GK Update 9th July 2021

1. Dept of Public Enterprises brought under Finance Ministry

  • The Government of India has decided to bring Department of Public Enterprises (DPE) under the finance ministry. DPE was earlier under the Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises.
  • It has been brought under the finance minister in a bid to ease coordination regarding future disinvestment plans. The Finance ministry now comprises six departments, after the inclusion of DPE.

Other five departments are:

  • Department of Economic Affairs,
  • Department of Expenditure,
  • Department of Revenue,
  • Department of Investment & Public Asset Management and
  • Department of Financial Services.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of Finance; and Minister of Corporate Affairs:  Nirmala Sitharaman.

2. World’s tallest sandcastle constructed in Denmark

  • sandcastle in Denmark has entered into new Guinness World Record for being the tallest sandcastle in the world. The triangular-shaped sandcastle has been built in the town of Blokhus in Denmark.
  • It stands at a height of 21.16 metres (69.4 feet). This new structure is 3.5m taller than the previous record held by sandcastle measuring 17.66 m in Germany in 2019. Dutch creator, Wilfred Stijger, was assisted by 30 of the world’s best sand sculptors.
  • The structure is built in the shape of a triangle to avoid collapsing like many others have. A wooden structure was built around it to allow the artist to carve the incredible figures in the sand.
  • This highly decorated monument in the small seaside village of Blokhus, which is reminiscent of a pyramid, is made up of 4,860 tonnes of sand. To ensure the sand sticks on, it was mixed with around 10% clay.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Denmark Capital: Copenhagen.
  • Denmark Currency: Danish krone.

3. India’s first maritime arbitration centre to be set up in Gandhinagar

  • The Gujarat Maritime University has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA) in GIFT City to set up the Gujarat International Maritime Arbitration Centre (GIMAC).
  • GIMAC will be the first of its kind centre in India to manage arbitration and mediation proceedings for disputes related to the maritime and shipping sector. It will be part of a maritime cluster that is being set up by the Gujarat Maritime Board (GMB) at GIFT City in Gandhinagar.
  • There are over 35 arbitration centres in India. However, none of them exclusively deals with the maritime sector. The arbitration involving Indian players is now heard at the Singapore Arbitration Centre.
  • The idea is to create a world-class arbitration centre focused on maritime and shipping disputes that can help resolve commercial and financial conflicts between entities having operations in India.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

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

4. Kerala govt. to have its own OTT platform

  • Kerala government has proposed to have its own over-the-top (OTT) platform. The state government has planned to launch it by November 1.
  • The State government’s proposed foray into the online content streaming space with the launch of an over-the-top (OTT) platform is a cultural intervention, rather than something prompted by the market or revenues.
  • OTT players like Netflix and Amazon have been showing more interest in Malayalam cinema. But they are mostly limited to films from which they can get revenue.
  • In the last one year, less than 15 Malayalam films, featuring big stars, have been taken up these platforms.
  • Furthermore, smaller & home-grown OTT platforms such as Neestream and Mainstream TV do not have much of finance to match bigger players.
  • Thus, the state government proposed this OTT platform which will ensure space and make some sort of revenue share for lower budget & independent films that are struggling to find space among the public.

5. INS Tabar conducts military exercise with Italian Navy

  • Indian Naval Ship (INS) Tabar recently participated in military exercises with the frontline frigate of the Italian Navy. INS Tabar joined Italian Navy and entered Port of Naples on July 3 as part of the ongoing deployment in the Mediterranean.
  • Commanding officer Captain Mahesh Mangipudi called on senior officers of Prefect of Naples Authority, regional Italian navy headquarters and coast guard headquarters during the stay.
  • This exercise covered several naval operations such as air defence procedures, communication drills, replenishment at sea, and cross deck helo operations by day and night. The exercise was mutually beneficial for enhancing interoperability and consolidating combined operations against maritime threats.

6. Ministry of Defence implements SPARSH System

  • Ministry of Defence has implemented SPARSH (System for Pension Administration Raksha), an integrated system for automation of sanction and disbursement of defence pension.
  • This web-based system processes pension claims and credits pension directly into the bank accounts of defence pensioners without relying on any external intermediary.
  • A Pensioner Portal is available for pensioners to view their pension-related information, access services and register complaints for redressal of grievances, if any, relating to their pension matters.
  • SPARSH envisages the establishment of Service Centres to provide last-mile connectivity to pensioners who may be unable to directly access the SPARSH portal for any reason.
  • In addition to several offices of the Defence Accounts Department, which are already functioning as Service Centres for pensioners, the two largest banks dealing with defence pensioners – State Bank of India (SBI) and Punjab National Bank (PNB) – have been co-opted as Service Centres.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Minister of Defence: Rajnath Singh.

