Daily GK Updates: 19th October 2020

“Education Minister addresses students of 1st Batch of ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme.”

  • Education Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank today virtually addressed the students from ASEAN member states who have been selected for the prestigious ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme (APFP) funded by the Government of India.
  • He said  the academic and research ties among India and ASEAN member states will be mutually beneficial for both the regions. It will further strengthen our ties in culture, commerce and connectivity.
  • APFP will open many doors to synergies in the field of technology and research for the academicians, researchers and the scientists from India and ASEAN.
  • The ASEAN PhD Fellowship Programme was announced on 25th January 2018, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the presence of leaders of all the ten ASEAN member states. Education Minister informed that under the APFP, one thousand fellowships will be provided exclusively to the ASEAN citizens.
  • He further informed that APFP is also the largest capacity development programme undertaken by the Government of India for foreign beneficiaries.

Source: News on Air

“BrahMos missile test-fired from destroyer INS Chennai in Arabian Sea.”

  • India successfully test fired the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile from the indigenously-built stealth destroyer INS Chennai, with the weapon hitting a pre-designated target in the Arabian Sea, the defence ministry said in a statement.
  • The 290-km range missile — an Indo-Russian joint venture — has land, air and naval variants.
  • “The missile hit the target with pin-point accuracy after performing high-level and extremely complex manoeuvres. BrahMos as prime strike weapon will ensure the warship’s invincibility by engaging naval surface targets at long ranges, thus making the destroyer another lethal platform of Indian Navy”.
  • The missile has a top speed of Mach 2.8 — nearly three times the speed of sound.

Source: Hindustan Times

“Seaplane service in Gujarat to begin on October 31.”

  • The Gujarat government has officially announced the inauguration of the first ever sea plane service in the state from October 31 — which marks the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel.
  • The inaugural flight will take off from Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity in Kevadia colony in Narmada district, to be operated by private airline SpiceJet.
  • The state government announced that a MoU was signed on July 22 this year between Chief Minister Vijay Rupani and the Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and Airports Authority of India to start the “first-ever seaplane services in Gujarat to provide seamless and affordable air connectivity from Sabarmati Riverfront, Ahmedabad to the Statue of Unity, Kevadia.
  • The water aerodrome scheme is being implemented by the terms and conditions of a tripartite agreement between the state government, Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA), and the Airports Authority of India.

Source: Indian Express

“Indian-Sri Lanka Navy Bilateral Maritime Exercise SLINEX-20 To Begin Today.”


  • The eighth edition of the annual Indian navy and Sri Lanka Navy bilateral maritime exercise ‘SLINEX -20’ is scheduled to begin on October 19 and would continue till October 21.
  • As per a statement by the Ministry of Defence, the exercise, which was flagged off from Vishakhapatnam last year would kick-start from Trincomalee in Sri Lanka this year.
  • The exercise plays a significant role in strengthening bilateral ties and also reiterating India’s policy of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Security and Growth for all in the Region (SAGAR)
  • LINEX-20 aims to enhance inter-operability, improve mutual understanding and exchange best practices and procedures for multi-faceted maritime operations between both navies.

Source: Republic World 

“Nine States, Union Territories selected for upgradation to KISCE.”


  • Nine States and Union Territories have been selected for upgradation to Khelo India State Centre of Excellence (KISCE).
  • The States and UTs include Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Chandigarh, Goa, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry, Tripura and Jammu and Kashmir.
  • Earlier this year, the Ministry had identified a total of 14 centres to be upgraded to Khelo India State Centre of Excellence. The overall number now stands at 24 KISCEs from 23 States and UTs.
  • The assistance to these centres will be provided in the form of bridging the gaps in sports equipment, high performance managers, coaches, sports scientists and technical support.
  • The KISCEs will be world-class facilities where the best sporting talent from all over the country will be trained to further India’s Olympic dreams.

Source: News on Air 

“Indian Railways’ Rajdhani special train via Bogibeel bridge! To connect Dibrugarh and New Delhi.”

