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Current Affairs 20 August 2021

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USOF signed pact with BSNL for High Speed Internet Access to NEROn August 18, 2021, Universal Service Obligation Fund (USOF) signed an agreement with Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) for hiring of 10 Gbps (GigaBits) International Bandwidth for Internet Connectivity to Agartala from Bangladesh Submarine Cable Company Limited (BSCCL), Bangladesh via Cox Bazar/Kuakata.

  • The reason behind this agreement is to provide high quality and high speed internet in the North Eastern Region (NER) for better access to e-services viz. e-governance, e-education, e-health, e-commerce, e-banking, etc.
  • As a part of agreement, USOF will provide financial support to BSNL for a period of 3 years for hiring the International Bandwidth.

About USOF:
i.The USOF, under the aegis of Department of Telecommunications (Ministry of Communications), was given statutory status by the Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Act, 2003. The rules for its administration are known as Indian Telegraph (Amendment) Rules, 2004.
ii.This Fund utilized towards the Universal Service Obligation (USO) which means universal, interdependent and intercommunicating, affording the opportunity for any subscriber to any exchange to communicate with any other subscriber of any other exchange.

  • The universal service is an objective of the Government of India (GoI) laid down in its New Telecom Policy (NTP) of 1999.

iii.It is aimed at providing financial support for the provision of telecom services in rural and remote areas. The funds for the same are raised through universal service levy which is a percentage of Adjusted Gross Revenue (AGR) of telecom service providers.

India, Australia signed Joint Guidance Document to boost Naval Tiesi.On August 18, 2021, a ‘Joint Guidance for the Australia-India Navy to Navy Relationship’ document was signed between the Indian Navy and Royal Australian Navy during a virtual ceremony.
ii.The signing of this document was on the lines of the ‘2020 Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP)’ which was agreed between the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison during India-Australia Leaders’ Virtual Summit on June 4, 2020.
iii.It was signed by Admiral Karambir Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS-24th), Indian Navy; and Vice Admiral Michael J Noonan, Chief of Navy, Australian Navy.
About Australia:
World’s largest coral reef system “Great Barrier Reef” is located over the coast of Australia
Capital– Canberra
>>Read Full News

Ministry of Tourism Signs MOUs with MakeMyTrip(India) and Ibibo Group  to Strengthen Tourism Industry Ministry of Tourism Signs MOUs strengthen hospitality and tourism industry in the country

The Ministry of Tourism has signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian travel agencies MakeMyTrip India Private Limited and Ibibo Group Private Limited to strengthen the Hospitality and Tourism Industry of india.
Objective of MoU

  • To provide extensive visibility to accommodation units, which have self-certified themselves on SAATHI (System for Assessment, Awareness & Training for the Hospitality Industry) on the OTA (OnlineTravel Agency) platform.
  • The main aim is to gain insights, designing evidence based & targeted policy measures to promote safe, and sustainable tourism.

Key Points
i.This event was organized by the Ministry of Tourism and Quality Council of India (QCI) for implementing measures to strengthen the Indian Hospitality & Tourism Industry.
ii.The agreement encourages all the Units to register with NIDHI (National Integrated Database of Hospitality Industry) and thereby on SAATHI platform to promote local tourism Industry with proper protection against fear of spreading COVID-19.

  • Both entities will take the necessary steps in identified areas to encourage and promote strategic and technical cooperation in the Hospitality & Tourism Industry.

iii.Prior to this, the Ministry of Tourism has signed an MoU with Easemytrip, Clear Trip and to promote the tourism industry all over India.
About Ministry of Tourism
Union Minister – G.Kishan Reddy (Secunderabad, Telangana)
Minister of State (MoS) – Shripad Yesso Naik (North Goa, Goa), Ajay Bhatt (Nainital-Udham Singh Nagar, Uttarakhand)
About MakeMyTrip India Private Limited
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) – Rajesh Magow
Headquarters – Gurugram, Haryana

Cabinet Approvals on August 18 2021The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the following initiatives on August 18, 2021.

  • The cabinet has approved the ratification of the Kigali Amendment for phase-down of Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) by India under the Montreal Protocol to prevent greenhouse gas emission.
  • The Cabinet approved the launch of the ‘National Mission on Edible Oils – Oil Palm’ (NMEO-OP) as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme with a financial outlay of Rs 11,040 crore
  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) approved a revival package of Rs 77.45 crore for the revival of North Eastern Regional Agricultural Marketing Corporation (NERAMAC) Limited.
  • Cabinet notified the MoU signed between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Foundation for Innovative New Diagnostics (FIND), Switzerland in February 2021 to strengthen the scientific and technological collaboration.

