Current Affairs April 2020 4th Week
1.T. S. Tirumurti
T. S. Tirumurti has been appointed as the next Ambassador or Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations. Tirumurti is an IFS officer of 1985 batch. He is currently the Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. He replaces Sayyad Akbaruddin.
Former Finance Secretary Rajiv Kumar was appointed Chairman of Public Enterprises Selection Board (PESB) for a period of three years. Kumar, 60 and a 1984 batch Jharkhand cadre IAS official, was in July 2019 designated as the Finance Secretary and retired in February this year. He will succeed the incumbent Kapil Dev Tripathi, a 1980 batch retired Assam-Meghalaya cadre IAS official. He took over as the financial services secretary in September 2017 and initiated several reforms in the country's banking sector, to clean up the bad loan mess and to make public sector banks (PSBs) stronger.
Deepak Mittal has been appointed India's next Ambassador to Qatar, while Piyush Srivastava goes to Bahrain in the same capacity. Deepak Mittal is a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. Mittal has served as a Joint Secretary in Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Iran. The new appointees are of the 1998 batch of Indian Foreign Service (IFS), and both of them are expected to take up their assignments shortly.
4.J Arun Kumar
Former Karnataka batsman J Arun Kumar was appointed coach of the USA cricket team. Jak, as he is known in the cricketing circles, has worked with the Karnataka team for several years and as batting coach with IPL franchise Kings XI Punjab. Arun Kumar was also in charge of a fledgling Puducherry team before quitting in February owing to differences with the association officials. Arun Kumar, who scored over 7,200 runs in first-class cricket and over 3,000 runs in List 'A' games, had guided Karnataka to a treble for two successive seasons Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy and Irani Cup, in 2013-14 and 2014-15.
Justice Dipankar Datta took oath as the new Chief Justice of the Bombay High Court. Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari administered the oath of office to him at Raj Bhavan. In view of the coronavirus pandemic, a limited number of guests including Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray and a few judges of the high court attended the ceremony. Datta succeeds Justice Bhushan Dhamadhikari who retired as chief justice.
6.diplomat Manisha Singh
US President Donald Trump has nominated senior Indian-American diplomat Manisha Singh as America's next envoy to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, OECD. Manisha Singh is currently Assistant Secretary of State for Economic and Business Affairs at the State Department. Headquartered in Paris, France, the OECD is an intergovernmental economic organisation with 36 member countries to stimulate economic progress and world trade. She previously served as the Acting Under Secretary of Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment, and as a Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Economic, Energy and Business Affairs at the State Department.
7.Govt appoints new Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments
The Union Government appointed new Secretaries, Special Secretaries and Additional Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments. Information and Broadcasting Secretary Ravi Mittal has been appointed as the Sports Secretary. Secretary, Higher Education Amit Khare will hold additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting. CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal has been appointed as Secretary School Education and Literacy. Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, who was to retire this month, has been given a three month extension. Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority Tarun Kapoor will be Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas . Tarun Bajaj will be Secretary Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance.
Odisha Governor Professor Ganeshi Lal administered the oath to Justice Mohammad Rafiq as the Chief Justice of Orissa High Court. Justice Rafiq will serve as the 31st Chief Justice of Orissa High Court. Justice Rafiq was previously serving as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court. Meanwhile, Justice Biswanath Somadder took oath as the Chief Justice of the Meghalaya High Court.
President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC)-designate IAS Sanjay Kothari at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sanjay Kothari was secretary to the president before being nominated to the new role. Mr Kothari was reportedly shortlisted as the Central Vigilance Commissioner in February this year by a high-powered panel headed by the prime minister.
Veteran actor Rishi Kapoor passed away in Mumbai. Rishi Kapoor received the National Film Award for his debut role as a child artist in his father Raj Kapoor's 1970 film ‘Mera Naam Joker’. He had his first lead role as an adult opposite Dimple Kapadia in 1973 with the film ‘Bobby’ and received the Filmfare Best Actor Award in 1974. He played leading roles as the romantic lead in many films between 1973 and 2000. He won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Actor in 2011 for his performance in ‘Do Dooni Chaar’ and for his role in ‘Kapoor & Sons’. He also won the Filmfare Award for Best Supporting Actor in 2017. Rishi Kapoor was honoured with the Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award in 2008.
Renowned actor Irrfan Khan passed away in a Mumbai hospital, losing his battle with a rare form of cancer. The Maqbool actor, who was diagnosed with neuroendocrine tumour in 2018, lost his mother in Jaipur just four days ago. Irfan Khan made his Bollywood debut with Mira Nair's Salaam Bombay in 1988. Later, he did many films but was noticed with films like Maqbool, Life In A Metro, Paan Singh Tomar and Piku. He has also been associated with many international films like Slumdog Millionaire, A Mighty Heart, Jurassic World and The Amazing Spider-Man. His best though is Ang Lee's Life Of Pi which was a huge commercial success.
