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Important Current Affairs 2nd April 2020

National

DGCA allows cargo operations using passenger category aircraft

• The Director General of Civil Aviation on April 1, 2020 granted special permission to conduct cargo operations using passenger category aircraft in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.

• The decision was taken to meet the increasing demand for cargo operations for transportation of essential goods and medical equipment during the lockdown period.

IIT Kanpur to develop low-cost portable ventilator

• Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur is developing portable ventilators which will be significantly cheaper than the ones available in the market.

• The prototype of this ventilator will be ready very soon and just after assembling, it can be used as a life support system.

• The ventilator is a very important medical equipment for COVID-19 Patients, especially those who are old and the virus can prove fatal to them.

COVID Quarantine Alert System developed

• The Department of Telecommunication and C-DOT has developed and tested a COVID Quarantine Alert System in coordination with the Telecom service providers. 
• The application will automatically trigger an email or SMS if any identified coronavirus case moves away from their quarantine location. 
• The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology has encouraged the state governments to use the COVID Quarantine Alert system to keep a track of those in home quarantine.

World Bank offers $1 billion for proposed India COVID-19 emergency

• The World Bank has offered $1 billion to the Indian government for a proposed India COVID-19 emergency response and health systems preparedness project.

• This four-year project aims to develop the preparedness of India’s health care systems in the time of the pandemic.

• The idea of the project will be to respond and mitigate the COVID-19 threat and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in India, as per the project document.

• The World Bank funding is from its COVID-19 fast-track facility where both the entities (World Bank and the government of India) will work on following the best international practice.

Banking and Economy

Nomura lowers India’s 2020 GDP growth forecast to -0.5%

• Nomura has predicted India’s GDP growth rate for the year 2020 at -0.5%. The earlier prediction was 4.5%.

• The announcement was made by Sonal Varma, MD and chief India economist at Nomura.

BhartPe & ICICI lombard tie up to launch COVID-19 insurance

• BharatPe inks partnership with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited to introduce ‘COVID-19 Protection Insurance Cover’.

• This Insurance cover for shopkeepers, who are most affected financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Centre Extends Foreign Trade Policy for One Year till March 2021

• The government has extended the existing foreign trade policy (2015-20) for one year till March 2021.

• The foreign trade policy 2015-20 was earlier valid up to March 31, 2020.

• The extension has been given amid coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown to contain the virus spread.

RBI sets WMA for Central Government at Rs 1,20,000 crore for first half of FY21

•    The Reserve Bank of India has fixed the Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for Central Government for the first half of the financial year 2020-21 (April 2020 to September 2020) at Rs. 1,20,000 crore.
•    The Reserve Bank may trigger fresh floatation of market loans when the Government of India utilizes 75% of the WMA limit.
•    Apart from this, for State Government’s WMA, RBI has increased the WMA limit by 30 percent from the existing limit for all States/UTs. It must be noted that every state government has a different WMA limit.  The revised limits will come into force with effect from April 1, 2020 and will be valid till September 30, 2020.

Science and Technology

NASA Announces Mission SunRISE to Study Causes of Giant Solar Particle Storms
•    US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has selected a new mission called the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE) to study how the Sun generates and releases giant space weather storms, known as solar particle storms, into planetary space.
•    SunRise is an array of six CubeSats operating as one very large radio telescope.
•    NASA has sanctioned USD 62.6 million to design, build and launch SunRISE.It will be launched after July 1, 2023.
 

Sports

2021 World Athletics Championships Being Moved to 2022

• The World Athletics has informed that the 2021 world athletics championships in Eugene, Oregon, United States, is now being shifted to 2022 to accommodate the re-arranged Tokyo Olympics.

• The 2020 Tokyo Games has been postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic and will now take place on July 23-August 8, 2021.

• The world athletics championships was earlier scheduled to take place in Eugene on August 6-15, 2021. It will now take place in August 2022.

Days

World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2 April

•    World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2 April.
•    The day aims to recognize and celebrate the rights of persons with autism.
•    The day makes people understand, recognize, and accept people with autism.
•    This year the day is commemorated by the Department of Community Development, Abu Dhabi, the UAE.

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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.

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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.

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Important Current Affairs 28th March 2020

National

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

• Goa becomes the first Indian state to launch a self-assessment tool for COVID-19. The self-assessment tool called Test Yourself Goa. This tool helps people identify if they are infected by the virus without visiting a doctor or hospital.

