General Knowledge & Current Affairs

March 2020 - 22nd to 31st

1: Netflix establishes $100 mn fund for film and TV workers

  • Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) has announced the formation of $100 million fund to help workers on film and television productions that have been impacted due to the global coronavirus outbreak.
  • Out of $100 million fund, company will contribute $15 million to third parties and non-profit organizations that were providing emergency relief suspended crew and cast members in countries where Netflix has a large production base.

2: Sunil Chhetri selected for FIFA campaign against Covid-19

  • Indian footballer Sunil Chhetri chosen for FIFA campaign against Covid-19.
  • FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have teamed up to combat the coronavirus by launching a new awareness campaign led by world-renowned footballers.
  • The ‘Pass the message to kick out coronavirus’ campaign promotes five key steps for people to follow to protect their health in line with WHO guidance, focused on hand washing, coughing etiquette, not touching your face, physical distance and staying home if feeling unwell.

3: IMF launches Tracker of Govt. Policies in Response to COVID-19

  • The International Monetary Fund has launched a “Tracker of Policies Governments are Taking in Response to COVID-19” which outlines the key economic responses taken by the government of various countries in order to contain the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The policy tracker brings into focus the discretionary measures that supplement existing social safety nets and insurance mechanisms. The policy tracker covers the responses on the basis of three pillars, namely: Fiscal; Monetary And Macro-Financial and Exchange Rate And Balance Of Payments.

4: US launches advanced high frequency satellite for military communication

  • The United States Space Force has launched an Advanced Extremely High-Frequency satellite (AEHF-6) for its military communications. With the launch, the United States has begun its first National Security Mission.
  • The Lock Heed Martin AEHF-6 (Advanced Extremely High Frequency) satellite was launched on the Atlas V551 rocket from Cape Canaveral, Florida to provide global protected communications. The Space Force was recently set up by President Trump to identify and develop new space defence technologies.

5: Canada withdraws from Tokyo 2020 Olympics

  • Canada has become the first country in the world to withdraw from Tokyo 2020 Olympics.
  • The decision has been taken in view of the coronavirus pandemic. Tokyo 2020 Olympics was scheduled to be held in Japan from 24th July to 9th August 2020.
  • Miraitowa is the official mascot of the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

1: India celebrates “Shaheed Diwas” on 23 March

  • India celebrates “Shaheed Diwas” annually on 23 March to pay tribute to martyrs Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru.
  • On 23 March 1931, three Indian freedom fighters namely Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, and Shivaram Rajguru were hanged by the British rulers in Lahore jail. The three brave freedom fighters were sentenced to death in the Lahore conspiracy case.

2: IOC becomes 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across India

  • India’s biggest oil firm, Indian Oil Corporation Limited has started supplying BS-VI fuel across India. With this, Indian Oil Corporation Limited has become 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across its 28,000 petrol pumps.
  • The Government of India has set 1st April 2020 as the deadline to start the supply of BS-VI emission compliant fuels. BS (Bharat Satge)-VI grade fuel is the world’s cleanest fuel containing just 10 parts per million of sulphur.

3: UK confirmed as first co-chair of India led CDRI

  • The United Kingdom has been confirmed as the first co-chair of the Governing Council of Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI).
  • Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure is an India-led global climate initiative which was established by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the UN Climate Action Summit 2019 held in New York City, USA.

4: IIT Madras to host Global Hyperloop Pod Competition

  • IIT Madras is organising India’s first Global Hyperloop Pod Competition named as ‘Indian Hyperloop Pod Competition’ to increase awareness and enthusiasm about Hyperloop in India.
  • Team Avishkar from IIT Madras was the only team from Asia to qualify for the finals of 2019 Hyperloop Pod Competition, developing India’s first self-propelled Hyperloop Pod. Hyperloop is the 5th mode of transportation, a high-speed train that travels in a near-vacuum tube.

5: GoI bans export of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine

  • Government of India has banned the export of anti-malarial drug Hydroxychloroquine and the formulations made up of it within the wake of COVID-19 outbreak. The government’s decision aims to ensure sufficient availability of drugs within the domestic market.
  • The utilization of hydroxychloroquine has been recommended by the Indian Council of Medical Research for the treatment of healthcare workers who are handling suspected or confirmed coronavirus cases and also the asymptomatic household contacts of the lab-confirmed cases.


