Current Affairs Today 9th April 2020-Download in PDF

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Hello and welcome to exampundit. Here are the important Current Affairs Today 9th April 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 – 9th April 2020

NEWS AT A GLANCE

  1. The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will facilitate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore against their confirmed government orders.
  2. In a bid to provide financial relief to the agriculture sector which is under distress due to COVID-19, the Bank of Baroda (BoB) has initiated four agro schemes for Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO/FPC) and farming community.
  3. The Centre has announced that it is to issue all the pending income-tax refunds up to Rs.5 lakh immediately.
  4. RBI has stated that the global economy is expected to go into recession after taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  5. A report by India Ratings stated that the fuel demand witnessed a fall by around 20% in March amid the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  6. The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the launch of a revised version of the existing “Swachhata-MoHUA App”.
  7. Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) has partnered with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the tribal gatherers carry on their work safely.
  8. The Supreme Court (SC), in an interim order, directed the government to make COVID-19 testing by private laboratories free of charge.
  9. Ministry of Finance announced Rs.500 has been deposited in each Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) account held by women for the month of April and Rs.500 more will be given over the month of May in equal installments.
  10. Kendriya Bhandar that functions under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has taken the unique initiative of providing “Essentials Kits” to needy families in Delhi due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  11. Arunachal Pradesh government has launched an app called “COVIDCARE”.
  12. Odisha has become the first state to extend the 21-day lockdown till April 30. The 21-day nation-wide lockdown will end on April 14.
  13. Pakistan announced that it is to add more sectors like agriculture and tourism in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  14. The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) has allocated $5 million for COVID-19 related projects in its member states.
  15. Forbes has launched the 34th annual world’s billionaires list named as “The Richest in 2020”.
  16. CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune, Maharashtra has designed and developed Digital IR Thermometer to held in the help in the mitigation of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  17. Larsen & Toubro(L&T) signs agreement with the Indian Army for setting up an advanced IT-enabled system to operate the Armed Forces network under the Network of Spectrum (NFS).
  18. The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the proposed acquisition of 80.1% share capital of ABB Management Holding AG by Hitachi Limited from ABB Ltd, where ABB Management will hold the entire power grid business of ABB.
  19. A Life Insurance company, Bharti AXA Life Insurance has appointed Parag Raja as managing director and chief executive officer of the company.
  20. England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named as the leading cricketer in the world 2020 by Wisden.
  21. The US military has requested an additional $20 billion fund to strengthen naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region.
  22. Scientists at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) have designed and developed the “Chitra Acrylosorb Secretion Solidification System,” a highly efficient superabsorbent material for liquid respiratory and other body fluid solidification.
  23. The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, is to launch “iGOT platform,” a learning platform to combat COVID-19 for all front-line workers.
  24. CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, has developed a series of lab-made Personal protective equipment (PPEs) to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
  25. Indian-American journalist, Brahm Kanchibotla, passed away due to coronavirus.
  26. Former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid coach Radomir Antic passed away.
  27. James Bond film actress Honor Blackman has passed away.

NEWS IN DETAILS

BANKING AND FINANCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

SIDBI to provide emergency working capital to MSMEs

  • The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will facilitate Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) with emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore against their confirmed government orders.
  • The SIDBI’s new loan product i.e. SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against Coronavirus (SAFE) plus will be provided collateral free and disbursed within 48 hours at an interest rate of 5%.
  • SIDBI has also increased the loan limit for MSMEs from Rs 50 lakh to Rs 2 crore under the SAFE plus initiative.
  • The scheme was launched by SIDBI to provide financial assistance to MSMEs that are engaged in the manufacturing of range of products such as hand sanitizers, shoe-covers, ventilators, head gear, bodysuits, masks, gloves and goggles used in dealing with COVID-19.
  • Under its flagship scheme called SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (Smile), SEBI has opened an additional financial window for the healthcare sector.

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 location: Lucknow
  • Founded: 2 April 1990
  • CMD : Mohammad Mustafa

Bank of Baroda initiated  schemes for agri sector to tackle COVID-19 impact

  • In a bid to provide financial relief to the agriculture sector which is under distress due to COVID-19, the Bank of Baroda (BoB) has initiated four agro schemes for Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO/FPC) and farming community.
  • It should be noted only the existing borrowers of BoB whether individual or FPO or SHG are eligible for the schemes. Following are the four schemes launched by bank:

Highlights:

Additional Assurance to SHGs- COVID19

  • To provide immediate financial assistance to the Women SHGs to meet the emergent needs of its members for their domestic and agriculture purposes.
  • Minimum Loan Amount– Rs.30,000 per SHG group.
  • Maximum Loan Amount– Rs.1 Lac per member and Rs.10 lacsper SHG Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly. The entire tenure of the loan shall not exceed 24 months.

