General Knowledge & Current Affairs

April 2020 - 1st to 7th

1. NATO chief appoints experts for reflection process

  • The NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg has announced the appointment of a group of experts on 31 March 2020.
  • This group to support his work in a reflection process to further strengthen NATO’s political dimension.

2. World Bank offers $1 billion to India for its project against COVID-19

  • The World Bank has offered $1 billion to the Indian government for India’s COVID-19 emergency response and health systems preparedness project which aims to develop the preparedness of India’s health care systems in the time of the pandemic.
  • The project will respond and mitigate the COVID-19 threat and strengthen national systems for public health preparedness in India, as per the project document.

1. Naval Dockyard Visakhapatnam designs multi-feed oxygen manifold

  • The Naval Dockyard at Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh has designed ‘Portable Multi – feed Oxygen Manifold (MOM)’.
  • This oxygen manifold is designed to supply oxygen to multiple patients at a time, which could prove helpful in a contingency created by COVID-19 spread.
  • The preliminary trials were conducted at MI Room at NDV, followed by rapid trials at the Naval Hospital INHS Kalyani, where it was successfully installed within 30 minutes.

2. GoI launches “Aarogya Setu” app to track COVID-19

  • “Aarogya Setu” is the official COVID-19 tracking app that has been launched by the Government of India.
  • The “Aarogya Setu” app has been developed by the National e-Governance Division of the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology in association with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

3. Ministry of Tourism launches ‘Stranded in India’ portal

  • The Ministry of Tourism has launched a portal ‘Stranded in India’ to help foreign tourists who are stuck in various parts of the country.
  • Its web address is

4. Validity extension of expired Driving Licences and Vehicle Registration

  • In an advisory to all states and Union Territories, the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has extended the validity of documents that expired since 1st February 2020.
  • The validity of these documents has been extended till 30th June 2020. The documents include fitness, driving licence, permits (all types), registration or any other concerned document under the Motor Vehicle Rules.

5. DARPG launches “National Monitoring Dashboard on COVID-19 Grievances”

  • The Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances (DARPG) has launched “National Monitoring Dashboard on COVID-19 Grievances” which will receive and monitor all grievances related to COVID-19 on a priority basis.
  • The portal will be updated and monitored at senior levels in Government daily to ensure timely implementation of COVID 19 Response Activities

6. Rapid response centre “CAWACH” set up by DST

  • The Department of Science & Technology, Government of India has approved to set up a rapid response centre “CAWACH stands for Centre for Augmenting WAR with COVID-19 Health Crisis (CAWACH)” at a total cost of Rs 56 Crore at Society for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (SINE), IIT Bombay.
  • The Centre is a rapid response centre which has been set up to scout, evaluate and support the innovations and start-ups that address COVID-19 challenges.

7. PM, President and MPs Salary reduced by 30%, MPLAD funds suspended for 2 years

  • The Union Cabinet has approved an ordinance which amends the salary, allowances as well as pension of the members of parliament. The approved ordinance reduces the allowances and pension by 30% starting from April 1, 2020, for a year due to the impact of the novel coronavirus.
  • All Members of Parliament (MPs), including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Council of Ministers, will face a 30% salary cut from April 1, 2020, for a year.
  • The Union Cabinet has also approved the temporary suspension of Member of Parliament Local Area Development (MPLAD) fund scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22. These funds will be used for managing health services and the adverse impact of COVID-19 pandemic in the country.

8. Low-cost ventilator “Prana-Vayu” developed by IIT-Roorkee

  • A low-cost portable ventilator called ‘Prana-Vayu’ has been developed by IIT-Roorkee in association with AIIMS-Rishikesh.
  • The ventilator can be manufactured in just Rs 25,000 and will be applicable for a wide degree of congestions in the respiratory tract and can be used for all age group patients, especially the elderly.
  • The closed-loop ventilator is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities & can prove useful in ensuring the safety of coronavirus patients.

9. ‘Caruna’ initiative launched by Civil servants to fight Coronavirus

  • An initiative ‘Caruna’ has been launched by the Civil services officers’ associations to support and supplement the government’s efforts in fighting coronavirus.
  • The initiative named as ‘Caruna’ stands for Civil Services Associations Reach to Support in Natural Disasters. As per the initiative, the officers have set up teams in sync with the 11 empowered groups created by the Narendra Modi government to tackle all issues related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

10. “Lifeline UDAN” initiative launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation

  • “Lifeline UDAN” is an initiative which has been launched by the Ministry of Civil Aviation to help India fight against COVID-19. Under this initiative, 132 cargo flights have been operated so far across the country to transport medical cargo including remote and hilly areas.
  • Medical supplies of more than 184 tons have been delivered till date during lockdown period with the support of Air India, Alliance Air, IAF and private airlines.

