Daily GK Update: 4th July 2020

Indian Railways new record: Operates its 2.8 km long train ‘SheshNaag”

  • Indian Railways created another record by operating the longest freight train. Indian Railways named it as ‘SeshNaag’. The rake had a total of 251 wagons which were pulled by four electric locomotives which were fitted in between.
  • The feat was achieved in the South East Central Railway zone of the Indian Railways. The train had empty BOXN rakes.
  • Indian Railways is prioritising the movement of freight trains in its network as the passenger trains are not running in full utilisation due to the spread of coronavirus pandemic.
  • Indian Railways trying to move multiple freight rakes together as it helps in saving the transportation time and also help in the decongestion of the rail route.
  • The Ministry of Railways has tweeted a video of the same.

Source: Live Mint

PM Modi launches app innovation challenge to promote desi apps

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday launched the Aatmanirbhar Innovation Challenge, inviting India’s tech and community to create an Aatmanirbhar App Ecosystem. Earlier in the week, India banned 59 Chinese apps including popular apps like TikTok, SHAREit, and others amidst the anti-China sentiment due to tension on the India-China border.
  • “This challenge is for you if you have such a working product or if you feel you have the vision and expertise to create such products. I urge all my friends in the tech community to participate.” PM Modi tweeted.
  • The challenge will be regulated under the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology along with Atal Innovation Mission and run in two tracks: Promotion of Existing Apps and Development of New Apps.

Source: The Indian Express

International Day of Cooperatives 2020: All you need to know

  • The United Nations International Day of Cooperatives is observed every year on the first Saturday of July. This year the International Day of Cooperatives will be celebrated on July 4, 2020 (today). The main aim of this celebration was to increase awareness of cooperatives and highlight the contributions of the cooperative movement to resolving the major problems addressed by the United Nations.
  • The day also aims to strengthen and extend partnerships between the international cooperative movement and other actors, including governments, local, national and international levels.
  • Co-operatives around the world celebrate the International Day of Cooperatives in various fashions and each year the organising institutions agree on a specific theme for the celebrations.
  • The theme for this year is Cooperatives For Climate Action.
  • This theme was chosen because Greenhouse gas emissions are more than 50 per cent higher than it was in 1990, and global warming is causing long-lasting changes to our climate system. Hence, to support Sustainable Development Goal on Climate Action the theme was selected.

Source: India Today

Clean Energy Can Support India’s Economic Recovery post-Covid-19

  • NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) today released Towards a Clean Energy Economy: Post-Covid-19 Opportunities for India’s Energy and Mobility Sectors report, which advocates for stimulus and recovery efforts that work towards building a clean, resilient, and least-cost energy future for India. These efforts include electric vehicle, energy storage, and renewable energy programs.
  • The report identifies how Covid-19 is beginning to influence the clean energy transition in India, specifically for the transport and power sectors, and recommends principles and strategic opportunities for the country’s leaders to drive economic recovery and maintain momentum towards a clean energy economy.
  • Covid-19 has presented significant demand- and supply-side challenges for India’s transport and power sectors, from liquidity constraints and supply shortages to shifts in consumer demand and preferences.
  • Rajiv Kumar, Vice Chairman, NITI Aayog said he is confident that India’s economy will recover following the containment of the Covid-19 pandemic. “India’s strong democratic institutions promote policy stability. Ongoing economic reforms, if executed well, should keep the country’s growth rate ahead of peers,” he said.

