Daily GK Update: 20th August 2020

Cabinet approves establishment of National Recruitment Agency

  • The Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved setting up of a National Recruitment Agency (NRA) to carry out a national entrance exam for non-gazette vacancies in both central government departments, and public sector banks.
  • The agency will conduct a single entrance exam for tens of thousands of positions that the government advertises every year.
  • The current recruitment model comprises several exams by different recruitment agencies including some by Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).
  • The UPSC, however, will continue to deal with top administrative exams, including the coveted the civil services exams.
  • NRA will be a multi-agency body to encompass the first level test currently conducted by agencies like Staff Selection Commission (SSC), the Railway Recruitment Boards (RRBs) and the Institute of Banking Service Personnel (IBPS).

Source: Live Mint

SBI waives off SMS charges for all savings accounts

  • State Bank of India, SBI has waived off SMS charges in addition to its penalty waiver on non-maintenance of minimum balance for all its Savings Accounts.
  • SBI has over 44 crore savings accounts.
  • The public sector bank informed that the waiver of such charges is applicable for all kinds of savings accounts including those with cheque or Internet Banking facilities.
  • The bank used to levy a penalty of  5 to  15 rupees plus taxes on non-maintenance of average monthly balance.

Source: NewsOnAir

Ashok Lavasa resigns as Election Commissioner; to join ADB as Vice President

  • Election Commissioner Ashok Lavasa, next in the line to head the Commission, has resigned.
  • Ashok Lavasa’s resignation from the post of the Election Commissioner came on Tuesday, a month after he was named as the new vice-president of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • He is likely to join the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in September.
  • Ashok Lavasa resigned as he could have taken the position at ADB only after resigning from his position in the Election Commission.
  • Ashok Lavasa was next in the line to head the Election Commission and become India’s Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) after retirement of the current CEC Sunil Arora in April 2021.
  • He has now become the second election commissioner to step down from the poll panel before the completion of his term.

Source: India Today

Luis Rodolfo Abinader sworn in as Dominican Republic president

  • Luis Rodolfo Abinader was sworn in as president of the Dominican Republic on Sunday in a ceremony attended by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
  • Abinader, a 53-year-old businessman who had never held elected office, was elected to a four-year term on July 5, ending a 16-year run in power by a center-left party.
  • He finished second in the 2016 presidential election.
  • The elections in the Dominican Republic took place as the new coronavirus pandemic was sweeping across the Caribbean nation of some 10.5 million people.

Source: USNews

Inventor of Pixel, Russell Kirsch passed away

  • The computer scientist Russell Kirsch  credited with inventing the pixel– the digital dots that have been used to display photos, videos and more on phones and computer screens over the past few decades – has died this week at the age of 91.
  • Russell Kirsch passed away at his home in Portland, Ore
  • Kirsch brought pixels into reality in 1957 when he created a small, 2-by-2-inch black-and-white digital image of his son, Walden, as an infant.
  • It was among the first images ever scanned into a computer, using a device created by his research team at the U.S. National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institutes of Science and Technology).

Source: Fox Business

Reliance Retail took majority stake in digital pharmacy start-up Netmeds

  • The Mukesh Ambani-owned conglomerate announced acquisition of a majority equity stake in Chennai-based online pharmacy delivery start-up Netmeds (Vitalic Health Pvt. Ltd) for a cash consideration of approximately Rs 620 crore.
  • This investment represents 60 per cent holding in the equity share capital of Vitalic and 100 per cent direct equity ownership of its subsidiaries – Tresara Health Private Limited, Netmeds Market Place Limited and Dadha Pharma Distribution Pvt. Limited
  • RIL’s acquisition comes at a time when arch rival Amazon has just started selling pharmaceutical products in Bangalore markets.
  • Also, two other prominent players Medlife and PharmEasy are now heading for a merger to create a have agreed for a merger, to create a large combined entity in the online pharmacy space.

Source: Business Standard

Delhi Police signs MoU with AIIA for Ayurveda health services

  • A MoU was signed between the All India Institute of Ayurveda (AIIA) and the Delhi Police for extending ayurvedic mode of preventive and promotive health services in the residential colonies of the force.
  • Supported by the AYUSH ministry, these services will be provided by AIIA through a mobile unit named ”Dhanwantari Rath” and Police Wellness Centres, according to a statement by the ministry.
  • A signed memorandum of understanding document was exchanged between Delhi Police Commissioner S N Shrivastava and AYUSH ministry Additional Secretary Pramod Kumar Pathak.
  • The ”Dhanwantari Rath” was flagged off in presence of AIIA Director Professor Tanuja Nesari.

Source: Outlook India

Union Minister launches App for loan application facilitation of Street Vendors

  • The government launched a mobile app for urban local bodies to source loan applications from street vendors under the PM SVANidhi scheme.
  • The app was launched by Union Minister Hardeep Singh Puri.
  • Under the PM SVANidhi scheme, street vendors can avail a working capital loan of up to ₹ 10,000 which is repayable in monthly instalments in the tenure of one year.
  • This app aims to provide user friendly digital interface for the functionaries of urban local bodies (ULBs) to source loan applications of street vendors

Source:  NDTV

Flipkart signs MoU with IIT Patna for Artificial Intelligence research

  • Ecommerce major, Flipkart has announced an MoU with IIT Patna, India’s leading science, engineering and technology institute.
  • The MoU is a step to strengthen Flipkart’s academic collaboration which it has been inculcating for past 5 years now.
  • The MoU with IIT Patna will help create industry focused applied research in the areas of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Machine Learning (ML).
  • As a part of this MoU, IIT Patna will undertake a number of programs such as joint research activities, writing research papers, organizing seminars, internship / mentorship opportunities to name a few.
  • The academic collaboration is expected to bring real world industry exposure to students and scholars of IIT Patna, and to provide an opportunity to the faculty member(s) to work closely with Flipkart on research projects.

Source:  edexLive

‘Swachh Survekshan 2020’ results announced

  • The government today announced the results of annual survey of cleanliness, Swachh Survekshan 2020.
  • Indore once again bagged the top spot as the cleanest city of India, fourth time in a row.
  • The second and third positions in the category were grabbed by Surat and Navi Mumbai respectively.
  • The Swachh Survekshan awards 2020 were announced by Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri at a ceremony.

Source:  Live Mint