Baroda Emergency Credit Line for Farmer Producer Organization (FPO/FPC)

  • It is an emergency credit line for FPO/FPC to deal with tremporary liquidity mismatches arised out of COVID-19.
  • Loan amount– 10% of the combined limits sanctioned to FPO / FPC with Max amount of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five lakhs only), moratorium period for a maximum of 6 months.
  • Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly with a tenor of 36 months.

Baroda Special Scheme for existing Agriculture Investment Credit borrowers

  • It is an instant credit for farming community to meet the emergent funds requirements for farm maintenance and other farm related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
  • Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000
  • Repayment Period– Half yearly / Yearly instalments

Baroda Special Scheme for existing BKCC borrowers impacted by COVID-19

  • It is an instant credit for farming community who are existing Baroda Kisan Card (BKCC) account holders.
  • Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
  • Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000
  • Repayment Period– 6 Half yearly / 3 Yearly instalments

Extra Shots:

Bank of Baroda

  • Headquarters: Alkapuri, Vadodara
  • Tagline: India’s International Bank
  • MD& CEO: Sanjiv Chadha

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

I-T department to release all pending income tax refunds to benefit 14 lakh taxpayers

  • The Centre has announced that it is to issue all the pending income-tax refunds up to Rs.5 lakh immediately.
  • The move by the Centre is to provide immediate relief to the business entities and individuals.

I-T refunds:

  • An income tax (I-T) refund is due to a taxpayer/individual when the tax deducted from his/her income in a particular financial year is higher than his/her total income tax liability.
  • The I-T refunds will benefit around 14 lakh taxpayers across India.
  • The I-T department of the Ministry of Finance will also release all Goods and Service Tax (GST) and custom refunds to around 1 lakh business entities, including micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME).
  • A total refund grant of approximately Rs.18,000 crore will be released to the business entities.

Extra Shots:

Income Tax Department: Income Tax Department functions under the Ministry of Finance. The department is headed by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT). It enforces various direct tax laws, to collect revenue for the Government of India.

  • Formed: 1860
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Minister responsible: Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance Minister
  • Chairman: Pramod Chandra Modi

Global economy is expected to go into recession in view of COVID-19 pandemic: RBI

  • RBI has stated that the global economy is expected to go into recession after taking into account the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It also says that aggregate demand is expected to be impacted adversely by likely recession in the global economy, caused by disruptions in global supply chains, travel and tourism, and lockdowns in many economies.

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, Michael Debaprata Patra

NATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

Fuel demand may decline to 40 percent in April amid lockdown

  • A report by India Ratings stated that the fuel demand witnessed a fall by around 20% in March amid the lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Also, capacity utilization levels have fallen to 50% in March.

Report Highlights:

  • The decline in the fuel demand will impact pricing and increase borrowing costs for oil marketing companies.
  • It stated that the fuel demand will decline further to 40% in the month of April 2020.
  • This is due to the 21-day national lockdown because of which individuals have remained indoors, shops and businesses shut, and vehicular movement, including the airlines, railways, trucks and private vehicles, remaining off the roads.
  • The report also stated that the capacity utilization has remained high for oil marketing companies (OMCs) whose sales to own production ratio is significantly high, as they lowered external purchases while ensuring their refineries run at full utilization.

MoHUA launches revised version of Swachhata App to handle queries specific to COVID-19 pandemic

  • The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) announced the launch of a revised version of the existing “Swachhata-MoHUA App”.
  • The pilot version of the revised version of the App is being tested.
  • After its feedback, it will be launched across India.

About Swachhata-MoHUA App:

  • The Swachhata-MoHUA App is a highly popular grievance redressal tool for citizens. It functions under the Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban) and already has over 1.7 Crore+ urban users across the country.
  • The app has now been modified and strengthened further in order to enable citizens to get their COVID-related complaints also redressed by their respective Urban Local Bodies (ULBs).
  • The revised version of the Swachhata App includes 9 categories to better support citizens during this COVID pandemic.

