GK Update 20th & 21st September’2020

1. Indian Railways observes “Swachhta Pakhwara”

  • Indian Railways is observing “Swachhta Pakhwara” from 16th to 30th September 2020.
  • During the inaugural day of Pakhwara, Swachhta pledge was administered to Railway employees at all Zonal Railway HQs, Divisional Offices and other establishments.
  • During the Pakhwara, intensive cleaning and sanitization of stations, trains, tracks, colonies and other railway establishments is being carried out with special focus on plastic waste management.
  • Railway Board through Northern Railway, in partnership with United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), organised a webinar on “Swachhata and Environment”.
  • The Webinar was held to flag off the “Swachhata Pakhwada” beginning from September 16 and ending on September 30, 2020.

Following issues were highlighted during the session:

  • Steps taken by Indian Railways for proper solid waste management, saving of water and conservation of energy etc
  • Convergence of IR initiatives with Swachh Bharat Mission
  • Green Rating of Railway Stations
  • Combating plastic waste
  • Perspectives on circular economy

2. 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).

Economy News

3. Fitch Solutions projects India’s GDP growth at -8.6% in FY21

  • Fitch Solutions has revised downward its forecast for Indian economic growth and now estimates that India’s GDP will contract by 8.6% in 2020-21 (FY21).
  • Earlier this was estimated at -4.5%. It has also forecasted a 5% year-on-year growth in 2021 and 2022.

Agreements & MoUs

4. Ministry of AYUSH partners with Ministry WCD to control Malnutrition

  • A Memorandum of Understanding has been signed between the Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of Women and Child Development to control Malnutrition as a part of POSHAN Abhiyaan.
  • The MoU will see some time-tested and scientifically proven Ayush-based solutions being adopted for controlling malnutrition in the country.
  • The MoU will help in tackling the problem of malnutrition in mothers and children in the country. The Ministry of AYUSH and Ministry of WCD will work together towards integrating Ayush in POSHAN Abhiyaan and management of malnutrition through the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Ayush systems.
  • The specific areas identified for co-operation include:

(i) Integration of AYUSH into POSHAN Abhiyaan
(ii) Control of malnutrition through the principles and practices of Ayurveda, Yoga and other Ayush systems

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of State (I/C) for Ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy (AYUSH): Shripad Yesso Naik.
  • Union Minister of Women and Child Development: Smriti Zubin Irani.


5. Anil Dhasmana becomes new chief of NTRO

  • Former Research and Analysis Wing (RAW) chief, Anil Dhasmana has been appointed as the chief of the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).
  • Dhasmana succeeds former Intelligence Bureau officer Satish Jha, who demitted office.
  • Dhasmana, a 1981 batch IPS officer, is a Pakistan expert and was the lead planner of the Balakot airstrikes in February 2019.
  • He had stepped down a few months later when his extended term due to the general elections ended in June 2019.

Ranks & Reports

6. 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:

1Singapore 0.880.88
2Hongkong and China0.81
  • The 2020 Human Capital Index update includes health and education data for 174 countries covering 98% of the world’s population up to March 2020.
  • It provided a pre-pandemic baseline on the health and education of children.
  • Measuring the human capital that a child born today can expect to attain by her 18th birthday, the HCI highlights how current health and educationoutcomes shape the productivity of the next generation of workers.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • World Bank President: David Robert Malpass.
  • World Bank Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States.

Summits & Conferences

7. PM Modi to inaugurate VAIBHAV Summit on 2nd October 2020

  • Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Vaishwik Bharatiya Vaigyanik (VAIBHAV) Summit on 2nd October’2020 through video conferencing.
  • The month-long Summit will provide a platform to leverage the expertise and knowledge of global Indian researchers for solving emerging challenges and create an ecosystem of Knowledge and Innovation in the country through global outreach.
  • The VAIBHAV Summit is a joint initiative of all S&T and Academic Organisations of India (working in Research, Academic and Scientific fields) to enable deliberations on thought processes, practices and R&D culture with a problem-solving approach for well-defined objectives.

