Daily Current Affairs and GK | 15 October 2020

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 15 Oct 2020 20:04 PM IST

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1. Union Cabinet approves World Bank aided STARS project.

  • The Union Cabinet has approved the World Bank-supported project STARS for improving school education outcomes.
  • STARS project will support States in developing, implementing, evaluating and improving interventions with direct linkages to improved education outcomes.
  • The objectives of this project are aligned with the objectives of the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 of Quality-Based Learning Outcomes.
  • Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) project estimated cost is 5,718 crore.
  • This project will be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under the Department of School Education and Literacy.
  • It will cover six States which includes Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha. 
  • It aims to focus on initiatives of PM e-Vidya, Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission and National Curricular and Pedagogical Framework for Early Childhood Care.
  • Major Component of STARS Project are:

     National level


To strengthen MOE’s national data systems

Strengthening Early Childhood Education and Foundational Learning


To support MOE in improving states PGI scores by incentivizing states governance

Improving Learning Assessment Systems


To support the strengthening of learning assessment systems.


Governance and Decentralized Management for Improved Service Delivery.


To support MOE’s efforts to establish a National Assessment Center

Strengthening Vocational education in schools

  • Measurable outcome of this project are:
    • Increase in students achieving minimum proficiency in grade 3 language in selected states.
    • Improvement in secondary school completion rate
    • Strengthened learning assessment systems
    • Improvement in the State level service delivery
  • World Bank:
    • It is one of the world’s largest finance providers aiming to end extreme poverty and promote shared growth.
    • It was established in 1944 and is headquartered in Washington, DC, USA.
    • Currently, it has 189 members.
    • Current President of World Bank: David Malpass
    • Chief Financial Officer and MD: Anshula Kant

2. Department of Science and Technology launched the research status of hydrogen & fuel cells.

  • The compilation of ongoing research activities related to Hydrogen titled “India Country Status Report on Hydrogen and Fuel Cells” was launched by the Department of Science and Technology.
  • The report is an outcome of brainstorming discussions and presentations based on Hydrogen as a part of the Mission Innovation Renewable and Clean Hydrogen Challenge.
  • Hydrogen is considered as cleanest energy, which will help in India’s commitment of decarbonization.
  • Challenges related to materials, electrolytes, storage, safety, and standards need to be addressed to make Hydrogen a viable option.
  • Benefits of Hydrogen as Fuel:
    • It has high energy content per unit mass- three times higher than gasoline.
    • It can play a vital role in transforming climate-neutral systems in future.
    • It can help to reduce global warming.
    • It can decarbonize many industrial sectors.
    • It is one of the best options for storing energy from renewables.

3. World Standards Day: 14 October

  • World Standards Day is celebrated every year on 14 October by the members of the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC), International Organization for Standardization (ISO) and International Telecommunication Union (ITU).
  • The day is intended to show gratitude to many experts worldwide who evolve the voluntary technical norms that are issued in the form of international standards.
  • The day aims to raise awareness about the significance of implementing and evolving standards to the global economy among regulators, industry and consumers.
  • Theme 2020: “Protecting the planet with standards”

(Source: WSC)

4. Global Handwashing Day: 15 October

  • Global Handwashing Day is celebrated every year on 15 October to raise awareness on handwashing with soap, motivate people worldwide to develop handwashing habits, and highlight the state of handwashing in countries worldwide.
  • Theme 2020- “Hand Hygiene for All”
  • The day was founded by the Global Handwashing Partnership.
  • First Global Handwashing Day was held in 2008.

(Source: global handwashing day)

5. World Students Day: 15 October

  • World Students Day is celebrated every year on 15 October to mark the birth anniversary of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
  • The day honours the hard work, dedication and determination of students around the world.
  • Theme 2020: “Learning for people, planet, prosperity and peace”
  • The theme focuses on development ambitions for our collectivity with humanitarian objectives.

6. Birth Anniversary of Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam: 15 October

  • Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam was born on 15 October 1931.
  • He is known as the Missile Man of India for his work on the development of Ballistic missiles.
  • He served as the 11th President of India from 2002 to 2007.
  • He was awarded the Padma Bhushan in 1981, Padma Vibhushan in 1990 and Bharat Ratna in 1997.
  • Some of his notable works are:
    • India 2020: A Vision for the New Millennium
    • Wings of Fire: An Autobiography
    • Ignited Minds: Unleashing the Power within India
    • The Luminous Sparks
    • Mission India
    • Inspiring Thoughts
    • Indomitable Spirit

7. International Day of Rural Women: 15 October  

  • International Day of Rural Women is celebrated every year on 15 October.
  • International Day of Rural Women was first observed almost a decade ago on 15 October 2008.
  • The day identifies the importance and contribution of rural women and indigenous women in rural poverty eradication, ensuring food security, agricultural and rural development.
  • Theme 2020: “Building rural women's resilience in the wake of COVID-19”
  • The theme draws attention to the crucial role of rural women and girls in agriculture, food security and nutrition, land and natural resource management, and rural enterprises during the times of pandemic.