The nine categories of the revised Swachhata App are:

  1. Request for Fogging and Sanitation during COVID-19
  2. Violation of Quarantine during COVID-19
  3. Violation of Lockdown during COVID-19
  4. Report Suspected case of COVID-19
  5. Request Food during COVID-19
  6. Request Shelter during COVID-19
  7. Request Medicine during COVID-19
  8. Request assistance for COVID-19 patient Transport
  9. Request Waste Pickup from Quarantine Area
  • Swachhata App serves as an effective digital tool that enables the citizens to play an active role in the Swachhata of their cities and increase accountability on the part of ULBs.

TRIFED collaborates with UNICEF to launch a digital campaign for Tribal Gatherers safety

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) has partnered with United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) to ensure the tribal gatherers carry on their work safely.
  • The partnership aims to develop a digital communication strategy for promoting a digital campaign for Self Help Groups (SHGs) to highlight the importance of Social Distancing.

Collaboration Provision:

  • As per the partnership, UNICEF will provide the necessary support to be circulated to the SHG centers in the form of Digital Multimedia content; Webinars for Virtual training basic orientation on COVID response, key preventive behaviors; Social Media campaigns on social distancing, home quarantine; and Vanya Radio.
  • TRIFED joined with the Art of Living Foundation #iStandWithHumanity Initiative with a Stand With Tribal Families component to provide much-needed food and ration for the survival of the tribal community.
  • The webinar to promote the campaign will be held on 9 April 2020. The initiative aims to cover tribal regions across all the 27 States.
  • So far, a total of 1205 Van Dhan Vikas Kendras (VDVKs) have been sanctioned in 27 States and 1 Union Territory (UT). It involves around 18,075 Van Dhan Self Help Groups.

Extra Shots:

UNICEF: The United Nations Children’s Fund is a United Nations agency responsible for providing humanitarian and developmental aid to children worldwide.

  • Headquarters: New York, New York, United States
  • Head: Henrietta H. Fore
  • Founded: 11 December 1946, New York, New York, United States
  • Subsidiaries: UNICEF Australia, UNICEF Ireland, MORE
  • Founders: United Nations General Assembly, Ludwik Rajchman
  • Parent organizations: United Nations General Assembly, United Nations Economic and Social Council

SC directs private labs to make COVID-19 test free of cost

  • The Supreme Court (SC), in an interim order, directed the government to make COVID-19 testing by private laboratories free of charge.
  • Currently, the Private lab charges are capped at Rs.4,500 apiece whereas the test is free at government facilities.
  • The move by the SC comes as the fee charged for testing may not be affordable for most people.

Highlights:

  • The order stated that Private hospitals and labs must play an important role in containing the scale of the pandemic by extending philanthropic services in the hour of national crisis.
  • It said that the tests must be carried out in labs that are certified by the National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) or agencies approved by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • There are 118 government labs in India that can afford only 15,000 tests. Hence the SC asked the Central government to tie up private test labs.
  • It directed the corporates to reimburse Rs.2,000-2,500 through corporate social responsibility (CSR) to private labs so that their material costs can be recovered.

Centre to deposit Rs.1,000 in women PMJDY accounts in two installments

  • Ministry of Finance announced Rs.500 has been deposited in each Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY) account held by women for the month of April and Rs.500 more will be given over the month of May in equal installments.
  • A total of 38.08 crore accounts are benefitting under the PMJDY. Out of it, 20.60 crore accounts are held by women across India.
  • As of 1 April 2020, the deposits in the PMJDY accounts stood at over Rs 1.19 lakh crore.
  • The aim is to provide held and support to the people amid the lockdown due to COVID-19 outbreak.

Extra Shots:

Pradhan Mantri Jan Dhan Yojana (PMJDY):

  • PMJDY was launched on 28 August 2014. It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to all households. The main objective of the scheme is to expand and provide affordable access to financial services like bank accounts, remittances, credit, insurance, and pensions.

