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Current Affairs Today – 6th May 2020

NEWS AT A GLANCE

  1. The World Laughter Day is observed every year on first Sunday of May to raise awareness about laughter and its healing benefits.
  2. Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) marks the World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5.
  3. The Small Industries Development Bank of India(SIDBI) informed that it will launch ‘India SME Services Platform’, a digital platform to educate stakeholders in the small and medium enterprises(SME) ecosystem and have information on coronavirus-related initiatives for the sector.
  4. A customer engagement technology provider, Ameyo has launched video KYC engagement platform for the banking and finance sector.
  5. DBS Bank has cut India’s FY21 GDP forecast to 1% as against 1.5% as predicted earlier.
  6. Ministry of Finance stated that around 39 crore poor people received financial assistance of Rs.34,800 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) as of 5 May 2020.
  7. Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Task Force on Corona Vaccine Development.
  8. National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi has presented a virtual program “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE“.
  9. Uttar Pradesh state government unveiled the Ayush Kavach app that will provide health-related tips and information about ayurvedic medicines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  10. Himachal Pradesh State Government is to launch the “Nigah” Scheme to properly sensitize and educate family members of people coming from other states so that social distancing is effectively maintained.
  11. Rajasthan State Health Minister Raghu Sharma formally launched COVID-19 treatment with plasma therapy at the city’s SMS Medical College through video conferencing on 6 May.
  12. Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced Rs.1,610 crore package for farmers, construction workers, weavers, auto and taxi drivers on 6 May.
  13. The Jharkhand Government has launched three mega employment schemes for its people, especially the migrant labourers who are returning home from various states, in order to boost the rural economy of the state.
  14. The West Bengal Government has decided to notify Calcutta Medical College and Hospital as full-fledged COVID hospital in the State.
  15. Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the COVID-19 pandemic through a phone call with H.E. Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal on 5 May.
  16. Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Kim Jong Un a commemorative war medal to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.
  17. The 14th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held at Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi on 5 May.
  18. Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE) data stated that the unemployment rate in India has climbed to a staggering 27.1% as of 3 May 2020.
  19. Amazon has topped the BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands 2020 ranking. BrandZ ranking was unveiled by WPP and Kantar.
  20. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), has signed an MoU NOCCA Robotics, an incubated start-up of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur for the large-scale manufacturing of ventilators.
  21. CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and TATA Sons signed an MoU for licensing of KNOWHOW for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay (FELUDA) for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19.
  22. Government of India has nominated Secretary of Economic Affairs Department Ministry of Finance Tarun Bajaj as a director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  23. Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took charge as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament in Delhi on 6 May amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
  24. Max Bupa Health Insurance announced the appointment of Krishnan Ramachandran as its new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  25. Egyptian professional tennis player Youssef Hossam has been banned from professional tennis for life for match-fixing, as per the official notification by the Tennis Integrity Unit on 4 May 2020.
  26. Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have launched the Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones (GARUD) portal.
  27. Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu, meaning Sea Bridge, as a part of a national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  28. Professor Saurabh Lodha from Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, received the Young Career Award in Nano Science & Technology for the year 2020.
  29. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has partnered with a Bengaluru-based company, Eyestem Research Private Limited, to take up research activities on COVID-19.
  30. Former Union Minister Dalit Ezhilamalai passed away.

NEWS IN DETAILS

IMPORTANT DAYS AND THEMES

World Laughter Day 2020 observed on 03 May

  • The World Laughter Day is observed every year on first Sunday of May to raise awareness about laughter and its healing benefits.
  • In 2020, the day falls on 03 May 2020.
  • The World Laughter Day was first celebrated on May 10, 1998, in Mumbai upon the initiation of Dr Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement.

World Hand Hygiene Day observed on 05 May

  • Every year, the World Health Organization (WHO) marks the World Hand Hygiene Day on May 5.
  • AIM: to raise awareness among people across the globe about the importance of hand hygiene in warding off many serious infections.
  • Theme: The theme for 2020 is ‘Save Lives: Clean Your Hands’.
  • The day recognize hand washing as one of the most effective actions that can be taken to avoid a huge range of infections including the COVID-19 virus.

Extra Shots:

WHO: The World Health Organization is a specialized agency of the United Nations responsible for international public health.

  • Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
  • Founded: 7 April 1948
  • Parent organization: United Nations Economic and Social Council
  • Heads: Tedros Adhanom, Soumya Swaminathan, Jane Ellison, Peter Salama

BANKING AND FINANCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

‘India SME Services Platform’ to be launched by SIDBI

  • The Small Industries Development Bank of India(SIDBI) informed that it will launch ‘India SME Services Platform’, a digital platform to educate stakeholders in the small and medium enterprises(SME) ecosystem and have information on coronavirus-related initiatives for the sector.

Highlights:

  • Provide Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) information about starting operations, getting finance, credit enhancement and other support services
  • Bring together all MSMEs, MSME ecosystem stakeholders, financiers, corporates, government, regulators, employees and associations in an interactive platform, where all will be at one place & one place for all kinds of initiatives.
  • Will have a web page containing a dashboard of all schemes being implemented by the central government, state governments, banks and industry associations & the government can also monitor actions on policies, schemes and programmes for the sector.
  • Industry associations can avail of a window for insights and analytics, partnerships and directory & give financiers an opportunity to look for marketplace, documentation support and loan management.
  • Regulators can tap macroeconomic trends, compliances, risk management and systemic aspects through the platform.

Extra Shots:

SIDBI: Small industrial Development Bank of India is a development financial institution in India, headquartered at Lucknow and having its offices all over the country.

  • Headquarters: Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh
  • Chairman & Managing Director :Mohammad Mustafa
  • Founded: 2 April 1990

Ameyo rolls out video KYC engagement platform for Banking sector

  • A customer engagement technology provider, Ameyo has launched video KYC engagement platform for the banking and finance sector.
  • The newly launched platform will eliminate the businesses’ requirement of physical KYC in accordance with latest RBI guidelines issued in January 2020.
  • It is expected to decrease the customer onboarding process from the present 5-7 days to less than 3 minutes.
  • This platform ensures the businesses to reduce video KYC completion drop offs by 20% along with reduction in operation costs by upto 90%.
  • Enterprise grade security like AES-256 Encryption has been used in this platform that will enable banks, mobile wallets and NBFC to be 100% compliant with the RBI guidelines.

Extra Shots:

Ameyo

  • Chief Executive Officer of Ameyo: Bishal Lachhiramka
  • Founded: 2002

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

DBS Bank projects India’s GDP for FY21 at 1%

  • DBS Bank has cut India’s FY21 GDP forecast to 1% as against 1.5% as predicted earlier.
  • This projection is based on the assumption of an end in the lockdown in the June quarter, reopening of all sectors by third quarter (October-December).

Extra Shots:

DBS:

  • Headquarters: Singapore
  • Former Name: Development Bank of Singapore (DBS)
  • Chief Executive Officer: Piyush Gupta

NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

Progress of Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package so far

  • Ministry of Finance stated that around 39 crore poor people received financial assistance of Rs.34,800 crore under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) as of 5 May 2020.
  • The amount was transferred to the beneficiaries using the digital payment infrastructure.

Highlights:

  • PMGKP announced by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on 26 March 2020 to protect poor people from the impact of the lockdown due to COVID-19.
  • The Government announced free food grains and cash payment to women and poor senior citizens and farmers under the scheme.
  • The swift implementation of the package is continuously monitored by Central and State governments.
  • Central/State governments ensure that the relief measures reach the needy swiftly and in line with the intent of the lockdown.
  • Fintech and digital technology have been employed for efficient transfer to the beneficiary.

Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT)

  • It ensures that the amount is directly credited into the account of the beneficiary, eliminates leakage, and improves efficiency.
  • It has also ensured credit to the beneficiary’s account without the need for the beneficiary to physically go to the branch.

Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package-Total Direct Benefit Transfer till 5 May 2020:

  • Support to PMJDY women account holders:
  • Number of Beneficiaries:
  • 1st Installment – Rs.20.05 crore (98.3%); Amount: Rs.10025 crore
  • 2nd Installment – Rs.5.57 crore; Amount: Rs.2785 crore

Support to NSAP (Aged widows, Divyang, Senior citizen):

  • Number of Beneficiaries: 2.82 crore (100%)
  • Amount: 1405 crore
  • Front-loaded payments to farmers under PM-KISAN:
  • Number of Beneficiaries: 8.19 crore
  • Amount: Rs.16394 crore

Support to Building & Other Construction workers:

  • Number of Beneficiaries: 2.20 crore
  • Amount: Rs.3493 crore
  • 24% contribution to EPFO:
  • Number of Beneficiaries: 0.45 crore
  • Amount: Rs.698 crore

PM chaired a meeting of the Task Force on Corona Vaccine Development

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the Task Force on Corona Vaccine Development.
  • He reviewed the current status of India’s efforts in developing the vaccine, drug discovery, diagnosis, and testing.

Highlights:

  • The quality, manufacturing capacity of the Indian vaccine companies was highlighted.
  • Around 30 Indian vaccines are in different stages of corona vaccine development. Few are under trial stages.
  • In drug development, three approaches are being taken.
  1. The first approach is the repurposing of existing drugs. A minimum of four drugs are undergoing synthesis and examination in this category.
  2. As per the Second approach, the development of new candidate drugs and molecules are driven by linking high performance computational approaches with laboratory verification.
  3. In the third approach, the plant extracts and products are being examined for general anti-viral properties.
  • For diagnosis and testing, several academic research institutions and start-ups have developed new tests, both for the Reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) approach and for antibody detection.
  • PM suggested conducting a hackathon on linking computer science to synthesis and testing in the laboratory so that successful candidates could be taken up by the start-ups for further development and scaling up.

National Gallery of Modern Art presents “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE”

  • National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi has presented a virtual program “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE“.
  • For the current week, the theme of the virtual program is “ARTIST BY ARTISTS” and dedicated it to Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore as it coincides with his 159th birth anniversary on 7th May 2020.
  • During the program “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE”, NGMA will display the rarely seen jewels from its repository.
  • Various other exciting and thought-provoking themes are planned for the coming days.
  • These kind of virtual programs as well as exhibitions will provide art lovers, artists, art connoisseurs, students, teachers, an opportunity to see the rarely presented artworks from their homes.
  • It would be based on various weekly/ daily themes from NGMA’s prestigious collections.

Extra Shots:

NGMA: The National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) is the premier art gallery under Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

  • Location‎: ‎Jaipur House‎, ‎Rajpath‎, New Delhi
  • Owner‎: ‎Government of India
  • Established‎: ‎29 March 1954

STATE CURRENT AFFAIRS

UP launched Ayush Kavach app to boost immunity through Ayurveda

  • Uttar Pradesh state government unveiled the Ayush Kavach app that will provide health-related tips and information about ayurvedic medicines amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The app was launched by the UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath on 5 May.

Ayush Kavach app:

  • Ayush Kavach mobile app will help people access prescriptions to strengthen their resistance through the ancient mode of Yoga and Ayurveda of India.
  • Ayurveda and the ancient traditions of India. It is expected to boost immunity through Ayurveda which will help in fighting these types of viruses.
  • There was a need for such an app that could easily deliver information about Ayurveda and traditional medicines and prescriptions in simple language with ease among the masses.
  • The mobile app Ayush Kavach was developed by the Ayush Department of Uttar Pradesh in view of the COVID-19 health crisis.

Extra Shots:

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 to launch Nigah Scheme

  • Himachal Pradesh State Government is to launch the “Nigah” Scheme to properly sensitize and educate family members of people coming from other states so that social distancing is effectively maintained.
  • The announcement was made by Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur.

Nigah Scheme:

  • Under the scheme, a team of ASHA workers, health workers, and Anganwadi workers would visit the family members of persons arriving from other states. The will educate them about the importance of social distancing so that they could be saved from any possible infection.
  • The state government also ordered to mark the people who have come from other states.
  • Also, the govt. stated that strict action would be taken against those jumping home quarantine as this would not only harm their family members but also society as a whole.
  • The persons entering the state have been asked to download Aarogya Setu App and must also be provided with Information Education Communication (IEC) material regarding the importance of social distancing.

Extra Shots:

Himachal Pradesh:

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

Rajasthan begins Plasma therapy to treat COVID-19 patients

  • Rajasthan State Health Minister Raghu Sharma formally launched COVID-19 treatment with plasma therapy at the city’s SMS Medical College through video conferencing on 6 May.

