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Important Current Affairs 5th April 2020

National

World Food Programme COVID-19 has little impact on global food supply chain

• World Food Programme (WFP) conveyed the rapidly growing novel Coronavirus pandemic so far, having little impact on the global food supply chain, but that could change for the worse if major food importers remain anxious.

•  The UN agency's global markets for basic cereals are well-supplied, and prices are generally low. However, given the highly globalized nature of food production and supply, commodities need to move from the world's breadbaskets to where they are consumed, and the novel Coronavirus-related containment measures are starting to make this more challenging.

India seeks $6 billion of loans from ADB, AIIB to fight coronavirus pandemic

• India is seeking as much as $6 billion of loans from multilateral institutions such as the Asian Development Bank to bolster its efforts to fight the coronavirus outbreak.

• The World Bank already committed $1 billion. At the same time, Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government is in talks with Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and ADB, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details haven’t been finalized.

• India needs to rapidly scale up testing for the virus to head off the disease from infecting more people in the world’s most populated nation after China. Proceeds including from the World Bank will be used to acquire testing kits and ventilators, turning hospital beds into intensive care unit beds as well as for buying personal protective equipment for health care workers.

Banking and Economy

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

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

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

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

Summits and Mou’s

Arogya Sanjeevani Policy Cigna launched with IRDAI guidelines

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

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

Awards

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

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

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

Sports

World Games 2021 Postponed to avoid Clash with Tokyo Olympics

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 3rd April 2020

National

GoI launches “AarogyaSetu” app to track Covid-19

• “AarogyaSetu” is the official COVID-19 tracking app that has been launched by the Government of India. The “AarogyaSetu” app has been developed by the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

• The mobile application aims to inform the users of the app regarding the risks, best practices along with the relevant advisories related to the containment of COVID-19.

Banking and Economy

S&P Further Slashes India’s GDP Forecast to 3.5% from 5.2% for FY21

• S&P Global Ratings has further slashed India’s growth forecast to 3.5% from a previous downgrade to 5.2% for the fiscal year 2020-21.

• The latest downgrade is due to the slump in demand, because of the Covid-19 outbreak, which is leading to declining credit quality and rising defaults particularly among non financial corporates with weaker credit profiles.

• For the Financial year 2019-20, the rating agency has estimated growth forecast of 5%.

• However the S&P expects the Indian economy to bounce back to 5% in FY20, 3.5% in FY21 and 7.3% in FY22.

PhonePe launches coronavirus hospitalisation insurance policy ‘Corona Care’

• PhonePe has launched a unique coronavirus hospitalization insurance policy named “Corona Care.”

• PhonePe has partnered with Bajaj Allianz General Insurance for this “Corona Care”.

• “Corona Care” plan is priced at Rs 156 with an insurance cover of Rs 50,000 for a person aged under 55 years.

Summits and Mou’s

UN Cop26 Climate Change Summit in Glasgow Postponed until 2021

• The 2020 United Nations Climate Change Conference (UN COP26), which was scheduled to be held in Glasgow, Scotland from 9 to 20 November 2020 under the presidency of the UK government, has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

• The Cop26 Climate Change Summit has now be pushed back to 2021 and the new dates for the conference would be decided in due course.

• The announcement was made by the Cop26 president-designate and UK Business and Energy Secretary Alok Sharma.

Sport

Wimbledon Championship canceled due to Coronavirus pandemic

• The Wimbledon Tennis Championship 2020 has been cancelled due to the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The announcement regarding the cancellation of championship was made by the All England lawn Tennis and Croquet Club (AELTC). The tennis tournament was scheduled to begin from June 29, 2020 in the United Kingdom.

• It marks the first time that the Wimbledon tournament had been called off since World War II.

• Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, the others being the Australian Open, the French Open and the US Open. Wimbledon is the only major still played on grass-court.

Obituary

Gurbani maestro Nirmal Singh Khalsa passes away

• Nirmal Singh Khalsa, a noted singer of Sikh 'Gurbani' hymns, passed away on April 2, 2020 due to coronavirus. He was detected with the infection just a day before his death. He was 62.

