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Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs Today 19th May 2020. These are important for the upcoming Exams. Candidates who were preparing for the examination can use these current affairs and also you can download the same as PDF.

Current Affairs Today – 19th May 2020

NEWS AT A GLANCE

  1. World AIDS Vaccine Day, (also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day), is observed annually on May 18 to promote the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.
  2. The International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May to raise awareness about the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”
  3. Canara Bank has launched a special business vertical dedicated for gold loans to meet the financial needs of its customers as they are in need of immediate credit support to meet their emergency needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  4. The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) released Rs 20,500 crores.
  5. Bernstein, an investment management firm based in the United States, has projected India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -7.0%.
  6. The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -5.0%.
  7. Stock exchanges BSE and NSE have announced to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent.
  8. Reliance Industries Limited(RIL) announced the sale of 1.34% stake in its digital services subsidiary, Jio Platforms to global Private Equity (PE) firm General Atlantic for Rs 6,598.38 crores, to accelerate consumer business and cut debt.
  9. The Centre has asked the States to use online portal National Migrant Information System (NMIS) for capturing the information on movement of migrants and for better inter-State co-ordination.
  10. The government announced an additional Rs 40,000 crore allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme to help provide jobs to migrant workers returning home.
  11. India Post has released a Special Postal Cover dedicated to the migrant workers with an objective of paying tribute to them.
  12. The Government of India implemented the recommendations made by the Shekatkar Committee to create border infrastructure.
  13. Karnataka’s Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security (CS-CoE) launched the first cyber security accelerator for startups in India, Hack is an Accelerator for Cyber Security in Karnataka (H.A.C.K) inaugurated on 16th May 2020 by Additional Chief Secretary in Charge of Department of IT, BT and S&T, EV Ramana Reddy.
  14. Uttar Pradesh Government will ensure safe, secure and dignified return of those migrant workers who are stranded at the border areas of state.
  15. In Himachal Pradesh, Disaster Management Cell, Kullu has been at the forefront of fulfilling its obligation to the emergency services with full responsibility during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  16. Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has started “Langar on wheels” (community kitchen) at around 10 location on Delhi Borders and NCR areas like Noida, Ghaziabad, Seelam puri, Sahadra areas etc
  17. Japan launched a new space defense unit that will monitor and counter threats to the satellites of Japan.
  18. The Genoa-based Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) has developed “i-Feel you”, an intelligent bracelet which will help users respect social distancing rules.
  19. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a USD7.2 million loan with Lomligor Company Limited (Lomligor), a subsidiary of BCPG Public Company Limited (BCPG).
  20. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through Video Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  21. Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced several initiatives to boost education sector,on 17th May in New Delhi.
  22. Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosted a webinar on “Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces” on 18 May.
  23. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry today announced the results of star rating of garbage free cities. Six cities have been rated 5 Star, 65 Cities rated 3 star and 70 cities rated 1 Star.
  24. Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).
  25. The Bundesliga primary football league of Germany becomes the world’s first major sports event to resume after COVID-19 lockdown. The Bundesliga games began with empty stadium though the stadium had the capacity to hold more than 80,000 players. Bundesliga means “Federal League”.
  26. International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.
  27. A new parasitic fungus was discovered by a Denmark biologist called “Troglomyces twitteri”.
  28. Noted spiritual leader Dev Prabhakar Shastri passed away at the age of 82 years.
  29. Veteran actor-comedian Fred Willard, best known for his performance in Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, has died at the age of 86.

NEWS IN DETAILS

IMPORTANT DAYS AND THEMES

World AIDS Vaccine Day observed on 18 May

  • World AIDS Vaccine Day, (also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day), is observed annually on May 18 to promote the continued urgent need for a vaccine to prevent HIV infection and AIDS.
  • The concept of World AIDS Vaccine Day was proposed on May 18, 1997, during commencement speech at Morgan State University made by then-President Bill Clinton, which underlined the need of a vaccine to curb the spread of HIV.
  • The first World AIDS Vaccine Day was thus observed on May 18, 1998 to commemorate the anniversary of Clinton’s speech.