Noted playwright and lyricist of Odisha Bijay Mishra passed away. He was a pioneer of the modern theatre movement in Odisha, Mishra was recipient of many awards at the State as well as national level. He won the Kendriya Sahitya Akademi award for his play ‘Vanaprastha’. He won Odisha Sahitya Akademi and other State-level awards. He also received the prestigious Jayadev Award for his lifetime contribution to Odia film industry at the 30th Odisha State Film Awards last year.
Senior Congress leader and councillor in Amdavad Municipal Corporation Badruddin Sheikh passed away following COVID19 infection. He was 68 and active in politics and public life. He had also served as State Congress spokesperson and Leader of opposition in AMC in the past. He was under treatment at AMC run SVP -Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel hospital since the third week of April after he detected COVID-19 positive.
Former Governor of Bihar and Tripura and veteran Congress leader Devanand Konwar died of old age ailments He was governor of Bihar from July 24, 2009 to March 8, 2013 and of Tripura between March 25, 2013 and June 29, 2014. He had also served as governor (additional charge) of West Bengal from December 2009 to January 2010. Konwar had joined the Congress in 1955 as a student leader. He became a Cabinet minister in the governments of Assam headed by Hiteswar Saikia and later by Tarun Gogoi.
Veteran sports photojournalist Ronojoy 'Ronny' Roy died following a cardiac arrest. There is a lot of speculation that Roy could have died to COVID-19. Popularly known as 'Ronny', he was associated with Bengali daily Aajkaal since 1990s and covered the ICC World Cup in England last year. Having started from the entertainment section, Roy switched to sports and became a well-known face in the Maidan establishing a good rapport with both players and officials of all disciplines.
Former Australian cricketer Graeme Watson who was fighting cancer, has died at the age of 75. Primarily a middle-order batsman and a medium-pace bowler, he featured in five Tests from 1967 to 1972 and two ODIs in 1972. The all-rounder earned the national call during the 1966-67 tour of Rhodesia and South Africa.
17.Thespian Usha Ganguly
Eminent theatre personality Usha Ganguly died. She founded the Rangakarmee group in 1976, which is known for non-conformist productions like Mahabhoj, Rudali, Court Martial and Antaryatra. Ganguly is credited for introducing a new form of alternative Hindi theatre in Bengal. Her Bengali productions include Mukti and Manasi.
Pakistan batsman Umar Akmal was banned for three years by the PCB for failing to report corrupt approaches ahead of the country's premier T20 league this year. The ban was imposed by its Disciplinary Panel chairman Justice (retired) Fazal-e-Miran Chauhan, who held a hearing. The 29-year-old appeared before the panel at the National Cricket Academy in Lahore after not challenging a show cause notice issued to him by the PCB Anti-Corruption for not reporting an alleged offer to spot-fix in the 2020 Pakistan Super League.
Middle distance runner Jhuma Khatun has been banned for four years by the Athletics Integrity Unit of the world governing body. He was banned for testing positive for a banned substance, steroid, in a nearly two-year-old doping case which the NDTL had failed to detect. The 31-year-old Khatun's dope sample collected during the National Inter-State Championships in June 2018 in Guwahati returned negative when it was tested by the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) in Delhi. Khatun had won a bronze each in 1500m and 5000m in that Guwahati meet.
Former Pakistan women's skipper Sana Mir announced her retirement from international cricket, ending a 15 year long illustrious career. Mir featured in 226 international matches for Pakistan, including 137 as captain from 2009 to 2017. The right-handed batter made her ODI debut against Sri Lanka in Karachi in December 2005, while her last ODI was against Bangladesh in Lahore in November 2019. Mir rose to number-one on ICC Women's Rankings for ODI bowlers in October 2018. She is one of the nine women cricketers to have taken 100 wickets and scored 1,000 runs in ODIs.
21.World Games unveil new logo, title for 2022 edition
The World Games to be held in Birmingham, Alabama, which have been delayed due to the coronavirus outbreak, have unveiled a new logo and a new title. With the announcement of The Games shift to July 7-17, 2022, organisers have decided that the international multi-sport event will officially become ‘The World Games 2022'. While the International Olympic Committee postponed the Summer Olympics until 2021, it agreed to retain the name "Tokyo 2020".
22.US Navy to host world's largest maritime exercises ‘Rim of the Pacific’ in Hawaii again this year
The United States Navy has said that it will host the world's largest maritime exercises ‘Rim of the Pacific’ in Hawaii again this year, but the drills will only be held at sea because of the Coronavirus. The Navy has held the Rim of the Pacific exercises in Hawaii every two years since the early 1970s. Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam will host a minimal footprint of staff for logistics and support functions. The drills will also be held over two weeks, from 17th to 31st August , instead of the usual five weeks of events from late June to early August.
23.International Dance Day: 29 April
International Dance Day is a global celebration of dance, created by the Dance Committee of the International Theatre Institute (ITI), the main partner for the performing arts of UNESCO. The event takes place every year on 29th April, the anniversary of the birth of Jean-Georges Noverre (1727–1810), the creator of modern ballet. Every year a message from an outstanding choreographer or dancer is circulated throughout the world. For 2020 the Executive Council of ITI in alignment with the Dance Committee of ITI and World Dance Alliance selected Gregory Vuyani Maqoma, the eminent dancer, choreographer, and dance educator from South Africa.
