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Current Affairs 18 August 2021

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We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 18 August 2021, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2021 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Narendra Singh Tomar Inaugurated the World’s 2nd Largest Refurbished Gene Bank at the NBPGR, New DelhiOn August 16, 2021, Union Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare (MoA&FW) inaugurated the world’s second-largest refurbished state-of-the-art National Gene Bank (NGB) at the National Bureau of Plant Genetic Resources (NBPGR), Pusa, New Delhi.

  • This will cater the need of biofortified crop varieties. Biofortification is the process by which the nutritional quality of food crops is improved.

What is the National Gene Bank?
Established in 1996, its aim is to preserve the seeds of Plant Genetic Resources (PGR) for future generations. It has the capacity to preserve about 1 million germplasm in the form of seeds. Germplasm is a living tissue from which new plants can be grown.

  • Presently it is protecting 4.52 lakh accessions, of which 2.7 lakh are Indian germplasm and the rest have been imported from other countries.
  • It is also conserving in-situ (on-farm or wild) and ex-situ (gene or field bank) germplasm through Delhi Headquarters and 10 regional stations in the country.

President Ram Nath Kovind gives Assent to ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021′Retro tax law scrapped_ Taxation Law (Amendments) Act 2021President Ram Nath Kovind has given assent to the ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021‘  which amends the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act) and the Finance Act, 2012.
i.Objective of Bill – To nullify retrospective tax provision & end retrospective taxes imposed on Indirect Transfer of Indian Assets made before May 28, 2012.
ii.The Bill was introduced by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Lok Sabha as a Money Bill.
Key Points
i.The Finance Act, 2012 amended the IT Act, 1961 to impose tax liability on income earned from sale of shares of a foreign company on a retrospective basis. The new bill aims to nullify the retrospective basis for taxation.

  • Retrospective tax means to pay tax for goods and services purchased in the past or income earned in the past.

ii.The bill will nullify tax liability imposed on persons if they fulfill certain set conditions.
About Ministry of Finance
Union Minister  – Nirmala Sitharaman(Rajya Sabha,Karnataka)
Minister of State (MoS) – Dr S Bhagwat Karad (Rajya Sabha, Maharashtra) and Shri Pankaj Chaudhary (Maharajganj, Uttar Pradesh)
>>Read Full News

India and UK Navies conduct ‘Exercise Konkan 2021’ in Portsmouth, UKINS Tabar participates in Exercise Konkan 2021‘Exercise Konkan- 2021’, a bilateral Naval Exercise held between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain in Portsmouth, United Kingdom (UK).

  • Indian Naval Ship (INS Tabar), a Talwar class stealth frigate of Indian Navy and HMS Westminster of the Royal Navy undertook the exercise in non contact form due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • It aims to enhance interoperability, synergy and cooperation between both the Navies.

Exercise Konkan:
It is held annually since 2004 between the Indian Navy and the Royal Navy of Britain. The 2019 Edition was held on the English Channel, UK.
About United Kingdom
Prime Minister – Boris Johnson
Capital – London
Currency- Pound Sterling
>>Read Full News

‘Exercise INDRA-2021’, Joint Military Exercise between India and Russia in Volgograd, Russia

The 12th Edition of Exercise INDRA-2021, a bilateral Military Exercise held between Indian Army and the military forces of Russian Federation in Volgograd, Russia (from 1st to 13th August,2021).

  • It will further strengthen mutual confidence and interoperability between the Indian and Russian Armies and enable sharing of best practices between the contingents of both the countries.
  • INDRA is a joint biennial military exercise started in 2003 between India and Russia.

Sports Minister Anurag Thakur Launched ‘Fit India Freedom Run 2.0’

Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Anurag Singh Thakur launched the nationwide programme named ‘Fit India Freedom Run 2.0’ as part of celebrating 75 years of India’s Independence – Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav.

