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Important Current Affairs 21st October 2020

NATIONAL

UP Governor launches “Safe City Project” for women's safety

• Uttar Pradesh (UP) Governor, Anandiben Patel has launched “Safe City Project” – a women’s safety campaign in Lucknow, UP. The Project is a 180-day-long campaign under which police and other departments will work towards strengthening the security of women in public places. The campaign will involve the movement of women police personnel to inculcate a feeling of pride and safety for women in Lucknow. The UP Governor flagged off 100 pink scooters and 10 four-wheeler police vehicles as part of the campaign. The vehicles are equipped with first-aid kits, flashlights and other facilities.

• It is a mission mode initiative of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA). Its main aim of Safe City Project is to create a safe, secure and empowering environment for women in public places.

• Eight cities (Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai, Bengaluru, Hyderabad, Ahmedabad and Lucknow) have been identified for implementation of this project in the first phase.

• The projects will be financed under Nirbhaya Fund at a cost of INR 2919.55 Crores.

Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of multi-modal logistic park in Assam

• The Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari virtually laid the foundation stone for the first-ever multi-modal logistic park of India, at Jogighopa, in Bongaigaon district of Assam.

• The logistic park will provide direct connectivity to air, road, rail and waterways to the people of Assam and other parts of North East.

• The fund for the multi-modal logistics park would be spent in three components – road and railway connectivity as well as building and infrastructure work. It will also give employment to 20 lakh people.

• The overall cost of this project is around Rs 693.97 Crore and is being developed under the Bharatmala Pariyojana of the Central Government.

Kati Bihu festival celebrated across Assam

• Kati Bihu is one of the sets of three Bihu festivals (agricultural festivals) was celebrated in the state of Assam. The Kati Bihu is also known as Kangali Bihu, the festival of the poor (the word “Kongal” means “poor”) is celebrated in mid-October when the crops are at growing stage and the granaries of the farmers are depleting.

• The Kati Bihu is celebrated with the lamp called ‘Saki’ which is lit on the tips of bamboo poles in the fields which represents a guide to spirits and earthen lamps are lit in the garden, under the tulsi plants and in the granaries.

• The farmers chant spells to ward off the negativity and pests in the field and pray for a prosperous harvest.

• The locals of Assam celebrate the festival by lighting Diya in their fields and homes and perform cultural dance and organise feasts.

IIT Madras startup launches ‘mooPay’ for dairy farmers in Rajasthan

• The IIT-Madras incubated dairy-tech startup, “Stellapps” has launched a first-of-its-kind, fully-automated direct payment platform, ‘mooPay’, for dairy farmers in Rajasthan. The Digital technology solutions provider Stellapps is a first of its kind end-to-end dairy technology solutions company of India. It is also one of the technology pioneers of the World Economic Forum (WEF).

• mooPay is a payment gateway for dairies and dairy farmers where the dairy officials can transfer milk payments digitally to member farmers from the dairies’ existing bank account to farmers’ savings bank account.

• Directly depositing payments in farmers’ bank accounts will help enhance farmer savings and will also build farmer loyalty to the dairy.

• This will remove the risks and costs of transferring money in cash to hundreds of thousands of farmers in hundreds of villages.

Australia to join Malabar-2020 Naval Exercise with India, US & Japan

• India has invited Australia to participate in its trilateral naval exercise “Malabar-2020” which is scheduled to be held in November 2020, in the Bay of Bengal and the Arabian Sea. In 2020, the exercise will be held in a ‘non-contact – at sea’ format. It aims to increase cooperation and enhance safety and security in the maritime security domain.

• The Malabar series of naval exercises began in 1992 as a bilateral exercise between the Indian Navy-US Navy. Later, Japan joined the Naval exercise in 2015. It must be remembered that US-India-Japan and Australia are already the part of the “Quad” alliance.

ADB and India inks USD 177 million loan for Maharashtra

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India have signed a loan agreement worth USD 177 million, to upgrade 450 km of state highways and major district roads in Maharashtra. The project aims to improve connectivity between rural areas and urban centres in the state to enable rural communities to have better access to markets, employment opportunities and services, which in turn will expand development and livelihood opportunities outside of the state’s major urban centres to second-tier cities and towns thus reducing income disparities.

