Daily Current Affairs - 20-08-2021

Diksha Shinde, who is a 14-year-old girl in Aurangabad, was selected as a panellist on Minority Serving Institution (MSI) Fellowships Virtual Panel of American Space Agency, NASA.



Initially, she suffered two major setbacks. She had submitted an essay on the title ‘Questioning the existence of God’ in September 2020. But this essay was rejected. She submitted the same research paper in October again which NASA rejected again. Her paper was accepted in third attempt.

What will be her job?

Her job include:

  1. Reviewing proposals submitted by researchers and
  2. Describing a collaborative approach to research with NASA and
  3. Understanding connection between proposed research area student’s academic discipline pursuit.

Minority Serving Institute (MSI)

MSI is a descriptive term used for universities and colleges that enroll significant percentage of students coming from minority groups in the higher education system of United States.

National legislature of China formally endorsed the three-child policy that was mooted by ruling Communist Party.

Key points


In May 2021, ruling Communist Party of China (CPC) approved a relaxation of strict two-child policy and allowed all couples to have up to three children.

Two Child Policy

China had permitted all couples to have up to two children in 2016 by scrapping the decades-old one-child policy. This policy is considered as a demographic crisis by policymakers in China. One-child policy was in force for over three decades which has prevented more than 400 million births.

Why third child policy was approved?

This decision was taken following the census data that showed that population in China grew at the slowest pace to 1.412 billion. According to new census figures, demographic crisis was expected to deepen because population of people above 60 years increased by 18.7% to 264 million.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi virtually inaugurated and laid foundation stone of multiple projects in Somnath on August 20.


Shiv Parvati Temple

About Somnath temple

Somnath temple is situated in Veraval (Somnath City), Saurashtra on the western coast of Gujarat. This temple is believed to be the first of twelve Jyotirlinga shrines of Shiva. The temple is an important pilgrimage and tourist spot of Gujarat. It has been reconstructed multiple times in the past following repeated destruction by Muslim invaders and rulers. Temple in its present form was reconstructed in Chaulukya style of Hindu temple architecture. Its construction was completed in May 1951. Its construction was started on the orders of Home Minister of India Vallabhbhai Patel. Current chairman of Somnath Mandir trust is Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

About Veraval

Name of the Veraval city was changed to Somnath city on March 30, 2021. It is a municipality and headquarters of Gir Somnath district in Gujarat. This city is the hub of fishing industries in India.

Sanskrit Week is being celebrated from August 19 to August 25, 2021.

Key Points

World Sanskrit Day

This day is also known as Vishva-samskrita-dinam. It is an annual event that focuses around the ancient Indian language of Sanskrit. Event incorporates lectures about the language. The day is celebrated with the aim of promoting its revival and maintenance. Every year, the day is celebrated on Shraavana Poornima, the full moon day of the Shraavana month in Hindu calendar. In the year 2021, the day will be marked on August 22. Sanskrit organisation Samskrita Bharati has been tasked with promoting the day.

Shravani Purnima

Shravani Purnima, also called as Raksha Bandhan, is the festival of remembrance and worship of sages as well as worship for their dedication. On the day, a sacred thread is worn before the study of Vedas in Gurukulas, Yajnopavita. The ceremony of wearing sacred thread is called as Upanayana or Upakarma Sanskar. On the occasion, Priests also tie raksha-sutras to hosts.


Ministry of Education of Government issued notifications to celebrate Sanskrit Day in 1969. Since then, the day is celebrated across India.

Sanskrit week

Week in which Sanskrit Day falls, is celebrated as Sanskrit week. As Sanskrit is the official language in Uttarakhand, different programs and competitions are organised in Sanskrit language every day in the Sanskrit week.

BRICS Nations- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa- signed a deal for cooperation in remote sensing satellite data sharing.

Key Points


BRICS nations are the major emerging economies who are known for their significant influence on regional affairs. Government of BRICS have been meeting annually since 2009 at formal summits. 12th BRICS summit was the latest edition which was hosted by Russia on November 17, 2020 virtually amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

History of BRICS

Originally, there were a grouping of BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China). South Africa was added to the grouping in 2010 to change the acronym to BRICS.