24.Pakistan's southern Sindh province Governor tests positive for COVID-19
Pakistan's southern Sindh province Governor Imran Ismail, a close aide of Prime Minister Imran Khan, has been tested positive for COVID-19. Mr. Ismail is the highest official in the country to test positive so far. Earlier, Sindh minister for education, Saeed Ghani, tested positive but recovered. Before he was tested COVID-19 positive, the governor spent 10 very busy days where he met a host of people and attended important meetings.
25.World Day for Safety and Health at Work: 28 April
The World Day for Safety and Health at Work was first observed by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) in the year 2003 and laid importance on the prevention of accidents and diseases at the workplace. The day is celebrated every year on April 28 and is important since a person spends most of his time at his workplace and so a secure workplace environment is something which everyone can expect. The day which is being observed on April 28, 2020, aims at promoting the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases at the workplace. 2020 Theme: ‘Safety and health at work can save lives’
26.UK Finance Minister unveils 100% state-backed 'Bounce Back Loan Scheme' for small businesses
United Kingdom's Finance Minister Rishi Sunak has unveiled a 100 per cent state-backed 'Bounce Back Loan Scheme' for the small businesses to help them tide through the coronavirus pandemic lockdown. The Indian-origin UK Chancellor told the House of Commons that the new fast-track finance scheme would help bolster the existing package of support available to crisis-hit UK businesses. Under the scheme, qualifying small businesses can apply online to borrow between 2,000 pounds and 50,000 pounds as interest-free loans for the first 12 months.
27.India third largest military spender in world, after US and China
India has become the third largest military spender in the world, after the US and China, according to a Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report. This is the first time that India and China are among the top three military spenders. India’s military spending grew by 6.8 percent to $71.1 billion in 2019, according to the SIPRO report on “Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019”. This was the highest military spending in South Asia. Total global military expenditure rose to $1,917 billion in 2019.
28.Saudi Arabia ends death penalty for crimes committed by minors
After ending the practice of flogging, Saudi Arabia has now ended the death penalty for crimes committed by minors. The death penalty was abolished for those convicted of crimes committed while they were minors. Instead, the individual will receive a prison sentence of no longer than 10 years in a juvenile detention facility. Observers are of the opinion that these steps are being taken to blunt the human rights criticism faced by Saudi Arabia at the international level and also an attempt by the Kingdom to carry out reforms as per the vision 2030 projected by the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.
29.World Intellectual Property Day: 26 April
World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April. The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to "raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life" and "to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe". 26 April was chosen as the date for World Intellectual Property Day because it coincides with the date on which the Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization entered into force in 1970. The theme for World Intellectual Property Day 2020 is 'Innovation for Green Future.'
30.Saudi Arabia abolishes flogging as punishment
Saudi Arabia has abolished flogging as a form of punishment. Court-ordered floggings in Saudi Arabia, sometimes extending to hundreds of lashes, have long drawn condemnation from human rights groups. Previously the courts could order the flogging of convicts found guilty of offences ranging from extramarital sex and breach of the peace to murder. In future, judges will have to choose between fines and/or jail sentences, or non-custodial alternatives like community service.
31.World Malaria Day: 25 April
World Malaria Day is observed every year on April 25 to raise awareness of the global effort to control and ultimately eradicate malaria. World Malaria Day, which was first held in 2008, developed from Africa Malaria Day, an event that had been observed since 2001 by African governments. Malaria is a life-threatening disease which is caused by the bites of infected mosquitoes. It is the Female Anopheles mosquitoes who spread the Plasmodium parasite through their saliva, which causes malaria. The theme of World Malaria Day 2020 is "Zero malaria starts with me”.
32.The International Delegate’s Day: 25 April
The International Delegate’s Day is observed every year on 25 April. This day is observed to raise awareness of the role of the representatives and delegates of the Member States to the United Nations. International Delegate's Day marks the anniversary of the first day of the San Francisco Conference, also known as the United Nations Conference on International Organization. On 25 April 1945, delegates from fifty countries came together for the first time in San Francisco.
33.International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace: 24 April
The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace is observed every year on 24 April. The UN Assembly proclaimed the day while considering that preserving the values of multilateralism and international cooperation is fundamental to promote and support the three pillars of the UN - Peace and Security, Development and Human Rights. The day was first observed by the United Nations (UN) on April 24, 2019.
34.World Immunization Week: 24 April to 30 April.
World Immunization Week is a global public health campaign to raise awareness and increase rates of immunization against vaccine-preventable diseases around the world. It takes place each year during the last week of April i.e 24 April to 30 April. This week tries to inform individuals about the use of vaccines and their importance to fight against diseases at different ages. Vaccination protects a person's body and helps fight against deadly diseases. The theme for World Immunisation Week 2020 is ‘VaccinesWork for All’.