• Nirmal Singh Khalsa was a former priest at the Golden Temple in Amritsar. He was known to have the knowledge of the 31 'raags' in the Gurbani of the Guru Granth Sahib.

• He was honoured with the prestigious Padma Shri in 2009 for his outstanding contribution to the field of Gurbani music.

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Important Current Affairs 31st March 2020

National

MCA introduces “Companies Fresh Start Scheme 2020”

• The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has introduced the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020”. The new scheme has been introduced to provide relief to law abiding companies and the Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) amid COVID-19 pandemic. MCA has also revised “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020”.

• The Fresh Start scheme and revised LLP Settlement Scheme stimulates compliance and lessen the compliance burden during the unprecedented public health situation triggered by COVID-19.

UP CM Yogi Adityanath Constitutes ‘Team-11’ to Fight COVID-19 Spread

• Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has set up “Team-11”, which comprises of 11 inter-departmental committees to fight the coronavirus spread, by tackling multiple issues ranging from ensuring medicare to victims to the supply of essentials and tackle long marches of jobless workers back home.

• Each of the 11 committees will be headed by a senior bureaucrat of the state while the ‘Team 11’ will be headed by the Chief Minister himself.

Jharkhand launches Pragyaam App for delivery of Essential Goods during COVID-19

• Jharkhand State Government recently launched Pragyaam mobile app for the delivery of Essential goods during COVID-19 outbreak. The app will offer e-passes to those people who are involved in providing essential services.

• The e-passes will be issued by the District Transport Officers of Jharkhand.

DRDO develops casualty evacuation bags

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has designed a casualty evacuation bag to transport or isolate persons infected with COVID-19.

• The bag is water and air-proof and treated to deal with biological agents. DRDO will be procuring an initial lot of 500 such bags. DRDO’s Defence Bioengineering and Electromedical Laboratory (DEBEL), which carries out research in aero-medical engineering and life support equipment and Nuclear Chemical and Biological (NBC) protection systems, has developed this bag.

International

China recommends Bear Bile as a cure for COVID-19

• China has recommended the use of Bear bile as a possible cure for COVID-19 virus. The Chinese government has put out a list of medicines that will be used to treat COVID-19.

• The list includes both China’s traditional medicines and western medicines. One of these medicines, ‘Tan Re Qing’ is identified to be the best cure.

• The ‘Tan Re Quig’ traditional medicine carries bear bile. Bear bile has been used in Chinese medicine for more than 1300 years. The liver secretes bile juice and it is stored in the gall bladder.

• According to China, the ursodeoxycholic acid present in the bear bile can possibly cure COVID-19. It is also called Ursodiol. The acid is generally used for treating liver diseases and dissolving gall bladder stones.

G20 Trade & Investment Ministerial Meet: India urges for Global Framework on COVID-19

• India recently urged the G20 member countries to come up with a G-20 global framework for ensuring affordable access to treatment and medicines amid Coronavirus outbreak.

• The framework will also allow easier movement of doctors and health professionals across borders. The announcement was made during G20 Trade and Investment Ministerial meeting that was held virtually on March 31, 2020.

COVID-19 crisis in Asia and Pacific far from over: WHO

• The World Health Organisation has warned that while the west, especially Western European nations and North America appear to be the new epicentres of the coronavirus outbreak, the pandemic is far from over in Asia and the Pacific.

• WHO’s Regional Director for the Western Pacific, Dr Takeshi Kasai has urged the governments to stay engaged in their efforts to combat COVID-19, calling it a long-term battle.

• WHO says there is no one-size-fits-all approach but there are common practices that can help fight the pandemic and reiterated that countries need to still prepare for large-scale community transmission

Banking and Economy

IMF declares that World is now in “Recession”

• The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has announced that the world has clearly entered a recession due to the coronavirus pandemic. It has emphasized that the current recession is even worse than that of 2009.

• The statements about the world economy were made after the meeting of governing body of the IMF, the International Monetary and Financial Committee.

