General Knowledge & Current Affairs

April 2020 - 14th to 20th

ADB increases its COVID-19 Response Package to $20 Billion

  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has increased the size of its COVID-19 Response Package to $20 Billion.
  • The amount in the COVID-19 Response Package was initially $6.5 billion as per announcement in March 2020 as ADB’s response to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic.
  • ADB has also approved ways and means to streamline its actions for quicker and more flexible delivery of assistance.

1. AIM’s, NITI Aayog & NIC jointly launches “CollabCAD”

  • Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and National Informatics Centre (NIC) have jointly launched Collaborative CAD Software (CollabCAD).
  • CollabCAD is a collaborative network, computer-enabled software system, providing a total engineering solution from 2D drafting & detailing to 3D product design.

2. Tourism Ministry launches “#DekhoApnaDesh” webinar series

  • A webinar series titled “#DekhoApnaDesh” has been launched by the Indian Tourism Ministry.
  • This unique series has been launched by the tourism ministry to provide information on many destinations and culture & heritage of Incredible India.

3. NIOS to run live counseling sessions on free-to-air DTH channels

  • The National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) is going to run live counseling sessions on free-to-air DTH channels for secondary and senior secondary levels respectively in order to overcome the loss of academic time of the students.

4. Google launches ‘Nearby Spot’ to help users find local stores

  • Google has launched ‘Nearby Spot’ under “Google Pay” to assist users to find local stores selling essentials like groceries that are open, amid the lockdown.
  • The Google “Nearby Spot” is going to be launched in Hyderabad, Chennai, Mumbai, Pune, and Delhi soon.

5. National Conference on Kharif crops 2020 held

  • The National Conference on Kharif crops 2020 was held through video conference to discuss various issues and to list out measures in consultation with the States about their preparedness for Kharif cultivation amid the lockdown situation.
  • The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar addressed the conference and emphasized on achieving the aim of kharif target and take up doubling of farmers’ income in the mission mode.

6. “National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage of India” launched

  • The “National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India” has been launched by the Union Minister for Culture (I/C) Prahlad Singh Patel.
  • The “National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India”, which is a part of the Vision 2024 of the Ministry of Culture, raises awareness about the various intangible cultural heritage elements from different parts of India at national as well as international level.
  • It also recognizes the diversity of Indian culture instilled in its intangible heritage and aims to ensure its protection.

1.YSR Nirman and COVID-19 portals launched by Andhra Govt

  • YSR Nirman and COVID-19 portals have been launched by the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh to fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.
  • The YSR Nirman is a web platform that assists the various departments to acquire cement and connects the various stakeholders such as Cement Manufacturers Association, manufacturing companies and government departments.
  • The AP Industries COVID- 19 portal enables the MSME manufacturers as well as suppliers within the State to register themselves. The manufacturers and suppliers with UAM and GST can register themselves within the portal in order to create and supply essential items associated with COVID-19.

2. Chhattisgarh govt launches ‘Cghaat’ website for home delivery

  • Chief Minister of Chhattisgarh Bhupesh Baghel, has recently launched a website ‘Cghaat’ to provide home delivery of fruits and vegetables during the lockdown.
  • The website has been designed and developed by Chhattisgarh government’s agency Chips.

3. UP govt join hands with Google to geotag community kitchens

  • Uttar Pradesh Government joined hands with tech giant Google to formed geotag community kitchens in the state.
  • The kitchens produce 12 lakh food packets on a daily basis. Now, Uttar Pradesh became the 1st state to geotag community kitchens. Around 7,368 community kitchens located in 75 districts were geotagged.

1. Fitch slashes India’s GDP growth forecast to 1.8%

  • Fitch Solutions has slashed India’s economic growth forecast to 1.8% for the financial year 2020-21. Fitch Solutions has lowered India’s economic growth forecast from 4.6% stating large-scale loss of income across the economy due to domestic outbreak of COVID-19, causing contracted private consumption.
  • It has also predicted the contraction in fixed investments as capital expenditure has been reduced by businesses to conserve cash amid elevated economic uncertainty.

1. CeNS develops sensor for heavy metal detection in water

  • A compact and portable solid-state sensor has been developed by the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS) to detect the heavy metal ions in water.
  • The solid-state sensor is a portable device which can help in onsite detection of heavy metal ions in water in remote areas.
  • This compact solid-state sensor detects the presence of heavy metal ions such as lead, mercury and cadmium, which can pose severe potential threats to living beings.

2. ARI Pune develops “bug sniffer” for detection of pathogens

  • For the rapid detection of pathogens, a device named “bug sniffer” has been developed by the researchers at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune.
  • Bug Sniffer is a sensitive and low-cost sensor that has been developed with the purpose of rapid detection of pathogens.
  • The newly developed portable device can detect as low as ten bacterial cells from a sample size of one milliliter in time duration of just 30 minutes.

