Current Affairs
Select Date
Tags:
Hindi

Important Current Affairs 9th April 2020

National

GoI launches “iGOT” e-learning platform to combat COVID-19

• The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has announced the launch of a learning platform iGOT- Integrated Government Online Training (https://igot.gov.in).

• The e-learning platform has been launched for all front-line workers to equip them with the training and updates in coping with COVID 19.

• The target group is Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Hygiene Workers, Technicians, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs), Central & State Govt. Officers, Civil Defence Officials, various Police Organisations, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Bharat Scouts & Guides (BSG) and other volunteers.

TRIFED to launch campaign in partnership with UNICEF for SHGs

• Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) has collaborated with UNICEF for developing a digital communication strategy for promoting a digital campaign for Self Help Groups (SHGs).

• The partnership aims to highlight the importance of Social Distancing.

Airtel Payments Bank Rolls out Covid-19 health insurance plan in Partnership with Bharati AXA General Insurance

• Airtel Payments Bank has partnered with Bharati AXA General Insurance to launch a health insurance policy, which offer financial protection against coronavirus.

• Under the partnership, they have rolled out two different health insurance plans which includes:

• Bharti AXA Group Health Assure Policy

• Group Hospital Cash Policy

Banking and Economy

SIDBI to provide emergency working capital to MSMEs

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will facilitate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore against their confirmed government orders.

•  The SIDBI’s new loan product i.e. SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against Coronavirus (SAFE) plus will be provided collateral free and disbursed within 48 hours at an interest rate of 5%.

• Under its flagship scheme called SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (Smile), SEBI has opened an additional financial window for the healthcare sector.

Sports

Englands Ben Stokes named 2020 Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World

• England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named as the leading cricketer in the world by Wisden for the year 2019. He is the first player from England since 2005 to be named for this award.

• In Women’s category, Australia’s Ellyse Perry has been named the Wisden’s Leading Female Cricketer in the World.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 8th April 2020

National

Ministry of Civil Aviation launches “Lifeline UDAN” initiative

• The Ministry of Civil Aviation has launched the initiative called “Lifeline UDAN” to help India fight against COVID-19. Under Lifeline UDAN initiative of Ministry of Civil Aviation, 132 cargo flights have been operated so far across the country to transport medical cargo including to remote and hilly areas.

• With support from Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private airlines, medical supplies of more than 184 tons have been delivered till date during lockdown period.

Essential services, medicines delivered at doorstep of patients by Swasth ke Sipahi under PMBJP

• During the 21 days nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19, pharmacists, popularly known as “Swasth ke Sipahi” of Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra are delivering essential services and medicines at doorstep of patients and elderly.

• Swasth ke Sipahi are providing the essential medicines at the doorsteps of patients under the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) of the Government of India.

• Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra are being run under the Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals & Fertilizers, Government of India by the Bureau of Pharma PSUs of India (BPPI). The objective of the Pradhan Mantri Jan Aushadhi Kendra was to provide quality and affordable healthcare to anyone in need.

MHRD declares DigiLocker as National Academic Depository

• The Ministry of Human Resource Development has designated DigiLocker as the sole National Academic Depository (NAD).

• The ministry has directed the University Grants Commission (UGC) to implement NAD as a permanent scheme within DigiLocker.

• NAD will be implemented as a permanent scheme without the levy of any user charges by DigiLocker through the Ministry of Electronics and IT.

International

Twitter CEO pledges $1 billion to combat COVID-19 pandemic

• Chief Executive Officer of Twitter, Jack Dorsey has pledged to donate $1 billion to charities working towards combatting the global COVID-19 pandemic.

• The donation of $1 billion by the Twitter CEO seems to be the largest donation pledged by a private individual in the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

• To fulfill the donation amount of $1 billion, Jack Dorsey will move $1 billion of his digital payments group “Square” equity i.e. 28% of his wealth, to #startsmall LLC to fund global COVID-19 relief.

USAID announces $2.9 million aid to India to fight Covid19

• The United States has announced $2.9 million aid for India through the US Agency for International Development (USAID).

• The funds announced are going to help India in its fight against COVID-19 and to also provide care for those who are affected and help the local communities with the tools to stop the pandemic spreading in the country.

• The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and other relevant agencies, is working closely with India to support the country’s response to the pandemic.

