Daily GK Update: 22nd June 2020

India-China border row: Govt grants emergency funds to armed forces for war preparedness

  • Amid the ongoing border tensions with China, the government has granted emergency funds to armed forces for war preparedness. The government has granted big financial power to the defence forces under which they can buy any weapon system under Rs 500 crore. “The three services have been granted the financial powers by the Narendra Modi government to buy weapon systems under emergency requirement procedure. Now they can buy any in inventory or new weapon upto Rs 500 for each project under these powers,” government sources told Aajtak and India Today.
    “Under the project, the defence forces in consultation with the Department of Military Affairs go in for buying any weapon which they feel would be required for war fighting or are short of in their inventory,” the sources also said.
  • The three forces have already started preparing a list of weapons and equipment that they need and can procure in the shortest possible time. The defence forces have so far in the last four years after the Uri attacks stocked up several spares and missiles which were short in supply till that time.

Source: Business Today

NCERT launches Online Yoga Quiz Competition to promote integration of Yoga in school curriculum

  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) through National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has undertaken multi-dimensional initiatives to promote integration of Yoga in school curriculum.
  • NCERT has developed textual materials on Yoga for Healthy Living for Upper Primary to Secondary Stages and also has been organising Yoga Olympiad since 2016. In COVID-19 situation children are being guided by their teachers and parents at home to do yogic practices along with physical exercises based on Alternative Academic Calendar developed for different stages of school education. But due to the outbreak of Corona pandemic, it is difficult to organise Yoga Olympiad this year.
  • To enable students to learn at home and be safe, Union Human Resource Development Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ through social media launched an Online Yoga Quiz Competition organised by NCERT.

Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development

FATF: Indian officials attend virtual EAG plenary meet

  • Indian officials, including representatives from enforcement agencies, on Friday attended the virtual 32nd special Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism (EAG) plenary meeting, under the aegis of the Financial Action Task Force.
  • The EAG is a regional body comprising nine countries: India, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Belarus. It is an associate member of the FATF. The FATF’s virtual plenary meet will be held on June 24, which will also be attended by the officials concerned through video-conferencing.
  • Pakistan, which continues to remain on the “grey list” of FATF, had earlier been given the deadline till the June plenary to ensure compliance with the 27-point action plan against terror funding networks and money laundering syndicates, or face “black listing”.

Source: The Hindu

Mukesh Ambani secures his place among world’s top 10 richest

  • The funding spree in Jio Platforms has catapulted Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani to the top 10 richest in the world, the lone Asian in the current list. According to the latest ranking by Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth has jumped to $64.5 billion, after RIL raised more than $15 billion in just 58 days.
  • Ambani overtook Larry Ellison of Oracle and France’s Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, the wealthiest woman, to reach the No. 9 spot. He added $5.8 billion to his net worth in the same time last year. The Reliance chairman is now in the company of Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (who leads the list with a net worth of $160 billion), Bill Gates ($112 billion), Mark Zuckerberg ($90 billion) and Warner Buffet ($71.5 billion).

Source: The Week

Decarbonising Transport: International Project to Develop Pathway to Low-CO2 Mobility for India

  • NITI Aayog in collaboration with International Transport Forum (ITF) will launch the “Decarbonising Transport in India” project on 24 June, with the intention to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.
  • India has been a member of ITF, an intergovernmental organisation for transport policy, since 2008.
  • ITF Secretary-General Young Tae Kim and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant will open the public online launch event. Senior officials of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways, and ITF will also be present.
  • The online event will inform transport and climate stakeholders in India about planned project activities. It will also offer the opportunity to provide inputs regarding India’s transport challenges and how they relate to CO2 reduction ambitions. The discussion will help to focus the project further on India’s specific needs and circumstances.
  • The “Decarbonising Transport in India” project will design a tailor-made transport emissions assessment framework for India. It will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.

