GK Update 20th April 2021

1. Piyush Goyal launches the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme

  • Union Minister Piyush Goyal launched the Startup India Seed Fund Scheme (SISFS). The Fund aims to provide financial assistance to startups for proof of concept, prototype development, product trials, market-entry, and commercialization.
  • The government has approved Rs. 945 Crore corpus for the fund, which will be divided over the next 4 years beginning April 01, 2021, for providing seed funding to eligible startups through eligible incubators across India. The scheme is expected to support an estimated 3,600 startups through 300 incubators.


2. Punjab All Set to become ‘Har Ghar Jal’ State by 2022

  • Punjab State reiterated the commitment of the State to achieve the ‘Har Ghar Jal’ target by 2022 as planned. Punjab has 34.73 lakh rural household, out of which 25.88 lakh (74.5%) have tap water supply.
  • In 2021-22, the State plans to provide 8.87 lakh tap connections, thereby providing tap connection to every rural household. So far, 4-districts, 29 blocks, 5,715 panchayats and 6,003 villages in Punjab have been declared ‘Har Ghar Jal’, which means every rural household has access to water through the tap.
  • To ensure transparency and accountability, Punjab has set up a well-equipped digital 24×7 call centre with Interactive Voice Responsive System. This analog grievance redressal system was upgraded in December 2020. Last year, the redressal rate was 97.76%.
  • The pending complaints daily monitoring is done by sending reminders to the Executive Engineer via SMS, What’s App messages, e-mail and over the phone.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Punjab CM: Captain Amarinder Singh.
  • Punjab Governor: V.P.Singh Badnore.


3. New Zealand Makes World’s 1st Climate Change Law For Financial Firms

  • New Zealand is about to become the world’s first country to bring a law into force that demands environmental accountability from financial firms by asking them to report on how their businesses affect climate change.
  • The aim is to bring the financial sector on board with the efforts being made towards achieving the country’s target of becoming carbon neutral by 2050.
  • The New Zealand government first revealed its plans to compel the financial sector to make disclosures in September last year, informing that those unable to disclose would have to give explanations.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • Prime minister of New Zealand: Jacinda Ardern.
  • Capital of New Zealand: Wellington.
  • The currency of New Zealand: New Zealand dollar.


4. Henley Passport Index 2021 released

  • Amid the rising COVID-19 cases and subsequent restrictions on travel overseas, when many countries are banning individuals from worst-hit nations, the Henley Passport Index on April 17 released its list of the most powerful passports.
  • India stands at number 84 on the list, as the Indian citizens can visit Visa-Free or Visa-on-Arrival in over 58 places. Japan, Singapore and Germany, South Korea stand in Top 3 respectively.
  • The Henley Passport Index releases list which measures the world’s most travel-friendly passports. The index ranks the countries based on how strong their passport is.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • International Air Transport Association Headquarters: Montreal, Canada.
  • International Air Transport Association Founded: 19 April 1945.
  • International Air Transport Association Leader: William M. Walsh.
  • Henley & Partners Headquarters location: London, United Kingdom.
  • Henley & Partners Founded: 1997.
  • Henley & Partners Chairman: Christian Kalin.
  • Henley & Partners CEO: Juerg Steffen.


5. RBI sets up committee to review working of ARCs

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a six-member panel to carry out a comprehensive review of the working of Asset Reconstruction Companies (ARCs) in the financial sector ecosystem.
  • The panel will be headed by former Executive Director of RBI, Sudarshan Sen.

Other members of the panel include:

  • Vishakha Mulye – Executive Director, ICICI Bank;
  • P N Prasad – former Dy. Managing Director, SBI;
  • Rohit Prasad – Professor of Economics, MDI, Gurgaon;
  • Abizer Diwanji – Partner, Ernst & Young;
  • R Anand – Chartered Accountant


6. DRDO develops supplemental oxygen delivery system for soldiers

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation has developed a SpO2-based supplemental oxygen delivery system for soldiers serving in extremely high altitude areas & COVID-19 patients.
  • This automatic system delivers supplemental oxygen based on the SpO2 (blood oxygen saturation) levels & prevents the person from sinking into a state of hypoxia, which is fatal in most cases.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chairman DRDO: Dr G Satheesh Reddy.
  • DRDO Headquarters: New Delhi.
  • DRDO Established: 1958.


