GK Update 20th July 2021

1. Saudi Arabia ends male guardian requirement for women attending hajj

  • According to the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah, Saudi Arabia, women can now register for the annual Hajj pilgrimage without a male guardian (marham).
  • In registration guidelines of Hajj for domestic pilgrims, the ministry highlights, women do not need to require a male guardian to register and could do registration along with other women.
  • Women wishing to perform Hajj will have to register individually. India had announced the same rule in 2017 when the Modi government declared that women could go on Hajj without a male companion. Muslim women were exempted from mahram and also from the lottery system.
  • It is an annual Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, which is considered as holiest city for Muslims. Hajj is a mandatory religious duty for Muslims which is must to carry at least once in their lifetime by all adult Muslims.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Saudi Arabia Capital: Riyadh;
  • Saudi Arabia Currency: Saudi riyal.

2. Maharashtra to issue Certificates using Blockchain Technology

  • Maharashtra will be the first state in the country to issue educational documents using blockchain technology. Forgery of documents is a serious concern for various educational and other institutions.
  • Many steps are being taken to avoid forgery along with verification of documents. Maharashtra State Board of Skill Development has decided to issue blockchain-based certificates to students.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Maharashtra Governor: Bhagat Singh Koshyari.
  • Maharashtra Capital: Mumbai.
  • Maharashtra CM: Uddhav Thackeray.

3. Balika Panchayat successfully held at Kunariya village in Gujarat

  • The Kunariya village of Kutch district in Gujarat has come out with a unique idea of holding Balika Panchayat.
  • The first-ever elections of this Balika Panchayat were successfully. Inspired by the TV series, Balika Vadhu, the Kunariya village in Kutch district today held elections for the unique Balika Panchayat, which aims to develop leadership qualities in the girls for Future Panchayat polls.
  • Young females aged between 10 to 21 years contested elections for this unique Panchayat which will take up issues pertaining to adolescent girls and women in the village.
  • This Panchayat will be run by the girls and for the girls.
  • The separate sitting arrangements will be given to these girls and they will be given to use the budget of gender sensitivity.
  • This unique step by a small village like Kunaria aligns with PM’s vision of enhancing young women’s participation in the political process.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Gujarat Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani;
  • Gujarat Governor: Acharya Devvrat.

4. Bank of Maharashtra signs MoU with NABARD

  • Bank of Maharashtra has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD) to boost ongoing developmental initiatives linked to priority sector lending in Maharashtra.
  • It is on a collaborative approach to enhance rural prosperity through the convergence of institutional lending & ongoing development initiative.
  • The MoU envisages joint initiatives for the benefit of farmers, farmer producer organisations, joint liability groups, self-help groups, rural artisans, weavers, Agri-preneurs, Agri start-ups, micro, small and medium enterprises in the State.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Maharashtra Headquarters: Pune;
  • Maharashtra CEO: A. S. Rajeev;
  • Maharashtra Founded: 16 September 1935;
  • Chairman of NABARD: G R Chintala;
  • NABARD Founded: 12 July 1982;
  • NABARD Headquarters: Mumbai.

5. FDI limit in NPS fund managers hiked to 74%

  • The government notified a hike in the foreign direct investment limit in pension fund management to 74% from 49% under the national pension system (NPS).
  • This step is opening doors for experienced foreign partners in this space and facilitating more competition in the fledgling segment.
  • Pension Fund Regulatory &Development Authority (PFRDA) Act links the FDI ceiling in the insurance sector. 
  • Many companies need capital for their expansion and due to the increase in FDI limit, they will get more money.
  • Existing fund holders will also be able to sell their excess stake.
  • Foreign companies will be able to provide new products, technology.
  • Help in increasing the reach of pensions.

6. Federal Bank launches “FEDDY” AI-Powered virtual assistant for customers

  • The Federal Bank has launched “FEDDY”, an Artificial Intelligence-powered virtual assistant to help customers with banking-related queries anytime.
  • The bank said while most of the similar AI-powered virtual assistants are available only on its website, FEDDY can be accessed via Alexa, Google Assistant and WhatsApp. It is integrated into Google Business Messaging, a first-of-its-kind by an Indian bank.
  • The bank has recently come out with innovative and user-friendly facilities such as FedSelfie, under which individuals can open their accounts by merely taking a selfie, and Federal 24×7, which makes possible the opening of accounts through a video call to the bank.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Federal Bank MD and CEO: Shyam Srinivasan;
  • Federal Bank Headquarters: Aluva, Kerala;
  • Federal Bank Founder: K.P Hormis;
  • Federal Bank Founded: 23 April 1931.