Highlights:

  • SMS Medical College has received permission from the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) to treat 20 critical patients with Plasma therapy.
  • The Plasma therapy trials were started in the state.
  • The State assured that it has provided world-class screening and treatment facilities for COVID-19 patients.
  • CT scan, pulmonary angiography, ultrasonography of the lung, and high-level blood tests are being done for COVID-19 patients at SMS Medical College.

Extra Shots:

Rajasthan

  • Capital:Jaipur
  • Chief Minister:Ashok Ghelot
  • Governor: Kalraj Mishra

Karnataka announced Rs.1,610 crore package for farmers, construction workers, weavers, auto and taxi drivers

  • Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yediyurappa announced Rs.1,610 crore package for farmers, construction workers, weavers, auto and taxi drivers on 6 May.
  • The state govt. has also announced that all those who incurred losses due to lockdown will be compensated.

Highlights:

  • The flower growers in the state will get a compensation of Rs.25,000 per hectare.
  • Washermen, barbers, construction workers, auto and taxi drivers will get a compensation of Rs.5,000 each. The electricity fixed charges for MSMEs will be waived off for two months and a package will be announced soon to compensate fruit and vegetable growers.
  • The state also announced a new Naikar Samaan Yojana that will provide Rs.2,000 financial assistance to the weavers.
  • The state government is also making various efforts for the welfare of stranded migrants and labourers.

Extra Shots:

Karnataka:

  • Capital: Bengaluru
  • Chief Minister: B. S. Yediyurappa
  • Governor: Vajubhai Vala
  • National Park: Anshi NP, Bandipur NP, Bannerghatta NP, Kudremukh NP, Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarahole) NP.

Jharkhand Government Announces Three New Employment Schemes to Boost Rural Economy

  • The Jharkhand Government has launched three mega employment schemes for its people, especially the migrant labourers who are returning home from various states, in order to boost the rural economy of the state.
  • The three new schemes are: ”Birsa Harit Gram Yojana” (plantation scheme), ”Nilamber-Pitamber Jal Samridhi Yojana” (water scheme) and ”Veer Shahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Yojana (sports scheme)
  • These schemes will be run by state’s rural development department under MGNREGA mission, and aims to create about 300 million (30 crore) person days for MGNREGA.
  • These schemes will enable the workers earn wages, and also help to bring in a long-term plan to provide steady income to the poor households.

The three new schemes are:

”Birsa Harit Gram Yojana” (plantation scheme)

  • The aim of this scheme is to increase the forest cover.
  • Around 5 lakh families will be given nearly 100 fruit bearing sapling on a lease for five years to preserve them, and MGNREGA will help in initial plantation, maintenance, land work etc.
  • These saplings can be planted on the two sides of roads, both government and private land from which villagers could earn an annual income of Rs 50,000 after about three years of plantation of these fruits.
  • It would create 25 crore man-days for the key rural employment project.

”Nilamber-Pitamber Jal Samridhi Yojana” (water scheme)

  • This is a water conservation scheme, in which government has envisaged to conserve 5 lakh crore litre water.
  • It involves groundwater recharging, creation of agro-water storage unit to store rainwater and runaway ground water.
  • This scheme would generate 10 crore man-days

 ”Veer Shahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Yojana (sports scheme)

  • This schemes aims to make Jharkhand a sports powerhouse.
  • The sportsmen and sportswomen would be given skill training by a skilled coach and there are plans to absorb them after completion of their skill programme.
  • It aims at creating one crore man- days for MGNREGA

Jharkhand:

  • Capital: Ranchi
  • Chief Minister: Hemant Soren
  • Governor: Draupadi Murmu
  • National Park: Betla National Park

West Bengal govt converts Kolkata Medical College & Hospital into full-fledged COVID hospital

  • The West Bengal Government has decided to notify Calcutta Medical College and Hospital as full-fledged COVID hospital in the State.
  • To meet increasing need of treatment this hospital with 500 bed capacity will start functioning as COVID hospital from tomorrow.
  • The number of bed will be increased later as per requirements.
  • With this, 69 dedicated COVID hospitals are working in the state at present.

