Current Affairs Today 22nd May 2020-Download in PDF

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Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs Today 22nd 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 – 22nd May 2020

NEWS AT A GLANCE

  1. International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is observed on 22 May.
  2. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced Rs.15,000 crore line of credit (LoC) to the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM) on 22 May.
  3. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cuts repo rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4% from 4.4% on 22 May.
  4. The Government of India amended General Financial Rules to make sure the goods and services that are of value less than Rs 200 crores are procured domestic firms.
  5. The Ratings agency ICRA has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY 2020-21 at -5.0%.
  6. GoI has launched a scheme for the solarisation of Konark Sun Temple and Konark town in Odisha.
  7. The Government of India disbursed RS 170 crores to MNREGA workers. The amounts were disbursed to the beneficiaries through the Deaprtment of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
  8. The Government of India announced that around 6.8 crore free cylinders have been distributed under Prdhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana.
  9. Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the Coir Geo Textiles are to be used in rural road development.
  10. The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) explore the possible option of exporting silk and cotton face masks to foreign countries.
  11. The Textiles Committee operating under Ministry of Textiles has launched testing equipment for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
  12. Madhya Pradesh State Government is to launch Everybody will get employment scheme.
  13. The Chhattisgarh government has launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana, a scheme to ensure “minimum income availability” to farmers of the state through direct bank transfer.
  14. Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan attended Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) through video conference.
  15. India became the second largest producer of Personal Protective Equipment in the world. China is the leading producer of PPE in the world.
  16. NTPC Ltd., the PSU under Ministry of Power, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), the PSU under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on 22 May.
  17. India & Bangladesh signed the 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in Dhaka.
  18. United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with Bharti Airtel’s Africa Arm to support the school children in the coronavirus affected areas and provide them access to remote learning and financial assistance to their families through mobile cash transfer.
  19. Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) announced today, the extension of its collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support the delivery of essential hygiene products to tea-plantation workers based in the state of Assam in India, in the response to COVID 19.
  20. IBM (International Business Machines) ties up with the Intellect Design Arena Limited, a full spectrum banking and insurance products company, has launched iTurmeric FinCloud platform through IBM public cloud targeting financial institutions which are looking to switch to the latest tools and technologies.
  21. Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO), the oldest women-led and -focused business chamber of Southeast Asia and the women’s wing of the apex chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  22. The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the E-Conclave of Defence MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises).
  23. Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank released three handbooks through video conferencing in New Delhi.
  24. Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have discovered a new method to help prevent or reduce short-term memory losses associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  25. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) launched the “Agappe Chitra Magna”, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for use during testing for detection of COVID-19.
  26. The Union Minister Prakash Javadekar interacted with the Chief Ministers of the State Governments through video conference.

NEWS IN DETAILS

IMPORTANT DAYS AND THEMES

International Day for Biological Diversityis observed on 22 May

  • International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is observed on 22 May.
  • The day to increase understanding and awareness of biodiversity issues.
  • It calls people to re-examine human relationship to the natural world.

Theme:

  • The theme for 2020 International Day for Biological Diversity is “Our solutions are in nature”.
  • The theme emphasizes hope, solidarity, and the importance of working together at all levels to build a future of life in harmony with nature.
  • The theme aims to increase the resilience of nations and communities as the world countries are recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic.

History:

  • IDB was first initiated by the Second Committee of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) on 29 December 1993, when the Convention of Biological Diversity came into force. In December 2000, the UNGA adopted 22 May as IDB with an aim to commemorate the adoption of the text of the Convention on 22 May 1992 by the Nairobi Final Act of the Conference for the Adoption of the Agreed Text of the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Extra Shots:

UN: The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.