Source: INTI Aayog

Himachal Pradesh to provide tap connections to all rural households by 2022

  • Drinking water supply is a service delivery, wherein the quantity, quality of water supplied and periodicity of water supply has to be ensured for which Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM) is under implementation.
  • The objective of the Mission is universal coverage and emphasis is on the principle of ‘equity and inclusiveness’ i.e. every family in the village gets tap water connection in their household and none is left behind.
  • Himachal Pradesh is planning 100% coverage by August 2022, ahead of national goal by 2024.
  • By doing so, Himachal Pradesh will be one of the leading states to accomplish the ambitious target of providing tap connection to each rural household. In this context, the central Minister had a discussion with the State CM and the CM assured of faster execution of rural drinking water supply works in the State so as to achieve the target in time-bound manner.
  • Appreciating the progress made so far in providing household tap connections in the State, Union Minister emphasized on preparation of Village Action Plans as well as constitution of village water and sanitation committee/ Paani Samiti as a sub-committee of Gram Panchayat with minimum 50% of women members, responsible for planning, designing, implementing and operating & maintaining of in-village water supply infrastructure.

Source: DD News

Maharashtra Government and UK India Business Council Extend MoU to Foster Sustainable Business Relations Between UK And India

  • The UK India Business Council today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Maharashtra Industrial Development Corporation (MIDC), the premier industrial infrastructure development agency of the Government of Maharashtra. This business framework between the UKIBC and Government of Maharashtra will help the State to proactively better its business environment and strengthen its collaboration with British business.
  • The MoU was signed at a virtual roundtable by Dr. P Anbalagan, CEO of MIDC and Mr. Kevin McCole, Managing Director, UKIBC in the presence of Mr. B Venugopal Reddy, Principal Secretary, Industries, Government of Maharashtra, Alan Gemmell, Her Majesty’s Trade Commissioner, South Asia, Department of International Trade and a range of major UK investors in Maharashtra.

Source: Outlook India

ICICI Bank launches instant loan against mutual fund units

  • ICICI BankNSE 0.33 % announced the launch of a facility that enables retail customers to get loan of up to Rs 1 crore instantaneously by pledging their holdings in both debt and equity schemes of mutual funds. According to a press release, the fully digital and paperless facility lets the customers avail this loan as an overdraft (OD) in a matter of few minutes. Physical documents and visiting the bank branch is not needed.
  • The facility is called, ‘Insta Loans against Mutual Funds’, and is launched in partnership with ‘Computer Age Management Services’ (CAMS), the country’s leading registrar and transfer agency for mutual funds. ‘Insta Loans against Mutual Funds’ is an extension of the Insta LAS, an instant loan facility against equity shares, which the Bank launched over a year ago.

Source: Economic Times

Intel Capital to invest Rs 1,894.50 crore in Jio Platforms

  • Reliance Industries (RIL) and Jio Platforms announced today that Intel Capital will invest Rs 1,894.50 crore in Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.
  • The announcement was made before market hours today, 3 July 2020. Shares of RIL settled 1.3% higher at Rs 1,760.55 yesterday.
  • Intel Capital’s investment will translate into a 0.39% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis. Intel Capital joins the list of firms who have recently invested in Jio Platforms, taking the total investment amount Rs 117,588.45 crore.
  • Jio Platforms, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Reliance Industries, is a next-generation technology platform focused on providing high-quality and affordable digital services across India, with more than 388 million subscribers.

Source: Business Standard

West Indies legend Everton Weekes, the last of the three ‘Ws’, passes away at 95

  • Everton Weekes, the last surviving member of the famous three ‘Ws’ formed by him, Frank Worrell and Clyde Walcott, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 95. Worrell had breathed his last in 1967 and Walcott in 2006. All three of them, born a few kilometres apart in Barbados, had made their Test debuts for West Indies in 1948.
  • The legendary Weekes, who was hailed as one of greatest batsmen in the 40s and 50s, had an illustrious Test career.
  • Weekes made his Test debut at the age of 22 against England at Kensington Oval. His final match was against Pakistan in Trinidad a decade later.
  • In his career, Weekes played 48 test matches and made 4,455 runs at an average of 58.61 per innings. That included a world-record five consecutive centuries in 1948 — scores of 141 against England in Jamaica, followed by scores of 128, 194, 162 and 101 in India. In his next innings, he made 90 when he was run out.