  • The program which was started on August 15, 2021, will be concluded on October 2, 2021.
  • The program will be organised in 75 villages in each of the 744 districts and 30,000 educational institutions across India.
  • Minister of state for youth affairs and sports, Nisith Pramanik also joined the launch.

Kaziranga Becomes India’s 1st National Park with Satellite Phones Facility

Kaziranga National Park of Assam became India’s first National park to be equipped with satellite phones, an initiative to boost anti-poaching measures in the park. Jishnu Barua, Chief Secretary of Assam presented 10 satellite phones to forest personnel at the National Park.

  • The meeting chaired by Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma Chief Minister(CM) of Assam decided to provide the satellite phones to the forest personnel of the park.
  • The 10 satellite phones were procured by the Assam State Disaster Management Authority(ASDMA) at an estimated cost of Rs 16 lakhs. 
  • The Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited(BSNL) will be the service provider.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

UP’s Ghaziabad 2nd Most Polluted City in 2020; China’s Hotan at 1st: HouseFresh ReportBritish company HouseFresh has released a report on the 50 ‘most polluted cities’ in the world in 2020 titled – ‘The World’s Best and Worst Towns and Cities for Clean Air’, in which, Uttar Pradesh’s Ghaziabad city ranked as the 2nd most polluted city in the world in 2020.

  • China’s Hotan city in Xinjiang province topped the list and was adjudged as the most polluted city.
  • As per the report, India became the 3rd most polluted country. Bangladesh ranked as the most polluted country across the world in 2020 followed by Pakistan, India and Mongolia.
  • Out of the 50 most polluted cities of the world, 49 are in Bangladesh, China, Pakistan, and India.

About Uttar Pradesh:
Chief Minister – Yogi Adityanath
Wildlife Sanctuary – Kishanpur Wildlife Sanctuary, Mahaveer Swami WL Sanctuary, Ranipur Wildlife Sanctuary
Zoological Park – Nawab Wajid Ali Shah Zoological Garden, Kanpur Zoological Park
>>Read Full News

Narendra Singh Tomar addresses 6th SCO meet of Agriculture MinistersUnion Minister for Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar addressed the 6th meeting of the Agriculture Ministers of the member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The meeting was held virtually  from Dushanbe, Capital of Tajikistan. It was held under the Chairmanship of Tajikistan (2021 SCO Presidency).

  • Tajikistan appreciated the performance of the agricultural sector in India during COVID pandemic crises.
  • The Agriculture Minister of India stated that Food production, export have registered a significant growth in India.
  • He also mentioned that bio- fortified varieties are a source of staple diet, and micronutrients rich food can help to tackle malnutrition in the country.
  • For Doubling Farmers Income by 2022, India has launched several programmes for irrigation facilities, optimum utilisation of water, food subsidy etc.

India is a full time member of SCO. The meeting promotes cooperation in food security, supply chain and nutrition especially in the time COVID pandemic.
About Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
Secretary-General – Vladimir Norov
Headquarters – Beijing, China
Chairmanship of 2021 – Tajikistan
Total Members 8 (China,India, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan)
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare
Union Minister – Narendra Singh Tomar (Morena, Madhya Pradesh)
Minister of State – Sushri Shobha Karanlaje (Udupi, Karnataka), Kailash Choudhary (Barmer,Rajasthan)

Indian Navy Participates in the US Navy led Multilateral Naval Exercise ‘SEACAT 2021’ in SingaporeNavies of 21 countries kick off US-led drills in Southeast AsiaThe Indian Navy participated in the United States (US) Navy led Exercise South East Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT) 2021, an annual Multilateral Naval Exercise held in Singapore virtually. This is the 20th Edition of the Exercise.
Objective: It aims to foster enhanced cooperation between Southeast Asian countries by incorporating tactics, standardized training, and procedures to combat contingencies or illegal activities in the maritime domain.

