General Knowledge & Current Affairs

March 2020 - 8th to 14th

1: Denys Shmygal becomes Ukraine’s new prime minister

  • Ukraine parliament approved Denys Shmygal as a new prime minister of Ukraine.
  • He is the nominee of Volodymyr Zelensky, the President of Ukraine. He won by a majority, previously he held the post as the Deputy Prime Minister in charge of regional Development & before that was governor of the western Ivano-Frankivsk region.
  • Ukraine Parliament also approved Oleksiy Honcharuk resignation who is the previous Prime Minister of Ukraine.

2: Ashraf Ghani Sworn in for Second Term as Afghanistan President

  • Afghanistan President Ashraf Ghani was sworn in for a second term as his rival Abdullah Abdullah held a parallel inauguration that could plunge the country deeper into crisis ahead of peace talks with the Taliban.

3: “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund launched

  • “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” is a new fund that has been launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard.
  • The $125 Million funds have been launched to accelerate technologies to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and have been designed to identify, assess, develop and scale treatments to the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

1: Union Govt. to make sanitary Napkin Disposal bags mandatory from January 2021

  • Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has stated that Sanitary napkin makers will be asked to supply a biodegradable bag with each napkin from January 2021.
  • Javadekar announced that the sanitation norms for Corporations and municipalities will now be applied to villages with a population of more than three thousand

2: New Delhi hosts National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs

  • Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani has inaugurated the “National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces)”
  • The national conference was held in New Delhi and was organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR & D). During the conference, a hand-out- ‘BPR & D Mirror- Gender Bender’ and a book titled “To Greater Heights” was also released by Smriti Irani

3: Bhawna Dehariya climbs Australia’s Mount Kosciuszko  

  • Indian mountaineer Bhawna Dehariya has successfully scaled Mount Kosciuszko (2,228-metres), the highest mountain peak in Australia on the occasion of Holi
  • Dehariya had scaled Mount Kilimanjaro (5, 895 meters), the highest mountain peak in Tanzania on the occasion of Diwali in the year 2019 and also felt fortunate that she had celebrated 2 biggest festivals of India at the mountain peaks

4: GoI declare Hand sanitizers & Masks as essential commodities

  • The government of India has declared face masks and hand sanitizers as essential commodities for the next 100 days. Both masks (2ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks) and hand sanitizers have been brought under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955
  • The government has notified order under the Essential Commodities Act to declare these items as essential commodities up to June 30, 2020, by amending the schedule of the Essential Commodities Act 1955

5: India’s 1st digital parcel locker service launched in West Bengal

  • The Department of Posts, Kolkata (West Bengal circle), has launched free digital parcel locker service in 2 post offices Nabadiganta IT post office of Salt Lake City & post office in New Town’s Action Area
  • Under this service, customers will be able to collect their parcel from the post office according to their convenience

COVA Punjab’ mobile app launched by Punjab Govt

  • Chief Secretary of Punjab, Karan Avtar Singh has launched a mobile application, COVA Punjab. COVA stands for Corona Virus Alert
  • This app has been developed by the Department of Government Reforms and Public Grievances in consultation with the Health and Family Welfare Department to spread awareness by sharing various travel and preventive care advisories

Tamil Nadu tops in Poshan Abhiyan’s participants list

  • The Central Government is implementing the flagship program Poshan Abhiyan for improving the nutritional status of Indian citizens.
  • This program helps children, adolescents, pregnant women, and lactating mothers by leveraging technology. Tamil Nadu tops the list of the states in terms of the number of participants in the program.

