GK Update 16th December 2020

1. Maha Govt introduces the Unified Development Control Rules for Real Estate

  • The Government of Maharashtra has approved the Unified Development Control and Promotion Regulations, (UDCPR), to strengthen and bring uniformity in the real estate construction laws of the state.
  • This uniform set of regulations will specify everything from the height of buildings to the width of roads and the size of amenity spaces.
  • The new set of rules will apply on all municipal corporations, councils and Nagar panchayats in the entire state except Mumbai and some neighbouring areas like hill stations, eco-sensitive zones and specified corporation areas.
  • It will help to increase the stock of affordable housing projects and improve ease of doing business as well as help the developers to improve their resource management.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Maharashtra: Uddhav Thackeray; Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.

2. Norway signs MoU with Clean Ganga Mission in India

  • The Norwegian Institute of Bioeconomy Research (NIBIO) has signed an MoU with cGanga, a think-tank of National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) for development of sludge management framework in India.
  • Through this initiative, Norway intends to deepen the relationship with India especially in the prevention of climate change and conservation of the environment.
  • The MoU was signed during the 5th edition of the India Water Impact 2020, held from 10-15 December 2020.
  • The event is co-organised by National Mission for Clean Ganga and Centre for Ganga River Basin Management and Studies.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Norway Currency: Norwegian krone.
  • Norway Capital: Oslo.
  • Prime Minister of Norway: Erna Solberg.

3. Indian Coast Guard’s OPV ‘Sujeet’ commissioned in Goa

  • Indian Coast Guard’s (ICG) Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) ‘Sujeet’, which is second in the series of 5 OPVs was commissioned at the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL) in Vasco Town, Goa by Raj Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production).
  • The vessel has been designed and built indigenously by GSL. The 1st ship in series – ICGS (ICG Ship) Sachet was commissioned by Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in May 2020.
  • The ship was commissioned in the presence of K Natarajan, Director General of Indian Coast Guard and others.
  • Sujeet has been equipped with features like Integrated Bridge System, Integrated platform management system, power management system and high power external fire-fighting.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Indian Coast Guard (ICG) Director General of ICG: KrishnaswamyNatarajan
  • Indian Coast Guard Headquarters: New Delhi.

4. Indigenously-built Coast Guard interceptor boat C-454 commissioned

  • The interceptor boat C-454, built by Larsen and Toubro at its Hazira plant, will operate from Gujarat under the control of the Commander Coast Guard Region North-West of the Indian Coast Guard. It was commissioned by Surat Police Commissioner Ajay Tomar.
  • This interceptor boat is built indigenously by L&T Jetty, Hazira. It is capable of a high speed of 45 knots having the capability to operate in shallow waters.

5. S&P revises India’s GDP contraction forecast in FY21 to 7.7%

  • S&P Global Ratings (previously Standard & Poor’s) has raised India’s GDP growth projection for the FY21 (2020-21) to – 7.7 per cent from – 9 per cent estimated earlier.
  • The lower contraction rate is based on rising demand and falling COVID infection rates.
  • The US-based S&P rating agency has projected India’s growth to rebound to 10 per cent in the next fiscal, i.e. 2021-22 (FY22).

6. RBI re-appoints Uday Kotak as MD of Kotak Mahindra Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has approved the re-appointment of Uday Kotak as Managing Director of Kotak Mahindra Bank for a further period of three years, with effect from January 1, 2021.
  • Kotak is founder managing director and promoter of the bank.
  • RBI has also approved the appointment of part-time chairman Prakash Apte and Dipak Gupta as Joint MD of the bank for a period of three years.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Establishment: 2003.
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra.
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank Tagline: Lets make money simple.

7. UNEP announces 2020 Champions of the Earth Award

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has announced six laureates of the 2020 Champions of the Earth award, the UN’s highest environmental honour. The Champions were chosen for their transformative impact on the environment and their leadership in urging bold and decisive action on behalf of the planet and its inhabitants.

The Champions of the Earth Award is presented in 5 categories:

  1. Lifetime Achievement,
  2. Inspiration and Action,
  3. Policy Leadership,
  4. Entrepreneur Vision,
  5. Science and Innovation.

The 2020 Champions of the Earth Award has been bestowed upon 6 individuals. The list of winners is given below.

