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Important Current Affairs 26th May 2020

National

Fintech startup Zaggle joins hands with Visa to launch payment solutions for SMEs, startups

• In order to launch innovative payment solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups, a Fintech startup Zaggle has partnered with payments technology major “Visa”.

• Both the companies will work towards enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the SMEs and startups. They will also automate the processes and reduce the costs simultaneously focusing on easy and faster credit.

India hands over war game centre named as “INDIA” to UPDF

• The Indian Association Uganda (IAU) and Indian Military Advisory and Training Team for Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) have jointly set up military war game centre called ‘INDIA’ at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College in Kimaka in Jinja District of Uganda with a cost of over 1 billion Ugandan shillings or $2,65,000.

• The centre was inaugurated by the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Sports

Italy beat Serbia to win the inaugural UEFA eEURO 2020

• Italy has won UEFA eEURO 2020, beating Serbia in the final to clinch the inaugural virtual European Championship.

• Italy emerged triumphant by defeating Serbia 3-1 in the best-of-five series.

• The UEFA EURO 2020 eTournament was the biggest ever national team efootball competition, featuring all 55 UEFA national associations.

American tennis star Jamie Hampton announces retirement

• American tennis player and former world number 24 Jamie Hampton has officially announced her retirement from professional tennis, bringing a sudden halt to her career.

• The right hander player then suffered numerous injuries and was unable to play against Venus Williams in the semi finals of ASB Classic in Auckland in 2014.

Days

World Thyroid Day

• World Thyroid Day is observed globally on 25 May every year. The main purpose of the WTD is to aware of the importance of Thyroid and the prevention and treatment of thyroid diseases.

• The World Thyroid Day was established in 2008 by the European Thyroid Association and the American Thyroid Association.

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Important Current Affairs 25th May 2020

National

Prakash Javadekar launched major initiatives on International Biodiversity Day

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar virtually launched five key initiatives towards conservation of biodiversity on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2020.

• National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ‘Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme which proposes to engage 20 students with postgraduate degrees for a period of one year through an open, transparent, online competitive process.

• Launch of UNEP Campaign on Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species: ‘Not all Animals Migrate by Choice’.

• A Webinar Series on ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Biological Diversity Act, 2002’

• WWF Model Conference of Parties (MCoP), to involve the younger generation so they engage in conversations around impact of humanity’s footprint on biodiversity.

• An awareness campaign supported by WWF to highlight the crucial role played by nature through its free ecological services provided for humankind.

Andhra Pradesh Launches Rs 1,110 crore Mega ReSTART Package for MSMEs

• In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced Rs 1,110 crore ReSTART package for MSMEs to strengthen the sector during this emergency situation as well as create employment.

• The government immediately released Rs 450 crore as the first instalment under the scheme, which would benefit nearly 98,000 units. These units employ more than 10 lakh people who were facing hardships.

MoHFW constitutes committee to reform Drug Regulatory System

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has constituted a committee to reform the Drug Regulatory System. The committee comprises of 11 members including the senior health officials, scientists and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The committee is being headed by Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty to the Union health minister.

Obituary

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr dies at 96

• Former Indian hockey player Balbir Singh Dosanjh passed away. He was a part of three-time Olympic gold medal-winning Indian hockey team, i.e. in London Olympics (1948), Helsinki Olympics (1952), and Melbourne Olympics (1956).

• In 1956 Olympics, he was the captain of the Indian team that won the gold medal after defeating Pakistan in the finals. The three-time Olympic-medal winner was battling multiple health issues.

• He is survived by three sons Karanbir, Kanwalbir, and Gurbir and a daughter Sushbir. He was conferred with one of India's prestigious awards, Padma Shri in 1957.

Appointments and Resignations

Indian-origin Siddhartha Mukherjee appointed to Commission on Economic Recovery of New York

• Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee has been appointed as the Member of Commission on Economic Recovery of New York. The commission focuses on jumpstarting the economy of the state.

• On the other hand, Indian-origin Satish Tripathi has been appointed as the Member of the commission.

Days

International Missing Children’s Day

• Every year, 25 May is observed as International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) around the world to commemorate the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime, and continue efforts to find those who are still missing.

