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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.

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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 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 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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Important Current Affairs 17th March 2020

National

Prime Minister Narendra Modi Pledges $10 Million towards COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC Nations

• The Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi has led an initiative to create a COVID-19 Emergency Fund for SAARC nations, amid rising cases of the disease in the region.

• PM Modi has also pledged US$ 10 million to start the fund.

• PM said that the fund could be based on voluntary contributions from all the SAARC members.

• The fund can be used by any of the 8 member states to meet the cost of immediate actions.

• SAARC nations inlcude: India, Pakistan, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, the Maldives, and Bhutan

Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020 tabled in Lok Sabha

•           The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020 was on March 17, 2020 tabled in the Lok Sabha. The new amendment bill decriminalises major offences mentioned in the Companies Act, 2013.

•  The Bill aims to boost ease of doing business in India by proposing 72 amendments in the existing Act. It proposes monetary penalties for violations committed by startups.

World’s First Flying Car Will Be Manufactured In Gujarat, India

• The world’s first commercial flying car named ‘PAL-V Liberty’ will be developed in Gujarat, India.

• Dutch company PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) will develop this car.

• PAL-V has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gujarat’s Industries Principal Secretary MK Das to set up a manufacturing facility in Gujarat.

International

Top tech giants to jointly fight against COVID-19 misinformation

•  The top tech giants of the world will jointly fight against the fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19 on their platforms. The top giants which have announced a fight against the fake news includes Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Microsoft, Reddit, Twitter and YouTube.

•    These companies are working closely to have a check on the fake news and misinformation related to COVID-19.

Philippines becomes 1st country to suspend all financial markets

•   The Phillipines has become the first country of the world to suspend all financial markets. The financial shutdown was confirmed from the statements from the Philippine Stock Exchange and the Bankers Association of the Philippines.

•  The Philippine Stock Exchange was closed on 17th of March indefinitely, while currency and bond trading were suspended. The decision to suspend the financial markets was taken in response to the coronavirus pandemic. Phillipines authorities cited risks to the safety of traders as the key reason of shutdown.

Banking and Economy

EPFO cuts interest rate to 8.5 percent

• The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) reduced the interest rate on the Employees Provident Fund to 8.5 percent for 2019-20. The EPFO's Central Board of Trustees (CBT) has taken this decision for its six crore users.

• CBT is the apex decision-making body associated with EPFO. The interest rate on the provident fund for the financial year 2018-19 was 8.65 percent.

Sports

Indian Paddler Sharath Kamal Clinches 2020 Oman Open Table Tennis Tournament

• Ace Indian table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal has won the 2020 ITTF Challenge Series Plus Oman Open in Muscat on 15 March 2020.

• The 37-year-old Tamil Nadu veteran beat top-seeded Marcos Freitas of Portugal 4-2 in the final.

• The last time when Sharath bagged a title at ITTF event was in 2010 when he won Egypt Open.

Days

National Vaccination Day

•  In India, the National Vaccination Day (also known as National Immunisation Day (IMD)) is observed on 16 March ever year, to raise the awareness for the eradication of polio from the planet.

•  The day was first observed on 16 March, 1995 when the first dose of an oral vaccine against polio was given in India.

Books and Authors

An Extraordinary Life: A biography of Manohar Parrikar’ to be Released in April 2020

• A book on the life and times of bureaucrat-turned-politician and former Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, is set to hit stands in April 2020.

• The book titled “An Extraordinary Life: A biography of Manohar Parrikar” has been written by veteran journalists Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar.

• It is being published by publishing house Penguin Random House India.

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Important Current Affairs 15th March 2020

National

India’s 1st digital parcel locker service launched in West Bengal

• The Department of Posts, Kolkata (West Bengal circle), has launched free digital parcel locker service in 2 post offices Nabadiganta IT post office of Salt Lake City & post office in New Town’s Action Area.

• Under this service, customers will be able to collect their parcel from the post office according to their convenience.

• This facility is quite popular in European countries but is starting for the first time in India. This service has been done for such people of working-class, who do not have to receive any parcel at home. Such people can take their parcel and letters addressed to them from the kiosks at 24×7.

Central Government declares coronavirus as ‘notified disaster’

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has decided to treat Covid-19 as a “notified disaster”.

