23 July 2021 Current Affairs English

  1. Cabinet approves setting up central university in Ladakh .

  • THE UNION Cabinet approved the establishment of a central university in Ladakh at a cost of Rs 750 crore.


  • The new institution, will correct regional imbalances and improve the quality of higher education in the Union Territory since both Jammu and Kashmir have one central university each. The jurisdiction of this university will cover the regions of Leh and Kargil.
  • The Education Ministry is expected to bring two amendments to the Central Universities Act, 2009 for this purpose.
  • The government has identified 110 acres of land near village Khaltsi, which is located between Leh and Kargil. “The university’s location has been decided in such a way that both Leh and Kargil can benefit from this institution,” said the ministry official, adding that the university’s name will be decided soon.
  • The Cabinet on Thursday also approved an integrated multi-purpose corporation in Ladakh. “This corporation will look after development of industries, tourism, transport services in Ladakh and marketing of local products and handicraft. It will also aid infrastructure development and will function as the primary infrastructure construction agency in Ladakh,”


  • The corporation will be formed under the Companies Act with an authorised share capital of Rs 25 crore.



  1. National Gallery of Modern Art to be renovated to mark 75th Independence Day .

  • Union Culture Minister said the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) here would be renovated and reorganised as a part of the commemoration of the 75th Independence Day next year.

Key point

  • The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery which aims to acquire and preserve works of modern art from 1850s onward.


  • It is run and administered as a subordinate office to the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.


  • Its collection includes works by artists such as Thomas Daniell, Raja Ravi Verma, Abanindranath Tagore, Rabindranath Tagore, Gaganendranath Tagore, Nandalal Bose, Jamini Roy, Amrita Sher-Gil as well as foreign artists.


  • The main museum in New Delhi was established in 1954 by the Government of India, with subsequent branches at Mumbai and Bangalore.



  1. India among WTO’s 5 member nations to account for 75pct of entire global output of COVID-19 vaccines.

  • World Trade Organisation Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala has said that five member states of WTO alone will account for three-quarters of the entire global output of COVID-19 vaccines this year.

Key point

  • She said, production remains highly centralised as about 75 per cent of this year’s vaccines appear set to come from five WTO members – India, Germany, US, France and China.
  • Okonjo-Iweala said discriminatory access to vaccines is a root cause of the unequal recovery of the global economy, in which developed economies are rebounding quickly while the rest are lagging behind.



  • the lack of full transparency in vaccine supply deals is another reason for concern.


  • WTO DG said, 1.1 billion COVID vaccine doses were administered worldwide in June this year.



  1. Kerala removes upper age limit for transgenders seeking admission in State universities .

  • The Kerala government has removed the upper age limit for transgender students seeking admission to various courses in the State universities and its affiliated arts and science colleges.

Key point

  • The decision to relax the upper age limit is expected to encourage transgenders in the State to pursue various undergraduate and postgraduate courses.
  • The government had sanctioned two seats exclusively for transpersons in all courses run by universities and affiliated arts and science colleges in the State in 2018 aimed at empowering the transgender community.


  • Subsequently, the State universities were directed to adopt a transgender policy to address the academic and other issues faced by the transgender students. However, the upper age limit in the universities for admission to the various courses had acted as a deterrent for admitting more transgender students.


  • Kerala was the first State in the country to announce a transgender policy in 2015. A survey by the Department of Social Justice had found that the transgender students have to discontinue their studies often due to societal issues.


  • The State Transgender Justice Board had pointed out that it was tough for the transgender students to secure admission in universities and colleges, especially after their gender identity becomes public knowledge.



  1. Mangar Bani forest (Faridabad)

  • Archaeologists in Haryana have estimated that a prehistoric site Faridabad’s Mangar Bani hill forest, from where cave paintings were discovered recently, may be up to a lakh years old.