1. Andhra govt starts doorstep delivery of pensions

  • The Andhra Pradesh government has started distributing pensions at the doorstep to 58,44,240 beneficiaries.
  • They using its 2.5 lakh volunteer eliminating the need for pensioners to step out of their homes.
  • The aim is to encourage beneficiaries to stay at home and avoid stepping out.

2. Karnataka government launches ‘Corona Watch’ app

  • The state government of Karnataka has launched a mobile application ‘Corona Watch’. The mobile application aims to track the movement history of persons tested positive, before their detection in order to take precautions and to contain the coronavirus outbreak.
  • The app will also provide the date and time of visit to spots by the patients. ‘Corona Watch’ app also comprises a list of government-designated first response hospitals for COVID-19 where a citizen with symptoms can visit. In addition to the ‘Corona Watch’ app, the Karnataka government has also constituted a ten member Task Force on COVID-19.

3. “Active Case Finding Campaign” begins in Himachal Pradesh

  • Himachal Pradesh government has started “Active Case Finding Campaign” in the state.
  • The campaign has been rolled out in the state to provide information about the symptoms of COVID-19 to the people at their doorsteps.

4. Online cultural competition “Mo Prativa” launched in Odisha

  • An online cultural competition “Mo Prativa” has been launched by the Odisha government in collaboration with UNICEF to keep children engaged at home during the lockdown period.
  • The competition will enable children to participate in various activities such as painting, writing of slogans, short stories, poems, etc on the themes: Being at home during lockdown & My responsibility as a young citizen during COVID-19.

5. To sanitize people, ‘V Safe Tunnel’ installed in Telangana

  • To achieve the aim of sanitizing people, ‘V Safe Tunnel’ has been installed in Telangana at the state Director General of Police’s office.
  • A unique disinfectant named ‘V Safe Tunnel’ sanitizes people from any possible bacteria and other microbes within 20 seconds to minimize the local transmission of Coronavirus in the state.
  • The disinfectant consists of a combination of a water-soluble polymer and iodine in a form of spray and is effective against a virus such as SARS and Ebola.

1. PNB Housing Finance signs agreement with JICA to raise $75 million

  • Punjab National Bank Housing Finance has signed a pact with Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to raise 75 million dollars.
  • The Citibank will be co-financing 25 million dollars in order to finance the mortgage loans in the affordable housing segment.
  • The tie-up also states first debt funding ever done by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in the housing finance sector in India.

1. DRDO develops bio-suit “Personal Protective Equipment”

  • A bio suit named as “Personal Protective Equipment” has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
  • The bio suit has been fabricated by DRDO to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19 safe from the deadly virus.
  • The DRDO is also trying to ensure the production of bio suits in large numbers. DRDO is seeking bio suits to serve as a robust line of defence for the medics, paramedics and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19.

2. IIT Kanpur to develop low-cost portable ventilator

  • Amidst the rising cases of COVID-19 in the country, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT)-Kanpur is developing portable ventilators which will be significantly cheaper than the ones available in the market.
  • The prototype of this ventilator will be ready very soon and just after assembling, it can be used as a life support system.
  • The ventilator is a very important medical equipment for COVID-19 Patients, especially those who are old and the virus can prove fatal to them.

3. IIT Guwahati team develops drone to sanitise large areas

  • A team of Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati has developed a drone to sanitize large areas such as roads, parks, and footpaths.
  • The drone comprises automated sprayer which will help the authorities to sanitize large areas to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

4. NASA unveils plan for “Artemis” base camp on the moon by 2024

  • NASA has unveiled its plans to set up the first human base camp “Artemis” on Moon’s south pole by the year 2024.
  • The space agency is working on the Artemis program that aims to land humans on the moon by 2024. It has also submitted a 13-page report to the National Space Council.
  • As per the report, the base camp will demonstrate the US’s continued leadership in space as well as help them prepare to undertake humanity’s first mission to Mars.

1. Peta India honours CM Naveen Patnaik for feeding animals

  • Animal rights body People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India has conferred Chief Minister of Odisha, Naveen Patnaik with ‘Hero to Animals Award’ for allocating funds to feed community animals in Odisha during the lockdown over the novel coronavirus pandemic.
  • CM approved of Rs 54 lakhs from a relief fund to feed animals of the community to ensure that the animals do not go starving in such conditions

1. NTPC appoints Dilip Kumar Patel as director HR

  • National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Limited appointed Dilip Kumar Patel as its Director Human resources on 1 April. Patel has been the HR Head in various NTPC projects like NSPCL Bhilai, Sipat, and Tanda for around 12 years.
  • He was also the Regional Head of HR in the Eastern Region-2 before he was appointed as the Director (HR).

