Daily Current Affairs and MCQs for UPSC - August 20, 2020 (The Hindu, Economic Times, PIB)

Ganesh Vilas Lengare awarded Star 2020 Certificate by World Book of Records, London

Focus: GS1.

Topic: Social empowerment.


  • Solapur based social activist Ganesh Vilas Lengare has been awarded the Star 2020 Certificate by the World Book of Records, London.
  • The organisation, found in 2017, honours personalities for their outstanding contribution towards humanity and universal peace.


  • Recognizing his efforts to help the needy during the coronavirus induced lockdown, Ganesh Lengare has been awarded the Star 2020 e-citation certificate.
  • Out of the 21 schemes that were launched by him to assist the people, the most important was the COVID patient contact tracing, that was implemented with the help of Solapur district authorities.

About the record

  • Understanding the need for spreading awareness regarding maintaining hand hygiene, wearing masks and following social distancing, Mr. Lengare organised various online contests and produced educational videos.
  • Besides providing masks and water bottles to migrant labourers, who were using Solapur-Pune highway to reach their home town in neighbouring states, Mr. Lengare also arranged free distribution of grocery and vegetables for the poor.
  • The social activist thus spread a spirit of hope and positivity during the testing times of COVID-19 pandemic, as is correctly stated in his citation.

Source: AIR News.

Mali's President announces resignation after soldiers mutiny

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India's interests, Indian diaspora.


  • Malian President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita announced his resignation on state television, hours after mutinous soldiers fired shots into the air outside his home before detaining him and the prime minister.
  • The dramatic development comes after several months of regular demonstrations calling for Keita to step down from power three years before his final term was due to end.
  • Speaking on national broadcaster ORTM just before midnight, a distressed Keita wearing a mask amid the COVID-19 pandemic said his resignation was effective immediately.
  • A banner across the bottom of the television screen referred to him as the “outgoing president."
About the Outgoing President
  • Keita, who was democratically elected in 2013 and re-elected five years later, was left with few choices after the mutinous soldiers earlier in the day seized weapons from the armory in the garrison town of Kati and then advanced on the capital of Bamako.
  • There was no immediate comment from the troops, who hailed from the same military barracks in Kati where an earlier coup originated more than eight years ago.
  • The political upheaval unfolded months after disputed legislative elections, but Keita's support also had tumbled amid criticism of his government's handling of an Islamic insurgency that has engulfed the country once praised as a model of democracy in the region.
  • The military has taken a beating over the past year from Islamic State and al-Qaida-linked groups.
  • A wave of particularly deadly attacks in the north in 2019 prompted the government to close its most vulnerable outposts as part of a reorganization aimed at stemming the losses.

Source: LiveMint.

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Reserve Bank of India has unveiled the framework for setting up of pan-India Umbrella Entity for Retail Payments.

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Indian Economy and issues relating to planning, mobilization of resources, growth, development and employment.


As per the framework, the companies with a net worth of over 500 crore rupees will be eligible to set up an umbrella entity which among other things will be permitted to set up, manage and operate new payment systems in the retail space comprising ATMs, White Label PoS, Aadhaar-based payments and remittance services.

About the Framework

  • The entity will be expected to monitor national as well as international developments so as to avoid shocks and frauds that may adversely affect the system and the economy in general.
  • Inviting applications by February 2021, the RBI said that the promoter/promoter group of the umbrella entity shall be owned and controlled by resident Indian citizens.
  • RBI said the application for setting up the umbrella entity should contain a detailed business plan covering the payment systems proposed to be set up and/or operated along with other documents to duly establish its experience in the payments ecosystem.

Source: DD News.

Thalassemia Screening and Counselling Centre at Indian Red Cross

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources, issues relating to poverty and hunger.


  • Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare inaugurated a Thalassemia Screening and Counselling Centre at Indian Red Cross Society’s National Headquarters (IRCS NHQ) Blood Bank.
  • Expressing happiness at the starting of the Centre, Dr. Harsh Vardhan lauded efforts of  Indian Red Cross.
  • Initiatives such as these “will enable us in educating the common people on prevention of this disease”, he added.


  • There are around 270 million Thalassemia patients.
  • India has the largest number of children with Thalassemia major in the world, about 1 to 1.5 lakhs, and about 10,000 -15,000 children having Thalassemia major are born every year.
  • The only cure available for such children is bone marrow transplantation (BMT).
  • However, BMT is difficult and not affordable by the parents of all these children.
  • Therefore, the mainstay of treatment is repeated blood transfusions, followed by regular iron chelation therapy to remove the excessive iron overload, consequent to the multiple blood transfusions.

About the Highlights

  • Haemoglobinopathies, such as Thalassemia and sickle cell disease are inherited disorders of red blood cells and are preventable.
  • These illnesses are chronic, life impairing and in some cases, life threatening and impose a heavy emotional and financial burden on families.
  • In India, Thalassemia Major (TM) and the severe form of Thalassemia Intermedia (TI) constitute the major burden of disease.
  • Both are commonly managed by regular lifelong blood transfusions and regular iron chelation.
  • These Thalassemia syndromes are caused by inheritance of abnormal (beta) Thalassemia genes from both parents or abnormal beta-Thalassemia gene from one parent and abnormal variant haemoglobin gene (HbE, HbD) from the other parent.

Source: PIB.

