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Important Current Affairs 26th August 2020

National

GoI and AIIB sign MoU for $500 million for Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III

• The Government of India, the Government of Maharashtra, Mumbai Railway Vikas Corporation and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has signed a loan agreement for a $500 million Mumbai Urban Transport Project-III.

• The aim of the project is to improve the network capacity, service quality and safety of the suburban railway system in Mumbai.

20-year old Indian wins ‘World's Fastest Human Calculator' title

• India’s Neelakanta Bhanu Prakash has won the ‘World's Fastest Human Calculator' title. The 20-year-old won the first-ever gold for India in Mental Calculation World Championship at Mind Sports Olympiad (MSO) held in London recently.

• Neelakanta Bhanu Prakash belongs to Hyderabad and he is currently pursuing Mathematics (Hons.) at Delhi University's St Stephen College. He is the proud owner of four world records and 50 Limca records for being the fastest human calculator in the world.

• Prakash’s brain can reportedly calculate quicker than the speed of a calculator. He has broked the records once held by Math maestros like Scott Flansburg and Shakuntala Devi.

Kerala’s 1st-ever Dragonfly Festival

• WWF-India Kerala State Office is joining hands with the Society for Odonate Studies (SOS) and Thumbipuranam for the first-ever state “Dragonfly Festival” in Kerala, christened ‘Thumbimahotsavam 2020’.

• Dragonfly Festival, a series of events will be rolled out in the coming months to reach out to various sections of the society.

•  This is part of the National Dragonfly Festival organised by WWF India, Bombay Natural History Society and Indian Dragonfly Society in association with National Biodiversity Board, UN Environmental Programme, UN Development Programme and IUCN-CEC.

Banking and Economy

ICICI Bank uses satellite data to assess creditworthiness of farmers

• Private lender ICICI Bank makes use of satellite data, imagery from Earth observation satellites, to assess credit worthiness of farmers.

• ICICI Bank has become the 1st bank in India to use such a technique to measure an array of parameters related to the land, irrigation and crop patterns and use it in combination with demographic and financial parameters to make quick lending decisions for farmers.

Rs.8,594 cr to be disbursed to stressed NBFCs and HFCs

• The Finance Ministry said 24 proposals by stressed non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and housing finance companies (HFCs) worth ₹8,594 crore have been sanctioned under the special liquidity scheme.

• The scheme was announced in July, as part of the ₹20.97 lakh crore ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ package.

Centre announces Tax exemptions for businesses with annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh

• The Ministry of Finance has announced that the businesses with an annual turnover of up to Rs 40 lakh are now GST exempt. Earlier, this limit was Rs 20 lakh.

• The Ministry has also informed that those businesses with an annual turnover up to Rs 1.5 crore can opt for the Composition Scheme and pay only 1 percent tax.

Awards

Tomyas Award for Reshma Mohandas

• Reshma Mohandas, a nurse with the Government Medical College (MCH), Kottayam, has been selected for the Tomyas Award worth ₹1 lakh for the best nurse in Kerala.

• The award was instituted in memory of Treesa Ignatius, mother of Thomas Pavaratti, owner of Thrissur-based Tomyas Advertising Agency.

• The Award will be presented by Bobby Paul and Antio Paul, directors of Star Plastics, at Tomyas Garden, Peramangalam, on October 2.

Acquisitions and Mergers

CCI approves Siemens’ acquisition of C&S Electric

• Fair trade regulator Competition Commission of India (CCI) said it approved the proposed acquisition of C&S Electric by Siemens.

• As per a statement issued by Siemens in January, it had inked an agreement to acquire 99 per cent equity in New Delhi-based C&S Electric for around Rs 2,100 crore.

Science and Technology

Indian Satellite ‘AstroSat’ Detects UV Light From Galaxy 9 Billion Light Years Away

• India’s first multi-wavelength satellite, AstroSat, has detected an extreme ultraviolet (UV) light from a galaxy, called AUDFs01.This galaxy is 9.3 billion light-years away from Earth, in the Hubble Extreme Deep field.

• AstroSat is India’s first multi-wavelength satellite, which has five unique X-ray and ultraviolet telescopes working in tandem.The discovery was made by an international team of astronomers led by Dr Kanak Saha, associate professor of astronomy at the Pune-based Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics (IUCAA).

• This research was published on August 24, 2020, by Nature Astronomy.