• Under the project, 2 major district roads and 11 state highways, with a combined length of 450 km, will be upgraded to 2-lane standard across seven districts of Maharashtra.

• The Government of Maharashtra will contribute $78.99 million equivalent toward the $255.99 million total costs of the project.

SPORTS

India’s Elavenil Valarivan wins gold in International Air Rifle Championship

• In Shooting, the world number one Elavenil Valarivan of India won the gold medal in women’s event of the 2020 Sheikh Russel International Air Rifle Championship. The event was organised by Bangladesh Shooting Sport Federation (BSSF).

• Japan’s Naoya Okada won the gold in the men’s event, while India’s Shahu Tushar Mane bagged a silver. The event was a 60-shots competition in which shooters from six nations participated which included Bangladesh, India, Japan, Korea, Indonesia and Bhutan.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

India successfully test-fires “SANT” Missile off Odisha coast

• India successfully flight-tested its indigenously developed Stand-off Anti-tank (SANT) missile from Integrated Test Range (ITR) off Odisha coast. The missile was test-fired from a roof-top launcher of the ground-based platform. It is an upgraded version of the anti-tank missile, Helicopter Launched Nag (HeliNa). This was the 11th missile test-fired by India within one and a half month.

• SANT is an air-to-surface missile developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for the Indian Air Force. The SANT missile has both lock-on before launch and lock-on after launch capability and can destroy targets 15 km to 20 km away.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju attended Y20 Global Summit Virtually

• The first-ever virtual G20 (Group of Twenty) Youth 20 (Y20) Global Summit was virtually hosted from Al Khobar, Saudi Arabia for exchanging ideas and dialogues for the empowerment of youth Post C-19, where Indian side was represented by Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Kiren Rijiju. Indian side emphasized on galvanizing the youth to take on the challenges set forth by the worldwide C-19 Pandemic.

• The theme of the Summit was “Government – Youth dialogue on post-C-19 opportunities”. The Summit concluded with the drafting of the Y20 Communique under the three overarching priority areas viz. Future Fit; Youth Empowerment; and Global Citizenship.

• Notably, the year 2020 marks the 10th anniversary of Y20 as the official G20 youth engagement group. Y20 is a forum for developing cooperation with the future generation and provides a platform for young people to have their voices heard on issues relevant to the G20 agenda.

RANKING

India 4th most powerful country in Asia Power Index 2020

• India has been ranked at 4th position, with a score of 39.7 out of 100, in the Asia Power Index 2020, released by the Sydney-based Lowy Institute. The Asia Power Index 2020 ranks 26 countries and territories to assess the relative power of states in Asia.

• The United States has retained its position as the most powerful country influencing the Asia-Pacific with a score of 81.6. It is followed by China (76.1) and Japan (41) at second and third spot respectively. The annual Asia Power Index is an analytical tool that ranks countries in terms of what they have, and what they do with what they have (resources and influence) to have dominant power in Asia.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

IDBI Bank launches banking services on WhatsApp

• IDBI Bank announced the launch of banking services on WhatsApp. The WhatsApp Banking service is being offered through a dedicated WhatsApp verified number ensuring end-to-end encryption, the Bank stated.

• The facility will enable IDBI Bank customers to avail various essential services such as account balance information, last five transactions, request for a cheque book and an email statement, interest rates, as well as details of IDBI Bank branches/ATMs in the vicinity, to begin with.

Obituary

Veteran TV Actress Zarina Roshan Khan passes away

• Renowned TV actress, Zarina Roshan Khan passed away. She was fondly remembered for her role in the television show ‘Kumkum Bhagya’ as Indu Dadi.

• Zarina had begun her career as a stunt woman, before taking up acting as a profession and has featured in several shows and films. The actor has also performed in serials like Rishta Kya Kehlata Hai and played the role of a mother in several Hindi films.