General Knowledge & Current Affairs

March 2020 - 15th to 21st

1: Philippines becomes 1st country to suspend all financial markets

  • The Philippine Stock Exchange was closed on 17th of March indefinitely, while currency and bond trading were suspended.

2: Phase-I clinical Human trial of coronavirus vaccine begins in US

  • The United State has commenced the phase one of the clinical Human trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against the coronavirus disease which has claimed the lives of over 7,000 people globally. The trial has been started at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle.

3: $100 Billion coronavirus relief package signed by Donald Trump

  • The $100 Billion coronavirus relief package aims to strengthen the protective measures against the pandemic caused by COVID-19.
  • To ensure sick leave to Americans workers who fall ill from the new coronavirus, President of the United States, Donald Trump has signed a $100-billion emergency aid package.
  • The relief package will facilitate free coronavirus testing for those who need it, sick pay and paid family leave.

4: Greece hands over Olympic flame to Tokyo 2020

  • The Olympic Flame was handed over to Tokyo 2020 organizers after the Greece leg of torch relay suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The Tokyo Olympic games are slated to be held from July 24 to August 9.

5: Iraqi President appoints Adnan al-Zurfi as new PM-designate

  • Iraqi President Barham Salih has appointed Adnan al-Zurfi as the country’s new prime minister.
  • He will succeed Mohammed Allawi, the 1st politician named by the president as PM-designate who withdrew his candidacy for the post.

1: Innovate for Accessible India campaign launched to empower PwD

  • Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation have jointly launched Innovate for Accessible India campaign to empower people with disabilities with the help of technology and tools to provide better integration into society and access to equal opportunities.
  • The campaign has been launched in partnership with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, National Research and Education Network, and Department of Science and Technology.

2: SC clears permanent commission for women in Indian Navy

  • The Supreme court of India cleared permanent commission for women officers in the Indian Navy.
  • A bench headed by Justice D Y Chandrachud said, there cannot be any excuses for not granting gender equality in the armed forces.
  • The court was contrary to the Centre’s policy of 1991 and 1998 which lifted the statutory bar on the induction of women officers in the Navy.
  • It also granted pension benefits to women officers who have retired and were not granted permanent commission.

3: Ranjan Gogoi takes oath as Member of Rajya Sabha

  • Former Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi took oath as a nominated member of Rajya Sabha.
  • He was nominated to Rajya Sabha by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind. His nomination was made to fill in the vacancy created after the retirement of KTS Tulsi.

4: RBI to infuse Rs 30,000 crore to boost liquidity

  • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will infuse liquidity of Rs 30,000 crore by purchasing of Government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) to maintain financial stability in the Indian economy.
  • RBI has took this decision to boost liquidity in order to ensure that all markets segments function normally with adequate liquidity and turnover, as certain financial market segments are facing stress due to COVID-19 outbreak.

1: CRPF & Aditya Mehta foundation sign MoU to enable the ‘Divyang Warriors’

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) inked a deal with a disability support NGO Aditya Mehta Foundation, to train its troops, who lost their limbs in operations, in various skills including cyber operations, artificial intelligence and para-sports.

2: Oil India signs COSA agreement with Numaligarh Refinery

  • India’s second-largest national oil explorer, Oil India Limited (OIL) has inked the Crude Oil Sales Agreement (COSA) with Numaligarh Refinery.
  • The COSA agreement will be effective for a term of five years, i.e. from 1 April, 2020 to 31 March 2025.

3: L&T Services and IIT-Kanpur collaborate for research in industrial cyber security

  • The Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur and L&T Technology Services have collaborated to carry out joint research in industrial and infrastructure cybersecurity.
  • They will jointly set up a Center of Excellence (COE) at the IIT Kanpur campus and conduct research in the areas of Honeypot, intrusion detection systems, malware analysis, block chain, vulnerability assessment and penetration testing and provide cyber security awareness and training programs.

4: APEDA signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with SFAC for development of agriculture sector

  • Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) and Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC)has signed an MoU for the development of agriculture and allied sectors as well as its exports for bringing better value to the stakeholders.
  • They will also work towards capacity development, awareness programs, outreach programs and workshops of various stakeholders.
  • APEDA will facilitate certification of organic produce/areas by the Farmer Producer Companies (FPCs) assisted or identified by SFAC.