Key point

  • On the basis of tool topology, it can be said that the date of prehistoric habitation at the site may be from about 1,00,000 to about 15,000 years ago. But we have also found evidence of later habitation, even up to 8th-9th century AD,


  • it may be one of the biggest Palaeolithic sites in the Indian subcontinent, where stone age tools were recovered from different open air sites as well as from rock shelters.



  • The area is not a protected site and it has not been properly documented or explored so far. However, Haryana Principal Secretary Ashok Khemka said: “We will give state protection to Mangar Bani forests under the Ancient and Historical Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1964, because of the presence of a large number of stone age site with cave paintings and tools of the Palaeolithic age that have been found there.


  1. Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme .

  • Minister of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Narayan Rane has said that the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme has been launched for emergency credit line of up to 4.5 lakh crore rupees to MSMEs and the same is backed by 10 per cent Central Government guarantee..



  • In a written reply in Lok Sabha, Mr. Rane said that 73 lakh crore rupees have been sanctioned under this scheme


  • He said that 06 lakh MSME loan accounts with an aggregate amount of 55 thousand 333 crore rupees have been restructured by Public Sector Banks.



  • The Minister said that the government has taken several measures to MSMEs which are affected by COVID-19. These include the extension of validity of Udyog Aadhar Memorandum and inclusion of retail and wholesale trades. He said that RBI has also taken several measures for helping MSMEs to facilitate restructuring of loan accounts having aggregate exposure up to 25 crore rupees.



  • Indian Navy participated in a two-day bilateral Passage Exercise (PASSEX) with Royal Navy Carrier Strike Group (CSG)-21 led by HMS Queen Elizabeth in the Bay of Bengal from 21 to 22 Jul 21.


  • The bilateral Maritime Exercise was designed to hone the ability of the two navies to operate together in the maritime domain.


  • The maiden exercise between Indian Navy and the Royal Navy’s latest Aircraft Carrier, HMS Queen Elizabeth included participation of CSG-21 comprising Type 23 Frigates and an Astute-class submarine in addition to the other surface combatants.


  • Indian Navy was represented by IN Ships Satpura, Ranvir, Jyoti,Kavaratti, Kulish and a submarine. Anti-Submarine Warfare capable Long Range Maritime Reconnaissance Aircraft P8I also participated in the exercise.


  • With the presence of the CSG-21 in the Indian Ocean, the ongoing exercise has afforded excellent opportunity to engage over the entire spectrum of maritime operations including ASW, Anti-Air and Anti-Surface warfare. The exercise also witnessed the maiden participation of the F 35 B Lightning which operate from the deck of HMS Queen Elizabeth.


  • RegularIN-RN interactions over the years have augmented their professional content, interoperability and adaptability in the ever-changing security scenarios. The inter-operability achieved over the years has ensured a quantum jump in the complexity and scale of professional exchanges which is being further enhanced by the presence of the Royal Navy’s Carrier Strike Group in the Indian Ocean.



  1. Central govt issues order to implement DA, DR benefit for employees, pensioners from 1st july.

  • The decision has come as big relief to around 1.12 crore central government employees and pensioners, whose DA and DR benefit was frozen from 1st January 2020 to 30 June 2021


  • The Ministry of Finance has issued order to implement cabinet decision to implement the revised Dearness Allowance (DA) and Dearness Relief (DR) benefit for the central government employees and pensioners respectively from 1st July 2021.


  • The decision has come as big relief to around 1.12 crore central government employees and pensioners, whose DA and DR benefit was frozen from 1st January 2020 to 30 June 2021.


