will achieve this objective using its five-pillared strategic approach ‘GUARD’. GUARD denotes: G – Governance Oversight, U – Utile Technology Investment, A – Appropriate Regulation and Supervision, R – Robust Collaboration D – Developing necessary IT, cyber security skills set. To accomplish the five pillared approach, RBI has established 12 specific action points spires to: • Involve more Board Oversight over Cyber security. • Enable UCBs to better manage and secure their IT Assets. • Implement an offsite supervisory mechanism framework for UCBs on cyber security-related controls. • Develop a forum for UCBs so that they can share best practices and discuss practical issues and challenges. • Implement a framework for providing awareness/ training for all UCBs.

The cyber security landscape will continue to evolve with the wider adoption of digital banking channels, thus necessitating the UCBs to manage the associated risks effectively. Active collaboration within UCBs and their stakeholders would be necessary for sharing and coordinating various measures taken on cyber security aspects. The implementation of this Technology Vision document will strengthen the cyber resilience of the Urban Co-operative Banks.

3.72nd Emmy award 2020 announced

The 72nd Emmy Awards 2020 marks the beginning of Hollywood’s first major show in the times of COVID-19. The ceremony was hosted by Jimmy Kimmel at an empty theatre in Los Angeles with cutouts of the nominees placed in the audience.

Here’s the winners’ list of the Emmy Awards 2020:

• Drama Series: Succession • Supporting Actress in a Drama Series: Julia Garner, Ozark • Supporting Actor in a Drama Series: Billy Crudup, The Morning Show • Outstanding Directing for a Drama Series: Succession • Outstanding Writing for a Drama Series: Succession • Lead Actress in a Drama Series: Zendaya, Euphoria • Lead Actor in a Drama Series: Jeremy Strong, Succession • Limited Series: Watchmen • Supporting Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Uzo Aduba, Mrs America • Supporting Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Watchmen • Outstanding Directing for a Limited Series, Movie or Dramatic Special: Unorthodox • Outstanding Writing for a Limited Series: Watchmen • Lead Actor in a Limited Series or Movie: Mark Ruffalo, I Know This Much Is True • Lead Actress in a Limited Series or Movie: Regina King, Watchmen • Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series: Annie Murphy, Schitt’s Creek • Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series: Daniel Levy, Schitt’s Creek • Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series: Schitt’s Creek • Lead Actor in a Comedy Series: Eugene Levy, Schitt’s Creek • Lead Actress in a Comedy Series: Catherine O’Hara, Schitt’s Creek • Competition Program: RuPaul’s Drag Race • Variety Talk Series: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver • Outstanding Television Movie: Bad Education.
About Emmy Award : An Emmy Award, or simply Emmy, is an American award that recognizes excellence in the television industry. It is presented at numerous annual events held throughout the calendar year, each honouring one of the various sectors of the television industry.

4. India ranked 116th in the World Bank’s Human Capital Index

World Bank released the report titled “The Human Capital Index 2020 Update: Human Capital in the Time of COVID-19”. The Human Capital Index (HCI) 2020. is a collaboration between the Human Development Practice Group and the Development Economics Group of the World Bank. India has been ranked at the 116th position among 174 countries in the Human Capital Index 2020.

Top 3 Human Capital Index 2020:















Hongkong and China






5. PM Modi in Time Magazine’s ‘100 most influential people of 2020’ list

Time Magazine has released the TIME 100 Most Influential People List 2020. Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi is the only politician on the list. He has been named in this for the fourth time since coming in power in 2014. The List has named people in five categories: Pioneers, Artists, Leaders, Titans, Icons.
The following Indians have also been named in this list: • Professor Ravindra Gupta (Pioneer), is a Professor of Clinical Microbiology and has worked for the cure of HIV. • Ayushmann Khurrana (Artists). • Bilkis (Icons), the ‘Dadi from Shaheen Bagh’.

6.International Affairs

• Mali’s former defence minister, Bah Ndaw has been named as Interim President of the country’s new transition government. On 19th August 2020, Mali President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation with immediate effect following a military mutiny in the Republic of Mali. • Former rebel military commander, Ishmael Toroama has been elected as president of Bougainville, an autonomous region of Papua New Guinea. This was the first general election since Bougainville voted overwhelmingly to separate from Papua New Guinea in November 2019. • President of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed has appointed Mohamed Hussein Roble as the new Prime Minister of Somalia. He will replace former Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, who was voted out of office by parliament in July for failing to pave the way for fully democratic elections due before February 2021.