35.Pakistan receives USD 1.39 billion emergency loan from IMF to deal with Coronavirus crisis
Pakistan has received an emergency loan of 1.39 billion US Dollars from the International Monetary Fund to boost its foreign exchange reserves in the wake of the further economic downturn due to the Corona virus crisis. Earlier, Pakistan requested the global money lender for a low-cost, fast-disbursing loan under its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) to deal with the adverse economic impact of COVID-19. The RFI is used to provide financial assistance to IMF member countries facing an urgent balance of payments need without requiring them to put a full-fledged programme in place. The 1.39 billion US Dollar loan is in addition to the six billion US Dollar bailout package that Pakistan has signed with the IMF in July last year to stave off a balance of payment crisis. The World Bank has earlier approved one billion US Dollars and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 1.5 billion US Dollars for Pakistan to keep its economy afloat.
36.ADB gives $ 346 mn loan for power sector in rural Maharashtra
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a USD 346 million (around Rs 2,616 crore) loan to Indian government to provide reliable power connection in rural areas of Maharashtra. Maharashtra is the second-most populous state in India, and about half of the state’s labour force is engaged in agriculture and related activities in the rural areas. The loan will support the state government’s high voltage distribution system (HVDS) program for new grid-connected rural agricultural customers across the state. The loan will be under ADB’s results-based lending (RBL) modality, where fund disbursements are linked to the achievement of agreed programme results rather than to upfront expenditures. This first ADB-financed RBL program in South Asia’s energy sector will help in the early construction and installation of metered HVDS through the installation of about 46,800 kilometers of 11 kilovolt (kV) grid extension lines, construction and upgrading of 121 33/11 kV distribution substations.
37.Cauvery Water Management Authority brought under Jal Shakti Ministry
The Centre has officially brought the Cauvery Water Management Authority under the Jal Shakti Ministry. The officials said the CWMA was earlier under the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. However, with the Modi government forming the Jal Shakti Ministry to deal with water-related issues, the Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation has taken the form of a department under it. Water management authorities of other rivers too have been brought under the Jal Shakti Ministry as they were also under the erstwhile Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation. In 2018, the Centre constituted the Cauvery Water Management Authority (CWMA) to address the dispute over sharing of river water among Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Kerala and Puducherry.
38.Amur Falcon tagging mission a success
The GPS Satellite Radio transmitters tagging on Amur Falcons which were released from Manipur in the first week of November last year have succeeded and one falcon returned back to Manipur after covering around 20,000 km up to Somalia of South Africa. Manipur Forest Department in collaboration with scientists from Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun and local people had released five satellite tagged Amur Falcons from Tamenglong district of Manipur. One falcon named Chinwal has returned back from Somalia after staying there for three months and reached Myanmar. The bird will further fly around 5,000 km towards their breeding ground -Northern China –Mongolia border area. The mission has succeeded this time and some roosting sites in Manipur have also been identified through tagging this time. The bird reached the jungles of some part of Nagaland state and Tamenglong district of Manipur in mid October every year to build fate reserves.
39.Tripura cabinet to start ‘neighborhood classes’ besides tele-classes for students amid lockdown
In Tripura, the state cabinet has decided to start ‘neighborhood classes’ in addition to the ongoing online and televised/aired classes to ensure every student gets an education during the lockdown period. In these neighborhood classes, one teacher will be teaching a maximum of five students until school classes resume.Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath said the state education department has appealed to school teachers to take part in the new initiative. The state Education Department has started distribution of free textbooks under SAMAGRA SHIKSHA Abhiyan among students of schools and Madrassas.
40.Chhattisgarh tops among other states in providing employment to workers under MGNREGS
Chhattisgarh has topped the list of states in providing employment to over 18 lakh unskilled labourers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS). Around 77.85 lakh people are engaged in different work under the scheme across the country. The national participation of the workers working in the state is 24 per cent, which is the highest in the country. Chhattisgarh has topped the country in providing employment to 18.51 lakh workers under MGNREGS. Rajasthan has provided employment to 10.79 lakh workers under the rural employment guarantee scheme and Uttar Pradesh is at third position with around 9.06 lakh workers engaged by it.
41.Assam SDMA engages 14,000 citizens as 'Pratirodhi Bondhu' to fight against COVID-19
Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) has come up with a novel idea to create a cadre of volunteers under the name and style of ‘Pratirodhi Bondhu’ using the existing volunteers from ASLRM, NULM, Aapada Mitra, Indian Red Cross Society, Nehru Yuvak Kendra, NCC and NSS. Pratirodhi Bondhu are working as volunteers in creating awareness including social distancing across Assam. One such volunteer has been assigned to reach out to 100 families in his or her locality. The volunteers are also extending online support to the people. Official sources said that citizen between 18 to 50 years have been deployed as Pratirodhi Bondhu.
42.ADB approves USD 1.5 bn loan to India to help fight coronavirus
Asian Development Bank has approved a 1.5 billion dollars loan to India to help fund its fight against the coronavirus pandemic. The loan has been sanctioned with a view to support immediate priorities such as disease containment and prevention, as well as social protection for the poor and economically vulnerable sections. The quick-disbursing fund is part of a larger package of support that ADB will provide in close coordination with the government and other development partners.