International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May

  • The International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May to raise awareness about the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”

Theme:

  • Theme of International Museum Day 2020: “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”.

History:

  • The International Council of Museums (ICOM) was created in 1946, is a non-governmental organisation maintaining formal relations with UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) and having a consultative status with the United Nations (UN) Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC).

Extra Shots:

ICOM:

  • Headquarters: Paris, France.
  • President: Suay Aksoy

BANKING AND FINANCE

Canara Bank launches special gold loan business vertical

  • Canara Bank has launched a special business vertical dedicated for gold loans to meet the financial needs of its customers as they are in need of immediate credit support to meet their emergency needs due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights:

  • The bank has launched a gold loan campaign till 30th June, 2020 with an interest rate as low as 7.85% per annum minimum turnaround time (TAT) and high-flexibility to meet credit needs to help the customers with much needed liquidity to revive their business activities and to bring back normalcy to their lives.
  • The credit can be utilised for different purposes, such as expenses for agriculture and allied activities, business needs, health emergencies and personal needs.
  • In addition to this, as Indians consider gold ornaments & coins as an asset, they can utilise their jewellery to avail credit for emergency cash. The loans are payable within a period of 1 to 3 years with flexible repayment options and can be availed from all designated branches across India.
  • Gold loans for agricultural operations can be availed against gold ornaments with maximum borrowing limit of Rs 10 lakh for crop cultivation expenses. For allied agricultural activities, gold loan can be availed in Rs 20 lakh as maximum limit per borrower.

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Canara Bank:

  • Headquarters: Bangalore, Karnataka
  • Chairman: N. Manoharan
  • Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer(CEO): L.V. Prabhakar
  • Tagline: Together we Can

NABARD releases Rs 20,500 crores of funds for Kharif and pre-monsoon operations

  • The National Bank of Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) released Rs 20,500 crores.
  • The funds will act as front-loading resources to the cooperative banks and the Regional Rural Development Banks (RRBs).

Highlights

  • The funds have been released to help farmers in Kharif operations and also in their pre monsoon preparations.
  • Of the allocated amount, Rs 15,200 crores is to be provided through cooperative banks and Rs 5,300 crores through RRBs.
  • The Indian Meteorological Department recently announced that the Indian Monsoon is to begin on June 5.
  • Hence, the advance releasing of funds will help farmers in receiving loans from the RRBs and cooperative banks.

Kisan Credit Card

  • The banks have initiated the Kisan Credit Card Scheme. During the months of lock down, around 12 lakh new credit cards were provided to the farmers.
  • The scheme was introduced in 1998.
  • It aims to provide adequate credit support to the farmers. It was extended to non-farming activities in 2004.
  • The scheme is implemented by RRBs, Commercial banks, Small Finance Banks and Cooperatives.

Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

  • It is to be noted that the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan that was recently launched by PM Modi allocated Rs 30,000 crores for NABARD.

Extra Shots:

NABARD: National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development is an Apex Development Financial Institution in India

  • Founded: 12 July 1982
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Agency executive: Harsh Kumar Bhanwala (Chairperson)
  • Purpose: Development assistance; Poverty Reduction
  • Formation: July 12, 1982
  • Subsidiaries: Nabcons, NABVENTURES Ltd., Nabkisan Finance Ltd., NABSAMRUDDHI Finance Limited

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Investment firm Bernstein projects India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -7%

  • Bernstein, an investment management firm based in the United States, has projected India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -7.0%.
  • This means India’s GDP will contract by 7% in FY21 as per Bernstein.

Goldman Sachs projects India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -5%

  • The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -5.0%.
  • Earlier it has predicted the same at -0.4%.
  • It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 5.0% in FY21.

Extra Shots:

The Goldman Sachs Group, Inc., is an American multinational investment bank and financial services company headquartered in New York City. It offers services in investment management, securities, asset management, prime brokerage, and securities underwriting.

