General Knowledge & Current Affairs

May 2020 - 9th to 15th

1. WHO & UNPA releases postage stamp on the anniversary of smallpox eradication

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) and United Nations Postal Administration (UNPA) have released a commemorative Postage Stamp on the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox
  • The stamp serves to honour the millions of people working together, from world leaders and international organizations to rural doctors and community doctors to eradicate smallpox

2. Italy develops ‘iFeel-You’ bracelet for social distancing

  • The Genoa-based Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) has developed ‘iFeel-You’ bracelet for social distancing
  • This bracelet will help users respect social distancing rules. The bracelet has been developed as the measures for safeguarding against the coronavirus lockdown is being gradually lifted

3. Slovenia becomes 1st coronavirus-free country in Europe

  • Slovenia becomes the 1st nation in Europe to declare an official end to the COVID-19 pandemic. More restrictions have now been eased in the country and people entering from other European Union states
  • The country housing over 2 million people bordered with Italy, Austria, Hungary, and Croatia has reported 1,464 cases of COVID-19 disease and 103 deaths after declaring a pandemic

1. Defence Minister inaugurates new road to Kailash Mansarovar

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has inaugurated new 80-km road in Uttarakhand which connects close to the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and opens a new route for Kailash Mansarovar yatra via Lipulekh Pass.
  • The Border Roads Organisation (BRO) achieved road connectivity from Dharchula to Lipulekh (China Border) known as Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra Route

2. SC ruling brings Cooperative Banks under “SARFAESI Act”

  • The Supreme Court of India ruling has brought the state and multi-state cooperative banks under the Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest (SARFAESI) Act, 2002
  • The Judgement was delivered by a 5-judge bench headed by Justice Arun Mishra. The ruling aims to remove the delays caused by going through the civil court or summary procedure under the Cooperative Societies Act

3: “Mission Sagar” started by India to assist island nations in EIO

  • Amid the coronavirus crisis, “Mission Sagar” has been commenced by the Government of India to provide assistance to Eastern Indian Ocean Region Nations
  • Under this mission, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari has been deployed, carrying on board two medical assistance teams, essential Food Items and COVID related Medicines and Special Ayurvedic Medicines to five Island countries in the Indian Ocean namely Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros

4. Economic Relief Package announced for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced the details of the Economic Relief Package for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan” amid COVID-19 pandemic
  • This economic package of Rs 20 lakh crore has been announced with the prime objective of making India self-reliant

5. World Bank approves $1 billion social protection package for India

  • In wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the World Bank has announced $1 billion social protection package for India. This package will be linked to the programmes launched by the Government of India
  • Hence, it will support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households who severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic

1. Jharkhand’s Sohrai Khovar painting & Telangana’s Telia Rumal gets GI-Tag

  • The Sohrai Khovar painting of Jharkhand and Telia Rumal of Telangana have received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indications Registry. For the Sohrai Khovar painting of Jharkhand, application of GI-tag was made by Sohrai Kala Mahila Vikas Sahyog Samiti Limited.
  • For the Telia Rumal of Telangana, application of GI-tag was made by Consortium of Puttapaka Handloom Cluster-IHDS.

2. J&K & Haryana to provide tap connections till 2022

  • The Jammu and Kashmir administration and Haryana Government have framed a plan to implement the Jal Jeevan mission to provide tap connections to every rural household by 2022
  • The Jal Jeevan Mission aims to provide drinking water to every household

3. Uttarakhand CM launches ‘HOPE’ portal to help unemployed youth

  • Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has launched “HOPE” (Helping Out People Everywhere) portal to help unemployed youth to get jobs opportunities
  • The portal will be used to collect the data on the youths of the state who are staying in as well as the recently returned migrant youths

1.AIIB approves $500 million loan for India’s Covid-19 response

  • Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan worth of $500 million for India’s ‘COVID-19 Emergency Response.
  • The assistance will help India to scale up efforts to restrict the transmission of instances, strengthen the public health system to broaden its response capability and to improve preparedness to handle future outbreaks.

