Current Affairs 2020

Sonu Sood honoured by UNDP for helping migrant workers during lockdown [29 Sep 2020]

Actor Sonu Sood has been honoured with the prestigious SDG Special Humanitarian Action Award by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), for helping thousands of migrant workers reach home during lockdown.

All India Football Federation (AIFF) awards for 2019-20 [25 Sep 2020]

The all India Football Federation (AIFF) awards for 2019-20 season were announced in different categories. Indian Men’s national football team goalkeeper Gurpreet Singh Sandhu was chosen the AIFF Men’s Footballer of the year for 2019-20. He became the second goalkeeper after Subrata Paul in 2009 to be honoured with the AIFF Men’s Player of the Year Award. National women’s football team midfielder Sanju was awarded the AIFF Women’s Player of the year Award.

Laser Guided ATGM Successfully Test-fired [23 Sep 2020]

Laser Guided Anti Tank Guided Missile (ATGM) was successfully test fired from MBT Arjun Tank at KK Ranges, Armoured Corps Centre and School (ACC&S) Ahmednagar on 22nd Sep 2020. In these tests, the ATGM successfully defeated a target located at 3 km. Laser guided ATGMs lock and track the targets with the help of laser designation to ensure precision hit accuracy. The missile employs a tandem HEAT warhead to defeat Explosive Reactive Armour (ERA) protected armoured vehicles. It has been developed with multiple-platform launch capability and is currently undergoing technical evaluation trials from gun of MBT Arjun. Armament Research & Development Establishment (ARDE) Pune in association with High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) Pune, and Instruments Research & Development Establishment (IRDE) Dehradun have developed the missile.

Parliament passes the Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill, 2020 [22 Sep 2020]

The Essential Commodities (Amendment) Bill 2020 with provisions to remove commodities like cereals, pulses, oilseeds, edible oils, onion and potatoes from the list of essential commodities was passed by Rajya Sabha. Earlier, the bill was introduced by the Minister of State for Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, Shri Danve Raosaheb Dadarao in the Lok Sabha on 14th September, 2020 to replace ordinances promulgated on 5th June 2020. The bill was passed by Lok Sabha on 15th September, 2020. The EC (Amendment) Bill 2020 aims to remove fears of private investors of excessive regulatory interference in their business operations. The freedom to produce, hold, move, distribute and supply will lead to harnessing of economies of scale and attract private sector/foreign direct investment into agriculture sector. It will help drive up investment in cold storages and modernization of food supply chain.

Parliament passes The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce Bill, 2020 and The Farmers Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 [20 Sep 2020]

Parliament passed two bills aimed at transforming agriculture in the country and raising farmers’ incomes. The Farmers' Produce Trade and Commerce (Promotion and Facilitation) Bill, 2020 and The Farmers (Empowerment and Protection) Agreement of Price Assurance and Farm Services Bill, 2020 which were passed by Lok Sabha on 17th September 2020, were passed by the Rajya Sabha also.

Anil Dhasmana, former RAW Chief appointed as new Chief of National Technical Research Organisation [18 Sep 2020]

Former RAW chief Anil Dhasmana was appointed as the new chief of National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).Dhasmana would be the head of NTRO for next two years till 65 years of age. He replaces former Intelligence Bureau (IB) officer Satish Jha.

Yoshihide Suga elected as Japan's new Prime Minister succeeding Shinzo Abe [16 Sep 2020]

Japan's Parliament elected Yoshihide Suga as Prime Minister on September 16, replacing long-serving leader Shinzo Abe with his right-hand man. Suga, who was chief Cabinet secretary and the top government spokesman under Abe.

Rajesh Khullar appointed executive director of World Bank [15 Sep 2020]

Senior IAS officer and Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar, Rajesh Khullar, has been appointed executive director of the World Bank in Washington DC for three years. As executive director, Khullar will represent India, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Sri Lanka in the World Bank. The World Bank Group comprises 25 executive directors who each represent a country, or constituency of countries, are either appointed or elected to the position.

