Daily Current Affairs 23rd August, 2021

Daily Current Affairs 23 August 2021 for Banking/Insurance/SSC and other related exams.

NATIONAL NEWS

India’s highest herbal park inaugurated near Indo-China border in Uttarakhand
The highest altitude herbal park of India, situated at a height of 11,000 feet, was inaugurated at Mana village close to the Indo-China border in Uttarakhand’s Chamoli district.

  • The main aim of this high altitude herbal park is to conserve various medicinally and culturally important alpine species and to do research on their propagation and habitat ecology.
  • The park has been developed on an area of three acres given by Mana Van Panchayat by the Research Wing of Uttarakhand Forest Department.
  • It has been developed in three years under central government’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund Management and Planning Authority (CAMPA) scheme.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal inaugurates country’s first smog tower
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal inaugurated the country’s first smog tower at Baba Kharak Singh Marg in the Connaught Place area in the national capital.

  • The tower will purify 1,000 cubic metres of air per second within a radius of around 1 km.
  • The Delhi government in October last year granted approval for the 20-metre-long structure which will improve air quality. The tower, built at a cost of Rs 20 crore, has been funded by the Delhi government.

Assam to set up AI centre with help from Israel-based company
Assam Electronics Development Corporation Limited (AMTRON) has signed a MoU with Corsight AI, an Israel-based company to set up an Artificial Intelligence Centre of Excellence at a Tech City situated near Guwahati.

  • Under the collaboration, Corsight AI will help AMTRON to establish a strong Face Recognition Technology Development and Services portfolio along with setting up a Facial Recognition Center of Excellence.

Supreme Court allows women to appear for NDA exam
In a landmark decision, the Supreme Court has issued an interim order where it has allowed women to take the National Defence Academy (NDA) exam which is scheduled on September 5, 2021.

  • The apex court of the country has also slammed the Indian Army for the decisions that are based on ‘gender discrimination’.
  • The bench of justices Sanjay Kishan Kaul and Hrishikesh Roy said that admissions will be subject to the final orders of the court.

Centre forms panel for doubling production & quadrupling exports of handlooms in 3 yrs
Union government has constituted a committee for doubling the production and quadrupling the exports of handlooms in a span of three years.

  • It will be headed by Chairman of Fashion Design Council of India Sunil Sethi.The committee will submit the final report within 45 days from the day of constitution.
  • It will suggest the strategy and policy framework for doubling the production and for improving the quality of handloom products with the aim of enhancing income of the weavers.

India to add 35 more earthquake Observatories by end of this year: Dr Jitendra Singh
Union Minister for Earth Sciences Dr Jitendra Singh has said that India is going to have 35 more earthquake Observatories by the end of this year.

  • He said, 100 more such Observatories will be added in next five years. He pointed out that in last six and a half decades since Independence, the country had only 115 Earthquake Observatories but now with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the helm, there is going to be a quantum leap in the number of Earthquake Observatories in the country.


INTERNATIONAL NEWS

ARWU Rankings: IISc Bangalore, Calcutta university top institutes from India
None of the Indian universities could make it to the top 100 spots in the Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by Shanghai Ranking recently. The Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore is the only Indian institute to have scored a rank in the top 500.

  • At the global level, the rankings remain dominated by the United States with 40 universities among the top 100, 129 among the top 500, and 200 among the Top 1000. The United Kingdom has bagged 65 spots in the top 1000 universities, and 38 of them are listed in the Top 500, 8 are listed in the top 100.
  • While India has only one entry in the top 500, 14 in the global 1000. China has 180 universities ranked in the top 1000, including 84 top 500 universities, seven in the top 100 universities.
  • Harvard University tops the ranking list for the 19th year this time. Stanford University secured second place followed by University of Cambridge and MIT.

India, Qatar conducts joint naval exercise ‘Zair-Al-Bahr’
The second edition of the joint naval exercise, Zair-Al-Bahr, between the Indian Navy and Qatar Emiri Naval Force (QENF) was conducted in the Persian Gulf.

  • This edition of the exercise included a three-day harbour phase followed by a two-day sea phase. The sea phase comprised of tactical maritime exercises involving surface action, anti-piracy exercises, air defence, maritime surveillance, boarding operations and SAR exercises.


BANKING & FINANCE

NPCI global arm ties up with Mashreq Bank for UPI payments in UAE
NPCI’s global arm NPCI International Payments Ltd (NIPL) has partnered with UAE-based Mashreq Bank to provide its mobile-based real-time payment system UPI in the gulf nation.

  • This strategic partnership will be a significant game-changer in the digital payment ecosystem in the UAE.
  • With this tie-up, more than 2 million (20 lakh) Indians travelling to the UAE are expected to benefit from Unified Payments Interface (UPI) enabled mobile applications to pay for their purchases in a shop or merchant establishment across the country.

Capital Float partners Razorpay on buy now pay later service
Capital Float said it has partnered with Razorpay, to extend its buy now pay later (BNPL) solution—Walnut 369—to all Razorpay-enabled online merchants.

