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Important Current Affairs 3rd May 2020

National

CAIT to launch national e-commerce marketplace 'bharatmarket'

for retail traders

• Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) will soon launch a national e-commerce marketplace named ‘bharatmarket’ for all retail traders.

• The aim of the portal is to bring 95 percent of retail traders onboard the platform, who will be the shareholders. The portal will be run exclusively by the traders.

• The pilot of this project has been started in six cities — Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur and Bengaluru.

• The marketplace will integrate capabilities of various technology companies to provide end-to-end services in the logistics and supply chains from manufacturers to end consumers, including deliveries at home.

CSIR-Central Road Research Institute develops “KisanSabha App”

• The CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi has developed a mobile app KisanSabha to connect farmers with supply chain and freight transportation management system.

• The app will enable the farmers in seed/ fertilizer procurement as well as their harvest reaching the market, among other things and thus facilitate the timely delivery of the produce at the best possible prices.

• The KisanSabha App will also help in providing best market rates of crops by comparing nearest mandis, booking of freight vehicle at cheapest cost thereby giving maximum benefit to the farmers.

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

• Kashmiri saffron, the pride of Jammu & Kashmir, has finally been granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag, thus symbolizing its exclusivity in the international market.

• These saffrons are cultivated and harvested in the Karewas (high lands) of Jammu & Kashmir, by the local farmers, and are known for its unique qualities, which can only be found in saffrons grown and produced in J&K.

• The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron – longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour of stigmas, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).

• In India, GI registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003.  Darjeeling Tea(2004) is the 1st indian product to get a GI tag.

“Ramayana” becomes Highest Viewed Entertainment Programme Globally

• The epic mythological show Ramayan, by RamanandSagar, has scripted new world wide record of becoming the most watched entertainment programme in the world in 2020 as of April 16.

• This announcement was made by Doordharshan (DD) on its Twitter handle on 30 April 2020, based on the data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

• As per DD, Ramayan has also clocked the highest viewership record on a single day and has reported a viewership of 7.7 crore as of 16 April 2020.

• Besides this, the record has also contributed to make DD as one of the most viewed channels.

Science and Technology

NASA partners with private companies for Moon-to-Mars campaign

The US space agency NASA has partnered with SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics to build lunar landing systems that can carry astronauts to the moon by 2024.

The mission is accelerated under the space agency’s Moon-to-Mars campaign.For this project, the three companies will share $967 million from NASA.

Obituary

Delhi Historian RV Smith Passes Away at 81

Eminent historian, author and columnist Ronald Vivian Smith, who is best known for his writings on Delhi, passed away due to age-related ailments. He was 81.

Padma Shri Freedom Fighter HemaBharali from Assam, passes away at 101

• Assam born renowned freedom fighter and Padma Shri awardee HemaBharali passed away in Guwahati suffering from prolonged illness.She was 101.

• HemaBharali, who was born on 19 February 1919 was an Indian freedom activist, social worker, Sarvodaya leader and Gandhian known for her contributions for the empowerment of women and efforts towards the upliftment of the socially and financially challenged sections of the society.

• She had received the Padma Shri in 2005.

Appointments and Resignations

Mouhamadou Diagne Appointed Vice President of Integrity at the World Bank Group

• World Bank Group President David Malpass today announced the appointment of Mouhamadou Diagne as Vice President of Integrity (INT) at the World Bank Group.

• Mouhamadou Diagne has a deep track record in protecting institutions against fraud and corruption and a strong leadership record in ensuring accountability, most recently at the Global Fund

Books and Authors

Union Culture Minister launches e-book “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered”

• Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel launched an e-book titled “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered”.E-book was launched on the occasion of centenary year of great archaeologist Professor B. B. Lal.

• E-book titled “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered” has been prepared by the Ministry of culture along with Prof B BLal Centenary Celebration Committee.

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Important Current Affairs 24th April 2020

National

Defence Minister launched DRDO mobile testing lab

• Mobile virology research and diagnostics laboratory (MVRDL) can be positioned anywhere in the country and will be able to process over 1000 samples in a day that can speed the diagnosis.

• This mobile lab hae the capability of processing more than 1,000 samples in a day and hence, can enhance India’s capabilities.

National Shipping Board reconstituted by Government

• The National Shipping Board (NSB) has been reconstituted by the Central government and  Malini Shankar has been appointed as the head of the board. Malini is the former Director General of Shipping.

• The National Shipping Board is the premier advisory body for the Indian shipping. The board comprises sixteen members.

Banking and Economy

Remittances to India likely to decline by 23% in 2020: World Bank

• Remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 percent from $83 billion last year to $64 billion this year.

• Similarly, the global remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 percent this year, due to the economic crisis.

• Remittances to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 19.7 percent to $445 billion, from $554 billion in 2019.