Banking and Economy

RBI increases the number of days for which a State/ UT can be in overdraft

• The Reserve Bank of India allows State Government to tide over their cashflow mismatches (consider it as a loan) in form of Special Drawing Facility (SDF) and Normal Ways and Means Advances.

• Now RBI has increased the number of days or which a State/ UT can be in overdraft continuously as under:

• The number of days for which States/UTs can be in overdraft continuously has been increased to 21 working days from the previous 14 days.

• The number of days for which a State/ UT can be in overdraft in a quarter has been increased to 50 working days from the previous 36 days.

Science and Technology

Ladakh to establish first-ever COVID-19 Testing Laboratory

• Ladakh administration has begun the process of establishing the first-ever COVID-19 Testing Laboratory.

• The health department is currently sending blood samples of the suspected patients to the National Centre for Disease Control in Delhi.

• The testing lab is expected to start functioning from May.

Super Pink Moon visible on April 7

• Super Pink Moon, the biggest supermoon of the year 2020 will be visible in the skies on April 7, 2020. The moon will be at its closest distance from Earth, which is 356,907 km away.

• The Earth, Moon and the Sun will all align, making the Moon look larger and brighter than usual. This particular moon was named ‘Super Pink Moon’.

Sports

FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup postponed due to Covid-19

• FIFA, the world’s governing body for football announced that it took the decision to postpone the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup tournament due to the coronavirus pandemic.

• The coronavirus pandemic has virtually stopped all sporting activities in the world with mega tournaments like Euro 2020 and Copa America being pushed back, besides the Tokyo Olympics also meeting the same fate.

• President of FIFA: Gianni Infantino; Founded: 21 May 1904.

• Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland.

Obituary

Kannada comic actor 'Bullet' Prakash passes away

• Kannada actor “Bullet” Prakash passed away. He was known for his comic roles and performances in films like Aithalakkadi and Aryan.

• He was named ‘Bullet’ because of his love for Royal Enfield Bullet motorbikes which he used to ride.

• He had been a part of more than 300 films and had recently signed a couple of projects in Kannada.

• He was also a member of the ruling Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) in 2015.

Read More
Read Less
View All Comments

Important Current Affairs 7th April 2020

National

PM, President and MPs Salary Cut by 30% , MPLAD funds suspended for 2 years

• The Union Cabinet approved an ordinance amending the salary, allowances and pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954, to reduce the allowances and pension by 30% starting April 1, 2020, for a year.

• All Members of Parliament (MPs), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers, would be taking a 30 per cent salary cut due to the impact of the novel coronavirus.

• The cabinet also approved temporary suspension of MPLAD (Member of Parliament Local Area Development) fund scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22, and the funds will be used for managing health services and the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

Civil Services Association Launches Initiative ‘CARUNA’ to help Government Fight Coronavirus

• The Associations representing officers of central civil services, such as IAS, IPS, has come up with an initiative called ‘CARUNA’, as a collaborative platform to support Government in the fight against #COVID19.

• The acronym ‘CARUNA’ stands for Civil services Associations Reach to sUpport in Natural disAsters.

• The collective abilities of this versatile group will support:

• Decision Makers by providing IT, HR & coordination support to enhance their outreach

• Frontline Functionaries in reaching out to the last mile

Delhi Government’s 5 point plan to contain spread of COVID-19

• Delhi Government on April 7, 2020 launched a 5 point action plan to contain the spread of COVID-19. The plan includes 5T strategy - Tracing, Testing, Treatment, Teamwork and  Tracking & Monitoring.

• The Plan was announced by the Chief Minister Kejriwal through live television address.

International

US announces $2.9 million package for India

• The United States recently announced a donation package of USD 2.9 million for India in its fight against the Coronavirus pandemic. The announcement regarding the donation was made by US Agency for International Development.

•  The aid is a part of the American Global Response Package, wherein the US is providing financial assistance of USD 174 million to over 60 countries.

Banking and Economy

Madhabi Puri Buch gets 6-month extension as WTM at SEBI

• The term of Madhabi Puri Buch as a Whole Time Member (WTM) at Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has been extended by 6 months.

• Madhabi Puri Buch is the first woman Whole Time Member (WTM) of SEBI and also the first from the private sector to be appointed as a board member in SEBI.