  • CEO: David M. Solomon
  • Headquarters: New York, New York, United States

BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25%

  • Stock exchanges BSE and NSE have announced to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent.
  • BSE and NSE had launched their respective SME platforms in 2012 and since then have been facilitating SMEs for raising funds, listing and trading on the exchanges.
  • The rebate in the fee comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s several announcements to rescue the ailing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.

Extra shots:

The BSE, formerly known as the Bombay Stock Exchange Ltd., is an Indian stock exchange located at Dalal Street, Mumbai. Established in 1875, it is Asia’s oldest stock exchange. The BSE is the world’s 10th largest stock exchange with an overall market capitalization of more than $2.2 trillion on as of April 2018.

  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Founded: 9 July 1877
  • Chairman: Just. Vikramajit Sen
  • MD& CEO: Ashishkumar Chauhan

NSE: The National Stock Exchange of India Limited is the leading stock exchange of India, located in Mumbai. The NSE was established in 1992 as the first dematerialized electronic exchange in the country.

  • of listings: 1,952
  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Owner: National Stock Exchange of India Limited
  • Founded: 1992
  • Indices: NIFTY 50; NIFTY NEXT 50; NIFTY 500

General Atlantic buys 1.34% stake in Jio platforms for Rs 6,598.38 crores

  • Reliance Industries Limited(RIL) announced the sale of 1.34% stake in its digital services subsidiary, Jio Platforms to global Private Equity (PE) firm General Atlantic for Rs 6,598.38 crores, to accelerate consumer business and cut debt.
  • After this investment Jio Platforms will have an equity value of Rs 4.91 trillion and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 trillion.

Highlights:

  • General Atlantic’s investment will translate into a 1.34% equity stake in Jio Platforms on a fully diluted basis. The transaction is subject to regulatory and other customary approvals.
  • This deal is the 4th one in less than four weeks(within a month)  with this investment RIL has raised Rs 67,194.75 crores by selling 14.8%  in Jio. Strategic and financial investors are to form 20% of Jio Platforms.
  • Jio’s previous deal- Facebook has bought a  99% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 43,574 crores on April 22. The deal was followed by US private equity firm Silver Lake, the world’s largest tech investor, bought 1.15% stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 5,665.75 crores on May 4.  US-based Vista Equity Partners bought a 2.32%  stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 11,367 crores on May 8.
  • Besides the sale of Jio stake, RIL hopes to raise Rs 53,125 crore in the country’s biggest-ever rights issue.

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General Atlantic

  • Chief Executive Officer: Bill Ford
  • Head of India & Southeast Asia
  • Managing Director(MD), Mumbai: Sandeep Naik

Reliance

  • Corporate Office: Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Chairman & Managing Director(MD):Mukesh D. Ambani

NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

Centre launches online dashboard to monitor movement of migrant workers

  • The Centre has asked the States to use online portal National Migrant Information System (NMIS) for capturing the information on movement of migrants and for better inter-State co-ordination.

Highlights:

  • The online portal will maintain a central repository of the migrants travelling from one state to another & help the sending as well as receiving State/district to ask for and give their acceptance in an online format seamlessly.
  • It has additional advantages like contact tracing, which may be useful in overall COVID-19 response work
  • The system will allow states to upload a batch file of individual data on the portal. As many states have already collected migrant data, this can be integrated through Application Programming Interface(API).
  • The key data pertaining to the persons migrating has been standardised for uploading such as name, age, mobile no, originating and destination district, date of travel etc, which states are already collecting.
  • States can visualize how many migrants have left their state and reached destinations through The mobile numbers of people can be used for contact tracing and movement monitoring during COVID-19.
  • A unique ID is generated for each migrant, which can be used for all transactions including contact tracing. Through this portal Central Ministries can also monitor the movement of migrants.
  • The IDs of people moving by a particular train will be given to Railways by the origin State, when giving the requisition of trains. By this way, the data will be visible to destination states too and can be used for further monitoring.
  • The system may not require any substantive additional work on part of the field officials & will not take away the governance power from the State Government, within the overall guidelines of Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA).