  • Headquarters: New York, New York, United States
  • Founded: 24 October 1945, San Francisco, California, United States
  • Official languages: Arabic; Chinese; English; French; Russian; Spanish;
  • Secretary general: António Guterres

BANKING AND FINANCE

RBI announced Rs.15,000 crore LoC to EXIM Bank to raise its resources

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced Rs.15,000 crore line of credit (LoC) to the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM) on 22 May.
  • The move by RBI is to help the sagging foreign trade.
  • EXIM Bank depends on foreign currency borrowings for its operations.
  • The Bank has failed to raise the resources due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Highlights:

  • The EXIM Bank will be given LoC of Rs.15,000 crore for a period of 90 days from the date of availing with rollover up to a maximum period of one year.
  • It will the Bank to avail of a US dollar swap facility to meet its foreign exchange requirements.
  • RBI has decided to increase the maximum permissible period of pre-shipment and post-shipment export credit sanctioned by banks from the existing one year to 15 months, for disbursements made up to 31 July 2020.

Extra Shots:

EXIM Bank: Export–Import Bank of India is a finance institution in India, established in 1982 under Export-Import Bank of India Act 1981. Since its inception, Exim Bank of India has been both a catalyst and a key player in the promotion of cross border trade and investment.

  • CEO: David Rasquinha
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founded: 1 January 1982
  • Subsidiaries: Export Import Bank of India, London Branch, Export-Import Bank of India, Asset Management Arm

RBI cuts repo rate to a record low by 40 bps

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cuts repo rate by 40 basis points (bps) to 4% from 4.4% on 22 May.
  • The Central Bank also adjusted the reverse repo rate to 3.35% from 3.75%.
  • The announcement was made by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.

Highlights:

  • The repo reduction marked the lowest repo rate or the key interest rate at which the RBI lends short-term funds to commercial banks. This is the reduction that has been recorded since 2000.
  • The reduction in the key interest rate will allow banks to reduce the Equated monthly installments (EMI) burden for their borrowers.
  • RBI also extended the loan moratorium, which allows banks to defer EMI payments by their customers, by another three months till August 2020.
Repo Rate 4% 4.40%
Reverse Repo Rate 3.35% 3.75%
Marginal Standing Facility 4.25% 4.65%
Bank Rate 4.25% 4.65%

Extra Shots:

Monetary Policy is the central bank’s policy which uses the monetary instruments like Repo rate, Reverse repo rate, Liquidity Adjustment Facility and many others, to achieve the goals stated in the Act. In India, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been given the responsibility of conducting monetary policy as mandated under the Reserve Bank of India Act, 1934.

GoI amends General Financial Rules

  • The Government of India amended General Financial Rules to make sure the goods and services that are of value less than Rs 200 crores are procured domestic firms.

Highlights

  • The GFR 2017 (General Financial Rules) have been amended by the Central Government.
  • They were first issued in 1947 bringing together all the existing orders.
  • They are instructions that pertain to financial matters.
  • The GFRs were modified in 1963 and 2005.

GFR 2017

  • The GFR 2017 was revised in 2017 to make sure an organization manages its business without compromising its flexibility.

Global Tender

  • Tendering is a process where bids for a project are accepted. Now, global tendering is tenders from foreign countries or through foreign investment. “Disallowing Global Tenders” is stopping foreign investments to a particular threshold to boost indigenous companies.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

ICRA Predicts Indian Economy to likely contract by 5% in FY21

  • The Ratings agency ICRA has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY 2020-21 at -5.0%. Earlier it has predicted the same at around -1% to -2 %.
  • It means the GDP of India will contract by 5.0% in FY21.

Extra Shots:

ICRA Limited:

  • Headquarters: Gurugram, Haryana
  • Non-Executive chairman and independent director: Arun Duggal

NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

GoI launches scheme to solarise entire Konark Temple

  • GoI has launched a scheme for the solarisation of Konark Sun Temple and Konark town in Odisha.
  • The announcement was made by the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy.
  • The main objective of the scheme is to develop the historical Sun temple town of Konark in Odisha as ‘Surya Nagri’.