1: Gujarat Police becomes 1st state police to introduce taser guns

  • The Gujarat Police is now equipped with taser guns as a part of their modernization drive to ensure public safety and security. By introducing the taser guns as part of police weapons, Gujarat becomes the first state in India.
  • The taser guns (electrical weapon) use compressed nitrogen to fire, by sending electricity through attached wires, which disrupt voluntary control of muscles.

2: Jharkhand govt launches PRAGYAAM app to issue e-passes

  • The Jharkhand Government has launched a mobile app PRAGYAAM to issue e-passes. The app was launched by the State Chief Minister Hemant Soren.
  • The app aims to issue e-passes to everyone associated with the delivery of essential services during the nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19.

3: Andhra Pradesh govt sets up Mobile Hand-wash facilities

  • Andhra Pradesh State government has set up “Mobile Hand-wash facilities” for the benefit of Slum Dwellers amidst lockdown in the state. This facility to help them protect themselves from COVID-19.
  • The mobile Hand Wash facility has become handy for both the state authorities and slum dwellers to access facility of hands cleaning.

1: RBI’s 7th Bi-monthly Monetary Policy Statement for 2019-20

  • In view of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Reserve Bank of India’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) decided to advance the Bi-monthly Monetary Policy meet which was scheduled to be held on 31st March 2020 and the announcement was meant to be made on 3rd April.
  • The key decisions are: The repo rate under the liquidity adjustment facility (LAF) has been reduced by 75 basis points to 4.40%. The reverse repo rate under the LAF has been reduced by 90 basis to 4.00%. The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate have been reduced to 4.65%.

1: MCA introduces “Companies Fresh Start Scheme 2020”

  • The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has introduced the “Companies Fresh Start Scheme, 2020”.
  • The new scheme has been introduced to provide relief to law abiding companies and the Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs) amid COVID-19 pandemic. MCA has also revised “LLP Settlement Scheme, 2020”.

1: Elon Musk’s SpaceX wins NASA award for planned lunar space station

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has picked up a new space capsule from SpaceX to ferry cargo and supplies to the agency’s planned lunar space station. Therefore with a $7 billion NASA contract, SpaceX will use its biggest rocket, Falcon Heavy to send spacecraft named as “Dragon XL” to the Lunar Gateway.
  • The Dragon XL spacecraft will be tasked to carry out research supplies to help future astronauts on the surface of the moon in collecting lunar samples.

1: Sameer Aggarwal appointed as CEO of Walmart India

  • Sameer Aggarwal has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Walmart India. He will take over as CEO from Krish Iyer with effect from 1st April 2020.
  • Walmart India is presently operating 28 Best Price cash-and-carry stores in India.

1: Legendary Indian footballer P.K. Banerjee passes away

  • Legendary Indian footballer PK Banerjee passed away. He represented India in 36 official matches and sported the captain’s armband in six of them and scored 19 goals for the country.
  • He was the first footballer to receive the Arjuna Award in 1961 and was also awarded the Padma Shri in 1990.

2: American singer Kenny Rogers passes away

  • American music singer Kenny Rogers who was known around the world for his global hits such as “The Gambler”, “Lady”, “Lucille” and “Islands in the Stream”, has passed away.
  • In his six decade long career, he won three Grammys Awards.

3: Renowned chef Floyd Cardoz passes away due to coronavirus

  • Indian-born international chef Floyd Cardoz passed away due to Covid-19 in the USA. Cardoz was the co-owner of Hunger Inc, which runs three restaurants in Mumbai Bombay Canteen, O’Pedro, and Bombay Sweet Shop.
  • He was the moving force behind several restaurants in New York and Mumbai, the star of the TV show, “Top Chef Masters” and the author of two books, “One Spice, Two Spice” and “Flavorwalla”.

