GK Update 29th June 2021

1. FM Sitharaman’s announces relief package worth Rs 6,28,993 crore against COVID-19

  • Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman has announced a slew of measures, to provide relief to people and businesses affected by the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Minister announced a total of 17 measures worth Rs. 6,28,993 crore.

These 17 measures have further been grouped into 3 broad categories:

  1. Economic Relief from Pandemic (8)
  2. Strengthening Public Health (1)
  3. Impetus for Growth & Employment (8)

Economic Relief from Pandemic:

  1. Rs 1.10 lakh crore Loan Guarantee Scheme for COVID Affected sectors:
  • This includes Rs 50,000 crore for the health sector and Rs 60,000 crore for other sectors, including tourism.

2. Additional Rs 1.5 lakh crore for Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)

3. Credit Guarantee Scheme for Micro Finance Institutions (New scheme):

  • Amount per loan capped at Rs 1.25 lakh at an interest rate of MCLR (the minimum lending rate for a bank) plus 2 per cent.

4. Scheme for Tourists guides/ stakeholders:

  • The scheme will cover 10,700 Regional Level Tourist Guides recognised by the Ministry of Tourism and Tourist Guides recognised by the State Governments; and about 1,000 Travel and Tourism Stakeholders (TTS) recognized by the Ministry of Tourism.
  • TTS’s will be eligible to get a loan up to Rs. 10 lakh each while tourist guides can avail of loan up to Rs 1 lakh each.

5. Free one-month tourist visa to 5 lakh tourists:

  • The total amount sanctioned for the scheme is Rs 100 crore.
  • The facility will be applicable till 31st March 2022 or till 5 lakh visas are issued, whichever is earlier.

6. Extension of Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Rozgar Yojana (ANBRY):

  • The date of registration under the scheme has been extended from 30 June 2021 to 31 March 2022.

7. Additional Subsidy for DAP & P&K fertilizers:

  • Nutrient Based Subsidy (NBS) increased to Rs 42,275 crore in FY 2021-22

8. Free food grains under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY) to be provided from May to November 2021:

  • The estimated financial implications of the scheme will Rs 93,869 crore

Strengthening Public Health:

  1. Rs. 23,220 crores in 2021-22, for public health with emphasis on children and paediatric care/paediatric beds

The impetus for Growth & Employment:

  1. Release of Climate Resilient Special Traits Varieties;
  2. Revival of North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC);
  3. Rs 33,000 crore additional boost for project exports through National Export Insurance Account (NEIA) over five years;
  4. Rs 88,000 crore to be infused through equity in Export Credit Guarantee Corporation (ECGC) over five years to Export Insurance Cover;
  5. Digital India: Rs. 19,041 crore for Broadband to each Village through BharatNet PPP Model;
  6. Extension of Tenure of PLI Scheme for Large Scale Electronics Manufacturing
    • Tenure of the scheme launched in 2020-21 (for five years) will be extended by one year till 2025-26;
  7. Rs 3.03 lakh crore for Reform-Based Result-Linked Power Distribution Scheme;
  8. A new streamlined process for PPP Projects and Asset Monetization
    • New policy to be formulated for appraisals and approval of PPP proposals and monetization of core infrastructure assets.

3. Swedish PM Stefan Lofven resigns following no confidence vote

  • The Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven, has announced his resignation on June 28, 2021, after he lost a confidence vote in parliament.
  • The 63-year-old Lofven is the first Swedish government leader to be defeated by a no-confidence vote. He was serving as the prime minister of Sweden since 2014.
  • The confidence motion was filed by the far-right Sweden Democrats after the Left Party said it was planning such a motion itself in protest against a plan to ease rent controls.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Sweden Capital: Stockholm; Currency: Swedish krona.

3. Andhra Pradesh introduces SALT programme

  • Andhra Pradesh has started a Supporting Andhra’s Learning Transformation (SALT) programme to transform foundational learning in government schools for which the World Bank has approved a loan of 250 million dollars.
  • The main objectives of the programme are strengthening foundation schools and providing training and skill development to teachers. Andhra Pradesh’s public school education system has more than 40 lakh children and nearly 2 lakh teachers.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh: YS Jagan Mohan Reddy; Governor: Biswa Bhusan Harichandan.