Extra Shots:

West Bengal:

  • Established on: 26 January 1950
  • Capital: Kolkata
  • Governor: Jagdeep Dhankhar
  • Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee

INTERNATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

PM discussed the COVID-19 pandemic with PM of Portugal H.E. Antonio Costa

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi discussed the COVID-19 pandemic through a phone call with H.E. Antonio Costa, Prime Minister of Portugal on 5 May.

Highlights:

  • The two leaders discussed the state of COVID-19 pandemic and the steps being taken by both countries to control their health and economic impact.
  • The PM Modi commended PM Costa for his effective handling of the crisis.
  • The leaders noted that proactive national measures were helpful in containing the spread of the coronavirus.
  • They offered all possible help to each other in dealing with the situation and agreed to collaborate on research and innovation aimed at fighting COVID-19.
  • Recently, the Portuguese government extended the validity of visas of Indian travellers to Portugal who could not return because of the lockdown.
  • The leaders agreed to consult each other on the evolving dimensions of the crisis and the post-COVID context.

Extra Shots:

Portugal (Capital/Currency): Lisbon/Euro

  • Prime Minister: H.E. Antonio Costa

Russia awarded Kim Jong Un on its 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany

  • Russian President Vladimir Putin awarded Kim Jong Un a commemorative war medal to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory over Nazi Germany.
  • The medal was awarded to recognize the North Korean leader’s role in preserving the memory of Soviet soldiers who died on North Korean territory.

Russia-North Korea ties:

  • In 1948, diplomatic relations were established between the Soviet Union and North Korea.
  • The Soviet military forces supported the Korean People’s Army during the Korean War.
  • Korea was established as communist bloc gaining maximum support from Russia.

Background:

  • In 2019, Russia invited Kim Jong Un to visit Moscow on 9 May and attend the military parade to mark the 75th anniversary of the victory. Russian President later announced the decision to postpone the parade indefinitely in April because of the COVID-19 pandemic. In 2015, the North Korean leader rejected an invitation by Moscow to attend the 70th anniversary, citing domestic affairs.

Extra Shots:

Russia (Capital/Currency): Moscow/ Russian ruble.

  • President: Vladimir Putin

North Korean (Capital/Currency): Pyongyang/North Korean won.

  • President: Kim Jong-un

SUMMITS AND CONFERENCES

The 14th meeting of the high-level GoM on COVID-19 was held

  • The 14th meeting of the High-level Group of Ministers (GoM) on COVID-19 was held at Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi on 5 May.
  • The meeting was held under the chairpersonship of Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare.

Highlights:

  • GoM has in-depth deliberation on containment strategy and management aspects of COVID-19, and the measures being taken by the Centre and various States.
  • Discussions on the genome sequencing of strains of the novel coronavirus isolated from patients in different parts of the country that has been initiated were held.
  • The Minister ensured the availability of essential medical equipment such as Personal Protective Equipments (PPE), masks, ventilators, and other essential equipment against the requirement.
  • Various aspects pertaining to the performance, impact, and benefits of the Arogya-Setu application were discussed during the meeting.
  • Various mechanisms that were devised to reach out to the people who have a landline or featured phones through Interactive Voice Response System (IVRS) in local languages for better results were reviewed at the meeting.

RANKS AND INDICES

CMIE data reports Indias unemployment rate climbed to 27.1 percent

  • Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy (CMIE) data stated that the unemployment rate in India has climbed to a staggering 27.1% as of 3 May 2020.
  • It also stated that over 121.5 million Indian’s were out of jobs in April due to the continuous nationwide lockdown to contain COVID-19.

Highlights:

  • The report stated that 91.3 million workers including daily wagers and those working with small traders were out of jobs in April followed by 18.2 million employment loss of entrepreneurs, and 17.8 million among the salaried class.
  • It showed that around 5.8 million farmers went back to work as farming activity picked up after 20 April due to a staggered easing of lockdown in parts of India.
  • The jobless rate increased to 27.1% as of 3 May.
  • The urban unemployment rate climbed almost 8% point in the above time period over the week ended 26 April, the rural unemployment jumped to 26.16%, up from 20.88%.
  • India’s overall weekly unemployment rate increased from 6.74% on 15 March to 26.19% on 19 April. Unemployment decreased to 21.05% in late April.
  • India’s economy has already slowed down due to persistent financial sector weaknesses. It also reported, post the lockdown, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, economic activity has caused massive job loss and wage loss.