2. SBI General Insurance rolls out Health Insurance Policy “Arogya Sanjeevani”

  • A standard health insurance policy named “Aarogya Sanjeevani” has been launched by the State Bank of India General Insurance. It provides hospitalisation cover anywhere in India with sums insured ranging from Rs. 1 lakh to Rs. 5 lakh
  • It will also cover the hospitalisation treatment cost of COVID19, hence will help in making affordable health care more accessible in times like these.

1. NIV-Pune develops India’s 1st antibody testing kit “ELISA”

  • India’s first indigenous antibody testing kit “ELISA” has been successfully developed by the National Institute of Virology, Pune
  • This antibody testing kit will help in surveillance of proportion of the population exposed to SARSCoV2 infection and hence, it will help in combating COVID-19. For mass scale production of the ELISA test kits, ICMR has tied-up with ZYDUS CADILA

2.DRDO develops “UV systems” to sanitise electronic gadgets

  • DRDO’s Research Centre Imarat (RCI) lab, Hyderabad has developed an automated contactless UVC sanitisation cabinet named defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitiser (DRUVS).
  • It has been designed to sanitise mobile phones, iPods, laptops, currency notes, cheque leafs, challans, passbooks, paper, envelopes, etc

3. Vaneeza Rupani names NASA’s 1st Mars Helicopter “Ingenuity”

  • Indian-origin girl, Vaneeza Rupani has been honoured by NASA for naming its 1st Mars helicopter ‘Ingenuity’. She submitted her essay in “Name the Rover” contest held by NASA. She suggested the name ‘INGENUITY’ for the helicopter, which was liked as well as accepted by NASA
  • NASA has earlier announced that its next rover to Mars would be named Perseverance. Perseverance and Ingenuity are scheduled to launch in July 2020 and land in February 2021 at the Mars

1. Narinder Batra to serve as FIH’s President till 2021

  • Narinder Batra’s term as the President of International Hockey Federation has been extended until May 2021
  • The Executive Board of the International Hockey Federation (FIH) has also decided to postpone the 47th FIH Congress, initially planned on 28 October-1 November 2020 in New Delhi, to May 2021

2. China team wins FIDE Online Nations Cup

  • China has won the 1st edition of FIDE Online Nations Cup against the USA. In the finals, China faced the USA which ended in a draw with 2-2
  • China was adjudged the winner on the basis of its topping the points table in the round-robin stage

1. Eminent historian Hari Shankar Vasudevan passes away

  • Eminent historian Hari Shankar Vasudevan passed away due to COVID-19. He was renowned worldwide for his work on Russian and European history and Indo-Russian relations.
  • He has also authored books such as Shadows of Substance: Indo-Russian Trade and Military-Technical Cooperation (2010), and Footsteps of Afanasii Nikitin: Travels through Eurasia and India in the Early 21st Century (2015)

2. Former TT national champion Manmeet Singh passes away

  • Former India national table tennis champion Manmeet Singh Walia passed away. He became the national champion in 1989 when he beat S. Sriram in the men singles final at Hyderabad
  • He had represented the nation at multiple international events after making his debut at the Asian Championships in 1980

1. Bengaluru Airport: Voted as best regional airport in India & Central Asia

  • The Kempegowda International Airport, Bengaluru has won this year’s SKYTRAX Award for Best Regional Airport in India and Central Asia
  • The airport was voted by customers because of the Best Regional Airport in India & Central Asia for the third time in four years at the 2020 World Airport Awards

2. Sania Mirza becomes 1st Indian to win Fed Cup Heart Award

  • Indian tennis player Sania Mirza becomes 1st Indian to win Fed Cup Heart Award 2020 for Asia/Oceania zone
  • She beats Indonesia’s 16-year-old Priska Madelyn Nugroho for this category & received the award for her successful return to the court after becoming a mother

