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Important Current Affairs 9th April 2020

National

GoI launches “iGOT” e-learning platform to combat COVID-19

• The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has announced the launch of a learning platform iGOT- Integrated Government Online Training (https://igot.gov.in).

• The e-learning platform has been launched for all front-line workers to equip them with the training and updates in coping with COVID 19.

• The target group is Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Hygiene Workers, Technicians, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs), Central & State Govt. Officers, Civil Defence Officials, various Police Organisations, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), National Service Scheme (NSS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Bharat Scouts & Guides (BSG) and other volunteers.

TRIFED to launch campaign in partnership with UNICEF for SHGs

• Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) has collaborated with UNICEF for developing a digital communication strategy for promoting a digital campaign for Self Help Groups (SHGs).

• The partnership aims to highlight the importance of Social Distancing.

Airtel Payments Bank Rolls out Covid-19 health insurance plan in Partnership with Bharati AXA General Insurance

• Airtel Payments Bank has partnered with Bharati AXA General Insurance to launch a health insurance policy, which offer financial protection against coronavirus.

• Under the partnership, they have rolled out two different health insurance plans which includes:

• Bharti AXA Group Health Assure Policy

• Group Hospital Cash Policy

SAARC development fund allocates $5mn for Covid-19 projects
• The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) has allocated $5 million for COVID-19 related projects in its member states. This project will be funded by the SDF under its Social Window thematic areas. SDF’s social window primarily funds projects on poverty alleviation, social development focusing on education, health, and human resource development, among others.
• SAARC 8 members states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
• Headquarters of SAARC: Kathmandu, Nepal.
• Secretary-General of SAARC: Esala Ruwan Weerakoon.
• Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SDF: Sunil Motiwal.

Summits and Mou’s

L&T signs agreement with Indian Army for advanced IT-enabled network
•  Larsen & Toubro(L&T) signs agreement with the Indian Army for setting up an advanced IT-enabled system to operate the Armed Forces network under the Network of Spectrum (NFS).
 

Banking and Economy

SIDBI to provide emergency working capital to MSMEs

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will facilitate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore against their confirmed government orders.

•  The SIDBI’s new loan product i.e. SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against Coronavirus (SAFE) plus will be provided collateral free and disbursed within 48 hours at an interest rate of 5%.

• Under its flagship scheme called SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (Smile), SEBI has opened an additional financial window for the healthcare sector.

Sports

Englands Ben Stokes named 2020 Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World

• England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named as the leading cricketer in the world by Wisden for the year 2019. He is the first player from England since 2005 to be named for this award.

• In Women’s category, Australia’s Ellyse Perry has been named the Wisden’s Leading Female Cricketer in the World.

Ranking

Jeff Bezos tops Forbes billionaires list “The Richest in 2020”

• Forbes has launched the 34th annual world’s billionaires list named as “The Richest in 2020”. The list titled “The Richest in 2020” has been topped by the Amazon Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.

• This was 3rd time in a row that he has topped the annual world’s billionaires list released by Forbes. He has topped the list with a net worth of $113 billion.

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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 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 22nd March 2020

National

Government Forms COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force Led By FM Nirmala Sitharaman

• Keeping in mind the economic challenges arising out of the coronavirus epidemic, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has decided to constitute COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force.

• The task force will be led by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, to deal with the situation arising out of novel coronavirus outbreak.

• It will ensure that all steps are taken to reduce the economic difficulties and execute them effectively.

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

Priyanka Chopra works jointly with WHO to spread awareness over COVID-19

• Actor Priyanka Chopra works jointly with the World Health Organisation (WHO) to spread awareness over COVID-19. Priyanka urged followers to rely on authentic sources of information about coronavirus and arranged an Instagram live with top personnel of the World Health Organization (WHO) to raise awareness about the pandemic.

• The actor documented her videos on Instagram stories where she expressed the importance of only relying on authentic information about the highly contagious disease.

Banking and Economy

SBI launches COVID 19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL) facility

• State Bank of India has launched an emergency loan facility for its existing loan customers whose business has been hit due to Coronavirus 2019 (COVID 19).

• The loan facility has been named COVID 19 Emergency Credit Line (CECL). It has been launched to meet the temporary liquidity mismatch arising out of covid-19.

• The interest rate under this facility will be 7.25% per annum.

• Which accounts are eligible: All standard accounts as on March 16, 2020 and till the date of sanction are eligible.

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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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 9th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Sanitary pad disposal bags to be made mandatory from Jan 2021:

• The Government has made it mandatory for the sanitary napkin makers to supply biodegradable bags with the pads from January 2021.