• The symbol for IMCD is the forget-me-not flower.

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Important Current Affairs 24th May 2020

National

LokSabha Passed Mineral Law Amendment Bill

• LokSabha has passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which aims to amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 along with Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

• Commercial mining will completely be open up in the coal sector by this bill. Another important feature of this bill is that it intends to remove end-use restrictions to participate in coal mine auction.

Banking and Economy

KKR invests in Reliance Jio for 2.32% stake

• KKR invests Rs 11367 crore in Reliance Jio Platforms to buy a stake of 2.32 percent in a fully diluted basis. The deal is subject to regulatory and customary approvals. This is fifth global investment deal in last one month.

• Earlier, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity and General Atlantic invested in the Jio Platforms. Know all about KKR-Jio deal here.

Acquisitions and Mergers

IRDAI approves Union Bank to continue with its 30% holding in India First Life Insurance

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) has approved the proposal of the state owned lender Union Bank of India-UBI(which holds 25.1% stake in Star Union Dai-Chi Life) to continue with its 30% holding in IndiaFirst Life Insurance.

Appointments and Resignations

Indian economist, AbhasJha appointed to key World Bank position in South Asia

• Indian economist, AbhasJha has been appointed as the Practice Manager for Climate Change and  Risk Management for South Asia at World Bank.

• AbhasJha’s appointment comes at a time when Cyclone Amphan has badly hit West Bengal, Orissa in India and Bangladesh.

Ranking

India Became Second Largest Manufacturer Of PPE In The World

• India has become the second-largest manufacturer of Personal Protective Equipment in the world following China which is currently leading producer of PPE in the world.

• At present, India is producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits every day which is the maximum capacity of the country. A PPE kit basically consists of shoe cover, gloves, eye shield, mask, and gown.

Days

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

• International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF) is observed on 23 May. The day is celebrated by the United Nations.

• In 2003, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and its partners had launched a global campaign to End Obstetric Fistula.

• The theme for 2020 IDEOF is “End gender inequality! End health inequities! End Fistula now!”.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd May 2020

National

UP Government Signs MoU with SIDBI for ‘UP Start-up Fund’ to Boost Employment

• The Uttar Pradesh government under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has launched the ‘UP Start-up Fund’ on 20 May 2020, to boost job creation in the state.

• The fund will motivate more and more youths to establish their own startups in the state as well as provide employment opportunity to large number of migrant, coming to the state, as per their skill.

• The fund has been set up under the UP Information Technology and Start-up Policy 2017.The ‘UP Start-up Fund’ will be in the form of Fund of Funds.CM Adityanath handed over cheque of the initial contribution of Rs 15 crore towards the Fund, while signing the MoU with SIDBI.

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will be the fund manager.

Banking and Economy

NTPC, ONGC to set up Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy Business

•National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to set up a joint venture company for the renewable energy business.

•The agreement will enable both companies to increase their presence in the renewable energy sector. Under the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will jointly explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India and overseas.

•The two companies will also explore opportunities in the field of E-mobility and ES (Environmental, Social and Governance), storage and sustainability projects.

RBI reduces Repo Rate by 40 bps to 4.0% in Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

The Reserve Bank of India in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on May 22, 2020 has decided to:

• Reduce Repo Rate by 40 bps to 4.00% from 4.40% earlier.

• Reverse repo rate has been reduced to 3.35%

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stands at 4.25%

• The MPC decided to continue with the accommodative stance.

Obituary

Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Ashley Cooper passes away

•Former world no. 1 and four-time Grand Slam singles champion, Ashley Cooper passed away recently at the age of 83 after a prolonged illness. Cooper had won three of the four majors -the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US championships in 1958.

•Cooper had also won four doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments. He achieved the top rank in 1957. The Australian was recognised as the world's best amateur player during the years of 1957 and 1958.

Appointments and Resignations

Assam’s Jahnabi Phookan Takes Charge as FICCI FLO National President

• Assam-based entrepreneur Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as the new National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) on 22 May 2020.

• FICCI FLO is the women wing of the leading industry chamber, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

• Phookan is the 37th National President of FICCI FLO. She succeeds Harjinder Kaur Talwar.