• The Goa government has partnered with Innovaccer, a US-based healthcare data analytics company that developed the self-assessment platform.

• The tool will then assist the person to take further steps by providing information on self-quarantine, helpline numbers to reach out to the concerned authorities. The tool is accessible in English, Konkani & Hindi and will also work on Smartphones.

Indian army Chief starts ‘Operation Namaste’ to combat COVID-19

• Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane has launched ‘Operation Namaste’ to extend assistance to the govt in containing the spread of coronavirus and insulate the force from the pandemic. Under the operation, the army will help the Government of India fight against the deadly disease.

• Indian Army has established 8 quarantine so far. Army has also issued guidelines for army men to keep themselves safe as it is difficult to maintain social distancing due to operational and tactical.

India’s Cleanest City Indore Becomes First in the Country to Opt for Drones to Sanitise City amid Coronavirus Scare

• Indore, the cleanest city of India in Madhya Pradesh, has deployed drones to sanitize city areas against the coronavirus outbreak.

• This makes Indore as the first city in the country to attempt to fight off the virus scare this way.

• The initiative is a first-of-its kind attempt by which crowded areas are sanitised with the help of drones sprinkling chemicals.

International

UN launches US$2 billion Global Humanitarian Response Plan to fight COVID-19

• United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres has launched a US$2.012

billion coordinated COVID-19 Global Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) to fight COVID-19 in some of the world’s most vulnerable countries.

• The Global HRP has been launched for a period of nine months (April–December 2020)

• The response plan will be coordinated by UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, and will bring together requirements from World Health Organization and other UN humanitarian agencies.

• To kick-start the response plan, $60 million has been released from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF)

Banking and Economy

Sidbi to provide loans up to Rs 50 lakh to MSEs manufacturing medical supplies to fight COVID-19

• Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will provide loans up to Rs 50 lakh to micro and small enterprises (MSEs) that are manufacturing medical supplies for fighting the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

• The Sidbi Assistance to Facilitate Emergency (SAFE) will offer loans to MSEs at a fixed interest rate of 5%and with a maximum loan repayment tenure of five years.

• The loans offered are collateral-free and will be sanctioned within 48 hours of applying and submission of documents.

CRISIL cuts India’s GDP growth forecast for FY2021 to 3.5%

• CRISIL has slashed the gross domestic product (GDP) growth forecast for FY2021 (2020-21) to 3.5% from 5.2% expected earlier.

• The cut is due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ICRA predicts India’s GDP growth for FY21 at 2%

• Rating agency ICRA has predicted the GDP Growth rate for India in 2020-21 (FY21) at 2% due to the coronavirus impact.

• For FY20, ICRA had predicted the GDP growth rate for India at 5%.

Summits and Mou’s

NTPC concludes acquisition of govt’s stake in THDC, NEEPCO at Rs 11,500 cr

• National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) concluded the acquisition of Centre’s entire stake in two hydropower generating firms, Tehri Hydro Power Complex (THDC) India and North Eastern Electric Power Corporation (NEEPCO), at Rs 11,500 crore.

• Under the deal, NTPC acquired the latter’s 74.496 % equity stake in THDC India Ltd (THDCIL) for Rs 7,500 crore & its 100% equity in North-Eastern Electric Power Corporation Limited (NEEPC) for Rs 4,000 crore respectively.

Obituary

Samajwadi Party founding member Beni Prasad passes away

• Former Union Minister and founding member of the Samajwadi party, Beni Prasad Verma passed away on March 27, 2020. He was 79.

• The Samajwadi Party tweeted condoling the death of the senior party leader saying that the demise of the leader is an irreparable loss.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2020

National

Finance Minister announces relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana

• The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Niramla Sitharaman has announced the relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana. The new relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana has been launched for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus pandemic.

Key benefeciaries of the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana:

• The scheme will benefit the poors by providing an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month to 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders. The amount would be given for the next three months.

• The scheme will benefit the 8 crore poor families by providing them Gas cylinders free of cost for the next three months.

• The scheme will benefit 8.7 crore farmers. It will ensure the payment of the first instalment of Rs 2,000 which was due in 2020-21, in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN Yojana.

• The scheme will benefit the low wage-earners earning below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses comprising less than 100 workers. Government of India has proposed to pay 24% of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for the next three months.