• This is due to the possible risk of infection due to the handling of the used sanitary napkins thrown in the garbage.

Government proposes to create 75 lakh Self Help Groups by 2022:

• The Union Government has proposed to create a total of 75 lakh Self Help Groups by 2022 to enable more women to get a livelihood.

• This was announced by the Rural Development Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar while addressing a programme on Women's Empowerment to mark International Women's Day in New Delhi on March 8, 2020.

• The Minister said that the women’s Self Help Groups are the backbone of poverty alleviation programmes. There are over 60 lakh SHGs across the country, mobilizing more than 6 crore 73 lakh women.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Coronavirus Impact on Economy: India’s growth outlook for 2020 slashed to 5.3% by Moody’s:

Moody's Global Macro Outlook 2020-2021 has revised the baseline growth forecast for India from the February assessment of 5.4 percent to 5.3 percent in 2020.

• The report has revised the baseline growth for all G20 economies in the year 2020.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

India Gets Observer Status in Indian Ocean Commission:

• India has been admitted to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as an observer state on 6th March, 2020.

• This makes India, the fifth nation to receive Observer status in IOC.

• The other four observers are China, Malta, European Union and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).

• The COI is composed of five African Indian Ocean nations namely-   Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (an overseas region of France), and Seychelles.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Chandrayaan-3 to be launched in the first half of 2021: Jitendra Singh:

• Chandrayaan-3’s tentative launch schedule is expected to be in the first half of 2021. This was revealed by Union Minister Jitendra Singh in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha. This means that there could be a slight delay in the launch of the third moon mission.

• The Minister said that the Chandrayaan–III mission has been configured based on the lessons learnt from Chadrayaan – II. The revised configuration is expected to take care of the robustness in design and capacity enhancement for mission flexibility.

• Chandrayaan-II lander –Vikram had hard-landed on the lunar surface in September 2019. The Indian Space Research Organisation had then taken a resolve to launch the project again.

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj Passes Away:

• Former Union Law Minister and Congress veteran Hans Raj Bhardwaj died after a cardiac arrest. Hans Raj Bhardwaj was 83. Hans Raj Bhardwaj was born in Garhi Sampla village in Rohtak district of Haryana.

• He was a Rajya Sabha member for five terms from April 1982 to June 2009.

APPOINTMENT AND RESIGNATION

Daren Tang of Singapore elected as Director General of WIPO:

• The Coordination Committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has nominated Mr. Daren Tang from Singapore for the post of Director General.

• The WIPO General Assembly will meet in an extraordinary session on May 7-8, 2020, to confirm the Coordination Committee’s nomination.

• The term of the current Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry will end on September 30, 2020.

• WIPO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

RANKING

BRAC tops 500 Global NGOs List for 5th Straight Year:

• The Bangladesh based international development organization, BRAC, has topped the list of top 500 Global Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the 5th consecutive year.

• The list of the top 500 global NGOs of year 2020 was released by Geneva-based organization NGO Adviser.

• The rankings of the top 500 global NGOs is released every year by NGO Adviser based on various aspects such as the impact, innovation, governance and sustainability of the NGO.

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Important Current Affairs 16th February 2020

National

Arvind Kejriwal takes oath as CM of Delhi for third time

• Aam Aadmi Party chief Arvind Kejriwal on Sunday took oath as the chief minister of Delhi, for the third time, at the Ramlila Maidan.

• The Aam Aadmi Party registered a massive majority in the recently concluded Delhi Assembly election with 62 seats in its kitty.

• Arvind Kejriwal was administered the oath of office and secrecy by Delhi Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal.

• Manish Sisodia, who was the deputy chief minister of Delhi in AAP government's previous term, also took oath as minister in Arvind Kejriwal's cabinet.

PM Modi Inaugurates ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ Event at Varanasi

•rime Minister Shri Narendra Modi visited his Lok Sabha Constituency Varanasi on 16 February 2020 to attend various events and inaugurate several programmes.

•Inaugurated a cultural arts and handicrafts exhibition named ‘Kashi Ek Roop Anek’ organized at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Trade Facilitation Center, at Varanasi.

•Unveiled the 63 feet Statue of Deendayal Upadhyay (largest statue of the leader in the country) and dedicated to the nation the Deendayal Upadhyay Memorial in Varanasi.

•Flagged off the third corporate train ‘Kashi Mahakal Express’ which links 3 Jyotirling Pilgrim Centres – Varanasi, Ujjain and Omkareshwar.