Sports

Kobe Bryant inducted into NBA’s Hall of Fame (Basketball)

• Late basketball player, Kobe Bryant, has been inducted into the NBA’s Hall of Fame 2020. He was an American Basketball Player.

• Kobe Bryant, 41 was killed in a helicopter crash in January 2020 in which total of 9 people died.

• A total of 9 people have been inducted into the 2020 NBA’s Hall of Fame. The other eight are: MVP Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens and Patrick Baumann.

Science and Technology

NASA to land human on moon by 2024

• US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) recently announced to land human on moon by the year 2024 under its ambitious ‘Artemis Program’.

• The NASA has been constantly working on this program to build a Artemis Base Camp.

Obituary

Former Libya Prime Minister Mahmoud Jibril Passes Away Due to coronavirus at 68

• Former Prime Minister of Libya, Mahmoud Jibril passed away in Egypt after contracting the coronavirus. He was 68.

• Jibril served as the interim Prime Minister of Libya for seven and a half months during the Libyan Civil War, from 5 March to 23 October 2011.

Ranking

Tamil Nadu Tops in micro-irrigation coverage under PMKSY in 2019-20

• The Tamil Nadu state has finished on top at the all-India level for micro-irrigation coverage in the financial year 2019-20, as part of implementation of the Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchayee Yojana (PMKSY).

• Karnataka is at second place with 1,41,103.56 ha area under micro-irrigation while Gujarat is at third spot with 1,08,322.00 ha under micro-irrigation.

• During 2019-20, the overall coverage of the state under micro-irrigation stood at 2,06,853.25 hectares (ha). The total area brought under micro irrigation at the all-India level in 2019-20 stands at 7,72,350.63 ha.

• PMKSY is a programme aimed at promoting the “more crop per drop” concept by focussing on water-saving technologies.

Days

World Health Day

• World Health Day is celebrated on 7 April each year since 1950, to draw worldwide attention to a specific theme of major importance to global health each year.

• The Theme of 2020 World Health Day is Support Nurses and Midwives.

• The World Health Day also marks the establishment of the World Health Organization (WHO) on 7 April 1948.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 6th April 2020

National

Government plans to link 22000 mandis with e-NAM platform by 2022

• The Union Minister of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar has launched three new features of National Agriculture Market (e-NAM) Platform to enable farmers to sell their harvested produce directly from warehouse which will prevent crowding in mandis amid COVID-19 outbreak.

• Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) is the lead agency for implementing eNAM under the aegis of Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Government of India.

 Geo-fencing app to locate quarantine violators

• The government has tested an application named, Geo-fencing app to trigger emails and SMS alerts to an authorised government agency, if a person has jumped quarantine or has escaped from isolation, based on the person’s mobile phone’s cell tower location.

• The Centre under the Indian Telegraph Act 1885, uses powers to “fetch information” from telecom companies every 15 minutes to track COVID-19 quarantine violators across the country & is accurate by up to 300 m.

Northern Railways develops PPE coverall

• The Northern Railways has developed a PPE coverall. This is in addition to the personal protective equipment coveralls and the N99 masks that have been developed by DRDO.

• The initiative is to meet the demand of these equipments and ensure proper safety and security of the healthcare workers who are in the frontline of the fight against COVID-19 pandemic.

• With rising coronavirus cases in the country, there is a shortage of PPE kits. Hence, efforts are being made to start mass production of these products. The existing N95 mask producers have also increased their capacity and are producing about 80,000 masks per day.

Indian Railways develops low-cost ventilator prototype named “Jeevan”

• Indian Railway’s Rail Coach Factory (RCF) in Kapurthala, Punjab has developed a low-cost ventilator prototype named “Jeevan” that is much cheaper than regular ventilators.

• The ventilators can be put to use after it receives approvals from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).

• The cost of these ventilators is expected to be Rs. 10,000 without compressors. RCF Kapurthala has developed the prototype after the government instructed the Indian Railways to explore the possibility of manufacturing ventilators.

Obituary

Former Honduras President Rafael Callejas, Disgraced by FIFAgate Scandal, Passes Away at 76

• The former President of Honduras, Rafael Callejas, has passed away of heart attack. He was 76.

• Callejas served the country from 27 January 1990 to 27 January 1994, representing the National Party of Honduras (PNH).

• He was the head of country’s football federation from 2002 to 2015 and was also accused of the vast football corruption scandal known as FIFAgate.