Obituary

Former Congo President Pascal Lissouba passes away

• Former President of the Republic of Congo, Pascal Lissouba passed away. He became the minister of agriculture in 1960 after Congo became an independent country.

•  He served as the president from 1992 to 1997. He served as the Prime minister under the Presidency of Alphonse Massamba Debat.

Appointments and Resignations

DRDO chief G Satheesh Reddy gets two-year extension

• Renowned Indian scientist, G Satheesh Reddy was given a two-year extension as the chairman of Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

• He was appointed to the post in August 2018 for two years.

Days

Women's Equality Day

• This day commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution which granted the women right to vote. In 1971, the U.S. Congress officially recognized August 26 as Women's Equality Day.

• A day which holds a lot of political significance in world history.

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Important Current Affairs 17th July 2020

National

UNICEF India Partners with FICCI to launch #Reimagine Campaign

• The UNICEF INDIA has entered into partnership with the Socio Economic Development Foundation (SEDF) of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI),  to co-develop #Reimagine Campaign.

• The #Reimagine Campaign of UNICEF aims to support the most vulnerable populations and children during the C-19 response and its after-math in India.

IIT Kanpur develops UV sanitizing device ‘SHUDH’ to disinfect room in 15 mins

• A team of engineers at IIT Kanpur has developed an Ultraviolet (UV) sanitizing product named SHUDH, which is capable to disinfect a 10 sqft room in about 15 minutes.

• SHUDH stands for Smartphone operated Handy Ultraviolet Disinfection Helper. It has been jointly developed by J. Ramkumar, Amandeep Singh and ShivamSachan.

• SHUDH has six UV lights of 15 Watts each that can be individually monitored from a distance and can be rotated up to 360 degrees. Users can use the number of lights based upon the size of the room.

India launches World’s Most Affordable C-19 kit “COROSURE”

• The Union Minister of Human Resource and Development Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishnak launched world’s most affordable C-19 kit. The kit was developed by IIT Delhi.

• The test called “COROSURE” has been billed as the world’s most affordable RT-PCR based C-19 diagnostic kit. The base price of the kit is Rs 399.

DCGI approves India’s 1st homemade Pneumonia vaccine

• India’s first fully indigenously developed Pneumococcal Polysaccharide Conjugate Vaccine (Pneumonia vaccine) has received the approval from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI).

• It will be utilized for active immunization against invasive disease and pneumonia caused by “Streptococcus pneumonia” among infants.

Summits and Mou’s

Shripad Naik e-inaugurates 5th Conference on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Technologies

• The Union Minister of State for Defence Shripad Naik inaugurated the 5th edition of the conference on Aerospace and Defence Manufacturing Technologies on 15 July 2020 in New Delhi, via video conferencing.

• The theme of the conference was Empowering India with ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat Mission’.

Obituary

Maharashtra’s first woman Election Commissioner, Neela Satyanarayan, passes away

• Former 1972 batch IAS officer and Maharashtra’s first woman State Election Commissioner (SEC) Neela Satyanarayan has passed away after she was diagnosed with C-19.  She was 72.

• She was made the state election commissioner in 2009, and retired on July 5, 2014.

Ranking

India ranks among top ten nations in intellectual property filings

• India has emerged as the top tenth nation in the ranking of the total (resident and abroad) Intellectual Property (IP) filing activity, as per World Intellectual Property Indicators-2019 Report.

• The overall ranking has been topped by Chinawas followed by United States, Germany, Japan, and Republic of Korea as the top five nations in the list.

• The report released by Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization analyzes IP activity around the globe.

Days

World Emoji Day

• The World Emoji Day is celebrated every year on 17 July since 2014 to promote the use of emojis and spread the enjoyment that they bring to all of those around us.

• The Day was created by London-based founder of Emojipedia, Jeremy Burge.

World Day for International Justice

• The World Day for International Justice, (also known as Day of International Criminal Justice or International Justice Day), is celebrated globally on July 17 to support and recognize the work of the International Criminal Court (ICC).

• The day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute on July 17, 1998, the treaty that created the International Criminal Court.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd June 2020

National

NITI Aayog to launch project “Decarbonising Transport in India”

• NITI Aayog has collaborated with International Transport Forum (ITF) for “Decarbonising Transport in India” project, with the aim to develop a pathway towards a low-carbon transport system for India.