Highlights:

  • Under the scheme, the Centre aims to set up the 10-MW grid-connected solar project and various solar off-grid applications such as solar drinking water kiosks, solar trees, and off-grid solar power plants with battery storage.
  • It will be set up with a 100% central financial assistance (CFA) support of around Rs.25 crore from the Government of India through the MNRE.
  • The implementation of the project will be done by the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA).
  • The scheme is expected to meet all the energy requirements of Konark town with solar energy.

Extra Shots:

Odisha:

  • Capital: Bhubaneswar
  • Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
  • Governor: Ganeshi Lal
  • National Park: Bhitarkanika NP, Simlipal NP

Rs 170 crores disbursed to MGNREGA

  • The Government of India disbursed RS 170 crores to MGNREGA workers. The amounts were disbursed to the beneficiaries through the Deaprtment of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj.
  • The Department has taken up more than 14,000 development projects under MGNREGA(Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act) since April 20, 2020.
  • This includes 8,300 Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana housing projects and 1,670 water conservation projects. Around 5.28 lakh person days were created in in Jammu and Kashmir alone
  • With the migrants returning to their home town due to COVID-19 crisis, the rural population increased in the country and so did rural unemployment.
  • In order to address this issue, the GoI under MGNREGA increased the workmanship. Also, the labour charges under the scheme was increased from Rs 182 to Rs 202.
  • It is to be noted that in order to implement Swachh Bharat Mission 2.0, sanitary workers were included under MGNREGA.
  • They were employed under MGNREGA to implement solid waste management.

Extra Shots:

MGNREGA: Mahatma Gandhi Employment Guarantee Act 2005, is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’. This act was passed in September 2005.

  • Official website: nrega.nic.in
  • Launch year: 2006
  • Sector: Rural Employment
  • Launched by (prime minister): Manmohan Singh
  • Ministry: Ministry of Rural Development
  • Status: In force

Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana: 6.8 crore free Cylinders distributed

  • The Government of India announced that around 6.8 crore free cylinders have been distributed under Prdhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana.
  • Under the scheme, free LPG cylinders are being provided by the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
  • This covers more than 8 core beneficiaries of Pradhan Mantri Ujjawala Yojana.
  • The beneficiaries are provided with the funds through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT).
  • The GoI has allocated separate funds to distribute the cylinders under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana.
  • It was launched to ease the lives of the people during lock down

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana

  • The scheme was launched in December 16, 2016 under Ministry of Finance.
  • The scheme was valid till March 31, 2017. It was launched to declare unaccounted black money and wealth.
  • The scheme was recently updated to mitigate the losses faced by the poor due to COVID-19.
  • Under the scheme, Rs 1.7 lakh crore was allocated.
  • The updated scheme was launched on March 26, 2020.
  • Apart from this, the GoI has recently launched the Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan to revive the economy of the country.
  • Around Rs 20 lakh crores have been allocated under the scheme.
  • Through the scheme, the Government intends to boost MSMEs, agriculture, mining, fisheries. defence and science and technology. It mainly focuses on indigenisation of manufacturing.
  • It will also focus on providing important to local produce through vocal for local initiative.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana: Coir Geo Textiles approved for rural road construction

  • Under the Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, the Coir Geo Textiles are to be used in rural road development.
  • This is to be done by the National Rural Infrastructure Development Agency.

Coir Geotextiles

  • They are made of coir and last up to 3 to 5 years. The coir geotextiles degrades into humus. This enriches the soil.

Geotextiles Geo

  • Textiles are permeable fabrics that have the ability to filter, separate, reinforce, drain and protect. They are made from polypropylene.
  • Geotextiles are used to protect fossil foot prints. In combination with steel wire fencing the geotextiles can contain explosive debris in building demolition. They help to strengthen soil at lower cost. Geo textiles are used to secure slopes.
  • Their main applications are in the civil engineering industry. They are used in airfields, embankments, reservoirs, canals, dams, silt fences, etc. They have widened uses in erosion control, especially in hill slopes. Geo textile sand bags are also used in forming artificial reefs.

Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana III

  • The Phase III of Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana was launched in December 2019.
  • It focuses on consolidation of 1,25,000 km of routes. It mainly includes major rural links. The aim is to connect the Gramin Agricultural markets, hospitals and higher secondary schools.

Khadi Masks gain Global recognition and demand

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) explore the possible option of exporting silk and cotton face masks to foreign countries.
  • This is being done to promote “Vocal for Local”, that was initiated under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • So far, the KVIC has received 8 lakh orders of masks and has supplied 6 lakhs during Lock down period. With overwhelming responses in India, KVIC is to expand the khadi masks globally.
  • The plan is to supply Khadi Masks to countries such as USA, Dubai, Mauritius, middle east and to several other European countries.

Significance

  • The export of Khadi masks will help to increase production and ultimately help boost employment.
  • As the masks are cost effective, breathable, reusable, washable and bio-degradable, their demands are increasing globally.
  • Also, their efficiency is high as they are made of double twisted Khadi fabric.

Extra Shots:

KVIC: The Khadi and Village Industries Commission is a statutory body formed in April 1957 by the Government of India, under the Act of Parliament, ‘Khadi and Village Industries Commission Act of 1956’.

  • Founded: 1956
  • Purpose: To plan, promote, facilitate, organise and assist in the establishment and development of khadi and village industries
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Agency executive: Vinai Kumar Saxena (Chairperson)
  • Parent agency: Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Type: Statutory corporation

Textiles Committee launches indigenous design of PPE Testing Equipment: Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing Equipment

  • The Textiles Committee operating under Ministry of Textiles has launched testing equipment for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE).
  • The Committee will now on test the PPEs produced in the country.
  • The Equipment is called Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing Equipment

Highlights

  • The laboratory set up to test the PPEs was accredited by the NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories). A Unique Certification Code has been passed to test the samples submitted by the manufacturers of PPEs. The UCC has been uploaded in all official websites such as Ordnance Factory Board, DRDO (Defence Research Development Organization).

 Synthetic Blood Testing Equipment

  • The Equipment tests the resistance of the PPE (masks, covers, etc) to penetration of synthetic blood under different levels of pressure.

Extra Shots:

Textiles Committee

  • Textiles Committee was established in 1963 to ensure quality of textiles. The committee tests the machineries both for usage within India and export purpose as well. It also provides inspection besides its main objective of quality of textiles.

STATE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Madhya Pradesh to launch “Everybody will get employment” scheme

  • Madhya Pradesh State Government is to launch Everybody will get employment scheme.
  • The scheme will be inaugurated by Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan through video conferencing.
  • Under this scheme, Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) job cards will be distributed to the labourers.

“Everybody will get employment” scheme:

  • The scheme aims to provide employment to migrant labourers and those labourers who have gone out of the state in search of employment, in their village and gram Panchayat area itself.
  • For the implementation of the scheme, a large number of employment-oriented activities have been started under the MNREGA scheme. Under this, new labourers will be engaged in these activities.
  • As per the data provided by the state official, over 19 lakh 92 thousand labourers are working in 22,695 gram Panchayats in the state.
  • From 1 April 2020 till now, more than 35.45 lakh labourers have been provided employment under MNREGA amid the COVID-19 crisis. The employment included 42.2% of women also.

Extra Shots:

Madhya Pradesh:

  • Capital: Bhopal
  • Chief Minister: Kamal Nath
  • Governor: Lalji Tandon
  • National Park: Bandhavgarh NP, Fossil NP, Kanha NP, Madhav NP, Panna NP, Pench NP, Sanjay NP, Satpura NP

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Scheme Launched in Chhattisgarh for Farmers Welfare

  • The Chhattisgarh government has launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana, a scheme to ensure “minimum income availability” to farmers of the state through direct bank transfer.
  • The scheme was jointly launched by Congress Chief Sonia Gandhi and Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel on 21 May 2020, to mark the death anniversary of former prime minister Rajiv Gandhi.