2. L. Duraiswamy appointed as new MD of Sundaram Home Finance

  • Lakshminarayanan Duraiswamy has assumed the charge as new Managing Director of the Sundaram Home Finance.
  • He has replaced Srinivas Acharya who was serving as the Managing Director of Sundaram Home Finance since 2010.

3. GoI extends tenure of Madhabi Puri Buch as WTM at SEBI

  • The Government of India has extended the term of Madhabi Puri Buch as a Whole Time Member (WTM) at the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) by 6 months.
  • She is the first woman Whole Time Member (WTM) of SEBI who is also the first from the private sector to be appointed as a board member in SEBI.
  • She was appointed by the Government of India as the Whole Time Member (WTM) at Securities and Exchange Board of India in 2017

4. UB Pravin Rao appointed as the new chairman of NASSCOM

  • The Chief Operating Officer of Infosys, UB Pravin Rao has been appointed as the new chairman of the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) for 2020-21.
  • Rao will be succeeding Keshav Murugesh, the Group CEO, WNS Global Services.

1. Tony Lewis of ‘DLS method’ fame passes away

  • Tony Lewis, one of the men behind the Duckworth-Lewis-Stern (DLS) method passed away.
  • Lewis received an MBE (Member of the Order of the British Empire) for his services to cricket and mathematics in 2010

2. Legendary historian Arjun Dev passes away

  • The legendary historian and educationist, Professor Arjun Dev passed away. He was born on November 12, 1938, in Leiah, West Punjab (now in Pakistan). He served as a historian at the National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT).

3. Padma Shri awardee Bhai Nirmal Singh passes away

  • A Padma Shri awardee and former ‘Hazuri Raagi’ at the Golden Temple, Bhai Nirmal Singh passed away after testing positive for COVID-19.
  • He was a Gurbani exponent at the Golden Temple in Amritsar, Punjab and was having the knowledge of all 31 “raags” in the Gurbani of the Guru Granth Sahib. He was awarded the Padma Shri award in 2009

4.Gita Ramjee “World-renowned virologist” passed away

  • World-renowned virologist of South Africa, Gita Ramjee passed away after contracting the novel coronavirus.
  • She was a “Vaccine” scientist and an HIV prevention research leader currently working as the chief scientific officer at the Aurum Institute.
  • In 2018, she was awarded the Outstanding Female Scientist Award in Lisbon for her lifetime commitment towards finding new HIV prevention methods

1. Domino’s Pizza launches ‘Domino’s Essentials’ service

  • Domino’s Pizza has partnered with ITC Foods to launch “Domino’s Essentials”. Through “Domino’s Essentials” service, everyday grocery essentials offered by ITC Foods will be delivered while leveraging the delivery infrastructure of Domino’s.
  • This partnership aims to serve the community by ensuring uninterrupted supply of essential items at their doorsteps, without them having to step outside of their homes.

2. BharatPe & ICICI Lombard tie up to launch COVID-19 insurance

  • BharatPe inks partnership with ICICI Lombard General Insurance Company Limited to introduce ‘COVID-19 Protection Insurance Cover’.
  • This Insurance cover for shopkeepers, who are most affected financially due to Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

3. Uber will provide transportation service to public healthcare workers

  • The National Health Authority (NHA) has inked a pact with “Uber” to provide transportation services to public healthcare workers who are involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
  • The transportation service will be provided by Uber via UberMedic cars. As per the signed pact, Uber will provide 150 cars free of cost to support medical facilities in certain cities

4. IIM-B & ICICI Securities teams up to launch program for fintech startups

  • As a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative, ICICI Securities (I-Sec) has partnered with IIM Bangalore’s startup hub N S Raghavan Centre of Entrepreneurial Learning (NSRCEL) to launch program for fintech startups having the duration of 15 months.
  • The startups working in the fields of insurance, personal finance, banking, trading, wealth advisory, payments, lending and taxation can avail the benefits of the program

5. Britannia Industries partners with Dunzo to deliver essential items

  • An online delivery platform, Dunzo has tied up with packaged foods company Britannia Industries to deliver a range of products to its customers.
  • Britannia Essentials store has been launched by Britannia Industries, which will be available to Dunzo app users.
  • The batch of essential products produced by Britannia Industries will be available at Britannia’s distribution centers and will be sourced by Dunzo from distribution centers to ensure proper handling of goods as well as the availability of these products to the people.

1. SBI lists USD 100 million green bonds on India INX

  • State Bank of India has listed green bonds of $100 million (about Rs 750 crore) on BSE’s India International Exchange (India INX).
  • The bank has listed green bonds under its USD 10 billion global medium-term note programme on India INX’s Global Securities Market Green Platform (GSM).