7.Books and Authors

• Former US President, Barack Obama has announced his first presidential memoir titled “A Promised Land.” A Promised Land is the first of two volumes of the book. This volume tells about his early political life, his presidential campaign in 2008, and ending with the death of Osama bin Laden in 2011. • Star chef Vikas Khanna has authored a book titled “Kitchens of Gratitude” in which he has written about his Feed India initiative. Feed India initiative is one of the largest food drives in the world, serving meals to the underprivileged. The book will be released in 2021. He will also be honoured with the 2020 Asia Game Changer Award in October. • A new book titled “Voices of Dissent” authored by Historian Romila Thapar will be jointly published by Penguin Random House India and Seagull Books. The book is set to publish in October 2020.

8. Defence News

• The Indian Navy (IN) has commenced a Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Australian Navy (RAN) in the East Indian Ocean Region. The exercise would involve participation of HMAS Hobart from the Australian side and Indian Naval Ships Sahyadri and Karmuk. • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted a successful flight test of ABHYAS, a High-speed Expendable Aerial Target (HEAT) from the Interim Test Range, Balasore in Odisha. ABHYAS can be used as a target for evaluation of various missile systems. ABHYAS has been designed and developed by the Aeronautical Development Establishment (ADE) of the DRDO. • Flight Lieutenant, Shivangi Singh to become the first woman fighter pilot of India to fly the Rafale combat aircraft that was formally inducted into the Indian Air Force(IAF) September 10, 2020. She is one of the 10 Indian women fighter pilots in IAF. Five Rafale Aircraft were formally inducted into the IAF’s 17 Squadron ‘Golden Arrows’ on September 10, 2020, at a function held at Air Force Station, Ambala (Haryana).

9. Science and Technology

• A 17-year-old girl, Khushi Chindaliya has been appointed as Regional Ambassador for India by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)- Tunza Eco-Generation. In her new role, Khusi will raise awareness about climate change and the importance of environmental conservation and the need to safeguard environmental treasures.

10. Awards and Recognitions

• Kerala has won the United Nations Inter-Agency Task Force on the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases Awards 2020 for its “outstanding contribution” towards the non- communicable diseases-related sustainable development goals. Kerala has been awarded for the tireless service of the state in the health sector. This is the first time for Kerala to be recognised by this annual UN Award and along with Kerala 6 other health ministries across the globe have won the 2020 UNIATF Award.

11. Ranks and Reports

• According to the World Risk Index (WRI) 2020, India has been ranked at the 89th spot among 181 Countries. WRI has been developed in cooperation with the United Nations University’s Institute for Environment and Human Security (UNUEHS) and calculated by the International Law of Peace and Armed Conflict (IFHV).

12. Sports News

• Novak Djokovic has defeated Argentine Diego Schwartzman, 7-6, 5-3, to win 2020 Men’s Single Italian Open title and his fifth overall Rome title. In Women’s single, Simona Halep defeated champion Karolina Pliskova, 6-0, 2-1, to win her first Italian Open title. • The top-ranked Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) player in the world and a former professional cricket player, Ashleigh Barty has now added another feat

Weekly One Liners 14th to 20th of September 2020

1. India becomes member of UN’s ECOSOC body

India has been elected as a member of the United Nation’s Commission on Status of Women, a body of the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC). India will be a member of United Nation’s Commission on Status of Women for four years, 2021 to ‘25. India, Afghanistan and China had contested the elections to the Commission on Status of Women. Even as India and Afghanistan won the ballot among the 54 members, China could not cross the half-way mark. About ECOSOC: The Economic and Social Council is at the heart of the United Nations system to advance the three dimensions of sustainable development – economic, social and environmental. It is the central platform for fostering debate and innovative thinking, forging consensus on ways forward, and coordinating efforts to achieve internationally agreed goals. It is also responsible for the follow-up to major UN conferences and summits

2.IMD’s Global Smart City Index 2020

The Institute for Management Development, in collaboration with Singapore University for Technology and Design (SUTD), has released the Smart City Index 2020. In 2020 Smart City Index, 109 cities were surveyed. The index ranks cities based on economic and technological data, as well as by their citizens’ perceptions of how “smart” their cities are. The index has been topped by Singapore, followed by Helsinki and Zurich as top three smart cities. In the 2020 Smart City Index, Hyderabad was the top Indian city, placed at the 85th position. The Indian cities have witnessed a significant drop in their rankings in the Smart City Index 2020.

