GK Update 24th August 2021

1. Nirmala Sitharaman launches the National Monetisation Pipeline

  • Union Minister for Finance and Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman has launched the asset monetisation pipeline of Central ministries and public sector entities: ‘National Monetisation Pipeline’.
  • Asset Monetisation, means a limited period license/ lease of an asset, owned by the government or public authority, to a private sector entity for upfront or periodic consideration.
  • The National Monetisation Pipeline (NMP) lists out assets and asset classes, under various infrastructure ministries, which will be monetised over a period of time. Which means assets will be monetised.
  • The pipeline has been developed by NITI Aayog, in consultation with infrastructure line ministries, based on the mandate for ‘Asset Monetisation’ under Union Budget 2021-22.
  • NMP estimates aggregate monetisation potential of Rs 6.0 lakh crores through core assets of the Central Government, over a four-year period, from FY 2022 to FY 2025.
  • The top 5 sectors capture about 83% of the aggregate pipeline value. These top 5 sectors include- Roads (27%) followed by Railways (25%), Power (15%), oil & gas pipelines (8%) and Telecom (6%).

2. MyGov & UN Women tie-up to launch Amrit Mahotsav Shri Shakti Challenge 2021

  • MyGov under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and UN Women have joined hands to launch the Amrit Mahotsav Shri Shakti Innovation Challenge 2021.
  • The aim of this challenge is to encourage technology solutions developed by Women Entrepreneurs related to Women’s Safety and Empowerment.
  • The initiative will promote ‘Nari Sashaktikaran’, and empower women to help them achieve their full potential. The Amrit Mahotsav Shri Shakti Challenge 2021 is being implemented under the Multi-Partner Trust Fund (COVID-19) Programme.

3. World’s First fossil-free steel manufactured in Sweden

  • Swedish green steel venture HYBRIT, which had made the ‘world’s first’ customer delivery of steel produced without using coal.
  • The steel was made using Hydrogen Breakthrough Ironmaking Technology, which uses 100% fossil-free hydrogen instead of coal and coke. The venture has started delivering the fossil-free steel to the Volvo Group as part of its trial run.
  • Development for the Hybrit project, which was set up in 2016 and is owned by SSAB, energy firm Vattenfall and LKAB, a mining and minerals group.
  • Both Vattenfall and LKAB are owned by the Swedish state. The idea underpinning Hybrit is to use “100% fossil-free hydrogen” rather than coal and coke in steel production.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Stockholm is the capital of Sweden;
  • The krona is the official currency of Sweden;
  • The current PM of Sweden is Stefan Lofven.

4. Tamil Nadu BJP Leader La Ganesan appointed as Manipur Governor

  • Senior BJP leader from Tamil Nadu, La. Ganesan, has been appointed as the new Governor of Manipur with effect from August 23, 2021.
  • The post was lying vacant after the retirement of Najma Heptulla on August 10, 2021. Since then Sikkim Governor Ganga Prasad was holding the additional charge of the position.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Manipur: N. Biren Singh

5. Paytm & HDFC Bank tie-up to provide solutions across payment gateway

  • HDFC Bank and Paytm have partnered to build comprehensive solutions across payment gateway, point of sale machines and credit products. This includes Paytm Postpaid which is a Buy Now Pay Later (BNPL) solution, Eazy EMI and Flexi Pay.
  • The partnership will also deliver enhanced SmartHub solutions to the market. HDFC Bank SmartHub solutions is an integrated platform offering merchants a one-stop solution shop for all their business needs payments.
  • First: HDFC Bank will drive merchant partnerships across India, to whom Paytm will offer its existing range of Android POS devices. Here, HDFC Bank will be the payment partner, while Paytm will be the distribution and software partner.
  • Second: HDFC Bank and Paytm will jointly launch a co-branded PoS product in the retail segment, which Paytm will have the option to offer it to its own customer base.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Headquarters of HDFC Bank: Mumbai, Maharashtra;
  • MD and CEO of HDFC Bank: Sashidhar Jagdishan;
  • The tagline of HDFC Bank: We understand your world.
  • Paytm HQ: Noida, Uttar Pradesh;
  • Paytm Founder & CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma;
  • Paytm Founded: 2009.

6. India, ADB sign $500 million loan to expand Metro Rail Network in Bengaluru

  • Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a $500 million loan to expand the metro rail network in Bengaluru with the construction of two new metro lines totalling 56 km in length.
  • The project will construct two new metro lines, mostly elevated, along Outer Ring Road and National Highway 44 between Central Silk Board and Kempegowda International Airport with 30 stations.
  • The new metro lines will further strengthen safe, affordable and green mobility in Bengaluru, having a positive impact on enhancing the quality of life, sustainable growth in urban habitat and livelihood opportunities.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President of ADB: Masatsugu Asakawa; Headquarters: Manila, Philippines.