• This will enable the states to spend a larger chunk of funds from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) to fight the pandemic virus.

• The step has been taken for the purpose of providing assistance under the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs 4 lakhs to families of those who die of Coronavirus.

• Earlier this week, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has declared coronavirus a pandemic and Europe as its epicentre.

UP govt launches three schemes for skill development in the state

Uttar Pradesh government has launched three ambitious schemes for skill development and employment generation for youths in the state. The three schemes are Kaushal Satrang, Yuva Hub and apprenticeship scheme in Lucknow. UP government also announced to depute ”Arogya Mitras” at all primary health centres to inform people about govt health schemes.

Kaushal Satrang Scheme

• Kaushal Satrang scheme is a skill development scheme with 7 components to help provide job opportunities to the youth.Under this scheme, each district will organize Mega job fair.

Yuva Hub’ Scheme

Yuva Hub’ scheme was allocated Rs 1,200 crore in the state budget and it aims at providing employment to thousands of skilled youth by assisting in project concept and financial help for one year of operation. It will also facilitate setting up of 30,000 startups in the state. IIM (Indian Institutes of Management) Lucknow is the knowledge partner of this scheme.

CM apprenticeship scheme

CM apprenticeship scheme will provide a stipend of Rs 2500 to the youth of the state.

Banking and Economy

Lava launches World’s first ‘no internet’ payment service in India

• Smartphone manufacturer Lava, has launched a payment app named Lava Pay which doesn’t requires an active internet connection for fund transfer.

• Lava claims it to be the world’s first’no internet’ payment service. The app will help boost Digital India initiative of the Government as well as bringing financial inclusivity for a large population of the county.

Govt appoints new board of directors for Yes Bank

• The government of India has notified the reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank which has been placed under moratorium by Reserve Bank of India. The moratorium will be lifted on March 18.

• Under the scheme, Prashant Kumar has been appointed as MD and CEO of Yes Bank. He is a former chief financial officer at State Bank of India.Sunil Mehta has been appointed as the non-executive chairman of Yes Bank. He is the former non-executive chairman of state-owned Punjab National Bank.Mahesh Krishnamurthy and Atul Bheda will be the non-executive directors.

• Under the reconstruction scheme, SBI, will hold up to 49 per cent in Yes Bank. SBI has approved an investment of Rs 7,250 crore (725 crore shares at Rs 10 each).Apart from this, 4 private banks will also chip in money in Yes Bank. These are- HDFC- Rs 1,000 Crore; ICICI Bank- Rs 1,000 Crore; Axis Bank- Rs 600 Crore; Kotak Mahindra Bank- Rs 500 Crore.

RBI reduces Limits on exposure to group of borrowers for UCB to 25%

• The Reserve Bank of India has reduced the prudential exposure limits for Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) for group of connected borrowers/parties from 40% to 25%.

• Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) were permitted to have exposures up to 15 per cent and 40 per cent of their capital funds to a single borrower and a group of borrowers, respectively.

Days

World Consumer Rights Day

• World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated globally on March 15 every year. It is a day marked to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs.

• Celebrating World Consumer Rights Day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

• Consumer rights broadly mean that each consumer has the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity, purity, price and standard of goods or services.

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Important Current Affairs 13th March 2020

National

Facebook launches ‘Pragati’ to boost women entrepreneurship in India

• Facebook India has launched its CSR initiative, Facebook Pragati to promote women entrepreneurship in India.

• The initiative will incubate and accelerate early-stage women-led non-profits that are working to drive women entrepreneurship and to spread awareness and adoption of technology among women in India.

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 approved by Parliament

• Indian Parliament recently approved Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with an aim to promote the Indian coal and mining sector along with the ease of doing business in this sector.

• With the increase in coal production, India’s dependence on imports will be reduced. Earlier, the Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha.

Parliament passes Vivad se Vishwas Bill 2020

• The Upper House of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha passed the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 and sent it back to the Lok Sabha on March 13, 2020.

• The money bill seeks to resolve over 4 lakh direct tax cases pending in Indian courts. 

Government allows without referral treatment to CGHS beneficiaries over 75 years

• Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan has clarified that the CGHS beneficiaries aged 75 years and above can take the facility of treatment without a referral.

• He also said that only non-emergency situations will require approval for treatments and tests that are not listed.