About Ministry of Development of North Eastern Regional (MDoNER):
Union Minister – G. Kishan Reddy (Constituency – Secunderabad, Telangana)
Minister of state – B. L. Verma (Constituency – Uttar Pradesh)
>>Read Full News

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign countries on August 18, 2021Cabinet Approvals with Foreign countries on August 18, 2021

The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has granted approval to several Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) with Foreign Countries. They are
i.MoU between India and the United States of America (USA) on cooperation in the field of Geology.
ii.MoU between India and Bangladesh on cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation.
MoU between India & USA in the field of Geology
The Union cabinet has given its approval for signing the MoU between Geological Survey of India (GSI), Ministry of Mines, India and the Florida International University (FIU) board of trustees on behalf of the Department of Earth, Environment, College of Arts, Science & Education, USA on cooperation in the field of Geology.
MoU between India & Bangladesh in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation
The Union cabinet has given its approval for the MoU signed between the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) , Ministry of Home Affairs, India and the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, Bangladesh for cooperation in the field of Disaster Management, Resilience and Mitigation.
About United States of America
President – Joe Biden
Capital – Washington,D.C
Currency – United States Dollar (USD)
About Bangladesh
PrimeMinister – Sheikh Hasina
Capital – Dhaka
Currency – Bangladeshi Taka
>>Read Full News

Mines Ministry adopted Scheme for Accreditation of Private Exploration Agencies for Mineralsi.On August 18, 2021, the Ministry of Mines (MoM) adopted the scheme for accreditation of private exploration agencies developed by the National Accreditation Board for Education and Training of the Quality Council of India (QCI-NABET).
ii.Under this, QCI-NABET will grant accreditation to private exploration agencies for undertaking prospecting operations of minerals in accordance with the standards and procedures of the scheme.
iii.After the accreditation, the respective private exploration agency apply to the Ministry for their notification under the second provison to sub-section (1) of section 4 of the Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Amendment Act, 2021.
About Ministry of Mines:
Union Minister – Pralhad Joshi (Constituency – Dharwad, Karnataka)
Minister of State – Raosaheb Patil Dadarao Danve (Constituency – Jalna, Maharashtra)
>>Read Full News

India & Vietnam Undertook Bilateral Maritime Exercise in South China SeaOn August 18, 2021 India and Vietnam had conducted a Bilateral maritime exercise in the South China Sea as a part of maritime cooperation between the two countries.
i.Participants- India was represented by INS Ranvijay and INS Kora & Vietnam was represented by Vietnam’s People’s Navy (VPN) frigate VPNS Ly Thai To(HQ-012)
ii.Objective –This maritime exercise aims to build trustworthiness and enhance cooperation in the region of South China Sea.
iii.The India- Vietnam maritime exercise would enhance the interoperability between the countries.
About South China Sea
Bordering states & territories (clockwise from north): the People’s Republic of China, the Republic of China (Taiwan), the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Singapore and Vietnam
>>Read Full News

BRICS Nations Signed Agreement for Remote Sensing Satellite Data SharingThe BRICS nations (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) have signed an agreement for the cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing.

  • The agreement was signed under India’s BRICS chairship.
  • The agreement was signed by the Heads of BRICS Space Agencies.

The agreement will enable the BRICS space agencies to build a virtual constellation using their specified remote sensing satellites and their respective ground stations will receive the data.
Union Minister Piyush Goyal Chaired the 5th Meeting of BRICS Industry Ministers
i.Piyush Goyal, Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, chaired the “5th meeting of the BRICS Industry Ministers” held on 18th August 2021.
About BRICS:
i.BRICS stands for Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa
ii.BRICS represents 41 per cent of the global population, 24% of the global GDP and 16%of the global trade.
2021 Chair – India
India’s Theme 2021– ‘BRICS @ 15: Intra-BRICS Cooperation for Continuity, Consolidation and Consensus’.
>>Read Full News

Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Launched Aarogya Dhara 2.0Mansukh Mandaviya, Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare virtually inaugurated the Aarogya Dhara- 2.0 to increase the reach of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Aarogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY) programme to the poorest households of India and to create awareness about the scheme.

  • He chaired the event – Aarogya Dhara- 2.0, to mark the completion of 2 crore treatments under AB-PMJAY.
  • Treatments worth ~Rs 25000 crore have been provided to patients across 33 States/Union Territories (UTs), through the network of 23000 publics and private empanelled hospitals.