7. Amazon launches its first Digital Kendra in India in Gujarat

  • Amazon has launched its first Digital Kendra in India in Surat, Gujarat. Amazon Digital Kendra was inaugurated by Vijay Rupani, Chief Minister of Gujarat.
  • Digital Kendras of Amazon are centres that will provide micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) the opportunity to learn about the benefits of e-commerce.
  • MSMEs can visit the Amazon Digital Kendra and avail of third party services including training on the benefits of eCommerce, GST and taxation support, shipping and logistics support, cataloguing assistance and digital marketing services.
  • The company has focused on enabling sellers to reach customers across India and globally, and has made significant investments in technology, logistics, delivery infrastructure and digitising payments that collectively helped more customers and businesses to come online.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Amazon CEO: Andrew R. Jassy;
  • Amazon Founded: 5 July 1994.

8. NewsOnAir Radio Live-stream Global Rankings

  • NewsOnAir Radio Live-stream Global Rankings was released recently ranking countries where All India Radio (AIR) live-streams on the NewsOnAir app are most popular.
  • In the latest Rankings of top countries in the world (excluding India) where All India Radio Live-streams on NewsOnAir App are most popular, Fiji has jumped from 5th position to 2nd, while Saudi Arabia has made a comeback in the top 10.
  • Kuwait and Germany are new entrants, while France and New Zealand are no more in the top 10. The United States continues to be number 1. 

NewsOnAir Top Countries (Rest of world)

1United States
4United Kingdom
6United Arab Emirates
9Saudi Arabia

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • AIR is the National Public Radio Broadcaster of India. Since 1956 is officially known as Akashvani.
  • Founded in 1936, it is a division of Prasar Bharati.

9. GoI sets up 25-member development council for cement industry

  • The central government has set up a 25-member development council for the cement industry under Dalmia Bharat Group CMD, Puneet Dalmia.
  • The council will suggest ways to eliminate waste, obtain maximum production, improve quality, reduce costs and promote standardization of products. Dalmia is the chairman of the council.
  • Its members include Shree Cement Ltd MD HM Bangur, The India Cements Ltd Executive President Rakesh Singh; Birla Corporation Limited CEO Pracheta Majumdar; J.K. Cement Ltd Deputy Managing Director Madhavkrishna Singhania, and JSW Cement Ltd CEO Nilesh Narwekar.

10. Facebook Launches newsletter platform “Bulletin”

  • Facebook has announced a set of publishing and subscription tools named Bulletin, aimed to promote independent writers in the US.
  • The bulletin will include support focused on the creation of content, monetisation and audience growth. It also aims to integrate its existing tools to support writing and audio content — from podcasts to Live Audio Rooms in one place.
  • Facebook is pushing to compete in the fast-growing email newsletter trend, as high-profile journalists and writers have left media companies over the past year to strike out on their own.

Important takeaways for all competitive exams:

  • Facebook Founded: February 2004;
  • Facebook CEO: Mark Zuckerberg;
  • Facebook Headquarters: California, United States.

11. A new book titled “The Light of Asia” by Jairam Ramesh

  • A new book titled “The Light of Asia” authored by Jairam Ramesh is a biography of an epic bio-poem on the Buddha.
  • Ramesh, the author, Member of Parliament, former Union Minister, and Congress leader, digs deep in his new book to bring out the fascinating story behind the epic 1879 poem, “The Light of Asia” by Sir Edwin Arnold, that took the world by storm and in some ways, brought the Buddha’s story to the world at the turn of the last century.

12. India’s first movable freshwater tunnel aquarium installed at Bengaluru Station

  • Krantivira Sangolli Rayanna Railway Station also known as Bengaluru City Railway Station has become the first railway station in India with a movable freshwater tunnel aquarium.
  • The state-of-the-art aquarium has been jointly opened by the Indian Railway Stations Development Cooperation Limited (IRSDC) in collaboration with the HNi Aquatic Kingdom.
  • The Aquatic Kingdom aquarium is based on the concept of the Amazon River and is 12-feet long. The entrance of the station now gives a glimpse into marine life, with a beautiful dolphin humbly greeting visitors with a slight bow and a smile. A 3D selfie area, 20 feet of glass periphery are also some attractive features of the new facility.

13. Antarctica hits a record temperature of 18.3 degrees Celsius

  • The United Nations’ World Meteorological Organization, recognised a new record high temperature for Antarctica. On February 6, 2020, the Esperanza station (the Argentine research station in Trinity Peninsula) experienced 18.3 degrees Celsius.
  • According to the UN agency, the high temperatures in Antarctica are a result of a large high-pressure system creating “fohn conditions”, which are downslope winds creating significant surface warming. The previous record for high temperature was 17.5 degrees Celsius, recorded on March 24, 2015, at the same station.




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