Daily Current Affairs and GK | 16 October 2020

By PendulumEdu | Last Modified: 16 Oct 2020 19:06 PM IST

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1. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari to initiate simultaneous blasting process for Zojila tunnel.

  • The Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari has initiated the blasting related work for Zojila tunnel.
  • Zojila tunnel:
    • It is a 14.15-kilometre long tunnel under Zoji La pass at an altitude of three thousand metres on NH-1. 
    • It will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh through Dras and Kargil.
    • It will bring economic and socio-cultural integration to Jammu and Kashmir.
    • The Hyderabad-based company Megha Engineering was awarded the contract of construction of ZojiLa Tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg within six years.
  • Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
    • It is the apex body responsible for sustainable, efficient, safe and internationally comparable quality of road infrastructure in India.
    • There are two departments under it:
      • Department of Shipping
      • Department of Road Transport and Highway
    • It is currently headed by Nitin Gadkari.

2. Graded Response Action Plan comes into effect in Delhi-NCR region for Air quality.

  • Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP) has come into force from October 15, 2020, to improve the air quality in the Delhi-NCR region.
  • Under this, the government has banned the use of electricity generators run on diesel, petrol or kerosene in Delhi, excluding those used for essential or emergency services.
  • Pollution control authorities will begin night patrolling to check for dust and industrial emissions, as well as the burning of waste.
  • To settle dust, frequent sprinkling of water on roads and mechanized sweeping have been directed.
  • GRAP:
    • It is an emergency plan formulated to tackle the deteriorating air quality of Delhi-NCR.
    • It was formulated in 2016 and notified in 2017.
    • It includes different measures for different categories of Air quality from Moderate to Emergency.
    • EPCA is the implementing agency of GRAP.
    • Actions under GRAP:

Severe+ or Emergency


Very Poor

Moderate to poor

Stop entry of trucks into Delhi (except essential commodities)

Encourage public transport, with differential rates

Stop use of diesel generator sets

Heavy fines for garbage burning

Stop construction work

More frequent mechanised cleaning of road and sprinkling of water

Enhance parking fee by 3-4 times

Close/enforce pollution control regulations in brick kilns and industries

Introduce odd/even scheme for private vehicles and minimise exemptions

Maximise power generation from natural gas to reduce generation from coal

Increase bus and Metro services

Mechanised sweeping on roads with heavy traffic and water sprinkling

Task Force to decide any additional steps including shutting of schools

Close brick kilns, hot mix plants, stone crushers

Advisories to people with respiratory and cardiac conditions to restrict outdoor movement

Strictly enforce ban on firecrackers



3. India and France re-elected as President and Co-President of International Solar Alliance.

  • India and France were re-elected as the President and Co-President for two years in the third Assembly of International Solar Alliance.
  • 53 Member countries and 5 Signatory and Prospective Member countries participated in the Assembly.
  • The Assembly has also approved the initiative of ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA).
  • Indian Power and New and Renewable Energy Minister stated that solar energy is contributing around 2.8% of global electricity. If trends were to continue, by 2030, solar will become the most important source of energy for electricity production.
  • ISA had played a vital role in redirecting of funds towards renewable energies, increasing demand for Solar Pumps, Solar Rooftop, and Development of Solar Mini-grids, etc.
  • France has collaborated with the World Bank to mobilize financing facility to finance more than 10 gigawatts of solar projects.
  • The United Kingdom also committed to phase out coal in the next five years and bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net-zero by 2050.
  • ISA CARES, an initiative started by ISA for the deployment of solar energy in the healthcare sector.
  • ISA has launched a Seventh Programme on Solarizing Heating and Cooling systems.
  • ISA has signed a tripartite agreement with the World Bank and the Government of India for One Sun One World One Grid Initiative.
  • Awards Instituted by ISA: 




Visvesvaraya award


  • Asia Pacific region: Japan
  • Europe and Others region: Netherland

Given to recognize the countries with maximum floating solar capacity.

Diwakar award

  • Arpan Institute (Haryana)
  • Arushi Society

Instituted from the contribution made by  India’s Minister for Railways and Commerce & Industry.

Recognizes organisations & institutions that have been working for the benefit of differently-abled people and have maximised the use of solar energy in the host country.

