GK Update 20th & 21st June 2021

1. Ebrahim Raisi wins Iran’s 2021 Presidential Election

  • Ebrahim Raisi has won the 2021 Iranian presidential election, winning 62 per cent of the vote with about 90 per cent of ballots counted.
  • The 60-year-old Raisi will succeed Hassan Rouhani in August 2021, to begin his four-year term. He is also the Chief Justice of Iran since March 2019.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Iran Capital: Tehran;
  • Iran Currency: Iranian Toman.

2. Montek Ahluwalia named member of World Bank-IMF High Advisory Group

  • Former Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia was named a member of a high-level Advisory Group formed by the World Bank and IMF.
  • The group will be jointly led by Mari Pangestu, Ceyla Pazarbasioglu and Lord Nicholas Stern. The group was formed by the World Bank and IMF in the face of the dual crisis posed by the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.
  • Mari Pangestu is Managing Director for Development Policy and Partnerships, World Bank. Ceyla Pazarbasioglu is Director, Strategy, Policy and Review Department, International Monetary Fund. The group will also include Gita Gopinath. Gita Gopinath as an Economic Counsellor and Director of the Research Department at the IMF.

3. PAN to be declared ‘INOPERATIVE’ if not linked before June 30, 2021

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had recently extended the deadline to link Permanent Account Number (PAN) with Aadhaar number to June 30, 2021, due to the difficulties posed by the ongoing Covid pandemic. So now as the deadline is fast approaching, here are some guidelines which must be kept in mind.
  • As per the new Section 234H of the Income-tax Act 1961, which has been recently introduced during Budget 2021, the PAN cards which are not linked to Aadhaar after June 30, 2021, would be declared “inoperative”, as well as a penalty of Rs 1,000 may also be imposed. On the other hand, the person will be considered as an individual without a PAN card.

4. Ease of Living Index: Bengaluru ‘most liveable’ city

  • Bengaluru has been named as the most liveable city of India, in the Ease of Living Index 2020, released by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE).
  • The Ease of Living Index 2020 is part of the report titled State of India’s Environment 2021. Bengaluru is followed by Chennai, Shimla, Bhubaneshwar, and Mumbai, as the top five best cities respectively.
  • The report focused on four parameters to determine the ease of living index score of each city, which are: quality of life, economic ability, sustainability and citizens’ perceptions.
  • Each city was rated out of 100 in all parameters.
  • The Ease of Living Index 2020 is the second edition of the index after the first one was launched in 2018.

5. India ranked 51st in terms of Money Deposited in Swiss Banks

  • According to ‘Annual Bank Statistics of 2020’ released by Swiss National Bank (SNB), the Central Bank of Switzerland.
  • India with Swiss Francs (CHF) 2.55 billion (INR 20,706 Crore) has been placed at 51st place in the list of foreign clients’ money in Swiss Banks during 2020. The United Kingdom (UK) topped the list with CHF 377 billion, followed by the US (152 billion).
  • India was ahead of countries like New Zealand, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Hungary, Mauritius, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka in terms of foreign clients’ money in Swiss banks.
  • Funds held by Indian individuals and firms in Swiss banks rose over 2.55 billion Swiss francs (over Rs 20,700 crore) in 2020 marking the highest level in 13 years.
  • The figures stood at a record high of nearly CHF 6.5 billion in 2006, after which it has been mostly on a downward path, except for a few years including in 2011, 2013, and 2017, as per the Swiss National Bank (SNB) data.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Swiss National Bank Chairman of the Governing Board: Thomas J. Jordan;
  • Swiss National Bank Head Offices: Berne, Zurich.

6. India’s Rank 120th in Sustainable Development Report 2021

  • According to the 6th Edition of ‘Sustainable Development Report 2021 (SDR 2021)’ released by Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), India with a score of 60.1 has been placed at 120th rank out of 165 countries.
  • Finland topped the Index followed by Sweden & Denmark.
  • For the 1st time since 2015, all countries have shown a reversal in progress in achieving Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) due to the COVID-19 pandemic. SDR 2021 has been written by a group of authors led by Professor Jeffrey Sachs, President of the SDSN and has been published by Cambridge University Press.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Sustainable Development Solutions Network President: Jeffrey Sachs;
  • Sustainable Development Solutions Network Headquarters: Paris, France & New York, USA.