1: Hirdesh Kumar becomes new Chief Electoral Officer of J&K

  • The Election Commission of India (ECI) has been appointed Hirdesh Kumar as the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) of Jammu and Kashmir Union Territory.
  • Hridesh Kumar is a 1999 batch IAS officer & presently serving as Commissioner Secretary in the School Education Department of J&K.

2: Karan Bajwa becomes new MD of Google Cloud India

  • Google Cloud India has appointed Karan Bajwa as its new Managing Director.
  • Karan Bajwa will manage various operations for Google Cloud’s extensive solution portfolio such as Google Cloud Platform and G Suite. He has earlier served as the Managing Director of IBM for India and South Asia.

3: Arundhati Bhattacharya resigns from Crisil board

  • Arundhati Bhattacharya has submitted her resignation from Crisil board. She was serving as the independent director of the Crisil.
  • Her resignation will be effective on April 15, 2020. She has submitted her resignation as she will be joining as a Chairperson and CEO for the India operations of Salesforce, USA.

4: Ajay Kumar becomes India’s next High Commissioner to Republic of Uganda

  • Ajay Kumar has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Uganda.
  • Ajay Kumar is currently posted as the Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs. Ajay Kumar is a 2001 batch IFS officer.

1: 7th World Cities Summit to be held in Singapore

  • The 7th World Cities Summit (WCS) will be held in Singapore. It is organized by Singapore’s Centre for Livable Cities and the Urban Redevelopment Authority.
  • The theme for WCS 2020 is “Livable and Sustainable Cities: Adapting to a Disrupted World”.

1: Viktor Axelsen & Tai Tzu Ying wins All England Championship

  • Viktor Axelsen of Denmark and Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei have won the men’s and women’s singles title respectively at All England Championship held in Birmingham, England.
  • Tai Tzu Ying of Chinese Taipei defeated Chinese Chen Yu Fei by 21-19, 21-15 to win the women’s singles title of All England Championship.

2: Achanta Sharath Kamal wins men’s singles title in Oman Open

  • Achanta Sharath Kamal has won the ITTF Challenger Plus Oman Open men’s singles title. He defeated Marcos Freitas of Portugal by 4-2 in the final match.

3: ATK FC wins record 3rd Indian Super League title

  • The Indian Super League is a football league in India, under licence from the All India Football Federation (AIFF). It is one of the two co-existing premier football leagues in India along with I-League.
  • ATK FC (Football Club) defeated Chennaiyin FC by a score of 3-1 in the final match to win the ISL (Indian Super League) trophy.
  • Javier Hernandez and Edu Garcia were the goal scorers for ATK FC in the final match. ATK (Atlético de Kolkata) is an Indian professional football club based in Kolkata, West Bengal.

1: DAC approves procurement of Tejas fighter aircraft for IAF

  • The Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has approved the procurement of indigenous Tejas fighter aircraft for Indian Air Force. 83 indigenous Tejas fighter aircrafts will be procured for the Indian Air Force.
  • The Defence Acquisition Council has also approved the acquisition of indigenous defence equipments worth Rs 1,300 crore.

2: Defence Ministry signs contract with Israeli firm for LMG

  • The Ministry of Defence has signed the capital acquisition contract of worth Rs 880 crore with Israel Weapons Industries for the procurement of Light Machine Gun (LMGs).
  • The Light Machine Guns were the long-standing requirement of Indian Armed Forces. Negev 7.62 X 51 mm LMG which is a combat weapon, is being used globally and expected to enhance the lethality as well as the range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon.


1: National Vaccination Day: 16th March

  • India observes National Vaccination Day every year on 16th March which is also known as National Immunization Day.

2: Ordnance Factories Day observed on 18th March

  • The Ordnance Factories’ Day is being observed on the 18th of March every year. OFB is the 37th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.
  • OFB is referred to as the “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the “Force Behind the Armed Forces” of India.