Appointments and Resignations

Nasscom appoints Infosys' COO Pravin Rao as chairman

• Vice-Chairperson Infosys’ chief operating officer, UB Pravin Rao, has been appointed as the new chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) for the year 2020-21. He was appointed Rekha Menon of Accenture.

• Rekha M Menon is the Chairman and Senior Managing Director, Accenture in India. Menon will be the Vice-Chairperson for Nasscom. Pravin Rao, along with President Debjani Ghosh, will help Nasscom to achieve its 2025 vision for the industry.

Days

International Day of Sport for Development and Peace

• The United Nations celebrates 6th of April every year as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace.

• Sport has historically played an important role in all societies, be it in the form of competitive sport, physical activity or play.

• Sports also presents a natural partnership for the United Nations (UN) system.

International Day of Conscience is observed on 5 April

• International Day of Conscience is observed on 5 April.

• The day aims to promote a culture of peace with love and conscience.

• The day reminds the people to self-reflect, follow their conscience, and do the right things.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 4th April 2020

National

DST sets up rapid response centre CAWACH to combat COVID-19

• The Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India, has approved setting up of a Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH), to support startups that address COVID-19 challenges.

• CAWACH will be set up at a total cost of Rs 56 Crore.

• The Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), a technology business incubator at IIT Bombay, supported by DST, has been identified as the Implementing Agency of the CAWACH.

CAWACH

• The CAWACH programme of DST will scout, evaluate and support the innovations and start-ups that are in the area of novel, low cost, safe and effective ventilators, respiratory aids, protective gears, novel solutions for sanitizers, disinfectants, diagnostics, therapeutics, informatics and any effective interventions to control COVID-19.

International

Domino’s Pizza launches ‘Domino’s Essentials’ service

• Domino’s Pizza has partnered with ITC Foods to launch “Domino’s Essentials”.

Highlights of this Partnership:

• Through “Domino’s Essentials” service, everyday grocery essentials offered by ITC Foods will be delivered while leveraging the delivery infrastructure of Domino’s.

• This partnership aims to serve the community by ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential items at their doorsteps, without them having to step outside of their homes.

• The “Domino’s Essentials” service will be available for consumers via “Domino’s Essentials” section on the Domino’s app.

• Domino’s Pizza will leverage its supply chain and delivery network to deliver essential goods to the customers at their home.

• This service is an effort which aligns with the government’s decision of nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.

Banking and Economy

Fitch Ratings cuts India’s GDP growth forecast to 2% for FY21

• Fitch Ratings has cut its GDP growth forecast for India to 2% for the fiscal year 2021.

• This will be the slowest growth in India over the past 30 years.

ADB Estimates India’s GDP for FY’21 at 4 Percent; 6.2% for FY’22

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) released its latest Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2020 for financial year 2020-21 on 3rd April 2020.

• As per ADB, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in India is likely to slow down to 4 percent in FY21 (2020-21) on the back of the current global health emergency.

• However, ADB expects the Indian economy to further strengthen to 6.2 percent in the FY22 fiscal (2021-22).

Obituary

Prominent virologist Gita Ramjee dies from coronavirus

• World renowned virologist Gita Ramjee passed away after contracting the novel coronavirus. The South African “Vaccine” scientist and an HIV prevention research leader was working as the chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute.

• In 2018, the European Development Clinical Trials Partnerships (EDCTP) awarded Gita Ramjee with the Outstanding Female Scientist Award in Lisbon for her lifetime commitment towards finding new HIV prevention methods.

Sports

Asian Games 2022 "smart triplets" mascots unveiled in digital ceremony

• The Olympic Council of Asia has announced the official mascots of the 19th Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou in 2022. The three robots namely Congcong, Lianlian and Chenchen which are collectively known as “The Smart Triplets” will be the official mascots of the 19th Asian Games.

• The mascot was unveiled by Olympic Council of Asia at a digital launch ceremony in Hangzhou, China. The ceremony was held digitally due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has brought the whole world to a stand still.

• The robot ‘Congcong’ represents the Archaeological Ruins of Liangzhu City. It derives its name from the Cong jade pendant — the quintessential relic unearthed from the ruins dating back 5,000 years. ‘Lianlian’ represents the West Lake and the name signifies a lake full of lush lotus leaves. Green stands for life and nature.The third mascot is ‘Chenchen’, which represents the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal.