Banking and Economy

SBI removes minimum balance charges from all savings bank accounts

• The State Bank of India has waived off the minimum balance charges on all savings bank accounts. SBI has waive charges for non-maintenance of Average Monthly Balance (AMB) for all 44.51 crore savings bank accounts.

• Earlier, SBI was levying a penalty of Rs 5 to Rs 15 along with taxes on non-maintenance of average monthly balance of Rs 3000, Rs 2000 and Rs 1000 in metro, semi urban and rural areas respectively

Acquisitions and Mergers

SpiceJet to set up warehousing & distribution facility at GAHSL

• An Indian low-cost airline, SpiceJet has signed a pact with GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL). According to the pact, SpiceJet will set up warehousing, distribution and trading facility in the aerospace and industrial park of GHASL.

• “Ready-to-Use” industrial infrastructure is offered by the park with the flexibility of choosing land within SEZ for business purposes.

Sports

India vs South Africa 2nd ODI, 2020 to be played without an audience

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently announced that the India vs South Africa second ODI match will be played without audience or spectators in Lucknow.

• Even the third ODI match between India and South Africa will be played at the empty stadium at Eden Gardens. The move has been taken amid the spread of COVID-19 virus.

Ranking

India Ranks World’s 2nd Biggest Arms Importer While Placed at 23rd in Exporters List: SIPRI Report

• The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released its annual “Trends in international arms transfers 2019” report to determine the International transfers of major arms during the five-year period 2015–19.

• As per the data, India was the second largest arms importer in the world during the period 2015-19. Russia was the largest supplier of arms to India.

• Saudi Arabia was the largest arms importer in the world during the same period.

India ranks second in Global Animal Protection Index 2020

• India gets the second rank in Global Animal Protection Index 2020. This Index was released by International animal welfare charity “World Animal Protection” released.

• The Animal Protection Index (API) aims to showcase where countries are doing well, and where they fall short on animal welfare policy and legislation.

• The index ranks countries from A (being the highest score) to G (being the weakest score) according to their policy and legislation. India has attained a C ranking in the index.

India ranks 46th in ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2020’

• India secured 46th rank in the Inclusive Internet Index 2020 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Pakistan got the 76th rank on the list.

• In this index, Sweden ranks first, New Zealand is second and America is third. The worst countries are Burundi (100), Liberia (99), Madagascar (98), Malawi (97) and Burkina Faso (96).

• India is at the top among South Asian countries followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This list includes 100 countries of the world and ranks are scaled from 1 (best) to 100 (worst).

Days

National Crime Records Bureau celebrated its 35th Inception Day

• The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 35th Inception Day on 12th March 2020.

• On the occasion of inception day of NCRB, Union Minister of State for Home Shri Nityanand Rai launched Crime Multi Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) and National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC).

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Important Current Affairs 12th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Sensex, Nifty tumble after COVID-19 declared as Pandemic:

• Indian stocks entered the bear market on March 11, 2020 following the declaration of COVID-19 Coronavirus as Pandemic by the World Health Organisation (WHO). Both BSE Sensex and NSE Nifty fell by 7 percent.

• The worst affected was the aviation sector as the stocks of major industry players Spicejet and InterGlobe fell by 19 percent following the suspension of travel visas by the central government till April 15, 2020.

Biennial Civil Aviation Business Exhibition ‘Wings India 2020’ Begins in Hyderabad:

• The four-day civil aviation business exhibition and air show titled ‘Wings India 2020’ kick-started on 12 March 2020 at Begumpet airport, Hyderabad. It will continue till March 15.

• However, the programme will be formally inaugurated on 13 March 2020 by the Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.

• The theme of the biennial event is ‘flying for all’.

• The event has been organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Maharashtra Assembly approves caste validity certificate bill:

• The Maharashtra State Assembly recently approved a bill exempting gram panchayat members of the state from submitting caste validity certificates while filing the nominations.

• The contesting candidates will now be allowed to submit the caste validity certificate within one year of winning the elections. The caste validity certificate is proof of an individual’s caste.

Infosys, Qualcomm tie-up to provide Smart City Solutions in India:

Infosys and Qualcomm have come together to provide smart city solutions in India. In this regard, both the companies signed an agreement wherein facilities like Smart Venues, Smart Stadiums and Smart Event Management will be offered to Indian Smart Cities.