1: India plans to launch Chandrayaan-3 by the first half of 2021

  • The preparation of Chandrayaan-3 has been done by taking lessons from the previously launched Chandrayaan-2, a Moon mission that was launched in 2019, in which the Indian Space and Research Organisation (ISRO)’s Vikram Lander lost contact following a hard landing on the Moon’s surface
  • Chandrayaan-3 will be designed to increase design, capacity with a cost of around Rs 610 crore, including Rs 360 crore for the launch rocket

2: NASA named Mars 2020 rover as “Perseverance”

  • NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced the name of the 5th Mars (red planet) rover as Perseverance
  • Previously the rover was known by its codename as Mars 2020. The name was suggested by Alexander Mather, 7th standard student and was announced by Nasa’s director of science, Thomas Zurbuchen at an event in Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia
  • The Perseverance rover will be the 5th exploratory vehicle after Sojourner, Spirit, Opportunity, and Curiosity

3: “Technology Innovation Hub” to be established at IIT Mandi

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi will establish a Technology Innovation Hub (TIH) under the National Mission on Interdisciplinary Cyber-Physical Systems (NM-ICPS)
  • The Technology Innovation Hub will be established with the help of Rs 7.25 crore sanctioned by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) to IIT Mandi

1: V Praveen Rao wins MS Swaminathan Award for the period 2017-2019

  • Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor V Praveen Rao has won the 7th Dr. MS Swaminathan Award. He has won the award for the period 2017-2019
  • He has been awarded for his contributions in the fields of agricultural research, teaching, extension, and administration. Praveen Rao handled 13 research & 6 consultancy projects on micro-irrigation in India, Israel, and South Africa

2: Times of India Sports Awards 2019 announced

  • The 4th edition of TOISA (Times of India Sports Awards) awards honored the best Indian in 2019 sports in New Delhi, India. The event was powered by BHIM-UPI (Bharat Interface for Money- Unified Payments Interface).
  • Rohit Sharma was named as the Cricketer of the year and PV Sindhu was named as the Sportsperson of the year as she won gold at the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland

1: Nupur Kulshrestha becomes 1st woman DIG of Indian Coast Guard

  • Nupur Kulshrestha becomes the first woman to be promoted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of the Indian Coast Guard. She joined Indian Coast Guard in 1999
  • The Indian Coast Guard is a multi-mission organization, conducting round-the-year real-life operations at sea

2: Surjit Singh Deswal gets additional charge of BSF DG

  • Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of Haryana cadre Surjit Singh Deswal took over the additional charge of Director General (DG) of Border Security Force (BSF).
  • Deswal, a 1984-batch IPS officer, is currently the Director-General of Indo-Tibet Border Police. He has succeeded Director-General Vivek Johri, who has been appointed Director-General of Madhya Pradesh Police

3: Bimal Julka becomes new Chief Information Commissioner of India

  • Bimal Julka is appointed as the Chief Information Commissioner (CIC) of India. President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Bimal Julka as Chief Information Commissioner (CIC).
  • The oath ceremony was held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Sudhir Bhargava was the former CIC of the country retired on January 11, 2020

1: Former Union Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj Passes Away

  • Former Union Law Minister and Congress veteran Hans Raj Bhardwaj died after a cardiac arrest. Hans Raj Bhardwaj was 83
  • Hans Raj Bhardwaj was born in Garhi Sampla village in Rohtak district of Haryana. He was a Rajya Sabha member for five terms from April 1982 to June 2009

2: Former Olympic javelin champion Dana Zatopkova passes away

  • Former Czechoslovak Olympic javelin champion Dana Zatopkova passed away. She was an Olympic javelin champion won gold in the Helsinki Olympics in 1952 and won the Olympic silver in Rome in 1960
  • In 1958, she set the world record of 55.73 meters at the age of 35. She became the European champion in 1954 and 1958

1: Paytm & Hyderabad Metro tie-up for QR-based tickets

  • The new service will enable commuters to travel seamlessly and avoid queues to buy tokens at the metro stations
  • They can now simply purchase a QR ticket on their Paytm app, which can be displayed at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates to proceed for the journey

2: SpiceJet to set up warehousing & distribution facility at GAHSL

  • An Indian low-cost airline, SpiceJet has signed a pact with GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL)
  • An Indian low-cost airline, SpiceJet has signed a pact with GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL)
  • “Ready-to-Use” industrial infrastructure is offered by the park with the flexibility of choosing land within SEZ for business purposes