  • Customers can sign up while shopping, get approved instantly and pay for purchases over three, six or nine months, it said, adding that the credit option brings convenience and affordability to customers, and increases order value for merchants.
  • The partnership provides customers seamless and instant access to credit while shopping at leading direct-to-consumer brands. The instant credit, zero documentation option is aimed to benefit online shoppers and new-to-credit customers, who are increasingly adopting tech-first solutions.

USAID, DFC tie-up with Kotak Bank for $50 mn loan guarantee for women, small biz in India
The US Agency for International Development (USAID) and the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) said they would jointly sponsor a $50 million loan portfolio guarantee to Kotak Mahindra Bank to support increased financial access to women borrowers, and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in India.

  • This comes against the backdrop of the covid-19 pandemic, a statement from the US embassy said adding that the partnership will help MSMEs impacted by the pandemic to easily access loans to rebuild and scale up their businesses.

SBI opens floating ATM on a houseboat at Dal Lake, Srinagar
The State Bank of India (SBI) recently inaugurated an ATM on a Houseboat at Dal Lake, Srinagar. Known as the floating ATM, it was inaugurated by the SBI Chairman Shri Dinesh Kumar Khara.

  • The banks said that this was done in an attempt to be a much-needed tourist attraction and that it would add to the charm of Srinagar.
  • This is not SBI’s first attempt at this kind of floating ATM idea. It should be noted that the lender had previously launched its first floating ATM in 2004 in Kerala.


BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Intel, IIT Bombay’s SINE launch initiative to accelerate Industry 4.0
Intel India in collaboration with Society for Innovation & Entrepreneurship (SINE)-IIT Bombay, launched Plugin Alliance, a first-of-its-kind industry-technology grouping with a focus on accelerating Industry 4.0 transformation in India.

  • Plugin Alliance’s members represent large enterprises, small and medium enterprises, technology solution providers, systems integrators, startups, the startup ecosystem including funding partners, relevant incubators, government, and industry bodies.
  • The Alliance is designed to evolve into a community with the participation of these members, representing all facets of the Industry 4.0 ecosystem.

BPCL launches AI-enabled chatbot Urja
Privatisation-bound Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), has launched Urja, a virtual assistant with AI/NLP (Artificial Intelligence/Natural Language Processing) capabilities and trained on more than 600 use cases.

  • With the objective of making BPCL’s customer interface comprehensive and integrated digitally, Urja, the chabot is now available on the company website for any queries for both B2B & B2C.
  • The virtual assistant is designed to deliver a seamless self-service experience and enable faster resolution of consumer queries/issues.


APPOINTMENTS

CVC re-appoints T M Bhasin as chairman of Advisory Board for Banking Frauds
The Central Vigilance Commission (CVC) re-appointed T M Bhasin as chairman of the Advisory Board for Banking and Financial Frauds (ABBFF), a panel constituted to examine bank frauds of over Rs 50 crore and recommend action.

  • The re-appointment of Bhasin is with effect from August 21, for a further period of two years, as per the circular issued by CVC.
  • Bhasin, a veteran banker, served as vigilance commissioner in the CVC for four years from June 2015 to June 2019. Prior to vigilance commissioner, he was chairman and managing director of Chennai-based Indian Bank for more than five years.

Ismail Sabri Yaakob appointed as new Prime Minister of Malaysia
Former Deputy Prime Minister Ismail Sabri Yaakob was appointed as the new Prime Minister of Malaysia.

  • He will succeed Muhyiddin Yassin, who resigned on Monday after losing majority support in the lower house of parliament.
  • Sabri, 61, is a veteran politician of the United Malays National Organization (UMNO) and has served in Muhyiddin’s cabinet as defense minister before being appointed as deputy prime minister in July.

Tamil Nadu BJP Leader La Ganesan Appointed Manipur Governor
Senior BJP leader from Tamil Nadu La Ganesan was appointed the new governor of Manipur.

  • The post of the governor had fallen vacant after the retirement of Najma Heptulla earlier this month.
  • Heptulla demitted office on August 10 and, on the same day, the charge was given to Sikkim governor Ganga Prasad.


OBITUARIES

Malayalam Actress Chitra passes away
Malayalam actor Chithra, who has also acted in Telugu, Tamil, Kannada and Hindi films, passed away. She suffered a cardiac arrest at her home in Chennai. She was 56.

  • Chithra was a known name in the south film industry. She acted in almost 100 films throughout her career and worked with the likes of Mohanlal and Prem Nazir in her debut film Attakalasham in 1983. She went on to star in other hit Malayalam dramas including Adavitam, Nadodi, Ekalavyan, Devasuram, Commissioner, Aaram Thampuran and Ustad.
  • In 1982, the actor appeared in a Hindi film titled Razia and later was a part of the 1984 film Ek Nai Paheli. She got the title of “Nallennai Chithra” after she did an oil brand commercial that got popular among the masses.


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