The other initiatives launched during the events were Adhikar Patra, Abhinandan Patra and Ayushman Mitra.
About Ministry of Health and Family Welfare(MoHFW):
Union Minister– Mansukh Mandaviya(Rajya Sabha- Gujarat)
Minister of State– Dr Bharati Pravin Pawar(Constituency- Dindori, Maharashtra)
>>Read Full News


India ranks second in terms of crypto adoption in the world:2021 Global Crypto Adoption IndexIndia ranks second in terms of crypto adoption in the world
According to the 2nd Edition of Global Crypto Adoption Index 2021 released by Chainalysis, a crypto-analysis firm, India with a score of 0.37 ranked 2nd out of 154 countries. Vietnam topped the index.

  • It aims to provide an objective measure of which countries have the highest level of Cryptocurrency adoption.
  • The index ranks countries based on 3 indicators such as On-chain value received, On-chain retail value received and Peer-to-Peer (P2P) exchange trade volume
  • India improved to 2nd rank from 11th  in the 2020 Global Crypto Adoption Index.
RankingCountryIndex Score

About Chainalysis
Chief Executive Officer – Michael Gronager
Headquarters – Newyork, United States of America
>>Read Full News


IFSCA Launched Pilot Run of International Bullion Exchange On August 18, 2021, Injeti Srinivas, the Chairperson of International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA), launched the pilot run/soft of ‘International Bullion Exchange’. The exchange was planned to go live on the Foundation Day of IFSCA i.e. on October 1, 2021.

  • Bullion Exchange: It is a market through which the buyers and sellers trade gold and silver.
  • The International Bullion Exchange will act as a ‘Gateway for Bullion Imports into India’. All the bullion imports for domestic consumption will be channelised through the exchange.
  • A holding company named ‘India International Bullion Holding IFSC Ltd.’ (IIBH) was formed to set up and operationalise the International Bullion Exchange in IFSC, GIFT City.
  • The bullion exchange will provide an integrated common transparent platform (bullion market) for all participants to trade bullion (i.e the gold and silver).

About International Financial Services Centres Authority (IFSCA):
Establishment – April 27, 2020, under IFSCA Act, 2019
Headquarters – GIFT City, Gandhinagar, Gujarat
Chairperson – Injeti Srinivas
>>Read Full News

RBI Issued Revised Guidelines for Locker in BankThe Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has issued revised guidelines for both new and existing Safe Deposit Locker and Safe Custody Article Facility with the banks.

  • At present, banks do not have any liability towards lockers. The guidelines would come into effect from January 1, 2022.

RBI’s Guidelines:
i.The banks are directed to incorporate a clause in the ‘locker agreement’ for prohibiting the hirer from keeping anything illegal or hazardous in lockers.
ii.Transparency: To ensure transparency in lockers allotment, the RBI mandated banks to maintain a branch-wise list of vacant lockers and a wait-list in Core Banking System (CBS) or any other computerised system compliant with Cyber Security Framework.
iii.Compensation: The banks are instructed to compensate the customers in case of incidents such as fire, theft, burglary, dacoity, robbery, building collapse or fraud committed by the bank’s employees.

  • The compensation has to be an amount equivalent to 100 times the existing annual rent of the safe deposit locker.

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

World Bank launches new Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund

World Bank and partners announce a New Global Fund for Cybersecurity named Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund under the broader Digital Development Partnership (DDP) umbrella program.

  • It aims to better define, understand, and systematically roll out the cybersecurity development agenda.
  • The fund will support development of global knowledge on cybersecurity solutions for low and middle income countries.
  • It will fund country assessments, offer technical assistance, support training & capacity development for cybersecurity staff in World Bank partnered countries.
  •  The launch of the Trust Fund has been made possible with donor contributions from the countries of Estonia, Germany, Japan, and The Netherlands.

Digital Development Partnership (DDP)
i.The World Bank has launched the DDP in 2016. 
ii.This partnership makes digital solutions available to developing countries with an emphasis on Data and indicators, Digital economy enabling environment, Cybersecurity, Internet access for all, Digital government, Mainstreaming digital services, solutions, and platforms
About World Bank
Founded in 1944
Members countries- 189
President – David Malpass
Headquarters – Washington,D.C, United States of America


Bloomberg Billionaires Index: D-Mart owner Radhakishan Damani among World’s 100 richest People; Elon Musk topped

Radhakishan Damani, who owns the retail chain D-Mart under Avenue Supermarts has made it to the top 100 richest people in the world. He is now ranked 97 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index with a net worth of 19.3 billion USD (around Rs 1.4 lakh crore).Elon Musk topped the list, followed by Jeff Bezos, Bernard Arnault.