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NDMA:

  • Headquarters: New Delhi, India
  • Chairman:Prime Minister Narendra Modi

Govt allocates Rs 40,000 cr more for MGNREGS

  • The government announced an additional Rs 40,000 crore allocation for the rural employment guarantee scheme to help provide jobs to migrant workers returning home.
  • Announcing fifth and final tranche of the economic stimulus package, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the allocation for MGNREGS is being increased by Rs 40,000 crore over and above the Rs 61,000 crore budgeted earlier.
  • Also, public expenditure on health will be increased, she said without giving details. Investments in grassroot health institutions to be ramped up.
  • Also, one earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel) will be part of this

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MGNREGS

  • The MGNREGS Act aims at enhancing the livelihood security of people in rural areas by guaranteeing hundred days of wage-employment in a financial year to a rural household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

India Post exhibits Special Postal Cover dedicated to Migrant Workers

  • India Post has released a Special Postal Cover dedicated to the migrant workers with an objective of paying tribute to them.
  • Five migrant workers were called upon from different sectors to release the Special Postal Cover which was released during an event at the Bicentennial Hall of the historic Mumbai GPO building.
  • The release of Special Cover was an attempt made by India Post to keep the struggles and contributions of migrant workers, recorded in the history of India.
  • Among the five migrants, two workers were from the construction sector, one was a taxi driver, one was a jewelry craftsman, and one was a tailor.
  • The programme was held by India Post to acknowledge the contribution of natives of other states in building Mumbai as the migrant workers are an integral part of the cityscape.

Extra Shots:

The Department of Posts, trading as India Post, is a government-operated postal system in India, which is a subsidiary of the Ministry of Communications. Generally called “the Post Office” in India, it is the most widely distributed postal system in the world.

  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Founder: Government of India
  • Founded: 1 April 1854
  • Subsidiary: India Post Payments Bank
  • Parent organization: Ministry of Communications and Information Technology

GoI implements Shekatkar Committee to create border infrastructure

  • The Government of India implemented the recommendations made by the Shekatkar Committee to create border infrastructure.

Highlights

  • The GoI based on the recommendation of the committee has adopted Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) to execute the works that costs than Rs 100 crores.
  • The recommendation of the committee to enhance procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crores to Rs 100 crores to the Border Road Organization has also been implemented.

 The other recommendations that were implemented are as follows:

  • New Technologies such as blasting technology, use of Geo-Textiles, plastic coated aggregates for surfacing, cementitious base for pavements are being used to enhance pace of construction.
  • The statutory clearances and land acquisition for forest and environmental clearances have been made part of Detailed Project Report.
  • Also, the works can be awarded only when 90% of statutory clearances have been obtained.

Shekatkar Committee

  • The Shekatkar Committee was formed in 2018. It was constituted by the Ministry of Defence under chairmanship of Lt General DB Shekatkar.

STATE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Karnataka launches first accelerator for cyber security start-up

  • Karnataka’s Centre of Excellence in Cyber Security (CS-CoE) launched the first cyber security accelerator for startups in India, Hack is an Accelerator for Cyber Security in Karnataka (H.A.C.K) inaugurated on 16th May 2020 by Additional Chief Secretary in Charge of Department of IT, BT and S&T, EV Ramana Reddy.

Highlights:

  • Hack is an Accelerator for Cyber Security in Karnataka (H.A.C.K) inviting all the cyber security startups in both early-stage and growth-stage, for applying for the zeroth cohort launching in Q2 2020.
  • A.C.K will provide an innovative incubation platform to connect startups with entrepreneurial ecosystems and marquee mentors around the world who are looking for a connection with government, industry and market players.
  • A.C.K is under the Karnataka Innovation and Technology Society(KITS), Department of Information Technology and Biotechnology with Indian Institute of Science(IISc) as an anchor institution and Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST) as Implementing Agency.
  • The programme has 21 startups on board across three cohorts: 10x cohorts, 0-1 chort and virtual cohort.