• The project will be launched online on 24 June, 2020, at YouTube livestream, which can be accessed at https://youtu.be/l2G5x5RdBUM.The “Decarbonising Transport in India” project will provide the government with a detailed understanding of current and future transport activity and the related CO2 emissions as a basis for their decision-making.

• ITFis Paris, France based intergovernmental organisation for transport policy. India has been a member of ITF since 2008.The project is part of the ITF’s “Decarbonising Transport in Emerging Economies” (DTEE) family of projects, which supports transport decarbonisation across different world regions.

France commits 200 million Euros loan for India to scale up Government’s existing response

• France has signed a loan agreement of 200-million-euros with India to boost India’s C-19 response. With the loan agreement, France aims to increase the state and central governments’ capacities to support India’s most vulnerable people in the wake of the C-19 crisis.

• World Bank has developed the programme design in collaboration with the Indian authorities to optimize and expand the existing social protection measures taken by India.

Emergency funds granted to Indian armed forces amid Indo-China clash

• Central government has granted emergency funds to all the three armed services to acquire arms and ammunition amid the border standoff at Indo-China border.

• The funds of Rs 500 crore are granted for per procurement project. Moreover, special financial powers have been granted to armed forces for procurement of weapons and military equipment.

Obituary

Rajinder Goel, highest wicket-taker in Ranji Trophy, passes away at 77

• The legendary first-class cricketer player, Rajinder Goel, who holds the record for most wickets in the history of Ranji Trophy, has passed away due to age related issues. He was 77.

• In all, the left-arm spinner took 750 wickets, in 157 first-class matches which he played.

Major General (Retd) Lachhman Singh Lehl passes away

• Major General (Retd) Lachhman Singh Lehl passed away. He was one of India’s finest military brains and one of its last surviving officers to have taken part in both the 1948 and 1971 wars.

• He was commissioned in the Regiment of Artillery in 1943.

Appointments and Resignations

World Athletics appoints Laurent Boquillet as new Head of Global Development

• World Athletics on June 22 announced that Laurent Boquillet has been appointed as the Head of Global Development. World Athletics mentioned that the global search to fill out the new position was conducted in January 2020.

• The new position of Head of Global Development supports the body’s vision which is ‘to use the power and accessibility of athletics and our athletes to create a healthier and fitter world.

• Laurent Boquillet spent his entire career in athletics, in a diverse range of roles and most recently as the CEO of the European Athletics Championships Paris 2020.

Nirakar Pradhan becomes new chief of PRMIA

• Dr Nirakar Pradhan has appointed as new as the Chief Executive Officer of the Professional Risk Managers’ International Association (PRMIA) of its new India office.

• Pradhan has led teams at State Bank of India and Generali Group in India and Europe.

Ranking

India becomes 12th largest US govt securities holder

•  India has become the 12th largest holder of US government securities at the end of April 2020 with a holding worth USD 157.4 billion. The US Treasury Department data showed that after significantly reducing the exposure in March to USD 156.5 billion, India marginally hiked the holding by USD 0.9 billion to USD 157.4 billion the next month.

•  While India’s holding touched a record high of USD 177.5 billion in February, the same was drastically reduced in March. The exposure had stood at USD 164.3 billion in January. At the end of April, Japan remained the country with the maximum exposure at USD 1.27 trillion, followed by China at USD 1.1 trillion and the UK at USD 368.5 billion.

Days

International Widows’ Day

• International Widows Day is observed globally on 23rd June every year. The day is widely known to draw attention to the voices and experiences of widows and to galvanize the unique support that they have.

• Several women around the world after losing her life partner faces challenges and do long-term struggle for basic needs, their human right and dignity.

World Hydrography Day

• World Hydrography Day is observed globally on 21st June every year. This day was adopted by the International Hydrographic Organization (IHO) as an annual celebration to publicise the work of hydrographers and the importance of hydrography.

• World Hydrography Day 2020 theme is “Hydrography enabling autonomous technologies”.

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Important Current Affairs 21st June 2020

National

PM Narendra Modi addresses the nation, promotes yoga to fight

• PM Modi in his message on sixth International Yoga Day stated that Yoga has emerged as a force of unity and it also deepens the bonds of humanity. It doesn't discriminate and goes beyond color, race, faith, gender, and nations.

