Daily Current Affairs and GK | 19 December 2020

Topic: Art and Culture

1. UNESCO recognized “hawker culture” of Singapore.

  • UNESCO has added the “Hawker Culture” of Singapore in the representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • Hawker culture of Singapore is famous for the street dining and culinary practices.
  • “Hawker” centers across Singapore were started in the 1970s to provide space to street vendors.
  • These centers have been added to the list for their cultural significance. The hawker centres served as ‘community dining rooms’, where people of different classes and cultures share their experiences.
  • French cuisine has also been added to the representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity.
  • 13 cultural intangible heritage of India are in this list.
  • UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List:
    • The list was established in 2008 after the convention of Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage.
    • The main aim of the list is to protect the intangible cultural heritage around the world and to bring awareness about them.
 

Topic: Awards and Prizes

2. Vidyut Mohan, one of the winners of Young Champions of the Earth prize of 2020.

  • An Indian entrepreneur, Vidyut Mohan, is one of the winners of the “Young Champions of the Earth” prize of 2020.
  • “Young Champions of the Earth” prize is given by the United Nations Environment Programme for solving the environmental challenges of the world.
  • Vidyut Mohan has been awarded this award for preventing farmers from the open burning of farm waste. He has started a social enterprise, “Takachar”, which buys farm residue from the farmers and converts them into charcoal.
  • “Takachar” has not only prevented the open burning of farm residue but has also increased the income of farmers by 40%.
  • The other winners of this prize are Nzambi Matee from Kenya, Xiaoyuan Ren from China, Lefteris Arapakis from Greece, Max Hidalgo Quinto from Peru, Niria Alicia Garcia from the US, and Fatemah Alzelzela from Kuwait.
  • The Young Champions of the Earth prize:
    • It is awarded every year to seven entrepreneurs under 30 years of age for innovative ideas related to sustainable environmental change.
    • The winners are awarded the prize money of $10,000 and will support scale up their ideas.
  • United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP):
    • It is an authority that sets the global environmental agenda and helps developing countries implement environment-related policies.
    • Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya

united nations environment programme

(Source: UNEP)

Topic: Personality in News

3. Music maestro Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan passed away.

  • Indian classical music maestro Ustad Iqbal Ahmed Khan has died at the age of 66.
  • He was an Indian classical vocalist from Delhi Gharana. He is also known as the Khalifa of Dilli Gharana.
  • He was the founder of an initiative, 'Dilli Durbar’, for the renaissance of classical music.
  • He had received many awards and titles like the “Gaayan Acharya”, “Sangeet Rattan”, “Sangeet Saurabh”, Mirza Ghalib Award, Ameer Khusro Samman and Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for Hindustani Music. 
  • He had promoted the musical works of Amir Khusro.

ustad iqbal ahmed khan

(Source: Hindustan Times)

Topic: Awards and Prizes

4. Global Sustainability Award 2020 won by Kerala-based ESAF SFB.

  • Global Sustainability Award 2020 has been won by Kerala-based ESAF (Evangelical Social Action Forum) SFB (Small Finance Bank).
  • Global Sustainability Awards are provided by the Energy and Environment Foundation, a not-for-profit and independent non-governmental organization (NGO).
  • ESAF SFB (Small Finance Bank) was chosen for Global Sustainability Award 2020 for its efforts and steps towards positively impacting the environment.
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL) has won Global Sustainability Award 2020 in Platinum Category.
  • Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd (BPCL) is a Maharatna oil refining and marketing company. Its headquarters are located in Mumbai.
  • Currently, it is owned by the Government of India (52.98%). The government wants to privatize BPCL and has invited bids for selling its 52.98% stake in March 2020.
  • ESAF SFB is a Kerala based Small Finance Bank (SFB). SFBs offer basic banking services (deposits and lending) only with the aim of financial inclusion. They are governed by RBI only and need a minimum paid-up equity capital of Rs. 100 crore.

Topic: Infrastructure and Energy

5. First CoE for Skill Development in Power Sector at National Institute of Solar Energy established.

  • First Centre of Excellence (CoE) for Skill Development in Power Sector at National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, has been established by Skill India.
  • The CoE at NISE, Gurugram has been established in partnership with French Government.
  • More specifically, Ministry of National Education and Youth, Government of the French Republic, Schneider Electric and Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship have started the CoE.
  • It is an effort to create a pool of trainers and assessors that will be highly skilled and will further train candidates to increase their employability in electricity, automation and solar energy sectors.
  • Skill India refers to the National Skills Development Mission. It was launched in 2015.
  • National Institute of Solar Energy (NISE), Gurugram, is an autonomous centre of excellence of the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy. It was formed in 2013.
  • Government is also having the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) in Chennai. It was established in 1998.