1: Saudi Arabia’s King to chair Virtual Summit of G20 leaders

  • Saudi Arabia’s King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the Extraordinary Virtual G20 leaders’ Summit.
  • The extraordinary Virtual Summit of G20 leaders will feature the participation of leaders across the globe including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
  • The summit will deliberate on strategies to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

1: Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 rescheduled to the year 2021

  • The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 has been postponed by one year and will be held from 23 July to 8 August 2021. The Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 was earlier scheduled to be held from 24 July to 9 August 2020.
  • The decision to postpone the 32nd edition of the tournament was taken by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) along with the Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the Government of Japan. The decision has been taken by the IOC amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

2: IAAF bans Indian shot putter Navin Chikara for 4 years

  • Indian shot-putter Navin Chikara has been suspended by the World athletics body’s (formerly known as International Association of Athletics Federations-IAAF), Athletics Integrity Unit for four years.
  • He has been suspended for using a prohibited substance and his four-year suspension starts from July 27, 2018

1: Satyarup Siddhanta becomes 1st Indian to complete volcanic Seven Summit

  • Indian mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta entered ‘Limca Book of Records’ (LBR) for his extraordinary achievements, as the first Indian to climb the highest volcanoes of each of the 7 continents.
  • He also holds the record as the youngest mountaineer in the world to climb both 7 peaks and 7 volcanic summits.

2: Reliance sets up India’s 1st COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai

  • Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) has set up India’s first COVID-19 dedicated hospital in Mumbai. Reliance Foundation has opened this Hospital in collaboration with the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) in Mumbai.
  • All beds in the hospital are equipped with the required infrastructure, bio-medical equipment such as ventilators, pacemakers, dialysis machine and patient monitoring devices.

3: Abbott Labs launches 5-minute coronavirus test

  • Abbott Laboratories, United States is unveiling a coronavirus test which will tell if someone is infected within 5 minutes. This test is so small and portable it is often utilized in almost any health-care setting. The test starts with taking a swab from the nose or the rear of the throat, then mixing it with a chemical solution that breaks open the virus and releases its RNA.
  • The mixture is inserted into an ID Now system, a small box weighing slightly below 7 pounds that has the technology to spot and amplify select sequences of the coronavirus genome and ignore contamination from other viruses.

4: Tata Power JV starts Shuakhevi HPP in Georgia

  • Adjaristsqali Georgia LLC, a Joint Venture between Tata Power, Norway’s Clean Energy Invest (CEI), and International Financial Corporation (IFC) has announced the start of commercial operation of the 178 MW Shuakhevi Hydro Power Project (Shuakhevi HPP) located in southwest Georgia.

1: World Meteorological Day observed globally on 23 March

  • World Meteorological Day observed globally on 23rd March every year. The day underlines the efforts of National Meteorological and Hydrological Services for the safety and well-being of society.
  • This year, World Water Day and World Meteorological Day share the same theme: “Water and Climate Change”.

2: World Tuberculosis Day observed globally on 24 March

  • World Tuberculosis (TB) Day is observed globally on 24th March every year to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global TB epidemic.
  • The theme of World TB Day 2020 is ‘It’s time’.

1: ICICI Lombard launches policies to cover Covid-19 patients

  • ICICI Lombard has launched a 1 year-long “COVID-19 Protection Cover” which will pay 100% of the sum insured to the COVID-19 positive individual, irrespective of hospitalization expenses.
  • The insurance policy will provide value-added benefits such as Health Assistance and CHAT/Virtual assistance, teleconsultation and ambulance assistance, as part of the offering.

1: US & UAE troops launch biennial exercise “Native Fury”

  • US Marines and UAE Emirati forces conducted the biennial exercise, named Native Fury at Abu Dhabi. The biennial exercise, called Native Fury, shows the close ties between American forces and the United Arab Emirates, a federation of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula home to Abu Dhabi.
  • The exercise saw 4,000 U.S. troops from the Army, Marines and Navy position armored vehicles and other equipment from Kuwait and the island of Diego Garcia in al-Hamra using a portable pier system.

2: Indian army Chief starts ‘Operation Namaste’ to combat COVID-19

  • Army Chief Gen Manoj Mukund Naravane has launched ‘Operation Namaste’ to extend assistance to the govt in containing the spread of coronavirus and insulate the force from the pandemic.
  • Under the operation, the army will help the Government of India fight against the deadly disease.
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