List of Indian cities in the index: • Hyderabad: 85 (67th in 2019) • New Delhi: 86 (68th in 2019) • Mumbai: 93 (78th in 2019) • Bengaluru: 95 (79th in 2019).

3. National Affairs

India and the United States held a bilateral 2+2 Intersessional meeting in virtual mode. During the meeting, both sides reviewed the progress and developments in bilateral ties in defence, security, and foreign policy areas. • Prime Minister Shri NarendraModi has addressed the ‘GrihPravesham’ event in Madhya Pradesh through video conferencing. Under this, 1.75 Lakh Families in Madhya Pradesh were delivered pucca houses under the PradhanMantriAwasYojana- Grameen (PMAY-G). • Central Government has constituted an Empowered Group of Ministers (EGoM) to oversee the process of the corporatisation of the Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Defence Minister Rajnath Singh is the chairman of this EGoM. • The Lok Sabha has passed the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on 15 September 2020. The bill seeks to cut salaries of all Members of Parliaments (MPs) by 30 per cent for a period of one year commencing April 1, 2020, to meet the urgent financial need arising out COVID-19 pandemic.

4. International Affairs

Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, YoshihideSuga has been elected as the new Chief of country’s ruling, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and Prime Ministerdesignate of Japan. The 71-year-old will assume charge of the office from 16 September 2020. • TikTok has chosen Oracle to be its technology partner for its American operations. Microsoft was also in a bid to acquire TikTok in the United States but the Chinese owner of the video-sharing platform “TikTok” chose Oracle over Microsoft to be its technology partner for its American operations. • Mexico has become the first country in the world to issue a sovereign bond linked to the sustainable development goals set by the United Nations. It has raised EUR 750 million ($890 million) by such bonds. The SDG bond will mature in September 2027 and offers a yield to maturity rate of 1.603% and a coupon rate of 1.350%. This new bond was issued under Mexico’s new “SDG Sovereign Bond Framework,” which was released in February in partnership with French investment bank Natixis.

5. Banking/Economy/Business News

The Indian rating agency, CARE Ratings has projected the GDP of India to contract in the range 8 to 8.2% for 2020-21 (FY21). This is more than its earlier projection of -6.4%. The decline in GDP growth by around 8 per cent would also be associated with a decline in the gross fixed capital formation. • S&P Global Ratings has projected the GDP of India to contract by 9% in the fiscal year 2020-21 (FY21), as against its previous estimate of a 5% contraction, due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. For the FY22 (2021-22), S&P expects GDP growth of 6% and for the FY23 (2022-23), GDP growth is projected at 6.2%. • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has estimated that the GDP of India is expected to contract by 9% in fiscal 2020-21 (FY21). This estimate is worse than ADB’s previous estimate of -4%. • The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) expects the Indian economy to contract by 10.2% in FY21 (2020-21) as compared to its previous estimate of 16.7% in June. For FY22 (2021-22), the Paris-based OECD projects India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 10.7%.

6. Appointments/Resignations

Subhash Kamath has been elected as the chairman of the board of governors of the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI). Kamath, who was serving as ASCI vice-chairman, will replace Rohit Gupta, president, Sony Pictures Networks. • Citigroup has named Jane Fraser as its next chief executive officer. She will be the first female CEO of this major global bank. She will succeed Michael Corbat, who is retiring in February 2021. • A 1988 batch IAS officer, Rajesh Khullar has been appointed as Executive Director at World Bank in Washington DC. • Janata Dal (United) parliamentarian Harivansh Narayan Singh has been re-elected as the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha. • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Takeo Konishi as its new Country Director for India. Konishi will replace Kenichi Yokoyama who has taken over as Director-General of ADB’s South Asia Department.

7. Defence News

The 10th Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) Group Meeting was held virtually by the Indian and U.S. Defense Delegations. The meeting was co-chaired by Mr. Raj Kumar, Secretary, Defence Production, from the Indian Ministry of Defence and Ms. Ellen M. Lord, Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition and Sustainment, from the U.S. Department of Defense.

