GK Update 15th July 2021

1. Piyush Goyal appointed Leader of House in Rajya Sabha

  • Union Minister Piyush Goyal has been appointed as the Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha. His appointment is effective from July 06, 2021. He will succeed Thawar Chand Gahlot, who has taken charge as the Governor of Karnataka.
  • Mr. Goyal, a two-time Rajya Sabha MP, is currently the deputy leader of the NDA as well as the Union Minister in the Cabinet.
  • He is serving as the Union Minister of Textiles, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution. The Leader of the House is responsible for organizing government meetings and business in the House.

2. India’s first ‘Grain ATM’ open in Gurugram

  • The country’s first ‘Grain ATM’ has been set up as a pilot project in Gurugram, Haryana. It is an automatic machine, which works just like a bank ATM.
  • This machine has been installed under the ‘World Food Programme’ of the United Nations (UN), and is called the ‘Automated, Multi Commodity, Grain Dispensing Machine’.
  • This automatic machine is equipped with the biometric system with a touch screen, where the beneficiary will have to enter the Aadhaar or ration card unique number.
  • On biometric authentication, the foodgrain prescribed by the government to the beneficiaries will be automatically filled in the bags installed under the machine.
  • Three types of grains — wheat, rice and millet — can be distributed through this machine. At present, the distribution of wheat has been started from the ‘Grain ATM’ machine installed at Farrukhnagar.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Haryana Capital: Chandigarh;
  • Haryana Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya;
  • Haryana Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar.

3. Ladakh signs MoU with Sikkim to turn UT organic by 2025

  • The union territory of Ladakh organic, the administration of Ladakh, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Sikkim State Organic Certification Agency (SOCCA).
  • A tripartite MOU has been signed between Ladakh and SSOCA regarding the implementation of Prampragat Krishi Vikas Yojana and Mission Organic Development Initiative (MODI) in the Ladakh region with the aim to convert Ladakh into organic by 2025.
  • The main objective of this MOU is to get the organic certification after a tie-up with the Government of India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Governors & Administrators of Ladakh: Radha Krishna Mathur.

4. RBI Launches ‘Retail Direct Scheme’

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has launched ‘the RBI Retail Direct’ scheme for retail investors, through which they can directly buy and sell government securities (G-Secs), both primary and secondary.
  • The bond-buying window was opened to increase retail participation in G-Secs and democratize ownership of G-Secs beyond the managers of pooled resources such as banks and mutual funds. The date of commencement of the scheme will be announced later.
  • The RBI Retail Direct scheme is a one-stop solution to facilitate investment in Government Securities (G-Secs) by individual investors.
  • This dedicated bond-buying window is a part of RBI’s effort to increase retail participation in government securities.
  • The scheme also provides the facility to Retail investors (individuals) to open and maintain the ‘Retail Direct Gilt Account’ (RDG Account) with RBI.
  • Under this scheme, retail investors are able to open and maintain their gilt securities account named ‘Retail Direct Gilt Account’ (RDG Account) through a ‘With RBI’online portal‘.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

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

5. RBI cancels licence of Dr Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar Urban Co-operative Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has cancelled the licence of Dr Shivajirao Patil Nilangekar Urban Co-operative Bank Ltd, Nilanga, Latur, as it does not have adequate capital and earning prospects.
  • The Maharashtra-based bank with its current financial position would be unable to pay its depositors in full, the central bank said while announcing the cancellation of its licence. The bank ceases to carry on banking business, with effect from the close of business.
  • With the cancellation of its licence, the bank has been prohibited from conducting the business of ”banking” that includes acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits with immediate effect.

6. RBI imposes restrictions on Mastercard Asia from adding new customers

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed restrictions on Mastercard Asia/Pacific Private Limited for adding new domestic customers from 22nd July 2021.
  • MasterCard will not be allowed to add customers, be it for debit, credit or pre-paid cards onto its network as the entity has failed to comply with the directions on Storage of Payment System Data.
  • This order will not impact existing Mastercard customers, RBI asked the company to inform all card-issuing banks and non-banks to conform to these directions.
  • It may be recalled that RBI had issued a circular in April 2018, directing all system providers to ensure that all information related to payments systems operated by them are stored in India. All the firms were given a period of six months to comply and report compliance to RBI.