STATE CURRENT AFFAIRS

Dr. Jitendra Singh distributed 2200 Essential kits to the needy families in Delhi

  • Kendriya Bhandar that functions under the Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has taken the unique initiative of providing “Essentials Kits” to needy families in Delhi due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The Kits were delivered by Union Minister of Personnel, Public Grievances, Pensions and DoNER Dr. Jitendra Singh.
  • The Minister handed over 2200 Essential Kits to needy families in the wake of COVID-19.
  • Each such Kit consists of 9 items which will help the needy to help them sustain during the lockdown.
  • The kit includes 3 Kg of Rice, 3 Kg of Wheat Flour​​, 2 kg of Dal, 1 lt of Cooking Oil​​​, 500 gms of Chiwda/Poha​​, 1 kg of Salt, a Bathing Soap​​ bar, a Detergent Soap​​ bar, 3 pockets of Biscuits​​​. 1700 kits were handed to SDM, Civil Lines, Central Delhi District, and the remaining 500 kits will be given to DM (Central).

Arunachal Pradesh launches COVIDCARE app to combat COVID-19

  • Arunachal Pradesh government has launched an app called “COVIDCARE”.
  • The newly developed “COVIDCARE” app is an effort of the Arunachal Pradesh government to combat COVID-19.
  • The “COVIDCARE” app has been launched for the people who are quarantined, asymptomatic or COVID-19 patients, facilitating them various facilities through the app.

About “COVIDCARE” app:

  • The newly developed “COVIDCARE” app has been released by the Arunachal Pradesh government for those people who are quarantined, asymptomatic or COVID-19 patients.
  • This app enables the users to self-report their health status such as body temperature as well as vital symptoms.
  • In case of emergency, the app allows the patient to call for help through the app itself.

Extra Shots:

Arunachal Pradesh:

  • Statehood day: 20 February 1987
  • Governor: Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd.)
  • Chief Minister: Pema Khandu
  • Capital: Itanagar
  • Districts: 25
  • Official languages: English
  • Literacy: 66.95%

Odisha becomes 1st state to extend lockdown till 30 April

  • Odisha has become the first state to extend the 21-day lockdown till April 30. The 21-day nation-wide lockdown will end on April 14.
  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has requested the Centre not to start train and air services till April 30.
  • The state has also announced that all educational institutions in the state will remain closed till June 17.
  • Odisha is among the states that have made face masks compulsory for people stepping out of their homes.
  • The others are Delhi, Mumbai, Chandigarh and Nagaland.

Odisha:

  • Capital: Bhubaneswar
  • Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
  • Governor: Ganeshi Lal
  • State Formed in: 1 April 1936
  • Literacy Rate: 72.87%
  • National Park: Bhitarkanika NP, Simlipal NP

INTERNATIONAL CURRENT AFFAIRS

New sectors to be added in the second phase of CPEC

  • Pakistan announced that it is to add more sectors like agriculture and tourism in the second phase of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC).
  • The multi-billion-dollar project has slowed down due to the coronavirus outbreak.
  • China, earlier, has committed to invest over $60 billion in Pakistan as part of the CPEC under which it planned to build a number of special economic zones (SEZ).

Extra Shots:

CPEC:

  • The CPEC is the flagship project of the multi-billion dollar Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) of China. It was initiated by the Chinese President Xi Jinping and launched in 2015. It aimed to enhance China’s influence around the world through China-funded infrastructure projects. India objected to being a part of the CPEC as it is being laid through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir.

Pakistan (Capital/Currency): Islamabad/Pakistani Rupees

  • President: Arif Alvi
  • Prime Minister: Imran Khan
  • Official languages: English, Urdu
  • Currency: Pakistani rupee

SAARC development fund allocates $5mn for Covid-19 projects

  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) has allocated $5 million for COVID-19 related projects in its member states.
  • This project will be funded by the SDF under its Social Window thematic areas. SDF’s social window primarily funds projects on poverty alleviation, social development focusing on education, health, and human resource development, among others.

Objective of the Projects:

  • The objective of the US$ 5 million allocations is to provide fund support to the Member States in their efforts and to protect the people of the SAARC Member States by mitigating the financial losses and severe socio-economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The SDF is currently implementing 90 projects in all SAARC member states under its three funding windows, economic, infrastructure and social, with a total fund commitment of $198.24 million.

Extra Shots:

SAARC: The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia. Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.