Topic: Important Days

6. Goa Liberation Day: 19 December

  • Goa Liberation Day is celebrated every year on 19 December to celebrate Goa’s freedom from Portuguese rule.
  • Goa was part of Portuguese colonies since 1510. It was liberated by the Indian Army in 1961.
  • Indian military had started ‘Operation Vijay’ on 18 December 1961 to liberate Goa from the Portuguese rule. After 36 hours of operation, Indian troops reclaimed the Goa territory on 19 December.
  • Portuguese governor, Manuel Antonio Vassalo e Silva, signed the certificate of surrender, which ended Portuguese rule in Goa.
  • Goa was granted statehood on 30 May 1987.
  • Goa:
    • It is located in the south-western part of India.
    • It shares a boundary with Maharashtra and Karnataka.
    • It is the smallest state of India in terms of area and fourth-smallest by population.
    • Panaji is the capital of Goa.
    • Pramod Sawant is the Chief Minister and Bhagat Singh Koshyari is the Governor of Goa.

Goa Liberation Day

Topic: Summits/ Conferences/ Meetings

7. Prime Ministers of India and Vietnam will hold a virtual meeting on 21 December.

  • The Prime Ministers of India and Vietnam will a virtual meeting on 21 December.
  • Both leaders will discuss bilateral and global issues. They will also discuss the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
  • Earlier, the Vice President of Vietnam had come to India and both countries had conducted a joint commission meeting at the Foreign Ministers level.
  • Vietnam:
    • It is a South-East Asian country.
    • It shares a boundary with China, Laos and Cambodia.
    • It is known for its beaches, rivers and Buddhist pagodas.
    • Its capital is Hanoi and the currency is Vietnamese dong.
    • Nguyen Xuan Phuc is the Prime Minister and Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh is the Vice President of Vietnam.

India and Vietnam Virtual Meet

Topic: MoUs/Agreements

8. Ministry of Food Processing Industries signed MoUs and a Joint communique.

  • The Ministry of Food Processing Industries has signed MoUs with TRIFED, ICAR, National Scheduled Castes Finance and Development Corporation, NAFED and National Cooperative Development Corporation. It has also signed a Joint Communique with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs.
  • It has signed these MoUs and Communique for the implementation of PM Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises Scheme (PM FME Scheme).
  • The main objective of these MoUs is to support the micro food processing industries and train people to develop the food processing Industry.
  • An agreement has also been signed between MoFPI and Union Bank for transferring of subsidy. 
  • Objective of different MoUs are:
    • The MoU with TRIFED will help in the promotion of tribal food products under ‘TRIFOOD’.
    • The MoU with ICAR will help organizations in the field of food processing technology and packaging of food products.
    • The MoU with NSFDC will support SC entrepreneurs, Self Help Groups, and other food processing sectors.
    • MoU with NAFED will promote the products of ‘NAFED FOOD’.
    • MoU with NCDC will help prepare project reports of members of cooperative societies in the food processing sector.
  • The joint communique with the Ministry of Tribal Affairs will help in the identification of Tribal enterprises in the field of food processing.
  • PM Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (PM FME) Scheme:
    • It was launched on 29 June 2020.
    • It is a flagship scheme of the Ministry of Food Processing Industries for providing financial, technical and business support to micro food processing units in the country.
    • It will also help in the up-gradation of technology, skill development, and branding of food products.

Topic: National News

9. Indian Railways issued the draft of National Rail Plan.

  • Indian Railways has issued the draft National Rail Plan to enhance its infrastructural capacity and improve freight traffic share.
  • It has been developed for the infrastructural, business, and financial planning of railways. 
  • Under the National Rail Plan, Vision 2024 has been launched to complete the critical projects by 2024. It includes 100% electrification, Upgradation of Delhi-Howrah and Delhi-Mumbai routes, and elimination of Level Crossings on certain routes.
  • The final draft of the National railway plan will be released by January 2021.
  • Indian Railways aims to become a revenue surplus organization after 2030. 
  • Objectives of the National Rail Plan:
    • To increase its capacity by 2030.
    • To increase the modal share of Railways in freight by 45% from 27% by 2030.  
    • To become Net Zero Carbon emitter by 2030.
    • To reduce travel time by increasing the speed of trains.
    • To reduce the transportation cost of railways by 30%.
    • To eliminate waiting lists in passenger trains.

Draft of National Rail plan

(Source: Draft National Rail Plan)

Topic: Environment and Ecology

10. IUCN analyzed that Indian sharks, rays and chimaeras face high risk of extinction.

  • IUCN has revealed that about 11% of the species of sharks, rays and chimaeras face a high risk of extinction in the Indian Exclusive Economic Zone. 
  • Out of 170 species in Indian EEZ, 19 of them are classified as critically endangered, 30 as Endangered, 38 as Vulnerable and 27 as Near Threatened.
  • The percentage of critically endangered has increased from 3% to 11%.
  • In the recent update of the IUCN red list, Indian swellshark Cephaloscyllium silasi has been added to the critically endangered category. It is found in the region of Sri Lanka, Kerala and Andaman & Nicobar Islands.
  • The Smooth hammerhead shark is added to the list of the critically endangered due to its population decline.
  • The findings of this assessment are crucial for the formulation of the conservation policy.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature:
    • It is a global organization in the field of conservation of the world’s flora and fauna.
    • It releases an IUCN red list to provide information regarding the extinction risk of plants and animals.
    • It classifies species into different categories based on their status of extinction. These categories are: 
      • Extinct
      • Extinct in the wild 
      • Critically endangered 
      • Endangered 
      • Vulnerable
      • Near threatened 
      • Least concern 
 

 

 

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