Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 August 2023

By Priyanka Chaudhary | Last Modified: 19 Aug 2023 18:08 PM IST

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Topic: National News

1. University Grants Commission released the draft for foreign educational institutions.

  • University Grants Commission (UGC) has released the draft UGC (Recognition and Grant of Equivalence to Qualifications obtained from Foreign Educational Institutions) Regulations, 2023.
  • As per the guidelines, the UGC has imposed limitations on degrees obtained via distance and online learning modes, as well as attained through franchise agreements.
  • These guidelines have been released for assessing equivalence and accrediting degrees acquired from universities abroad.
  • UGC informed that many foreign universities will very soon set up their campuses in the GIFT city.
  • Many Indian universities have joined hands with foreign universities to offer joint degrees.
  • UGC said that it has developed comprehensive guidelines to create a strong and transparent framework.
  • Students can request for equivalence assessment of their foreign qualifications from the UGC through a specialised online platform.
  • In addition, the candidate will get the opportunity to re-appeal.

Topic: Defence

2. India’s first long-range side-swing revolver has been launched.

  • India’s first long-range side swing revolver 'Prabal' has been launched for civilians and arms dealers.
  • It is manufactured by Advanced Weapons and Equipment India (AWEIL) located in Kanpur.
  • This 32-bore revolver is capable of accurately hitting targets up to 50 metres away.
  • This range is twice that of the revolver currently in production.
  • Prabal will become a frontrunner in the field of long-range handguns.
  • The innovative design of Prabal eliminates the need to fold the firearm for cartridge insertion and makes the reloading process simple.
  • Prabal’s side swings out cylinder making it different from its counterparts.
  • The Prabal weighs 675 grams (excluding cartridges) and has an overall length of 187.7 mm.

Topic: Summits/Conferences/Meetings

3. National SC-ST Hub Mega Conclave inaugurated by Shri Bhanu Pratap Singh Verma at Gumla, Jharkhand.

  • On 18th August 2023, National SC-ST Hub (NSSH) Conclave was organized by the Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) at Town Hall, Gumla, Jharkhand.
  • It has been organized to promote entrepreneurship culture and spread awareness of the NSSH Scheme and other Schemes of the Ministry.
  • Around 650 SC-ST aspiring and existing entrepreneurs participated in the conclave.
  • Under the National SC-ST Hub scheme, various initiatives implemented for SC/ST entrepreneurs along with other flagship schemes of the Ministry being implemented for the MSME sector.
  • A special technical session was also organized with CPSEs, Banks, and Lending Institutions, which provided an excellent platform for aspiring and existing SC-ST entrepreneurs to interact.
  • CPSEs like ONGC, BSNL, Damodar Valley Corporation Limited, etc. made presentations on the process of vendor empanelment.
  • There were also UDYAM (Udyam) registration desks to facilitate the registration of SC/ST MSE participants in the program.

Topic: Sports

4. Esha Singh and Shiva Narwal won the mixed team air pistol gold at the ISSF World Championships.

  • On 18 August, Indian shooters Esha Singh and Shiva Narwal won the 10m air pistol mixed team gold medal after defeating Turkey in the final of the ISSF World Championship.
  • The Indian pair defeated the Turkish pair of Ilayda Tarhan and Yusuf Dikec 16-10 in the final.
  • India is currently second in the medal tally with one gold and one bronze, while China is on top with five gold and two bronze medals.
  • The 2023 ISSF World Championships are taking place in Baku, Azerbaijan, from 17 to 24 August.
  • A total of 67 sets of medals will be awarded in the men's, women's, and mixed shooting events, with 1,329 shooters from 101 countries participating.
  • The top four finishers from each country in all individual Olympic events can also earn Paris 2024 quotas for their National Olympic Committees (NOCs).