43.Govt allows employees of IT companies to work from home till July 31
Employees of Information Technology (IT) companies can work from home till July 31 as the government has extended the relaxation of VPN norms till the end of July. Information Technology Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad held a meeting with IT ministers from all states in which he communicated the decision. Companies were earlier not allowed to connect the office VPN to home infrastructure. Other exemptions include the requirement of security deposit and agreement for WFH facility for IT and IT-enabled services. Whether employees are allowed to work from home or when they will be asked to return to office will be at the discretion of the company.
44.Govt decides to provide Mid-day meals to students during summer vacation in wake of situation arising out of COVID 19
Government has announced around 11 per cent increase in annual central allocation of cooking cost under Mid-day meal scheme to 8 thousand 100 crore rupees in view of the situation arising out of COVID-19. The annual central allocation of cooking cost for procurement of pulses, vegetable, oil, spices and fuel under Mid Day Meal Scheme was 7 thousand 300 crore rupees. Considering the health of the students, during the lockdown, ration is being provided under mid-day meal for the children to get adequate and nutritious food. The scheme covers more than 12 crore children studying in over 11 lakh schools across the country. The Midday Meal Scheme comes under the HRD Ministry’s Department of School Education and Literacy. It was launched in the year 1995 as a centrally sponsored scheme.
45.Portal of Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand opened
The portal of the central Himalayan shrine of Kedarnath Dham in Uttarakhand opened after the winter break. The portals were thrown open amid chanting of Vedic Mantras and performance of necessary rituals. Chardham Yatra is suspended due to nationwide lockdown following the Covid 19 pandemic. Kedarnath Mandir is a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva. Located on the Garhwal Himalayan range near the Mandakini river, Kedarnath is located in the state of Uttarakhand. Due to extreme weather conditions, the temple is open to the general public only between the months of April and November.
46.NLC India commences coal production at Talabira-II & III Opencast Coal Mine
NLC India has commenced coal production at its Talabira-II and III Opencast Coal Mine in Odisha. Tamil Nadu-based Navaratna company said its production marked the entry of NLC India into the coal mining sector in the state. The Talabira II and III coal mines were allotted to this Navratna firm in 2016 to meet the requirement of its existing and future coal-fired power plants. The company had said that the production of 20 million tonnes of coal per annum from these two coal blocks would fuel its 4,200 MW thermal power projects in that state.
47.Numaligarh Refinery Ltd begins operations with precautions
In Assam, the Numaligarh Refinery Limited, NRL has started economic activities with all proper precautions. The projects worth 2 thousand crore rupees have started in the state. 2 thousand people are working at Guwahati and Numaligarh offices of the NRL. NRL initially adopted the work from home method during lock down period.
48.MP CM launches 'Jeevan Amrit Yojana' scheme to boost immunity system of citizens
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan launched Jeevan Amrit Yojana, a unique scheme to boost the immunity system of citizens of the state. Under this scheme, the State Government will distribute a packet of special Trikatu Churna prepared by the AYUSH Department free of cost to the citizens. In this time of Corona crisis it is necessary that every person has good immunity power, so that this virus does not affect us. Under Jeevan Amrit yojna, packets of 50 grams each of the kadha have been prepared by Madhya Pradesh Laghu Vanopaj Sangh in collaboration with the Department of AYUSH. This kadha made of peepal, ginger and black pepper is being distributed free of cost to one crore people in rural and urban areas of the state.
49.Andhra Pradesh CM launches 'Jagananna Vidya Deevena' Scheme
- Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister, Y. S.Jaganmohan Reddy has launched the 'Jagananna Vidya Deevena' Scheme at Tedepalli, in Guntur District in AP. Under this scheme over Rs 4 Thousand Crores of funds have been released along with Rs 1880 crore towards the pending amount left by the earlier government. Under this scheme, fee reimbursement will be credited directly to mothers’ accounts instead of college accounts in the coming academic year 2020-21. An amount of INR 15,000 To INR 20,000 will be offered for the eligible candidates through the Jagananna Vidya Deevena Scheme. Orders have been issued to the colleges to reimburse the entire fee amount paid by all the parents during the year 2018-19 and 2019-20.
50.Narendra Singh Tomar releases SOP for e-Gram Swaraj Yojana platform and mobile App
Union Minister of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj, Narendra Singh Tomar issued a detailed guideline of the SVAMITVA Scheme aimed at providing people residing in Rural parts with the right to document their residential properties. Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) regarding the e-Gram Swaraj Yojana platform and mobile App, was launched on this occasion. This would also help in resolving property related disputes and would also enable creation of better-quality Gram Panchayat Development Plans. The pilot phase of the scheme will extend to six states namely Haryana, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand covering approximately one lakh villages. Mr. Tomar informed that it will ensure that the funds given to the panchayats are not misused and transparency can be established.
51.King George Medical University in Lucknow becomes 1st govt hospital in country to successfully launch Plasma Therapy Treatment for COVID-19
The King George Medical University in Uttar Pradesh has become the first government hospital in the country to successfully launch the plasma therapy treatment for the COVID-19 patients. The first dose of the plasma therapy was given to a 58-year old patient. The plasma was already secured from the three recovered COVID-19 patients who were treated at KGMU itself. The 58-year old COVID-19 patient who was on ventilator has shown signs of recovery and a second dose of the plasma transfusion therapy can be given. If this patient recovers successfully then it will be a great step in treating the serious patients with the help of plasma transfusion therapy.