4. Praveen Sinha appointed as Special Director of CBI

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Praveen Sinha as the Special Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI). Special Director is the second senior-most position in the agency after the Director.
  • The post was vacant since the last three years and was earlier held by Rakesh Asthana. Sinha is an IPS officer of the 1988 batch from Gujarat-cadre and prior to this, he was posted as Additional Director in the CBI.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Central Bureau of Investigation Headquarters: New Delhi;
  • Central Bureau of Investigation Founded: 1 April 1963.

5. Twitter appoints California-based Jeremy Kessel as India Grievance Officer

  • Twitter has announced the appointment of California-based Jeremy Kessel as the new Grievance Officer for India. Kessel is the Global Legal Policy Director of Twitter.
  • The appointment of Grievance Officer by social media companies is mandated under the new Information Technology Rules, 2021.
  • However, the appointment of Kessel is not seen to be in line with new IT rules guidelines, which mandate that the grievance redressal officer should be a resident of India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Chief Executive Officer of Twitter: Jack Dorsey.
  • Twitter formed: 21 March 2006.
  • Headquarters of Twitter: San Francisco, California, United States.

6. WhatsApp appoints Manesh Mahatme as Head of Payments in India

  • WhatsApp has appointed former Amazon executive Manesh Mahatme as a director to lead the growth of its payments business in India.
  • As Director, WhatsApp Payments-India, Mahatme will focus on enhancing the payments experience for users, scaling the service and work towards contributing to the messaging app’s vision of digital and financial inclusion in India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • WhatsApp Founded: 2009;
  • WhatsApp CEO: Will Cathcart (Mar 2019–);
  • WhatsApp Headquarters: Menlo Park, California, United States;
  • WhatsApp Acquisition date: 19 February 2014;
  • WhatsApp Founders: Jan Koum, Brian Acton;
  • WhatsApp Parent organization: Facebook.

7. DRDO successfully flight-tests ‘Agni P’ Ballistic Missile off Odisha Coast

  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully flight-tested a New Generation Nuclear-Capable Ballistic Missile “Agni P (Prime)” from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam island off the coast of Odisha, Balasore.
  • As per Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) officials, Agni-Prime is a new generation advanced variant of the Agni class of missiles.
  • Agni P (Prime) is a new-generation advanced variant from the Agni class of missiles. It is a canisterised surface-to-surface ballistic missile having a range capability between 1,000 and 2,000 km.

8. Turkey, Azerbaijan begin joint military drills in Baku

  • Turkey and Azerbaijan have begun joint military drills “Mustafa Kemal Ataturk – 2021” in Baku, deploying tanks, helicopters and drones in an effort to improve the two countries’ combat interoperability.
  • The exercises involve up to 600 personnel in an effort to improve the allies’ combat interoperability.
  • The main purpose of the exercises is to improve the interaction between the two countries’ army units during combat operations, to develop the commanders’ military decision-making skills and their ability to manage military units.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Turkey President: Recep Tayyip Erdogan;
  • Turkey Capital: Ankara;
  • Turkey Currency: Turkish lira;
  • Azerbaijan Capital: Baku;
  • Azerbaijan Prime minister: Ali Asadov;
  • Azerbaijan President: Ilham Aliyev;
  • Azerbaijan Currency: Azerbaijani manat.

9. Ukraine and U.S. launch “Sea Breeze drills”

  • Ukraine and the United States launched joint naval exercises “Sea Breeze drills” in the Black Sea in a show of Western cooperation with Kiev as it faces off with Russia.
  • The drills come just days after the British Royal Navy’s HMS Defender passed near Russian-annexed Crimea in the Black Sea, with Moscow saying it fired warning shots at the destroyer to ward it off.
  • The Sea Breeze drills, which have taken place 21 times since 1997, will involve some 5,000 military personnel from more than 30 countries. The exercises will last two weeks and involve around 30 ships, including the missile destroyer USS Ross.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Ukraine President: Volodymyr Zelensky;
  • Ukraine Capital: Kyiv;
  • Ukraine Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia;
  • US Capital: Washington, D.C.;
  • US President: Joe Biden;
  • US Currency: United States Dollar.