Leh to host International Yoga Day 2020; PM Modi to lead main event:

• Ladakh’s capital Leh will host the main national event of the International Yoga Day 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the event on June 21, 2020.

• Over 15000 people are expected to attend the event and perform Yoga in such a high altitude location.

Govt sets up development council for pulp, paper and allied industries:

• Central Government has formed a 25-member development council for pulp, paper and allied industries with an objective to increase the growth of this sector.

• A S Mehta is the chairman of the council. He is the President of J K Paper Ltd.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US Supreme Court allows controversial 'Remain in Mexico' asylum policy to stay:

• The Supreme Court of the United States directed on March 11, 2020 that the controversial "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy can continue to stay in effect till a proper legal resolution is reached. 

• The order is a victory for the Trump administration, which has been pushing for the controversial policy to continue. The administration had warned that there would be a rush to the border if the policy was blocked by the courts.

• The “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy mandates the non-Mexican asylum seekers to return to Mexico as they await hearings in the United States.

SUMMIT AND MOU

Centre, Himachal Pradesh, World Bank sign $80 million loan agreement to boost agricultural productivity:

• The union government, state government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank signed an $80 million loan agreement on March 11, 2020 to boost agricultural productivity and improve water management practices in select gram panchayats.

• The integrated project will be implemented in 428-gram panchayats in 10 districts of Himachal Pradesh. The project is expected to benefit over 400,000 small farmers and pastoral communities.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Tiger Woods to be inducted in World Golf Hall of Fame:

• Tiger Woods will be inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame. According to the announcement made by the PGA tour, he will be part of Class 2021.

• Only those players get this honor who have secured at least 15 wins on approved PGA tours. However, there is an age restriction for induction. Earlier, it was 50 but recently it has been reduced to 45 years.

 ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS

Japanese company Hakuhodo acquires AdGlobal360:

• Indian MarTech Company, AdGlobal360 has been acquired by Japanese company Hakuhodo Inc for an undisclosed sum. Adglobal360 is India’s fastest growing MarTech Company headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. The MarTech Company facilitates its customers with end to end digital solutions.

• Hakuhodo Inc is Japan’s second largest advertising company which was founded in 1895. It is an integrated advertising and communication agency which has international presence in 17 countries and regions.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Kidney Day 2020: 12 March 2020:

• The World Kidney Day (WKD) is observed annually on the Second Thursday in March.

• In 2020, the World Kidney Day is being celebrated on 12 March 2020.

• The theme of WKD 2020 is ‘Kidney health for everyone everywhere – from prevention to detection and equitable access to care’.

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Important Current Affairs 11th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

“COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund launched:

• A new fund named as “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” has been launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard. The $125 Million fund has been launched to accelerate technologies to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

• “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund has been designed to identify, assess, develop and scale treatments to the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

 Govt to launch Mahua-based alcoholic drink:

•Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) and National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) recently signed a memorandum for manufacturing of Mahua Nutribeverage.

• Mahua Nutribeverage will have high nutritional values with low alcohol (about 5 percent). It will be developed by Delhi-IIT and TRIFED. According to the reports, it will be available within next few months in various flavours.

• TRIFED and NRDC will manufacture mahua-based alcoholic beverage ‘Mahua Nutribeverage’ in the market within next months. According to the media reports, this beverage will be available in six fruit-based flavours. It will be available at price of Rs. 700 for a 750 ml. It is for the first time when Tribal Affairs Ministry is going to manufacture alcoholic beverages.

Odisha Government to Launch Separate dept for SHGs “Mission Shakti” dedicated to women:

• The government of Odisha under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that the state will launch an exclusive department for Self Help Group (SHGs) called “Mission Shakti” which will be dedicated to all women of the state.

• This will make Odisha, first state of the country to have a separate department dedicated to SHGs.

New Delhi to host an exhibition titled “Jallianwala Bagh”:

An exhibition titled “Jallianwala Bagh” is scheduled to be held in New Delhi. “Jallianwala Bagh” exhibition will be inaugurated by Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on the occasion of 130th Foundation Day of National Archives of India (NAI).

National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs held in New Delhi:

• Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the “National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces)” in New Delhi.

• The Conference was organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR & D). Smriti Irani also released a hand-out- ‘BPR & D Mirror- Gender Bender’ and also the book titled “To Greater Heights”.