  • Founded: 8 December 1985, Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • Headquarters: Kathmandu, Nepal
  • GDP (PPP): 2017 estimate
  • GDP (nominal): 2017 estimate

RANKS AND INDICES

Jeff Bezos tops Forbes billionaires list “The Richest in 2020”

  • Forbes has launched the 34th annual world’s billionaires list named as “The Richest in 2020”.
  • The list titled “The Richest in 2020” has been topped by the Amazon Founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos.
  • This was 3rd time in a row that he has topped the annual world’s billionaires list released by Forbes.
  • He has topped the list with a net worth of $113 billion.
  • In the 34th annual world’s billionaires list named as “The Richest in 2020”, Jeff Bezos was followed by Bill Gates having net worth of $98 billion while luxury goods tycoon Bernard Arnault, the Chairman and CEO of luxury magnate LVMH (LVMHF), stood on the 3rd position with a net worth of $76 billion.

AGREEMENTS AND MOU SIGNED

NCL partners with BEL to speed up the manufacturing of Digital IR Thermometer

  • CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune, Maharashtra has designed and developed Digital IR Thermometer to held in the help in the mitigation of the Coronavirus outbreak.
  • NCL has partnered with Bharat Electronics Ltd, Pune (BEL) to speed up the manufacture of the newly designed thermometer.

Digital IR Thermometer:

  • CSIR-NCL developed a handheld digital Infra-Red (IR) thermometer. It is the primary and important component that is used to measure to Coronavirus infection. Digital IR Thermometer can be charged using a mobile phone or power bank as a power source.
  • NCL has made the design of IR thermometers available in open source to manufacturers across India for free. The guidelines give complete details about the manufacturing ready hardware and software design.
  • The effort is to enable a large number of manufacturers to manufacture the thermometers and cater to their local demands.
  • About 100 prototype units will be made for pilot distribution and testing at TUV Rheinland India Pvt Ltd Bangalore.

Extra Shots:

NCL: National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) is a government based laboratory that functions under the aegis of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR) India.

  • Established: 1950
  • Location: Pune, Maharashtra

BEL: Bharat Electronics Limited is an Indian state-owned aerospace and defence company with about nine factories, and several regional offices in India. It is owned by the Indian Government and primarily manufactures advanced electronic products for the Indian Armed Forces.

  • Headquarters: Bengaluru
  • Owner: Government of India

L&T signs agreement with Indian Army for advanced IT-enabled network

  • Larsen & Toubro(L&T) signs agreement with the Indian Army for setting up an advanced IT-enabled system to operate the Armed Forces network under the Network of Spectrum (NFS).
  • It creates a centralised network monitoring, management and control system for all the seven layers under NFS which interconnects 414 Defence stations.
  • The project involves the creation of a resilient Cloud-based IT infrastructure on Infrastructure as a service (IAAS) model.
  • The scope also includes Next-Generation Operations System and Software-based Unified Network Management System, Eight Network Operations Centers (NOCs) consisting of National NOCs, Disaster Recovery NOCs, Regional NOCs, Security Operation Centers, Tier III Data Centres and Training Infrastructure.
  • According to L&T, the project will be implemented in 18 months. It is a 3-month warranty and a seven-year maintenance contract.

Extra Shots:

L&T: Larsen & Toubro Limited, commonly known as L&T is an Indian multinational conglomerate company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was founded by two Danish engineers taking refuge in India.

  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Founders: Henning Holck-Larsen, Søren Kristian Toubro
  • CMD: S. N. Subrahmanyan
  • Director: R. Shankar Raman

CCI approves Hitachi’s acquisition of 80.1% stake in ABB’s power grid business

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the proposed acquisition of 80.1% share capital of ABB Management Holding AG by Hitachi Limited from ABB Ltd, where ABB Management will hold the entire power grid business of ABB.

Extra Shots:

Hitachi: It is a Japanese firm & is the parent company of Hitachi group of companies. It is active in business segments, including IT solution, energy solution, industry solution, mobility solution, and smart life solution.

  • Headquarters: Chiyoda, Tokyo
  • President & CEO: Toshiaki Higashihara

ABB: It is a Swiss company which involves development, engineering, manufacturing and sale of products, systems and projects in the power grids sector.

  • Headquarters: Zurich, Switzerland
  • Chief Executive Officer (CEO): Björn Rosengren

APPOINTMENT

Parag Raja appointed as MD & CEO of Bharti AXA Life Insurance

  • A Life Insurance company, Bharti AXA Life Insurance has appointed Parag Raja as managing director and chief executive officer of the company.
  • Parag Raja will be succeeding Vikas Seth, who is leading the insurance company for the past two-and-a-half years and is set to retire after April 30, 2020.
  • Parag Raja has an extensive experience in the domestic life insurance industry and has exhibited his leadership across different areas such as the agency, bancassurance, broking and direct sales force channels.