• The scheme will benefit 3 crore aged widows and people in Divyang category by giving them Rs 1,000 to overcome the difficulties during the next three months.

• The scheme will benefit the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Gurantee Act (MNREGA) workers as their wages would be increased by Rs 20 with effect from 1 April, 2020. This will provide an additional benefit of Rs 2,000 annually to a worker.

• The scheme will benefit women who are organised through 63 lakhs Self Help Groups (SHGs) by increasing the collateral free lending from Rs 10 lakhs to Rs 20 lakhs.

Tamil Nadu’s Nagapattinam District Bifurcated to Form Mayiladuthurai as 38th District

• Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edappadi Palaniswamy has announced the formation of a new district Mayiladuthurai by bifurcating the existing district of Nagapattinam.

• With this, the total number of districts in the state has increased to 38.

• Till date, Tamil Nadu had 37 districts, of which five new districts were formed in 2019.

IMF launches Tracker of Govt. Policies in Response to COVID-19

• The International Monetary Fund has launched a “Tracker of Policies Governments are Taking in Response to COVID-19”.

• The policy tracker outlines the key economic responses taken by the government of various countries in order to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. The policy tracker has the updated data till March 24, 2020.

• The policy tracker covers the responses on the basis of three pillars, namely:

Fiscal

Monetary And Macro-Financial

Exchange Rate And Balance Of Payments

Odisha government launches “Mo Jeeban” programme

• Odisha’s Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Mo Jeeban programme in Odisha. The “Mo Jeeban” programme was launched for the containment of COVID-19 pandemic.

• Through Mo Jeeban programme, the chief minister of Odisha urged the people of the state to take a pledge to stay indoors

International

Saudi king to chair G20 video summit on coronavirus on March 26

• Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair an emergency virtual summit of G20 leaders on March 26, 2020. The meeting is titled ‘G20 Extraordinary Virtual Leaders’ Summit on COVID-19′.

• Saudi Arabia currently holds the G20 presidency and hence is chairing the meet.

• India is a member nation of the G20 group. The other members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.

Microsoft & US CDC tie-up to create AI bot ‘Clara’

• The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has introduced an AI bot called ‘Clara’ to help people assess potential symptoms of COVID-19.

• The CDC has partnered up with CDC Foundation and Microsoft Azure’s Healthcare Bot service to create Clara, the “coronavirus self-checker” the bot is currently only available in the US on the CDC website.

Banking and Economy

NABARD Extends Financial Support of Rs 42,313 cr in FY’20 for rural infrastructure

• The apex agriculture financial institution, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has provided a financial support up to Rs 42,313 crore towards building rural infrastructure in the current fiscal year 2019-20.

• Till date, NABARD has disbursed Rs 20,869 Crore during the current year in addition to providing Rs 5,686 Crore for rural connectivity

• In the last five years, NABARD has disbursed Rs 1.98 lakh crore towards rural development.

Summits and Mou’s

Cabinet approves MoUs between India & Germany in railway sector

• The Union Cabinet recently approved a Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) between India and Germany for cooperation in the Railway Sector. The agreement was signed earlier in February 2020 between both the sides.

• From Indian side, the agreement was signed by the Ministry of Railways and from Germany side, DB Engineering and Consulting GMBH was the signatory.

Obituary

“Asterix and Obelix” co-creator Albert Uderzo passes away

The co-creator of the “Asterix and Obelix” comics, Albert Uderzo passed away. Albert Uderzo produced Asterix in 1959 along with the fellow Frenchman and writer Rene Goscinny. “Asterix and Obelix” entertained its audience over the past 60 years.

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Important Current Affairs 25th March 2020

National

Cabinet approved the continuation of RoSCTL scheme from 1 April

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved for continuation of Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies (RoSCTL) scheme from 1 April 2020.

• Until then, the scheme will be merged with the Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products (RoDTEP). It is expected to make the textile sector competitive by rebating all taxes and levies that are currently not being rebated under any other mechanism.

Delhi Government Announces Rs 100-cr “Branding Delhi” scheme to make Delhi tourism brand

• The Delhi government has announced a new scheme titled “Branding Delhi”, to introduce the national capital as a tourism brand to domestic and foreign tourists and create news jobs in the sector.

• The Rs 100-crore scheme will re-brand Delhi tourism and the city will be introduced as a tourism brand in the country and abroad to domestic and foreign tourists.