Fitch Ratings sees global economy shrinking by 3.9% in 2020

• The Rating agency Fitch Ratings has slashed the global growth forecast and expects the world GDP to fall by 3.9 percent in 2020.

• The sharp downward revision is driven by a massive decline in Asian economies, led by China and India, both of which are estimated to post growth rate of less than 1 percent this year.

Obituary

Usha Ganguly, veteran theatre actor passes away

• Eminent theatre director, actor and activist, Usha Ganguly passed away. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for direction in 1998.

• She has also been honoured by the West Bengal Government as the best actress for the play Gudia Ghar.

• She was credited for introducing an alternative Hindi theatre in West Bengal, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Days

National Panchayati Raj Day

• Nation celebrates National Panchayati Raj Day on 24 April every year. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj organizes the National Panchayati Raj day or the National Local Self Government Day.

• The first National Panchayati Raj Day was declared by the then Prime Minister of India Shri Manmohan Singh, on 24 April 2010.

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace

The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace observed globally on 24 April. ‘International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace’ was first observed by the United Nations (UN) on April 24, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 21st April 2020

National

Section 115BAC of IT Act, 1961

• Section 115BAC was recently inserted into the Income-tax Act, 1961, which states that an individual or a person belonging to an undivided family earning income other than the business or profession may opt to be taxed and furnish his or her Income Tax Return under sub-section (I) of Section 139 of IT Act.

• The Section 115BAC provides a concessional rate, if the total income is computed without any specified exemption or deduction.

UP becomes first state to geo-tag community kitchens

• Uttar Pradesh became the first state on April 19, 2020 to geo-tag community kitchens. The state geo-tagged around 7,368 community kitchens and community shelters located across 75 districts. The kitchens produce 12 lakh food packets per day.

• The state has also tied up with Google to 'Geo-map' the locations of all these community kitchens on the Google Maps app for ease of the beneficiaries. The state government mobilised state resources to set up the kitchens through the medium of religious organisations and non-government organisations.

International

China begins testing of digital currency – DC/EP

• People’s Bank of China (Central Bank of China) has started testing its digital currency named Digital Currency Electronic Payment, DC/EP.

• It is built with Blockchain and Cryptographic technology. The currency is pegged 1:1 to the Chinese National Currency – the RenMinBi (RMB).

• China’s official digital currency is undergoing testing and has not been officially released.

Banking and Economy

ICICI Bank launches voice banking services on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

• Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India(ICICI) bank starts a new feature of voice banking services on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for their customers.

• The service will enable customers to #BankWithTheirVoice and get answers to banking queries, check account balance & transactions, credit card due date and more.

Fitch slashes India’s GDP growth forecast to 1.8%

• Fitch solution has reduced its GDP growth forecast for India for FY21 to 1.8% from 4.6% earlier.

Science and Technology

NASA to launch 1st crewed US mission to International Space Station

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will on May 27, 2020 launch its astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley for the first crewed mission to International Space Station (ISS) since the retirement of Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Obituary

BMW India CEO & President Rudratej Singh passes away

• BMW Group President and CEO Rudratej Singh has passed away. Rudratej was the first Indian to lead the BMW India operations. He was appointed as the head of India operations from August 1, 2019.

•  He had also held multiple leadership positions in the automotive as well as non-automotive industry.

Sports

Charles Leclerc wins Chinese Virtual Grand Prix

• Charles Leclerc of Ferrari has won the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix. The series will use the official F1 2019 PC video game, developed by Codemasters.

Appointments and Resignations

Kapil Dev Tripathi appointed Secretary to the President of India

• Kapil Dev Tripathi has been appointed as the Secretary to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. He will replace Sanjay Kothari, who was selected as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in February.

•  The appointment of Kapil Dev Tripathi has been approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Days

World Creativity and Innovation Day

• World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed globally on 21 April every year. This day is celebrated to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation in problem-solving with respect to advancing the United Nations sustainable development goals, also known as the “global goals”.

• The main objective of the day is to encourage people to use new ideas, make new decisions, and do creative thinking. Creativity is what makes the world go ‘round.

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Important Current Affairs 15th April 2020

National

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog & National Informatics Centre (NIC) jointly launches CollabCAD

• The Atal Innovation Mission (AIM), NITI Aayog and National Informatics Centre (NIC) have come together to jointly launch an innovative platform called CollabCAD for ATL schools to enable students create 3D Computer Aided Designs. It will enable students to utilize indigenous, state-of-the-art made-in-India software for 3D modeling/slicing to use 3D printing.

• CollabCAD is a collaborative network, computer enabled software system to provide a total engineering solution ranging from 2D drafting and detailing to 3D product design.

• The initiative will provide a great platform for students of Atal Tinkering Labs (ATLs) across the country to create and modify 3d designs with free flow of creativity and imagination.