3: Global Recycling Day observed globally on 18th March

  • Global Recycling Day is observed globally on 18th March every year.
  • This day was first observed on March 18, 2018, by the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR) and celebrated globally every year to raise awareness of the importance of recycling.
  • The Global Recycling Foundation announces “Recycling Heroes” as the theme for third Global Recycling Day. The main aim of the day is to turn ‘waste’ into a valuable resource.

4: International Day of Happiness observed globally on 20 March

  • International Day of Happiness is celebrated globally on 20th March every year. The 2020 International Day of Happiness campaign theme is ‘Happiness For All, Together’.

5: International Nowruz Day celebrated globally on 21 March

  • International Nowruz Day is being celebrated globally on 21 March every year.
  • International Nowruz Day is being observed to celebrate “Nowruz’ which is an ancestral festivity and marks the first day of spring which is celebrated on the occasion of the astronomical vernal equinox that generally occurs on 21 March.

6: World Poetry Day celebrated globally on 21 March

  • World Poetry Day is observed globally on 21 March every year. World Poetry Day is being observed annually to support linguistic diversity through poetic expression and to offer endangered languages the opportunity to be heard within their communities.
  • UNESCO recognized 21st of March as World Poetry Day during its 30th session which was held in Paris in 1999.

7: International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination: 21 March

  • The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed globally on 21 March every year.
  • International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination 2020 is focused on the midterm review of the International Decade for People of African Descent.

8: International Day of Forests celebrated on 21 March

  • International Day of Forests is celebrated every year on 21 March to raise awareness of the importance of all types of forests.
  • On this day, countries are encouraged to undertake local, national and international efforts to organize activities involving forests and trees. The theme for International Day of Forests 2020: Forests and Biodiversity.

1: World’s first commercial flying car PAL-V to be built in Gujarat

  • World’s first commercial flying car named ‘PAL-V Liberty’ will be developed in Gujarat, India. PAL-V stands for Personal Air-Land Vehicle.
  • The PAL-V Liberty is a combination of a car and an autogiro, or gyroplane. The PAL-V flying car can run at a speed of 160 kilometers on road and can fly at a speed of 180 km.

1: Bollywood actor Imtiaz Khan passes away

  • Bollywood actor Imtiaz Khan passed away. He starred in movies like Yaadon Ki Baraat, Dharmatama, Dayavan and Noor Jahan among more.
  • He was an actor and director and associated with popular films such as Hulchul, Pyaara Dost, and Procession of Memories. He was the brother of late Bollywood star Amjad Khan’s.

2: Veteran journalist Patil Puttappa passes away

  • Veteran journalist and former Rajya Sabha member Patil Puttappa passed away. He was a member of Rajyasabha for two terms between 1962 and 1974.
  • He was also the first president of the Kannada Watchdog Committee and was also the founder-president of the Border Advisory Committee. Puttappa was the founder-editor of weekly œPrapancha and also edited “Navayuga”. He also wrote columns in various dailies.

3: Veteran poet Puthussery Ramachandran passes away

  • Veteran poet and Malayalam scholar Puthussery Ramachandran passed away. ‘Onnanthyakkuttam’ was his first poem which was published in 1944.
  • His poetry works were majorly concentrated on an in-depth study of the early and medieval Malayalam language along with the early history of Kerala.

4: Noted Marathi actor Jairam Kulkarni passes away

  • Noted Marathi Actor Jairam Kulkarani passed away. He was born in Barshi tehsil in Solapur district, Maharashtra.
  • He had acted in more than 150 films, including ‘Chal Re Laxya Mumbaila’, ‘Ashi Hi Banwabanwi’, ‘Thartharat’, ‘Rangat Sangat’.

5: Former world champion boxer Roger Mayweather passes away

  • Former world boxing champion Roger Mayweather passed away. He won titles in the category of 130 and 140 pounds in his 18-year career that began in 1981.
  • He won his first 17 career fights and captured the world title in World Boxing Association junior lightweight and earned the World Boxing Council junior welterweight title in 1987.

1: Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) develops starch-based ‘hemostat’ material

  • A starch-based ˜hemostat’ material has been developed by the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST).
  • The material concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood that are critical for stopping the blood flow. This is done by physically absorbing the excess fluid.
  • The early-stage development of the starch-based ˜hemostat’ material has been published in the journal Materialia.
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