  • A total of 6 Indians are featured among the top 100, with Mukesh Ambani(12), Gautam Adani(23), Azim Premji(36), Shiv Nadar(52) and Lakshmi Mittal(71).
  • Radhakishan Damani has made a major investment in India Cement over the past 2years with a stake of 12.7% worth Rs 674 crore.


Neuberg Diagnostics & Kauvery Hospitals Appointed MS Dhoni as their Brand AmbassadorIndia’s fourth largest demonstrative lab chain, Neuberg Diagnostics has appointed  Indian Cricketer, Former Indian Team Captain  & Captain of IPL Team, Chennai Super Kings, Mahendra Singh Dhoni (MS Dhoni) as its brand ambassador.
Key Points:

  • He was appointed as Brand Ambassador for 2 years.
  • The agreement will bring health awareness and spread its importance throughout the world.

Additional Info:
Kauvery Group of  Hospitals has also signed an agreement with Mahendra Singh Dhoni as the brand ambassador in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
About Neuberg Diagnostics-
Chairman and Managing Director: GSK Velu
Headquarter: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Kauvery Group of Hospitals
Managing Director: Dr.Manivannan Selvaraj

Afghan first Vice President Amrullah Saleh declares himself as caretaker PresidentAfghanistan’s 1st Vice President (VP) Amrullah Saleh declared himself as ‘the caretaker President of Afghanistan’ after President Ashraf Ghani fled the Taliban captured country. Currently, Afghanistan is under the control of Taliban, capturing Kabul after the U.S led forces left the country.

  • According to the Constitution of Afghanistan, ’In absence, escape, resignation or death of the President, the 1st VP will be the caretaker President’ of the country.

The Taliban : History 
i.The word ‘Taliban meaning Students’ in the Pashto language, emerged in 1994
around the city of Kandahar, Afghanistan.
ii.It was one of the factions which were fighting a civil war to rule the country following the withdrawal of the Soviet Union in 1989 and the subsequent collapse of the government in 1992.
About Afghanistan
Former President – Ashraf Ghani
Capital  – Kabul
Currency – Afghani
>>Read Full News


Indian GM Narayanan finishes second in RTU Open Chess Tournament 2021Germany’s Alexander Donchenko won the Riga Technical University (RTU) open Chess Tournament 2021 while Indian Grand Master(GM) S.L.Narayanan came second in the tournament. The tournament was held in Riga (Latvia) from August 7, 2021 to August 15, 2021. It was the 10th RTU tournament.

  • Karthikeyan Murali ended up with 7 points but on the basis of better tie- break scores Narayan took second position. GM Arjun Kalyan was placed eighth.
  • Among the others, Pranav Anand secured 11th and Pragganandhaa Rameshbabu got 13th rank.

Riga Technical University (RTU) open Chess Tournament
Organizer-Riga Technical University and Latvian Chess Federation
Federation-Latvia ( LAT )


Legendary German footballer Gerd Mueller Passed Away

Legendary German Footballer and renowned striker, Gerd Mueller, nicknamed “Bomber der Nation”, has passed away in Wolfratshausen, Germany. He was born on 3rd November 1945 in Nördlingen, Allied-occupied Germany.

  • He has represented West Germany and scored around 68 goals in 62 International matches and has won the World Cup in 1974.
  • He is the record goalscorer of Bayern Munich, a German professional sports club based in Munich, Bavaria, Germany.


New Book “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” authored by Boria Majumdar and Kushan SarkarSports historian Boria Majumdar and Sports journalist Kushan Sarkar have co-authored a new book titled “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest”.

  • The book published by Simon & Schuster Publishers India Private Limited, which is a chronicle of Indian Cricket.
  • The book features anecdotes from the life events of several Indian cricketers such as Rohit Sharma, Shubman Gill, Cheteshwar Pujara and Rishabh Pant.

About the Authors:
Dr Boria Majumdar is a sports historian and author with a doctorate in the social history of Indian cricket from the University of Oxford.

  • He won the Rabindra Puraskar in 2018 for his book “Eleven Gods and a Billion Indians”.
  • He is also the co-author of “Playing it My Way”, Sachin Tendulkar’s autobiography.

Kushan Sarkar, PTI Sports Journalist, covers Cricket as sports and the politics associated with it.

  • He has also worked with Times of India, The Telegraph and Asian Age
  • He has covered various ICC events including several World Cups.