Summits and Mou’s

Tata Power JV starts Shuakhevi HPP in Georgia

• Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC, a Joint Venture between Tata Power, Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (CEI), and International Financial Corporation (IFC) has announced the start of commercial operation of the 178 MW Shuakhevi Hydro Power Project (Shuakhevi HPP) located in southwest Georgia.

• The project will generate around 450 GWh of clean energy to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases by more than 200,000 tonnes a year.

Science and Technology

IIT Bombay develops mobile app ‘CORONTINE’

A team at IIT Bombay has developed a mobile app named ‘CORONTINE’. The ‘CORONTINE’ app aims to help the authorities in tracking the asymptomatic carriers and prevent the spread of the COVID-19 disease.

Books and Authors

Book titled “The Death of Jesus” by Nobel laureate J M Coetzee released

• The book titled “The Death of Jesus” authored by Nobel laureate J M Coetzee has been released. It is the third book of the series.

• The earlier two book were, “The Childhood of Jesus”, published in 2014 and The Schooldays of Jesus, in 2018.

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Important Current Affairs 29th March 2020

National

Government Sets up special emergency fund ‘PM CARES Fund’ to Fight Against COVID-19

• The Government of India has set up a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ on 28 March 2020.

• The primary objective of this dedicated national fund is to deal with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

• Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust while Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister are its other members.

• The fund has been set up to enable micro-donations, allowing a large number of people to be able to contribute with smallest of denominations.

• Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G) of the IT Act.

• Citizens and organisations can go to the website pmindia.gov.in and donate to PM CARES Fund.

• The country’s largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) will be hold the account of the PM Cares Fund.

Government of India launches coronavirus risk-tracking app “Corona Kavach”

• Government of India has launched a coronavirus risk-tracking app in India and is named “Corona Kavach”.

• The app has been developed by the Union Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

• The app uses a person’s location to assess whether they are in the high-risk geographical zone or not. It will track the data of the users every one hour to alert them of whether they have crossed paths with any person who has tested positive for the infection.

Abbott Labs launches 5-minute coronavirus test

• Abbott Laboratories, United States is unveiling a coronavirus test which will tell if someone is infected within 5 minutes. This test is so small and portable it is often utilized in almost any health-care setting.

• The test starts with taking a swab from the nose or the rear of the throat, then mixing it with a chemical solution that breaks open the virus and releases its RNA.

•  The mixture is inserted into an ID Now system, a small box weighing slightly below 7 pounds that has the technology to spot and amplify select sequences of the coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.

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

• The Government of Goa has launched a COVID 19 self-assessment tool, to assist people in identifying symptoms and risks of being infected by novel coronavirus, without having to visit a healthcare facility physically.

• With this, Goa has become the first state to launch India’s first digital initiative to tackle novel Coronavirus.

• The self-assessment tool named ‘Test Yourself Goa’ has been launched by the Directorate of Health Services, Government of Goa in partnership with Innovaccer.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP growth estimated at 4.5% for FY’20; 2.6% for FY’21: SBI report

• According to the SBI Ecowrap report released by the State Bank of India (SBI), the GDP growth rate of India for the financial year 2020-21 is likely to fall to 2.6 percent due to the ongoing 21-day lockdown.

• The GDP growth estimate for the current fiscal, i.e. 2019-20 is estimated at 4.5 percent.

Acquisitions and Mergers

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

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

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

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

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

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

• The following amalgamation will take place:

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

2. Syndicate Bank will merge with Canara Bank

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

4. Allahabad Bank will merge into Indian Bank.

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Important Current Affairs 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 18th March 2020

National

Microsoft, NASSCOM launches Innovate for Accessible India campaign

• Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation have launched the Innovate for Accessible India campaign to empower people with disabilities.

• The campaign aims at empowering people with disabilities with the technology and tools required for better integration into society and access to equal opportunities.

• The campaign is in partnership with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Department of Science and Technology, and National Research and Education Network.

International

World Bank Group Increases COVID-19 Response Fund to $14 Billion from $12 Billion

• The World Bank Group has announced an additional funding of $2 billion to help with the COVID-19 pandemic, bringing its commitment to $14 billion.