3. V. Admiral G.M. Hiranandani Memorial Rolling Trophy 2020 announced

  • Lieutenant Commander Akshay Kumar was awarded the Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandani Memorial Rolling Trophy for the year 2020
  • He commissioned in Anti-Submarine Warfare School of the Southern Naval Command in Kochi. The award ceremony was held at the Maritime Warfare Centre, Kochi, Kerala

1. Kumar Sangakkara set for 2nd term as MCC President

  • Former Sri Lanka skipper Kumar Sangakkara is set to serve his second term as the president of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC). He became the first non-British President of the club when he assumed office on October 1 last year
  • Sangakkara is all set to enter an elite list of people who have served multiple terms

2. Israel names street after Rabindranath Tagore on his 159th anniversary

  • Israel has named a street in Tel Aviv after celebrated Indian poet Rabindranath Tagore as a tribute on his 159th birthday on 08 May
  • Israel named it ‘Tagore Street’ to commemorate the poet’s birth anniversary

3.Spirulina groundnut Chikki developed by CFTRI to boost immunity

  • In order to boost immunity during pandemic, Spirulina groundnut Chikki has been developed by the Mysuru-based Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI)
  • The Spirulina groundnut Chikki can provide micro-nutrients along with boosting immunity of the people during this time of pandemic. The Spirulina groundnut Chikki comprises of micro-nutrients such as Vitamin A, Beta Carotene and easily digestible algal proteins

1. India celebrates National Technology Day on 11th May

  • India celebrated National Technology Day on 11 May to mark the successful testing of Shakti-I nuclear missile at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. The Pokhran nuclear test was held on 11 May 1998
  • Shakti also knows as the Pokhran Nuclear Test was the first nuclear test code-named ‘Smiling Buddha’ was carried out in May 1974

2. International Nurses Day observed globally on 12 May

  • International Nurse Day is observed globally on 12 May every year. This day is observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale
  • She was also known as Lady with the Lamp. She was the founder of modern nursing and was a British social reformer and statistician. International Council of Nurses has published its theme for the year 2020 around the COVID-19 pandemic on its official website “Nursing the World to Health”.

1. Manoj Ahuja becomes new chairman of CBSE

  • Odisha cadre IAS, Manoj Ahuja has been appointed the new chairman of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
  • He is currently served as Special Director, Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Department of Personnel and Training. He will replace Anita Karwal as the chairman of the CBSE.

2. V. Vidyavathi becomes new DG of Archaeological Survey of India

  • IAS officer V. Vidyavathi is appointed as the new Director-General of Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) effective from 12th May 2020. She is a 1991 batch Karnataka cadre officer

3. WTO chief Roberto Azevedo resigns from post

  • Krishnan Ramachandran has been appointed as the new managing director (MD) and chief executive officer (CEO) of Max Bupa Health Insurance. Prior to this, he has served as the CEO of Apollo Munich Health Insurance
  • The 62-year-old Brazilian career diplomat’s second four-year term was not scheduled to end until September 2021. He is cutting seven-year tenure marked in recent years by intense pressure from US President Donald Trump.
  • Donald Trump had accused the Geneva-based trade body of an anti-US bias and other complaints

1. Video conference held on “Tribal livelihoods and safety”

  • A video conference was held by the Minister of Tribal Affairs, Shri Arjun Munda on “Tribal livelihoods and safety”
  • The conference was held with States/UTs in New Delhi. The conference featured the participation of Chief Ministers, Deputy Chief Ministers, State Ministers for Tribal Affairs and state ministers for Forests from more than 20 states/UTs

2. 2nd Extraordinary G20 Virtual Trade and Investment Ministerial Meet

  • The second edition of Extraordinary G20 Virtual Trade and Investment Ministerial Meet was held under the presidency of Saudi Arabia
  • The meeting was chaired by the Saudi Minister of Commerce, Majid Al Qasabi, in the presence of the Minister of Investment, Khalid Al-Faleh
  • In the virtual meeting, India was represented by the Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal

3. 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers Meet held via Video Conference

  • The 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting was held through Video Conference. India was represented by Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan in the video conference
  • The meeting was held with a theme: Delivering a co-ordinated Commonwealth COVID-19 response