Features of the scheme

  • The aim of the scheme is to help farmers earn more and bring more area in the state under cultivation, which currently stands at 20 percent.
  • Under the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana, Rs 10,000 per acre will be deposited in the bank accounts of farmers (based on registered area and area under cultivation, during Kharif crop season 2019), as agriculture assistance grant for sowing crops such as paddy, maize and sugarcane.
  • The state government had allocated Rs 5,756 crore in the budget 2020-21, for the scheme.
  • The amount will be given to the farmers in four instalments and at least 19 lakh farmers will benefit from the scheme.

Extra Shots:

Chhattisgarh:

  • Capital: Raipur
  • Chief Minister: Bhupesh Baghel
  • Governor: Anusuiya Uikey
  • National Park: Indravati (Kutru) National Park, Kanger Valley National Park, Guru Ghasi Das (Sanjay) National Park

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES

India attends NAM Health Minister meet

  • Union Health Minister Harsh Vardhan attended Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) through video conference.
  • The NAM summit was chaired by the Health Minister of Azerbaijan Ogtay Shiraliyev. India at the summit, highlighted its contribution such as medical supplies to over 123 countries.
  • This includes 59 NAM countries as well.
  • The minister at the meet highlighted different health measures of India.
  • He also stressed on the fact that India follows the policy of mass isolation, micro identification and quick treatment.
  • India is now operating 10,000 COVID-19 dedicated hospitals.

Extra Shots:

NAM: The Non-Aligned Movement is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide.

  • Founded: 1961, Belgrade, Serbia
  • Headquarters: Central Jakarta, Indonesia
  • Chairperson: Ilham Aliyev
  • Membership: 120 member states; 17 states (observers); 10 international organisations
  • Coordinating Bureau: New York City, New York, U.S.
  • Founders: Jawaharlal Nehru, Sukarno, Josip Broz Tito, Gamal Abdel Nasser, Kwame Nkrumah

RANKS AND INDICES

India: The Second Largest Manufacturer of PPE in the world

  • India became the second largest producer of Personal Protective Equipment in the world. China is the leading producer of PPE in the world.
  • The Ministry of Textiles has been taking several measures to maintain the quality of PPE alongside manufacturing.

India:

  • India is now producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits every day. This is the maximum capacity of the country. On an average, India produces 1 lakh kits. A PPE kit consists of shoe cover, gloves, eye shield, mask and gown. The data was provided by the Ministry of Health.
  • In January 2020, India had 2.75 lakh PPE kits and they were then being imported. Today India has more than 15.96 lakh PPE kits as stock buffer.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU SIGNED

NTPC Ltd signs MoU with ONGC for Renewable Energy business

  • NTPC Ltd., the PSU under Ministry of Power, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), the PSU under Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas on 22 May.
  • The MoU aimed to set up a Joint Venture (JV) Company for the Renewable Energy business. MoU Provisions:
  • The MoU will enable NTPC and ONGC to accelerate their footprint in Renewable Energy.
  • As per the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy (RE) Projects in India and overseas.
  • The companies will explore opportunities in the fields of sustainability, storage, E-mobility and Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) compliant projects.
  • The tie-up will accelerate NTPC’s RE capacity addition program and expand its footprint in offshore wind and overseas RE projects. At present, NTPC has 920 MW of installed Renewable power projects in its portfolio and about 2300 MW of RE projects under construction.

Extra Shots:

NTPC:

  • Founded: 1975
  • Headquarters: New Delhi, India
  • Owner: Government of India
  • Organization type: State-owned enterprise
  • Chairman & MD: Gurdeep Singh

ONGC:

  • Headquarters: Vasant Kunj, Delhi
  • CEO: Shashi Shanker
  • Owner: Government of India
  • Chairman & MD: Shashi Shanker
  • Founder: Government of India

India, Bangladesh sign pact to operationalise 5 more ports of call & 2 new routes

  • India & Bangladesh signed the 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade in Dhaka.
  • Under this pact- Increased 5 more ports of call from earlier 6(Total- 11) & extended 2 ports of call in each country; 2 new Indo Bangladesh Protocol(IBP) routes(from 8 to 10) & new locations are also added to the existing routes to facilitate the trade between two countries
  • It was signed by the High Commissioner of India in Bangladesh, Riva Ganguly Das, and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury.
  • New Ports: The new ports of call in India are Dhulian, Moya, Kolaghat, Sonamura and Jogigopha & in Bangladesh will be Rajshahi, Sultanganj, Chilmari, Daudkandi and Bahadurabad
  • The new Ports of Call will enable the loading and unloading of cargo transported on the Indo Bangladesh Protocol Route and provide a stimulus to the economic development of the new locations and their hinterland.