World Humanitarian Day 2021 – August 19 The United Nations(UN)’s World Humanitarian Day(WHD) is annually observed across the globe on 19th August to honour and recognise the efforts of Humanitarians across the globe on protecting and supporting the people in need.
WHD is a campaign by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and humanitarian partners.

  • 19th August 2021 marks the observance of 12th World Humanitarian Day.
  • The WHD 2020 highlights the immediate human cost of the Climate Crisis by pressuring the world leaders to take climate actions for the vulnerable people across the globe.

i.The United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) adopted the resolution A/RES/63/139 on 11 December 2008 and proclaimed the 19th August of every year as World Humanitarian Day.
ii.The First World Humanitarian Day was commemorated on 19th August 2009. 
Why August 19?
The day is marked in memory of the Canal Hotel bomb attack (19th August 2003) in Baghdad, Iraq, killing 22 people, including Sergio Vieira Mello, Chief Humanitarian in Iraq.
About United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA):
OCHA was established by the United Nations General Assembly Resolution 46/182 (1991).
Under-Secretary-General– Martin Griffiths
Headquarters– New York, United States
>>Read Full News

World Photography Day 2021 – August 19World Photography Day is annually observed across the globe on 19th August to celebrate the art, craft, science and history of photography. The day also inspires photographers across the globe to share one of their photographs to share their world with the world.
World Photography Day is also known as World Photo Day.
The first-ever World Photography day was observed on 19th August 2010. The day was marked with the first global online gallery which was hosted with the photographs of more than 270 photographers.
i.The term photography was coined by Sir John Frederick William Herschel in 1939.
ii.The word photography is derived from the Greek words photos (“light”) and graphé (“to draw”).
>>Read Full News


4 New Districts and 18 New Tehsils Formed in ChhattisgarhChhattisgarh Chief Minister(CM) Bhupesh Baghel announced the creation of 4 New Districts and 18 New Tehsil in the state. New districts named as Manendragarh, Mohla Manpur, Shakti and Sarangarh- Bilaigarh. With this formation, there will be a total of 32 districts in the state.
Major Announcements

  • A new “Minimata Park” will be opened exclusively for women in every district headquarter and municipal corporation of the state. Minimata served as the first woman MP from Chhattisgarh, who got elected in 1952. She worked for women empowerment and social welfare.
  • ‘Dhanvantari Yojana’ announced by the CM in urban areas of the state . it will provide medicine to the people at concessional rate.
  • ‘Dial 112’- emergency helpline services extended across the state.

About Chhattisgarh- 
Chief Minister: Bhupesh Baghel
Wildlife Sanctuary – Pamed Wild Buffalo Wildlife Sanctuary, Semarsot Wildlife Sanctuary, Sitanadi Wildlife Sanctuary.
Zoological Park– Nandanvan Jungle Safari, Maitri Baag Zoological Park, Kanan Pendari Zoological Garden.


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S.noCurrent Affairs 20 August 2021
1USOF signed pact with BSNL for High Speed Internet Access to NER
2India, Australia signed Joint Guidance Document to boost Naval Ties
3Ministry of Tourism Signs MOUs with MakeMyTrip(India) Private Limited and Ibibo Group Private Limited to strengthen hospitality and tourism industry in the country
4Cabinet Approvals on August 18 2021
5Cabinet Approvals with Foreign countries on August 18, 2021
6Mines Ministry adopted Scheme for Accreditation of Private Exploration Agencies for Minerals
7India & Vietnam Undertook Bilateral Maritime Exercise in South China Sea
8BRICS Nations Signed Agreement for Remote Sensing Satellite Data Sharing
9Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya Launched Aarogya Dhara 2.0
10India ranks second in terms of crypto adoption in the world:2021 Global Crypto Adoption Index
11IFSCA Launched Pilot Run of International Bullion Exchange
12RBI issues new guidelines for locker in banks
13World Bank launches new Cybersecurity Multi-Donor Trust Fund
14Bloomberg Billionaires Index: D-Mart owner Radhakishan Damani among World’s 100 richest People
15Neuberg Diagnostics & Kauvery Hospitals Appointed MS Dhoni as their Brand Ambassador
16Afghan first Vice President Amrullah Saleh declares himself as caretaker President
17Indian GM S L finishes second in RTU Open Chess Tournament 2021
18Legendary German footballer Gerd Mueller Passed Away
19New Book “Mission Domination: An Unfinished Quest” authored by Boria Majumdar and Kushan Sarkar
20World Humanitarian Day 2021 – August 19
21World Photography Day 2021 – August 19
22On Independence Day Occasion Chhattisgarh CM announced 4 new districts and 18 new Tehsils