Dominic Thiem claims US Open title 2020 [14 Sep 2020]

Austria's Dominic Thiem claimed his maiden Grand Slam title with a stunning comeback to beat Germany's Alexander Zverev in US Open 2020.

Naomi Osaka clinch US Open 2020 Womens Title [14 Sep 2020]

Naomi Osaka, who won her third Grand Slam title by beating Victoria Azarenka in US Open 2020 Womens Single title. Naomi Osaka is the first woman to win her first three Grand Slam finals since 2002.

Takeo Konishi, appointed by ADB as Country Director for India [14 Sep 2020]

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has appointed Takeo Konishi as its new country Director for India. Konishi succeeds Kenichi Yokoyama who has taken over as Director General of ADB’s South Asia Department and will be based at ADB headquarters in Manila, Philippines. As head of the country office in New Delhi, Konishi will lead ADB operations and policy dialogue with the government and other development partners in India.

Veteran Actor Paresh Rawal has been appointed as Chairman of National School of Drama Society [12 Sep 2020]

Veteran Actor Paresh Rawal has been appointed as Chairman of National School of Drama Society by President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind. Mr. Paresh Rawal has been appointed to the post of Chairman, NSD Society for four years. Mr. Rawal is an actor par excellence in both Theatre and Film. Its been almost four decades of him serving the film and theatre industry for which he has won numerous awards, including the prestigious National Film Award for Best Supporting Actor in 1994. In 2014, he was conferred with the Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in India, for his contribution to the entertainment industry. He also served as a former member of Parliament.

Citi bank appointed Jane Fraser as its next CEO, first woman in that role [11 Sep 2020]

Citigroup announced that Jane Fraser would succeed Michael Corbat as the bank's next chief executive, making Fraser the first woman to ever lead a Wall Street bank.

DRDO successfully flight tests Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle [07 Sep 2020]

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully demonstrated the hypersonic air-breathing scramjet technology with the flight test of Hypersonic Technology Demonstration Vehicle (HSTDV)from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Launch Complex at Wheeler Island, off the coast of Odisha. The hypersonic cruise vehicle was launched using a proven solid rocket motor, which took it to an altitude of 30 kilometres (km), where the aerodynamic heat shields were separated at hypersonic Mach number. The cruise vehicle separated from the launch vehicle and the air intake opened as planned. The hypersonic combustion sustained and the cruise vehicle continued on its desired flight path at a velocity of six times the speed of sound. The critical events like fuel injection and auto ignition of scramjet demonstrated technological maturity. The scramjet engine performed in a text book manner. The parameters of launch and cruise vehicle, including scramjet engine was monitored by multiple tracking radars, electro-optical systems and Telemetry Stations. The scramjet engine worked at high dynamic pressure and at very high temperature. A Ship was also deployed in the Bay of Bengal to monitor the performance during the cruise phase of hypersonic vehicle. All the performance parameters have indicated a resounding success of the mission.

Sir David Attenborough Gets Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, 2019 [07 Sep 2020]

Former PM Manmohan Singh felicitated British broadcaster Sir David Attenborough with the Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development for the year 2019 at a virtual event. David is the brother of eminent actor Richard Attenborough. The Indira Gandhi Prize for Peace, Disarmament and Development was instituted in the memory of the former Prime Minister by a trust in her name in 1986. It consists of a monetary award of Rs. 25 lakh along with a citation.

Raj Srivastava was appointed as India’s Ambassador to Republic of Croatia [04 Sep 2020]

Raj Kumar Srivastava was appointed on September 4, 2020 as the next ambassador of India to the Republic of Croatia. He is an IFS officer of 1997 batch and is presently serving as the Deputy Chief of Mission in the Embassy of India, Tokyo.

Usha Padhee becomes 1st Woman DG of Bureau of Civil Aviation Security [03 Sep 2020]

Usha Padhee has been given additional charge as Director-General of the Bureau of Civil Aviation (BCAS). She is the first woman and third IAS officer to have been appointed to the post. She succeeds Rakesh Asthana (IPS) who was appointed as the Director-General of Border Security Force (BSF).