• It was the first time that Yoga day celebration was held virtually, ever since it was instituted in 2015.This day is celebrated every year on June 21.The date June 21 was suggested by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi in his UN address.

• PM Modi picked this date, as it is the longest day of the year in the Northern hemisphere. This day also shares a special significance in many parts of the world.

Union Minister launches R&D Portal “SATYABHAMA”

• Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, Pralhad Joshi has launched R&D Portal “Science and Technology Yojana for Aatmanirbhar Bharat in Mining Advancement (SATYABHAMA)”.

• The R&D Portal SATYABHAMA has been designed, developed and implemented by National Informatics Centre (NIC), Mines Informatics Division.It has been integrated with NGO Darpan Portal of NITI Aayog.

• The newly launched portal will increase efficiency as well as effectiveness in the implementation of the Scheme as it allows online submission of project proposals along with monitoring of the projects and utilization of funds/grants.

Banking and Economy

RIL reaches $150-billion market valuation mark

• The Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has reached $150-billion mark in term of market capitalisation. Hence, the Mukesh Ambani-helmed RIL has become India’s first $150-billion company in terms of market capitalisation.

• RIL achieved this milestone when its share price had gained 6.23% to close at Rs 1,759, taking its market capitalisation to Rs 11.15 lakh crore i.e. around $150 billion.

• With this achievement, the market capitalisation of Reliance Industries Limited is more than that of Total SA, Royal Dutch Shell and BP among the top global energy players.

Appointments and Resignations

Former RBI Governor Urjit Patel appointed as Chairman of NIPFP

• Former Reserve Bank of India Governor Urjit Patel has been appointed as the Chairman of the National Institute of Public Finance and Policy (NIPFP).His four-year term will begin from June 22, 2020.

• The National Institute of Public Finance and Policy is an autonomous research institute under the Ministry of Finance, based in New Delhi. It conducts research on public finance and contributes to the process of policy-making relating to public finance.

Days

World International Day of Yoga

• United Nations celebrates International Day of Yoga globally on 21 June every year to raise awareness worldwide of the many benefits of practicing yoga. Yoga is an ancient physical, mental and spiritual practice that originated in India. The word ‘yoga’ derives from Sanskrit and means to join or to unite, symbolizing the union of body and consciousness.

• The theme of International Day of Yoga 2020 is ‘Yoga for Health – Yoga at Homeand Yoga with Family'.

Father's Day

• Father's Day is a day of honoring fatherhood and paternal bonds, as well as the influence of fathers in society. In Catholic countries of Europe, it has been celebrated on March 19 as Saint Joseph's Day since the Middle Ages.

• Father's day is celebrated in many parts of the world at different times of the year, mostly in March, May, and June. However, Father's Day is usually celebrated in India on the third Sunday in June, meaning that Father's Day 2020 will be celebrated on June 21.

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Important Current Affairs 14th June 2020

National

Union Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches ‘Sahakar Mitra’

• The Union Minister for Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare Shri Narendra Singh Tomar launched Sahakar Mitra: Scheme on Internship Programme (SIP) to provide paid internship to youth and ensure availability of assured project loans to young cooperators.

• This scheme is an initiative by the National Cooperative Development Corporation (NCDC), under the Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare.

• Sahakar Mitra: SIP scheme will provide an opportunity to the young professionals to get practical exposure and learning from the working of NCDC and cooperatives as a paid intern. Under the scheme, each intern will get financial support over a 4 months internship period.

Odisha becomes 1st state to get ISO for tribal hostels

• Odisha has become the first state in the country to receive ISO certification for hostels meant for tribal students. The ST & SC Welfare Department has launched the ‘Mission Suvidya’ project to provide all the tribal hostels of the state uniform standards of infrastructure, amenities and human resources.

• Mission Suvidya has launched in December 2019, it aims to improve the quality of basic facilities in the SC (Scheduled Castes) and ST (Scheduled Tribes) hostels like safe building, functional toilets, safe drinking water, proper kitchen and dining, safety, security, health, hygiene and food provisions for students.

International

UK’s economy shrinks by record 20.4 percent in April

• The United Kingdom’s economy shrank by record 20.4 percent in April, amid strict , revealed official data on June 12, 2020.

• The record slump in the economy is likely to be the low point before a long and slow recovery, as Britain readies to open up its economy.