Deadline for GST returns extended to 30 June

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has extended the last date for filing GST returns for March, April, and May to 30 June.

• The previous date for filing of GST returns was March 31, 2020.

• The deadline for composition returns on GST has been also been extended to 30 June 2020.

International

US & UAE troops launch biennial exercise “Native Fury”

• US Marines and UAE Emirati forces conducted the biennial exercise, named Native Fury at Abu Dhabi. The biennial exercise, called Native Fury, shows the close ties between American forces and the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula home to Abu Dhabi.

• The forces seize a sprawling model Middle Eastern city, a drill conducted amid tensions with Iran and despite the new coronavirus pandemic.

• It also comes after the U.S. killed Iran’s most prominent general in a drone strike in January, and Tehran retaliated with a ballistic missile attack on American forces in Iraq.

WHO applauds India's efforts to combat against Coronavirus

• The World Health Organization (WHO) recently applauded the efforst made by India to contain the spread of Covid-19 in the nation.

• The Executive Director of WHO, Michael J. Raynan said recognised that there is a tremendous potential in India to deal with Coronavirus pandemic. Earlier, India has been succesful in eradicating Smallpox and Polio pandemics.

Banking and Economy

SBI Commits 0.25% of FY21 annual profit to help fight COVID-19

• India’s biggest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has announced to provide 0.25 percent of its annual profit for 2020-21 to fight the coronavirus outbreak in India.

• This is in line with the Ministry of Corporate Affairs’ notification on 23 March 2020, for spending CSR funds by companies to deal with the coronavirus outbreak as corporate social responsibility (CSR) activity under the companies law.

IMF says COVID-19 might cause a global recession

• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that the COVID-19 pandemic will cause a global recession in 2020.

• The recession could be worse than the global financial crisis of 2008-2009.

• It is also expected that the world economic output should recover in 2021.

• The information was passed by the IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva.

Karur Vysya Bank Launches Pre-paid Card ‘Enkasu’ in Karur District

• In line with the digital initiative of the Government of India, Karur Vysya Bank has launched a pre-paid card named ‘Enkasu’ in Karur, to reduce the usage of cash in the district.

• The bank has launched the Enkasu card under its Quit Cash Movement, to do away with the need for cash and it will be beneficial to both merchants and customers alike.

• Enkasu works on Near Field Communication Technology in a semi closed loop.

Awards

Sunil Chhetri selected for FIFA campaign against Covid-19

• The campaign titled ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’ has been launched to combat the coronavirus. The awareness campaign will be led by the 28 players, who will be involved in the video campaign to be published in 13 languages, include some of the best-known players like Argentine superstar Lionel Messi and World Cup winners like Philip Lahm, Iker Casillas and Carles Puyol.

• The ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’ campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on handwashing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

Appointments and Resignations

Sameer Aggarwal appointed as CEO of Walmart India

• Sameer Aggarwal has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Walmart India. He will taker over as CEO from Krish Iyer with effect from 1st April 2020.

• After assuming the charge as CEO of Walmart India, he will focus on building more digital, and omni-channel services at the retailer.

Days

International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade

• The United Nations’ (UN) observes the International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade on 25 March every year.

• The day aims to honour and remember those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system and also raise awareness about the dangers of racism and prejudice today.

• 2020 Theme: “Confronting Slavery’s Legacy of Racism Together”

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Important Current Affairs 24th March 2020

National

Shivraj Singh Chouhan appointed as Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh for 4th time

• BJP politician Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been appointed as the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh on March 23, 2020. He has been appointed for the fourth time.

• This comes after the Madhya Pradesh chief minister (ex) Kamal Nath resigned from his post on March 20, 2020, as his government fell short of the majority mark.

• The trigger of the downfall of Congress in Madhya Pradesh was Jyotiraditya M. Scindia leaving the Congress on 11 March, taking with him 22 MLAs.

India to be in lockdown for 21 days from 25 March 2020

• Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has announced the complete lockdown of the entire nation, as part of government’s stringent efforts to tackle coronavirus disease Covid-19.

• The entire country will be under lockdown from 25 March 2020. This lockdown will be in place for 21 days. This is the second time in a week when he addressed the country on the fast-spreading disease with flu-like symptoms that has infected more than 3.5 lakh people and killed over 16,000.