Purpose:

  • The key objective is to promote a cyber-safe and conducive environment for industrial collaboration, to address the skill gap, to build awareness and foster innovation in the emerging technology field of cyber security.

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CoE: Centre of Excellence

  • Center Head: Karthik Bappanad
  • Group Lead for Industry and Startups: Rajeev Gopalakrishna
  • Operations Manager: Mir Zaheer Abbas
  • Formed in: 2017

UP govt to ensure safe and secure return of migrant workers

  • Uttar Pradesh Government will ensure safe, secure and dignified return of those migrant workers who are stranded at the border areas of state.
  • Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has ordered officials to make arrangements for food, shelter and medical screening for migrant workers at all border areas.
  • The process has been initiated in many districts already.
  • Transport department will ensure sanitization of buses and availability of sanitizer in them.
  • No charge will be taken from any migrant worker for anything. Arrangment of Food and drinking water will be insured at all toll plazas along with the highways and major intersections.
  • Police and transport officials will do intense patrolling in night to prevent any migrant worker to travel in truck or by foot.

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Uttar Pradesh:

  • Capital: Lucknow
  • Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath
  • Governor: Anandiben Patel
  • State formed in: 24 January 1950
  • Literacy Rate: 67.68%
  • Nation Park: Dudhwa National Park

Himachal Pradesh: Disaster Management Cell, Kullu provides emergency services amid COVID-19 pandemic

  • In Himachal Pradesh, Disaster Management Cell, Kullu has been at the forefront of fulfilling its obligation to the emergency services with full responsibility during the global COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The employees of Disaster Management Cell, Kullu are working round the clock with the necessary information to serve the common people.
  • In the period of lockdown, this authority has emerged as an effective, convenient and accessible center.
  • These young employees are discharging their duties  wholeheartedly day and night  to provide desired information as well as  to ensure quick disposal of people doubts.
  • They are also performing important work in collecting and disseminating desired information from various departments.
  • Apart from this, the center is playing an important role by taking the responsibility of providing concrete and quick information to the administration.

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Himachal Pradesh:

  • State formed on: 25 January 1971
  • Governor: Bandaru Dattatreya
  • Chief Justice: Lingappa Narayana Swamy
  • Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur
  • Official language: Hindi

Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has started “Langar on wheels”

  • Delhi Sikh Gurdwara Management Committee has started “Langar on wheels” (community kitchen) at around 10 location on Delhi Borders and NCR areas like Noida, Ghaziabad, Seelam puri, Sahadra areas etc

Purpose:

  • providing food and water to the migrant labourers walking back to their villages from metro cities to ensure they get nutritious, healthy and fresh food and water on the way back to their homes.

Highlights:

  • Each Langar Van leaves Gurdwara Bangla Sahib around 9 am morning and ensures that all food material is distributed to the needy people.
  • DSGMC has set up food counter at New Delhi Railways station at the request of Indian Railways to provide free drinking water, Juices, and biscuit packets to the migrant workers travelling in Shramik Trains to their native place
  • These Juices/ biscuit packets /Water bottles are being distributed to each and every needy passenger irrespective of caste, creed, or religion, and additional Juice/ packets /Water bottles if required by any passengers, is also being provided to them to make their journey comfortable.

INTERNATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

Japan launches new unit for defense in outer space named Space Operations Squadron

  • Japan launched a new space defense unit that will monitor and counter threats to the satellites of Japan.
  • The unit is named Space Operations Squadron and is a part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. It has started will 20 members and will become fully operational by the year 2023.
  • The role of Space Operations Squadron is to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris.

Extra Shots:

Japan (Capital/Currency): Tokyo/ Japanese yen

  • Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe

Italy develops ‘iFeel-You’ bracelet for social distancing

  • The Genoa-based Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) has developed “i-Feel you”, an intelligent bracelet which will help users respect social distancing rules.
  • The technology was launched at a video conference which involved the participation of Liguria governor Giovanni Toti and IIT President Giorgia Metta.

