Current Affairs - Awards In News

Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award renamed after Major Dhyan Chand

  • After the “exceptional performance” of the men and women hockey teams in the Tokyo Olympics, on 6th August 2021, the Govt. has renamed the Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award, the country’s highest sporting honour, after hockey wizard Major Dhyan Chand.
  • Major Dhyan Chand was among India’s foremost sportspersons who brought honour and pride for India.
  • Dhyan Chand is widely regarded as the greatest player in hockey. In his career that spanned from 1926 to 1949, he clinched Olympic medals in 1928, 1932 and 1936.

National Logistics Excellence Awards Launched

With a view to turn the spotlight on the logistics sector, the Government on 19th July 2021 announced the launch of National Logistics Excellence Awards.

The awards are in two categories:

  • (i)the first group includes logistics infrastructure/service providers, and
  • (ii)second one is for various user industries.

The awards will highlight best practices including consolidation, process standardisation, technological upgrade, digital transformations, and sustainable practices.

Growth and Hindrances to India’s Logistics Sector

While the Indian logistics sector has been growing at a CAGR of 10.5%, reaching approximately USD 215 billion in value in 2020, there are systemic, interconnected problems that must be addressed to enhance its efficiency.

Comprehensive logistics costs amount to almost 14% of India’s GDP. Closing India’s competitiveness gap vis-à-vis the global average of 8 percent, would make the Indian logistics sector advanced, organised and efficient, on par with global peers with the ambition of being amongst the top 25 countries in the global Logistics Performance Index (LPI).

UNDP Equator Prize 2021

The Equator Prize, organized by the Equator Initiative within the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is awarded biennially to recognize community efforts to reduce poverty through the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity.

  • 2021 Equator Prize awarded to 10 Indigenous and local solutions for people and planet.
  • Two communities from India bagged this year’s prestigious UNDP Equator Prize, for their exceptional achievement in showcasing local, innovative, nature-based solutions for tackling biodiversity loss and climate change and achieving their local development goals.

The two winning organizations from India out of the ten winners globally are:

  • Aadhimalai Pazhangudiyinar Producer Company Limited: This 1,700-member cooperative, managed and run entirely by Indigenous people from the Nilgiri Biosphere Reserve in Southern India, has improved livelihoods across 147 villages by processing and marketing a diverse range of forest produce and crops.
  • Snehakunja Trust: Snehakunja Trust has protected sensitive wetland and coastal ecosystems in the Western Ghats and the Karnataka coast for 45 years. Restoring 375 hectares of mangroves, Snehakunja Trust is currently piloting the first blue carbon project in India.

Olympic Laurel Award to Muhammad Yunus

  • The Nobel Peace Prize (2006) winner Muhammad Yunus will be honoured with the 2nd Olympic Laurel Award on the opening day of the Tokyo Olympics on July 23, 2021.
  • He will be honoured for his special contribution to sports - he has created a social organisation called ‘Yunus Sports Hub’ that promotes the theory of development through sports.
  • He has also collaborated with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) on several projects, including educational elements of the IOC Young Leaders Programme, the ‘Imagine’ Peace Youth Camp and the Athlete365 Business Accelerator – the first comprehensive entrepreneurship programme to help Olympians with career transition.
  • Muhammad Yunus is a Bangladeshi social entrepreneur, banker, economist, and civil society leader. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for founding the Grameen Bank and pioneering the concepts of microcredit and microfinance.
  • This Olympics honour was first given at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Kenyan Olympian and social changemaker Kip Keino received this honour at the Rio Olympics. He received the award for providing safe housing, schools and sports training for Kenyan children.

Cannes Film Festival 2021

The 74th annual Cannes Film Festival took place from 6 to 17 July 2021 in France.


  • The Palme d'Or went to Titane, directed by Julia Ducournau; Ducournau became the second female director to win the award and the first to win not jointly with another director (in 1993 Jane Campion had won jointly with Chen Kaige).
  • The Honorary Palme d'Or was awarded to American actress and filmmaker Jodie Foster, and Italian filmmaker Marco Bellocchio.
  • The jury, presided by Spike Lee, presented the awards at the Closing Ceremony. Lee is the first Black person to ever lead Cannes' prestigious jury.

Major Awards

  • Palme d’Or: Julia Ducournau for Titane (France)
  • Grand Prix: Shared by Ashgar Farhadi for A Hero (Iran) and Juho Kuosmanen for Compartment No.6 (Finland)
  • Best Director: Leos Carax Annette (France)
  • Best Actress: Renate Reinsve for Worst Person in the World (Norway)
  • Best Actor: Caleb Landry Jones for Nitram (US)

Commonwealth Points of Light Award

  • Hyderabad’s hunger activist Syed Osman Azhar Maqsusi, who has been feeding thousands of people every day as part of his food drive ‘Hunger Has No Religion’ was awarded a top UK award – Commonwealth Points of Light recently.
  • Maqsusi’s NGO Sani Welfare Foundation has also taken the initiative to 4 other cities in the country- Bengaluru and Raichur in Karntaka, Cuttack in Odisha and Goalpara in Assam.
  • He had also started off the ‘Do Roti’ campaign where people in Hyderabad were encouraged to carry extra food when leaving their homes so that they could give it to people who might need them.
  • These awards are made by Queen Elizabeth II, as Head of the Commonwealth, to thank inspirational volunteers across the 53 Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond.