Days

World Turtle Day

The World Turtle Day is observed on May 23 every year to raise awareness among people to protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May every year to raise awareness about the issue of significant reduction in biological diversity due to certain human activities.

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Important Current Affairs 18th May 2020

National

FM announces 5th tranche of measures for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”

The 5th tranche is focussed on Government Reforms and Enablers for providing employment, support to businesses, Ease of Doing Business, and State Governments as well sectors such as Education and Health. Seven measures have been announced under this.

1. Allocation for MGNREGS increased by Rs 40,000 Crore to provide employment boost– Will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.

2. Health Reforms & Initiatives- Public Expenditure on Health will be increased by investing in grass-root health institutions. National Institutional Platform for One health by ICMR will encourage research. And the implementation of National Digital Health Blueprint under the National Digital Health Mission.

3. Technology Driven Education with Equity post-

PM eVIDYA– A programme for multi-mode access to digital/online education to be launched immediately; consisting of:

DIKSHA for school education in states/UTs: e-content and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform)

One earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel)

Extensive use of Radio, Community radio and Podcasts

Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired.

Top 100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by 30th May, 2020.

Manodarpan– An initiative for psychosocial support of students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing to be launched immediately.

National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for ensuring that every child attains Learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025 will be launched by December 2020.

4. Further enhancement of Ease of Doing Business through IBC related measures-

Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which largely insulates MSMEs).

Suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year, depending upon the pandemic situation.

5. Decriminalisation of Companies Act defaults- The Amendments will de-clog the criminal courts and NCLT. 7 compoundable offences altogether dropped and 5 to be dealt with under alternative framework.

6. Ease of Doing Business for Corporates- Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Power to create additional/ specialized benches for NCLAT.Lower penalties for all defaults for Small Companies, One-person Companies, Producer Companies & Start Ups.

7. Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India-  There is a need for a new coherent policy—where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises(PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas. Accordingly, the government will announce a new policy whereby.

NRAI tie-up with DotPe to build tech platform

• National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has partnered with DotPe (a fintech start-up) to build its own tech platform that would enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.

• NRAI is the apex body of the Food and Beverage Industry in India.

• This would be in direct take on with existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy. It is also exploring synergies with social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to provide and ordering facilities and visibility for restaurant partners who could potentially be its members.

Centre launched ‘National Migrant Information System’ to track movement of migrants

• The online dashboard has been developed by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the existing NDMA-GIS portal. It will help in capturing the information regarding the movement of workers who have been stranded in different states.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the states to upload data on NMIS to ensure better coordination, contact tracing, and movement monitoring of the migrant workers.

e-NAM reaches milestone of 1000 Mandis across 18 States, 3 UTs

• 38 new mandis were integrated with the e-NAM platform.

• With this move, the pan-India electronic agriculture trading portal, e-NAM has reached the milestone of 1,000 Mandis across 18 States and 3 Union Territories (UTS).

• The information was announced by the Agriculture Ministry.

International

Indian-origin Hinduja-Reuben Brothers Shares Second Spot in Annual UK  Rich List 2020

• The pair of Indian-origin siblings, Reuben and the Hinduja brothers, shares the second spot in the Britain’s annual rich list, with a fortune of 16 billion pounds each.

• ‘The Sunday Times Rich List 2020’ has been topped by British inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson tops with 16.2 billion pounds.

• Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, the Hinduja Group of companies owner in UK, lost 6 billion pounds to slip to second position from the top slot in 2019.

Appointments and Resignations

Zubair Iqbal is JK Bank's New Managing Director

Senior vice president of HDFC Bank, ZubairIqbal has appointed as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank by Jammu and Kashmir Government. Iqbal will have a three-year tenure.

Days

International Museum Day: 18 May

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

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

• It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

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Important Current Affairs 16th May 2020

National

Finance Minister announced third Tranche of Rs.20 lakh Economic Package

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the third Tranche of Rs.20 lakh Economic Package on 15 May in New Delhi. On 12 May, Prime Minister Modi announced an Economic relief Package of Rs.20 lakh crore with an aim of making it “AtmaNirbhar” or self-reliant.