1. Prince Harry-Meghan Markle’s biography to be published in August

  • The first biopic on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s life, titled ‘Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family’ would be published on August 11, 2020
  • The book is a biopic, written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

1. TRIFED signs MoU with AOL to promote tribal enterprises

  • Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) under the Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Art Of Living(AOL) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in programmes of each organisation for promoting Tribal Enterprises
  • The Art of Living Foundation has agreed to provide Free Ration Kits to Needy Tribes India Artisans

2. Defence Ministry signs pact with Tata Power to modernise 37 Airfields

  • The Ministry of Defence has signed a pact with the TATA POWER SED to modernize infrastructure of 37 airfields of Indian Air Force
  • The total cost of the project is estimated to be around Rs 1,200 crore

3. India signs MoUs with Russia for coking coal

  • Coal India signed MOUs with two Russian entities within the areas of coking coal mining within the Russian Far East and therefore the Arctic Region
  • The first MOUs was signed with Far Eastern Agency for Attracting Investments and Supporting Exports (FEAAISE), Russia and the second MoU was signed with Eastern Mining Company (FEMC) of Russian Federation for exploring, identifying, sourcing, negotiating and consummating interdependent investment opportunities within the mining sector within the Russian Far East

4. Federal Bank tie-up with MoneyGram for direct-to-bank deposits service

  • A private sector bank, Federal Bank Limited tie-up with MoneyGram Payment System to offer a cost-effective direct-to-bank account credit option for customers in India
  • This tie-up will help the non-resident Indians with access to modern, low cost, fast, easy and reliable ways for transferring money to India

1. INR-USD Futures & Options contracts launched on International Exchanges

  • INR-USD Futures and Options contracts have been launched on International Exchanges by the Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitaraman
  • The INR-USD Futures and Options contracts have been launched on BSE’s India INX and National Stock Exchange, NSE’s NSE-IFSC, at GIFT International Financial Services Centre, Gandhinagar, Gujarat

2. Mahindra & Mahindra rolls out ‘Own-Online’ platform

  • A car manufacturing corporation, Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. (M&M) has rolled out an end to end, online vehicle ownership solution titled ‘Own-Online’
  • This platform has been launched by (M&M) to offer its customers a transparent, seamless and contactless experience from selection to the delivery of the vehicle

1. Moody’s cuts India’s GDP growth to “zero” in FY21

  • Moody’s cuts down India’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) growth to “zero” for the current fiscal 2020-21. Its previous estimate was 2.6%. In 2021-22 India’s GDP growth rate will bounce back to 6.6%.
  • The negative outlook reflects an increase in risk that economic growth remains significantly lower than in the past & is triggered by COVID-19. The weakening of fiscal metrics could lead to a downgrade, which will affect investment flow in India

2. UN releases report “World Economic Situation and Prospects”

  • The United Nations has released its report “World Economic Situation and Prospects” as of mid-2020. In this report, UN has projected growth rates of individual countries as well as global economy for fiscal year 2020 & 2021. According to the “World Economic Situation and Prospects” as of mid-2020, the growth rate of India has been projected to grow at 1.2% in fiscal year 2020
  • While the report has also indicated a slight recovery in the growth rate of India for fiscal year 2021 and stated that it would clock a 5.5% growth rate in 2021. As the COVID-19 pandemic has paralysed the world, the UN has projected that the global economy will contract sharply by 3.2% in fiscal year 2020, with only a gradual recovery of lost output projected for fiscal year 2021

India ranks 74th on WEF Global Energy Transition Index

  • India has been ranked at 74th position on the Global ‘Energy Transition Index’ by the World Economic Forum (WEF). India has moved up two positions with improvements on all key parameters of economic growth, energy security and environmental sustainability
  • India is one of the few countries in the world to have made consistent year-on-year progress since 2015. Sweden has topped the “Energy Transition Index (ETI)”. Switzerland and Finland are on 2nd and 3rd rank respectively
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