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Important Current Affairs 19th May 2020

National

National Migrant Information System launched to track movement of migrants

• The central government has launched the ‘National Migration Information System’  to track the movement of migrant workers in India. The portal will ensure smooth movement of migrants who have been stranded in different states/UTs.

• The system has been developed by the National  Management Authority (NDMA).

Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka initiative for migrant labourers

• In Madhya Pradesh, in a first of its kind of initiative, Charan Paduka campaign has been started for the migrant labourers passing through the state.

• Under this campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being providing shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.

International

PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in for the 5th time

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally swore in his new government on 17 May for the fifth time.

• The ceremony of the swearing-in of Israel’s new government, the Knesset, was held in accordance with directives.

• Netanyahu will be in power until 13 November 2021. This ended the 18-month political crisis in the country.

• Benny Gantz will serve in the specially created role of alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Cyclonic Amphan (Um-Pun) intensifies into a very severe cyclonic storm

• Severe Cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ over southeast bay and adjoining southwest bay has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm as it moved northwards.

• It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction before turning towards Bangladesh. It may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram.

Science and Technology

ISRO directs start-ups to build local tech for Gaganyaan mission

• India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has directed the startups to develop tools and machines for its maiden human space flight Gaganyaan-1 mission.

• ISRO focuses to potentially help them build products and solutions that they can exploit commercially.ISRO has identified a set of 17 technologies that to develop locally at lower costs for use in its Gaganyaan missions.

ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree ChitraTirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.

Appointments and Resignations

Jack Ma resigns from the Board of SoftBank

• Alibaba's Jack Ma has resigned from the Softbank's Board of Directors. The official reason of Ma's resignation has not been revealed yet. 

• Ma's resignation will come into effect on June 25, 2020, on the day of annual shareholder meeting of the Softbank. He served the group for nearly 13 years.

Rajesh Goel becomes new DG of NAREDCO

• Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). Prior to this, he was serving as the chairman and managing director, Hindustan Prefab Ltd.

• He is a professional with over 37 years of experience in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Books and Authors

A Book titled “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Fang Fang

• The book titled as “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Chinese literary writer Fang Fang is a compilation of online diary entries and social media posts, captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information & is a remarkable record of the extraordinary time.

• The book was released in India in an ebook format on May 15, 2020, published by Harper NonFiction, the audio will follow on May 26.The book will be translated into 15 languages.

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Important Current Affairs 17th May 2020

National

FM announces 4th tranche of economic support under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan

The announcement focusses on reforming 8 sectors which are (1) coal, (2) minerals, (3) defence production, (4) airports and airspace management, (5) MRO, (6) power distribution of companies in UTs, (7) space and (8) atomic energy.

• Coal- Commercial mining of coal on a revenue-sharing basis is being introduced.  Government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation through revenue sharing mechanism instead of the current fixed rupee per tonne. Coal Bed Methane will also be auctioned.

• Mineral- To enhance private investments in the mineral sector, a seamless composite exploration -cum-mining – cum production regime will be introduced. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process immediately.

• Make in India for  Defence Production- Foreign Direct Investment limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route is being raised from 49% to 74% to boost indigenous defence production.

• Airports and airspace- 6 airports will be put up for bidding by the Airports Authority of India for operation and maintenance on PPP mode.

• Maintenance- Repairs and Operations (MRO)- Tax regime for MRO ecosystem has been rationalised. Convergence between defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to create economies of scale

• Power Sector- Power distribution companies in Union Territories will be privatised.

• Social Infrastructure Projects- Boosting private sector investment in social infrastructure projects through revamped viability gap funding scheme of Rs 8,100 crore. The govt will enhance the quantum of viability gap funding up to 30 per cent each of total project cost as VGF by Centre and state

• Space & Atomic Energy- Private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. India to establish a research reactor in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes.

Government of India & AIIB signs agreement to improve irrigation services in West Bengal

• The Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has inked a loan agreement worth US$145 million to improve irrigation services and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in West Bengal.

• The loan sanctioned under West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project will benefit about 2.7 million farmers from five districts of West Bengal across 393,964 ha area.

• It will provide better irrigation services and improved protection against annual flooding to mitigate the impact of climate change.

AYUSH ministry & CSIR India to Begin Clinical Trial for 4 Ayurvedic Drugs

Minister of State(Independent/Charge) for ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy(AYUSH), Shripad Yesso(Y) Naik has announced that AYUSH ministry & Council of Scientific & Industrial Research(CSIR) are working together to validate 4 Ayush formulations Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu (Mulethi), Guduchi Pippali(Giloy) and AYUSH-64(poly herbal formulation).

Acquisitions and Mergers

Facebook acquires animated graphics startup GIPHY

• Facebook has announced that it has acquired the animated graphics startup GIPHY. Facebook will now integrate GIPHY in its Instagram visual social network.

• GIPHY is known for its use of stickers and other products using the graphics interchange format or GIFs.

Obituary

Sahitya Akademi winning Bengali author Debesh Roy passes away

• Veteran Bengali author Debesh Roy, who had five decades of career as a writer, passed away.

• He was awarded with the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel ‘Teesta Parer Brittanto’.

Days

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

• The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is observed every year on 17 May since 1969, to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

• The theme of 2020 is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

• The ITU was founded on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

World Hypertension Day

• The World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17 May worldwide to promote public awareness of increasing high blood pressure (BP) and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer.

• The day was held for the first time in May 2005.

• World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension.

• The theme for World Hypertension Day 2020 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.

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