1. “Asian Development Outlook 2020” released by Asian Development Bank

  • The Asian Development Bank has released its annual economic publication “Asian Development Outlook 2020” in which it has projected India’s growth to slow down to 4% in the current fiscal year i.e. 2020-2021 citinh weak global demand and the government’s novel coronavirus containment efforts for the slow down in Indian economy.
  • But for fiscal year 2021-2022, ADB has projected India’s growth to strengthen to 6.2%, boosted by government reforms.

1. UN COP26 Climate Change Summit postponed to 2021

  • The United Nation’s COP26 climate change conference which was set to take place in Glasgow in November has been postponed till next year due to COVID-19.
  • The decision to postpone the conference was taken by the COP Bureau of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the UK and its Italian partners 

1. World Athletics championship shifted to 2022

  • The 2021 World Athletics Championships which was originally scheduled to held in Eugene, Oregon from August 6-15, 2021 will now be held in 2022 as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.
  • The World Athletics is also in discussions with the Commonwealth Games Federation and the European Championships, as both of the events are due to be held in 2022.

2. Wimbledon 2020 cancelled due to coronavirus

  • The Wimbledon 2020 has been cancelled for the first time since World War II due to coronavirus pandemic. The cancellation of the tournament was announced by All England Club (AELTC) after an emergency meeting.
  • The tournament has been cancelled due to public health concerns linked to the Novel Coronavirus pandemic. The tournament was due to be played between 29 June and 12 July 2020

3. Olympic Council of Asia unveils the mascot of 19th Asian Games

  • The Olympic Council of Asia has unveiled the official mascots of the 19th Asian Games scheduled to be held in Hangzhou in 2022.
  • The three robots namely Congcong, Lianlian, and Chenchen which are collectively known as œThe Smart Triplets are the official mascots of the 19th Asian Games, unveiled by the Olympic Council of Asia at a digital launch ceremony held in Hangzhou, China. The Smart Triplets symbolizes the internet prowess of Hangzhou city and Zhejiang province.

4. Malaysia & Thailand weightlifters banned from Tokyo Olympics 2020

  • The Independent Member Federation Sanctions Panel of the International Weightlifting Federation has suspended the Malaysia & Thailand weightlifters from competing in Tokyo Olympics 2020.
  • The disciplinary sanctions have been imposed by IMSP on both the countries from participating in weightlifting events at the Tokyo Olympics for doping violations

1. 112-year-old Bob Weighton confirmed as world’s oldest man

  • The Guinness World Records has been officially confirmed Bob Weighton, from the United Kingdom, as the oldest person living (male) at 112 Years and 1 day as of 30 March 2020.
  • Bob Weighton received the record title after Mr Chitetsu Watanabe of Japan passed away on February 23rd 2020 at 112 years and 355 days.

2. GoI introduced dedicated Twitter handle for COVID-19 updates

  • The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has launched a dedicated Twitter handle for COVID-19 updates.
  • This dedicated twitter handle has been set up to share news and updates about the novel coronavirus.
  • The account is named as #IndiaFightsCorona and it uses the handle @CovidnewsbyMIB.
  • The twitter handle would be responsible for sharing authentic information and all updates on Novel Coronavirus. In its first tweet, the dedicated twitter handle has shared the helpline numbers for information on the COVID-19 pandemic.

3. Online Hackathon “Hack the Crisis-India” launched

  • Online Hackathon “Hack the Crisis-India”, a part of a global initiative has been launched to find the working solutions to overcome the COVID 19 pandemic.
  • The hackathon was launched by Minister of State Electronics & Information Technology, Communications and Human Resource Development, Sanjay Dhotre.
  • The “Hack the Crisis-India” hackathon will be organised by ‘Hack A Cause-India’ and ‘Ficci Ladies Organization Pune’ along with the support of Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology, Government of India (MEITY).

1. International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda observed globally

  • International Day of Reflection on the 1994 Genocide against the Tutsi in Rwanda is being observed globally on 7 April every year.
  • The day was announced by the United General Assembly in 2003. Through the day, UNESCO aims to educate the world population regarding genocides and the consequences of the crime

1. India’s Naval Dockyard designs low-cost temperature sensor gun

  • Indian Navy’s Naval Dockyard in Mumbai has designed and developed its own handheld infrared-based temperature sensor gun for the screening of personnel in a bid to limit the spread of COVID-19.
  • Since the outbreak of the virus, temperature guns and non-contact thermometers have become scarce in the country.

2. Under ‘Operation Sanjeevani’, IAF airlifts essential drugs to the Maldives

  • Under the ‘Operation Sanjeevani’, the Indian Air Force has air-lifted 6.2 tonnes of essential medical supplies to the Maldives via transport aircraft C-130J as an assistance in the fight against the COVID 19.
  • The medicines procured from various cities were delivered by a Hercules aircraft of Indian Air Force
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