Highlights:

• GoI is to create a facilitative legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters in a fair and transparent manner.

• Centre will formulate a law to provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, barrier-free interstate trade, and framework for e-trading of agricultural produce. GoI will implement a Rs.500 crore scheme of infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, marketing & storage centres, post-harvest, and value addition facilities. It is expected to lead to an increase in income of 2 lakh bee-keepers.

• The National Medicinal Plants Board will bring an 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga.

• Centre allocated Rs.4000 crore for the promotion of herbal cultivation. Under this, 10,00,000 hectares will be covered in the next 2 years.

• Government has decided to amend the Essential Commodities Act. It will enable better price realization for farmers and attract investments that will lead to deregulation of prices for cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes.

• Centre also announced the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs.15,000crore to support investment in dairy processing.

• Centre announced Rs.4,000crore for promotion of herbal cultivation to bring 10 lakh hectares of land under herbal growing in the next 2 years.

• A total outlay of Rs.13,343crore has been allocated for the National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the development of marine and inland fisheries will be given Rs.20,000crore. It is expected to generate job opportunities for 55 lakh people.

• All  related deadline extensions relating to fisheries activities which are aimed to help marine and coastal farmers will be undertaken.

• Government is to introduce a Rs.10,000crores scheme for the formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE).

• Government aims to create an Rs.1 lakh croreAgri-Infrastructure Fund for farm gate infrastructure for Indian farmers.

• As an additional step for agriculture during the , Centre has announced an amount more than Rs.74,300crores for Minimum Support Price purchases and Rs.18,700 crore for Kisan fund transfer.

Himachal Chief Minister inaugurates e-udyan portal

• Himachal CM inaugurated the e-udyan portal and IHSMS application developed under World Bank funded Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project for providing services of Department of Horticulture.

• The Management Information System (Integrated Horticulture Sector Management System) has been developed for all G2C services of the Horticulture Department through this portal.

Tribal Affairs Minister launches 'GOAL' programme

• Tribal Affairs Minister ArjunMunda launched the “GOAL" - Going Online As Leaders - programme during a webinar in New Delhi on May 15, 2020.

• The programme is designed to provide mentorship to tribal youth through digital mode.

• The programme aims to act as a catalyst to explore hidden talents of the tribal youth, which will help in their personal development as well as contribute to all-round upliftment of their society.

Banking and Economy

World Bank approves $1 billion social protection package for India

• The World Bank has announced $1 billion social protection package for India. This package will be linked to the programmes launched by the Government of India. Hence, it will support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households.

• The social protection package for India would be funded in two tranches in the following manner:

 First tranche will be made available as an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020.

 Second tranche would be remaining $250 million that would be made available for fiscal year 2021.

Federal Bank tie-up with MoneyGram for direct-to-bank deposits service

• Federal Bank Limited tie-up with MoneyGram Payment System to offer a cost-effective direct-to-bank account credit option for customers in India.

• This tie-up will help the non-resident Indians with access to modern, low cost, fast, easy and reliable ways for transferring money to India.

• Federal Bank has a 15% share of the country’s remittance market and expects that the tie-up with MoneyGram will give the business a further boost.

Ranking

International tourism to decline 60-80% in 2020

• According to the latest data of the United Nations World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) the international tourism could decline by 60-80% in 2020 when compared with 2019.

• Figures which will result in loss of USD 910 billion to USD 1.2 trillion and places millions of livelihoods at risk and threatens to curtail the progress made in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).

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Important Current Affairs 15th May 2020

National

FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces second tranche of economic stimulus for farmers, migrant workers, traders under Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

In continuation to PM Modi’s announcement of Rs 20 lakh crore boost to the economy, and the announcement made by her on May 13, 2020  the Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has made the announcement of the second tranche of economic support the Indian

Economy

These are the announcements made on May 14, 2020

• The announcement focusses on short term and long-term measures for supporting the poor, including migrants, farmers, tiny businesses and street vendors.

• 2% Interest Subvention for 12 months for Shishu MUDRA loanees- Relief of Rs. 1,500 crore- Government of India will provide Interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000.The current portfolio of MUDRA Shishu loans is around Rs 1.62 Lakh crore. This will provide relief of about Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee.