Books & Authors

8. Barack Obama announces his memoir ‘A Promised Land’

  • Former US President, Barack Obama has announced his first presidential memoir titled “A Promised Land.”
  • The 768-page book will be published in November 2020 by Penguin Random House and is scheduled to be released on November 17, 2020, in 25 languages.
  • 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.

Important Days

9. World Alzheimer’s Day: 21 September

  • The World Alzheimer’s Day is observed globally on September 21 every year. The day aims to raise awareness about the stigma that runs around Alzheimer disease and related dementia.
  • The theme for World Alzheimer Day 2020 is ‘Let’s talk about dementia’. World Alzheimer’s Day was launched at the opening of ADI’s annual conference in Edinburgh on 21 September 1994 to celebrate our 10th anniversary.
  • Alzheimer’s is a progressive disease, where dementia symptoms gradually worsen over a number of years. In its early stages, memory loss is mild, but with late-stage Alzheimer’s, individuals lose the ability to carry on a conversation and respond to their environment.

10. International Coastal Clean-Up Day 2020

  • The International Coastal Cleanup Day is traditionally held on the third Saturday in September.
  • In 2020, the day is being held on 19 September. This year theme for International Coastal Cleanup Day 2020: “Achieving a trash-free Coastline”.
  • The first International Coastal Cleanup Day was observed in 1986. The day aims to increase public awareness about the accumulation and negative impacts of litter in oceans, on coastlines and on beaches.

11. International Day of Peace: 21 September

  • International Day of Peace is observed globally on 21st September every year.
  • The UN General Assembly has declared this as a day devoted to strengthening the ideals of peace, through observing 24 hours of non-violence and cease-fire.
  • The 2020 theme for the International Day of Peace is “Shaping Peace Together.”
  • Celebrate the day by spreading compassion, kindness and hope in the face of the pandemic.
  • Stand together with the UN against attempts to use the virus to promote discrimination or hatred. Join us so that we can shape peace together.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • United Nations Headquarters in New York, USA. It was founded on 24 October 1945.
  • Mr Antonio Guterres is the Secretary-General of the United Nations.

Miscellaneous News

12. President inaugurates Visitor’s Conference on Implementation of NEP 2020

  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind virtually inaugurated the Visitor’s conference on Implementation of National Education Policy 2020 in Higher Education.
  • During the session, President stated that the National Education Policy aims to reorient the education system towards meeting the needs of the 21st century by achieving the twin objectives of inclusion and excellence.
  • It also sets the vision of developing an equitable and vibrant knowledge society by providing quality education to all.
  • During the conference, various sessions on Multidiscipline and Holistic Education, Research & Innovation in Higher Education, Digital Transformation in Higher Education, Internationalisation and Global Rankings, Equity, Inclusion and Capacity Building for Outreach and Excellence were organized to take New Education Policy forward.

13. HOCL gets Bureau of Indian Standards Certification for all its products

  • Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL), a PSU under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers has been granted Bureau of Indian Standards – BIS certification for all its products.
  • HOCL has been a pioneer in the manufacturing of Chemicals since its inception.
  • The company is also supporting and implementing the Make in India initiative of Government of India in one or other way.
  • It is a leader in chemical industry has manufacturing unit at Kochi in Kerala.
  • All the products of the Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL) are widely being accepted, especially in Pharmaceutical industry where the highest product quality is called for.
  • Now, as a proof to continuing endeavor to achieve superior quality in its products, it has been granted BIS Certification for all its products.

14. Former PM HD Deve Gowda Takes Oath as Rajya Sabha MP

  • Former Prime Minister of India, H D Deve Gowda took oath as a member of the Rajya Sabha from Karnataka.
  • This is the first time that the JD(S) leader has become a member of the Upper House since 1996.
  • Mr Deve Gowda was the 11th Prime Minister of India from 1 June 1996 to 21 April 1997. He had also served as the 14th Chief Minister of Karnataka from 1994 to 1996.

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