3: HP to get US$80 Mn to improve water management practices

  • The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh have signed a US$80 million loan agreement with the World Bank
  • The loan agreement aims to enhance water management practices and to improve agricultural productivity in 428 Gram Panchayats of Himachal Pradesh

1: SBI will buy Yes Bank shares worth Rs 7250 crore

  • The State Bank of India has agreed to buy shares worth Rs 7250 crore of the cash-strapped Yes Bank
  • The purchase of the shares will be in accordance with the draft reconstruction scheme put forward by the Reserve Bank of India
  • SBI will purchase the 725 crore shares of Yes Bank at a price of Rs 10 per share. After the purchase, the shareholding of the State Bank of India (SBI) in Yes Bank will remain under 49% of the paid-up capital

2: SBI removes minimum balance charges from all savings bank accounts

  • The State Bank of India has waived off the minimum balance charges on all savings bank accounts
  • SBI has waived charges for non-maintenance of Average Monthly Balance (AMB) for all 44.51 crore savings bank accounts

India ranks second in Global Animal Protection Index 2020

  • India gets the second rank in the Global Animal Protection Index 2020. This Index was released by the International animal welfare charity ”World Animal Protection” released
  • India has attained a C ranking in the index. India was ranked along with Spain, Mexico, France, and New Zealand. Sweden, the United Kingdom, and Austria are rated with the highest scores, which is encouraging

Sri Lanka to host 5th BIMSTEC Summit in September

  • The 5th edition of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit 2020 to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the month of September 2020.
  • The summit will be preceded by the 17th Ministerial Meeting and 21st Senior Officials Meeting by the end of 2020.

1: West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard becomes 1st player to play 500 T20s

  • West Indies skipper Kieron Pollard has become the 1st player in the history of T20 (Twenty20) cricket to feature in 500 matches during the field against Sri Lanka for the first T20I in Pallekele, Srilanka
  • The jersey had the all-rounder’s name at the back along with the number 500. Dwayne Bravo is second in the list with 453 matches under his belt so far. Chris Gayle is at the third spot on the list as he has featured in 404 T20 matches

2: Defending champion Australia wins Women’s T20 World Cup title

  • Defending champions Australia wins Women’s T20 World Cup 2020
  • Australia bowled India out for 99 runs to clinch the final by 85 runs for a record-extending fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia

3: World Golf Hall of Fame to induct Tiger Woods in Class of 2021

  • American golfer Tiger Woods will be elected in the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021
  • Woods was among 10 finalists named in March as candidates for 2021. His 93 worldwide victories include a record-tying 82 US PGA Tour titles. He won his 15th major title at the Masters last April.

1: Amitabh Bachchan becomes the brand ambassador of IDFC FIRST Bank

  • IDFC FIRST Bank has signed Amitabh Bachchan as its brand ambassador. With this, Amitabh Bachchan has become the first-ever brand ambassador of the bank

2: Facebook launches ˜Pragati’ to boost women entrepreneurship in India

  • Facebook India has launched its (corporate social responsibility) CSR initiative, Facebook “Pragati” to promote women entrepreneurship in India. Facebook Pragati powered by N/Core (The/Nudge Centre for Social Innovation).

3: India’s 1st Living Culinary Arts Museum enters Limca Book of Records

  • Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA) of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) entered the Limca Book of Records (LBR) for establishing “India’s First Living Culinary Arts Museum” at WGSHA, Manipal, Karnataka
  • The museum was opened in the year April 2018, spread approximately over 25,000 square feet & the structure of the museum is shaped in the form of a giant pot

International Women’s Day observed globally on 8th March

  • International Women’s Day is celebrated on the 8th of March every year. This day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women
  • The day also marks a call to action for accelerating women’s equality. The theme of International Women’s Day 2020 is, I am Generation Equality: Realizing Women’s Rights. And the campaign theme for International Women’s Day 2020 is #EachforEqual
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