GoI constitutes committee to decide modalities of Kisan Rail:

• The Union Government of India has constituted a committee to decide modalities of Kisan Rail. This committee has been formed under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare along with representatives of the Indian Railways.

• “Kisan Rail” is planned to be set up through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode and will facilitate a cold supply chain to transport the perishable goods.

• Initiative of “Kisan Rail” was proposed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech of 2020-21 to set up a seamless National Cold Supply Chain for perishables like fish, milk and meat.

AWARDS AND RECONGNITION

Nupur Kulshrestha becomes 1st woman DIG of Indian Coast Guard:

• Nupur Kulshrestha becomes the first woman to be promoted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Indian Coast Guard. She joined Indian Coast Guard in 1999.

• The Indian Coast Guard is a multi-mission organization, conducting round-the-year real-life operations at sea.

• The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Bi-luminescent security ink to curb fake printing of currency notes:

• A team of Indian scientists recently developed a Bi-luminescent security ink to help curb the printing of fake currency notes, passports and even packing of fake medicines.

• The ink has been developed by scientists of National Physical Laboratory (NPL), CSIR and the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research.

RANKING

Mukesh Ambani losses as Asia's richest person to Jack Ma:

• RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani lost to Ali Baba’s founder Jack Ma as the richest person of Asia.

• Jack Ma is Asia’s richest man with a total worth of USD 44.5 billion; while Ambani comes to the second position with a net worth of USD 41.8 billion.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Naveen Patnaik released book “The Adventures of the Daredevil Democrat”:

• The chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik released a comic book titled “The Adventures of the Daredevil Democrat’.

• This book is released on the occasion of the 104th birth anniversary of former Odisha CM Late Biju Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The book deals about the life and works of legendary leader and Naveen Patnaik’s father Biju Patnaik.

• The book aims to inspire and encourage young minds to serve the motherland. The comic book, prepared by Kalinga Foundation Trust

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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US to become India’s top trading partner, surpasses China:

• The United States has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner. According to the Commerce Ministry data, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at nearly 88 billion dollars in 2018-19 fiscal. During the period, India’s trade with China was at 1 billion dollars.

• Similarly, during April-December 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at 68 billion dollars against a nearly 65 billion dollars trade with China in the same period.

NATIONAL NEWS

ASKDISHA : AI based chatbot launched by Indian Railway:

• Indian Railways had introduced the services of Artificial Intelligence based ASKDISHA chatbot in October 2018 for the benefit of the users of the ticketing website www.irctc.co.in and tourism website www.irctctourism.com of its PSU, Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).

• The ASKDISHA Chatbot was initially launched in English language but in order to further enhance the customer services rendered and to further strengthen the services of the chatbot, IRCTC has now powered voice enabled ASKDISHA to converse with customers in Hindi language also in the e-ticketing site www.irctc.co.in. The customers can now ask queries to ASKDISHA in Hindi language by voice as well as text.

• The first-of-its-kind initiative by IRCTC is aimed at facilitating accessibility by answering users’ queries pertaining to various services offered to railway passengers. Since its initial launch, more than 150 million passengers have been benefited by ASKDISHA with 10 billion interactions for seeking help on reservation of tickets, cancellation, enquiry of refund status, fare, PNR search, train running status, enquiry about retiring rooms and tourism products.

• IRCTC plans to launch ASKDISHA in more languages along with many other additional features in the near future.

‘Thal Sena Bhawan’: New Army Headquarters foundation Laid by Rajnath Singh:

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of a new army headquarters building in Delhi Cantonment recently. This complex will be named as ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’. It will be constructed over 39 acres of land. 

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that this army building will represent the Indian soldiers. He also said that these soldiers wanted India to become capable and empowered. Now their sacrifice has made India a powerful country and this building is dedicated to them. He also said that the building was needed for many years.

• This army building, to be built in 7.5 lakh square meters that will have 6014 offices that will include 1684 offices for military and civilian officers and 4330 offices for sub-staff. The new Army headquarters will also provide employment opportunities to the youth of India. It will be constructed as per the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms.