Days

International Mine Awareness Day observed globally on 4 April

• International Mine Awareness Day observed globally on 4 April every year. On 8 December 2005, the General Assembly declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

• It was first observed on 4 April 2006.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 3rd April 2020

National

GoI launches “AarogyaSetu” app to track Covid-19

• “AarogyaSetu” is the official COVID-19 tracking app that has been launched by the Government of India. The “AarogyaSetu” app has been developed by the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

• The mobile application aims to inform the users of the app regarding the risks, best practices along with the relevant advisories related to the containment of COVID-19.

Banking and Economy

S&P Further Slashes India’s GDP Forecast to 3.5% from 5.2% for FY21

• S&P Global Ratings has further slashed India’s growth forecast to 3.5% from a previous downgrade to 5.2% for the fiscal year 2020-21.

• The latest downgrade is due to the slump in demand, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, which is leading to declining credit quality and rising defaults particularly among non financial corporates with weaker credit profiles.

• For the Financial year 2019-20, the rating agency has estimated growth forecast of 5%.

• However the S&P expects the Indian economy to bounce back to 5% in FY20, 3.5% in FY21 and 7.3% in FY22.

PhonePe launches coronavirus hospitalisation insurance policy ‘Corona Care’

• PhonePe has launched a unique coronavirus hospitalization insurance policy named “Corona Care.”

• PhonePe has partnered with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance for this “Corona Care”.

• “Corona Care” plan is priced at Rs 156 with an insurance cover of Rs 50,000 for a person aged under 55 years.

Summits and Mou’s

UN Cop26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow Postponed until 2021

• The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UN COP26), which was scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from 9 to 20 November 2020 under the presidency of the UK government, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

• The Cop26 Climate Change Summit has now be pushed back to 2021 and the new dates for the conference would be decided in due course.

• The announcement was made by the Cop26 president-designate and UK Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma.

Sport

Wimbledon Championship canceled due to Coronavirus pandemic

• The Wimbledon Tennis Championship 2020 has been cancelled due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The announcement regarding the cancellation of championship was made by the All England lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC). The tennis tournament was scheduled to begin from June 29, 2020 in the United Kingdom.

• It marks the first time that the Wimbledon tournament had been called off since World War II.

• Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass-court.

Obituary

Gurbani maestro Nirmal Singh Khalsa passes away

• Nirmal Singh Khalsa, a noted singer of Sikh 'Gurbani' hymns, passed away on April 2, 2020 due to coronavirus. He was detected with the infection just a day before his death. He was 62.

• Nirmal Singh Khalsa was a former priest at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He was known to have the knowledge of the 31 'raags' in the Gurbani of the Guru Granth Sahib.

• He was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the field of Gurbani music.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 1st April 2020

National

GoI extends validity of expired Driving Licences and Vehicle Registration till 30 June

• The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has announced an extension on the validity of documents like driving licenses, permits and registration that are expired since 1 February.

• The Ministry has directed all states and Union Territories (UT) to treat the documents as valid till 30 June.

Karnataka government launches ‘Corona Watch’ app

• The state government of Karnataka has launched a mobile application ‘Corona Watch’. The mobile application aims to track the movement history of persons tested positive, before their detection in order to take precautions and to contain the coronavirus outbreak.

• The app will also provide the date and time of visit to spots by the patients. ‘Corona Watch’ app also comprises a list of government designated first response hospitals for COVID-19 where citizen with symptoms can visit.

Banking and Economy

Mega merger of 10 PSU Banks comes into effect

• The mega merger of 10 PSU banks into 4 comes into effect from April 1, 2020. As per the merger, the Oriental Bank of Commerce and the United Bank of India have now be merged with the Punjab National Bank with the latter being the Head Bank.

• In another merger, Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank are merged into Union Bank of India. The branches of the merged banks will work as the branches of Head or Anchor bank.

As per the consolidation scheme, the details of 10 state-run banks into 4 are mentioned below-

• United Bank of India and Oriental Bank of Commerce will merge into Punjab National Bank

• Syndicate Bank will merge into Canara Bank

• Allahabad Bank into Indian Bank

• Corporation and Andhra Banks will be merged in Union Bank of India

The objective behind the merger:

The major objectives of the merger are:

• To help India make a USD 5 trillion economy

• Reducing the lending cost

• Enhancing the capacity in order to increase credit

• To bring next-generation technology for the banking sector

• Banks that have strong national and international reach

• To improve the ability to raise market resources.