  • International Solar Alliance (ISA):
    • It was launched on 30 November 2015 by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France in Paris.
    •  It is an alliance of 121 countries.
    • The main objective of the alliance is to work for the efficient consumption of solar energy and to reduce dependence on fossil fuels.
    • Its headquarter is in Gurugram, Haryana.
    • The first Assembly of the ISA was held in Greater Noida, India and the second was held in New Delhi.

4. First Oscar winner Costume designer of India, Bhanu Athaiya, passes away.

  • Bhanu Athaiya, India’s first Oscar winner Costume designer, passed away at the age of 91.
  • She was suffering from prolonged illness.
  • She began her career as a costume designer in the Hindi cinema with Guru Dutt’s superhit “C.I.D.”.
  • She was jointly conferred the Academy Award for Best Costume Design with John Mollo, for “Gandhi” by Richard Attenborough.
  • She had also won two National Awards for Gulzar’s “Lekin” (1990) and the film “Lagaan” directed by Ashutosh Gowariker (2001).

(Source: BBC)

5. IRDAI Chairman asks health insurance providers to launch disease-specific products.

  • Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Chairman of IRDAI, has asked health insurance providers to launch disease-specific products.
  • Such products will help policyholders in preventing different ailments.
  • The insurance sector has been concentrating on tertiary care or hospitalization for a long time and now there is a need to focus on primary, secondary, outpatient care and preventive care.
  • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI):
    • IRDAI is an autonomous and statutory body of India that was formed in 1999.
    • It aims to regulate and promote the insurance and re-insurance industries in India.
    • Headquarters: Hyderabad

(Source: IRDAI)

6. Mahila Kisan Diwas organized by Department of Agriculture via videoconferencing.

  • Mahila Kisan Diwas was organized by the Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare via videoconferencing on 15 October.
  • During the occasion, an e-book on ‘Inspiring Stories of Progressive Women Farmers’ was released and two short films on ‘Mahila Krishak and her Contribution in Agriculture’ and ‘Global Examples of Successful Women Farmers’ were also launched.
  • Women farmers and women SHGs play a very important role in agriculture and boost the rural economy.
  • Mahila Kisan Diwas is celebrated to promote women’s participation in different income generation activities in agriculture and allied sectors.

7. On the 75th anniversary of FAO, PM Modi issues a commemorative coin of 75 rupees.

  • A commemorative coin of 75 rupees has been released by the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of the 75th anniversary of the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).
  • Recently developed biofortified varieties of eight crops have been dedicated to the nation by the PM.
  • Biofortified varieties of crops will:
    • Help to resolve the issue of hunger, undernourishment and malnutrition.
    • Increase the income of farmers
    • Create new entrepreneurship opportunities
    • Linked to the mid-day meal and Anganwadi to provide naturally enriched food ingredients
  • Nobel Peace Prize for 2020 has been awarded to the World Food Programme (WFP). It was established during the period of Dr. Binay Ranjan Sen as Director-General of FAO.
  • The National Agricultural Research System has developed 53 biofortified varieties in five years under the leadership of the Indian Council of Agricultural Research.
  • The Government of India has rolled out POSHAN Abhiyaan to address malnutrition in the country.
  • POSHAN Abhiyaan:
    • It is a flagship programme to improve the nutritional outcome for children, adolescents, pregnant women and lactating mothers by leveraging technology, a targeted approach and convergence.
    • It aims to reduce stunting, undernutrition, anaemia, and low birth weight. 
  • World Food Day: 16 October
    • World Food Day is celebrated every year on 16 October as the foundation day of FAO.
    • World Food day 2020 has been celebrated to mark the 75th anniversary of FAO.
    • The Theme of World Food Day 2020 is - "Grow, nourish, sustain. Together."
    • This year’s World Food day is devoted to highlighting how food and agriculture are an essential part of the COVID-19 response.
  •  Food and Agriculture Organization:
    • It was founded on 16 October 1945.
    • It is a specialized United Nations agency that leads international efforts to defeat hunger and improve nutrition and food security.
    • It aims to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active, healthy lives. 
    • Its headquarters is in Rome, Italy.
    • The Director-General of FAO is Qu Dongyu.