Highlights:

  • Under this Protocol, Inland vessels of both the countries can play on the designated protocol route and dock at Ports of Call in each country, notified for loading/unloading of cargo.
  • There is significant improvement in the movement of cargo vessels in an organized manner on the protocol route carrying both the transit cargo to the North East(NE) region of India and vice-versa and export-cargo to Bangladesh.
  • The Indian transit cargo is- mainly coal, fly-ash, POL and ODC for power projects in NE region. Fertilizers, cement, food grains & agricultural products are among other potential cargo for movement
  • The export cargo from India to Bangladesh is mainly fly-ash which is to the tune of 30 lakhs MT per annum.
  • Around 638 inland vessels (including 600 Bangladeshi flag vessels) completed annually with about 4000 loaded voyages.
  • The modifications will facilitate trade between two countries with improved reliability and cost effectiveness.

Extra Shots:

Bangladesh (Capital/Currency): Dhaka/ Bangladeshi Taka

  • Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
  • President: Abdul Hamid

Airtel Africa with UNICEF extends e-learning support to students

  • United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with Bharti Airtel’s Africa Arm to support the school children in the coronavirus affected areas and provide them access to remote learning and financial assistance to their families through mobile cash transfer.

Highlights:

  • Under this partnership, Airtel Africa will utilize mobile technology to support over 133 million school age children affected due to closure of schools in the Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia (13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa).
  • Airtel Africa will provide the websites hosting educational content at zero-rate and will enable the children with remote access to the digital content at free of cost.
  • The cash assistance will help the families to ensure the additional support for the current health and economic crisis of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • This partnership will support UNICEF’s Global Agenda for Action for children. The plan provides the outline of global actions of private and public sector partners to provide healthcare, safety and education to the children including the kids with disabilities and girls who are at risk of violence.

Extra Shots:

UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund formerly known as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

  • President: Rabab Fatima
  • Secretary: Hai Kyung Jun
  • Headquarters: New York

Airtel Africa:

  • CEO & MD: Raghunath Mandava
  • CFO: Jaideep Paul
  • Headquarters: Nairobi

Hindustan Unilever extends partnership with UNICEF to support tea plantation workers in Assam

  • Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) announced today, the extension of its collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to support the delivery of essential hygiene products to tea-plantation workers based in the state of Assam in India, in the response to COVID 19.
  • The collaboration will benefit families residing in the tea-estates of the region and will facilitate the reach of key communication assets and the availability of essentials such as soaps and toilet cleaners for tea-plantation workers.
  • The initiative focuses on enhancing awareness related to COVID-19, amongst the tea-plantation workers and local communities and help them take necessary precautions to stay safe during the pandemic.
  • Training modules and short videos created by HUL to train frontline healthcare workers in tea estates on response and containment measures related to COVID 19 will be developed.

Extra Shots:

UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund formerly known as United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF)

  • President: Rabab Fatima
  • Secretary: Hai Kyung Jun
  • Headquarters: New York

Hindustan Unilever Limited

  • Parent organization: Unilever
  • CEO: Sanjiv Mehta
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founders: Lever Brothers, Hindustan Vanaspati Mfg. Co. Ltd., United Traders Ltd.