  • The first-ever Indian Railways’ Rajdhani Express special train started its operations between Dibrugarh and New Delhi via the Bogibeel bridge.
  • According to the Railway Ministry, the Rajdhani Express special train started its services via the Bogibeel bridge in the state of Assam on 12 October 2020, strengthening the Indian Railways network in the region.
  • The bi-weekly special train will provide direct connectivity between the national capital and the areas on the north bank of the river Brahmaputra. On Monday, train number 02505 Rajdhani Express special train ran from Dibrugarh railway station via North Lakhimpur, New Misamari, Rangapara North, Harmuti, Udalguri, Tangla railway stations.
  • The Bogibeel bridge in Assam was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in December 2018.
  • The railway-road bridge, which is 4.94 kilometres long, has two number of broad gauge lines on the lower deck as well as a three lane road on the upper deck.
  • The country’s longest rail-road bridge, Bogibeel bridge provides all-weather connectivity between North and South banks of the river Brahmaputra in the eastern part of Assam and the state of Arunachal Pradesh.

Source: Financial Express

“Centre extends concessional rate on the cargo movement between India, Chabahar Port in Iran for one year.”

  • The Indian government has decided to extend the current concessional rate of 40% discount on the cargo movement between India and Iran’s Chabahar Port for the time period of one year.
  • According to the Ministry of Shipping, the discount of 40% will apply for the coastal movement of vessel and cargo related charges that are being handled at Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Deendayal Port to Shahid Beheshti Port, Chabahar.
  • The aim behind the extension of the discount period is to promote trade through Iran’s Shahid Beheshti Port of Chabahar.
  • The step will also give a boost to the coastal movement of cargo being handled at Jawaharlal Nehru Port and Deendayal Port from  to Shahid Beheshti Port.

Source: Jagran Josh

“Cultural Ministry Issues SOPs For Artistes To Hold Events Online, Claim Benefits Of Govt Schemes.”


  • The Culture Ministry issued guidelines for holding events in online mode, allowing artistes to take benefits of government schemes even if they are unable to hold such programmes in physical settings owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The ministry said the guidelines will ensure continued financial assistance to artistes and help them tide over the present crisis.
  • In a statement, the ministry said there has been a substantial impact on the performing arts and cultural sector with in-person exhibitions, events, and performances either cancelled or postponed due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The Ministry of Culture (Performing Arts Bureau) implements many schemes under its Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana (KSVY), where grants are sanctioned/approved for holding programmes/activities which involved large audience.
  • The Ministry of Culture (Performing Arts Bureau) implements many schemes under its Kala Sanskriti Vikas Yojana (KSVY), where grants are sanctioned/approved for holding programmes/activities which involved large audience.
  • This (the guidelines) will enable them to avail benefits under these schemes even if they are not able to stage programs in the physical format as before and will ensure continued financial assistance to tide over the present crisis.

Source: News18

“IRDAI comes out with mandatory standard life insurance covers for the first time.”


  • In a move set to make life insurance covers cheaper and accessible, Irdai has come out with the guidelines for a standardized individual term insurance mandating all life insurance companies to offer these policies from 2021.
  • The policy called ‘Saral Jeevan Bima’ has been designed by the Authority as a non-linked, non-par protection policy with stipulated pay out in the event of death of the sum-assured. Insurers have been mandated to file their products by December 2020 and then market .
  • The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority said on Thursday that the standardization of term policies was necessitated due to complex wordings on existing policies and the lack of awareness among a large section of population to make informed choices.

Source: Economic Times

“Mar Thoma Church Head Joseph Mar Thoma Dies.”

  • Joseph Mar Thoma Metropolitan, theprimate of the Malankara Mar Thoma Syrian Church, died at a private hospital here after battling cancer.
  • The 90-year old head of the Marthoma community was under treatment for pancreatic cancer and breathed his last.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi condoled the death of the spiritual leader, saying the Metropolitan was a remarkable personality who served humanity and worked hard to improve the lives of the poor.

Source: NDTV