• The Office of National Statistics stated that the gross domestic product of Britain contracted by 10.4 percent in the three-month period till April in comparison to the previous three-month period.

Banking and Economy

RBI constitutes Internal Working Group to review ownership, corporate structure of Indian private sector banks

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has constituted a five-member Internal Working Group (IWG) to review the extant guidelines related to ownership, governance and corporate structure of private sector banks.

• The committee will be headed by Dr. Prasanna Kumar Mohanty, Director, Central Board of RBI. It will submit its report by 30 September, 2020.

Obituary

Manchester United Legend, Tony Dunne, Passes Away

• The former Republic of Ireland international footballer, Tony Dunne, has passed away. He was 78.

• He played for Manchester United for 13 years in which he made 535 appearances.

• He played as defender for Manchester United’s European Cup-winning team in 1968, becoming the first English side to lift the continent’s most-prestigious trophy.

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Important Current Affairs 5th June 2020

National

Union Cabinet clears ordinance to create ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’

• The union cabinet chaired by PM Narendra Modi has approved an ordinance on June 3, 2020, that will pave the way for the creation of ‘One India, One Agriculture Market’.

• The ordinance aims at setting up an ecosystem where farmers and traders will have the freedom of choice of sale and purchase of the agricultural produce.

• The Cabinet decision was announced by Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar.

GoI launches “The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)”

• Government of India has launched “The Urban Learning Internship Program (TULIP)”. This programme is an initiative of All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE), Ministry of HRD, and Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

• TULIP programme aims to provide internship opportunities to fresh graduates in all Urban Local Bodies (ULBs) as well as Smart Cities across the nation.

• The programme would also facilitate practical experience to the students of India and hence help in infusing fresh ideas and innovative thinking into the working of Urban Local Bodies and smart cities.

India- Australia Virtual Meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi on June 4 held the first-ever ‘India-Australia’ virtual summit with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. The Australian PM was earlier scheduled to visit India this year.

• The ‘bilateral virtual summit’ signifies the strengthening of India’s ties with Australia as both the countries also signed 7 agreements on defence, public reforms, and critical technology.

International

World food price index hits 17-month low in May 2020: UN

•  The United Nations food agency announced on June 4, 2020 that the world food prices fell for the fourth consecutive month in May 2020, hitting a 17-month low.

•  The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) food price index averaged 162.5 points in May, the lowest monthly reading since December 2018. The index measures monthly changes in the prices of cereals, dairy products, oilseeds, meat and sugar.

•  The dairy price index also dropped by 7.3%, led by sharp falls in prices of butter and cheese, partly because of lower import demand.

•  The cereal price index also fell by 1% as coarse grain prices continued to fall with US maize prices falling and wheat export prices falling, amid expectations of ample global supplies. However, international rice prices have edged higher during this period. Rice production reached an all-time high of 508.7 million tonnes in 2020, up by 1.6% from 2019.

•  The meat index also slipped 0.8%, as poultry and pig meat prices continued to fall, reflecting high export availabilities and despite an increase in import demand in East Asia.

Obituary

Legendary Filmmaker Basu Chatterjee passes away

• Legendary Filmmaker & the National Film Award winner Basu Chatterjee passed away. He was known for his middle-of-the-road cinema and films like “Chhoti Si Baat” and “Rajnigandha”. He also directed two hit TV serials namely “Byomkesh Bakshi” and “Rajani”.

• He received National Film Award for Best Film on Family Welfare for his film Durga in 1992.

Renowned lyricist Anwar Sagar passes away

• Veteran lyricist and member of Indian Performing Right Society Limited (IPRS), Anwar Sagar passed away.

• The lyricist also has to his credit films like Khiladi, Yaarana, Salaami, Aa Gale Lag Jaa and Vijaypath among more.

Appointments and Resignations

Uday Kotak takes over as President of CII

• MD & CEO, Kotak Mahindra Bank, Uday Kotak has taken over as the President of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for the year 2020-21.

• He has replaced the chairman and MD of Kirloskar Systems, Vikram Kirloskar as the President of CII.

Days

World Environment Day 2020: Global CO2 emissions hit record high in May

• The World Environment Day 2020 was observed across the globe on June 5, 2020 with an emphasis on the need to care for nature and humanity. World Environment Day is observed every year to raise global awareness on environmental issues.