IBM ties up with Intellect Design Arena to launch iTurmeric FinCloud platform for cloud services of banks, financial institutions

  • IBM (International Business Machines) ties up with the Intellect Design Arena Limited, a full spectrum banking and insurance products company, has launched iTurmeric FinCloud platform through IBM public cloud targeting financial institutions which are looking to switch to the latest tools and technologies.

i Turmeric FinCloud platform:

  • The cloud-ready, API(Application Programming Interface)- first, microservices-based platform will help new digital banks systems to be tested and run in isolation or in parallel with core legacy systems, which can, in turn, continue to run without interruption or compromise.
  • i Turmeric FinCloud already has retail banking, lending, origination, and corporate banking API and the company will continue to add relevant APIs. The platform provides a unique way of modernising without the risk of rip and replacement using Turmeric tools.
  • IBM is one of the first independent software vendors and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) providers to on-board Intellect’s offerings to the IBM financial services-ready public cloud.

Extra shots:

IBM:

  • Headquarters: Armonk, New York, United States (US).
  • President: Jim Whitehurst.
  • Chief Executive Officers (CEO): Arvind Krishna.

APPOINTMENT

Jahnabi Phookan Appointed as National President of FICCI FLO

  • Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO), the oldest women-led and -focused business chamber of Southeast Asia and the women’s wing of the apex chamber Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).
  • She took over from outgoing National President Ms. Harjinder Kaur Talwar
  • Jahnabi Phookan is the 37th National President of FICCI FLO

ROLE:

  • She will focus on empowering women with entrepreneurship capabilities and professional excellence, enabling them to take up new challenges and maximise opportunities in the new normal post Covid.

Ms. Jahnabi Phookan

  • Jahnabi is an entrepreneur, a co-founder of two National Tourism Award-winning companies: Jungle Travels India and Assam Bengal Navigation Company under JTI Group. Her companies are encompassed in travel & hospitality – boutique river cruising, small group specialised tours, tea and textiles – all of which empower young people’s livelihoods, especially women and their communities.

Extra Shots:

FICCI FLO represents over 8000 women entrepreneurs and professionals across 17 chapters nationally and works aggressively towards promoting economic empowerment and equal opportunities for women.

DEFENCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

E-Conclave for Defence MSMEs held

  • The Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh chaired the E-Conclave of Defence MSME (Micro Small and Medium Enterprises).
  • The E-conclave was organized by CII (Confederation of Indian Industry), SIDM (Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers) and Department of Defence Production.
  • Around 800 Defence MSMEs participated in the conclave that was held through video conferencing.
  • The Conclave identified the fact that the US Defence industry developed within a short span of two years during World War II.
  • The Conclave will certainly help India achieve its target of 25 billion defence production by 2025.
  • The GoI recently announced that, the defence sector will focus on indigenization of defence raw materials to boost its defence production. This was announced to help economic growth during COVID-19 crisis. To achieve this, the GoI had imposed import ban on certain goods during its announcement of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
  • The Indian Air Force recently announced its stalling of three main projects of buying aircrafts from foreign countries. Instead, the IAF is to tie up with HAL to achieve those projects.
  • Thus, the conclave was conducted to let the MSMEs learn about the current requirements of defence sector. It also focused on how MSMEs can help boost defence production.

Extra Shots:

The Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, a branch of the Government of India, is the apex executive body for the formulation and administration of rules, regulations and laws relating to micro, small and medium enterprises in India.

  • Founded: 2007
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Annual budget: 6,552.61 crores INR (2018-19 est., US$920 million)
  • Departments: National Small Industries Corporation, National Institute for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises
  • Officeholders: Giriraj Singh (MOS independent charge), Nitin Gadkari (Union Minister)

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Union HRD Minister releases three handbooks prepared by CBSE on Cybersecurity for students, 21st Century Skills and Principals’ handbook

  • Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank released three handbooks through video conferencing in New Delhi.
  • The 3 handbooks were prepared by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on measures taken by the Board to adopt value-based global standards of education.
  • Cyber safety: The Cyber safety handbook is for Students of Secondary & Senior Secondary Schools. It is prepared to create awareness about cyber security among the students from class IX to XII.T he booklet will be a perfect guide for teenagers who use the internet and other digital platforms frequently and may face a variety of security risks.
  • ‘In Pursuit of Excellence: A Handbook for Principals: The second handbook for the principals of schools to be made aware of the Board’s systems and other useful information. It will ensure better coordination between schools and CBSE administration.
  • 21st Century Skills: A Handbook: The third handbook deals everyone to make aware of 21st century skills and motivate them to use them in their daily life.