Extra Shots:

CMIE:

  • Headquarters : Mumbai
  • Founded: 1976

Amazon tops the BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands 2020 Ranking

  • Amazon has topped the BrandZ Top 75 Most Valuable Global Retail Brands 2020 ranking. BrandZ ranking was unveiled by WPP and Kantar.
  • It has a brand value of $ 415.855 billion
  • Alibaba is on the second rank followed by McDonald’s on the third spot.

Extra Shots:

BrandZ is a brand equity database managed by the marketing firm Millward Brown. It holds data from over 650,000 consumers and professionals across 31 countries, comparing over 23,000 brands.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU SIGNED

BDL partners with IIT-Kanpur to manufacture ventilators for COVID-19 treatment

  • Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL), a defence Public Sector Undertaking (PSU), has signed an MoU NOCCA Robotics, an incubated start-up of the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kanpur for the large-scale manufacturing of ventilators.

Highlights:

  • The MoU will give a big boost to the development of affordable ventilators for COVID-19 treatment.
  • BDL partnered with IIT Kanpur’s incubator Foundation for Innovation and Research in Science and Technology (FIRST) and NOCCA Robotics Private Limited (NRPL) to manufacture ventilators.
  • It aims to develop an affordable ventilator which will be able to scale up the production. The device will be in line with the Make in India initiative.
  • For the project, the team has received inputs from the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and Directorate General of Mines Safety (DGMS).

Extra Shots:

BDL: Bharat Dynamics Limited is one of India’s manufacturers of ammunitions and missile systems. It was founded in 1970 in Hyderabad, Telangana. BDL was established in the year 1970 to be a manufacturing base for guided weapon systems.

  • Headquarters: India
  • Founder: India
  • Chairman & MD: Siddharth Mishra

CSIR-IGIB, TATA Sons sign MoU for licensing KNOWHOW for FELUDA for rapid and COVID-19 diagnosis

  • CSIR-Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and TATA Sons signed an MoU for licensing of KNOWHOW for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay (FELUDA) for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19.

Highlights:

  • The license includes the transfer of the knowledge for scaling up the KNOWHOW in the form of a kit that can be deployed for COVID-19 testing on ground in May 2020.
  • A completely indigenous scientific invention, FELUDA for COVID-19 was designed for mitigating the ongoing COVID-19 situation and cater to mass testing. The technology is highly affordable, relative ease of use, and non-dependency on expensive Q-PCR machines.
  • CSIR IGIB and TATA Sons will work together to bring for widespread use on the development and commercialization of Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats (CRISPR) based technology for COVID-19 detection.
  • This innovative test uses cutting edge CRISPR technology for the detection of the genomic sequence of the novel coronavirus.
  • It uses a simple test protocol to administer and interpret which also enables results to be made available to the medical fraternity in relatively lesser time, as compared to other test protocols.
  • The technology was initiated and developed at CSIR IGIB under sickle cell mission and utilizes an indigenously developed cutting edge CRISPR Cas9 technology to specifically recognize the COVID-19 sequence in the given sample.
  • The new technology will help to rapidly assess and establish the presence of viral infection in a sample.

Extra Shots:

CSIR-IGIB: CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology is a scientific research institute devoted primarily to biological research. It is a part of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research, India.

  • Director: Anurag Agrawal
  • Founded: 1977

Tata Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. Founded in 1868 by Jamsetji Tata, the company gained international recognition after purchasing several global companies. One of India’s largest conglomerates, Tata Group is owned by Tata Sons.

  • Owner: Tata Sons
  • Founder: Jamsetji Tata
  • Founded: 1868, Mumbai

APPOINTMENT

Centre nominates Economic Affairs Secretary as Director RBI Central Board

  • Government of India has nominated Secretary of Economic Affairs Department Ministry of Finance Tarun Bajaj as a director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI).
  • The nomination of Bajaj is effective from 5 May 2020.

Tarun Bajaj:

  • Tarun Bajaj is a 1988-batch Haryana cadre IAS officer. He assumed charge as the Economic Affairs Secretary on 1 May. He has served as the Additional Secretary in Prime Minister’s Office and worked as Joint Secretary and Director in the Department of Financial Services.

