GK Update 29th July 2021

1. GoI to set up Garima Grihas for transgender persons to provide safe shelter

  • The Centre is setting up the Garima Grihas for transgender persons are with the help of community-based organizations.
  • Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment A. Narayanaswamy informed Lok Sabha, 12 pilot shelter homes have been initiated with the aim of providing safe and secure shelter to transgender persons.
  • The Garima Grihas for transgender persons is being set up with the help of community-based organizations. Such shelter homes have been set up in the states of Maharashtra, Delhi, West Bengal, Rajasthan, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu and Odisha.

2. Najib Mikati picked as new Lebanon’s prime minister

  • Billionaire businessman Najib Mikati was appointed as Lebanon’s new prime minister-designate following binding parliamentary consultations with President Michel Aoun. He ran virtually unopposed, receiving 72 votes, with former ambassador Nawaf Salam receiving just one vote. Forty-two MPs voted blank, and three MPs did not vote at all.
  • His appointment comes just 11 days after Saad Hariri resigned as prime minister-designate, following nine months of political deadlock and dispute with President Aoun and his son-in-law MP Gebran Bassil.
  • Lebanon’s economy continues to crumble with half the population living below the poverty line and a spiralling local currency that lost more than 90 per cent of its value.
  • The country has been without a full-fledged government for almost one year and is struggling to reform its economy to unlock international aid.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Capital of Lebanon: Beirut.
  • The currency of Lebanon: Lebanese pound.

3. Brazil landscape garden Sitio Burle Marx receives UNESCO World Heritage status

  • The Sitio Burle Marx site, a landscape garden in Brazilian city Rio de Janeiro has been added to UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites. The garden features more than 3,500 species of plants native to Rio and is considered a laboratory for botanical and landscape experimentation.
  • The site has been named after Burle Marx, a Brazilian landscape architect whose designs of parks and gardens made him world-famous. The Sitio Burle Marx site was his home until 1985.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • President: Jair Bolsonaro;
  • Capital: Brasilia;
  • Currency: Brazilian real.

4. Indore becomes only Indian city to make it to Int’l Clean Air Catalyst Programme

  • The Indore city of Madhya Pradesh, or the cleanest city of India, has become the only city from the country to be selected for International Clean Air Catalyst Programme.
  • The project will be operated for a period of five years to purify the air in the city with the cooperation of Indore Municipal Corporation and Madhya Pradesh Pollution Control Board.
  • Under the project, USAID and partners will work with local communities to better understand local pollution sources and identify, test, accelerate, and scale solutions for cleaner, healthier air.
  • Clean Air Catalyst is a new flagship programme launched by The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and a global consortium of organisations, led by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) to combat air pollution in low and middle-income countries by accelerating clean air solutions.

5. Karnataka becomes the 1st state to reserve jobs for transgender persons

  • Karnataka has become the first state in the country to provide one per cent reservation for the ‘transgender community in all the government services.
  • The government submitted a report to the High Court in this regard informing that a notification had already been issued after amending the Karnataka Civil Service (General Recruitment) Rule, 1977.
  • The specifies one per cent reservation in all general as well as reserve categories for the third gender. Whenever a notification is published inviting applications for government jobs, the ‘others’ column must be added along with male and female columns.
  • The notification also underlines that there should not be any discrimination against transgenders in the process of selection. In case of non-availability of transgender candidates, the job could be given to male or female from the same category, the notification notes.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Karnataka: Basavaraj S Bommai;
  • Karnataka Governor: Thawar Chand Gehlot;
  • Karnataka Capital: Bengaluru.

6. Rakesh Asthana appointed as Delhi Police Commissioner

  • Border Security Force (BSF) Director General (DG), Rakesh Asthana has been appointed as the Delhi Police Commissioner, with immediate effect. His appointment comes just three days before his superannuation on July 31, 2021.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has extended Asthana’s service initially for a period of one year beyond the date of his superannuation or until further order, whichever is earlier.
  • Asthana, a 1984-batch IPS officer, had earlier served as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation. He was the Narcotics Control Bureau chief when actor Rhea Chakraborty was arrested in a drugs case in Mumbai.
  • During his stint in the CBI in 2018,  Ashtana was engaged in an unsavoury spat with the then CBI Director Alok Verma. Both the officers were removed from the central probe agency and Asthana was subsequently cleared of the charges.

7. Ladakh gets RBI nod to acquire 8.23% stake in J&K Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India has accorded its approval to the Government of the Union Territory (UT) of Ladakh to acquire 8.23 per cent of the paid-up equity capital of Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd as on the date of enforcement of Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019 ( October 31, 2019).
  • This move follows the Government of Jammu and Kashmir’s October 30, 2020, Order regarding the transfer of 8.23 per cent shareholding (about 4.58 crore equity shares) in Jammu and Kashmir Bank as of October 31, 2019, to the UT of Ladakh.
  • The bank, which declared its financial results on July 14, reported a net profit of ₹317 crores in the fourth quarter ended March 31, 2021, against a net loss of ₹294 crores in the year-ago quarter and a net profit of ₹66 crores in the December 2020 quarter.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd CEO: R K Chhibber (Jun 2019–);
  • Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd Founded: 1 October 1938;
  • Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd Headquarters: Srinagar.