1st ‘Made in India’ COVID19 Test Kit gets CDSCO approval

• “Mylab PathoDetect COVID-19 Qualitative PCR kit” has become the first ‘Made in India’ COVID19 Test Kit to get the CDSCO approval.

• Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO) has given the commercial approval to the COVID-19 diagnostic test kit made by Mylab Discovery Solutions Pvt Ltd which is also known as the Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) test.

India’s first COVID-19 dedicated hospital comes up in Mumbai by Reliance

• Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has set up India’s first COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai.A dedicated 100 bedded COVID-19 centre has been established at Seven Hills Hospital, Mumbai for patients who test positive for COVID-19.

• Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital has done this in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC).

• This first-of-its-kind-in-India centre is fully funded by Reliance Foundation and includes a negative pressure room that helps in preventing cross-contamination and helps control infection.

IOC becomes 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across India

• India’s biggest oil firm, Indian Oil Corporation Limited has started supplying BS-VI fuel across India. With this, Indian Oil Corporation Limited has become 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across its 28,000 petrol pumps.

•  The Government of India has set 01st April 2020 as the deadline to start the supply of BS-VI emission compliant fuels. Therefore, from 01st April 2020, India will become the part of select league of nations which are using cleanest petrol and diesel across the country to cut vehicular emissions.

International

India-Belgium extradition agreement

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the signing of Extradition Treaty between India and Belgium.

• The new treaty between India and Belgium will replace the pre-independence treaty signed between Britain and Belgium in the year 1901, which was also applicable to India before independence.

• According to the treaty, each party consents to the extradition of a person from the other party who is accused of an extradition offence in the border area of his or her country.

Banking and Economy

RBI to purchase bonds in advance to boost economy

• The Reserve Bank has decided to buy bonds worth more than thirty thousand crores amid COVID-19 crisis.

• The Reserve Bank said that 15-15 thousand crore rupees will be imposed in two instalments on 24 March and 30 March.

• The Reserve Bank of India will increase the cash flow to maintain financial stability because of Coronavirus infection. Due to the coronavirus, the economy worldwide is going through a phase of lethargy.

UBS predicts India’s FY21 real GDP growth rate at 4%

• UBS Securities has cut India’s growth forecast for FY21 to 4%  from the previous 5.1%. The decrease is due to the coronavirus outbreak.

• UBS predicts India to grow at 4.8% in FY20.

S&P predicts Indias GDP growth forecast for FY21 at 5.2%; FY22- 6.9%; FY23 and FY24 at 7%

• S&P Global Ratings has revised its GDP Growth rate projection for India for FY21 from 6.5% earlier to 5.2%. This is due to the coronavirus outbreak.

• The GDP projection for the following financial years as per S&P is as follows:

• 2021-22 (FY22)- 6.9%

• 2022-23 (FY23)- 7%

• 2023-24 (FY24)- 7%.

Sports

Tokyo Olympics 2020 postponed until 2021

• As per the information shared by an International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Dick Pound, the Tokyo Olympics 2020 might be postponed until 2021.

• The Tokyo Olympics was scheduled to take placed in the mid of 2020. However, due to the outbreak of Covid-19, coronavirus, the games are likely to be rescheduled.

Ranking

India ranked 120 in the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom

• India has been ranked at 120 position in the 2020 Index of Economic Freedom published by Heritage Foundation Index. The index has been topped by Singapore.

• Hong Kong is on second in the ranking followed by New Zealand on the third. North Korea is at the last position at 180th place. Though there are 6 countries that are not ranked.

• The Index was first published in 1995 and Hong Kong has topped the charts ever since. This is the first time that Hong Kong has been replaced from the 1st position.

Days

World Tuberculosis Day

• World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed globally on 24th March every year. This day is to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.

• The theme of World TB Day 2020: ‘It’s time’.

International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims

• International Day for the Right to the Truth Concerning Gross Human Rights Violations and for the Dignity of Victims is observed annually on 24th March every year.

• This day is observed on 24th March every year to pay tribute to “Monsignor Óscar Arnulfo Romero” as he was murdered on 24 March 1980. He was actively engaged in criticizing violations of the human rights of the most vulnerable individuals in El Salvador.

Books and Authors

A book title ‘Legacy Of Learning’ released

Award-winning businesswoman Savita Chhabra has launched her first novel titled ‘Legacy of Learning’. Savita Chhabra is the chairperson at Hygienic Research Institute Private Limited (HRIPL).