Extra Shots:

RBI: The Reserve Bank of India is India’s central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee.

  • Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Governor: Shaktikanta Das
  • Deputy Governors: B P Kanungo, M K Jain, NS Vishwanathan, Michael Patra

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took charge as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee

  • Congress leader Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury took charge as Chairman of the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament in Delhi on 6 May amid the COVID-19 lockdown.
  • He has been appointed as the Chairperson of the Committee for the term beginning on 1 May 2020 and ending on 30 April 2021.
  • The appointment was made by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla.

Functions of PAC:

  • The functions of PAC include the examination of accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for the expenditure of the GoI.
  • The annual financial accounts of the government and other accounts are laid before the House as the Committee may think fit.

PAC members:

  • PAC has 15 members from the lower house and 7 members from Rajya Sabha.
  • Lok Sabha members in the committee from BJP include Jayant Sinha, Ajay (Teni) Misra, Darshana Vikram Jardosh, Subhash Chandra Baheria, Sudheer Gupta, Satya Pal Singh, Vishnu Dayal Ram, Jagdambika Pal and Ram Kripal Yadav The members from other parties include T R Baalu, Rahul Ramesh Shewale, Rajiv Ranjan Singh, Balashowry Vallabbhaneni and Bhartruhari Mahtab.
  • The members from Rajya Sabha to the PAC are Rajeev Chandrasekhar, C M Ramesh, Naresh Gujral, Sukhendu Sekhar Roy, and Bhupender Yadav.
  • Two seats are kept vacant.

Krishnan Ramachandran Appointed as MD & CEO of Max Bupa Health Insurance

  • Max Bupa Health Insurance announced the appointment of Krishnan Ramachandran as its new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
  • Prior to this, Krishnan was the CEO of Apollo Munich Health Insurance.
  • He succeeds Ashish Mehrotra.
  • Krishnan has over 23 years of extensive experience across Health insurance, Healthcare & Life Sciences industry.

Extra Shots:

Max Bupa Health insurance

  • Established on: 2008.
  • Headquarters: New Delhi, India.

SPORTS CURRENT AFFAIRS

Egypt tennis player Youssef Hossam banned for life on match-fixing charges

  • Egyptian professional tennis player Youssef Hossam has been banned from professional tennis for life for match-fixing, as per the official notification by the Tennis Integrity Unit on 4 May 2020.
  • The 21-year-old Youssef Hassam was already provisionally suspended since May 2019, and now has been banned for life following his conviction on multiple match-fixing and associated corruption charges.
  • Hossam has been found guilty of 21 breaches of the Tennis Anti-Coprruption Program from 2015 to 2019.

Extra Shots:

Egypt (Capital/Currency): Cairo/ Egyptian pound

  • President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi

DEFENCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Civil Aviation Ministry launches GARUD portal to fast-track approval to COVID-19 related drone operations

  • Civil Aviation Ministry and the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) have launched the Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones (GARUD) portal.

GARUD portal:

  • The portal aims to provide fast track conditional exemptions to government agencies for COVID-19 related drone operations.
  • The move will help the government entities in addressing the challenges posed by COVID-19 and will remain in force until further orders.
  • Civil Aviation Ministry also said that any violation of provisions will make the conditional exemption null and void and will lead to penal action.

Extra Shots:

The Ministry of Civil Aviation of Government of India is the nodal Ministry responsible for the formulation of national policies and programmes for development and regulation of Civil Aviation and for devising and implementing schemes for the orderly growth and expansion of civil air transport.

  • Officeholder: Hardeep Singh Puri (Union Minister)
  • Jurisdiction: India
  • Headquarters: Rajiv Gandhi Bhawan, New Delhi
  • Founded: 21 October 2016

Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu

  • Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu, meaning Sea Bridge, as a part of a national effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  • Indian Naval Ships (INS) Jalashwa and Magar are presently en route to the port of Malè, the Republic of Maldives to commence evacuation operations from 8 May 2020 as part of Phase-1.