Highlights:

  • The bracelet has been developed as the measures for safeguarding people against the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The bracelet can measure social distance in a much more precise manner than a mobile application (app) and it does not track geolocation hence has little effect on privacy.
  • The bracelet uses a radio signal only when another bracelet is approaching and does not use GPS (Global Positioning System), hence cannot not keep track of the user’s locations.
  • The bracelet starts to vibrate when another person wearing the same bracelet comes too close to the user.
  • Giorgia Metta also added that soon some other features such as capability to measure body temperature and to calculate the users oxygen levels would be included in the bracelet.

Extra Shots:

Italy (Capital/Currency): Rome/Euro

  • President: Sergio Mattarella
  • Prime Minister: Giuseppe Conte

ADB Finances First Wind Power and Battery Storage Project in Thailand

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a USD7.2 million loan with Lomligor Company Limited (Lomligor), a subsidiary of BCPG Public Company Limited (BCPG).

Purpose:

  • to finance a 10-megawatt (MW) wind power plant in southern Thailand.

Highlights:

  • The project utilizes an integrated 1.88-megawatt-hour (MWh) pilot battery energy storage system to increase the amount of renewable energy delivered to the grid.
  • The battery system will allow energy to be stored when the wind turbines generate more power than the grid is able to absorb, which will help ensure the stability and reliability of the renewable energy source.
  • This project contributes to Thailand’s Power Development Plan targets for clean energy and also demonstrates the potential of integrated renewables and batteries to provide clean energy for southern Thailand.
  • This will enhance the resilience of the region’s electricity grid, provide energy security for communities, and support economic growth across the country.

Extra Shots:

ADB: The Asian Development Bank is a regional development bank established on 19 December 1966, which is headquartered in the Ortigas Center located in the city of Mandaluyong, Metro Manila, Philippines. The company also maintains 31 field offices around the world to promote social and economic development in Asia.

  • Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Philippines
  • President: Masatsugu Asakawa
  • Membership: 68 countries
  • Founded: 19 December 1966
  • Purpose: Economic development

Thailand (Capital/Currency): Bangkok/Bhatt

  • Prime Minister: Prayut Chan-o-cha

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES

Dr Harsh Vardhan participates in the 73rd World Health Assembly through Video Conference

  • Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through Video Conference due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The 73rd session of the assembly featured the participation of the delegations from all WHO Member States and focused on a specific health agenda prepared by the Executive Board.
  • During the session, the minister highlighted the timely, graded and proactive steps taken by the Indian government towards COVID-19 management.
  • The World Health Assembly is the decision-making body of WHO. The World Health Assembly is responsible to determine the policies of the Organization, appoint the Director-General, supervise financial policies, and review and approve the proposed programme budget. It is held annually in Geneva, Switzerland.

Extra Shots:

The World Health Assembly is the forum through which the World Health Organization is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.

  • Founded: 1988
  • Headquarters location: Geneva, Switzerland

“One nation , one digital platform” and “one class one channel” will ensure reach of quality education to farthest corners of the country: HRD Minister

  • Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has announced several initiatives to boost education sector,on 17th May in New Delhi.
  • The present pandemic situation has presented new challenges and several opportunities for our education system.
  • The Minister highlighted that the education sector has taken this opportunity to plan several interventions, particularly in the area of adopting innovative curriculum and pedagogies, concentrating energies on the gap areas, being more inclusive and integrating technology at every stage, to usher in a new era of focussed investment in the human capital.
  • The “One nation , one digital platform” and “one class one channel” will ensure that quality education material will reach the students present in farthest areas of the country.
  • the initiatives will boost the access and equity in education and improve the gross enrolment ratio in the times to come.
  • This will benefit nearly 25 crore school going children across the country.