Extra Shots:

The Ministry of Human Resource Development, formerly Ministry of Education, is responsible for the development of human resources in India.

  • Founded: 26 September 1985
  • Ministry executives: R. Subrahmanyam, (IAS Officer); Rina Ray, (IAS Officer)
  • Officeholder: Ramesh Pokhriyal (Union Minister)
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Departments: Department of Higher Education, Department of School Education and Literacy

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

IIT-Guwahati scientists discover new ways to prevent memory loss due to Alzheimer

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati have discovered a new method to help prevent or reduce short-term memory losses associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
  • In this method, the researchers used ‘Trojan peptides’ to arrest the aggregation of the neurotoxic molecules.

Highlights:

  • The idea of using ‘Trojan peptide’ was initiated from the mythological “Trojan Horse” used as subterfuge by the Greeks in the battle of Troy.
  • The researchers have designed Trojan peptides by adopting a similar approach of deceit to impede the aggregation of the amyloid peptide. It will arrest the formation of toxic fibrillar assemblies and reduce the poisoning of nerve cells that leads to memory loss.
  • This new method is expected to extend the onset of Alzheimer’s disease.
  • It will be tested in animal models and clinical trials. After a successful trial, it will be brought in such new therapeutic approaches into human treatment.
  • In 2019, IIT-Guwahati scientists discovered that a low-voltage, safe electrical field that can reduce the formation and accumulation of toxic neurodegenerative molecules that cause short-term memory loss in Alzheimer’s disease.
  • They also found that the external electric and magnetic field modulates the structure of these peptide molecules. Upon exposure to the electric field, the degeneration of nerve cells could extent 17-35%. Objectively, the method will translate to about a 10 years delay in the onset of the disease.

SCTIMST launched Agappe Chitra Magna

  • Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) launched the “Agappe Chitra Magna”, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit for use during testing for detection of COVID-19.
  • The RNA extraction kit was developed by SCTIMST along with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd, an in vitro diagnostics manufacturing company based in Cochin.

Agappe Chitra Magna:

  • Agappe Chitra Magna has been independently validated at the National Institute of Virology for COVID-19 RNA isolation. It is approved by the Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
  • The kit can be used for RNA extraction for RT-LAMP, RT-qPCR, RT-PCR, and other isothermal and PCR based protocols for the detection of SARS-COV-2.
  • The kit uses innovative technology for isolating RNA using magnetic nanoparticles to capture the RNA from the patient sample.
  • The cost of Agappe Chitra Magna is Rs.150, whereas the imported costs around Rs 300.

Western Ghats to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Area soon

  • The Union Minister Prakash Javadekar interacted with the Chief Ministers of the State Governments through video conference.
  • The meeting held discussions relating to notification of declaring Western Ghats as Ecologically Sensitive Area.

Highlights

  • The states that participated in the video conference include Karnataka, Kerala, Maharashtra, Goa, Tamil Nadu and Gujarat.
  • The Government of India constituted a High level working group under Dr Kasturirangan.
  • The committee identified geographical areas in the states that need to be declared Ecologically Sensitive Areas.
  • Based on the report submitted by the committee, the Central Government in 2018 issued a draft notice to notify the areas as Ecologically Sensitive Area.
  • The meeting is a follow up to make a conclusion in declared the regions as ESA.
  • The State Governments have expressed their interests in expediting early notification of ESA.
  • They were unanimous in ensuring the protection of Western Ghats.

Extra Shots:

ESA:

  • When an area is declared ESA, it means that restrictions are put on mining, thermal plants, quarrying, construction and setting up of industries.

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