7. Amitav Ghosh’s new book ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse’

  • Jnanpith Awardee and renowned author Amitav Ghosh’s authored a book titled, ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse: Parables for a Planet in Crisis’. It is published by John Murray.
  • The book talks about the history of the influence of colonialism on the world today, through the story of the nutmeg.
  • In ‘The Nutmeg’s Curse’, Ghosh discusses that the nutmeg’s journey from its native Banda islands sheds light on a widespread colonial mindset of exploitation of human life and the environment, which is present even today. Some of Ghosh’s other notable works include the Ibis trilogy and ‘The Great Derangement’ among others.

8. Naveen Patnaik releases Bishnupada Sethi’s ‘Beyond Here and Other Poems’

  • Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik released a book of poems ‘Beyond Here and Other Poems’ written by senior bureaucrat Bishnupada Sethi. It is a collection of 61 poems that are a reflection of a spectrum of experiences of life, perception of death and philosophical contemplation.
  • Noted writer Haraprasad Das has written the preface. The cover design of the 161-page book has been made by eminent artist Gajendra Sahu. Sethi, Principal Secretary in the Information and Public Relations department has written several poetry and other books including ‘My World of Words’ and ‘Beyond Feelings’.

9. Max Verstappen wins 2021 French Grand Prix

  • Max Verstappen (Netherlands-Red Bull) has won the 2021 French Grand Prix. This race is the seventh round of the 2021 FIA Formula One World Championship.
  • With this win, Max Verstappen has 131 points and now leads Lewis Hamilton (119 points) in the Formula One drivers’ title race, after seven matches. Lewis Hamilton (Britain-Mercedes) stood second and Sergio Perez (Mexico- Red Bull) stood third.

10. International Day of Yoga: 21 June

  • United Nations celebrates International Day of Yoga globally on 21 June every year to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practising yoga.
  • Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.
  • Recognizing this important role of Yoga, this year’s commemoration of the International Day of Yoga focuses on “Yoga for well-being” – how the practice of Yoga can promote the holistic health of every individual.
  • India proposed the draft resolution establish the International Day of Yoga and the proposal was endorsed by a record 175 member states. Recognizing its universal appeal, on 11 December 2014, the United Nations proclaimed 21 June as the International Day of Yoga by resolution 69/131.

11. International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice

  • International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice is observed globally on 21st June. This day bring awareness about solstices and equinoxes and their significance for several religions and ethnic cultures.
  • The International Day of the Celebration of the Solstice was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly on 20th June 2019 within Resolution A/RES/73/300.

12. World Music Day: 21st June

  • World Music Day is observed globally on 21st June every year. This day is celebrated to honour amateur and professional musicians.
  • Over 120 countries celebrate World Music Day by organizing free public concerts in parks, streets, stations, museums and other such public places. The aim of celebrating World Music Day is to provide free music to everyone, and also to encourage amateur musicians to showcase their work to the world.
  • World Music Day was founded by France’s Minister of Culture, Jack Lang and also Maurice Fleuret, a French composer, music journalist, radio producer, arts administrator, and festival organiser, on the day of the summer solstice in Paris in 1982.

13. World Refugee Day celebrated on 20 June

  • World Refugee Day is observed every year on June 20 to respect and honour the courage and resilience of refugees across the world.
  • The United Nations observes this day to honour the refugees who have been forced outside of their homes. The day aims to build understanding and empathy for refugees building their lives in countries new to them.
  • This year the theme for World Refugee Day is ‘Together we heal, learn and shine’. The United Nations has stated that the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) pandemic has made it evident that we can only succeed by standing together. The UN has called for the greater inclusion of refugees in the healthcare system across the world.

14. DPIIT Secretary Guruprasad Mohapatra Passes Away

  • Guruprasad Mohapatra, the Secretary in the Department of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), has passed away due to COVID-19 related complications.
  • Before being appointed as DPIIT secretary in August 2019, Mohapatra served as Chairman of the Airports Authority of India (AAI). He was a Gujarat cadre 1986 batch IAS officer, who had earlier served as joint secretary in the Department of Commerce.

15. World’s Third-Largest Diamond Unearthed in Botswana

  • 1,098-carat diamond has been discovered in Botswana, by Debswana Diamond Company, a joint venture between the government of Botswana and the South African diamond company De Beers.
  • The newly discovered diamond is believed to be the third-largest gem-quality stone ever to be mined in the world. The stone has been presented by Debswana Diamond Company to the President of Botswana, Mokgweetsi Masisi.
  • The largest diamond to be recovered to date is 3,106 carat Cullinan stone in South Africa in 1905, followed by the 1,109 carats Lesedi La Rona unearthed by Lucara Diamonds in Botswana in 2015.

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