  • Navies of 21 countries participated in the exercise. They include Australia, Bangladesh, Brunei, Canada, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Maldives, New Zealand, Philippines, South Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Thailand, East Timor, United Kingdom, United States, and Vietnam,

About South East Asia Cooperation and Training (SEACAT)
SEACAT began in 2002 as South East Asia Cooperation Against Terrorism
About Indian Navy
Chief of Naval Staff (CNS) – Admiral Karambir Singh
Integrated Headquarters of Ministry of Defence (Navy) – New Delhi
About Singapore
Prime Minister – Lee Hsien Loong
Capital – Singapore
Currency  – Singapore Dollar(SGD)
>>Read Full News

BANKING & FINANCE

SEBI Set up Panel to Analyse the Shift of Trade Settlement Cycle from T+2 to T+1  The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has set up a panel of experts to analyse the process of shifting India’s trade settlement cycle from the current T+2 (Trade plus 2 days) to T+1 (Trade plus 1 day).

  • The panel consists of experts from exchanges, clearing corporations and depositories.
  • The shift to T+1 will reduce the settlement time and risk involved and increase the liquidity and trade turnover.

Key Points:
i.Trade settlement cycle refers to the time within which brokers have to pay full money and take delivery of stocks.
ii.’T’ is the transaction date and the abbreviations T+1, T+2, and T+3 refers to the settlement dates of security transactions that occur on a transaction date plus 1 day, plus 2 days and plus 3 days.
iii.In the case of T+1 settlement, the shares would be transferred to the buyer’s Demat account after the transaction day (i.e the next day).
iv.Currently, the trades are settled within 2 days after the transaction day. India made a transition from T+3 to T+2 in 2003.
v.The transition to T+1 will affect the Foreign Portfolio Investments due to the time difference.
About Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):
Establishment – 1992 in accordance with the SEBI Act, 1992.
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman – Ajay Tyagi

PayNearby ties up with RBL Bank, Visa for payment devicesi.On August 16, 2021, PayNearby has collaborated with Visa and RBL Bank (formerly Ratnakar Bank) to launch SoftPoS and mPoS for its over 1.5 million retail network.
ii.With this, as per PayNearby, it becomes the first company to launch an all-inclusive digital package for retailers.
iii.SoftPoS allows merchants to accept contactless payments of up to Rs 5,000 through tap and pay mechanism on NFC (Near Field Communication)-enabled smartphones,
iv.mPOS (mobile point of sale) machine allows easy acceptance of cards.
About PayNearby Technologies Pvt. Ltd(PayNearby):
It is a Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) Certified Fintech Company registered under The Startup India program of the Government of India
Establishment– April 2016
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Founder & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Anand Kumar Bajaj
>>Read Full News

KVGB Partnered with Karnataka Govt Launched FRUITS PortalThe Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB) made a partnership with the Karnataka government (govt) and launched the ‘Farmer Registration and Unified Beneficiary Information System’ (FRUITS) portal to store the farmers’ land details.

  • The portal is the first-of-its-kind initiative in India by the Karnataka government to gather the land details of the farmers.
  • Now the FRUITS portal was launched by KVGB as a pilot project. The Karnataka govt plans to launch it in other financial institutions too.
  • The portal was inaugurated by Niraj Kumar Verma, Chief General Manager of NABARD (National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development).

Features of the Portal:
i.Under the portal, all the farmers of the state will be registered and given a FRUITS ID (FID) number comprising Aadhaar, land record, and mobile number.
ii.The FID numbers will be used by the financial and lending institutions to know the details of the land of the farmers while lending.
iii.The portal will act as an organised farmers’ database and it will overcome the difficulties faced by farmers while availing benefits.
About Karnataka Vikas Grameena Bank (KVGB):
Establishment – 2005
Headquarters – Dharwad, Karnataka
Chairman – P Gopi Krishna
About Karnataka:
Chief Minister – Basavaraj Bommai
Wildlife Sanctuary – Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuaries, Chincholi Wildlife Sanctuary, Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary.
Tiger Reserve – BRT/Biligiri Ranganatha Swamy Temple Tiger Reserve, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Bhadra Tiger Reserve.