International

World Defence Spending Rose by 4% in 2019, Highest in 10 Years: IISS Report

• The global Defense spending rose by 4% in 2019 compared to the previous year, as per a new report titled “Military Balance” published by the London-based think tank International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS).

• As per the international think tank, this global rise is the highest annual increase in 10 years.

Banking and Economy

SEBI Constitutes Municipal Bonds Development Committee

• Markets regulator Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has constituted a municipal bonds development committee

• The committee will be headed by the Executive Director of SEBI, Mr Sujit Prasad and comprise of representatives from municipal corporations, lawyers, professionals and market practitioners.

15th Finance Commission Constitute Panel on Defence and Internal Security Funding

• The Fifteenth Finance Commission has constituted a 5-member group on Defence and Internal Security.

• The panel will be headed by the Chairman of the commission, Shri N.K. Singh. Home Secretary, Defence Secretary, Finance Secretary and a member of Commission will be the other members of the group.

Sports

India clinches 3 medals in 2020 World SnowShoe Championship

• Three Indian athletes from Kashmir, have won medals in their respective categories at the 2020 World SnowShoe Championship held at Myoko, Japan from 15 to 16 February 2020.

• Participants from 17 countries of different continents participated in the championship.

• It is first time ever in the history of SnowShoe sport that Indian athletes bagged medals in the World Championship.Indian contingent included nine members, of which three athletes bagged one silver and two bronze medals.

Days

9th World Pangolin day 2020

• World Pangolin Day is celebrated on the third Saturday of February every year.

• In 2020, the world is celebrating the 9th edition of the annual World Pangolin Day. It was celebrated on 15 February 2020

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Important Current Affairs 12th February 2020

National

15 crore loans extended to women under PMMY till Jan 2020, TN tops

• Over 15 crore loans, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore, have been disbursed to women borrowers under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), stated Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs

• “As on 31.01.2020, over 15 crore loans have been disbursed to women borrowers, since inception of the scheme, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore under PMMY.”

PSU Survey 2019: ONGC, IOC, NTPC top three profitable PSUs

• According to the PSU Survey 2018-19, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation and NTPC were three the top profitable companies of India.

• Their total profits were 15.3%, 9.68% and 6.73% respectively. On the other hand, Air India, BSNL and MTNL suffered the most losses.

• According to the survey, 70 government companies were at a loss during this period. About 10 companies were accounted for more than 94% of the total losses.

Bhupesh Baghel inaugurates Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as Chhattisgarh’s 28th district

• Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as the 28th district of the state.

• The new district, carved out of Bilaspur, has three tehsils and three development blocks namely Gaurela, Pendra and Marwahi.

• It comprises 166 gram panchayats, 222 villages and two nagar panchayats, with an area of 1,68,225 hectares.

International

Covid-2019 is official name for disease caused by new coronavirus says WHO

The World Health Organization on February 11, 2020 official renamed Coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’. So far, the deadly coronavirus has caused over 1000 deaths in China, which is more than the number of deaths caused by the SARs outbreak of 2003. Coronavirus originated in China; however, the virus has now spread in various countries. India has also reported 3 cases of Coronavirus from Kerala.

About WHO:

• Head: Tedros Adhanom

• Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

• Founded: 7 April 1948

Banking and Economy

Government to introduce new One Rupee Currency Note

The Central Government recently announced to introduce new Re 1 currency note with security features. The all-new one rupee note will have several watermarks. The value of the currency note will be mentioned in 15 different Indian languages. The note will contain an image of ‘Sagar Samrat’, the oil exploration platform.

Facebook to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women in seven Indian states

• Facebook launched its ‘We Think Digital’ programme, under which the social media giant will provide digital literacy training to 1 lakh women across seven states, including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.

• In partnership with National Commission for Women (NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation, the program aims to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women across seven states through the year. The programme will start with the state of Uttar Pradesh and expand to other states including Assam, West Bengal Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Bihar, it added.

Infosys to acquire US-based Simplus for $250 million to step up cloud biz

• Bengaluru-based IT services major Infosys stated it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-headquartered Simplus, a major Salesforce platinum partner, in a bid to strengthen its cloud business.

• The acquisition, expected to be complete within a month, will incur a cost of up to $250 million, Infosys said in a filing with stock exchanges.$200 million, including contingent consideration to be paid for the acquisition of shares, subject to closing adjustments.

Appointment

Arvind Kejriwal to take oath as Delhi CM on February 16 at Ramlila Maidan

• After resounding victory in Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will take oath for the third time on February 16.