‘Happiness Class’ to be attended by Melania Trump:

• US First Lady Melania Trump along with the US President Donald Trump, on their maiden visit to India, will attend a ‘Happiness Class’ at a Government School based in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal led AAP Government’s flagship scheme of ‘Happiness Curriculum’ has won commendations from different corners of the globe.

• What is Happiness Curriculum?

Happiness Curriculum was launched in 2018 as a scheme to reinvent school education sector in Delhi Government Schools. With school education in India primarily focused on competitive testing model, which lays prime emphasis on scoring marks in order to succeed; AAP Government felt the need to provide a more fulfilling education and learning experience. In line with this, Happiness Curriculum was launched which aims at promoting development of cognition, language, literacy, numeracy and the arts. This in turn aids the mental growth well-being and happiness of students.

‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ : Chhattisgarh organises agricultural festival to cater to future farming practices:

• A three-day mega agricultural festival organised in Raipur called ‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Also known as the National Agriculture Festival, this mela boasted of going beyond the traditional dominant practices of farmers by encouraging the agrarian community to experiment with non-conventional farm activities, adopt modern technologies and secure quality organic produce.

Goa carnival : World famous carnival to begin in Panaji:

•  The world-famous Goa Carnival will begin in the capital Panaji. The festival, which displays Goan art and culture, is celebrated with fun, frolic, pomp and splendor.

• The mood in Panaji city is quite festive and all the preparations are done for the float parade that is going to take place. The floats carry different messages and themes and there is also a band of music and troupes of artists on each float vehicle.

About Goa:

  • Governor: Satya Pal Malik
  • Chief minister: Pramod Sawant
  • Capital: Panaji (Executive Branch)

4 railway stations in Uttar Pradesh get new names:

• A move aimed at reviving the identity of the ancient city, Allahabad Junction will now be Prayagraj Junction, Allahabad City will now be known as Prayagraj Rambag, Allahabad Chhioki has been changed to Prayagraj Chheoki and the name of Prayagghat has been changed to Prayagraj Sangam.

• The names of the stations were changed by the central and the state government.

About Uttar Pradesh (UP)

  • Capital- Lucknow
  • Chief Minister (CM)- Yogi Adityanath
  • Governor- Anandiben Patel

Mobile app for employees  launched by Indian Railways:

• Indian Railways, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav launched the HRMS (Human Resource Management System) mobile app, in which the employees can see the data related to their service and communicate with the administration for any changes.

• The app has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS).

• The mobile app allows employees to view their historical data since their date of joining, including details related to increments, promotions, awards, transfers, postings, leave, training and retirement benefits.

• Scanned copies of their physical service record are also available in the app, which is an important milestone in computerisation of HR related functionalities in Indian Railways.

About Ministry of Railways:

  • Formed– 16 April 1853
  • Headquarters– New Delhi
  • Union Minister– Piyush Goyal

BANKING, FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

ACQUISITIONS, MERGERS, BUSINESS AND MOU’S

Central government approves merger of Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers: Sources:

• The Department of Telecom (DoT) on approved the merger of the country’s largest mobile tower company Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel,

• The combination of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers will create a pan-India tower company with over 163,000 towers, operating across all 22 telecom service areas.

• The combined entity will be the largest tower company in the world outside China. Bharti Infratel and Vodafone hold 42 per cent stake each in Indus.

• Vodafone Idea holds 11.15 per cent stake in the mobile tower firm.

• As per the plans, the combined company, which would fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, would change its name to Indus Towers Ltd and will continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges.

Microsoft collaborated with SBI Foundation to upskill youth with disabilities for BFSI jobs:

• Microsoft has collaborated with SBI Foundation to create opportunities in the banking and financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, for youth with disabilities.

• Under the initiative, the two organisations will upskill 500 youth for BFSI jobs across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi-NCR. The programme will be driven in collaboration with various government agencies, industry skilling bodies and non-profits. As a part of this effort, both the companies will develop an AI-powered marketplace that will enable the BFSI industry to better connect with people having disabilities (to upskill them).

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr. Niti Kumar receives SERB Women Excellence Award-2020:

• Dr. Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology Division, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, has received the SERB Women's Excellence Award-2020. She will be awarded by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind during the National Science Day celebration at Vigyan Bhawan on February 28, 2020.

• The award is given to women scientists under the age of 40, who have received honors from various national academies. Women researchers will be assisted by Science and Engineering Research Board of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, with a grant of Rs 5 lakh per year for 3 years.