RBI Introduced Financial Inclusion IndexOn August 17, 2021, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has introduced the ‘Financial Inclusion Index’ (FI-Index) to measure the extent of financial inclusion across India.

  • The FI-Index will be published annually in July month (for the financial year (FY) ending previous March).
  • The annual FI-Index for the FY21 (period ending March 2021) is 53.9 as against 43.4 of FY17.
  • The FI-Index contain 3 different parameters with variant weightage viz, Access (35 percent), Usage (45 percent), and Quality (20 percent). The FI-Index has no ‘base year’.

About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
Establishment – 1st April 1935
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
Governor – Shaktikanta Das
Deputy Governors – Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael Debabrata Patra, and M Rajeshwar Rao, T. Rabi Sankar
>>Read Full News

SBI Life Insurance Launched New Insurance Plan – SBI Life eShield NextSBI Life launches new age protection plan SBI Life eShield NextSBI Life Insurance launched a new Individual, Non-Linked, Non-Participating Life Insurance solution named ‘SBI Life eShield Next’.

  • It will ‘levels up’/improve the protection coverage of the insured person when he achieves life’s major milestones like getting married, becoming a parent or buying a new house.
  • It has 3 different plan options such as Level Cover, Increasing Cover, and Level Cover with Future-Proofing Benefit.
  • It provides the option to pay the premium as per the customer’s convenience (viz, single, monthly, half-yearly, and yearly).
  • The minimum policy terms (in years) was about 5 years.
  • It provides Life cover up to 100 years (Whole life) or 85 years (other than Whole Life) and also includes Terminal Illness Benefit, Death benefit, etc.

About SBI Life Insurance:
Establishment -2000
Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO – Mahesh Kumar Sharma
Tagline – With us, You’re sure

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS        

69 Employees Received Prime Minister’s Shram Awards 2018Prime Minister’s Shram Awards (PMSA) for the year 2018 were announced on 12th August 2021. A total of 39 awards were presented to 69 workers of Departmental & Public Sector Undertakings of the Central & State Governments and Private Sector Units.
PMSA 2018:
i.Out of the total awardees (69), 49 workers are from the public sector while 20 workers are from the private sector. The awardees also include 8 women workers.
ii.This year awards were given out in 3 categories,

  • Shram Bhushan Awards (a Sanad & Rs 1 Lakh each) – 4 Awards
  • Shram Vir/Shram Veerangana Awards (a Sanad & Rs 60,000 each) – 12 Awards
  • Shram Shree/Shram Devi Awards (a Sanad & Rs 40,000 each) – 17 awards

iii.The Shram Ratna Award for the year 2018 was not announced. Shram Ratna is India’s highest award given by the Labour Ministry.
Click here for the details of all the awardees
About PMSA:
i.The awards were instituted by the Government of India in the year 1985.
ii.The awards cell of the Ministry of Labour and employment operates the PMSA.
iii.It recognises the performance, innovative ability and outstanding contribution in production and exhibition of exceptional courage and presence of mind.
About Ministry of Labour & Employment:
Union Minister– Bhupender Yadav (Rajya Sabha Rajasthan)
Minister of State– Rameswar Teli (Constituency- Dibrugarh, Assam)

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS          

Amway India Appointed Olympian Mirabai Chanu as Brand Ambassador for Nutrilite

Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd. (Amway India) has appointed Olympian Saikhom Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting) as the Brand Ambassador for Amway’s Nutrilite range of products.
As the brand ambassador, she will lead the company’s campaigns on its product range like Nutrilite Daily, Omega and All Plant Protein among others across various platforms.

  • Nutrilite, a vitamins and dietary supplements brand, is known for its plant-based approach to dietary supplements.