Government cuts Interest Rates on Small Saving Schemes

• The Central Government recently slashed the interest rates on small saving schemes such as PPF for the April-June quarter of 2020-2021.

• The Small Saving Schemes include Public Provident Fund (PPF), Kisan Vikas Patra, Senior Citizen Saving schemes (SCSS) and Sukanya Samriddhi Yojana.

UN report states India, China will stay away from world recession

• The United Nations Trade report titled “The COVID-19 Shock to Developing Countries: Towards a whatever it takes program” stated that the world economy will go into recession in 2020 with a predicted loss of trillions of dollars of global income due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

• It also predicted serious problems for developing countries with the likely exception of India and China.

Summits and Mou’s

Ministry of Tourism launches ‘Stranded in India’ portal

• The Ministry of Tourism has launched a portal ‘Stranded in India’ to help foreign tourists who are stuck in various parts of the country.

• Its web address is strandedinindia.com. The COVID-19 helpline number for foreign tourists stuck in India is +91-11-23978046 or 1075.

Obituary

Legendary historian Arjun Dev passes away

• The legendary historian and educationist, Professor Arjun Dev passed away. He was born on November 12, 1938, in Leiah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan).

•  He served as a historian at the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT).

Days

International Transgender Day of Visibility

• International Transgender Day of Visibility observed globally on 31st March every year.

• The day is dedicated to celebrating transgender people and raising awareness of discrimination faced by transgender people worldwide, as well as a celebration of their contributions to society.

Utkal Divas or Odisha Day is celebrated on 1 April

• Utkal Divas (Odisha Day) is celebrated every year on 1st April all over Odisha. Odisha Day is celebrated in the memory of the formation of the state as a separate province on 1 April 1936.

•  This year marks the 83rd Utkal Divas or the foundation day of Odisha. Odisha was born as a separate state on April 1, 1936, on a linguistic basis.

•  The state was carved out of the combined Bengal-Bihar-Orissa province.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 31st March 2020

National

MCA introduces “Companies Fresh Start Scheme 2020”

• The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has introduced the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020”. The new scheme has been introduced to provide relief to law abiding companies and the Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) amid COVID-19 pandemic. MCA has also revised “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020”.

• The Fresh Start scheme and revised LLP Settlement Scheme stimulates compliance and lessen the compliance burden during the unprecedented public health situation triggered by COVID-19.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath Constitutes ‘Team-11’ to Fight COVID-19 Spread

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up “Team-11”, which comprises of 11 inter-departmental committees to fight the coronavirus spread, by tackling multiple issues ranging from ensuring medicare to victims to the supply of essentials and tackle long marches of jobless workers back home.

• Each of the 11 committees will be headed by a senior bureaucrat of the state while the ‘Team 11’ will be headed by the Chief Minister himself.

Jharkhand launches Pragyaam App for delivery of Essential Goods during COVID-19

• Jharkhand State Government recently launched Pragyaam mobile app for the delivery of Essential goods during COVID-19 outbreak. The app will offer e-passes to those people who are involved in providing essential services.

• The e-passes will be issued by the District Transport Officers of Jharkhand.

DRDO develops casualty evacuation bags

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed a casualty evacuation bag to transport or isolate persons infected with COVID-19.

• The bag is water and air-proof and treated to deal with biological agents. DRDO will be procuring an initial lot of 500 such bags. DRDO’s Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), which carries out research in aero-medical engineering and life support equipment and Nuclear Chemical and Biological (NBC) protection systems, has developed this bag.

International

China recommends Bear Bile as a cure for COVID-19

• China has recommended the use of Bear bile as a possible cure for COVID-19 virus. The Chinese government has put out a list of medicines that will be used to treat COVID-19.

• The list includes both China’s traditional medicines and western medicines. One of these medicines, ‘Tan Re Qing’ is identified to be the best cure.

• The ‘Tan Re Quig’ traditional medicine carries bear bile. Bear bile has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 1300 years. The liver secretes bile juice and it is stored in the gall bladder.