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Important Current Affairs 23rd March 2020

National

Govt Forms 21-member high level committee of medical experts under V K Paul for prevention & control of COVID-19

• The Government of India has constituted a high level technical committee of Public Health Experts to provide guidance about the prevention and control activities for COVID-19 in the country.

• The 21 member committee will be headed by NITI Aayog member Dr V K Paul.

• Union Health Secretary Preeti Sudan and Director General Indian Council of Medical Research are the Co-Chair.

Satyarup Siddhanta becomes first Indian to complete volcanic Seven Summit

• India's mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta has recently climbed the highest volcano in seven continents and recorded his name in the 'Limca Book of Records'.

• He holds the record for becoming the first Indian to climb the highest volcano in all the 7 continents of the world. Earlier, in January 2019, he achieved the record of climbing the highest peak of the seven continents of the world.

• He already has registered his name in Guinness Book of World Records, India Book of Records, Asia Book of Records, British Book of Records and Champion Book of Records.

Delhi Government presents Rs. 65,000 crore Budget 2020-21 in State Assembly

• Delhi's Finance Minister Manish Sisodia on March 23, 2020 presented Rs. 65,000 crore Delhi Budget 2020-21 in the state assembly. Before presenting the state budget, Minister Sisodia placed the Economic Survey 2019-20 in the House.

• The budget lays special emphasis on education. During the session, all the MLAs sat one meter away amid the fear of deadly coronavirus.

IOC Becomes First Company to Begin Supply of BS-VI fuel Across Country

• Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), the biggest oil firm of India, has successfully rolled out the supply of the BS-VI grade fuel, with all its 28,000 petrol pumps dispensing ultra-low sulphur fuel across the country.

• With this, the company is first in the Country to completely switch to world’s cleanest petrol and diesel, two weeks before the April 1 deadline.

• The government had set April 1, 2020 as the deadline for starting supply of ultra-low sulphur BS-VI (equivalent to Euro-VI grade emission compliant fuels) petrol and diesel.

• BS-VI has a sulphur content of just 10 ppm and emission standards are as good as CNG.

Banking and Economy

RBI to conduct variable rate Repo auctions for Rs 1,00,000 crores

• The Reserve Bank of India has decided to conduct the variable rate Repo auctions as a preventive measure to bridge over any frictional liquidity requirements caused by COVID-19.

• As per the circular, the Reserve Bank of India will conduct fine-tuning variable rate Repo auctions for Rs 1,00,000 crores in two tranches.

• The central bank has also decided to allow standalone Primary Dealers to participate in fine-tuning variable rate Repo auctions along with other eligible participants.

Obituary

Former Real Madrid President Lorenzo Sanz Passes Away at 76 after Contracting Coronavirus

• The former Real Madrid President Lorenzo Sanz has passed away after being tested postive for the novel COVID-19 pandemic. He was 76.

• Sanz was in charge of the Spanish football club from 1995 to 2000, in which they won two Champions League titles and one La Liga crown among other trophies.

Days

Shaheed Diwas 2020 observed in India to commemorate Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru

• India observed the Shaheed Diwas 2020 (Martyr's Day) on March 23, 2020 to commemorate the sacrifices made by freedom fighters Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru during the Indian Freedom Struggle.

•  On March 23, 1931, all these three freedom fighters were hanged till death for their involvement in the case 'Lahore Conspiracy'.

World Meteorological Day

• The World Meteorological Day is celebrated every year on 23 March to commemorate the date of the establishment of the World Meteorological Organization in 23 March 1950

• The day also highlights the contribution that the National Meteorological and Hydrological Services make to the safety and well-being of society.

• The theme for 2020 World Meteorological Day is ‘Climate and Water’.

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Important Current Affairs 21st March 2020

National

Government Approves Setting Up of National Technical Textile Mission for 4 Years

• The government has approved the proposal for creation of National Technical Textiles Mission for a period of 4 years from 2020-21 to 2023-24.

• The total outlay of the mission has been estimated at Rs.1480 crores.

•  The focus of the Mission for holistic development of entire technical textile sector on pan-India basis in various flagship missions and programmes of the country.

Railway Ministry to Electrify all 28,810 km Broad Gauge (BG) Routes by December 2023

• Piyush Goyal-led Ministry of Railways has planned to electrify all the remaining 28,810 km of Broad Gauge (BG) Routes of Indian Railways by December 2023.