About Saikhom Mirabai Chanu:
i.Saikhom Mirabai Chanu, 26 years old weightlifter hails from Imphal, Manipur.
ii.She won the silver medal in the Weightlifting event (-49kg category) at the 2020 Tokyo Olympic games.
iii.She has been placed 2nd on the absolute ranking list issued by the International Weightlifting Federation.
iv.She was honoured with the Khel Ratna Award in 2018.
About Amway India Enterprises Pvt. Ltd.(Amway India):
CEO– Anshu Budhraja
Headquarters– Gurgaon, Haryana

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS        

ARTL to Acquire 49% Stake in MBCPNLAdani Road Transport Ltd (ARTL), the wholly-owned subsidiary of Adani Enterprises Limited(AEL) is set to acquire a 49% stake in Maharashtra Border Check Post Network Limited(MBCPNL), a subsidiary of Sadbhav Infrastructure Project Limited (SIPL), with an option to acquire additional stakes subject to regulatory approval.
About the Acquisition:
The acquisition at an enterprise value of Rs 1680 crore is 7 times its current EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Taxes, Depreciation, and Amortization).
Additional info:
i.MBCPNL has 24 integrated check-posts with exclusive service fee collection rights from commercial vehicles for all key traffic routes in and out of Maharashtra.
ii.MBCPNL connecting Maharashtra with 6 states, covers around 20% of the commercial road traffic of India.
About Adani Enterprises Limited(AEL):
Chairman- Gautam Adani
Managing Director– Rajesh Adani
Headquarters– Ahmedabad, Gujarat
About Maharashtra Border Check Post Network Limited(MBCPNL):
Founder Chairman and Managing Director– Vishnubhai M. Patel
CMD– Shashin V Patel
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

HAL’s 1st ever Civil Aircraft, Hindustan-228 carries Ground Run and LSTTHindustan Aeronautics Limited’s (HAL) 1st Civilian Aircraft Hindustan-228(VT-KNR) has carried out Ground Run and Low Speed Taxi Trials (LSTT) successfully at its facility in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh. This is the 1st fixed wing Made in India civil Aircraft.
i.The Ground run and LSTT was carried for DIrectorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) certification which will help HAL to get an International certification for the aircraft.
ii.This indigenous Commercial Aircraft will help in the Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme- Regional airport development and Regional Connectivity Scheme of Government of India.
About Hindustan-228

  • The Aircraft is a 19- seater Multirole Utility Aircraft.
  • It can be used in various roles such as VIP Transport, Para jumping, Cloud seeding, Aerial surveillance, Photography, Passenger transport, Air ambulance, and In flight Inspection role.

About Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL):
Chairman and Managing Director (CMD)– R Madhavan
Headquarter– Bengaluru, Karnataka
>>Read Full News

ENVIRONMENT

Three New Wild Balsams Identified in Kerala Three new wild balsam species belonging to genus Impatiens were identified in the Western Ghats region of southern Kerala (Sankhili forest) and the Idukki district of Kerala. 

  • The 3 identified plants were named as Impatiens achudanandanii, Impatiens shailajae, and Impatiens danii. 
  • The plants were identified by S. Arya and V.S. Anil Kumar of the Department of Botany, University College, Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala.V. Suresh, G. Govind, Vishnu Walsan K. were also part of the discovery.

Species Naming:
i.Out of 3 identified species, 2 were named after V.S. Achuthanandan, the former Chief Minister of Kerala and K.K. Shailaja, the former health minister of Kerala, as an honour to their contributions in environmental protection and containing COVID-19 spread in Kerala.
ii.The 3rd species was named after Dr Mathew Dan, Principal Scientist at Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala for his contributions to systematics and conservation of angiosperms in the Western Ghats.
iii.The plants of genus Impatiens are popularly known in Malayalam as ‘Kaashi Thumba’ or ‘Sheema Thumba’.
Features: Impatiens achudanandanii is a glabrous herb with whitish-creamy flowers and the Impatiens danii is a 10-20 cm tall plant with a white flower.