Env ministry okays setting up of 19 integrated regional offices for better efficiency

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Conservation, environmental pollution and degradation, environmental impact assessment.


  • Bringing a major change in its organisational structure, the Ministry of Environment brought down its regional offices across the country from 29 to 19 for "better efficiency and reduction in administrative delays".
  • The ministry has okayed establishment of 19 Integrated Regional Offices (IROs) which will start functioning from October 1.


  • Director General of Forests Sanjay Kumar told PTI that these IROs will bring the various offices and bodies of the ministry under one roof.
  • The integrated regional offices will bring offices of National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), Central Zoo Authority (CZA), Forest Survey of India (FSI) and Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) under one roof, he said.

About the Highlights

  • According to the reorganisation plan, these 19 IROs will be established through redeployment of human and other resources available with 29 offices including 10 regional offices of MoEFCC, four of FSI, three NTCA regional centres, four regional offices of CZA, and five regional and three sub-regional offices of WCCB in an integrated manner.
  • The 19 IROs will be in Shillong, Ranchi, Bhubaneshwar, Bengaluru, Chennai, Lucknow, Bhopal, Nagpur, Chandigarh, Dehradun, Jaipur, Gandhinagar, Vijaywada, Raipur, Hyderabad, Shimla, Kolkata, Guwahati and Jammu.
  • Each office will have representation from time to time.
  • The move aims at reducing administrative delays, improving communication and for better efficiency and effectiveness.
  • The head of each of the IRO will be called regional officer of MoEF&CC.
  • Each of the 19 IROs shall work as an integrated regional unit of the ministry in achieving the outcomes related to its mandate. 

Source: PIB.

Govt launches ‘Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge’

Focus: GS3.

Topic: Awareness in the fields of IT, Space, Computers, robotics, nano-technology, bio-technology and issues relating to intellectual property rights.


Union electronics and information technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a ‘Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge’, as part of the government’s vision to become a self-reliant country and give impetus to the start-up ecosystem, innovation and research in the country.


  • “Swadeshi Microprocessor Challenge- Innovate Solutions for #Aatmanirbhar Bharat seeks to invite innovators, startups and students to use these microprocessors to develop various technology products…this initiative is aimed at not only meeting India’s future requirements of strategic and industrial sectors but also has the potential to mitigate the issues of security, licensing, technology obsolescence and most crucially cutting dependency on imports," an official statement said.

About the Highlights

  • The government will offer financial support of ₹4.30 crore at various stages of the challenge for developing the hardware prototype and incubating a start-up will be offered.
  • While the registration process begins on 18 August, the challenge will be spread over 10 months.
  • As many 100 semi-finalists will get an opportunity to win a total of ₹1 crore, 25 finalists will win total ₹1 crore, while the top 10 teams entering the finale will get the seed fund of total ₹2.3 crore and one-year incubation support.
  • “Above all, participants will get an opportunity to translate their innovations around swadeshi processors, showcase them at a higher viewership platform and facilitate them to scale from ideation to marketplace, thereby standing a chance to contribute to the overall mission of AtmaNirbharta of the government," the statement said.

Source: AIR News.

Atal Rankings ARIIA 2020 Announced, IIT Madras Best Institute, KIIT Best Private University

Focus: GS2.

Topic: Issues relating to development and management of Social Sector/Services relating to Health, Education, Human Resources.


  • The Vice-President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu, on August 18 announced the Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements, or ARIIA 2020.
  • In Atal Ranking 2020, Indian Institute of Madras, or IIT Madras, again topped the rankings of best centrally funded institutions.
  • In the category of private institutions, Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology, or KIIT, Odisha has emerged as winners.

About the Highlights

  • For the first time, ARIIA 2020 rankings had a special prize category for women-only higher educational institutions.
  • The results of ARIIA rankings 2020 have been evaluated based on seven parameters -- budget and funding support, infrastructure and facilities, awareness, promotions, and support for idea generation and innovation, promotion and support for entrepreneurship development, innovative learning methods and courses, intellectual property generation, technology transfer and commercialization and innovation in the governance of the institution.
  • ARIIA is an initiative by the Ministry of Education (MoE) which is implemented by AICTE and Ministry’s Innovation Cell, Government of India.
  • The objective or ARIIA 2020 is to rank higher education institutions and universities in India as per Innovation, Entrepreneurship, Startup, and Development amongst faculty and students.

Source: NDTV.


Test your Knowledge

  1. Consider the following statements wrt  Dhanwantri Rath:
  1. Dhanwantari Rath – Mobile unit of Ayurveda health care services would consist a team of Doctors who would be visiting Delhi Police colonies regularly.
  2. These Ayurveda Health care services are expected to reduce the incidence/prevalence of various diseases and also reduce the number of referrals to hospitals thereby reducing cost to healthcare system as well as patient.
  3. AYURAKSHA a joint venture of AIIA, an autonomous Institute under Ministry of AYUSH and Delhi Police aims for maintaining the health of frontline COVID warriors like Delhi police personal through Ayurveda immunity boosting measures.

Select the correct answer using the codes given below:

      A. 1 and 2 only
      B. 2 and 3 only
      C. 1 and 3 only
      D. AOTA

Solution: D

  1. World Humanitarian Day is observed on:

      A. August 19
      B. August 18
      C. August 17
      D. August 15

Solution: A


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