PM E-Vidya

  • PM E-Vidya is to be launched that will unify the efforts related to online education. It will also increase multi-mode access to education.
  • It will include two major initiatives namely “One Nation One Digital Platform” and “One Class One Channel”
  • These two initiatives will make sure students even in remote areas will receive educational materials. These initiatives will increase and improve the access to education materials. Also, they will help in bringing equity in education.
  • The One Nation One Digital Platform will include DIKSHA. This will now become major digital infrastructure of the country that will provide quality content to school children.
  • One Class One Channel initiative will provide quality education material for all classes from Class I to Class 12. This will include Swayam online courses, study material for differently abled people called DAISY (Digitally Accessible Information System).

Mandorapan Initiative

  • The initiative is to provide psychological support to teachers, students and families will provide support to national directory of counselors. A toll-free help line will be launched

Higher Education

  • The E-Learning in higher education is to be expanded. Top 100 universities in the country will start online courses. The online component in conventional universities is to be raised from 20% to 40%. This is to benefit more than 7 crore students from different colleges and Universities.

National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework

  • In order to promote creative and critical thinking and also to improve communication skills of the students, joyful and experimental learning are to be focused under the framework. The curriculum will be rooted to Indian ethos. Also, the curriculum will be prepared in such as way that the students will fulfil global skill requirements.

National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission

  • The initiative will make sure every child attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3.
  • In order to achieve this, the mission will aim at the following:
  1. Teacher Capacity Building
  2. Robust Curricular Framework
  3. Engaging online and offline learning materials
  4. The initiative will provide Measurement indices of learning outcomes

Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces hosted a webinar on Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces

  • Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosted a webinar on “Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces” on 18 May.
  • The webinar aimed to celebrate the International Museum Day and kick start conversations around creating sustainable cultural organizations in post-pandemic India.

Highlights:

  • The webinar featured some of the best experts in the museum and cultural spaces domain including Founder Trustee of Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bengaluru Shri Abhishek Poddar, President of Kochi Biennale Foundation Shri Bose Krishnamachari, Founder and CEO of Cuseum Shri Brendan Ciecko, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts Shi Sanjoy K Roy and CEO of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, GoI (Moderator) Shri Raghvendra Singh.
  • The objective aims to identify the possible policy actions that will help alleviate the short and long term effects of the crisis on museums, cultural spaces, and their broader ecosystems.
  • Discussion on impact, innovations, and post-COVID-19 crisis planning in the context of Museums and cultural spaces were held.
  • The cultural spaces were reimaged to introduce innovative ideas to maximize the social and economic value of cultural heritage and to build capacity in order to engage with local audiences and tourists.
  • The discussion aimed to prepare policy paper and get agreement on whatever is practical and feasible.

Extra Shots:

The Ministry of Culture is the Indian government ministry charged with preservation and promotion of art and culture of India. Prahlad Singh Patel is the current Minister of Culture. Recently the government has established the National Mission on Libraries India under this ministry.

  • Headquarters: C Wing, Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi
  • Minister responsible: Prahlad Singh Patel, Minister of State (Independent Charge)
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Annual budget: 3,042.05 crores INR (US$430 million, 2019-20 est.)

RANKS AND INDICES

Centre declares Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage free cities

  • Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry today announced the results of star rating of garbage free cities.
  • Six cities have been rated 5 Star, 65 Cities rated 3 star and 70 cities rated 1 Star.
  • Centre has declared Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage free cities.
  • Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities
  • Swacch Bharat Mission has played important role in the last five years to ensure a high degree of cleanliness and sanitation in urban areas
  • The star rating protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

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Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, Government of India, is a federal ministry with executive authority over the formulation and administration of the rules and regulations and laws relating to the housing and urban development in India.