Kuvempu Rashtriya Puraskar

  • The Sahitya Akademi Award (1985) winner Odia poet and novelist Dr. Rajendra Kishore Panda has been selected for the Kuvempu Rashtriya Puraskar, the national award instituted in memory of the late poet laureate, for 2020.
  • The award is given annually to a writer who has contributed in any of the languages recognised by the Constitution of India.
  • While the award is presented at Kuppalli, the birthplace of Kuvempu in Shivamogga district, on December 29 to mark his birth anniversary, the announcement for 2020 was delayed owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Smart Cities Awards 2020

The Central government on 15th June 2021 declared Smart City awards 2020 on completion of six years of Smart Cities Mission.

  • Best Cities: Among 100 Smart Cities, Surat (Gujarat) and Indore (Madhya Pradesh) bagged the Best Cities award jointly for their overall performance.
  • Best States: Uttar Pradesh won the Best State award followed by Madhya Pradesh and Tamil Nadu.
  • Best UT: Chandigarh won the Best UT award.
  • Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework:Surat, Indore, Ahmedabad, Pune, Vijayawada, Rajkot, Visakhapatnam, Pimpri-Chinchwad, and Vadodara were awarded 4 star rating under Climate Smart Cities Assessment Framework.
  • Smart Cities Leadership Award: Ahmedabad bagged the 'Smart Cities Leadership Award', followed by Varanasi and Ranchi.

Winning Smart Cities under Different Categories/Themes

Social Aspects

  1. Tirupati: Health Benchmark for Municipal Schools
  2. Bhubaneshwar: Socially Smart Bhubaneswar
  3. Tumakuru: Digital Library Solution


  1. Vadodara: GIS
  2. Thane: Digi Thane
  3. Bhubaneswar: ME app


Joint winners: Indore and Chandigarh

  • Indore: Conservation of Heritage
  • Chandigarh: Capitol Complex, Heritage Project
  • Gwalior: Digital Museum

Urban Environment

Joint Winners: Bhopal and Chennai

* Bhopal: Clean energy

* Chennai: Restoration of water bodies

* Tirupati: Renewable energy generation


Joint winners: Tirupati and Indore

* Tirupati: Bioremediation & Bio-Mining

* Indore: Municipal Waste Management System

* Surat: Conservation through Treated Wastewater


1. Indore: Carbon Credit Financing Mechanism

2. Tirupati and Agra (joint)

  • Tirupati: Boost Local Identity & economy through design studio
  • Agra: Micro Skill Development Centre

Built Environment

  1. Indore: Chappan Dukan
  2. Surat: Canal Corridor
  3. Erode: Micro-compost Centre


Joint winners: Dehradun and Varanasi

Dehradun: Smart Water Metering Water ATM

Varanasi: Eco-Restoration of Assi River

Surat: Integrated and Sustainable Water Supply System

Sustainable Business Model of ICCC

Agartala ICCC

Urban Mobility

  1. Aurangabad: Majhi Smart Bus
  2. Surat: Dynamic Scheduling Buses
  3. Ahmedabad: Man-less parking system and automatic ticket dispensing machines AMDA Park

Innovation Award

Innovative Idea Award

Indore: Carbon Credit Financing Mechanism

Covid Innovation Award

Joint winners: Kalyan-Dombivali & Varanasi

Indian Climate Activist gets UN Land for Life Award

Familial Forestry, an environmental conservation project by Rajasthan's Shyam Sunder Jyani, bagged the prestigious United Nations' Land for Life Award 2021.

  • United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) announced the winner on June 17 2021 (World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought, observed with the theme “Restoration.Land.Recovery. We build back better with healthy land”).
  • Through his project about 2.5 million trees have been planted in a time span of 15 years.
  • Two candidates had been shortlisted from India - the other being Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadguru, who has been campaigning for environmental cause for several years.

The Concept of Familial Forestry

  • Familial Forestry is a unique concept that relates a tree with a family, making it a green "family member."
  • Placing a family at the cornerstone of society, the concept ensures the success of any social campaign.
  • Familial Forestry means transferring the care of tree and environment in the family so that a tree becomes a part of the family’s consciousness.

About the Award

  • Launched at the UNCCD COP (Conference of Parties) 10 in 2011, the Land for Life Award is considered as the world's highest reward regarding land conservation and restoration.
  • This year's theme for the award was "Healthy Land, Healthy Lives".
  • The award is given by the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD).
  • The Land for Life Award ceremony will take place in August 2021 at the Eighth Kubuqi International Desert Forum in China. The award winner will also have an opportunity to present their work at the UNCCD Fifteenth Conference of the Parties UNCCD COP15.


  • The UNCCD is one of the three Rio Conventions—along with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD).
  • The negotiation of the UNCCD was called for in Agenda 21, the programme of action adopted at the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED, or Earth Summit).
  • The UNCCD was adopted in Paris, France on 17 June 1994, entered into force on 26 December 1996.
  • It is the only internationally legally binding framework set up to address the problem of desertification. It has 197 parties, making it near universal in reach.

International Booker Prize 2021

  • ‘At Night All Blood is Black’, written by David Diop and translated from French by Anna Moschovakis won the 2021 International Booker Prize.
  • The £50,000 prize will be split between David Diop and Anna Moschovakis, giving the author and translator equal recognition.
  • Born in 1966 in Paris, David Diop is the first French author to win the International Booker Prize.
  • The International Booker Prize is awarded every year for a single book that is translated into English and published in the UK or Ireland.
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