8. Summits & Conferences

Minister of State for External Affairs V Muraleedharan participated in the 27th ASEAN regional forum. During the 27th ASEAN regional forum, the minister shared India’s views on maritime security, counter terrorism as well as the COVID-19 pandemic. He also stated that India will co-chair ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF) workshops on port security and the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea. • The Environment Ministerial Meeting (EMM) of the G20 countries was held through video conferencing under the Presidency of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Union Environment, Climate Change and Forest Minister ShriPrakashJavadekar represented India in the meeting. • External Affairs Minister of the Republic of India, Shri S. Jaishankar, chaired the customary meeting of IBSA Foreign Ministers through video conferencing. During the meet, India, Brazil and South Africa emphasized the need for the international community to redouble efforts to achieve tangible progress for accelerated and comprehensive reform of the UN Security Council. The ministers adopted the IBSA Joint Ministerial Statement on the Reform of the UN Security Council, as a common endeavour of the Global South. • 10th Meeting of the BRICS High Representatives on National Security was held virtually by the current chair of BRICS i.e. Russia. National Security Advisor Ajit Doval represented India in a virtual meet of top security officials from Brazil-Russia-India-ChinaSouth Africa (BRICS) grouping.

9. Awards and Recognitions

Managing Director of HDFC Bank, AdityaPuri has been conferred the Lifetime Achievement Award by Euromoney Awards of Excellence 2020. He has been awarded for his skills in building a world-class bank in India at a time where there were no similar institutions in existence. The Fiumicino International Airport (FCO) in Rome, Italy, has become the first airport in the world to be certified with “COVID-19 5- star airport rating” from Skytrax, a U.K.-based airport and airline review firm. FCO, also known as the Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport, is the busiest airport in Italy. • Chef VikasKhanna has been chosen to be honoured with the prestigious Asia Game Changer Award 2020. This award is given to him for feeding millions of people across India in the COVID-19 pandemic through a massive food distribution drive ‘FeedIndia’. • Margaret Atwood has won the 2020 Dayton Literary Peace Prize's lifetime achievement award. The award celebrates literature's power to foster peace, social justice and global understanding.

10. Sports News

Japan’s Naomi Osaka defeated Victoria Azarenka of Belarus to clinch the Women’s Singles title in the 2020 US Open Tennis tournament. • Austria’s Dominic Thiem defeated Alexander Zverev to win the men’s singles title at the 2020 US Open tournament. • Lewis Hamilton (Mercedes-Great Britain) has won the Formula One Tuscan Grand Prix 2020 held at Mugello Circuit, Italy. This was his 6th win of the season and 90th F1 win of his career. • The Badminton World Federation (BWF) has announced that the Thomas Cup and the Uber Cup, which were scheduled to be held from 3 to 11 October 2020 in Denmark, has been postponed for 2021.

11. Obituaries

Former Union minister and veteran leader of RashtriyaJanata Dal (RJD), Raghuvansh Prasad Singh passed away. He was a member of the 15th LokSabha of India and represented the Vaishali constituency of Bihar. • Veteran Congress leader and former Chhattisgarh minister, Chanesh Ram Rathiya passed away due to COVID-19. He was elected as an MLA for the first time in 1977 from Dharamjaigarh constituency in the then undivided Madhya Pradesh. • Former Maharashtra cricketer, SadashivPatil passed away. He had represented India in only one Test and played 36 first-class matches between 1952 and 1964. • Social activist and AryaSamaj leader, Swami Agnivesh, who is widely known for his work against slavery and bonded labour, has passed away. • Veteran scholar of Indian classical dance, art, architecture and art history, DrKapilaVatsyayan passed away. She was the founding Director of the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts. She was the former Member of Parliament and had served as Education Secretary. • Former President of Republic of Mali, who was in power from 1968 to 1991, General MoussaTraore passed away. • The shortest-serving Governor of the Reserve Bank of India, AmitabhaGhosh passed away. He had served as the 16th Governor of the Reserve Bank of India for 21 days between January 15, 1985, to February 4, 1985. • RajyaSabha MP from Karnataka, Ashok Gasti passed away due to COVID-19. He was born in 1965 and belonged to Raichur district, Karnataka. • Tamil Nadu based prominent Indian Ayurveda physician, PR Krishnakumar passed away. He was the Founder and Managing Director of the iconic Coimbatore AryaVaidya Pharmacy (AVP) as well as the Chancellor of the renowned Avinashilingam University in Coimbatore.

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