SPORTS

Overview of the World Archery Youth Championships 2021 held in Wroclaw, PolandThe 16th Edition of World Archery Youth Championships 2021 held in Wroclaw, Poland (from 09th to 15th August 2021).

  • India(1st) topped the Medals tally with 15 Medals (8-Gold, 2-Silver, 5-Bronze), followed by France (2nd) and Mexico (3rd).
  • It was organised by World Archery Federation, the governing body of the sport of Archery.Junior events were held for those aged under 20 years and Cadet events for those aged below 18.
  • It included Recurve and Compound archery games for both Junior and Cadet groups.

Medals Tally
Indian Individual Event Winners

S.No Winners Category Medal
1. Komalika Bari Women’s Junior Recurve Gold
2. Sakshi Chaudhary Women’s Junior Compound Silver
3. Priya Gurjar Women’s Cadet Compound Silver
4. Rishabh Yadav Men’s Junior Compound Bronze
5. Bishal Changmai Men’s Cadet Recurve Bronze
6. Manjiri Manoj Alone Women’s Cadet Recurve Bronze
7. Parneet Kaur Women’s Cadet Compound Bronze


About Archery Association of India

President – Arjun Munda
Headquarters – New Delhi
About World Archery Federation
Founded in 1931
Headquarters – Lausanne, Switzerland
President – Ugur Erdener
>>Read Full News

BOOKS & AUTHORS

New book ‘Lahore: Book 1 of the Partition Trilogy’ Authored by Manreet Sodhi SomeshwarAward-winning author Manreet Sodhi Someshwar has authored a new book titled “Lahore: Book 1 of the Partition Trilogy”. The book published by HarperCollins Publisher India traces back the turbulent years of India’s Independence.

  • The Lahore: Book 1 of the Partition Trilogy, the first book of the Trilogy is set in Lahore discussing the effects of the partition on ordinary people and women.

About the Trilogy:
i.The Partition Trilogy is the result of 20 years of efforts to research and write the events that are associated with independence.
ii.The series is set in Delhi, Lahore, Hyderabad and Kashmir covering a vast canvas, where Jawaharlal Nehru, Vallabhbhai Patel and Dickie Mountbatten along with the ordinary people from these cities who are affected by partition and reorganisation of states.
About Manreet Sodhi Someshwar:
i.Manreet Sodhi Someshwar is an Indian author based in New York, United States of America, she hails from Punjab.
ii.Her works have appeared in The New York Times, the South China Morning Post and various Indian publications.
iii.She has authored several books including

  • The Long Walk Home
  • The Radiance of a Thousand Suns.
  • Girls and The City
  • Mehrunisa Trilogy (The Taj Conspiracy & The Hunt for Kohinoor: Book 2 of the Thriller Series Featuring Mehrunisa)

“Discordant Notes: The Voice of Dissent in the Last Court of Resort” – Book by Former SC Judge Rohinton Fali NarimanThe book “Discordant Notes:The Voice of Dissent in the Last Court of Resort” by retired Supreme Court (SC) Judge Rohinton Fali Nariman was launched. It will be published by Penguin Random House India (PRHI).

  • The book will trace, explore and analyse all dissenting judgments in the history of the Supreme Court of India. It will emphasize the value of dissent in an ‘Democracy’.
  • It will consist of 2 volumes. It discusses the dissenting opinions given by Justice Fazl Ali, Justice Vivian Bose and Justice Subba Rao.