• Dr. Niti Kumar’s research group is trying to understand the protein quality control machinery in malaria parasites to explore alternative drugs for malaria. Dr. Niti Kumar has received several awards and honors like Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (DBT-IYBA 2015), INSA Medal for Young Scientist (2010) by Indian National Academy of Sciences and Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship by European Union under 6th Framework Programme (2005-2006).

• What is SERB?

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) is a constitutional body works under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Government of India. It was established in 2009 through an Act of the Parliament of India.

SPORTS

Shooters now permitted by Home Ministry to keep upto 12 firearms for shooting practice:

• The Union Home Ministry has amended Arms Act, 1959 and the Arms Rules, 2016 to increase the number of firearms and ammunition kept by the Indian shooters for their practice during the year. As per the Home Ministry, shooting is an important Olympic sport in India and Indian shooters have excelled in international competitions.

• Key Amendments in Arms Act, 1959

  • According to the new rules, international medalists and renowned shooters are now allowed to have additional weapons up to a total of twelve under the exempted category. Earlier they were allowed to keep only seven weapons.
  • In case a shooter is renowned in one event, he will be allowed to keep a maximum of eight weapons. If he is renowned in two events then he can keep maximum ten weapons. Earlier, the permit was four and seven respectively.
  • If a shooter is known in more than two events, then he will now be allowed to keep a maximum of twelve firearms unlike earlier seven.
  • For junior target shooters or aspiring shooters, the Home Ministry has decided to amend the rules to allow them to possess two firearms of any category, as against earlier one.
  • The shooters will now also be entitled to possess two firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.

• Key Amendments in Arms Rules, 2016

  • The Home Ministry has amended the provision under Rule 40 of the Arms Rules, 2016, as per which, the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by the shooters for practice during a year has been increased considerably.
  • Under the amended provisions, the quantity of ammunition that shooters can purchase for .22 LR rifle/pistol has been increased to 5000 instead of 1000, for Pistol/Revolver the quantity has been increased to 2000 instead of 600 and for shotgun calibers, the quantity has been increased to 5000 instead 500.
  • The Ministry has also made other necessary amendments in the Arms Rules, 2016 by amending the Arms Act, 1959, under the Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019.
  • The amendments clarify that no license will be required for Indian citizens for acquisitions and possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
  • However, the shooters will be required to carry appropriate licenses, as prescribed to use, carry or transport such small arms. No ammunition can be sold for use without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed license of the owner.
  • Further, the maximum number of firearms to be possessed by any person has been reduced to two from earlier three.
  • Those who have three firearms have been given the facility to retain any two of them and deposit the remaining firearm by December 13, 2020.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad resigns:

• Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad Resigns: Mahathir Mohamad – the Prime Minister of Malaysia, submitted his resignation to the country’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on February 24, 2020, as per media reports.

• Mahathir’s PPBM has also pulled out of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition, throwing the country into renewed political turmoil. The resignation of 94-year-old veteran politician and two-time Prime Minister comes following an on-going rift with his presumptive successor Anwar Ibrahim. Following his resignation as the PM, Mahathir also resigned as the chairman of PPBM.

• Resignation of Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad comes in the wake of long going battle in the ruling coalition which comprises many stakeholders. The key parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition include Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia i.e. PPBM or United Indigenous Party of Malaysia; Anwar Ibrahim‘s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) which commands ethnic Chinese as its vote bank.

USIBC appoints Vijay Advani as new Chairman of Global Board:

• The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has appointed Vijay Advani as new Chair of its Global Board of Directors. Prior to this, he served as Executive Chairman of the Board in January 2020. The council also announced two new members of the Global Board of Directors Lockheed Martin International Senior Vice President Tim Cahill and GE South Asia President & CEO Mahesh Palashikar. US India Business Council (USIBC) represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and Indo-Pacific.

• Important:

  • Headquarters of US-India Business Council: Washington, D.C., United States.
  • US-India Business Council founded: 1975.

IMPORTANT DAYS

24 February – Central Excise Day:

• Central Excise Day is observed in India on 24 February every year to encourage the employees of the excise department to carry out the central excise duty in a better way to prevent corruption in the manufacturing business and to carry out the best possible exercise services in India.

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