• The $2 billion in additional funds will come from International Finance Corporation (IFC), from its earlier contribution of $6 billion.

• The $14 billion funding announced will be made available from three branches of the World Bank Group:

o $2.7 billion – International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD)

o $3.3 billion – International Development Association (IDA)

o $8 billion- The International Finance Corporation (IFC)

Iraq's President nominates Adnan Zurfi as Prime Minister

• Iraq's President Barham Salih named Adnan Zurfi, former governor of the holy Shia city of Najaf, the new prime minister of the country. It is a second attempt to find the head of government in recent months.

• He will replace outgoing Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi. Mahdi resigned from his post in December after huge protests against his government.

Banking and Economy

Flipkart Joins Hand with Aegon to sell digital life insurance policies

• E-commerce major Flipkart has partnered with Aegon Life Insurance to sell paperless life insurance policies on its platform.

• The product aims to make life insurance available to customers at the click of a button in a convenient and transparent manner, without the requirement of medical tests or paperwork.

• All the existing Flipkart customers, aged between 18 and 65 years, can buy an instant digital policy with a sum assured of upto 10 lakh from March 2020.

Moody predicts India’s GDP growth at 5.3% for 2020, 5.8% in 2021

• Moody’s Investors Service has predicted India’s GDP growth rate for Calendar Year 2020 at 5.3% and for Calendar Year 2021 at 5.8%.

• Moody has downgraded the GDP estimates for 2020 on account of the Coronavirus outbreak.

Science and Technology

NavIC messaging system designed by ISRO

• Union Minister of State for Fisheries, Pratap Chandra Sarangi recently shared that the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has developed the NavIC messaging system to put out warning messages to Indian fishermen about cyclones, tsunamis and high waves.

• The ISRO has also developed NavIC receiver.

IHBT scientists develop a new sanitizer

• A team of scientists from the Institute of Himalayan Bio-resource Technology (IHBT) in collaboration with the CSIR has developed a new hand-sanitizer to protect people from Coronavirus.

• The use of hand-sanitizers is one of the preventive measures against the Covid-19.IHBT is located in Palampur, Himachal Pradesh.

Days

Ordnance Factories’ Day in India

• Every year, 18 March is celebrated as the Ordnance Factory Day in India. OFB is the world's largest government-operated production organisation, and the oldest organisation run by the Government of India.

• It has a total workforce of about 80,000.

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Important Current Affairs 16th March 2020

National

Centre invokes ‘Epidemic Act 1897’ and ‘Disaster Management Act’ to prevent spread of Coronavirus; Karnataka becomes first state to invoke provisions of 1987 Act

• Following the 2019–20 coronavirus pandemic, the Government of India has made it mandatory for all states and UTs to invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.

• The Centre has also announced that the powers held by the home ministry under the Disaster Management Act shall be “delegated” to the health ministry so as to prepare India against the outbreak.

• The law is meant for prevention of the spread of dangerous epidemic diseases by providing special powers that are required for the implementation of containment measures to control the spread of the disease.

First-ever Indore - Kishangarh flight commenced under UDAN

• The Ministry of Civil Aviation flagged off first-ever flight between Indore to Kishangarh. This flight will connect Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan thrice in a week. This flight has been started under UDAN scheme.

• Now, 268 routes have been dedicated under UDAN scheme by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Thousands of people will be benefitted as it will cover a distance of 550 kilometer.

Karnataka is the first state to invoke provisions of Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897

• Karnataka has become the first state in the country to notify ‘Karnataka Epidemic Diseases, COVID-19 Regulations, 2020’ under the Epidemic Diseases Act , 1897, Karnataka.

• The regulation will be in effect for a period of one year starting from March 11, 2020 to prevent the outbreak and spread of the novel coronavirus.

International

Microsoft launches website to track COVID-19

• Microsoft has launched a web portal to track the spread of COVID-19 worldwide. The web portal has been launched by Microsoft’s Bing team. The portal aims to track the spread of novel coronavirus in the world. The website is accessible at “bing.com/covid”

• A user can click on the country on an interactive map to see the specific number of cases of novel coronavirus infections in the country.

