GK Update 16th September’2020

1. Union Cabinet approves Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval to the Haryana Orbital Rail Corridor Project from Palwal to Sonipat via Sohna-Manesar-Kharkhauda.
  • The project will be implemented by Haryana Rail Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (HRIDC) and the estimated completion cost of the project is Rs. 5,617 crore.
  • The Rail Line will start from Palwal and end at existing Harsana Kalan station (On Delhi-Ambala section).
  • This project will offer connectivity enroute to existing Patli Station (On Delhi-Rewari line), Sultanpur station (On Garhi Harsaru-Farukhnagar Line) and Asaudha Station (On Delhi Rohtak Line).
  • The project will connect unserved areas of the state of Haryana, and hence, will boost the economic and social activities in Haryana State.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Haryana: Manohar Lal Khattar; Governor: Satyadeo Narain Arya.

2. Maharashtra Govt launches ‘My Family, My Responsibility’ campaign

  • The Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Uddhav Thackeray has launched a state-wide campaign titled, ‘My Family, My Responsibility’, to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
  • The campaign will be conducted in two phases. The first phase of the campaign will end on October 10 and the second phase will take place between October 12 to 24.
  • The door-to-door survey will be conducted by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), to check the citizens for fever, low oxygen levels and other Covid-19 symptoms.
  • The campaign will aim to achieve effective health care education for the control of Covid-19 outbreak.
  • Public representatives and NGO volunteers will be roped in for the campaign and volunteers will go door to door to check the citizens for fever, low oxygen levels and other Covid-19 symptoms.
  • Working hours of employees in private offices will be staggered and they are to be called to work on alternate days and must work from home as much as possible. Offices have been asked to adopt digital methods to avoid human contact. Video conferencing systems must be used for meetings and the health of all employees must be prioritised.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

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

3. Rajasthan Govt signs MoU with SIDBI to develop its MSME ecosystem

  • The Government of Rajasthan signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) to develop its micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) ecosystem.
  • This MoU will support the state government to have a better understanding and provide better solutions for the problems of MSMEs.
  • Under this MoU, the Department of Industries of Rajasthan and SIDBI will work together to provide financial, technical, marketing and export support to the MSMEs in the state.
  • This partnership with SIDBI will promote the state’s innovative cluster-based thinking.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • 12th CM Rajasthan Chief Minister: Ashok Gehlot.
  • Rajasthan Governor: Kalraj Mishra.
  • Rajasthan Capital: Jaipur.

4. SBI General Insurance inks corporate agency agreement with YES Bank

  • SBI General Insurance and YES Bank have signed a corporate agency agreement.
  • Under the corporate agency agreement, the YES Bank will distribute the general insurer’s retail products to its customers.
  • The products of SBI General Insurance Company will be offered to YES BANK’s customers across 28 states and 8 Union Territories.
  • The partnership between SBI General Insurance and YES Bank will be committed to offering customers a broad range of non-life insurance products and services and deploying technology across the customer value chain to facilitate superior experiences for them.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • MD & CEO of Yes Bank: Prashant Kumar.
  • MD & CEO of SBI General Insurance: Prakash Chandra Kandpal.

5. Asian Development Bank projects India’s GDP at -9% in FY21

  • 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%.
  • However, for the FY22 (2021-22), ADB expects India’s GDP at 8 per cent.
  • ADB also expects the gross domestic product (GDP) growth for developing Asia at – 0.7 per cent in 2020, the first negative economic growth since 1962.

6. ADB appoints Takeo Konishi as Country Director for India

  • 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. India is the fourth-largest shareholder of ADB and has been its largest borrower since 2010.
  • As head of the country office in New Delhi, Konishi will lead to ADB operations and policy dialogue with the government and other development partners in India.
  • He will oversee the implementation of ADB’s India Country Partnership Strategy, 2018-2022 that focuses on building industrial competitiveness to create more jobs, providing inclusive infrastructure networks and services, and addressing environmental and climate change concerns.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of Asian Development Bank: Masatsugu Asakawa.
  • Asian Development Bank Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines.
  • Asian Development Bank Founded: 19 December 1966.