• The proposed electrification of BG Routes will be done in the following manner:

• 2019-20 – 6,000 km of broad gauge route has been planned to be electrified in 2020-21 – 6,000 km,in 2021-22 – 6,000 km, in 2022-23 – 6,500 km and in 2023-24 (upto Dec-23) – 4,310 km.

• Apart from this, the Railway Ministry has also planned to source around 1000 megawatt (MW) of solar power as part of its solar mission and around 200 MWt of wind power based on the techno-commercial assessment.

Banking and Economy

RBI to infuse Rs 30,000 crore to boost liquidity

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will infuse liquidity of Rs 30,000 crore to maintain financial stability in the Indian economy.

• RBI has took this decision to boost liquidity in order to ensure that all markets segments function normally with adequate liquidity and turnover, as certain financial market segments are facing stress due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Summits and Mou’s

APEDA signs MoU with SFAC for development of agriculture sector

• Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC) has signed an Memorandum of Understanding.

• The MoU aims for the development of agriculture and allied sectors as well as its exports for bringing better value to the stakeholders.

•  The two organizations are also working towards linking of Farmer Producer organizations, farmers’ cooperatives to the export value chain

Days

International Day of Forests

• International Day of Forests is celebrated every year on 21 March. The day is being celebrated to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests. On this day, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees.

• These activities includes tree planting campaigns. Every year, a theme is decided by the by the Collaborative Partnership on Forests. The theme for International Day of Forests 2020: Forests and Biodiversity.

International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

• The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed globally on 21 March every year. The day is celebrated annually on 21 March as on this day in 1960, the police in Sharpeville, South Africa, opened fire and killed 69 people at a peaceful demonstration against apartheid “pass laws”.

•  International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2020 is focused on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

World Down Syndrome Day

• World Down Syndrome Day is observed every year on 21 March. In December 2011, the General Assembly declared 21 March as World Down Syndrome Day to raise public awareness of Down syndrome.

• Down syndrome occurs in an individual when he/she has an extra partial (or whole) copy of chromosome 21. The theme of World Down Syndrome Day 2020 is “We Decide”.

World Poetry Day

• World Poetry Day is observed globally on 21 March every year. World Poetry Day is being observed annually to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.

•  It also aims to encourage a return to the oral tradition of poetry recitals, to encourage the teaching of poetry as well as to restore a dialogue between poetry and the other arts such as theatre, dance, music and painting.

Obituary

• Legendary Indian Footballer PK Banerjee Passes Away at 83.India’s Football legend Pradip Kumar Banerjee has passed away after battling prolonged illness. He was 83.

• He won the gold medal at the Jakarta Asian Games in 1992.Banerjee has scored 65 international goals in 84 appearances for the national team.

• He was the recipients of some of the most prestigious awards including Arjuna Award in 1961, Padma Shri in 1990 and FIFA Order of Merit in 2004.

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Important Current Affairs 20th March 2020

National

PM Modi appeals for ‘Janta Curfew’ on 22nd March

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has appeals “Janta Curfew” on Sunday (22nd March) within the wake of COVID 19 outbreak. It’ll be self-imposed and self-regulated and can be effective from 7 within the morning till 9 within the evening. The Prime Minister was addressing the state last evening in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

Important facts of Janta Curfew:

• PM Modi urged countrymen to thank people like doctors, medical personnel and cleaning staff for his or her service on Sunday at 5 PM.

• PM Modi requested all people to exit of the house within the coming few weeks as long as extremely necessary and work from home the maximum amount as possible.

• Pm Modi urged senior citizens above the age of 65 years to remain reception within the coming days.

• The Prime Minister also appealed to the businessmen to require care of th economic needs of their employees by not deducting their salary if they’re unable to return to figure.

• The government of India has decided to constitute a Task Force under the Chairmanship of the minister of finance which can interact with all the stakeholders.

• PM Modi acknowledged that for a developing country like India with an enormous population, coronavirus won’t be easy to affect.

MP CM Kamal Nath resigns before Floor Test

• Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh, Kamal Nath submitted his resignation on March 20, 2020, ahead of the floor test due to the reduced majority in 230-member MP legislative assembly.

• The numbers favoured the Bhartiya Janata Party. In a press conference, Kamal Nath accused the BJP of toppling his government in the State since its formation in December 2018.