7. LIC ties up with Paytm to handle digital payments

  • State-run Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) has appointed homegrown payments player Paytm to facilitate its digital payments.
  • Following a tie-up with another payment gateway earlier, the country’s largest life insurer has sought a new deal as the majority of its payments have moved to digital modes.
  • The new agreement requires an easy payment process, a broader range of payment options, and more players (wallets, banks, etc) in payment channels. LIC has witnessed an upsurge in e-payments following the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The PSU insurer collects premiums worth Rs 60,000 crore via digital mode, which doesn’t comprise payments made through banks.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • LIC Chairperson: M R Kumar;
  • LIC Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • LIC Founded: 1 September 1956;
  • Paytm HQ: Noida, Uttar Pradesh;
  • Paytm Founder & CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma;
  • Paytm Founded: 2009.


8. ‘The Christmas Pig’: JK Rowling to release new children’s book in October

  • JK Rowling has a new book coming this autumn, a festive children’s story with all new characters. The story is about a boy named Jack and his toy Dur Pig, who goes missing on Christmas Eve.
  • The book is set to be released worldwide on Oct. 12. “The Christmas Pig” is Rowling’s first children’s novel since Harry Potter.


9. Stefanos Tsitsipas Wins Monte Carlo 2021 Title

  • Stefanos Tsitsipas has won his first ATP Masters 1000 series after a flawless performance against Andrey Rublev in Monte Carlo. The Greek star had lost his previous two finals at this level, with Rafael Nadal denying him in Toronto and Novak Djokovic beating him in Madrid.
  • Rublev beat 11-time Monte Carlo champion Nadal in the quarter-finals. Rublev knocked out Roberto Bautista Agut, Rafael Nadal and Dan Evans en route to the final but could not find a way past Tsitsipas.


10. UN Chinese Language Day observed globally on 20 April

  • UN Chinese Language Day is observed globally on April 20 every year. The day has been chosen to pay tribute to Cangjie, who is a mythical figure who is presumed to have invented Chinese characters about 5,000 years ago.
  • The 1st Chinese Language Day was celebrated in 2010 on the 12th of November, but since 2011 the date has been on the 20th of April.
  • The day celebrates multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as promote equal use of all six of its official working languages throughout the organization.


11. Veteran Kannada writer Ganjam Venkatasubbiah passes away

  • Veteran Kannada writer Ganjam Venkatasubbiah, who also was a grammarian, editor, lexicographer and literary critic, has passed away. He was 107.
  • He was commonly known as a walking encyclopedia of Kannada language and culture, in his literary circles.

12. National Award-winning filmmaker Sumitra Bhave passes away

  • Acclaimed Marathi filmmaker, Sumitra Bhave has passed away. Sumitra Bhave was popular as a duo with filmmaker Sunil Sukthankar in Marathi cinema and Marathi theatre. She was known for her out-of-the-box content and also for the way she handled social issues in her films.
  • The duo of Sumitra and Sunil together directed several popular films like Doghi, Dahavi Fa, Vastupurush, Devrai, Badha, Ek Cup Chya, Samhita, Astu, Kaasav, among others.
  • They have won National Film Awards in Best Non-Feature Film on Family Welfare, Best Educational / Motivational / Instructional Film, Best Film on Other Social Issues, Best Feature Film categories.

13. Former Union Minister Bachi Singh Rawat Passes Away

  • The senior BJP leader and former Union Minister Bachi Singh Rawat has passed away. He was a four-time MP from the Almora-Pithoragarh constituency in Uttarakhand.
  • He had served as the Union Minister of State for Science and Technology in the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government.

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