7. Thomas and Uber Cup Finals postponed to 2021 by BWF

  • 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.
  • This decision has been taken following the withdrawal of many participating countries from the tournament due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The alternative dates to reschedule the World Men’s and Women’s Team Championships is yet to be decided by BWF.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Badminton World Federation Founded: 5 July 1934.
  • Badminton World Federation President: Poul-Erik Hoyer Larsen.
  • Badminton World Federation  Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

8. India & US conducts 10th DTTI Group Meeting virtually

  • 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.
  • During the meeting, the co-chairs signed a Statement of Intent (SOI) that declared their intent “to strengthen our dialogue on defense technology cooperation by pursuing detailed planning and making measurable progress” on several specific DTTI projects.
  • DTTI Group meeting aims to bring sustained leadership focus to the bilateral defense trade relationship and create opportunities for co-production and co-development of defense equipment.
  • Four Joint Working Groups focused on land, naval, air, and aircraft carrier technologies have been established under DTTI to promote mutually agreed projects within their domains. DTTI Group Meetings are held twice a year, alternating between India and the United States.

9. International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer

  • The United Nations observes 16th September every year as International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer.
  • The ozone layer is a fragile shield of gas which protects the Earth from the harmful portion of the rays of the sun and thus help in preserving life on the planet.
  • The theme of the day for 2020: “Ozone for life: 35 years of ozone layer protection”. It marks 35 years of the Vienna Convention.
  • The day was designated by the United Nations General Assembly on December 19, 2000, to commemorate the signing of the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer in 1987.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • United Nations Environment Programme Headquarters location: Nairobi, Kenya.
  • United Nations Environment Programme Head: Inger Andersen.
  • United Nations Environment Programme Founded: 5 June 1972.

10. Renowned social activist Swami Agnivesh passes away

  • Social activist and Arya Samaj leader, Swami Agnivesh, who is widely known for his work against slavery and bonded labour, has passed away.
  • Agnivesh was elected as a member of the Legislative Assembly of Haryana in 1977 and served as a cabinet Minister for Education in 1979.
  • Agnivesh became president (2004–2014) of the World Council of Arya Samaj, which is the highest international body of the Arya Samaj.

11. Former Maharashtra Cricketer Sadashiv Patil passes away

  • Former Maharashtra cricketer, Sadashiv Patil passed away. He had represented India in only one Test and played 36 first-class matches between 1952 and 1964.
  • He made his first-class debut for Maharashtra during the 1952-53 season and his only test debut against New Zealand at the Brabourne Stadium in 1955.

12. Amazon signs Amitabh Bachchan for its Alexa voice assistant

  • Amazon.com Inc has signed up Bollywood actor Amitabh Bachchan for its Alexa voice assistant.
  • Amitabh Bachchan is the first Indian celebrity to lend his voice to Alexa.
  • Alexa users will be able to access Amitabh Bachchan’s voice on Alexa by purchasing the Amitabh Bachchan voice experience.
  • Amazon first used a celebrity voice when Hollywood actor Samuel L. Jackson made a debut on Alexa.
  • It has since added professional voice actors who recite Shakespeare, Mark Twain, proverbs and fables. Last year, rival Google Assistant added the voice of American singer John Legend.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Amazon CEO: Jeff Bezos.
  • Amazon Founder: Jeff Bezos.
  • Amazon Founded: 5 July 1994.
  • Amazon Headquarters: Seattle, Washington, United States.

13. Paytm First Games ropes in Sachin Tendulkar as brand ambassador

  • Paytm First Games (PFG), a subsidiary of digital financial service platform Paytm, has roped in Cricket legend Sachin Tendulkar as its brand ambassador.
  • Tendulkar would promote the gaming platform PFG and all its fantasy sports such as cricket, kabaddi, football, and basketball.
  • Paytm is the official umpire partner for IPL till 2022 and has been the title sponsor for Indian cricket.
  • Paytm First Games (PFG) is a joint venture between One97 Communications Ltd and AG Tech Holdings.
  • It offers over 50 games, where the most popular is fantasy sports. It currently engages with more than 80 million users, where the majority of them are from smaller cities and towns.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of Paytm: Amit Nayyar.
  • Paytm founder: Vijay Shekhar Sharma.
  • Paytm Founded: August 2010.
  • Paytm Headquarters: Noida, Uttar Pradesh.

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