7. Cabinet approves increase in DA and Dearness Relief from 17% to 28%

  • The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved an increase in the Dearness Allowance to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief to pensioners to 28 per cent.
  • This hike represents an increase of 11 per cent over the existing rate of 17 per cent of the basic pay/pension.
  • The increased DA and DR rates will be effective from July 1, 2021.
  • It must be noted that both Dearness allowance and dearness relief was put on hold from January 2020, in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • As a result, the DA and DR instalments are due for four periods including January 1, 2020, July 1, 2020, January 1, 2021, and July 1, 2021.
  • However, the rate of DA/DR for the period between January 2020 to June 2021 shall remain at 17%.

8. WPI inflation eases to 12.07 per cent in June

  • The wholesale price-based inflation eased marginally to 12.07 per cent in June as crude oil and food items witnessed some softening in prices.
  • However, WPI inflation remained double-digit for the third consecutive month in June, mainly due to a low base of last year.
  • WPI inflation was (-) 1.81 per cent, in June 2020. Retail inflation remained above the RBI’s comfort level of 6 per cent for the second straight month at 6.26 per cent in June.

9. NTPC to construct India’s largest solar power park in Kutch

  • NTPC Ltd., India’s largest power generator is set to construct the country’s single-largest solar photovoltaic project at Rann of Kutch region in Khavada, Gujarat.
  • The solar power park will have a capacity of 4.75 Gigawatt (Gw)/4750 MW. The project will be constructed through NTPC’s renewable energy arm, NTPC Renewable Energy (NTPC-REL).

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • NTPC Chairman and Managing Director: Shri Gurdeep Singh;
  • NTPC Founded: 1975.
  • NTPC Headquarters: New Delhi, India.

10. Cabinet approves continuation of National AYUSH Mission scheme

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the continuation of Centrally Sponsored Scheme ‘National AYUSH Mission (NAM)’ for another five years.
  • The scheme will now be implemented from April 01, 2021, to March 31, 2026. The Centre has allocated Rs. 4607.30 crore (Rs 3,000 crore as Central Share and Rs. 1607.30 crore as State Share) for the scheme to be invested over five years.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of AYUSH: Sarbananda Sonowal.

11. The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021 Report

  • The annual UN-FAO report titled “The State of Food Security and Nutrition in the World 2021” states that between 720 and 811 million people in the world faced hunger in 2020, which is around 161 million more than in 2019.
  • The report was jointly produced by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Food Programme (WFP) and the World Health Organization (WHO).

12. ISRO successfully conducts 3rd test on Vikas Engine for Gaganyaan Program

  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has successfully conducted the third long-duration hot test of the liquid propellant Vikas Engine for the core L110 liquid stage of the human-rated GSLV Mk III vehicle, as part of the engine qualification requirements for the Gaganyaan Programme.
  • The engine was fired for a duration of 240 seconds at the engine test facility of ISRO Propulsion Complex (IPRC), Mahendragiri in Tamil Nadu. The performance of the engine met the test objectives and the engine parameters were closely matching with the predictions during the entire duration of the test.

13. AR Rahman launch Tokyo Olympics cheer song “Hindustani Way”

  • Singer Ananya Birla has teamed up with music maestro AR Rahman to launch a cheer song for Indian sports personalities as they gear up for Tokyo Olympics.
  • Titled “Hindustani Way”, the song has been sung by Ananya and composed by Rahman. Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Anurag Thakur also present in the launch of the song.

14. M. Venkaih Naidu receives book entitled ‘Urdu Poets and Writers – Gems of Deccan’

  • Vice President M. Venkaih Naidu has received a book entitled ‘Urdu Poets and Writers – Gems of Deccan’ authored by senior journalist, J.S. Ifthekhar. Mr Naidu commended the author for the book which traces the rich literary and cultural traditions of the Deccan.
  • The book is an anthology of prose and poetry that encapsulates the life and works of 51 outstanding poets and writers of the Deccan region.
  • The book traces the rich literary and cultural traditions of Deccan, right from the time of Muhammad Quli Qutb Shah, the founder of Hyderabad, to the present times.

15. World Youth Skills Day celebrated on 15 July

  • United Nations celebrates World Youth Skills Day globally on 15 July every year. The day is celebrated as an opportunity for young people, technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions, and public and private sector stakeholders to acknowledge as well as celebrate the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.
  • The theme of World Youth Skills Day 2020 is “Reimagining Youth Skills Post-Pandemic”.
  • In 2014, the United Nations General Assembly declared 15 July as World Youth Skills Day, to celebrate the strategic importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, decent work and entrepreneurship.





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