Current Affairs Quiz: 17th November 2020

“Centre draws up five years plan to save vultures.”

  • The Union Government has released a five-year action plan for the conservation of vultures. They are nature’s scavengers which feed on the animal carcasses keeping the surrounding clean. The step has been taken in light of a substantial decline in the population of vultures in India.
  • The plan released by the government includes instituting a system that will automatically remove a drug from veterinary use, such as Diclofenac which is found to be toxic for the vultures. The system implemented with the help of the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) will ensure preventing the poisoning of principal food of vultures.
  • The Union Environment Minister, Prakash Javadekar while referring to the ministry’s five-year plan (2020-2025) for the conservation of vultures informed that just 0.4-0.7% of animal carcasses which are contaminated with Diclofenac are enough to decimate the population of vultures.
  • Its objective is to prevent the poisoning of the principal food of the vultures which are cattle carcasses. It will be ensured that veterinary NSAIDs have been regulated and distributed only on the prescription. It will also be ensured that the treatment of livestock is done only by qualified veterinarians.

Source: Jagran Josh

“DIPAM, World Bank sign agreement for advisory services for asset monetization.”

  • The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) signed an agreement with the World Bank to provide advisory services for asset monetization. DIPAM mainly handles the Indian government’s disinvestment programme.
  • The department is mandated to facilitate asset monetization of non-core assets of government such as the Central public sector enterprises (CPSEs) under strategic disinvestment.
  • The central government has set a target of raising Rs 2.10 lakh crore from disinvestment in the current fiscal year. The target includes Rs 1.20 lakh crore, which has to be raised through CPSE disinvestment.
  • As per the agreement signed between DIPAM and World Bank, the international bank will provide its advisory services for asset monetization under its advisory project, which has been approved by the Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The project aims at supporting the development of operational guidelines and capacity building for its implementation.

Source: Jagran Josh

“Govt. allows ICRISAT to use drones for agricultural research.”

  • The government has allowed Hyderabad-based International Crops Research Institute (ICRISAT) to use drones for agricultural research activities, an official release said .
  • Granting the institute a “conditional” exemption from some of the rules applicable for deployment of drones, the Civil Aviation Ministry said the institute can gather data for agricultural research activities within the ICRISAT research field using remotely piloted aircraft systems or drones.
  • The exemption is valid for six months from the date of issuance of permission or until the full operationalisation of Digital Sky Platform (Phase-1), whichever is earlier, the release said, adding that the exemption will be valid only if all conditions and limitations are strictly adhered to.

Source: The Hindu        

“Reserve Bank appoints Kris Gopalakrishnan as first chairperson of Reserve Bank Innovation Hub.”

  • The Reserve Bank of India in a statement released on November 17, 2020, informed that the co-founder and former Co-Chairman of Infosys, Senapathy (Kris) Gopalakrishnan has been appointed as the first Chairperson of Reserve Bank Innovation Hub (RBIH).
  • Currently, he is a Chief Mentor of Start-Up village which is an incubation hub for various start-ups.
  • In August 2020, the central bank had announced to set up the Reserve Bank Innovation Hub for promoting innovation across the financial sector.
  • The process will take place by leveraging technology and by creating an environment that will foster and facilitate innovation.
  • The Reserve Bank Innovation Hub will be creating an ecosystem that will focus on promoting access to financial services and products. The central bank added that the hub will promote financial inclusion as well.

Source: Jagran Josh

“Second phase of Malabar exercise begins in northern Arabian Sea.”

  • The navies of India, the US, Australia and Japan began the second phase of the Malabar naval exercise  in the northern Arabian Sea involving two aircraft carriers and a number of frontline warships, submarines and maritime reconnaissance aircraft.
  • The major highlight of the four-day exercise is participation of Indian Navy’s Vikramaditya carrier battle group and the Nimitz strike group of the US Navy. The USS Nimitz is the world’s largest warship.
  • The first phase of the Malabar exercise took place in the Bay of Bengal from November 3 to 6 and featured a number of complex drills including anti-submarine and anti-air warfare operations.
  • The mega exercise is taking place at a time India and China are locked in an over six-month-long bitter border standoff in eastern Ladakh.
  • This exercise is involving coordinated operations of increasing complexity among the navies of the four countries which are part of the Quad or Quadrilateral Coalition, officials said.