Share of BRICS

BRICS nations have a combined area of 39,746,220 km2 with an estimated t population of around 3.21 billion.  Area accounts for 26.656% of the world land surface while population accounts for 41.53% of the world population. Four members out of five are among world’s ten largest countries by population as well as by area. Only South Africa is at 24th position with respect to both.

Bilateral relations among BRICS nations

Bilateral relation between BRICS nations is conducted on the basis of non-interference, equality, and mutual benefit. Existence of the BRICS group does not signify any formal or informal alliance as there are several economic, territorial, and political disputes among the five members.

The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed an advanced chaff technology with the objective of safeguarding Indian Air Force Fighter Jets from enemy missiles.

Key Points

Who developed this technology?

Advanced chaff material and chaff cartridge – 118/I was developed by two DRDO laboratories namely Defence Laboratory of Jodhpur and High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) of Pune. It complies with the qualitative requirements of the IAF.

Significance of the technology

Significance of the advanced chaff technology lies in the fact that, very less quantity of chaff material is deployed in the air which acts as decoy to deflect enemy’s missiles and ensuring safety of the fighter aircraft.

What is Chaff?

Chaff is an electronic counter-measure technology which is used by militaries across the world to protect high-value targets like fighter jets or naval ships from radars as well as radio frequency (RF) guiding mechanisms of the enemy missiles. Chaff is deployed in air reflect as multiple targets for missile guidance systems. Thus, it mislead the enemy radars or deflect adversary missiles.

Arogya Dhara 2.0 was launched by Health Minister Mansukh Mandaviya on August 18, 2021 in order to increase the reach of Ayushman Bharat – Jan Arogya Yojana.

Key facts

Adhikar Patra

Adhikar Patra will be issued to the beneficiaries when they will be hospitalised for treatment under the PM-JAY scheme. This patra will make beneficiaries aware of their rights in a way that they can claim free and cashless health care services.

Abhinandan Patra

It is a ‘thank you note’ and will be issued to the beneficiaries when beneficiaries will be discharged after their treatment under PM-JAY.

Ayushman Mitra

It is an initiative launched to encourage citizens to participate in motivating eligible beneficiaries to get verified under PM-JAY scheme. It also seeks to help beneficiaries to get the Ayushman Cards issued.


Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB PM-JAY) recently (18th August) achieved a milestone of 2 Crore hospital admissions. To mark this milestone, National Health Authority conducted this virtual experience sharing session called Arogya Dhara 2.0.

Objective of the event

This virtual event was organised with the objective of spreading words regarding landmark achievement and to acknowledge the dedication and efforts of healthcare workers and others who contributed towards achieving the milestone.

Defence Minister of India, Rajnath Singh, launched the 5th edition of the Defence India Start-up Challenge (DISC) on August 19, 2021.

Key Points

Thirty-five problem statements

Under the DISC, 35 problem statements were launched comprising of 13 from Services and 22 Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs). 35 statements were launched from Armed Forces and OFB or DPSUs for the resolution by startups & innovators. These statements are areas like situational awareness, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, non-lethal devices, aircraft-trainer, 5G network, Drone SWARMS, underwater domain awareness, and data capturing.


iDEX4fauji initiative is a similar initiative like DISC. It provided opportunity to Service personnel to showcase their talents in technological areas. iDEX initiative was launched in 2018, by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.


In the earlier editions of DISC, more than 80 start-ups, Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) and individual innovators joined as winners across 40 technological areas.  DISC 5.0 was launched three years after the launch of DISC 1.0.

Atal Innovation Mission (AIM)

AIM is a flagship initiative that seeks to create and promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in India. It was launched with the objective of developing new programmes and policies in order to foster innovation in different sectors of the economy.

On August 19, 2021 India has signed a USD 500 million loans agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) in order to expand metro rail network in Bengaluru.


About expanded metro rail network

The expanded metro rail network project will involve the construct two new metro lines. It will be mostly elevated, along Outer Ring Road and National Highway 44 in between the Central Silk Board and Kempegowda International Airport comprising of 30 stations. This project will help in decongesting the traffic in city area and provide seamless connectivity on airports. Needs of vulnerable groups like elderly, women, children and differently-abled persons.

Significance of the project

This project supports the urban transformation of Bengaluru city to make it more livable and sustainable city by supporting urban development with concepts of transit-oriented development (TOD), urban public transport and multi-modal integration (MMI).