Goa govt launches chatbot named Cobot-19 to create awareness on coronavirus

• Government of Goa has launched a Chatbot named Cobot-19 to create awareness among people about Coronavirus.

• Cobot-19 will act as a one-stop source of information for citizens of Goa on COVID-19 and its various aspects.

• The Chatbot has been developed in association with Portea Medical and Verloop.

International

Whatsapp chatbot to respond to coronavirus queries

• The Whatsapp Chatbot number is 9013151515. The information was shared by NPPA - National Pharmaceuticals Pricing Authority.

• The Information Hub has been launched by WhatsApp in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

25 million jobs on stake due to Coronavirus: UN agency

• According to the ILO, United Nations agency, the Coronavirus pandemic is threatening about 25 million jobs worldwide. If governments do not take any effective steps fast and do not make the right policy for this, unemployment will increase more.

• The International Labor Organization (ILO) has warned that there may be an economic crisis worldwide, which will make people's jobs difficult.

• The ILO proposes that people working in certain sectors should also get financial assistance. However, the ILO also said that if countries take effective steps, as it did during the 2008-09 recession, unemployment could be reduced.

Banking and Economy

DBS Bank & Bharti AXA teams up for plans covering Covid-19

• DBS Bank India has teamed-up with Bharti AXA to launch a complimentary insurance plan which will cover all medical conditions, including Covid-19.

• The insurance plan will also include up to 10 days of hospitalisation along with a cover of Rs 5,000 per day for a 30-day period. The health insurance products will be accessible to all the customers of DBS through digibank app. It will also offer Emergency Global Medical Assist Program which provides 24×7 access to medical support.

Summits and Mou’s

Defence Ministry signs Rs 880 crore agreement for light machine guns with Israel

• Union Defence Ministry recently signed Rs 880 crore capital acquisition contract with the Israel Weapons Industries (IWI) for over 16000 light machine guns.

• As per the contract, the Israeli firm will provide Negev 7.62x51 mm light machine guns to the Armed Forces of India. Several countries are already using these guns.

Sports

Greece hands over Olympic flame to Tokyo 2020

• The Olympic Flame was handed over to Tokyo 2020 organizers after the Greece leg of torch relay suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

•  Due to the virus outbreak, the Greek leg of the torch relay was suspended a day after the Flame was lit at a ritual ceremony held on March 12 at ancient Olympia, the birthplace of the Olympic Games 25 centuries ago, in western Greece.

• The ceremony, which happened at Athens’ iconic Panathenaic stadium, didn’t include the planned cultural ceremonies from Greece or Japan.

Appointments and Resignations

Former SBI Head Arundhati Bhattacharya Resigns from CRISIL Board

• Arundhati Bhattacharya, the ex-chairman of State Bank of India, has submitted her resignation as an Independent Director of the Crisil Ltd (a global analytical company providing ratings, research, and risk and policy advisory services).

• The reason for her resignation is to accept the role as a full time Chairperson and CEO for the India operations of Salesforce, USA, the global giant in customer-relationship management (CRM) service.

• Currently, she is also the chairman of SWIFT India, part of a global payments network.

Ranking

India becomes third largest electricity producer in the world

• India has become the third-largest electricity producer in the world, as its power generation has increased to 34% by 2017 compared to seven years ago.

• Now, the country produces more energy than Japan and Russia seven years ago, compared to India, which were installing 27% and 8.77% more power generation capacity respectively.

• According to a report by India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF), a trust set up by the Ministry of Commerce, electricity generation stood at 1,003.525 billion units from April 2017 to January 2018.

Days

International Day of Happiness observed globally on 20 March

• International Day of Happiness is celebrated globally on 20th March every year. The 2020 International Day of Happiness campaign theme is ‘Happiness For All, Together’.

• International Day of Happiness campaign theme is a call on all 7.8 billion members of the global human family, and all 206 nations and territories of planet earth, to unite in solidarity, and steadfast resolve, in fighting back against the COVID 19 Coronavirus.

India ranks second in probes on foreign bribery, enforcement drags globally; Top- Brazil

• India has been ranked at the second place in terms of the number of investigations concerning alleged bribery of domestic officials by foreign firms as per the 10th Annual Global Enforcement Report of TRACE International.

• Brazil has topped the report. China is on third.

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