• Free food grains supply to migrants for 2 months (i.e. May and June, 2020)

• Scheme for Affordable Rental Housing Complexes for Migrant Workers and Urban Poor to be launched

• Technology system to be used enabling Migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any Fair Price Shops in India by March,2021-One Nation one Ration Card

• Rs 5,000 crore Credit facility for Street Vendors- Under this scheme, bank credit facility for initial working capital up to Rs. 10,000 for each enterprise.

• Rs 70,000 crore boost to housing sector and middle income group through extension of  Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG under PMAY(Urban)- The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakhs) will be extended up to March 2021.

• Rs 6,000 crore for Creating employment using CAMPA funds- Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA)

• Rs 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital for farmers through NABARD- NABARD will extend additional re-finance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap. This is over and above Rs 90,000 crore that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in the normal course.

• Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crorefarmers  underKisan Credit Card Scheme- A special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered.

ICCR launches song “United we Fight” to Strengthen India’s Fight

• The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an autonomous body under MEA,  has unveiled a new song titled “United we Fight” to motivate people to be united, think positive and have never say die attitude in our collective fight.

• The musical creation has been dedicated to world by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India, to spread India’s message of hope, resilience and ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’  (the world is one family).

• The 3.33 minutes long song ‘United We Fight’ is written and composed by Joe Alvares.

International

Rate of Forest Loss Globally Declined Between 2015 and 2020: FAO report

• The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) was released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 13 May 2020.

• As per the report, the rate of forest loss during 2015-2020 declined to an estimated 10 million hectares (mha), compared to 12 million hectares (mha) loss in 2010-2015.

• The FRA 2020 report is based on more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020.

US CDC Commits USD3.6 mn to Assist India’s fight

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has committed $3.6 million to the Government of India to support the country in prevention, preparedness, and response activities.

The first tranche of funding will be utilised to further strengthen and support the Government of India’s efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing, including molecular diagnostics and serology

Appointments and Resignations

WTO chief Roberto Azevedo resigns from post

•  Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, the head of the World Trade Organization is likely to step down earlier than planned. Azevedo has summoned a virtual meeting to inform national members on May 14, 2020.

•  The 62-year-old has been the Director-General at the Geneva-based WTO since 2013. His second term of office was due to conclude at the end of August 2021.

•  The heads of delegations of the WTO's 164 members have been called for a special meeting to inform them about "pressing WTO administrative issues".

Ranking

India up at 74th place on WEF’s global energy transition index

• India has been ranked at 74th position on the Global ‘Energy Transition Index’ by the World Economic Forum (WEF). India has moved up two positions with improvements on all key parameters of economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability.

• India is one of the few countries in the world to have made consistent year-on-year progress since 2015.

Days

International Family Day

• International Family Day observed globally on 15th May every year. This day is spread awareness about the importance of families and the role of the international community in the development of the families.

• The United Nation General Assembly proclaimed the International Year of the Families in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989.

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Important Current Affairs 9th May 2020

National

Defence Minister inaugurates link road to Mansarovar Yatra

• The 80 km long link road to Mansarovar Yatra was inaugurated recently by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The road starts from Dharchula in Uttarakhand to Lipulek, China Border.

•  The road will not only reduce the time taken to cover Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage but will also boost border area connectivity.

UP suspends labour laws for 1000 days to boost investment

• Uttar Pradesh government has decided to suspend majority of the labour laws for a period of 1000 years or over 3 years to attract investment. The move is expected to make UP a favourable destination for investment in existing and new industrial units.

• The government will soon set up a Japanese Help Desk to attract investors from Japan.

ICMR partners India Post for delivery of testing kits

• Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has entered into a tie-up with the India Post for delivery of its testing kits.

Defence Ministry signs contract with Tata Power SED for infra modernisation at 37 airfields

• The Ministry of Defence has signed a pact with the TATA POWER SED to modernize infrastructure of 37 airfields of Indian Air Force. The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore.

• The contract has been signed in Two Phases. Under 1st-Phase of the contract is to Modernization of Airfield Infrastructure, the airfields of the Indian Air Force were upgraded.