Topic: Sports

5. Dutee Chand has been banned for four years by NADA for failing an out-of-competition doping test.

  • Top Indian athlete Dutee Chand, the current national 100m record holder, has been banned by the National Anti-Doping Agency for four years.
  • She has been banned by NADA for failing an out-of-competition doping test for Selective Androgen Receptor Modulator (SARM) in December last year.
  • The ban will be effective from January 3 this year, which is the date of issue of the letter by NADA.
  • On December 5, 2022, all his results from the date of sample collection will be considered disqualified and will result in forfeiture of medals, points, and prizes.
  • The presence of a Banned Substance in an Athlete's Sample or the use or attempted use of a Banned Substance by an Athlete is an Anti-Doping Rule Violation in accordance with Article 2.1 and Article 2.2 of the NADA ADR.
  • However, NADA has given Dutee an opportunity to provide an explanation of the presence of the substance in her sample in the form of written submissions, statements, and supporting evidence relating to AAF.
  • Dutee is an Asian Games medallist, having won silver medals in the 100m and 200m women's events in the 2018 edition of the event.
  • She also won a bronze medal at the Asian Championships in 2013, 2017 and 2019.
  • In 2019, she became the first Indian woman sprinter to win a gold medal in the 100m event at the Universiade

Topic: International News

6. Ahead of the Camp David summit, the US, Japan, and South Korea agreed on a new security pledge.

  • The United States, Japan, and South Korea signed a new security pledge, in which the three countries committed to consult each other in the event of a security crisis or threat in the Pacific region.
  • On August 18, US President Joe Biden welcomed South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol and Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida for a summit at the Camp David presidential retreat in Maryland.
  • Details about the new “duty to consult” commitment emerged at the summit.
  • The move is one of several joint efforts the leaders announced during the day-long summit.
  • The three countries are looking to strengthen security and economic ties amid continuing nuclear threats from North Korea and growing concerns about Chinese provocations in the Pacific.
  • The "duty to consult" pledge is intended to acknowledge that the three countries share a "fundamentally interrelated security environment" and that a threat to any one country is a threat to all.
  • Under the pledge, the three countries agree to consult, share information and align their messaging with each other in the event of a threat or crisis.
  • The United States has more than 80,000 troops between the two countries.
  • This is the first summit that Biden held at Camp David during his presidency.

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Topic: Banking System

7. RBI has asked the banks to provide borrowers the option to switch from floating to fixed interest rate.

  • RBI said the banks and other lenders shall implement personal loan instructions by 31 December 2023.
  • They will have to implement personal loan instructions for both existing as well as new loans by December 31, 2023.
  • Personal loans will have both categories of fixed and floating interest rates.
  • The borrowers should be provided with an option to switch over to a fixed rate according to the board-approved policy of regulated entities.
  • The number of times a borrower will be allowed to switch during the tenure of the loan should be specified in the policy.
  • As per RBI, personal loans are loans given to individuals. They consist of the following.
    • Consumer credit
    • Education loan
    • Loans given for the creation/ enhancement of immovable assets (e.g., housing, etc.)
    • Loans given for investment in financial assets (shares, debentures, etc.)

Topic: International News

8. Tharman Shanmugaratnam has qualified for Singapore’s presidential election.

  • Tharman Shanmugaratnam is a Singapore-born Indian-origin person.
  • Along with two Chinese-origin former executives of government-linked companies, Tharman Shanmugaratnam has qualified to run for Singapore’s presidential election on 1st September.
  • The Presidential Elections Committee received a total of six applications.
  • Incumbent President Halimah Yacob's term will end on the 13th of September.
  • Singapore is an island country in maritime Southeast Asia. It is a city-state in maritime Southeast Asia. Lee Hsien Loong is its Prime Minister.  

Tharman Shanmugaratnam

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Government Schemes and Initiatives

9. RBI launched the UDGAM portal to track unclaimed deposits.

  • For tracking unclaimed deposits across multiple banks in one place, the UDGAM portal has been launched by RBI.
  • RBI launched UDGAM (Unclaimed Deposits – Gateway to Access information) as part of its statement on Development and Regulatory Policies.
  • RBI is encouraging people to identify and approach their respective banks to claim unclaimed deposits.
  • RBI is running public awareness campaigns from time to time to spread awareness among people about the number of unclaimed deposits.
  • The UDGAM portal has been developed by Reserve Bank Information Technology Pvt Ltd (ReBIT), Indian Financial Technology & Allied Services (IFTAS) and participating banks.
  • This portal will help users either claim the deposit amount or make their deposit accounts operative at their respective banks.
  • Currently, users could access the details of their unclaimed deposits from seven banks.
  • These banks are Central Bank of India, DBS Bank India Limited, Dhanlaxmi Bank Limited, Punjab National Bank, South Indian Bank Limited and State Bank of India.