8. India to deliver a Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar.

  • India will hand over a Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhuvir to Myanmar Navy.
  • This will be the first submarine of the Southeast Asian country Myanmar.
  • This is in line with the Vision SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region of India, which aims to build capacities and self-reliance in all our neighbouring countries.
  • This submarine was purchased from Russia in the 1980s and has undergone modernization at the Hindustan Shipyard Limited (HSL).
  • Security and Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR): It is a maritime cooperation policy of India in the Indian Ocean region.
  • Myanmar:
    • It was formerly known as Burma and is a Southeast Asian nation.
    • It is bordered by India, Bangladesh, China, Laos and Thailand.
    • The National sport of Myanmar is Caneball (Chinlone).
    • Its capital is Naypyidaw and the currency is Burmese Kyat.
    • President of Myanmar is Win Myint.
    • Aung San Suu Kyi is the first and incumbent State Counsellor of Myanmar.

9. Director General of Shipping notified as National Authority for Recycling of Ships.

  • The central government has notified the Director-General of Shipping as National Authority for Recycling of Ships.
  • It is designated as apex authority under the Recycling of Ships Act, 2019 for the ship recycling industry of India.
  • It will be responsible for administrating, supervising and monitoring of all activities related to ship recycling.
  • Its office will be set up in Gandhinagar, Gujarat.

10. Kyrgyzstan's President steps down after protest over disputed election.

  • Kyrgyzstan President Sooronbay Jeenbekov has resigned after the protests over a disputed parliamentary election.
  • He has taken this decision to end the unrest in the country.
  • Sadyr Japarov is appointed as the new Prime Minister of Kyrgyzstan.
  • Kyrgyzstan:
    • It is bordered by Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan and China
    • It got Independence from the USSR on 31 August 1991.
    • Its capital and largest city is Bishkek
    • Som is the currency of Kyrgyzstan.

11. Russia will not extend the New START pact with the USA.

  • Russia doesn’t see any possibility of extending the new Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty with the USA.
  • This treaty limits the number of strategic nuclear warheads that Russia and the United States can deploy.
  • The balance of nuclear arms between Russia and the United States would be affected if this treaty failed to be extended further.
  • The treaty will expire in February 2021.
  • The tenure of this pact is of ten years, but it can be extended for an additional five years, until 2026.
  • New START Treaty:
    • It was signed on 8 April 2010 and came into force in February 2011.
    • It has replaced the 1991 START I treaty and superseded the 2002 Strategic Offensive Reductions Treaty (SORT).
    • It is a treaty between the United States of America and the Russian Federation on measures for the further reduction and limitation of strategic offensive arms.
  • Russia:
    • It is the world’s largest country in terms of area.
    • It ranks sixth in terms of population.
    • Currency: Russian ruble
    • Capital: Moscow
    • President: Vladimir Putin

12. Indian government banned the imports of air conditioners with refrigerants.

  • To promote domestic manufacturing and cut imports of non-essential items, the government has banned imports of air conditioners with refrigerants.
  • The import policy for air conditioners with refrigerants has been changed from free to prohibited as per the notification issued by DGFT.
  • India imports more than 30% of air conditioners of its demand.
  • It will push for self-reliance in this sector as part of Atmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • The import of non-essential electronic goods has been under the purview of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
  • Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT):
    • It is an attached office under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
    • It is responsible for administering laws regarding foreign trade and foreign investment in India.
    • Its headquarters is in New Delhi.
    • Amit Yadav is currently serving as Director-General of DGFT.

13. Nagaland government called all stakeholders to discuss on Naga Political issue.

  • The Nagaland government has called a meeting with all stakeholders to discuss the Naga Political Issue and the ongoing political negotiations and peace talks between the Government of India and the Naga nationalist political organizations.
  • A seven-point resolution has been adopted, which included appreciating the Government of India for acknowledging the Unique History of the Nagas and for recognizing the Naga issue as a political issue.
  • The resolution appealed to the negotiating groups to come together and commit towards achieving One Solution for One People as early as possible.
  • NAGA Peace talks:
  • It is a talk between the Indian government and the various stakeholders in Nagaland to resolve decades-old disputes
  • The main conflict in the talk is the demand for a Greater Nagaland covering the area of its neighbouring states and Myanmar.
    • Naga Peace Accord was signed on 3 August 2015 by the Government of India and the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN) to end the conflicting issues.





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