India ranked in the top 50 nations in the Global Innovation Index [02 Sep 2020]

India has climbed 4 spots and has been ranked 48thby the World Intellectual Property Organization in the Global Innovation Index 2020 rankings. In midst of the Covid -19 pandemic, it comes as an uplifting news for India, and is a testament of its robust R&D Ecosystem. India was at the 52nd position in 2019 and was ranked 81st in the year 2015. It is a remarkable achievement to be in a league of highly innovative developed nations all over the globe. The WIPO had also accepted India as one of the leading innovation achievers of 2019 in the central and southern Asian region, as it has shown a consistent improvement in its innovation ranking for the last 5 years.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Japan for cooperation in the field of good quality textiles [02 Sep 2020]

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved for signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Textiles Committee, India and M/s Nissenken Quality Evaluation Centre, Japan for improving quality and testing of Indian textiles and Clothing for the Japanese market. The MoU would enable M/s Nissenken Quality Evaluation Centre, Japan in assigning Textile Committee as their cooperative Testing and Inspection service providers in the Republic of India for Textiles & Apparel products including Technical Textiles and any other products mutually agreed upon at a later date for both domestic and overseas clients/buyers.

Cabinet approves "Mission Karmayogi"- National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB) [02 Sep 2020]

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved launching of a National Programme for Civil Services Capacity Building (NPCSCB)with the following institutional framework:- (i) Prime Minister's Public Human Resources (HR) Council,(ii)Capacity Building Commission.(iii) Special Purpose Vehicle for owning and operating the digital assets and the technological platform for online training,(iv)Coordination Unit headed by the Cabinet Secretary.

NPCSCB has been carefully designed to lay the foundations for capacity building for Civil Servants so that they remain entrenched in Indian Culture and sensibilities and remain connected, with their roots, while they learn from the best institutions and practices across the world. The Programme will be delivered by setting up an Integrated Government Online Training - iGOTKarmayogiPlatform.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Finland for cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources [02 Sep 2020]

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved Memorandum of Understanding for cooperation in the field of geology and mineral resources between Geological Survey of India, Ministry of Mines, the Government of the Republic of India and Geological Survey of Finland (Geologiantutkimuskeskus), Ministry of Employment and the Economy, the Government of Finland. The MoU facilitates cooperation in the field of geology, training, mineral prognostication and suitability analysis, 3/4D modeling, Seismic and other Geophysical surveys finalised with the intent of reinforcing and strengthening scientific links between the two Organisations. This MoU aims to provide with a framework and a platform to promote and foster cooperation in the fields of geology, and mineral resources between the Participants for mutual economic, social and environmental benefit; and share experiences on geological data management and information dissemination to promote exploration and mining, in the areas of geology and mineral resources.

Shri Rajiv Kumar takes over as new Election Commissioner [01 Sep 2020]

Shri Rajiv Kumar assumed charge as the new Election Commissioner (EC) of India. Sh Kumar joins the Election Commission of India with Chief Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Shri Sushil Chandra.

Hemant Khatri is appointed new CMD of Hindustan Shipyard Limited [01 Sep 2020]

Hemant Khatri (Retd) has assumed charge as the Chairman and Managing Director of state-owned defense shipbuilder, Hindustan Shipyard Ltd (HSL) at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh on September, 2020. He replaces Rear Admiral LV Sarat Babu (Retd). Previously, Hemant Khatri was serving as the Director of Strategic Projects HSL.

World Health Organization (WHO) certifies Africa free from Wild Polio [26 Aug 2020]

The Africa Regional Certification Commission(ARCC) an independent body set up by World Health Organization (WHO) has certified the African continent free from wild polio. The landmark feat related to public health has been achieved by the continent after decades of work along with international health bodies, national and local governments, community volunteers and survivors.

England's James Anderson becomes first fast bowler to claim 600 wickets in Test Cricket [25 Aug 2020]

England's James Anderson scripted history by becoming the first pace bowler of the world to take 600 Test wickets in his career when he dismissed Pakistani captain Azhar Ali

India's Longest River Ropeway inaugurated in Guwahati [24 Aug 2020]

Assam's Finance and Health Minister Hemanta Biswa Sarma inaugurated India's longest river ropeway of 1.82 km over the Brahmaputra river in Guwahati, Assam. It will connects Kachari Ghat in Guwahati city at the one end to the Dol Govinda Temple in North Guwahati at the other side.