  • Policy Leadership:

Prime Minister Frank Bainimarama of Fiji, honoured in the Policy Leadership category for his global climate action work and his commitment to climate-responsive national development

  • Inspiration and Action: 

Yacouba Sawadogo (Burkina Faso), also honoured in the Inspiration and Action category for teaching farmers his traditional nature-based solution to regenerate their soil and turn barren land into arable land and forest across Africa

  • Inspiration and Action: 

Nemonte Nenquimo (Ecuador), awarded in the Inspiration and Action category for her leadership and unifying work with indigenous communities that halted drilling in Ecuador’s Amazon rainforest

  • Science and Innovation: 

Dr Fabian Leendertz (Germany), honoured in the Science and Innovation category for his discoveries in zoonotic and his work in One Health

  • Entrepreneur Vision: 

Mindy Lubber (USA), recognized in the Entrepreneurial Vision category for her commitment to turning capital markets green by mobilizing top investors and companies and making the business case for climate action and sustainability

  • Lifetime Achievement Award:

Professor Robert D. Bullard (USA) who was awarded the Champion of the Earth Lifetime Achievement award for his commitment and service to environmental justice.

About Champions of the Earth award:

The UN Environment Program (UNEP) is presenting the Champions of the Earth Award since 2005, to inspire and motivate more people to act for nature. The award recognizes outstanding environmental leaders from the public and private sectors, and from civil society for their pioneering initiatives aimed at healing the planet amid natural and man-made threats and whose activities have had a positive impact on the environment.

8. Om Birla releases book on 19th anniversary of Parliament attack

  • Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla has released a book on the occasion of the 19th anniversary of the Parliament attack on 13 December.
  • He released the book ‘The Shaurya Unbound’ (English Version) and ‘Samundar Samawe Boond Mein’ (Hindi Version) was released on the 2001 incident.
  • As many as 14 people including the five terrorists died during the incident.

9. Nation Observes 49th Vijay Diwas on 16 December 2020

  • In India, Vijay Diwas (also called Victory Day) is celebrated every year on December 16.
  • The country is celebrating the 49th Vijay Diwas in 2020.
  • Vijay Diwas is observed to commemorate the service, valour, and sacrifices of the gallant men of the Indian Armed Forces’ victory over Pakistan in 1971 war.
  • The Indo-Pakistan war of 1971 which began on December 3 lasted for 13 days and officially ended on December 16, after which Pakistan surrendered to India.
  • It was on this day in 1971, the chief of the Pakistani forces, General AA Khan Niazi, along with 93 thousand troops, had surrendered unconditionally to the allied forces consisting of Indian Army and Mukti Bahini.
  • The end of the war also resulted in subsequent secession of East Pakistan into Bangladesh.

10. Aerospace Scientist Shri Roddam Narasimha passes away

  • Eminent aerospace scientist and Padma Vibhushan awardee, Roddam Narasimha has passed away. He had served at the prestigious Indian Institute of Science (IISc), where he taught Aerospace Engineering from 1962 to 1999.
  • He also served as the director of the National Aerospace Laboratories from 1984 to 1993. The central government bestowed the second-highest civilian award of India, Padma Vibhushan on him in 2013 for his contribution in the field of aerospace engineering.
  • Together with the Missile Man of India and former president Dr A P J Abdul Kalam, Prof Narasimha had authored a book –“Developments In Fluid Mechanics and Space Technology”.

11. Former Australian Test cricketer all-rounder Eric Freeman passes away

  • Former Australia Test all-rounder, Eric Freeman has passed away. He made his Test debut against India at the Gabba (Brisbane Cricket Ground) in 1968 during which his opening scoring shot was a six, and he became the first player to achieve the feat.
  • Freeman received the Medal of the Order of Australia in 2002 for his services to sport. After retiring from cricket in the 1973-74 season he took up the career as administrator, coach and broadcaster.
  • Freeman was also an elite football player, representing Port Adelaide and he topped the club’s goalkicking list in all five of his complete seasons.

12. India Post Payments Bank unveils new digital payment app ‘DakPay’

  • The India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) along with Department of Posts (DoP) launched a digital payment application called ‘DakPay’ on 15 December 2020, in an effort to provide Digital Financial inclusion at the last mile across India.
  • The app was launched by Union Minister for Communications, Electronics & Information Technology and Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad.
  • The app ‘DakPay’ will facilitate the customers of the DoP and IPPB in easy digital transactions and other banking and postal services.
  • This innovative App will help people transfer and receive money with ease and those who do not have smartphones can also do money transaction on this App with the assistance of postmen.
  • DakPay is not just a digital payment app but a suite of digital financial and assisted banking services provided by India Post and IPPB through the trusted Postal network across the nation to cater to the financial needs of various sections of the society.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • MD and CEO of India Post Payments Bank (IPPB): J Venkatramu.
  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) was incorporated as Payments Banking Company under Section 22 (1) of Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
  • India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) Headquarters: New Delhi.

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