• The web portal displays the information by aggregating data from sources like the World Health Organization (WHO), the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC).

Banking and Economy

GST Rate on Mobile Phones to be hiked from 12% to 18% w.e.f 01 April

• The 39th GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council meeting under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was held in New Delhi on 14 March 2020.

• The Council has announced certain changes in the GST rates of the following items:

• Increase in GST rates on the Mobile phones from the present 12 percent to 18 percent.

• Slash the GST rate on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services of aircraft from 18 percent to 5 percent

• Rationalise the GST rates on handmade and machine-made matchsticks to 12 percent. Earlier this rate was 5 percent for Hand-made matches and 18 percent for machine-made ones.

Appointments and Resignations

GoI nominated Debasish Panda as director on RBI central board

• The Central Government has nominated Debasish Panda as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India. He is a Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi.

• The nomination of Debasish Panda is effective from March 11, 2020, and until further orders. There are two government nominated Directors on the board of RBI. The other one is  Atanu Chakraborty.

Ranking

India ranked 12th globally in ‘Women On Board 2020’ study

• India has been ranked 12th in the world as per study titled ‘Women On Board 2020’. The list was topped by Norway with 40.72% women on board.

• A study on ‘Women On Board 2020’ has been done jointly by global recruitment tendering platforms MyHiringClub and Sarkari-Naukri.

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Important Current Affairs 4th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Janaushadhi Week 2020 celebrated across India: 50,000 Suvidha Sanitary Napkins distributed:

• India is observing the Janaushadhi week from 1st to 7th March 2020.

• The week is being observed through the events organised by the owners of over 6200 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya

• Janaushadhi Kendras to raise awareness about health and hygiene. One of the events was focussed on the theme ‘Suvidha Se Sammaan’.

Government launches LLP settlement Scheme 2020:

• The Central Government recently launched the LLP Settlement Scheme 2020 for the one-time extension for filing the required documents with the Registrar.

• The scheme will come into force on March 16, 2020 and will be implemented till June 13, 2020.

• Under the scheme, the defaulting LLPs will be allowed to fill Form 3, Form 4, Form 8 and Form 11.

President confers 61st Lalit Kala Akademi Awards:

• President Ram Nath Kovind on March 4, 2020 conferred the 61st annual Lalit Kala Akademi Awards at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.

• A total of 15 artists were bestowed with the awards including Anoop Kumar Manzukhi Gopi, Satwinder Kaur, Yashpal Singh, Yashwant Singh and others.

• The works of these artists will be displayed at the National Exhibition of Art at the Lalit Kala Akademi galleries till March 22, 2020.

Government to replace all level crossings on Highways by bridges & underpasses:

• The Central Government has decided to replace all level crossings on the National Highways by bridges or underpasses under the Setu Bharatam Scheme by December 2020.

• The move is expected to enable smooth traffic management on the national highways besides drastically reducing the chances of road accidents.

Indian Army’s International Seminar “Pragyan Conclave 2020” begins:

• The Indian Army’s International Seminar “Pragyan Conclave 2020” has begin at Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. The seminar has been organised by Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS).

• The Pragyan Conclave 2020 seminar united the national and international experts to discuss the complex topic of ‘Changing Characteristics of Land Warfare and its Impact on the Military’.

• It also provided a platform for discussions on emerging ideas, perspectives and narratives that define the ‘New Age Warfare’.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

World Bank announces 12 billion USD aid to fight coronavirus:

• The World Bank announced 12 billion USD to assist countries that are grappling with economic impacts of coronavirus. The World Bank is to provide financial aid for the countries to act upon the needs and develop a fast response towards the spread of the virus.

• The bank released a statement announcing an emergency fast track package that includes low-cost loans, grants, and technical assistance.

• This includes emergency financing, policy advice, and technical assistance, building on the World Bank Group’s existing instruments and expertise to help countries respond to the crisis.