Topic: Important Days

10. World Photography Day: 19 August

  • World Photography Day is celebrated every year on August 19.
  • This year's World Photography Day theme is “Landscapes”.
  • The Word ‘Photography’ was first coined by Sir John Herchel in 1939.
  • In 1861, Thomas Sutton had taken the first durable colour photograph. The first digital photograph was taken in 1957.
  • This day is observed to commemorate the invention of the daguerreotype, a photographic process developed by Louis Daguerre in 1837.
  • This day is dedicated to the art and science of photography.

Topic: National News

11. India's first 3D printed post office building inaugurated in Bengaluru.

  • On 18 August, India's first 3D-printed post office building inaugurated by Union Minister Ashwini Vaishnav in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • L&T Construction completed the post office structure at Cambridge Layout, Halasuru using 3D concrete printing technology.
  • Using this innovative technology, L&T Construction designed and constructed the 1,000 sq ft Halasuru Post Office within a limited time frame of 45 days.
  • Technology approval to Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T) for 3D concrete printing of structures was given by Building Materials and Technology Promotion Council along with IIT-Madras.
  • 3-D printed buildings are less expensive and also reduce the wastage of building materials. It is environmentally friendly.
  • This building accelerates the pace of construction with unique design possibilities.
  • Nearly two years ago, Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated India's first 3D-printed house, built by Tvista Manufacturing Solutions, at the IIT Madras campus.
  • In December 2022, the Indian Army also inaugurated its first two-storey 3D-printed housing unit for soldiers in Ahmedabad Cantt.

India's first 3D printed post office building

(Source: News on AIR)

Topic: Art and Culture

12. The butter Festival has been concluded at Dayara Bugyal.

  • On 17 August, Anduri Utsav, popularly known as Butter Festival, celebrated in Dayara Bugyal of Uttarkashi district, concluded with pomp.
  • The festival concluded with the villagers playing 'Holi' by applying each other with milk and butter instead of Gulal.
  • In the local Uttarakhandi dialect, Bugyal means meadow or pasture.
  • Dayara Bugyal, situated at an altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level, is one of the ancient grasslands of the state.
  • Earlier this festival was celebrated by throwing cow dung on each other.
  • Now milk, butter, and buttermilk are used instead of cow dung.

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

13. Union Minister Dr Mansukh Mandaviya inaugurated India MedTech Expo 2023.

  • India’s first medical technology expo, ‘India MedTech Expo 2023, has been launched in Gandhinagar, Gujarat on 17 August. It will conclude on 19 August.
  • This event has been organised on the sidelines of the G20 Health Ministers’ Meeting. 
  • “MedTech Expo 2023” is inspired by PM Modi’s vision of making India Aatmanirbhar.
  • It is a unique platform to showcase the strength and potential of the Indian Medical Devices ecosystem.
  • Dr Mandaviya said that India has been recognised as the “Pharmacy of the World”.
  • Gujarat is in the top position in terms of the pharmaceutical industry with a 33% share in drug manufacturing and a 28% share of drug exports.
  • Under the automatic route, FDI up to 100% is permitted for the manufacturing of medical devices.
  • Technological advancements, miniaturization of devices, incorporation with the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and customised medical devices will influence the changes in the field of Medical Devices.
  • Recently, the Government launched the Export-Promotion Council for Medical Devices.

India MedTech Expo 2023

(Source: DD News)

Topic: National Appointments

14. Kamlesh Varshney and Amarjeet Singh have been appointed as whole-time members of SEBI.

  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the appointment of Kamlesh Varshney and Amarjeet Singh.
  • Varshney is a joint secretary at the revenue department in the Finance Ministry.
  • Amarjeet Singh is an executive director at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI).
  • Both Varshney and Singh have been appointed for three years from the date of assumption of charge or until further orders, whichever is earlier.
  • The vacancies have been created due to the retirement of S K Mohanty and Ananta Barua.
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