  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Founded: 1952
  • Ministry executive: Durga Shanker Mishra, IAS, Secretary (Housing and Urban Affairs)
  • Officeholders: Hardeep Singh Puri (MOS independent charge), Narendra Singh Tomar (Union Minister)

APPOINTMENT

Rajesh Goel becomes new DG of NAREDCO

  • Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).
  • Prior to this, he was serving as the chairman and managing director, Hindustan Prefab Ltd.
  • He is a professional with over 37 years of experience in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

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NAREDCO: The National Real Estate Development Council was established self-regulatory body in 1998 under the aegis of Housing And Urban Affairs Government of India. Founded: 1998

  • Parent organization: Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Chairman: Rajeev Talwar
  • President: Niranjan Hiranandani

SPORTS CURRENT AFFAIRS

Bundesliga becomes 1st major sports event to resume post COVID-19 lockdown

  • The Bundesliga primary football league of Germany becomes the world’s first major sports event to resume after COVID-19 lockdown. The Bundesliga games began with empty stadium though the stadium had the capacity to hold more than 80,000 players. Bundesliga means “Federal League”.
  • The players are being tested twice a week.
  • The teams participating in the games were kept under quarantine.
  • The teams entered the ground at different times.
  • The substitutes sat well apart during the matches.

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The Bundesliga is a professional association football league in Germany and the football league with the highest average stadium attendance worldwide. At the top of the German football league system, the Bundesliga is Germany’s primary football competition.

  • Current champion: FC Bayern Munich (28th title)
  • Most championships: Bayern Munich (28 titles)
  • Most appearances: Charly Körbel (602)
  • Top goalscorer: Gerd Müller (365)
  • Number of teams: 18

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

  • International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.
  • The newly developed alloys are suitable for biodegradable stent and orthopaedic implant applications. Biodegradable materials like Fe, Magnesium(Mg), Zinc(Zn), and polymer participate in the healing process & gradually degrade by maintaining mechanical integrity.
  • Invivo and in-vitro studies are being planned by the team at Sri Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences.
  • The ARCI team has employed conventional melting and powder metallurgy techniques in the manufacturing of the new Fe-Mn based biodegradable alloys and stents with diameter- 2 millimetres (mm), Length- 12 mm and Wall thickness- 175 micrometres (µm).

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ARCI:

  • Headquarters: Hyderabad, Telangana
  • Chairperson: Dr. Anil Kakodkar
  • Director: Dr G. Padmanabham

SCTIMST:

  • Headquarters: Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala
  • President: Dr Vijay Kumar Saraswat
  • Director: Dr Asha Kishore

A new species “Troglomyces twitteri” discovered

  • A new parasitic fungus was discovered by a Denmark biologist called “Troglomyces twitteri”.
  • The fungus has been named after Twitter as it was discovered in Twitter

Discovery

  • The biologist Sofia Reboleira of University of Copenhagen, Denmark founded the species.
  • The image was posted in Twitter by an entomologist 1n 2018. He was sending millipede photos to people who had tweeted him.
  • The photos were being sent for polling purpose.

About the new species

  • The photo of the millipede had tiny dots that looked like Fungi. The Fungi belongs to the order called Laboulbeniales.These are fungi that attack millipedes and insects. They look like larvae. There are more than 30 different species that attack the millipedes.

Millipedes

  • The Millipedes are arthropods. They have two pairs of jointed legs. They feed on decaying leaves and dead matter. Thus, in a way they help in decomposition process. They cause trouble in greenhouses where they cause severe damages to seedlings. They are harmless to humans.

OBITUARIES

Spiritual leader Dev Prabhakar Shastri passes away

  • Noted spiritual leader Dev Prabhakar Shastri passed away at the age of 82 years.
  • He died due to lung and kidney ailments.
  • He was popularly known as ‘Daddaji’.
  • He was from Madhya Pradesh.

Modern Family’ actor Fred Willard passes away at 86

  • Veteran actor-comedian Fred Willard, best known for his performance in Everybody Loves Raymond and Modern Family, has died at the age of 86.
  • Willard, who was known for his deadpan cameos, was nominated four times for Emmy Awards — three of them (in 2003, 2004 and 2005) for playing Hank on Everybody Loves Raymond and the fourth in 2010 for his recurring role as Frank Dunphy, the father of Ty Burrell’s Phil Dunphy, on Modern Family.

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