• According to China, the ursodeoxycholic acid present in the bear bile can possibly cure COVID-19. It is also called Ursodiol. The acid is generally used for treating liver diseases and dissolving gall bladder stones.

G20 Trade & Investment Ministerial Meet: India urges for Global Framework on COVID-19

• India recently urged the G20 member countries to come up with a G-20 global framework for ensuring affordable access to treatment and medicines amid Coronavirus outbreak.

• The framework will also allow easier movement of doctors and health professionals across borders. The announcement was made during G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial meeting that was held virtually on March 31, 2020.

COVID-19 crisis in Asia and Pacific far from over: WHO

• The World Health Organisation has warned that while the west, especially Western European nations and North America appear to be the new epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific.

• WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Takeshi Kasai has urged the governments to stay engaged in their efforts to combat COVID-19, calling it a long-term battle.

• WHO says there is no one-size-fits-all approach but there are common practices that can help fight the pandemic and reiterated that countries need to still prepare for large-scale community transmission

Banking and Economy

IMF declares that World is now in “Recession”

• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that the world has clearly entered a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has emphasized that the current recession is even worse than that of 2009.

• The statements about the world economy were made after the meeting of governing body of the IMF, the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Summits and Mou’s

Tata Power JV starts Shuakhevi HPP in Georgia

• Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC, a Joint Venture between Tata Power, Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (CEI), and International Financial Corporation (IFC) has announced the start of commercial operation of the 178 MW Shuakhevi Hydro Power Project (Shuakhevi HPP) located in southwest Georgia.

• The project will generate around 450 GWh of clean energy to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by more than 200,000 tonnes a year.

Science and Technology

IIT Bombay develops mobile app ‘CORONTINE’

A team at IIT Bombay has developed a mobile app named ‘CORONTINE’. The ‘CORONTINE’ app aims to help the authorities in tracking the asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Books and Authors

Book titled “The Death of Jesus” by Nobel laureate J M Coetzee released

• The book titled “The Death of Jesus” authored by Nobel laureate J M Coetzee has been released. It is the third book of the series.

• The earlier two book were, “The Childhood of Jesus”, published in 2014 and The Schooldays of Jesus, in 2018.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 30th March 2020

National

Government constitutes 11 groups to boost healthcare amid COVID-19 outbreak

• The Central Government recently constituted 11 empowered groups for integrated response to Coronavirus pandemic in India. Of these 11 groups, one will be chaired by NITI Aayog CEO, one by  NITI Aayog member and 9 will be chaired by Secretary-level officers.

• These groups have been set up under the Disaster Management Act.

DRDO to set up ‘multi-patient ventilators’ for serious COVID-19 patients

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) will soon develop the 'multi-patient ventilators' for critical Coronavirus patients. These ventilators will provide life support system to several patients at a same time through single unit.

• The development of these ventilators is already under process to meet the potential demand in case COVID-19 outbreak goes out of control.

Govt approves Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19

• Government has approved Insurance Scheme for Health Workers Fighting COVID-19’ as announced under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package. The following conditions exists:

• The scheme will provide an insurance cover of Rs. 50 lakh for ninety days (90) to a total of around 22.12 lakh public healthcare providers. It will also include accidental loss of life on account of contracting COVID-19.

• The insurance provided under this scheme would be over and above any other insurance cover being availed of by the beneficiary.

Banking and Economy

SBI raises $100 million via green bonds

• State Bank of India has raised USD 100 million green bonds, the first such bond by any state-owned bank in this fiscal.

• The bonds were priced at 3M Libor + 80 basis points. This is the third set of green bond issue by SBI, aggregating USD 700 million.

• The proceeds will be used to fund the non-convention energy sector. These bonds will be issued through SBI’s London branch and shall be listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX).

Science and Technology

SpaceX wins NASA award for planned lunar space station

• A new space capsule from SpaceX has been picked up by National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to ferry cargo and supplies to the agency’s planned lunar space station.

• Hence, with a $7 billion NASA contract, SpaceX will use its biggest rocket, Falcon Heavy to send spacecraft named as “Dragon XL” to the Lunar Gateway.

• This is an outpost that NASA is planning to build and that will orbit the moon sometime within the next decade.