Justice Rohinton Fali Nariman
He was appointed the Solicitor General of India in July 2011. Later on, he became the 5th SC Judge to get elevated directly from The Bar Council without being made a judge in the High Court. He retired as a Judge of the Supreme Court in August, 2021.
Solicitor General of India (SGI) –  An SGI is the second law officer of India and assists the Attorney General (AGI).
Present Solicitor General – Tushar Mehta
Term of Office – 3 years

STATE NEWS

Odisha to become 1st Indian state to Provide Smart Health CardsOn the lines of Digital India, Odisha is all set to launch India’s first ‘Smart Health Cards scheme’ covering its 3.5 crore people of 96 lakh families under the Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana. The information for the same was provided by Odisha Chief Minister (CM) Naveen Patnaik while addressing the 75th Independence Day celebrations in Bhubaneswar.

  • The objective behind Smart Health Cards is to provide hassle-free quality treatment at the best available health care facilities.
  • These cards will work like debit cards for a certain amount.

Key Points:
i.Through this scheme Central Government health benefits can also be accessed.
ii.The beneficiaries of National and State Food Security Schemes, Annapurna and Antyodaya schemes will get this card and henceforth each family can avail treatment cost up to Rs 5 lakh per annum.
iii.Women members can avail benefits up to Rs 10 lakh annually.
iv.The health benefits under this scheme can be availed in more than 200 hospital chains of the country including Odisha.
About Biju Swasthya Kalyan Yojana:
Launched in 2018, it aims to provide Universal Health coverage, with special emphasis on the health protection of economically vulnerable families. It has two components:

  • Free health services for all in all State Government health care facilities.
  • Additional facility beyond Government Medical College hospitals for over 70 lakh families, through annual health coverage of Rs. 5 lakh per annum (Rs. 10lakh for women members) per family per annum in private empanelled hospitals within and outside the State & all Government Hospitals and premier health institutes outside the State.

It should be noted that Odisha has been sponsoring the Indian national hockey teams since 2018.

Arunachal Pradesh signed MoA with NEEPCO for development of 2 Hydro ProjectsArunachal Pradesh signs pact with NEEPCOThe state of Arunachal Pradesh (AR) signed a Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) with North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Ltd. for two hydropower projects viz. 90MW (Mega Watt) New Melling project in Tawang district and 120MW Nafra project in West Kameng district.
Signatories:
It was signed by Prashant Sitaram Lokhande, Commissioner (Hydro Power), Arunachal Pradesh and Vinod Kumar Singh, CMD (Chairman & Managing Director) NEEPCO at Itanagar in the presence of AR Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
Background:
This above decision followed the scrapping of at least 40 agreements signed with private companies. Earlier, the state government allocated projects to the private companies for the commissioning of hydro projects but they failed to do so which led to termination of contracts.
 Key Points:
i.With this agreement, the total project allotted to NEEPCO reached 6 with total installed Capacity of 1325 MW.

  • Out of the six projects, the NEEPCO has commissioned three projects: 600MW Kameng hydro electric project (HEP), 405MW Ranganadi HEP and 110 MW Pare HEP.
  • There is an issue with the Kurung project (330 MW) whose MoA was signed in 2015, but the implementation has not yet started. The state government requested NEEPCO to look after it.

ii.Notably, NHPC (erstwhile National Hydroelectric Power Corporation) will also commission 2 units of Subansiri HEP (2000MW) by August 2022 and full-fledged commissioning by August 2023.
About North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO) Ltd:
It is a Schedule A- Miniratna Category-I Central Public Sector Enterprise (CPSE).  Its largest Hydro Project is Kameng (600 MW) in AR.
Establishment– 1976
Headquarter– Shillong, Meghalaya

Govt of J&K introduced Karkhandar Scheme to uplift traditional handicrafts of J&KGovt rolls out 'Karkhandar' scheme to revive traditional crafts of J&KThe government of Jammu & Kashmir(J&K) has introduced the Karkhandar scheme to support the local artisans and weavers and to promote the traditional handicrafts of J&K.

  • The scheme also aims to provide training in the field of handicrafts sector.
  • The scheme will be implemented across the Union Territory(UT) through the Directorate of Handicrafts and Handloom Kashmir/Jammu.