Extra Shots:

Bharti AXA Life Insurance

  • Founded: 2005
  • Subsidiary: Bharti AXA Life Insurance, Asset Management Arm

SPORTS CURRENT AFFAIRS

Ben Stokes named Wisden’s Leading Cricketer in the World 2020

  • England’s all-rounder Ben Stokes has been named as the leading cricketer in the world 2020 by Wisden.
  • Andrew Flintoff was the last English player to win the award in 2005.
  • Ben Stokes was the hero of the Cricket World Cup 2019 final as he guided England to their maiden triumph in the 50-over showpiece tournament at Lord’s on July 14.
  • In Women’s category, Australia’s Ellyse Perry has been named the Wisden’s Leading Female Cricketer in the World.
  • Perry scored the highest runs and took the most wickets as Australia successfully retained their Women’s Ashes title against England last year.
  • The other Five Cricketers of the Year by Wisden’s are Jofra Archer (England), Pat Cummins (Australia), Simon Harmer (South Africa), Marnus Labuschagne (Australia) and Ellyse Perry (Australia- female).

DEFENCE CURRENT AFFAIRS

US military strengthens its defence in Indio Pacific Region amid COVID-19 pandemic

  • The US military has requested an additional $20 billion fund to strengthen naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region.

Highlights:

  • Despite its battle against COVID-19, the US military is continuing to pursue its China containment strategy and plans to strengthen its presence in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The fund sought by the US military aims to strengthen naval, airborne and ground-based operations in the Indo-Pacific region. The request would last through the financial year 2026.
  • Of the total, around $1.6 billion would be released for the financial year 2021, with $18.5 billion earmarked for 2022-26.
  • The spending amount has been planned under the title “Regain the Advantage,” calls. Of the total amount, around $1.7 billion will be funded to an air missile defence system in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • The focus of the US military on the region has initiated several new initiatives, including the deployment of army task forces that views on cyber-warfare and other non-conventional forms of conflict in the area.

Extra Shots:

The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States of America. It consists of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force and Coast Guard.

  • Available for military service: 17 million, age 18–25 (2016)
  • Reaching military age annually: 2 million (2016)
  • Military age: 17 with parental consent, 18 for voluntary service.
  • Active personnel: 1,380,895 (ranked 3rd)
  • Reserve personnel: 845,600
  • Deployed personnel: 210,000

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

SCTIMST design super absorbent material for safe management of infected respiratory secretions

  • Scientists at Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) have designed and developed the “Chitra Acrylosorb Secretion Solidification System,” a highly efficient superabsorbent material for liquid respiratory and other body fluid solidification.
  • It can also be used as a disinfection for the safe management of infected respiratory secretions.

 What is the need?

  • Generally, in the ICU, the secretions of the patients are sucked by a suction machine into bottles or canisters.
  • It should be emptied when it gets full.
  • It includes the decontamination process in a sluice room and discarded through the waste fluid disposal systems.
  • Hence, well-equipped sluice rooms with disinfection facilities, which is an issue in less well-equipped hospitals or makeshift isolation wards during epidemics.

Chitra Acrylosorb Secretion Solidification System:

  • The newly designed superabsorbent material can be effective in the safe management of infected respiratory secretions.
  • In the developed system, suction canisters, disposable spit bags have been designed with “AcryloSorb” technology.
  • AcryloSorb can absorb liquids at least 20 times more than its dry weight and also contains a decontaminant for in situ disinfection.
  • Containers filled with this material will immobilize the contaminated fluid by solidifying it in a gel-like form. It will avoid spillage and will also disinfect it.

DoPT launches digital learning platform to train COVID-WARRIORS

  • The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT), under the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, is to launch “iGOT platform,” a learning platform to combat COVID-19 for all front-line workers.
  • The digital platform to train all healthcare people who fight against coronavirus in India.

DoPT’s iGOT platform:

  • DoPT aims to equip the front-line workers, including doctors, nurses and health care workers, with quality training and updates to cope up with the Pandemic.
  • The guidelines are made available in .
  • The move is to provide appropriate training to them for the subsequent stages of the pandemic and training to other potential second line workforce so that the country can be better prepared for the emergent situations.
  • The platform delivers curated and role-specific content, to each learner/user at his place of work or home in any device of the choice.

Who are the front-line workers?