Banking and Economy

Global Economy to shrink in 2020, India to grow at 1.9%

• International Monetary Fund (IMF) on April 14 has mentioned that the world economy is expected to shrink by 3.0% in 2020. 

• In its 2020 World Economic Outlook, IMF predicted the partial rebound in 2021 with the world economy growing at a rate of 5.8%. But it mentioned that the predictions are marked with uncertainty.

• While projecting the economic growth of countries, the IMF has forecasted the Indian economy to grow by 1.9% in 2020-2021. Its estimate for India is in the line with forecasts made by other International agencies.

Barclays predicts India’s GDP growth for CY2020 at 0%; For FY21 at 0.8%

• Barclays has predicted the GDP growth for India in Calendar Year 2020 at 0%. It means no economic growth.

• For FY21, Barclays has predicted GDP growth for India at 0.8%.

Appointments and Resignations

Birupaksha Mishra becomes new Executive Director of Union Bank of India

• Birupaksha Mishra becomes new Executive Director of Union Bank of India, after its amalgamation with Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank. Prior to this, Birupaksha Mishra was Executive Director at Corporation Bank.

• He started his banking career as a Probationary Officer in the year 1984. He has worked in various parts of the country and has handled Credit and Credit Monitoring Portfolio of the Bank and headed  IT vertical of the Bank.

Days

First Edition of World Chagas Disease Day Observed on 14 April 2020

• The first-ever World Chagas Disease Day is being held on 14 April 2020 and henceforth, it will be held annually.

• The aim of the day is to raise the visibility and public awareness of people with Chagas Disease (also called American trypanosomiasis) and the resources needed for the prevention, control or elimination of the disease.

• The WHO approved the designation of Chagas Disease Day on May 24, 2019 at the 72nd World Health Assembly.

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Important Current Affairs 12th April 2020

National

Delhi Government Launches “Operation SHIELD” for Containment of COVID-19

• On 9 April 2020, Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal has announced the launch of an initiative called “Operation SHIELD” in the capital city to curb the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.

• Here SHIELD stands for:

a) Sealing of the immediate area/surroundings after geographical marking

b) Home quarantine of all the people living in the area

c) Isolation and tracing of people who have been first and second contacts

d) Essential supply of commodities is ensured

e) Local sanitisation of the area by authorities

f) Door-to-door health checks of everyone living in the area

CSIR-NCL & BEL ink partnership to developed IR Thermometer and OEU

• CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune, Maharashtra has designed and developed Digital IR Thermometer and Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) to assist within the mitigation of the Coronavirus outbreak. To speed-up, the project NCL has partnered with Bharat Electronics Ltd, Pune (BEL).

• Digital Infra-Red (IR) thermometer is that the primary and important component that’s wont to measure Coronavirus infection.

• The Oxygen Enrichment Unit is that the other technology that’s in great demand within the treatment of COVID-19 patients. because the lungs of COVID-19 patients get badly affected, the OEU can do the function of a ventilator by increasing the oxygen concentration from 21-22% to 38-40% from the ambient air.

Bharat Biotech in tie-up with FluGen to develop ‘CoroFlu’ vaccine

• Bharat Biotech in tie-up with the US-based company FluGen and University of Wisconsin Madison to develop a vaccine named “Coro-Flu” to fight against COVID-19.

• CoroFlu will build on the backbone of FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR.

• The vaccine is being developed on the basis of FluGen’s flu vaccine candidate known as M2SR, a self-limited version of the influenza virus.

International

People’s Bank of China now owns 1.01% stake in HDFC
•    The People’s Bank of China (PBOC), which is the Central Bank of China now owns 1.01% stake in the Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC).
•    As per the data submitted by PBOC to BSE, it held 1.75 crore shares of HDFC during the quarter that ended in March 2020. However, PBOC already owned 0.8 percent earlier.
•    As per norms, businesses are required to disclose shareholding of over 1 percent at the end of every quarter. The disclosure has been made now by PBOC because the ownership has hit the 1 percent regulatory threshold.

Banking and Economy

Jana Small Finance Bank launches “DigiGen” digital banking platform

• Jana Small Finance Bank has launched “DigiGen” a digital banking platform where customers can digitally open a savings account and fixed deposit instantly, any time, anywhere.

• DigiGen onboarding is a three-step process to open an account.

• Bank customers are eligible for 4.5 per cent interest rates on savings account with no minimum balance and up to 7.5 per cent interest on fixed deposits.

ACC approves extension of Bank Board Bureau members’ tenure by 2 years

• The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved the extension of tenure of all members and the current part-time chairman of the Bank Board Bureau(BBB) by 2 years, which is coming to an end on April 11,2020.

• The former Secretary in the Department of Personnel and Training, Bhanu Pratap Sharma, will continue to hold the post of part-time member of the board.