• This year’s theme of Environment Day is ‘Biodiversity’. The World Environment Day 2020 theme is extremely important, especially with the recent events of major bushfires in Australia, Brazil and the United States.

• The day provides an opportunity to broaden the “basis for an enlightened opinion and responsible conduct by individuals, enterprises, and communities in preserving and enhancing the environment.”

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Important Current Affairs 11th May 2020

National

India starts “Mission Sagar” to assist island nations in EIO

  • The Government of India has launched Mission Sagar on 10 May 2020 as part of it’s outreach initiative towards assisting five Island nations in the Indian Ocean amidst the ongoing current situation.
  • Under the mission, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari has been deployed, carrying on board two medical assistance teams, essential Food Items and Medicines and Special Ayurvedic Medicines five to Island countries in the Indian Ocean. The five countries are Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros.
  • The mission is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region.

Banking and Economy

Government hikes its market borrowing to Rs 12 lakh crore from Rs 7.80 lakh crore for FY 21

  • The Finance Ministry has informed that Government has hiked its estimated gross market borrowing to Rs 12 lakh crore(additional Rs 4.2 lakh crore) from Rs 7.80 lakh crore for Financial Year(FY) 2020-21 as per the Budget Estimates(BE) so as to tackle the expected shortfall in revenue.
  • The borrowing happens by issuing dated securities and treasury bills, the purchase and sale of which is conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Awards

Startup India-Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge awards 

  • Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh has presented the award to the winners of “Startup India-Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge”.
  • The challenge was open for application to Startups from 11th of September, 2019 to 15th of November, 2019 on the Startup India portal – www.startupindia.gov.in. 

Days

National Technology Day

  • The National Technology Day is observed every year on May 11 since 1999 to mark the anniversary of 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and India’s technological advancements in space.
  • It was on this day in 1998 that India successfully fired an Operation Shakti missile at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. The Test was led by late aerospace engineer and President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Mother’s day 2020

  • Mother’s day is celebrated on every second Sunday of May month and this year, it’s falling on 10th May 2020. Mother’s Day is widely known to salute the motherhood, to extend the influence of mothers within the society, to extend the maternal bonds to children, etc.
  • In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared second Sunday of May as an official holiday in the United States.
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Important Current Affairs 28th April 2020

National

Madhya Pradesh govt launches Jivan Shakti Yojana for women

• Madhya Pradesh government has launched the “Jivan Shakti Yojana” for women and aims at providing home-based employment for women.

• Under this scheme, women entrepreneurs of urban areas in MP can start the construction of masks by registering themselves on a portal.

JioMart becomes live of WhatsApp

• Following the Facebook-Jio deal, Reliance Industries has now launched its e-commerce platform Jiomart on WhatsApp for retail of grocery items. The JioMart WhatsApp number is 8850008000.

• In order to place order through JioMart, customers need to add this number on their phones. As of now, the JioMart services will be available only in suburban areas of Mumbai

• JioMart, introduced in January 2020, is an Online-to-Offline (O2O) e-Commerce platform of Reliance that deals retail of groceries through local Kirana stores. JioMart is a joint venture between Reliance  Retail and Reliance Jio Platforms.

Banking and Economy

RBI announces Rs 50,000 crore special liquidity support to mutual funds

• The Reserve Bank of India recently allocated Rs 50000 crore funds as a special liquidity facility for mutual funds to ease of the liquidity strains. The closure of some debt Mutual Funds has intensified the liquidity pressure on mutual funds.

• Banks can use the funds available under the SLF-MF for meeting the liquidity requirements of MFs by:

 extending loans, and

 undertaking outright purchase of and/or repos against the collateral of

o investment-grade corporate bonds,

o commercial papers (CPs),

o debentures and

o certificates of Deposit (CDs) held by MFs.

Ind-Ra cuts India's FY21 GDP growth further to 1.9%, lowest in 29 yrs

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has predicted India’s GDP growth rate for 2020-21 (FY21) at 1.9%. Earlier this was 3.6%.

• According to Ind-Ra, India’s GDP growth rate has been in contraction (means negative) for 5 times. These 5 years are-> in 1957-58 was negative 0.4%, in 1965-66 it was negative 2.6%, in 1966-67 it was negative 0.1%, in 1972-73 it was negative 0.6%, and in 1979-80 it was negative 5.2%.