  • The front-line workers and the target group of people are the Doctors, Nurses, Paramedics, Hygiene Workers, Technicians, Auxiliary Nursing Midwives (ANMs), Central & State Government Officers, Police Organisations, National Cadet Corps (NCC), Civil Defence Officials, Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKS), Indian Red Cross Society (IRCS), Bharat Scouts & Guides (BSG), National Service Scheme (NSS), and other volunteers who participate in the fight against COVID-19.

What are the topics?

  • iGOT platform has been designed to population scale and will provide training and benefit around 1.50 crore workers and volunteers.
  • Initially, 9 courses on iGOT platform have been launched on topics like Basics of COVID, ICU Care and Ventilation Management, Clinical Management, Infection Prevention through Personal protective equipment (PPE), Infection Control and Prevention, Quarantine and Isolation, Laboratory Sample Collection and Testing, Management of COVID-19 Cases, COVID-19 Training.
  • COVID-WARRIORS can learn about the ways to respond to the prevailing and emergent situations, by keeping themselves updated in a real-time manner.
  • The platform can be accessed by following an easy to use manual for desktop and mobile versions, thereby making it accessible for all.

CSIR-CECRI partners with 3D Lycan for Face Shield

  • CSIR-Central Electrochemical Research Institute (CECRI) at Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu, has developed a series of lab-made Personal protective equipment (PPEs) to fight COVID-19 pandemic.
  • CSIR-CECRI partnered with 3D Lycan, Bangalore company to increase the mass production of Face Shield.

Measures by CSIR-CECRI:

  • The PPEs prepared by CSIR-CECRI include Hand sanitizer solutions, as per the World Health Organization (WHO) recommendations, Hand washes solutions using coconut oil and Sodium hypochlorite based disinfectant solutions.
  • These solutions are packed in containers, printed for instructions to use and distributed to the needy organizations at free of cost.
  • It benefits the nearby Municipal Corporation, Govt. Medical College Hospital, Govt. Hospital, other police stations, and few nationalized banks, among others.

Digital training to make face masks:

  • CSIR-CECRI is also offering digital training to make face masks by interested rural women to help and cater to the needs of the people.
  • A 3D printed face shield with reusable options has been given to the Dispensary staff of CSIR-CECRI to protect them effectively from a sneeze, cough and aerosol communication of the patients.
  • It also launched the preparation method for electrochemical synthesis of hypo-chlorite (Disinfectant) to MSMEs to increase the production rate.

Note:

  • For hand sanitizers, WHO has recommended the presence of 75% Iso-propanol, 1.45% Glycerol, 0.125% Hydrogen peroxide and lemongrass oil for fragrance.

Extra Shots:

CSIR-CECRI: CECRI functions under the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). CECRI is the premier institution for research and development in electrochemical Science & Technology in India.

  • Established on: 1953
  • Location: Karaikudi, Tamil Nadu
  • Director: Dr. N. Kalaiselvi

OBITUARIES

Veteran Indian-American Journalist Brahm Kanchibotla passes away

  • Indian-American journalist, Brahm Kanchibotla, passed away due to coronavirus.
  • He was a former contributor to the United News of India news agency and was working as New York and UN correspondent of the United News of India.
  • He got infected with the disease while he was busy doing ground reports for his news agency United News of India (UNI).

Former Real Madrid, Atletico & Barcelona coach Radomir Antic passes away

  • Former Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid coach Radomir Antic passed away.
  • He was born on November 22, 1948, in Zitiste, Serbia.
  • He coached Real Madrid from March 1991 until January 1992 and took charge of Barcelona in 2003, as well as managing Real Zaragoza, Real Ovideo, Celta Vigo and the Serbia national team at the 2010 World Cup.

James Bond film actress Honor Blackman passes away

  • James Bond film actress Honor Blackman has passed away.
  • She was best known for playing the legendary Bond girl Pussy Galore in the 1964 James Bond movie ‘Goldfinger’ starring alongside Sean Connery.
  • She also featured in the popular 1960s TV spy series ‘The Avengers’ while playing the character of “Cathy Gale”.
  • British Actress Honor Blackman’s other well known works includes that of playing the goddess Hera in 1963 film ‘Jason and the Argonauts’, Laura West in the 1990s sitcom The Upper Hand as well as her theatre roles in production such as ‘My Fair Lady’,’The Sound Of Music’ and ‘Cabaret’.

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