TOD-Based Model

According to ADB, TOD-based urban development model will be targeting towards realigning growth and increasing economic productivity of the city by creating higher density, mixed-use, mixed-income, compact, safe & resource-efficient, and inclusive neighborhoods. It also aims to raise land values along the corridors and to generate capital revenues for state government in order to meet long-term investment needs of city.

Chairman of 15th Finance Commission, NK Singh, has been elected as the new president of Institute of Economic Growth (IEG) Society.

Key Facts

About Institute of Economic Growth

It is an autonomous, multidisciplinary centre that is used for advanced research and training. It was founded by VKRV Rao in 1952, but became operational in 1958. It is located at University Enclave of University of Delhi, New Delhi.

IEG’s research

Research in the Institute of Economic Growth are categorized in nine broad themes—

  1. Agriculture and rural development,
  2. Environment and resource economics
  3. Globalisation and trade
  4. Industry, labour and welfare
  5. Macro-economic policy and modelling
  6. Population and development
  7. Health policy
  8. Social change and
  9. Social structure.

Training Programme by IEG

IEG organises regular training programmes for the trainee officers from Indian Economic Service as well as some occasional courses for officers from Indian Statistical Service, NABARD, and university teachers.

Nand Kishore Singh (N.K. Singh)

He is an economist, Indian politician, and former Indian Administrative Service officer. Since 2014, He is a senior member of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He also served as Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha during 2008-2014 from Bihar for Janata Dal (United).  He has been a member of Planning Commission. He was appointed as chairman of the 15th Finance Commission in 2017.

Central government announced an incentive for sugar mills on August 19, 2021.

Key Points

Why India was offering export subsidies?

India is the world’s second-largest sugar-producing country. It had to offer export subsidies in past two years, in order to reduce surplus stocks. It was meant to help cash-starved sugar mills in clearing cane payment to growers.

Significance of the move

According to food ministry, Sugar mills that will export sugar and divert sugar to ethanol will also be provided with incentive in the form of additional monthly domestic quota in order to sale in the domestic market. Export of sugar and diversion to ethanol will also help in improving liquidity of mills and enable the sugar mills to make timely payment of cane dues of farmers. It will help in stabilising ex-mill price of sugar in domestic market.

How quota is fixed for sale of sugar?

Currently, government fixes monthly quota for sale of sugar in domestic market. Around 21 lakh tonne quota is fixed, on an average, for monthly sale in the mills.

Global Sugar Prices

Global sugar prices have increased in past one month. As a result, there is a huge demand for Indian raw sugar. Thus, government has asked domestic sugar mills to plan production of raw sugar in order to export them in new season. Ministry also urged mills to sign “forward contracts” with the importers in order to take advantage of high international prices of sugar and global deficit.

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman is set to launch an ambitious ‘Ubharte Sitaare Fund’ on August 21, 2021. It will be launched for export-oriented firms and startups.

Key Points


Finance minister, in her Budget speech in 2020, had mentioned that MSMEs are important to keep the wheels of economy moving. MSMEs also create jobs, innovate and they act as risk takers. In the line, India Exim Bank’s Ubharte Sitaare Programme (USP) will identify Indian companies that have the capability to be future champions in domestic arena while meeting the global demands.

About Ubharte Sitaare

World Humanitarian Day was observed on August 19, 2021. Theme of the day for year 2021 is “The Human Race”.

Key points

About World Humanitarian Day

It is an international day which is observed to recognize humanitarian personnel and those who lost their lives while working for humanitarian causes. United Nations General Assembly designated this day as part of a Swedish-sponsored GA Resolution A/63/L.49 that seeks to Strengthen the Coordination of Emergency Assistance of the United Nations. Every year, the day is observed on August 19. August 19 is the day on which Special Representative of the Secretary-General to Iraq, Sergio Vieira de Mello and his 21 colleagues were killed in a bombing event at UN Headquarters in Baghdad.

Significance of the day

The day is observed to honour all those who chose a difficult life to serve, despite the odds and those who are trapped in challenging circumstances worldwide. It pays tribute to humanitarian workers who were killed and injured. On the day, all aid and health workers are honoured who continue to provide life-saving support and protection to needy people.