10. Journalist P Sainath wins Japan’s Fukuoka Grand Prize

  • Journalist Palagummi Sainath has been awarded the Fukuoka Grand Prize for 2021. He is a committed journalist who has continued to investigate impoverished farming villages in India and captured the reality of the lifestyle of the residents in such areas.
  • The award, established by Japan’s Fukuoka city and the Fukuoka City International Foundation, is given to individuals and organisations for their work in preserving Asian culture. Besides the Grand Prize, there are two more award categories, academics and culture.
  • The Academics Prize was given to Professor Kishimoto Mio, a historian from Japan who specialises in the socio-economic history of China in the Ming-Qing period. Thailand-based writer and filmmaker Prabda Yoon received the Arts and Culture Award.

11. Deepika Kumari wins Gold Medal at Archery World Cup Stage 3

  • The ace Indian archer Deepika Kumari, created a new world record as she claimed three back-to-back gold medals in a single day, during the Archery World Cup Stage 3, held in Paris.
  • The Ranchi daughter claimed gold in each of women’s recurve individual, team and mixed pair events. India topped the medals tally with four gold medals. The fourth gold medal came by Abhishek Verma, from men’s individual event in the compound section.

12. A book titled “Kashmiri Century: Portrait of a Society in Flux” released

  • A book titled “Kashmiri Century: Portrait of a Society in Flux” authored by Khemlata Wakhlu. She is a writer, a political leader and a social worker, who has devoted the past fifty years to using her many talents to improve a lot of the people of Jammu and Kashmir.
  • A Kashmiri Century is a powerful and rare compilation of human-interest stories. Spanning a full century, it throws a compassionate light on the innocent and hard-working people who live in the beautiful valley of Kashmir.
  • The stories are all based on the author’s personal experiences and her intimate understanding of what it means to be a Kashmiri-speaking native. They cover the period from the late 19th century to the present day.
  • None of the available political treatises has ever delved deeply into the sociological and the human sides of living in the valley.

13. A book titled “Policymaker’s Journal: From New Delhi to Washington, DC” by Kaushik Basu

  • A book titled “Policymaker’s Journal: From New Delhi to Washington, DC” authored by Kaushik Basu released soon. This book charts the course of Kaushik Basu’s career over seven years, as he moved out of the cloisters of academe to the frenetic world of policymaking, first in India as Chief Economic Adviser to the Indian Government and after that as Chief Economist at the World Bank in Washington.
  • Kaushik Basu is an Indian economist who was the Chief Economist of the World Bank from 2012 to 2016. He is the C. Marks Professor of International Studies and Professor of Economics at Cornell University. From 2009 to 2012, during the UPA government’s second term, Basu served as the Chief Economic Adviser to the Government of India.

14. International Day of the Tropics: 29 June

  • The United Nations observe 29 June as International Day of the Tropics. The International Day of the Tropics celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the tropics while highlighting unique challenges and opportunities nations of the Tropics face.
  • It provides an opportunity to take stock of progress across the tropics, to share tropical stories and expertise, and to acknowledge the diversity and potential of the region.
  • The inaugural State of the Tropics Report was launched on 29 June 2014, as the culmination of a collaboration between twelve leading tropical research institutions. The report offers a unique perspective on this increasingly important region.

15. National Statistics day celebrated on 29th June

  • The government of India is celebrated National Statistics day on 29th June on the birth anniversary of Prof. P C Mahalanobis.
  • The Day is celebrated to create awareness among youth about the role of statistics in socio-economic planning and policy formulation. The Day to popularize the use of Statistics in everyday life and sensitize the public as to how Statistics helps in shaping and framing policies.
  • End Hunger, Achieve Food Security and Improved Nutrition and Promote Sustainable Agriculture (Sustainable Development Goal or SDG 2 of the UN) is the theme of this year’s National Statistics Day.
  • National Statistics Day was first celebrated on 29th June 2007. The Government of India decided to celebrate the outstanding contribution made by Late Professor Prasanta Chandra Mahalanobis in the field of economic planning and statistical development and hence mark his birth anniversary as ‘National Statistics Day.


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