7. Jitendra Singh launches “Yuktdhara” portal to facilitate planning of new MGNREGA assets

  • The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for the Ministry of Science and Technology, Jitendra Singh launched a new Geospatial Planning Portal under Bhuvan named “Yuktdhara” to enable the planning of new MGNREGA assets using Remote Sensing and GIS-based information.
  • The portal has been jointly developed by ISRO and the Ministry of Rural Development.
  • Yuktdhara will serve as a repository of assets (Geotags) created under various national rural development programmes such as MGNREGA, Integrated Watershed Management Programme, Per Drop More Crop and Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana etc., along with field photographs.
  • The Yuktdhara portal would ensure the quality of the plan, enable a long term monitoring of the assets created over the years for relevance, facilitate identification of new works for resource allocation.

8. 2nd Indo-Qatari joint Naval Exercise “Zair-Al-Bahr” in Persian Gulf

  • The second edition of the joint naval exercise, Zair-Al-Bahr, between the Indian Navy and Qatar Emiri Naval Force (QENF) was conducted between August 9 and 14 in the Persian Gulf. This edition of the exercise included a three-day harbour phase followed by a two-day sea phase.
  • The sea phase is comprised of tactical maritime exercises involving surface action, anti-piracy exercises, air defence, maritime surveillance, boarding operations and SAR exercises.
  • In the sea phase of the exercise, the Indian Navy’s Stealth Frigate INS Trikand, QENF’s missile boats of Barzan and Damsah class, fast-attack crafts of MRTP 34 class and Rafale fighter aircraft participated.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Qatar Capital: Doha; Currency: Qatari riyal.
  • Prime Minister of Qatar: Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdelaziz Al Thani.

9. WEF’S Sustainable Development Impact Summit 2021

  • The World Economic Forum’s annual Sustainable Development Impact Summit will take place on September 20-23, 2021 in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s event will focus strongly on inclusively revitalizing economies.
  • The United Nations General Assembly, the summit convenes under the theme “Shaping an Equitable, Inclusive and Sustainable Recovery”. It will welcome almost all leaders from government, business and civil society who will work together to drive action and build momentum for a more sustainable and inclusive future.

10. IIT Madras develops India’s first indigenous motorised wheelchair ‘NeoBolt’

  • IIT Madras has developed India’s first indigenous motorized wheelchair vehicle named ‘NeoBolt’, which can be used not only on roads but even on uneven terrains. It has a maximum speed of 25 kmph.
  • The researchers collaborated extensively with organisations and hospitals working for people with locomotor disabilities and built the products after factoring in their experiences and making constant design adjustments.
  • IIT Madras said the wheelchair will be available to users at an approximate price of ₹55,000.
  • It is powered by a Lithium-Ion Battery and can travel up to 25 km per charge. It empowers wheelchair users with a convenient, safe and low-cost mode of outdoor mobility when compared to cars, auto-rickshaws or modified scooters.

11. A book “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” by Boria Majumdar & Kushan Sarkar

  • A new book titled “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” authored by Boria Majumdar & Kushan Sarkar. The Book Published by Simon & Schuster Publisher India Private Limited.
  • The Book talks about the short story of several Indian cricketers life events such as Rishabh Pant, Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, R. Ashwin, Cheteshwar Pujara.

12. A book ‘Address Book: A Publishing Memoir in the time of COVID’ by Ritu Menon

  • A book titled has ‘Address Book: A Publishing Memoir in the time of COVID’ by Ritu Menon.
  • Menon, who co-founded Kali for Women, India’s first feminist press in 1983, is founder-director of Women Unlimited, an associate of KfW. Weeks after the March 2020 lockdown began, Menon started to write a diary.

13. A book titled ‘Battlefield’ authored by Vishram Bedekar

  • A book titled ‘Battlefield’ has been authored by Vishram Bedekar, translated from the Marathi original Ranaangan by Jerry Pinto.
  • The book is the story of a shipboard romance between an Indian man and a German-Jewish woman, both fleeing Europe before the Second World War.

14. World Water Week 2021: 23-27 August

  • The World Water Week is an annual event organized by Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) since 1991 to address the global water issues and related concerns of international development.
  • The World Water Week 2021 has been organised from 23-27 August, in entirely digital format. The theme for World Water Week 2021 is ‘Building Resilience Faster’.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • SIWI Executive Director: Torgny Holmgren.
  • SIWI Headquarters: Stockholm, Sweden.

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