Current Affairs - Awards In News

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.

Pen Pinter Prize 2021

  • The celebrated Zimbabwean novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga has been announced the winner of this year’s Pen Pinter Prize.
  • She was also shortlisted for the 2020 Booker Prize for her work, This Mournable Body.
  • The PEN Pinter Prize was established in 2009 in memory of Nobel-Laureate playwright Harold Pinter.
  • The prize is awarded annually to a writer of outstanding literary merit resident in the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Commonwealth or the former Commonwealth.
  • The winning writer must, in the words of Pinter’s Nobel Prize in Literature speech, casts an ‘unflinching, unswerving’ gaze upon the world and shows a ‘fierce intellectual determination to define the real truth of our lives and our societies’.

Three Indian Peacekeepers Honoured With Dag Hammarskjold Medal

  • 3 Indian peacekeepers honoured posthumously with UN medal (Dag Hammarskjold Medal) for sacrifice in line of duty.
  • These three peacekeepers are among 129 military, police and civilian personnel selected for the honour from across the globe.

The Awardees

  1. Corporal Yuvraj Singh: The Indian peacekeeper had served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
  2. Ivan Michael Picardo: The civilian peacekeeper had also served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS).
  3. Mulchand Yadav: The civilian peacekeeper had worked with the UN Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).

Amartya Sen To Be Honoured With Spain's Princess Of Asturias Award 2021

  • Nobel laureate Amartya Kumar Sen, an Indian economist and philosopher who studied the causes of famines, will be recognised with this year’s Princess of Asturias award in the social sciences category.
  • The award is one of eight prizes, including in the arts, communications and sports, handed out annually by the Asturias Princess Foundation, which is named for Spanish Crown Princess Leonor.
  • Sen has devoted his career to studying poverty and theories of human development. His 1981 essay on Entitlement and Deprivation famously proved that the greatest famines in history took place when food was available but some groups couldn’t access it.
  • Sen’s theories on a person’s capacity, interacting with the concept of “positive freedom,” or absence of interference, have been incorporated into different social science disciplines and inspired UN development plans.

Prof CNR Rao To Receive Eni Award 2020

  • Bharat Ratna Professor C.N.R. Rao has been selected for the International Eni Award 2020 towards his research into renewable energy sources and energy storage. It is also called the Energy Frontier award. This is considered to be the Nobel Prize in Energy Research.
  • The Energy Frontiers award has been conferred for his work on metal oxides, carbon nanotubes, and other materials and two-dimensional systems. Professor Rao has been working on hydrogen energy as the only source of energy for the benefit of all mankind.
  • The Eni Award is given by the Italian oil and gas company Eni with the aim of encouraging better use of energy sources and increased environmental research.
  • The Eni Awards 2020 will be presented on 14 October 2021, during an official ceremony held at the Quirinal Palace in Rome.

Templeton Prize 2021

  • Naturalist Jane Goodall has been conferred the Templeton Prize 2021 in recognition of her life's work on animal intelligence and humanity.
  • Dame Jane Morris Goodall is an English primatologist and anthropologist. She is considered to be the world's foremost expert on chimpanzees. Goodall is best known for her 60-year study of social and family interactions of wild chimpanzees since she first went to Gombe Stream National Park in Tanzania in 1960, where she witnessed human-like behaviours amongst chimpanzees, including armed conflict.
  • The award is given by John Templeton Foundation, USA for outstanding contributions in affirming life’s spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works.

Millennium Technology Prize 2020

  • Shankar Balasubramanian, a British-Indian chemist from the University of Cambridge, along with his colleague David Klenerman have won the Millennium Technology Prize for their innovation of Next Generation DNA Sequencing (NGS), technology that enables fast, accurate, low-cost and large-scale genome sequencing – the process of determining the complete DNA sequence of an organism’s make-up.
  • This means huge benefits to society, from helping the fight against killer diseases such as COVID-19 or cancer, to better understanding crop diseases and enhancing food production.
  • The Millennium Technology Prize is Finland’s tribute to innovations that promote the well-being of mankind and society. Technology Academy Finland (TAF) is the home of the Prize and the President of the Republic of Finland is the patron of it.

World Food Prize 2021

Leading nutrition expert Dr. Shakuntala Haraksingh Thilsted was announced as the 2021 World Food Prize Laureate for her achievements in pioneering fish-based food systems to improve nutrition, health and livelihoods for millions around the world.

  • Dr. Thilsted was the first to establish that many small fish species commonly eaten across Southeast Asia are an important source of essential micronutrients and fatty acids and improve the absorption of nutrients in plant-based foods, reshaping scientific understanding of the benefits of fish in diets.
  • This breakthrough has helped prioritize increases in fish consumption and production, transforming the diets and incomes of some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
  • Dr. Thilsted is the seventh woman to be awarded the World Food Prize and the first woman of Asian heritage.
  • Now a Danish citizen, Dr. Thilsted descends from a family of Indian migrants to Trinidad and Tobago, and she began her career as the first and only woman stationed in Tobago’s Ministry of Agriculture, Lands and Fisheries.
  • World Food Prize is presented by the World Food Prize Foundation located in Des Moines, USA.
  • Indian-American soil scientist - Dr. Rattan Lal was the winner of the World Food Prize 2020.
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