3. IIT Ropar develops ‘WardBot’ for COVID-19 patients

  • Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Ropar (Punjab) has developed & designed a ‘WardBot’ to deliver medicines and food to COVID-19 patients in isolation wards without human intervention.
  • WardBot also has a feature of self-sanitising on the return path and could be used for sanitising walls of the hospitals.

1. Abdelouahab Aissaoui wins 13th International Arab fiction prize 2020

  • Algerian writer Abdelouahab Aissaoui has won the 13th International Arab fiction prize 2020 for his novel ‘The Spartan Court’ published by Dar Min in 2018.
  • ‘The Spartan Court’ is a historical novel that relates the power struggle between Ottoman and French colonial powers in Algeria.

2. Tata Power wins Edison Award for its social innovation campaign

  • Tata Power has won the Edison Award for its social innovation campaign ‘Club Enerji #Switchoff2SwitchOn’. Tata Power is India’s largest integrated power company.
  • The Edison Awards is presented to honour the world’s best innovations and innovators.

1. Birupaksha Mishra becomes new Executive Director of Union Bank of India

  • Birupaksha Mishra becomes new Executive Director of Union Bank of India, after its amalgamation with Corporation Bank and Andhra Bank. Prior to this, Birupaksha Mishra was Executive Director at Corporation Bank. He started his banking career as a Probationary Officer in the year 1984.
  • He has worked in various parts of the country and has handled Credit and Credit Monitoring Portfolio of the Bank and headed IT vertical of the Bank.

2. Ajay Mahajan appointed as new MD & CEO of “CARE Ratings”

  • Ajay Mahajan will replace Rajesh Mokashi as the new Managing Director & Chief Executive of credit rating agency “CARE Ratings”.
  • He started his career with Bank of America in 1990 and went on to become MD & Country Head of Global Markets Group.

3. Viswanathan Anand joins WWF India as ambassador

  • WWF (World Wide Fund) India has appointed World chess champion Viswanathan Anand as its ambassador for the environmental education programme.
  • Anand lends his support to the conservation and protection of the environment.

4. IWF chief Tamas Ajan resigns during a corruption investigation

  • International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) President Tamas Ajan resigned within the wake of allegations of corruption and doping violations.
  • American Ursula Papandrea will lead the federation as Acting President

1. Former pro golfer Doug Sanders passes away

  • Former pro golfer Doug Sanders passed away. He was known as the “peacock of the fairways” for his stylish and bright-hued clothing.
  • He won 20 titles on the PGA Tour including the 1956 Canadian Open and four runner-up finishes in majors with the 1970 Open Championship.

2. Freedom fighter R V Bhuskute passes away

  • Freedom fighter R V Bhuskute, who had participated in the Quit India Movement passed away.
  • Bhuskute wrote several books on land laws and worked for the release and rehabilitation of bonded labourers in tribal areas of the state.

3. Oscar-winning animator and filmmaker Gene Deitch passes away

  • Oscar-winning animator, film director and producer, Gene Deitch passed away. His movie “Munro” won the Oscar award in the animated short film category in 1960.
  • He directed some episodes of “Tom and Jerry” and also some episodes of “Popeye the Sailor” series. He received the Winsor McCay Award for his lifelong contribution to animation in 2004.

YES Bank extends bancassurance partnership with Max Life Insurance

  • YES Bank has announced the extension of its strategic bancassurance relationship with the Max Life Insurance.
  • The tie-up has been extended for 5-years in order to reaffirm their commitment to invest in building a digitally-enabled ecosystem, to offer customers a broad range of need-based products and services in order to provide a seamless experience for customers.

1. SBI to waive service charges for all ATM transactions

  • India’s largest lender, State Bank of India has made an announcement to waive service charges for all ATM transactions made on SBI ATMs and on the other bank ATMs on account of exceeding the free number of transactions up to 30th June 2020.
  • So, any customer having a debit card from a SBI bank will be allowed to withdraw cash from any other bank’s ATM without incurring any additional charges till 30th June, 2020.

2. RBI cancels the licence of Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank of Goa Ltd

  • The licence of the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank of Goa Ltd. has been cancelled by the Reserve Bank of India.
  • The central bank has issued an order, barring the bank to carry on banking business, with effect from the close of business on April 16, 2020.
  • Hence, the Urban Co-operative Bank has been refrained from running the business of ‘banking’ which comprises of acceptance of deposits as well as repayment of deposits as defined in Section 5 (b) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 with immediate effect.

3. RBI announces measures to mitigate impact of COVID-19

  • The Reserve Bank of India has announced a set of measures to mitigate the effect of COVID-19. Among the major announcements, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to reduce the reverse repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) by 25 basis points from 4% to 3.75% with immediate effect.
  • While the policy repo rate, MSF rate and the Bank rate will remain same as per decision taken in RBI’s 7th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20.