Operation Samudra Setu:

  • The operation aims to evacuate personnel who repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
  • GoI is monitoring the situation with respect to the effect of COVID-19 pandemic on the citizens abroad. The Indian Navy has been directed to make suitable preparations for their evacuation by sea.
  • The Indian Mission in the Republic of Maldives is preparing a list of Indian nationals to be evacuated by Naval ships and will facilitate their embarkation after the requisite medical screening.
  • Under the operation, a total of 1000 persons are planned to be evacuated during the first trip, catering for COVID-related social distancing norms vis-a-vis the carrying capacity and medical facilities available onboard.
  • The ships are provisioned for the evacuation operation. The evacuated personnel will be provided the basic amenities and medical facilities during the sea-passage.
  • Stringent protocols have been stipulated due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The evacuated personnel will be disembarked at Kochi, Kerala. They will be entrusted to the care of State authorities.
  • This operation is done by the Ministries of Defence, External Affairs, Home Affairs, Health, and various other agencies of Central/State governments.

Extra Shots:

The Indian Navy, is the naval branch of the Indian Armed Forces. The President of India is the Supreme Commander of the Indian Navy. The Chief of Naval Staff, a four-star admiral, commands the navy.

  • Vice Chief of the Naval Staff (VCNS): Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar, AVSM, VSM
  • Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (DCNS): Vice Admiral M. S. Pawar, AVSM, VSM
  • Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): Admiral Karambir Singh, PVSM, AVSM
  • Headquarters: Integrated Headquarters, Ministry of Defence (Navy)
  • Founded: 5 September 1612
  • Roles: Naval warfare, Power projection, Sealift, Massive retaliation

AWARDS

Professor Saurabh Lodha received 2020 Young Career Award in Nano Science and Technology

  • Professor Saurabh Lodha from Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay, received the Young Career Award in Nano Science & Technology for the year 2020.
  • The award is instituted by the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India.
  • The award recognized his contributions in the development of logic transistor technologies beyond silicon and nanoelectronic devices based on two-dimensional Van der Waals materials.

Highlights:

  • He worked in the area of advanced transistors and has been driven by strong industry partnerships. He did his research on technological challenges that plague beyond-silicon transistors which are the workhorse device that fuels over 90% of all electronics.
  • He has developed new materials and processes to improve the thermal stability and reliability of the transistor, which is 1-2 nm thin gate dielectric, to lower the resistance of metal contacts to the transistor. It will achieve higher levels of electrical impurities and keeps leakage currents under check.
  • He also plans to leverage the capabilities and expertise in his group for developing power electronic transistors based on wide bandgap semiconductors such as silicon carbide and gallium oxide. The transistors can alleviate efficiency and reliability bottlenecks in diverse applications ranging from high voltage power grids, electric trains, renewable power conversion, and storage to strategic defense, medical and industrial instrumentation.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scientists to culture novel coronavirus in human lung epithelial cell

  • Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB), Hyderabad has partnered with a Bengaluru-based company, Eyestem Research Private Limited, to take up research activities on COVID-19.

Highlights:

  • The collaboration aims to grow novel coronavirus in human cell lines, which will enable in vitro testing of potential drugs and vaccines against the COVID-19.
  • Eyestem’s human lung epithelial cell culture system will be used as part of its Anti-COVID Screening (ACS) platform to understand the molecular and pathological characteristics of the novel coronavirus.
  • The research will overcome the issues faced to culture the virus outside the human host.
  • CSIR-CCMB is known for its cutting-edge research work on cellular and molecular biology. Eyestem Research Private Limited is a cell therapy start-up incubated at the Centre for Cellular and Molecular Platforms (C-CAMP), Bengaluru.
  • C-CAMP is an initiative of the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology.
  • Eyestem is working to democratize access to cell therapy and disease modeling platforms and bring their benefit to a large section of humanity.

Extra Shots:

CCMB: The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology or CCMB is an Indian fundamental life science research establishment located in Hyderabad that operates under the aegis of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research.

  • Director: Rakesh Mishra
  • Founded: 1977

OBITUARIES

Former Union Minister Dalit Ezhilmalai passes away

  • Former Union Minister Dalit Ezhilamalai passed away.
  • He was a leader of the Pattali Makkal Katchi party and was Union Minister of State, Health and Family Welfare (Independent Charge) during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998–99.
  • He was elected to the 12th Lok Sabha from Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu.
  • As an army officer, he took part in the 1971 Indo-Pak war.
  • He was a recipient of the Sainik Seva Medal from the President for meritorious service in the Army.

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