Science and Technology

NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Completes 30 Years in Orbit

• The Hubble Space Telescope, built by the United States space agency NASA with contributions from the European Space Agency (ESA), has completed 30th year in orbit on 25 April 2020.

• The Hubble Space Telescope was deployed on 25 April 1990.

• This space telescope was named after American astronomer Edwin P Hubble, who confirmed that our universe was constantly expanding.

Ranking

India third-largest military spender after US, China in 2019: SIPRI report

•India has become the third-largest military spender in the world after the United States and China, as per Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report. India and China were for the first time among the top three military spenders.

•India’s military spending grew by 6.8 percent to $71.1 billion in 2019, as per the SIPRO report on “Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019”. This was the highest expenditure on the military in South Asia.

•The total global military expenditure rose to $1,917 billion in 2019, an increase of 3.6 percent from 2018, the largest annual growth since 2010. The five largest military spenders, including Russia and Saudi Arabia, accounted for 62 percent of the global military expenditure in 2019.

Days

World Day For Safety And Health At Work

• Every year the International Labour Organization (ILO) celebrates the World Day for Safety and Health at Work on 28 April to promote the prevention of occupational accidents and diseases globally, and raise awareness to ensure health and safety at workplace.

Workers’ Memorial Day

• The Workers’ Memorial Day, also known as International Commemoration Day for Dead and Injured Workers occurs every year on 28 April.

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Important Current Affairs 21st April 2020

National

Section 115BAC of IT Act, 1961

• Section 115BAC was recently inserted into the Income-tax Act, 1961, which states that an individual or a person belonging to an undivided family earning income other than the business or profession may opt to be taxed and furnish his or her Income Tax Return under sub-section (I) of Section 139 of IT Act.

• The Section 115BAC provides a concessional rate, if the total income is computed without any specified exemption or deduction.

UP becomes first state to geo-tag community kitchens

• Uttar Pradesh became the first state on April 19, 2020 to geo-tag community kitchens. The state geo-tagged around 7,368 community kitchens and community shelters located across 75 districts. The kitchens produce 12 lakh food packets per day.

• The state has also tied up with Google to 'Geo-map' the locations of all these community kitchens on the Google Maps app for ease of the beneficiaries. The state government mobilised state resources to set up the kitchens through the medium of religious organisations and non-government organisations.

International

China begins testing of digital currency – DC/EP

• People’s Bank of China (Central Bank of China) has started testing its digital currency named Digital Currency Electronic Payment, DC/EP.

• It is built with Blockchain and Cryptographic technology. The currency is pegged 1:1 to the Chinese National Currency – the RenMinBi (RMB).

• China’s official digital currency is undergoing testing and has not been officially released.

Banking and Economy

ICICI Bank launches voice banking services on Amazon Alexa, Google Assistant

• Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India(ICICI) bank starts a new feature of voice banking services on Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant for their customers.

• The service will enable customers to #BankWithTheirVoice and get answers to banking queries, check account balance & transactions, credit card due date and more.

Fitch slashes India’s GDP growth forecast to 1.8%

• Fitch solution has reduced its GDP growth forecast for India for FY21 to 1.8% from 4.6% earlier.

Science and Technology

NASA to launch 1st crewed US mission to International Space Station

• The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) will on May 27, 2020 launch its astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley for the first crewed mission to International Space Station (ISS) since the retirement of Space Shuttle Program in 2011.

Obituary

BMW India CEO & President Rudratej Singh passes away

• BMW Group President and CEO Rudratej Singh has passed away. Rudratej was the first Indian to lead the BMW India operations. He was appointed as the head of India operations from August 1, 2019.

•  He had also held multiple leadership positions in the automotive as well as non-automotive industry.

Sports

Charles Leclerc wins Chinese Virtual Grand Prix

• Charles Leclerc of Ferrari has won the Chinese Virtual Grand Prix. The series will use the official F1 2019 PC video game, developed by Codemasters.

Appointments and Resignations

Kapil Dev Tripathi appointed Secretary to the President of India

• Kapil Dev Tripathi has been appointed as the Secretary to the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. He will replace Sanjay Kothari, who was selected as the Chief Vigilance Commissioner in February.

•  The appointment of Kapil Dev Tripathi has been approved by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Days

World Creativity and Innovation Day

• World Creativity and Innovation Day is observed globally on 21 April every year. This day is celebrated to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation in problem-solving with respect to advancing the United Nations sustainable development goals, also known as the “global goals”.