52.Uttar Pradesh government bans all public functions till 30th June
Uttar Pradesh government has banned all public functions till the 30th of June. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has directed officers that no public gathering should be allowed in the state till June 30 amid the coronavirus outbreak. The move comes after the Chief Minister held a meeting with chairpersons of 11 committees of the state over the COVID-19 situation. The restriction will have a direct impact on Eid festivities, apart from other religious gatherings.
53.Kerala govt hospital deploys robot to serve food, medicines to COVID-19 patients
A government hospital in Ernakulam, Kerala has deployed a robot to serve food and medicines to coronavirus patients. Malayalam star Mohanlal's Viswasanthi Foundation donated the autonomous robot to the COVID-19 ward of the Ernakulam government medical college hospital. The robot named 'KARMI-Bot' will be used to assist patients at the medical college's COVID-19 isolation ward. The robot is developed by ASIMOV robotics, a company working under maker village of Kerala start-up mission. The purpose of this project is to limit the interaction between COVID-19 patients and health workers as well as to address the shortage of PPE kits by minimizing its use.
54.Assam govt launches Dhanwantari scheme for home delivery of medicines
The Assam government has launched a new scheme Dhanwantari under which locally unavailable medicines are provided to the patients at home. Medicines below 200 rupees will be provided free of cost to patients. Under the scheme, locally unavailable medicines due to the lockdown shall be delivered to patients at home. ASHA workers and multi-purpose workers will collect the medicines and deliver them to the patients’ families.
55.BRO opens Rohtang Pass after clearing snow
Border Roads Organization (BRO) has opened Rohtang Pass, more than three weeks in advance after clearing snow. It is the arterial road connecting Lahaul and Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh from rest of the country. Himachal Pradesh Government had approached BRO to expedite the snow clearance to facilitate return of farmers for starting cultivation and movement of essential supplies and to bring relief materials to Lahaul Valley in wake of COVID-19. Rohtang Pass is a high mountain pass on the eastern Pir Panjal Range of the Himalayas around 51 km from Manali. It connects the Kullu Valley with the Lahaul and Spiti Valleys of Himachal Pradesh.
56.Montek Ahluwalia to head expert group for post-COVID-19 revival in Punjab
The Punjab government has constituted an expert group, headed by former deputy chairman of the Planning Commission and economist, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, to form a post-COVID-19 revival strategy for the state. The group, which includes economy and industry experts, shall recommend to the Punjab government a short-term (one year) as well as a medium-term action plan, including a fiscal management strategy, along with other policy measures to revive the state's economy in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis, as per an official release. The 20-member group has been mandated to submit its initial set of recommendations by July 31. Montek Singh Ahluwalia is an Indian economist and civil servant who was the Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of India
57.Celebrations of Madurai Chithirai festival of Kallalagar temple cancelled
The Kallalagar temple management said that all functions pertaining to the Madurai Chithirai festival in Tamil Nadu, have been cancelled in view of the coronavirus pandemic. In Madurai, the two-week-long Chithirai festival is among the biggest celebrations. The occasion re-enacts the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishu’s sister) and Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva)
58.Thuthukudi airport in Tamilnadu upgraded to level 3
The Thuthukudi airport in Tamilnadu, near the strategically important Bay of Bengal coast, has been upgraded to level 3 by the Airport Authority of India. This signifies a rise in the operational potentials of the airport and increases the scope of getting more funds for expansion activities. The airport runway is at present being extended to 3115 metres to enable bigger planes to use it. With the work of setting up a 720 acre industrial park in Ththukudi well underway, the upgrading of Thuthukudi airport has been welcomed by the general public, industrialists and the commercial circles.
59.CM Shivraj Singh Chauhan launches Jeevan Shakti Yojana in Madhya Pradesh
In Madhya Pradesh, Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan launched the Jeevan Shakti Yojana. Under this scheme, women in urban areas can earn by making masks at home. The government will pay them Rs 11 per mask. The Chief Minister said that women wishing to make masks will have to register themselves by calling on the Call Centre number through their telephone or mobile. After registration, they will get an order to make masks on their mobiles. They will get orders to make at least 200 masks at a time. The mask should be made of cotton cloth. After making the mask, they will submit their masks to the nodal officer appointed by the government. Its payment will be credited to their account on the same day or the next day.
60.Assam govt deposited Rs 2000 to 1.6 lakh people who stranded outside the state
The Assam government has deposited 2000 rupees to 1.6 lakh people who are stranded outside the state under Assam Cares initiative. 5 lakh 90 thousand people have responded to the Assam Cares initiative. Out of these, 1.6 lakh people after verification received the incentive so far. Apart from that, 758 cancer, heart, kidney patients who are stranded outside the state due to lock down have also been given 25 thousand rupees each.