Central Government constitutes National Council for Transgender Persons [24 Aug 2020]

In exercise of the powers conferred by section 16 of the Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Act, 2019 (40 of 2019), the Central Government has constituted a National Council for Transgender Persons vide notification dated 21st August, 2020. The Union Minister of Social Justice & Empowerment will be Chairperson (ex-officio) and Union Minister of State for Social Justice & Empowerment will be Vice-Chairperson (ex-officio). The National Council shall perform the following functions, namely:-

  1. to advise the Central Government on the formulation of policies, programmes, legislation and projects with respect to transgender persons;
  2. to monitor and evaluate the impact of policies and programmes designed for achieving equality and full participation of transgender persons;
  3. to review and coordinate the activities of all the departments of Government and other Governmental and non-Governmental Organisations which are dealing with matters relating to transgender persons;
  4. to redress the grievances of transgender persons; and
  5. to perform such other functions as may be prescribed by the Central Government.

The other members of the Council include representatives of various Ministries/Departments, five representatives of transgender community, representatives of NHRC and NCW, representatives of State Governments and UTs and experts representing NGOs.

World Class State of the Art Honey Testing Lab inaugurated at Anand, Gujarat [24 Aug 2020]

Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the ‘World Class State of Art Honey Testing Laboratory’ established by National Dairy Development Board (NDDB)in Anand(Gujarat) with support of National Bee Board (NBB).

Army Sports Institute, Pune awarded with Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020 [23 Aug 2020]

Army Sports Institute, Pune has been identified and awarded with “Rashtriya Khel Protsahan Puraskar 2020” by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports, Govt of India. Army Sports Institute, Pune was raised as part of Indian Army’s “Mission Olympics” programme on 01 Jul 2001. The aim was to train the vast reservoir of talent in the Army in selected seven disciplines to include Archery, Athletics, Boxing, Diving, Fencing, Weightlifting and Wrestling with an ultimate aim of winning medals at Olympics. The institute draws its sportsmen from the Army as well as from young raw and proven talent in ‘Boys Sports Companies’ (8-14 years age).

ARCI scientists convert tamarind waste & cotton waste to supercapacitor electrodes [21 Aug 2020]

Tamarind seeds and cotton waste may soon be used to make low-cost supercapacitors for energy storage – thanks to the efforts of a group of Indian scientists who have used such waste biomass to develop materials for making cost-effective supercapacitor devices. This can pave the way towards affordable electric vehicles and hybrid vehicles which bank on supercapacitors significantly for their application in braking systems and start-stop cycles. Responding to the intense hunt for supercapacitor materials to meet the widespread demand for supercapacitors, Scientists at the International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy & New Materials (ARCI), an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India, have developed a couple of cost-effective electrode material for making affordable supercapacitor devices, from waste biomass like tamarind seeds and industrial cotton waste. They have converted the waste materials into highly porous carbon fibres by activation process and then utilised the porous carbon fibres to make high-performance supercapacitor electrodes. The findings of their recent work have been published in the ‘Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics.’ The electrode materials made from the biomass waste has been tested with the help of a rapid testing protocol developed by Scientists at Centre for Fuel Cell Technology, ARCI-Chennai to evaluate different porous electrode materials for their suitability in supercapacitors. The protocol involves Electrochemical Impedance Spectroscopy (EIS) and records the impedance ( a parameter used to measure the opposition that a circuit presents to a current when a voltage is applied) offered by a material under a small perturbation and the capacitance (ratio of the change in electric charge of a system to the corresponding change in its electric potential) formed by the arrangement of electrolyte ions over the electrode surface, which is called as double-layer capacitance. The ARCI scientists used it to test the pore characteristics and stability of the activated carbon material prepared from tamarind seed and its suitability for supercapacitor application.

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