Obituary

Air Vice-Marshal Chandan Singh Rathore passed away

• Air Vice Marshall Chandan Singh Rathore passed away at his Jodhpur residence on March 29, 2020. He had served in the Indian Air Force at the time of the 1962 Indo-China war and the 1971 India-Pakistan war.

• The Air Vice Marshall had planned and executed helicopter operations during India’s 1971 war with Pakistan for the liberation of Bangladesh.

• He had flown 8 missions into the enemy territory during the war to supervise the progress of lifting two companies of troops in the Sylhet area by the Indian Air Force.

• He will be awarded the Maha Vir Chakra, the second-highest military award, posthumously for his acts of bravery in the presence of the enemy.

Sports

International Table Tennis Federation suspends events till June 30, freezes world rankings

• The International Table Tennis Federation has suspended all of its planned events till June 30, 2020 in the wake of the rapid spread of coronavirus across the globe.

• The federation has also frozen the world rankings list due to the current uncertainty caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• The body will now evaluate all implications regarding the postponement of the events and the current travel restrictions and make the necessary adjustments.

Read More
Read Less

Important Current Affairs 29th March 2020

National

Government Sets up special emergency fund ‘PM CARES Fund’ to Fight Against COVID-19

• The Government of India has set up a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ on 28 March 2020.

• The primary objective of this dedicated national fund is to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust while Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister are its other members.

• The fund has been set up to enable micro-donations, allowing a large number of people to be able to contribute with smallest of denominations.

• Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G) of the IT Act.

• Citizens and organisations can go to the website pmindia.gov.in and donate to PM CARES Fund.

• The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) will be hold the account of the PM Cares Fund.

Government of India launches coronavirus risk-tracking app “Corona Kavach”

• Government of India has launched a coronavirus risk-tracking app in India and is named “Corona Kavach”.

• The app has been developed by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

• The app uses a person’s location to assess whether they are in the high-risk geographical zone or not. It will track the data of the users every one hour to alert them of whether they have crossed paths with any person who has tested positive for the infection.

Abbott Labs launches 5-minute coronavirus test

• Abbott Laboratories, United States is unveiling a coronavirus test which will tell if someone is infected within 5 minutes. This test is so small and portable it is often utilized in almost any health-care setting.

• The test starts with taking a swab from the nose or the rear of the throat, then mixing it with a chemical solution that breaks open the virus and releases its RNA.

•  The mixture is inserted into an ID Now system, a small box weighing slightly below 7 pounds that has the technology to spot and amplify select sequences of the coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.

Goa becomes the 1st state to launch assessment tool for COVID-19

• The Government of Goa has launched a COVID 19 self-assessment tool, to assist people in identifying symptoms and risks of being infected by novel coronavirus, without having to visit a healthcare facility physically.

• With this, Goa has become the first state to launch India’s first digital initiative to tackle novel Coronavirus.

• The self-assessment tool named ‘Test Yourself Goa’ has been launched by the Directorate of Health Services, Government of Goa in partnership with Innovaccer.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP growth estimated at 4.5% for FY’20; 2.6% for FY’21: SBI report

• According to the SBI Ecowrap report released by the State Bank of India (SBI), the GDP growth rate of India for the financial year 2020-21 is likely to fall to 2.6 percent due to the ongoing 21-day lockdown.

• The GDP growth estimate for the current fiscal, i.e. 2019-20 is estimated at 4.5 percent.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Mega merger of 10 state-run banks into four lenders will come into force from April 1

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the schemes for the merger of ten state-run banks into four banks will take effect from 1 April 2020.

• The banking regulator has also announced that the branches of merging banks will operate as the branch of the banks in which these have been amalgamated, from the beginning of next fiscal year 2020-21.

• After the merger, the total number of PSBs will be reduced to 12 from 27 PSBs, including 7 large PSBs and 5 small PSBs.

• Also, the anchor bank Punjab National Bank will become the country’s second largest bank with asset size of Rs 17.94 lakh crore, after SBI (over Rs 52 lakh crore).

• The amalgamation is the part of RBI’s consolidation plan to create bigger size stronger banks in the public sector.

• The following amalgamation will take place:

1. Oriental Bank of Commerce and United Bank of India will merge with Punjab National Bank (PNB) branches

2. Syndicate Bank will merge with Canara Bank

3. Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank will merge into Union Bank of India

4. Allahabad Bank will merge into Indian Bank.

Read More
Read Less