Objective:
To transfer the skill set of the master craftsmen to the younger generation.
Features of Karkhandar scheme:
i.The scheme will boost the crafts with high potential along with the crafts which failed to make any progress.
ii.The languishing crafts include crafts like Glazed tiles, Silverware and filigree will be taken full revival in the first instance.
iii.The scheme aims to identify and provide skill up-gradation training in crafts that are facing a scarce human resource, the identified crafts include walnut wood carving, silver filigree, carpet, Kani shawl weaving, Khatamband and Papier-Mâché Craft.
Benefits:
Under this scheme, the meritorious trainees will be given an honorarium of Rs 2000 per month and the trainer will get Rs 2000 per month for each trainee in addition to Rs 25000 for logistics, raw materials and others.
About Jammu & Kashmir(J&K):
Lieutenant Governor– Manoj Sinha
Bird Sanctuary– Hokersar bird sanctuary
National Park– Dachigam National Park; Kishtwar National Park

Olympian P R Sreejesh to be Named Brand Ambassador of Adventure Tourism in Kerala

Olympian Parattu Raveendran Sreejesh (PR Sreejesh), goalkeeper and former captain of the Indian National Hockey team is set to be named as the brand ambassador of adventure tourism in Kerala.

  • P R Sreejesh was a part of the Indian Hockey team that won the bronze medal at the Tokyo 2020 Olympic games.
  • PR Sreejesh hails from Ernakulam, Kerala.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.no Current Affairs 18 August 2021
1 Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the world’s 2nd largest refurbished gene bank at the NBPGR, New Delhi
2 President Ram Nath Kovind gives Assent to ‘The Taxation Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2021′
3 India and UK Navies conduct ‘Exercise Konkan 2021’ in Portsmouth, UK
4 ‘Exercise INDRA-2021’, Joint Military Exercise between India and Russia in Volgograd, Russia
5 Sports Minister Anurag Thakur launches Fit India Freedom Run 2.0
6 Kaziranga becomes India’s first national park to be equipped with satellite phones
7 UP’s Ghaziabad 2nd Most Polluted City in 2020; China’s Hotan at 1st: HouseFresh Report
8 Narendra Singh Tomar addresses 6th SCO meet of Agriculture Ministers
9 Indian Navy Participates in the US Navy led Multilateral Naval Exercise ‘SEACAT 2021’ in Singapore
10 SEBI Set up Panel to Analyse the Shift of Trade Settlement Cycle from T+2 to T+1
11 PayNearby ties up with RBL Bank, Visa for payment devices
12 KVGB Partnered with Karnataka Govt Launched FRUITS Portal
13 RBI Introduced Financial Inclusion Index
14 SBI Life launches new age protection plan “SBI Life eShield Next”
15 Prime Minister’s Shram Awards 2018 Given to 69 Awardees
16 Olympic medallist Saikhom Mirabai Chanu becomes brand ambassador for Amway’s Nutrilite range
17 ARTL to Acquire 49% Stake in MBCPNL
18 HAL’s 1st ever Civil Aircraft, Hindustan-228 carries Ground Run and LSTT
19 Three New Wild Balsams Identified in Kerala
20 Youth World Archery Championship-Poland : India finishes its campaign with 8 Gold, 2 Silver & 5 Bronze
21 New book ‘Lahore: Book 1 of the Partition Trilogy’ Authored by Manreet Sodhi Someshwar
22 Discordant Notes: The Voice of Dissent in the Last Court of Resort – Book by Former SC Judge Rohinton Fali Nariman
23 Odisha to become 1st Indian state to Provide Smart Health Cards
24 Arunachal Pradesh signed MoA with NEEPCO for development of 2 Hydro Projects
25 Govt of J&K introduced Karkhandar Scheme to uplift traditional handicrafts of J&K
26 Olympian P R Sreejesh to be Named Brand Ambassador of Adventure Tourism in Kerala