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Important Current Affairs 30th March 2020

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.

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Important Current Affairs 29th March 2020

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

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

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

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

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

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

• The following amalgamation will take place:

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

2. Syndicate Bank will merge with Canara Bank

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

4. Allahabad Bank will merge into Indian Bank.

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Important Current Affairs 28th March 2020

International

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 27th March 2020

National

Jana SFB rolls out UPI QR-based loan instalment payment facility

• Jana Small Finance Bank has rolled out a Unified Payments Interface (UPI) QR-based loan installment payment facility along with National Payment Corporation of India (NPCI) for its customers.

• Initially the UPI QR-based loan installment payment facility will be only available to over 40 lakh customers of the Jana Small Finance Bank.

Days

World Theatre Day

• The World Theatre Day is celebrated all over the world on the 27th of March since 1962 to promote the art form “theatre” accross the world.

• The day was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI).

• Every year the Executive Council of ITI choses an outstanding theatre personality to write the message for World Theatre Day.

• The author of the Message of World Theatre Day 2020 is: Shahid NADEEM (Playwright), Pakistan.

Books and Authors

Senior Journalist Chander Suta Dogra Pens Book ‘Missing in Action: The Prisoners Who Never Came Back’

• Chander Suta Dogra, a senior Indian journalist has come up with her meticulously-researched new book titled Missing in Action: The Prisoners Who Never Came Back.

• The book is a story of India’s soldiers who went missing during the 1965 and 1971 Indo-Pak wars.

• They are called “the missing 54” Indian soldiers, who have been forgotten in the fog of past wars with Pakistan.

• With the help of the book, the author tries to answer the key question: what happened to these men?

• Chander Suta Dogra is a journalist and author and has worked for various publications, including Outlook, Indian Express, Hindu and Hindustan Times.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2020

National

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.

International

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.

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.

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.

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

• 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.

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 22nd March 2020

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

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

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

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

International

Ranking

UN releases World Happiness Report 2020

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

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

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

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

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

Days

World Water Day

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

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

 Books and Authors

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

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

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

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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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