 Banking and Economy

AIIB approves USD 500 million loan to support India’s fight

• Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan worth of $500 million for India’s Emergency Response. The assistance will help India to scale up efforts to restrict the transmission of instances, strengthen the public health system to broaden its response capability and to improve preparedness to handle future outbreaks.

Nomura predicts Indian GDP for FY21 at -5.2%

• Nomura has made the following GDP growth/contraction prediction for India for various years:

• For year 2020 (Jan-Dec 2020)= -5.0% (contraction by 5%)

• For FY21 (April 2020 to March 2021)= -5.2% (contraction by 5.2%)

• For year 2021= 7.9%

Moody’s cuts India’s GDP growth to “zero” in FY21

• Moody’s cuts down India’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) growth to “zero” for the current fiscal 2020-21. Its previous estimate was 2.6%.

• In 2021-22 India’s GDP growth rate will bounce back to 6.6%.

Goldman Sachs predicts India’s GDP growth at -0.4% for FY21

• The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -0.4%.

• It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 0.4% in FY21.

Days

World Migratory Bird Day

• World Migratory Bird Day is observed globally on 9 May every year. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of migratory birds and the importance of international cooperation to conserve them.

• This time the theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2020 is “Birds Connect Our World”.

World Thalassaemia Day

• World Thalassaemia Day is observed on every 8th of May to create awareness about the disease and help thalassaemia patients lead a normal life.

• The theme for the International Thalassaemia Day 2020 is ‘The dawning of a new era for thalassaemia’.

• Thalassaemia is a blood disorder in which your body has less hemoglobin than normal.

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Important Current Affairs 3rd May 2020

National

CAIT to launch national e-commerce marketplace 'bharatmarket'

for retail traders

• Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) will soon launch a national e-commerce marketplace named ‘bharatmarket’ for all retail traders.

• The aim of the portal is to bring 95 percent of retail traders onboard the platform, who will be the shareholders. The portal will be run exclusively by the traders.

• The pilot of this project has been started in six cities — Prayagraj, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Lucknow, Kanpur and Bengaluru.

• The marketplace will integrate capabilities of various technology companies to provide end-to-end services in the logistics and supply chains from manufacturers to end consumers, including deliveries at home.

CSIR-Central Road Research Institute develops “KisanSabha App”

• The CSIR-Central Road Research Institute (CSIR-CRRI), New Delhi has developed a mobile app KisanSabha to connect farmers with supply chain and freight transportation management system.

• The app will enable the farmers in seed/ fertilizer procurement as well as their harvest reaching the market, among other things and thus facilitate the timely delivery of the produce at the best possible prices.

• The KisanSabha App will also help in providing best market rates of crops by comparing nearest mandis, booking of freight vehicle at cheapest cost thereby giving maximum benefit to the farmers.

Kashmir saffron gets GI tag

• Kashmiri saffron, the pride of Jammu & Kashmir, has finally been granted Geographical Indication (GI) tag, thus symbolizing its exclusivity in the international market.

• These saffrons are cultivated and harvested in the Karewas (high lands) of Jammu & Kashmir, by the local farmers, and are known for its unique qualities, which can only be found in saffrons grown and produced in J&K.

• The unique characteristics of Kashmir saffron – longer and thicker stigmas, natural deep-red colour of stigmas, high aroma, bitter flavour, chemical-free processing and high quantity of crocin (colouring strength), safranal (flavour) and picrocrocin (bitterness).

• In India, GI registration is administered by the Geographical Indications of Goods (Registration and Protection) Act, 1999 which came into force with effect from September 2003.  Darjeeling Tea(2004) is the 1st indian product to get a GI tag.

“Ramayana” becomes Highest Viewed Entertainment Programme Globally

• The epic mythological show Ramayan, by RamanandSagar, has scripted new world wide record of becoming the most watched entertainment programme in the world in 2020 as of April 16.

• This announcement was made by Doordharshan (DD) on its Twitter handle on 30 April 2020, based on the data released by Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) India.

• As per DD, Ramayan has also clocked the highest viewership record on a single day and has reported a viewership of 7.7 crore as of 16 April 2020.