• The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the historic Ramlila Maidan — similar to that of last two times.

Ducati appoints Bipul Chandra as new head of Indian operations

• Italian super bike maker Ducati stated it has appointed Bipul Chandra as the new Managing Director of its India operations.

• Chandra replaces Sergi Canovas who is moving to an international role within the company.

About Ducati:

• Parent organization: Lamborghini

• Founded: 4 July 1926, Bologna, Italy

• CEO: Claudio Domenicali

Ranking

India ranks 17th among countries at risk of coronavirus import

• Of the countries most at risk of importing coronavirus cases, India ranks 17th, researchers have found on the basis of a mathematical model for the expected global spread of the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan area in December 2019.

• The top 10 countries and regions at risk of importing coronavirus cases are: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, according to the model.

• While Thailand’s national import risk is 2.1 per cent, it is 0.2 per cent for India, found the research.

Days

National Productivity Day observed globally on 12 February

• National Productivity Day is observed on 12 February. The day is celebrated by the National Productivity Council (NPC) to promote productivity culture in India. Also, National Productivity Week is celebrated from 12-18 February 2020. The day aims to propagate productivity, quality, competitiveness, and efficiency.

• NPC was established in 1958. The autonomous organization functions under the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

• Chairman of National Productivity Council: Guruprasad Mohapatra.

• Director-General of National Productivity Council: Arun Kumar Jha.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution A/RES/70/212 on December 2015, declaring Feb.11 as the International Day of Women & Girls in Science.

• Theme:“Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”.

World Unani Day

• The World Unani Day is observed every year on February 11.

• The day commemorates the birth anniversary of great Unani scholar and social reformer Hakim Ajmal Khan.

• Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the chief guest of the 4th Unani day function organized by AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Ministry, New Delhi, India.

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2020

National

National Conference on e-Governance 2020 Held in Mumbai

• The 23rd edition of the National Conference on e-Governance was held at Mumbai, Maharashtra on 7-8 February 2020.

• The theme of the conference was: India 2020: Digital Transformation.

BBIN nations deliberate on MoU for implementation of motor vehicle agreement

• A meeting of the BBIN nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) was held in New Delhi on 8 February 2020 to deliberate on a proposed MoU, to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal, for implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) in these countries.

• Representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity. The Indian delegation was led by Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

DefExpo 2020 Concludes With Over 200 Partnerships at Bandhan Ceremony

• The 11th edition of the biennial DefExpo 2020, concluded in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on 8 February 2020.

• The theme of the 11th Edition was “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.

• More than 1,000 companies, including 165 offshore enterprises participated in the event.

• Over 200 partnerships involving Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), Transfer of Technology (ToTs) , Product launches were concluded during a ceremony titled “Bandhan” at DefExpo 2020.

• Bandhan ceremony witnessed more than 13 product launches, 124 MoUs between Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), private and global defence manufacturing companies.

International

US India’s preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 trn economy: Envoy

• America is India’s preferred trade and business partner in its journey to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, the country’s new envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has stated.

• Addressing a gathering of American business community at a reception hosted in his honour by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, Sandhu stated that the potential for cooperation between the United States and India is limitless.

• He futher added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a USD 3 trillion economy to a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030.

Philip Barton appointed Britain’s new High Commissioner to India

• Britain appointed career diplomat Philip Barton as its High Commissioner to India to succeed Dominic Asquith.

• Barton will take up his appointment during Spring 2020, a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated

Obituary

Padma Shri Winning Indian Author Giriraj Kishore Passes Away

Veteran writer and academician Giriraj Kishore passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 82-years-old.

Giriraj was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in the year 2007, for his work Pahla Girmitiya (The Girmitiya Saga).

P Parameswaran passes away in Kerala

• Renowned thinker, writer and the founder-director of Bharatiya Vichara Kendram P Parameswaran has passed away in Ottapalam, Kerala. He was 91.

• Kendram P Parameswaran was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2018 and Padma Shri in 2004.

Sports

Bangladesh wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020

• Bangladesh has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held in South Africa. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team defeated India Under-19 team by 3 wickets to win the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

• This was the 13th edition of the tournament in which 16 teams participated from all over the world.

• Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time in the tournament history.

Swedish Vaulter Armand Duplantis Breaks World Pole Vault Record

On 8 February 2020, Armand Duplantis, who plays for Sweden, broke the world pole vault record with a jump of 6.17 metres at an indoor meeting in Poland.

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