  • The Department of Expenditure at the Ministry of Finance issued an Office Memorandum (OM) in this regard on Tuesday i.e. 20th July 2021. The OM said that the DA hike announced for 1st January 2020 (4%), 1st July 2020 (3%) and 1st January 2021 (4%) will be subsumed in the revised DA. So, the new DA rate applicable from 1st July 2021 to central government employees will be 28 per cent of their monthly basic salary — leading to rise of 11 per cent from their current DA rate of 17 per cent.
  • However, the Finance Ministry’s order made it clear that DA for the period of 1st January 2020 to 30th June 2021 will remain 17 per cent that means no DA and DR arrears will be given to the central government employees and pensioners.
  • These orders shall also apply to the civilian employees paid from the Defence Services Estimates. But, for Armed Forces personnel and Railway employees, a separate order will be issued by the Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Railways.
  • In April 2020, the Ministry of Finance had put DA hike on hold till 30th June 2021, due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The rate of DA from 1st January 2020 to 30th June 2021 was 17 per cent.


  1. Union Cabinet approves PLI Scheme for Specialty Steel with incentives of Rs 6,322 crore.

  • Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, approved the Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for specialty steel.

The duration of the scheme will be five  years,   from 2023-24 to 2027-28.


  • With a budgetary outlay of 6322 crores, the scheme is expected to bring in investment of approximately RS.40,000 crores and capacity addition of 25 MT for speciality steel.


  • The scheme will give employment to about 5,25,000 people of which 68,000 will be direct employment.


The five categories of specialty steel which have been chosen in the PLI Scheme are:

  • Coated/Plated Steel Products
  • High Strength/Wear resistant Steel
  • Specialty Rails
  • Alloy Steel Products and Steel wires
  • Electrical Steel
  • There are 3 slabs of PLI incentives, the lowest being 4 % and highest being 12% which has been provided for electrical steel (CRGO). Speciality steel has been chosen as the target segment because out of the production of 102 million tonnes steel in India in 2020-21, only18 million tonnes value added steel/speciality steel was produced in the country.


  1. National Farmers Welfare Program Implementation Committee.

  • Union Agriculture and Farmers Welfare Minister Shri Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurated the office of National Farmers Welfare Program Implementation Committee.


  • Speaking on the occasion, Shri Tomar said that the National Farmers Welfare Program Implementation Committee would act as a project monitoring unit for the implementation of PM-Kisan Yojana, Kisan Maandhan Yojana, Agriculture Infrastructure Fund and other schemes of the Department of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
  • the Central Government has implemented the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-Kisan) scheme to make farmers self-reliant and to provide direct income support for agricultural expenditure. Under this scheme, an amount of Rs 1.37 lakh crore has been transferred to the accounts of more than 11 crore farmer families so far.
  • the Central Government along with the experts, IT companies of the country is working with new technology to make the farmers self-reliant. Various technological solutions are being developed through Aadhar integration with UIDAI, launch of mobile app and integration with CSCs, KCC, integration with land records database maintained by States/UTs.


  1. Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP)

  • Government is implementing Bhartiya Prakritik Krishi Padhati (BPKP) as a sub scheme of Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana (PKVY) since 2020-21 for the promotion of traditional indigenous practices.


  • The scheme mainly emphasizes on exclusion of all synthetic chemical inputs and promotes on-farm biomass recycling with major stress on biomass mulching; use of cow dung-urine formulations; plant-based preparations and time to time working of soil for aeration.
  • Under BPKP, financial assistance of Rs 12200/ha for 3 years is provided for cluster formation, capacity building and continuous handholding by trained personnel, certification and residue analysis.


  • As of now, an area of 4.9 lakh ha is covered in 8 states and Rs. 4980.99 lakh has been released. Telangana has not taken up natural farming so far under BPKP programme.






  1. SBI General Insurance appoints PC Kandpal as MD & CEO.

  • A seasoned banker, PC Kandpal, has more than 33 years of experience with SBI.


  • Non-life insurer SBI General Insurance announced the appointment of Prakash Chandra Kandpal as its new managing director and chief executive officer, effective July 20.


  • He has been with SBI General Insurance as the deputy CEO since June 2019,


  • A seasoned banker, Kandpal, has more than 33 years of experience with SBI.


  • He has an experience in both retail and international banking, human resource, technology, and learning and development. He also had a stint in SBI Mutual Fund as the chief operating officer.








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