61.Andhra Pradesh launches 'Covid Pharma' app to keep track of people buying medicines for cough, cold and fever from pharmacies
The Medical and Health Department of Andhra Pradesh launched 'Covid Pharma', a mobile application to keep a track of people purchasing medicines over-the-counter (OTC) for cough, cold and fever from medical stores across the state. Using the App, the respective pharmacies will have to take down details of persons, including their mobile number, making OTC purchase of medicines for such common ailments and report to the government. This will help the government in easily tracing persons with any likely symptoms of coronavirus.
62.NASA develops ‘VITAL’ ventilator specifically to treat COVID-19 patients
NASA engineers have developed a new, easy-to-build high-pressure ventilator tailored specifically to treat COVID-19 patients. The device called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally) passed a critical test this week at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York. NASA added that VITAL is designed to treat patients with milder symptoms, thereby keeping the country's limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms. NASA is now seeking FDA approval for the device via an emergency use authorization. VITAL can be built faster and maintained more easily than a traditional ventilator, and is composed of far fewer parts, many of which are currently available to potential manufacturers through existing supply chains.
63. CISF launches ''e-karyalay'' app for movement of files
Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) has launched an e-office application, that enables movement of files and documents without physical touch. The app has been launched for usage in the 1.62 lakh personnel-strong force to prevent coronavirus infection. The application called ''e-karyalay'' (electronic office) has been designed by the in-house technical team of the force. This application has been hosted at CISF cloud with all security arrangements in place to safeguard the data. Also, it will enable officials to work from home.
64.IIT Delhi develops COVID-19 dashboard ‘PRACRITI’ that accounts for the basic reproduction number
IIT Delhi researchers have developed a web-based dashboard for predicting the spread of COVID-19 in India. The mobile-friendly dashboard, named as PRACRITI (PRediction and Assessment of CoRona Infections and Transmission in India), gives detailed state-wise and district-wise predictions of COVID-19 cases in India. The projections are given for a three-week period, which is updated on a weekly basis. The researchers believe that such a platform will be highly useful for healthcare bodies, local and central authorities, to efficiently plan for different future scenarios and resource allocation. A key parameter of interest on COVID-19 is the basic reproduction number R0 and its countrywide variability. R0 refers to the number of people to whom the disease spreads from a single infected person. PRACRITI provides the R0 values of each district and state in India based on the data available from sources such as the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), Govt. of India; National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA), and World Health Organisation (WHO).
65.Andhra govt revives ‘zero interest’ loan scheme for women self-help groups
The Andhra Pradesh government revived the ''zero interest'' loan scheme for women self-help groups (SHGs) in the state. Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy re-launched the scheme by releasing a sum of Rs 1,400 crore for the SHGs. The decision is expected to benefit over 8.78 lakh SHGs in the state involving over 93.80 lakh women. Under the scheme, each SHG will receive sums ranging from Rs 20,000 to Rs 40,000 towards the interest component on their loans. The zero interest scheme was first launched by Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy in united Andhra Pradesh in 2011, under which the state government bore the interest burden on loans extended to the women SHGs.
66.National Panchayati Raj Day: 24 April
In India, April 24 is considered historic as it is observed as National Panchayati Raj Day. Every year the day is celebrated since the passing of the Constitution Act (73rd Amendment), 1992 came into force from 24 April, 1993. Each year to celebrate the inception of decentralised power, National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated. Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is credited with laying the foundation of Panchayati Raj institutions in order to take democracy to the grassroots level.
67.CSIR's IMMT develops foot-operated wash basins
In the time of the coronavirus crisis, CSIR's Institute of Minerals and Materials Technology has come up with foot-operated wash basins. These basins will be installed in Mumbai's Dharavi, a densely-populated slum area which has so far reported 189 cases of the infection. These wash basins are such that users do not have to use their hands to get water or soap, thus helping in minimising the chance of coronavirus spread. Designed by IMMT scientist P C Deuria and technical officer R K Mondal the foot-operated machine has pedals. Pressing one will dispense soap, while another will release water.
68.India's first Mobile Virology Diagnostics and Research Laboratory inaugurated in Hyderabad
Unique and first of its kind facility in the country, a Mobile Virology Diagnostics and Research Laboratory has been inaugurated in Hyderabad at the ESI medical college. Developed by the DRDO, the Biosafety level-3 laboratory can test thousand samples for Coronavirus daily and can scale up to 2000 in future. The laboratory also has a facility to trial drugs and conduct research on Coronavirus. The laboratory has been developed in less than two weeks.
69.Manipur govt commemorates ‘Khongjom Day’
The Manipur state government commemorated ‘Khongjom Day’ at Khongjom War Memorial Complex, on 23rd April. The Khongjom Day is celebrated every year on April 23 by the State government to pay tribute to the war heroes of Anglo-Manipuri War 1891 who had sacrificed their lives fighting against the British to protect freedom of Manipur. The site is about 35 KM south of Imphal in Thoubal district where the battle was fight between Manipuri and British.