BANKING AND ECONOMY

Supreme Court lifts ban on RBI for dealing in Cryptocurrency:

• The Supreme Court has lifted the ban on the Reserve Bank of India for trading in cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

• The ruling came on a plea filed by the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IMAI), asking for the removal of RBI ban.

• The RBI had restricted the banks from facilitating the use of virtual currencies in 2018.

NABARD infuses Rs 1.46 lakh cr in rural banking system during current fiscal:

• National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has infused 46 lakh crore rupees in the rural banking system during the current fiscal.

• NABARD has stated that 66,397 crore rupees have been given in short-term credit and 6,704 crore rupees in long-term credit to rural cooperative banks.

APPOINTMENT AND RESIGNATIONS

Sudhanshu Pandey takes charge as new CMD of MMTC Ltd:

• Additional Secretary at the Department of Commerce Sudhanshu Pandey has assumed additional charge as Chairman and Managing Director of MMTC Ltd.

• His predecessor Ved Prakash.

• Pandey currently discharges functions as the Chief Negotiator of India.

About MMTC

• MMTC earlier known as Metals and Minerals Trading Corporation, is the single largest trader for product lines like minerals, metals and precious metals.

• Headquarters- New Delhi

IMPORTANT DAYS

National Safety Day:

• National Safety Day is celebrated in India on 4th March by the National Safety Council of India.

• This day is celebrated to make people get safe from several issues like financial loss, health problems and also any other problems that people are facing in their life.

• The Campaign now entering its 49th year, has grown into a major national campaign widely celebrated by industry, trade unions, govt.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2020

National News

Union Cabinet approves Pesticide Management Bill 2020

•   Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020. Briefing reporters in New Delhi , Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar stated, the legislation will promote organic pesticides in the country.

•  Major Ports Authority Bill to enhance overall efficiencies of the ports was cleared by the Cabinet.Cabinet has also approved changes in the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020.

Supreme Court orders parties to publish criminal records of all candidates

•   The Supreme Court recently directed all the political parties to publish the criminal records of all the candidates, if any, within the next 48 hours.

•  These records need to be published on the official websites of these political parties as well as on their social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter.

•  The apex court also asked the parties the reason behind allotting the election tickets to candidates with a criminal record.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 amended to make arbitration process user friendly

•  The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators

•  The Amendment Act seeks to a new Part to the Act of 1996 for the establishment and incorporation of an independent body namely, the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the purpose of grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of arbitrators, etc.

• As per the Act, ACI will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, to be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Banking and Economy

Nasscom’s IT revenue grows at 7.7 per cent in FY20

•  The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) projected the Indian IT sector to grow 7 per cent to reach $191 billion in FY20, with exports reaching $147 billion, and headcount addition accelerating from the previous year.

•   This is a marginal improvement over its prediction of 2018,  when it said that the IT sector will only grow by 6.1 per cent but the sector is still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about FY21, the industry body pointed out.

•  While the global economy has been moving at a sluggish pace, Indian economy only grew at 8 per cent and exports stood at $644 billion.

Awards

President Kovind presents President’s "Colour" to INS Shivaji

•    President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

•   The Presentation of Colour or Standards by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is an acknowledgement of the unit’s meritorious service.

Appointments and Resignations

G Narayanan appointed as head of New Space India Ltd

• ISRO’s senior space scientist G Narayanan has been appointed as the chairman of the commercial entity of ISRO New Space India Limited (NSIL).

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) named him for this post because he earlier worked as deputy director at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO.

• New Space India Limited (NSIL) was established in March 2019 to meet the demands of ISRO’s various space programs. The NSIL will manufacture small and lightweight satellites.

Days

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on 13 February World Radio Day 2020 celebrates the radio as a method for teaching individuals, giving data, and promoting the opportunity of expression across cultures.

The theme of World Radio Day 2020 is “Radio and Diversity”.

Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary observed as National Women's Day

India on February 13, 2020 observed Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary as National Women's Day 2020. Naidu was the first woman governor of India’s United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh).

