GK Update 24th December 2020

1. World Bank signs $500mn project to develop highways in India

  • The Government of India and the World Bank signed a $500 million project to build safe and green national highway corridors in the states of Rajasthan, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
  • The project will also enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) in mainstreaming safety and green technologies.
  • The $500 million loans from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development a lending arm of World Bank Group, has a maturity of 18.5 years including a grace period of five years.
  • The Green National Highways Corridors Project will support MoRTH construct 783 km of highways in various geographies by integrating safe and green technology designs such as local and marginal materials, industrial byproducts, and other bioengineering solutions.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • World Bank Headquarters: Washington DC, United States.
  • World Bank President: David Malpass.
  • World Bank Founded: 1944.
  • Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways:  Nitin Jairam Gadkari.

2. Cabinet approves 100% FDI in DTH services

  • The Union Cabinet approved revised guidelines for Direct-to-Home (DTH) broadcasting services, allowing 100 per cent foreign direct investment (FDI) as well as increasing the licence period to 20 years.
  • Due to our I&B guidelines, this field was not getting the benefit of 100 per cent FDI. After changing the guidelines, the guidelines will have the same guidelines as the Commerce Ministry and will come under 100 per cent FDI.
  • Under the revised guidelines the licenses will be issued for a period of 20 years, compared to 10 years at the moment, and will be renewed for a 10-year period. The license fee has been revised from 10 per cent of gross revenue (GR) to 8 per cent of adjusted gross revenue (AGR), which will be calculated by deduction of GST from GR.Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
  • Minister of Information and Broadcasting: Prakash Javadekar.

3. Cabinet approves the merger of four Govt film media units

  • The Cabinet approved the merger of four government-run film and media units — the Films Division, the Directorate of Film Festivals, the National Film Archives of India and the autonomous body Children’s Film Society, with the National Film Development Corporation.
  • The merger of Film Media Units under one corporation will lead to convergence of activities and resources and better coordination, thereby ensuring synergy and efficiency in achieving the mandate of each media unit. This will lead to a reduction in duplication of activities and direct savings to the exchequer.

4. Karnataka unveils “FRUITS” portal for farmers

  • Karnataka government has unveiled the Farmer Registration and Unified beneficiary Information System (FRUITS), an e-governance portal, to create a repository of farmland information and farm loan details on a single platform.
  • All farmers will be registered and given an identification number on the portal. The FRUITS Portal is integrated into the BHOOMI Package of the Karnataka State for fetching and validating the land details.
  • One other important facility of this Portal is online creation of charge by which visit of farmers to Sub-Registrar Office is avoided. Canara Bank has agreed to run FRUITS on a pilot basis.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Karnataka: B.S. Yediyurappa; Governor: Vajubhai Vala.

5. PayU ties up with Google Pay to introduce tokenised payments

  • PayU with Google Pay has introduced tokenised payments flow for Indian merchants. With the digital token linked to the phone and card information tokenised, Google Pay users can make repeat payments seamlessly and securely.
  • Through the option of one-click payment, one doesn’t need to re-enter the payment data, as the OTP is read automatically and the payment is processed instantaneously.
  • Tokenised payments offer a highly convenient, safe, and friction-free payment experience, and we are excited to partner with Google Pay to make this available for our merchants. It will help them build lasting trust and loyalty with customers, reduce risks of cart abandonment and payment failures, and scale up their businesses.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams: 

  • CEO of Google: Sundar Pichai; Headquarters: California, United States.
  • PayU Founded: 2006.
  • PayU CEO: Laurent le Moal.

6. Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay-NIF book prize announced

  • The winners of the Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay New India Foundation Book Prize 2020 for the best non-fiction book on contemporary/ modern India were announced.
  • The Prize was given jointly to Amit Ahuja for his Mobilizing the Marginalized: Ethnic Parties without Ethnic Movements (Oxford University Press) and to former Union minister Jairam Ramesh for his A Chequered Brilliance: The Many Lives of VK Krishna Menon (Penguin Random House), a biography of politician and diplomat VK Krishna Menon.
  • The award carries a citation and a cash prize of Rs 15 lakh, that will be shared by the two authors.

7. Srinagar’s Amar Singh College recognised with UNESCO Award

  • Srinagar based Amar Singh College has been recognized with the ‘Award of Merit’ in the 2020 UNESCO Asia-Pacific Awards for Cultural Heritage Conservation.
  • The restoration of the Amar Singh College brought back one of the most prominent institutional buildings in Kashmir to its former glory.
  • The college building is 80 years old and INTACH (Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage) chapter in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir had carried out the conservation work at the Amar Singh College.

8. NTPC wins the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020

  • Country’s largest power producer, National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has been conferred “Excellence” in the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards 2020 in Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Domain.
  • NTPC has been honoured in the Corporate Excellence Category, Commendation for Significant Achievement.
  • This is the highest award conferred by CII-ITC in CSR domain. NTPC is the only PSU to receive the award in the Corporate Excellence category. NTPC wins the prestigious CII-ITC Sustainability Awards in Corporate Excellence category second time in a row i.e. in the year 2019 and 2020.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • NTPC MD & CEO: Gurdeep Singh.
  • NTPC Founded: 1975.
  • NTPC Headquarters: New Delhi, India.

9. Devendra Fadnavis releases book ‘Ayodhya’ written by Madhav Bhandari

  • Maharashtra former Chief Minister and present leader of Opposition in the Legislative Assembly, Devendra Fadnavis has released the book ‘Ayodhya’ written by Madhav Bhandari.
  • The book will serve as a key reference document summarising the protests held for the cause of a Ram temple in Ayodhya.
  • The book brings together various references that are related to Ayodhya town in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The invaders had destroyed the Ram temple there and a defeatist mentality was thrust upon Hindus for years to come. The (temple) campaign was undertaken to counter this mentality and awaken the community.

10. VP Venkaiah Naidu virtually released the book ‘Oh Mizoram’

  • VP Venkaiah Naidu virtually released the book ‘Oh Mizoram’, written by Governor of Mizoram, Shri P S Sreedharan Pillai.
  • Pillai is a lawyer, an orator, a prolific writer, a philanthropist, and a thinker. He has written 125 books in Malayalam & English. Oh, Mizoram is his first poetry collection in English.

11. National Consumer Rights Day 2020

  • National Consumer Rights Day is observed every year on December 24. On this day in 1986, the Consumer Protection Act 1986 received the Presidential assent and thus came into force. The Act aims to provide consumers with effective safeguards against different types of exploitation, such as defective goods, deficiency in services and unfair trade practices.
  • This day provides an opportunity for people to highlight the importance of the consumer rights movement and the need to make every consumer more aware of their rights and responsibilities.
  • ‘Jago Grahak Jago’, which means ‘Be aware consumer’, is a consumer awareness program launched by the Department of Consumer Affairs.
  • As part of this initiative, the government has used channels to create consumer awareness through print, media advertisements, audio campaigns and video campaigns for consumer information and education.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of Consumer Affairs, Food and Public Distribution: Piyush Goyal.

12. Renowned Malayalam poet Sugathakumari passes away

  • Renowned poet and activist, Sugathakumari passed away, after testing positive for the coronavirus. She was one of the most active campaigners of the Save Silent Valley Movement when it took shape in the 1970s.
  • She wrote a poem Marathinu Sthuti (Hymn to a Tree), which was recited at every other protest to save the Silent Valley. Sugathakumari was awarded India’s fourth-highest civilian award, Padma Shri, in 2006.

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