Source: The Hindu                  

“Prime Minister Modi to attend 12th BRICS Summit virtually on November 17.”

  • Prime Minister Modi will attend the 12th edition of the BRICS Summit hosted by Russia virtually on November 17, 2020. The summit will be held in the backdrop of the United Nation’s 75th anniversary and amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  • According to the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), PM Modi will be attending the summit in a virtual mode at the invitation of the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin.
  • Ministry also informed that India will be taking over the BRICS Chairmanship, which will also be the third BRICS presidency for the country, after 2012 and 2016 and it will host the 13th BRICS Summit in 2021. The leaders participating in the summit will be discussing the cooperation prospects as well as the International agenda.
  • The theme of the 12th BRICS Summit is ‘Global Stability, Shared Security, and Innovative Growth’.

Source: Jagran Josh 

“Digital Life Certificate: EPFO gives these facilities to 67 lakh EPS pensioners.”

  • The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has extended multiple options for submission of digital life certificate by EPS pensioners. The initiatives will benefit approximately 67 lakh EPS pensioners out of which about 21 lakh are widow/widower, children, and orphan pensioners.
  • All pensioners of Employees Pension Scheme 1995 (EPS’95) are required to submit Jeevan Pramaan Patra (JPP) / Digital Life Certificate (DLC) each year to continue drawing a pension, said an official statement.
  • In the current scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Employees’ Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) has facilitated multiple options for EPS pensioners to submit their DLC, close to their home or at their doorstep. The JPP submitted through all these modes/agencies are equally valid, it said.
  • EPS pensioners can now submit DLC at pension disbursing bank branch and nearest post offices, and it can also be submitted at a nation-wide network of over 3.65 lakh Common Services Centers (CSC), besides 135 regional offices and 117 district offices of EPFO. They can also submit DLC using the UMANG app.
  • Notably, India Post Payments Bank (IPPB) has recently launched the doorstep Digital Life Certificate (DLC) service for pensioners, who can now submit an online request for availing doorstep DLC service on payment of a nominal fee.

Source: Dailyhunt

“World’s last known white giraffe gets GPS tracking device.”

  • The only known white giraffe in the world has been fitted with a GPS tracking device to help protect it from poachers as it grazes in Kenya. But despite its singular status, the lonely male doesn’t have a name.
  • The white giraffe now stands alone after a female and her calf were killed by poachers in March, the Ishaqbini Hirola Community Conservancy said.
  • A rare genetic trait called leucism causes the white color, and it makes the one surviving giraffe stand out dangerously for poachers in the arid savannah near the Somalia border.
  • Now the GPS tracking device, attached to one of the giraffe’s horns, will ping every hour to alert wildlife rangers to its location.
  • The conservancy has thanked the Kenya Wildlife Service along with the Northern Rangelands Trust and Save Giraffes Now for the help.

Source: Hindustan Times

“Sonu Sood is now Punjab icon, announces Election Commission.”

  • Actor Sonu Sood has been appointed as the Punjab state icon by the Election Commission of India.
  • The statement quoting Punjab Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) S Karuna Raju said his office had sent a proposal to the ECI in this regard and they approved the same.
  • Belonging to Moga district of Punjab, Sood catapulted to the national spotlight for his work in helping migrants reach their homes during the coronavirus-triggered lockdown. Sood arranged transport facilities for migrant labourers stuck in various places to their homes and his humanitarian work was highly appreciated by all sections of society.

Source: Hindustan Times

“Senior Rajasthan minister Bhanwar Lal Meghwal passes away.”

  • Rajasthan Social Justice and Empowerment Minister Master Bhanwar Lal Meghwal, who was suffering from brain hemorrhage, died in a hospital in Gurgaon. He was 72.
  • Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot condoled the death of Meghwal, who was a five-time MLA.
  • Meghwal, who represented Sujangarh assembly constituency of Churu district, suffered a brain stroke in May this year.

Source: Indian Express