World Bank releases “South Asia Economic Focus” report

  • World Bank has released a report titled “South Asia Economic Focus”. The report forecasts a sharp economic fall in each of the region’s eight countries.
  • The cause of the sharp economic fall have been stated as the halting economic activity, collapsing trade as well as greater stress in the financial and banking sectors which is a result of COVID-19 outbreak.
  • The report states that the regional growth will get dropped to a range between 1.8% and 2.8% in 2020, down from 6.3% that was projected 6 months ago.

1. Nirmala Sitharaman attends 2nd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting

  • The virtual session of the 2nd G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) meeting was attended by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman.
  • The meeting was held under the presidency of Saudi Arabia with its prime objective to discuss the global economic outlook amid advancing COVID-19 pandemic crisis. G20 members shared an Action Plan to combat COVID-19 in order to protect lives, safeguard people’s jobs and incomes, preserve financial stability, revive growth and recover stronger.

2. 44th session of World Heritage Committee of UNESCO postponed

  • The 44th session of the UNESCO’s World Heritage Committee has been postponed due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The session would have been hosted by the Chinese government in Fuzhou of eastern China’s Fujian Province from 29th June to 9th July 2020.
  • The announcement of the decision was made by China’s Ministry of Education.

1. India will host Asian Boxing Championship in November

  • The National Sports Federation of India has announced that it will host the Asian Boxing Championships for men and women in November-December this year.
  • The host city of the competition is not yet decided.

2. Tour de France postponed due to Coronavirus Pandemic

  • The world-famous cycle race tournament “Tour de France” has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The three-week race that was set to start on the 27th of June in the Riviera city, France.

3. “Feifei” to be the mascot for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games

  • “Feifei” to be the mascot for Hangzhou 2022 Asian Para Games, China. The 4th Asian Para Games are going to be held from October 9-15, 2022, featuring 22 sports with Taekwondo and Para-Canoe to form their Games debuts.
  • The mascot helps to bring the Games to life for everybody, from the athletes to the spectators.

A book titled “Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P.V. Sindhu”, released

  • Sports journalist, V. Krishnaswamy, authored a book titled “Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P.V. Sindhu”, released.
  • The book narrates the journey of badminton player PV Sindhu, from her early life to becoming a world champion and what lies ahead.

1. Agriculture Minister launches “Kisan Rath” Mobile App

  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has launched a mobile application “Kisan Rath” to facilitate transportation of foodgrains and perishables during the lockdown.
  • The mobile application “Kisan Rath” has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) to provide farmers & traders in finding transport vehicles for Primary and Secondary transportation for the movement of Agriculture & Horticulture produce.

2. ‘Assess Koro Na’ app launched by Delhi government

  • The Delhi Government has launched ‘Assess Koro Na’ mobile application and advised the officials to use the new ‘Assess Koro Na’ app to do door-to-door survey in COVID-19 containment zones.
  • This mobile application will speed up decision-making by analysing the real-time data and hence removing a major obstacle in the efforts to contain the virus.

3. Facebook launches 3rd party fact check system in Bangladesh

  • Social media platform, Facebook has announced to launch a third party fact checking system in Bangladesh.
  • Facebook has partnered with an Indian fact checking website “Boom” for a third party fact checking system in Bangladesh. The fact checking system will focus on discouraging the spread of fake news in the country by reviewing and rating the stories, including photos and videos.

4. BCCI creates ‘Team Mask Force’ to spread awareness against COVID-19

  • Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has created a video to promote wearing masks in public places and help the country to fight against COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The ‘Team Mask Force’ has been formed to spread awareness about wearing masks in public places.

1. World Art day celebrated on 15 April

  • World Art Day is celebrated globally on 15 April every year to promote the development, diffusion and enjoyment of art.
  • This day is being celebrated all over the world to emphasize the importance of art that nurtures creativity, innovation and cultural diversity for all peoples across the globe.

2. World Heritage Day 2020 observed globally on 18 April

  • World Heritage Day 2020 observed globally on 18 April every year to preserve the human heritage and to recognise all the efforts of relevant organizations.
  • The theme of World Heritage Day 2020 is Shared Culture, Shared heritage and Shared responsibility.

US approves sale of Anti-ship Missiles & Torpedoes to India

  • The United States has announced the sale of Harpoon air-launched anti-ship missiles and Mark 54 lightweight torpedoes to India to enhance India’s deterrent capabilities against “regional threats” and also to strengthen its homeland defence.
  • The Defense Security Cooperation Agency has stated that the sale of 10 AGM-84L Harpoon Block II air-launched missiles, 16 MK 54 All Up Round Lightweight Torpedoes and three MK 54 Exercise Torpedoes are estimated to cost USD 155 million.
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