• The main objective of the day is to encourage people to use new ideas, make new decisions, and do creative thinking. Creativity is what makes the world go ‘round.

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Important Current Affairs 18th April 2020

National

India removes ban on export of Paracetamol formulations

• The Central Government recently removed the ban on the export of formulations that are made from Paracetamol. The information was shared in a notification released by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).

• The formulations including the fixed-dose combinations will now be made available with immediate effect for export purpose.

Banking and Economy

RBI cuts reverse repo rate by 25 bps to 3.75%, announces Rs 50,000 crore TLTRO 2.0

• On 17 April 2020, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das took several important decisions to ensure adequate liquidity in the system to ease the financial stress.

• RBI has decided to undertake targeted long-term repo operations (TLTRO-2.0) for total amount of Rs 50,000 crore to begin with in tranches of appropriate sizes. RBI might increase this amount in future as per requirement.

• The funds availed by banks under TLTRO-2.0 should be invested in grade bonds, Commercial Papers, Non-Convertible Debentures of NBFCs with at least 50% going to mid-sized NBFCs and MFIs.

• RBI has announced the allocation of Rs 50,000 crore as special refinance facilities to All India financial institutions (AIFIs) such as NABARD, SIDBI, NHB to enable them to meet sectoral credit needs. These advances to the above organizations will be charged as per the RBI policy repo rate of 4.40%.

• Out of total allocation of Rs 50,000 crore, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) will receive the amount of Rs 25,000 crore for the refinancing of Regional Rural Banks, cooperative banks and microfinance institutions.

• Out of total allocation of Rs 50,000 crore,Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will receive Rs 15,000 crore or on-lending and refinancing to scheduled commercial banks, non-banks and microfinance institutions.

• The National Housing Bank will receive Rs 10,000 crore to support housing finance companies.

• RBI has also decided to reduce the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 4% to 3.75% with immediate effect while the policy repo rate will remain unchanged at 4.4%, Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) rate and the Bank rate will remain unchanged at 4.65%.

• The RBI has increased the ways and means advances (WMA) limit of states by 60% over and above the level as on March 31, 2020. The increased limit will be available till September 30, 2020.

• In respect of all accounts for which lending institutions decide to grant moratorium or deferment, and which were standard as on March 1, 2020, it has been decided that the 90-day NPA norm shall exclude the moratorium period. It indicates that there would an asset classification standstill for all such accounts from March 1, 2020 to May 31, 2020.

• RBI decides to extend the period for resolution plan by 90-days, citing the challenges faced during the resolution of stressed assets in the current volatile environment.

• RBI has refrained the scheduled commercial banks and cooperative banks from making any further dividend payouts from profits pertaining to the financial year ended March 31, 2020 until the further instructions.

• To ease the liquidity position at the level of individual institutions, the RBI has brought down the Liquidity Coverage Ratio (LCR) requirement for Scheduled Commercial Banks from 100% to 80% with immediate effect.

Science and Technology

NASA discovers habitable zone planet 300 light years away

• NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope has discovered an Earth-sized planet in a habitable zone around a star that could support liquid water. The exoplanet, named as Kepler-1649c, was discovered by a team of of transatlantic scientists.

• The findings are based on the data provided by Kepler as well as Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS).

Obituary

Freedom Fighter RV Bhuskute passes away at 94

• Freedom fighter R V Bhuskute, who had participated in the Quit India Movement, has passed away of prolonged illness. He was 94

• Hailing from Maharashtra’s Raigadh district, Bhuskute has also written several books on land laws.

Sports

Mascot for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games unveiled

• “Feifei” to be the mascot for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games, China. The 4th Asian Para Games are going to be held from October 9-15, 2022, featuring 22 sports with Taekwondo and Para-Canoe to form their Games debuts. The mascot helps to bring the Games to life for everybody, from the athletes to the spectators.

• Theme 2020- Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility.

Days

International Day For Monuments and Sites

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites (World Heritage Day) is observed on 18 April each year to promote awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage of humanity, their vulnerability and the efforts required for their protection and conservation.

• Theme 2020- Shared Cultures, Shared Heritage, Shared Responsibility.

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on 18 April 1982 and approved by the General Assembly of UNESCO in 1983.

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