• Besides this, the record has also contributed to make DD as one of the most viewed channels.

Science and Technology

NASA partners with private companies for Moon-to-Mars campaign

The US space agency NASA has partnered with SpaceX, Blue Origin and Dynetics to build lunar landing systems that can carry astronauts to the moon by 2024.

The mission is accelerated under the space agency’s Moon-to-Mars campaign.For this project, the three companies will share $967 million from NASA.

Obituary

Delhi Historian RV Smith Passes Away at 81

Eminent historian, author and columnist Ronald Vivian Smith, who is best known for his writings on Delhi, passed away due to age-related ailments. He was 81.

Padma Shri Freedom Fighter HemaBharali from Assam, passes away at 101

• Assam born renowned freedom fighter and Padma Shri awardee HemaBharali passed away in Guwahati suffering from prolonged illness.She was 101.

• HemaBharali, who was born on 19 February 1919 was an Indian freedom activist, social worker, Sarvodaya leader and Gandhian known for her contributions for the empowerment of women and efforts towards the upliftment of the socially and financially challenged sections of the society.

• She had received the Padma Shri in 2005.

Appointments and Resignations

Mouhamadou Diagne Appointed Vice President of Integrity at the World Bank Group

• World Bank Group President David Malpass today announced the appointment of Mouhamadou Diagne as Vice President of Integrity (INT) at the World Bank Group.

• Mouhamadou Diagne has a deep track record in protecting institutions against fraud and corruption and a strong leadership record in ensuring accountability, most recently at the Global Fund

Books and Authors

Union Culture Minister launches e-book “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered”

• Union Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel launched an e-book titled “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered”.E-book was launched on the occasion of centenary year of great archaeologist Professor B. B. Lal.

• E-book titled “Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered” has been prepared by the Ministry of culture along with Prof B BLal Centenary Celebration Committee.

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Important Current Affairs 24th April 2020

National

Defence Minister launched DRDO mobile testing lab

• Mobile virology research and diagnostics laboratory (MVRDL) can be positioned anywhere in the country and will be able to process over 1000 samples in a day that can speed the diagnosis.

• This mobile lab hae the capability of processing more than 1,000 samples in a day and hence, can enhance India’s capabilities.

National Shipping Board reconstituted by Government

• The National Shipping Board (NSB) has been reconstituted by the Central government and  Malini Shankar has been appointed as the head of the board. Malini is the former Director General of Shipping.

• The National Shipping Board is the premier advisory body for the Indian shipping. The board comprises sixteen members.

Banking and Economy

Remittances to India likely to decline by 23% in 2020: World Bank

• Remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 percent from $83 billion last year to $64 billion this year.

• Similarly, the global remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 percent this year, due to the economic crisis.

• Remittances to low and middle-income countries (LMICs) are projected to fall by 19.7 percent to $445 billion, from $554 billion in 2019.

Fitch Ratings sees global economy shrinking by 3.9% in 2020

• The Rating agency Fitch Ratings has slashed the global growth forecast and expects the world GDP to fall by 3.9 percent in 2020.

• The sharp downward revision is driven by a massive decline in Asian economies, led by China and India, both of which are estimated to post growth rate of less than 1 percent this year.

Obituary

Usha Ganguly, veteran theatre actor passes away

• Eminent theatre director, actor and activist, Usha Ganguly passed away. She was awarded the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for direction in 1998.

• She has also been honoured by the West Bengal Government as the best actress for the play Gudia Ghar.

• She was credited for introducing an alternative Hindi theatre in West Bengal, in the 1970s and 1980s.

Days

National Panchayati Raj Day

• Nation celebrates National Panchayati Raj Day on 24 April every year. The Ministry of Panchayati Raj organizes the National Panchayati Raj day or the National Local Self Government Day.

• The first National Panchayati Raj Day was declared by the then Prime Minister of India Shri Manmohan Singh, on 24 April 2010.

International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace

The International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace observed globally on 24 April. ‘International Day of Multilateralism and Diplomacy for Peace’ was first observed by the United Nations (UN) on April 24, 2019.

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