8. RBI imposes Rs 5-crore monetary penalty on Axis Bank

  • The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a monetary penalty of Rs 5 crore on private sector lender Axis Bank.
  • The penalty is for contravention of and non-compliance with certain provisions of directions issued by RBI on ‘Strengthening the Controls of Payment Ecosystem between Sponsor Banks and SCBs/UCBs as a Corporate Customer’, ‘Cyber Security Framework in Banks’, ‘RBI (Financial Services provided by Banks) Directions, 2016’, ‘Financial Inclusion- Access to Banking Services – Basic Savings bank Deposit Account’ and ‘Frauds – Classification and Reporting’.
  • The penalty has been imposed in the exercise of powers vested in RBI under the provisions of section 47 A (1) (c) read with section 46 (4) (i) of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 (the Act).
  • The RBI had conducted statutory Inspections for Supervisory Evaluation (ISE) of Axis Bank with reference to its financial position as of March 31, 2017, March 31, 2018 and March 31, 2019.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Axis Bank Headquarters: Mumbai;
  • Axis Bank Founded: 1993;
  • MD and CEO of Axis Bank: Amitabh Chaudhry.

9. Paytm Payments Bank crosses 1 crore FASTags mark

  • Paytm Payments Bank has become the first bank in the country to achieve the milestone of issuing 1 crore FASTags. According to the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI), over 3.47 crore FASTags were issued by all banks together till the end of June 2021.
  • Paytm Payments Bank (PPBL) now has close to 28 per cent share as FASTag issuer bank. In the last 6 months alone, PPBL has equipped over 40 lakh commercial & private vehicles with FASTags.
  • Besides this, Paytm Payments Bank is also India’s largest acquirer of toll plazas for the National Electronic Toll Collection (NETC) program offering an interoperable nationwide toll payment solution.
  • According to PPBL, 280 out of the total 851 toll plazas across the national and state highways are now using its payment gateway to collect toll charges digitally.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Paytm HQ: Noida, Uttar Pradesh;
  • Paytm Founder & CEO: Vijay Shekhar Sharma;
  • Paytm Founded: 2009.

10. Maruti Suzuki, Savitribai Phule Pune University tie-up to train youth

  • Maruti Suzuki India Limited has announced a partnership with Maharashtra’s Savitribai Phule Pune University to train youth in automobile retail.
  • The aim is to offer a customised three years “Bachelor of Vocational Studies in Retail Management” course to students. The three-year curriculum will comprise one-year classroom training followed by two-year on-the-job training at Maruti Suzuki authorised dealerships.
  • The course is based on the concept of ‘Earn while you Learn’ where students will receive a stipend during their on-the-job training. The course will allow the students to build a promising career in automobile sales in India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • CEO: Kenichi Ayukawa (1 Apr 2013–)
  • Founded: 1982, Gurugram;
  • Maruti Suzuki Headquarters: New Delhi.

11. Sunjeev Sahota among 13 contenders for fiction’s Booker Prize

  • Indian-origin British author, Sunjeev Sahota is among the 13 authors longlisted for the prestigious 2021 Booker Prize for fiction for his novel ‘China Room’, alongside Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro and Pulitzer Prize winner Richard Powers.
  • The 2021 longlist or “The Booker Dozen” of 13 novels was unveiled after judges evaluated 158 novels published in the UK or Ireland between October 1, 2020, and September 30, 2021.
  • A six-book shortlist will be announced on September 14, and the winner will be crowned on November 3 during a ceremony in London.

12. Alphabet will launch a new robotics company Intrinsic

  • Google-parent Alphabet will launch a new robotics company, Intrinsic which will focus on building software for industrial robots. The segment comes out of X, Alphabet’s Moonshot factory that houses futuristic firms such as Waymo, Wing and Verily.
  • Intrinsic is developing software tools with an aim to make industrial robots easier to use, less costly and more flexible.
  • While the company did not share much detail about the software, it noted that the software is being developed so that more people use them to make new products, businesses and services.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • CEO of Intrinsic: Wendy Tan White, Alphabet CEO: Sundar Pichai;
  • Google Founded: 4 September 1998, California, United States;
  • Google Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin.

13. Hubble Finds First Evidence of Water Vapor at Jupiter’s Moon Ganymede

  • For the first time, astronomers have uncovered evidence of water vapour in the atmosphere of Jupiter’s moon Ganymede. This water vapour forms when ice from the moon’s surface sublimates that turns from solid to gas.
  • Scientists used new and archival datasets from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope to make the discovery, published in the journal Nature Astronomy.
  • In 1998, Hubble’s Space Telescope Imaging Spectrograph took the first ultraviolet (UV) images of Ganymede, which revealed colourful ribbons of electrified gas called auroral bands, and provided further evidence that Ganymede has a weak magnetic field.
  • The similarities in these UV observations were explained by the presence of molecular oxygen (O2). But some observed features did not match the expected emissions from a pure O2 atmosphere. At the same time, scientists concluded this discrepancy was likely related to higher concentrations of atomic oxygen (O).

14. International Tiger Day: 29 July

  • Global Tiger Day or International Tiger Day is observed on 29th July every year to raise awareness about the declining population of wild cats and making efforts to conserve them.
  • The goal of the day is to promote a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and to raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues. This year marks the 11th International Tiger Day.
  • The theme/Slogan for the 2021 International Tiger Day celebration is “Their Survival is in our hands”.
  • The Global Tiger Day came into being during the signing of the Saint Petersburg declaration by 13 tiger range countries in 2010 in Russia.
  • The governments of these tiger range countries had resolved to encourage the conservation, protecting natural habitats and double the number of tigers by 2022.

15. Arjuna Award-winning Badminton Legend Nandu Natekar passes away

  • Legendary Indian badminton player Nandu Natekar, who became the first Indian to win the international title in 1956, has passed away.
  • He won over 100 national and international titles for India in his career spanning 15 years. He was the recipient of the first Arjuna Award, instituted in 1961.
  • In 1956, Natekar won the Men’s Singles title in the Selangor International Tournament in Kuala Lumpur to win the first international title by an Indian badminton player.

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