8. Exercise Suraksha Kavach: Joint Anti-terrorist exercise by Army and Police.

  • A joint exercise ‘Suraksha Kavach’ was organized by Agnibaaz Division for both Indian Army and Maharashtra Police in Pune.
  • The objective of this exercise was to coordinate and streamline the drills and procedures of both Indian Army and Maharashtra Police for activating anti-terrorist Quick Reaction Teams (QRTs) to counter-terrorist activities.
  • Quick Reaction Teams, Dog Squads, Bomb Disposal Teams of Army, Anti-Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Quick Reaction Team of Maharashtra Police participated in this exercise.

9. Seema Gupta wins GOLD Stevie® Award in Lifetime Achievement Business Category.

  • Seema Gupta, Director (Operations) of Power Grid Corporation of India Limited, has won the GOLD Stevie® Award in the Lifetime Achievement- Business category in the 17th annual Stevie Awards for Women in Business.
  • Earlier Achievements of Seema Gupta:
    • Special Commendation Award for Outstanding Women Manager in Public Sector Enterprises by the Honourable President of India in 2017.
    • She was adjudged as the Best Contributor at the ITOMS 2018 Conference in Malaysia.
  • Stevie Awards for Women in Business is presented annually to honour women executives, entrepreneurs, employees, and the companies they run– worldwide.
  • It is the world’s premier business awards.
    • It is Maharatna PSU under the administrative control of Ministry of Power.
    • It is the central transmission utility of India.
    • It is one of the largest power transmission companies globally.

10. Cabinet approves MoU between India and Australia for collaboration in sustainable groundwater management.

  • An MoU has been approved by the Union Cabinet for collaboration in capacity building, research and development and making an impact for sustainable groundwater management.
  • The MoU was signed in October 2019 between Central Ground Water Board (CGWB), Department of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga rejuvenation, India and Managing Aquifer Recharge and Sustaining Groundwater use through village-level intervention (MARVI) PARTNERS, Australia.
  • It was signed to promote cooperation in surface and groundwater training, education and research to achieve water security for agricultural, urban, industrial and environmental purposes.
  • Central Ground Water Board (CGWB):
    • It is a multi-disciplinary scientific organization under the Ministry of Jal Shakti.
    • It aims to Sustainable Development and Management of Ground Water Resources of India.
    • It is headed by the Chairman and has six Members.
  • Australia:
    • It is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and other smaller islands.
    • It shares maritime borders with East Timor, Indonesia, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, and the islands of New Caledonia.
    • It is the sixth-largest country in the world in terms of area.
    • Scott John Morrison is the Prime Minister of Australia.
    • Currency: Australian dollar

11. Second Phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” has been launched by Union Health Minister.

  • Union Minister for Health and Family Welfare had launched the second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” for the underprivileged Thalassemic patients.
  • This scheme has been extended to 2020 and it will also cover 200 Aplastic Anaemia patients.
  • Thalassemia is a genetic blood disorder in which the body has less haemoglobin than normal. World Thalassemia Day is observed on 8 May.
  • Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna:
    • It was launched in 2017.
    • It is a Coal India CSR funded Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) program.
    • It aims to provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor. 
    • Its target is to provide financial assistance to 200 patients.
  • Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT): It is the transplantation of multipotent hematopoietic stem cells, usually derived from bone marrow, peripheral blood, or umbilical cord blood.
  • Ministry of Health and Family Welfare:
    • Minister of Health and Family Welfare is Dr. Harsh Vardhan.
    • It is responsible for all planning and programs related to health and family welfare in India.
    • It has two departments:
      • Department of Health and Family Welfare
      • Department of Health Research

12. Gov Tech-Thon 2020 to be organised under the aegis of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.

  • National Informatics Centre (NIC), IEEE Computer Society and Oracle will organize Gov Tech-Thon 2020, a virtual hackathon, under the aegis of MeitY.
  • It will be organized between 30 Oct - 1 Nov 2020 to incubate new ideas, boost innovation and use of technology in agriculture and allied sectors
  • It is open to students, working professionals, startups, freelance technologists, faculty, and other IT service firms in India.
  • In this Hackathon, participants will receive mentorship and advice from technical experts.
  • It is a step toward developing an ecosystem of emerging technologies with the participation of youngsters.
  • This Hackathon will help in bringing new ideas, proof of concepts, working models for innovation and inclusion in Government services.
  • The use of technology in agriculture, transportation and education sector will help in the delivery of Governance to the citizens of India.
  • National Informatics Centre (NIC):
    • It was established in 1976.
    • It is the attached office of Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MeitY).
    • It is responsible for providing ICT infrastructure and services for the government in different aspects of Governance.
    • It plays a significant role in delivering citizen-centric e-services.
  • IEEE Computer Society:
    • It was established in 1946.
    • It is a professional society of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE).
    • It is the premier source for information, inspiration, and collaboration in computer science and engineering.
    • It is the world’s largest technical professional organization dedicated to advancing technology for the benefit of humanity.
  • Oracle:
    • It is an American multinational computer technology corporation.
    • Its Headquarter is in Redwood Shores, California.
    • Larry Ellison is chairman of Oracle Corporation and chief technology officer.
  • Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology:
    • It aims to promote e-Governance for empowering citizens, promoting the inclusive and sustainable growth of the Electronics, IT & ITeS industries.
    • It is currently headed by Ravi Shankar Prasad.
    • Attached Offices of MeitY are:
      • National Informatics Centre (NIC)
      • Standardisation, Testing and Quality Certification (STQC) Directorate





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