70.UP becomes first state with in-house facility of virtual courts
Uttar Pradesh has become the first state to have the requisite infrastructure in all its courts for hearing cases through video conferencing. The Allahabad High Court took a number of initiatives to facilitate court proceedings through video conferencing. Recently a software has been installed in the high court and district courts of the state. The Allahabad High Court and all district courts of Uttar Pradesh can now conduct multiple court proceedings through virtual courts within the court premises without any internet connectivity.
71.World Bank approves Rs 585 cr for Himachal Pradesh State Roads Transformation Project
The World Bank has approved 82 million US dollars (585 crore rupees) for the Himachal Pradesh State Roads Transformation Project (HPSRTP) for upgradation of major roads and modernization of the Public Works Department in the state. The work of construction and maintenance of road projects in the State has been adversely affected due to the lockdown in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The target of construction of 900 kilometres road length was fixed for the year 2019-20 but 800 kilometres roads could be constructed during the outbreak of coronavirus. On the other hand 1666 crore rupees had been allocated for target construction of 4960 kilometres of roads under Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojna (PMGSY) for the year 2020-21.
72.Govt to suspend IBC provisions up to 1-year
The government has decided to amend the insolvency law to suspend up to one year provisions that trigger insolvency proceedings against defaulters. The amendments to the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) would pave the way for banks to restructure loans. The coronavirus outbreak and the nationwide lockdown to curb spreading of infections have significantly impacted economic activities and the latest decision in a way provides more leeway for corporate borrowers in repaying their loans. As per existing norms, if a payment default exceeds 90 days then the lender concerned has to refer the account for resolution under IBC or any other mechanism permitted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI). The lender does not have the option to restructure the loan. Currently, RBI norms prohibit restructuring of loans and resolution has to be done under IBC.
73.India Ratings lowers GDP growth rate further to 1.9%
India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra), a Fitch group company, has further slashed its estimate for India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 1.9 per cent for 2020-21. This will be the lowest after India recorded growth rate at 1.1 per cent in 1991-92. The agency revised its estimate from the March 30 announcement of 3.6 per cent GDP growth to 1.9 per cent. The agency’s estimate is at par with IMF (1.9 per cent) and close to the World Bank (1.5-2.8 per cent), but lower than ADB (4 percent).
74.Airtel Inks $1 Billion Multi-year Deal With Nokia to Enhance 5G Network Capacity in India
Bharti Airtel has inked a $1 billion (nearly Rs 7,636 crore), multi-year deal with Nokia to deploy the 5G-ready solutions across nine circles in the country. Nokia, which is the largest 4G vendor in the Airtel network, will help lay the foundation for providing 5G connectivity in the future by deploying 300,000 radio units across several spectrum bands in those circles expected to be completed by 2022. Nokia's SRAN solution helps operators manage their 2G, 3G and 4G networks from one platform reducing network complexity, increasing cost efficiencies and future-proofing investment.
75.Axis Bank to acquire 29% stake in Max Life Insurance
The board of Axis Bank has approved purchase of an additional 29% stake in Max Life Insurance which will take the private lender's total stake in the insurer to 30%. Max Financial Services presently holds a 72.5% stake in Max Life and Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance (MSI) owns 25.5% stake. Axis Bank also has a minor stake in the life insurer. Axis Bank is the third largest private bank and Max Life is the fourth largest private life insurer in India. Post completion of the series of transactions, Max Life will become a 70:30 joint-venture between Max Financial Services and Axis Bank.
76.RBI announces Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds of Rs 50,000 crore
The Reserve Bank of India announced a Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds (SLF-MF) of 50,000 crore rupees with a view to easing liquidity pressures on MFs. The RBI has stated that it remains vigilant and will take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and preserve financial stability. The heightened volatility in capital markets in reaction to COVID-19 has imposed liquidity strains on Mutual Funds, which have intensified in the wake of redemption pressures related to closure of some debt MFs and potential contagious effects therefrom. The Apex bank has said that under the Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds (SLF-MF), the RBI shall conduct repo operations of 90 days tenor at the fixed repo rate.
77.Country's foreign exchange reserves surge by over 3 billion dollars
Country's foreign exchange reserves surged by USD 3.09 billion to USD 479.57 billion in the week to April 17 due to an increase in foreign currency assets. According to the latest data from the Reserve Bank of India, in the reporting week ended April 17, foreign currency assets (FCA), a major component of the overall reserves, rose USD 1.55 billion to USD 441.88 billion. The RBI data showed that gold reserves increased USD 1.54 billion to USD 32.68 billion in the reporting week.
78.Vodafone Idea ties up with Paytm to launch ‘Recharge Saathi’
Vodafone Idea and Paytm, a digital payments and financial services platform, have launched ‘Recharge Saathi’ programme which helps individuals and small businesses to earn an additional income. The programme will enable any Paytm customers (following a registration) to start selling Vodafone and Idea recharges on Paytm app. They can start selling mobile recharges by downloading and registering on the Paytm app. Vodafone Idea will also give an assured cashback to merchant partners for multiple recharges. Individuals and small businesses, such as pharmacists, milk booth operators, newspaper vendors and individuals, would be able to earn up to ₹5,000 every month under the programme.
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