 She was popularly known as 'Nightingale of India' for her collection of poems. She was also actively involved in the Indian National Movement

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Important Current Affairs 24th January 2020

National


National Girl Child Day 2020

•    India observed the National Girl Child Day 2020 on January 24, 2020 with an aim to raise awareness about the importance of girl child and create facilities for them. 
•    The Day is utilised as a platform to share about the atrocities and inequalities faced by girls in their lives.

India's first e-waste clinic opens in Bhopal

• The first e-waste clinic of the country has been recently opened in Bhopal. This clinic will segregate and process e-waste from household and commercial units.
• The clinic will process all types of e-Waste materials like computers, mobile, chargers, etc. The clinic will run a campaign ‘junk to jugaad’ for those e-waste materials which will not be possible to process.
• The e-waste clinic has been prepared in a junk low floor bus. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) are providing technical support to this clinic.

India, Bangladesh signed agreement to upgrade a road into 4-lane highway

• India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to upgrade Ashuganj-Akhaura road (50.58-kilometer) into a four-lane highway.
• A stretch of 39 kilometers between Ashuganj river port to Dharhar area will be developed by Indian Company, Afcons Infrastructure Limited and Roads and Highways Department (RHD) of Bangladesh.
• This road up-gradation project is a part of two billion second line credit extended by India to Bangladesh. Apart from that, 46 other projects have been identified in Bangladesh that would improve connectivity within and outside of Bangladesh.

International


US amends visa rules to restrict 'birth tourism'

•    The United States recently announced new visa rules to restrict ‘birth tourism’ wherein no temporary visitor visas (B-1/B-2) will be issued to foreigners seeking birth tourism.
•    As per the US White House, the move is aimed at boosting national security and public safety on the whole

International day of education 2020 observed
•    
• International Education Day is observed every year on January 24. The United Nations passed a resolution on December 3, 2018, and decided to declare January 24 as International Education Day.
• Its purpose is to underline the role of education in peace and development. The proposal for International Education Day was prepared by 58 countries including Nigeria. 
•  In India, National Education Day is observed on November 11 every year. It is the second year of the International Day of Education.

Banking and Economy


RBI cancels certificate of authorisation of Vodafone m-pesa
•    The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday said it has cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of Vodafone m-pesa on account of voluntary surrender of authorisation.
•    Following the cancellation of the CoA, the company cannot transact the business of issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments, the central bank said.
•    Vodafone m-pesa was one of the 11 firms that was given payments bank licence by the RBI in 2015.

Investment limit for FPIs in government & corporate bonds increased to 30%

•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in government and corporate bonds have been raised by the Reserve Bank of India. The decision aims to bring in more foreign funds into the market. 
•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been raised from 20% to 30% in government & corporate bonds.
•    Along with increase in the investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors, the RBI has also announced relaxations in the voluntary retention route (VRR) for FPI investments in debt. 
•    According to the RBI circular, the investment cap through VRR has been increased to Rs 1.5 lakh crore from Rs 0.75 lakh crore. The central bank has also permitted the FPIs to invest in exchange-traded funds that invest only in debt instruments.
Awards

Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 winners announced

•    The Union Home Ministry on January 23, 2020 announced the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020. 
•    The Ministry will confer the award upon Kumar Munnan Singh in Individual Category and  Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre, Uttarakhand in Institution Category. 
•    The award is announced on the occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.


Sports

India successfully chased the biggest T20 target abroad

• Team India has completed its biggest run chase overseas by achieving a target of 204 against New Zealand in the first T20I in Auckland on January 24, 2020. 
• India completed its last biggest run chase abroad on July 8, 2018, by achieving the target of 199 runs given by England in Bristol. 
• In this match, Shreyas Iyer (58) and KL Rahul (56) smashed rapid 50s whit captain Virat Kohli scored 45 runs.

Ranking


Corruption Perception Index 2019: India slips two positions to 80th rank

•    The Transparency International on January 23, 2020 launched the Corruption Perception Index 2019 during the ongoing World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos. India’s rank slipped to 80th place on the index from 78th position in the year 2018. 
•    Denmark and New Zealand have been ranked as the most honest countries on the index.

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