Source: NITI Aayog

National Testing Agency (NTA) launches Hindi Tests feature on National Test Abhyas mobile app

  • Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ today announced that National Testing Agency (NTA) has launched Hindi Tests feature on National Test Abhyas mobile app. He said that competitive exam students preferring Hindi can now practice on their mobile devices with Hindi mock tests released on the National Test Abhyas smartphone app by NTA.
  • Shri Pokhriyal informed that last month, National Testing Agency (NTA) which conducts competitive exams like JEE and NEET has launched its Artificial Intelligence (AI)-powered smartphone app to empower engineering and medical aspirants to prepare safely from their homes, for entrance exams including JEE Main, NEET. So far, more than 16.5 lakhs tests have been given by students on this app, and more than 9.56 lakh students have downloaded the App.Source: Ministry of Human Resource Development

RBI raise PMC bank withdrawal limit for depositors to ₹1,00,000/-

  • Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative Bank Limited, Mumbai, Maharashtra, a Multi-State Urban Cooperative Bank was placed under All-Inclusive Directions under sub-section (1) of Section 35 A read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 with effect from close of business on September 23, 2019 vide Directive DCBS.CO.BSD-1/D-1/12.22.183/19-20 dated September 23, 2019, in the interest of depositor protection. The withdrawal limit under the directions was last enhanced to ₹50,000/- (Rupees Fifty Thousand Only) per depositor on November 5, 2019 and the Directions were last extended vide Directive dated March 21, 2020 upto June 22, 2020.
  • Reserve Bank has been engaging with the stakeholders to explore the possibility of a resolution of the bank. However, the process has been affected due to the lockdown on account of COVID 19 and the continuing uncertainty around the pandemic. Further, the extent of the negative net worth of the bank, and the legal processes involved in recovery of bad debts also pose challenges/limitations in resolution of the bank. Nevertheless, consultation with various stake-holders and authorities for resolution of the bank is continuing. It is, therefore, considered necessary to extend the aforesaid Directions for a further period of six months to take the process forward.

Source: Reserve Bank of India

India becomes 12th largest holder of US govt securities at April end

  • The data from the US Treasury Department showed that after significantly reducing the exposure in March to 156.5 billion dollars, India marginally hiked the holding by 0.9 billion dollars to 157.4 billion dollars the next month.
  • While the holding touched a record high of 177.5 billion dollars in February, the same was drastically reduced in March.
  • The exposure stood at 164.3 billion dollars in January. At the end of April, Japan remained the country with the maximum exposure at 1.27 trillion dollars, followed by China at 1.1 trillion dollars and the UK at 368.5 billion dollars.

Source: DD News

National champion Niki Poonacha elected to ITF panel

  • Reigning national champion Niki Poonacha has been elected to the International Tennis Federation (ITF) men’s player panel and will represent the Asia-Oceania zone along with Ti Chen of Chinese Taipei.
  • Aldin Setkic and Francesco Vilardo were elected from Europe, while Juan Pablo Paz and Jose Bendeck were elected to represent South America. One more position awaits an eligible candidate in the men’s panel, even though 11 players contested the election among the men, in which Poonacha polled the second highest number of votes with 62.
  • “I am happy to be given a chance to represent players in the ITF. I thank all the players who trusted me with this responsibility. I will give my best. I am already in touch with players from other countries also, about the issues,” said Poonacha, who was the only Indian candidate.

Source: Sportstar

Reliance Industries becomes first Indian firm to hit $150 bn market cap

  • Reliance Industries on Monday became the first Indian firm to hit a market valuation of $150 billion, helped by a continuous rally in its share price.
  • In morning trade, the company’s market valuation jumped Rs 28,248.97 crore to Rs 11,43,667 crore ($150 billion) on the BSE.
  • The heavyweight stock surged 2.53 per cent to a record high of Rs 1,804.10 on the BSE.
  • On the NSE, it rose by 2.54 per cent to an all-time high of Rs 1,804.20.
  • Reliance Industries on Friday became the first Indian company to cross the Rs 11 trillion market valuation mark.
  • Its market valuation crossed Rs 11 trillion in the previous session as its share price rallying over 6 per cent after chairman Mukesh Ambani announced that his oil-to-telecom conglomerate had become net debt-free.

Source: Business Standard

Padma Shri awardee Vidyaben passes away

  • Social worker and National Award winner Vidyaben Shah passed away on Friday at her residence in the national capital. She was 98.
  • Vidyaben was the first non-official to head the New Delhi Municipal Council in the 1970s and was also the president of the Indian Council for Child Welfare (ICCW) between 1976 to 1979 and then from 1985 to 1994.
  • A pioneer in the field of child welfare, she established the first Bal Bhavan in Rajkot in the 1940s and as a university student, she participated in the Quit India Movement. She was awarded the Padma Shri in 1992 and received the National Award for outstanding services in the field of child welfare in 1986.

Source: The Hindu