Source: Hindustan Times

World Bank Approves $750 Million Emergency Response Program for Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises in India

  • The World Bank’s Board of Executive Directors today approved a $750 million MSME Emergency Response program to support increased flow of finance into the hands of micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), severely impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • COVID-19 has placed the MSME sector – the backbone of India’s economy – contributing to 30 percent of India’s GDP and 40 percent of exports, under severe stress. The sector, which employs about 150-180 million people, is today burdened with cancelled orders, loss of customers and supply chain disruptions – causing a sharp fall in revenues. This cash flow shortage is exacerbated by constraints to accessing finance, potentially leading to solvency problems. The broad-based loss of cash flows has triggered a chain of non-payments throughout the economy, including to the financial sector.

Source: The World Bank

Jio Platforms launches videoconferencing app JioMeet

  • Jio Platforms, a subsidiary of Mukesh Ambani-controlled Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), has launched a videoconferencing app, JioMeet.
  • JioMeet is a ‘Made in India’ free videoconferencing app. It can be used for one-on-one video calls and hosting meetings with up to 100 users with enterprise-grade host controls, Jio Platforms said on its website.
  • JioMeet is available on App Store and Google Play Store.
    The app, which was on beta trials for the past couple of weeks, is commercially available since July 2.
  • JioMeet, a network and device agnostic video calling app, can be accessed through Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox and is free of cost across Android and iOS platforms.

Source: Business Line

NLC, Coal India to form jt venture to develop 5,000 MW green power

  • NLC India Ltd and Coal India have signed an agreement for formation of a Joint Venture Company (JVC) to develop solar and thermal power assets to the tune of 5000 MW on pan-India basis.
  • The equity participation in the proposed JVC between Coal India and NLC will be in the ratio of 50:50.
  • The agreement was signed by Director (Planning & Projects), NLC India Ltd and Director (Technical), Coal India Ltd in the presence of Chairman-cum-Managing Director, Functional Directors & other senior officials of both the companies on Friday, according to a statement.
  • This joint venture company marks a new era in the power sector, with the synergy and expertise of two central public sector undertakings under the Ministry of Coal, it said.

Source: Business Line

The Vice President of India Releases “The Future of Higher Education” Book by ICT Academy

  • The following press release comes to you under an arrangement with NewsVoir. PTI takes no editorial responsibility for the same.)
    Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India (NewsVoir)
  • Hon’ble Vice President of India – Shri. M. Venkaiah Naidu virtually released a book on “Future of Higher Education – Nine Mega Trends”. The Virtual event, hosted by ICT Academy has also featured notable industry leaders such as Shri CA T N Manoharan Chairman Canara Bank & Padma Shri Awardee, Shri Lakshmi Narayanan Chairman ICT Academy, Shri CA Pattabhi Ram V Author, Shri M Sivakumar CEO of ICT Academy and with the launch hosted by Dr. B Anbuthambi, President ICT Academy. Around 5000 Educators from across India participated in the launch.
  • Shri M Venkaiah Naidu, Honorable Vice President of India, Shri CA T N Manoharan, Chairman, Canara Bank, Shri Lakshmi Narayanan, Chairman, ICT Academy, Shri CA V Pattabhi Ram, Author, Public Speaker and Teacher, Shri M Sivakumar, CEO, ICT Academy, Dr. B Anbuthambi, President, ICT Academy.

Source: The Week

Pakistan Army appoints first female lieutenant general

  • Pakistan Army has appointed a woman officer as lieutenant general for the first time, the military’s media wing said on Tuesday.
  • Major General Nigar Johar, who got the coveted post of a three-star general, has also been appointed as the first female surgeon general of the Pakistan Army.
  • “She is the 1st female officer to be promoted as Lieutenant General. The officer has been appointed as 1st female Surgeon General of Pak Army,” the Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) Director General Maj Gen Babar Iftikhar tweeted.

Source: The Indian Express