7. Financial services startup Razorpay acquires TERA Finlabs

  • Razorpay has acquired artificial intelligence (AI)-based risk analysis platform TERA Finlabs, marking its third acquisition since inception. Bengaluru-based TERA Finlabs provides risk management software, along with customized credit offerings to make lending more affordable for consumers and profitable for lenders.
  • TERA will provide its entire technology stack, risk management capabilities, and onboarding solutions to create and enable a credit line for Razorpay’s merchant network.
  • The team at TERA FinLabs comes with exceptional domain knowledge in credit underwriting and risk management, as we see immense value in its core lending infrastructure capabilities.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Razorpay Founded: 2013;
  • Razorpay CEO: Harshil Mathur (May 2014–);
  • Razorpay Headquarters location: Bengaluru.

8. Shibaji Banerjee to be conferred with Mohun Bagan Ratna posthumously

  • Former India and Mohun Bagan shot-stopper Shibaji Banerjee, who famously denied Brazil’s legendary football player Pele from scoring a goal in an exhibition match in 1977, will be conferred with Mohun Bagan Ratna posthumously.
  • The friendly match against New York Cosmos at the iconic Eden Gardens ended in a thrilling 2-2 draw. Banerjee played for Bagan for 11 years and died at the age of 68 four years ago.

9. A book titled “RSS” by Sudhanshu Mittal now in Chinese

  • BJP leader Sudhanshu Mittal”s book on the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has now been translated into the Chinese language.
  • “RSS: Building India Through SEWA”, which talks of RSS”s history, ideology and policies, and their subsequent impact on the nation, was brought out by Har-Anand Publications in 2019. The Chinese translation is by Jack Bo.
  • According to Mittal, he wrote this book to “differentiate between fact and fiction that is at the heart of the debate on the RSS” and to attempt to clarify RSS”s contribution to and position in Indian society.
  • The book, in his words, attempts to describe the work of the RSS since its inception, its history, the core of Sewa Karya, the structural organisation, busting the myths of the RSS not having participated in the Independence movement of India, the Ram Janmabhoomi issue, and the organisation’s dynamic nature through generational change.

10. ICC welcomes Mongolia, Tajikistan and Switzerland as new members

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) inducted Mongolia, Tajikistan, and Switzerland as members at its 78th Annual General Meeting. Mongolia and Tajikistan as the 22nd and 23rd members of the Asia region.
  • Switzerland is Europe’s 35th member. With the ICC now comprising 106 members in total, including 94 associates.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • ICC Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates;
  • ICC Founded: 15 June 1909;
  • ICC Deputy Chairman: Imran Khwaja;
  • ICC Chairman: Greg Barclay.

11. Viswanathan Anand wins Sparkassen Trophy

  • Viswanathan Anand defeated Vladimir Kramnik to win the Sparkassen Trophy at Dortmund. Anand needed only a draw in the final game of the No-Castling Chess event, and he got it in 40 moves.
  • Kramnik, who conceived this variant of chess with the intention of making the game less predictable and more dynamic, however, was forced to draw the game by giving perpetual checks. Anand was just one move away from putting a second queen on the board.

12. International Chess Day: 20 July

  • The International Chess Day is celebrated annually on July 20, since 1966, to celebrate one of the most ancient and most popular games in history that promote fairness, equality, mutual respect and understanding among nations.
  • It was on this day that the International Chess Federation (FIDE) was founded, in 1924. The idea to celebrate the day as the international chess day was proposed by UNESCO.
  • Invented in India in the fifth century, this board game was originally named “Chaturanga”. Chess is likely one of the oldest games of this era. After the development of the game in India, it eventually spread to Persia.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • World Chess Federation Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland;
  • World Chess Federation Founded: 20 July 1924, Paris, France;
  • World Chess Federation CEO: Geoffrey D. Borg.

13. Science Exploration Day: 20 July

  • Science Exploration Day (also called Moon Day) is marked every year on 20 July. It was on this day in 1969 that Neil Armstrong and Edwin ‘Buzz’ Aldrin became the first humans to land on the Moon’s surface.
  • The origins of Space Exploration Day date back to man first walking on the moon, with the day itself first observed to commemorate this historic event during events held in the early 1970s.
  • Neil Armstrong was the first man to set foot on the moon’s surface. The Armstrong- Aldrin duo spent 21.5 hours on the surface of the moon out of which they spent 2.5 hours outside of their capsules.
  • To commemorate their achievement, the day was declared a holiday in 1984 by the then President of the United States, Ronald Reagan.



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