Ranking

India ranks high on “Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker”.

• The “Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker” has identified India’s response to Covid-19 as one of the most stringent in the world. This data are based on tracking 73 countries.

• This tracker is created by researchers from Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The tracker is designed to systematically record government responses worldwide and aggregate the scores into a common ‘Stringency Index’.

Days

International Day of Human Space Flight 2020: History of Human in Space, Background and Other Details

• International Day of Human Space Flight 2020: The International Day of Human Space Flight 2020 was observed on April 12, 2020. The day is to celebrate the beginning of the space era for mankind, the contribution of space science and technology and to ensure the realization to maintain outer space for peaceful purposes.

• The United Nations General Assembly in its resolution on April 7, 2011, had declared April 12 to be celebrated as International Day of Human Space Flight.

• On April 12, 1961, the first human space flight was carried out by Yuri Gagarin, a Soviet citizen, who became the first person to journey into outer space. The mission opened several pathways for space exploration, which benefited the next generations.

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Important Current Affairs 5th April 2020

Banking and Economy

After SBI, Govt nominates IOB for collecting donations for PM Cares Fund

• Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), has been nominated by the government for the collection of funds of PM-Cares Fund. Till now only State Bank of India was the nominated bank for the same.

• PM Cares stands for Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-Cares Fund).

• The contributions can be made by ECS, RTGS, NEFT, IMPS, cheques and demand drafts drawn in favour of PM-Cares Fund.

Summits and Mou’s

Arogya Sanjeevani Policy Cigna launched with IRDAI guidelines

• Manipal Cigna Health Insurance company has announced the launch of its Arogya Sanjeevani Policy, ManipalCigna. This standard health cover policy in line with IRDAI from one of the 29 insurers who have received the go-ahead to launch such policies in the industry.

• Every general insurance company has to launch a standard health plan and has to have an official name Arogya Sanjeevani Policy (name of insurer) for easy comparison by the buyers.

Awards

Naveen Patnaik awarded with ‘Hero to Animals Award’ by PETA India

• Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik has been conferred with ‘Hero to Animals Award’ by animal rights body PETA India.

• He has been awarded by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) for allocating funds to feed community animals in Odisha.

Sports

World Games 2021 Postponed to avoid Clash with Tokyo Olympics

• The International World Games Association (IWGA) - the organizer of the World Games 2021 have decided to postpone the mega sporting event by nearly an year to avoid a clash with Tokyo Olympic Games.

• The 11th Edition of the World Games which had originally been planned to take place from 15–25 July 2021 have now be pushed by an year, and will be held from 7th to 17th July 2022.

• The 11th Edition of the World Games 2021 will be hosted by Birmingham, United States.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd April 2020

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.

• 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.

Obituary

Gurbani maestro Nirmal Singh Khalsa passes away

• Nirmal Singh Khalsa, a noted singer of Sikh 'Gurbani' hymns, passed away on April 2, 2020. 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.

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Important Current Affairs 31st March 2020

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.

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.

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Important Current Affairs 29th March 2020

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.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd March 2020

IRDAI Constitutes Panel Under Pravin Kutumbe to Review Guidelines on Corporate Governance Systems of Insurers

• The insurance regulator, Insurance Regulation and Development Authority (IRDAI), has set up a 16-member committee to find ways to improve its current guidelines on corporate governance systems of insurers, in a bid to further strengthen the guidelines.

• The committee will be Chaired by Shri Pravin Kutumbe, member-finance and investment at IRDAI.

• It will also consists of six other members from the insurance regulator, members from the Reserve Bank of India and the Securities and Exchange Board of India along with other industry participants.

International

Ranking

UN releases World Happiness Report 2020

• The United Nations (UN) has released the eighth edition of the annual World Happiness Report on 20 March 2020 to rank 156 countries by how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be.

• India has been ranked at 144 position among 156 nations with a score of 3.573 points on a scale of 10.

• Finland has been named as the happiest country in the world for the third year in a row while Afghanistan is the lowest ranking country.

• The World Happiness Report is an annual survey by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations.

• The Report takes into account six factors to rank a country which includes: levels of GDP, life expectancy, generosity, social support, freedom and corruption income.

Days

World Water Day

• World Water Day observed globally on 22nd March every year. World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. World Water Day celebrates water and raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. This year, World Water Day 2020 theme: “Water and Climate Change”.

• It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis. A core focus of World Water Day is to support the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

 Books and Authors

Book titled ‘Messiah Modi: A Tale of Great Expectations’ Penned by Tavleen Singh

• Tavleen Singh, one of India’s most influential columnists and political reporter and writer has come out with her new work titled “Messiah Modi: A Tale of Great Expectations”.

• The book tells about her early support for Modi the candidate, followed by a helpless disenchantment with Modi the PM and the cabinet he headed.

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