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Important Current Affairs 3rd July 2020

National

Health Minister launches Drug Discovery Hackathon

• Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched Drug Discovery Hackathon through video conferencing. The Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank also joined the launch ceremony.

The Drug Discovery Hackathon has been launched to identify a drug to cure the C-19. The hackathon was visualised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Kerala announces ‘Dream Kerala Project’ aimed at aiding returning expats

• The state government of Kerala decided to roll out the ''Dream Kerala Project'' to tap the potential and experience of those returning from foreign nations and other states after losing their jobs.

• The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan on July 2, 2020.The project aims to support rehabilitation of the returning expats and the state's overall development.

International

Russians approve for new constitutional reforms, Vladimir Putin may stay Russia’s President till 2036

• Russians have approved the constitutional changes on July 1, 2020, which were proposed by President Vladimir Putin led Russian government. These changes may allow President Putin to stay in power for another 16 years, till 2036.

• Russia went to poll for a nationwide referendum on newly proposed constitutional reforms.

Banking and Economy

Care Ratings Forecast India’s GDP to contract by 6.4% in FY21

• Care Ratings has revised India’s GDP growth forecast for the current financial year 2020-21 to (-) 6.4 percent.

• The rating agency had earlier projected a decline in GDP growth of 1.5-1.6 per cent in FY21.

Awards

Pulitzer winner Siddhartha Mukherjee and Prof. Raj Chetty are named among ‘2020 Great Immigrants’ Honorees

• The Carnegie Corporation of New York has named Pulitzer Prize winner Siddhartha Mukherjee and Prof. Raj Chetty among the ‘2020 Great Immigrants’ Honoree. Through this honor, Carnegie Corporation recognizes an eminent group of citizens who have been making a difference in the American Society.

• The honorees will be recognized on America’s Independence Day which is on the Fourth of July.

Obituary

Veteran choreographer Saroj Khan passes away

• Ace Choreographer Saroj Khan has passed away at the age of 71 due to cardiac arrest in Mumbai.She was popularly known as Saroj Khan but her real name is Nirmala Nagpal.

• She joined the Indian film industry as a child artiste, playing the younger Shyama in Nazarana. She eventually became a background dancer in 1950s films like Bimal Roy’s “Madhumati” under the guidance of dance director B. Sohanlal.

• Among the Bollywood circles she was referred to as "The Mother of Dance/Choreography in India". In her career spanning over 40 years, she has choreographed over 2000 songs.

Appointments and Resignations

India appoints Indra Mani Pandey as its Permanent Representative in UN, Geneva

• Indra Mani Pandey has been appointed as the Permanent Representative of India in the United Nations, Geneva. He is a 1990 batch Indian Foreign Officer and will succeed Rajiv K Chander on the position.

• He will represent India in more than 25 UN organisations which include the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC).

Karnam Sekar retires as MD & CEO of IOB

• The Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank (IOB), Karnam Sekar has retired on 30th June 2020.

• He joined the State Bank of India(SBI) as the Probationary officer in December 1983.

Days

International Plastic Bag Free Day

• The International Plastic Bag Free Day is held on July 3 around the world to spread awareness that a plastic bag free world is possible and that sound environmental alternatives to single use plastic bags are available.

• 2020 is the 11th edition of the celebrations.

Books and Authors

A book titled “The Future of Higher Education” released by M Venkaiah Naidu

• Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu has virtually released a book titled “Future of Higher Education – Nine Mega Trends“. The book is authored by CA V Pattabhi Ram. The Virtual event was hosted by ICT Academy.

• The book is based on a survey of about 5000 educators across India who were part of ICT Academy’s “SkyCampus” Digital Knowledge Series.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd July 2020

National

Gujarat Government launches Rs 1,369 crore ”At One Click” online cash aid for MSMEs & textile industry

• Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani launched an online cash aid initiative titled ”At One Click” for micro small and medium enterprises and textile industries in the state on 26 June 2020.

• The state government has announced total of Rs 1,369 crore in aid for around 13,000 MSMEs in Gujarat under the program.

• Out of the toatl 1,369 crore aid, Rs 768 crore have been transferred in bank accounts of 12,247 MSME units in Gujarat while Rs 601 crore aid has been given to bigger industrial units including textile industry.

Goa Govt Allocates 14,380 sqm land to set up India first Maritime Cluster

• The Government of Goa has allotted over 14,380 square metres of land at Verna industrial estate to ‘Konkan Maritime Cluster’ (Goa Maritime Cluster), a consortium of 49 Goan MSME units, to set up its Common Facility Centre.

• The Goa Maritime Cluster will be the first Maritime Cluster of India, providing a world-class common facility for manufacturing, design and other allied services for the shipbuilding industry.

• The project is likely to extend direct benefits to another 180 units.

Giriraj Singh launches the 1st Edition of “Matsya Sampada”

• Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh has launched the 1st Edition newsletter “MatsyaSampada” fisheries and aquaculture published by the Department of Fisheries and the operational guidelines of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY).

• This newsletter will be published on a quarterly basis.

International

FCC designates 2 Chinese companies as National Security Threats

•  The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated two Chinese companies - Huawei Technologies and ZTE Corporation as national security threats.

•  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai stated that both Huawei and ZTE have close ties with Chinese Communist Party and China’s military apparatus. He stated that the US government will not allow the Chinese Communist Party to exploit vulnerabilities in US communications networks.

•  The agency is considering banning these Chinese telephone companies from entering the US market. As per the US, Huawei’s equipment could be used by China for spying.

Banking and Economy

Fitch slashes India’s GDP Growth Projection to 8% from 9.5% for FY22

• Fitch Ratings has cut India’s growth forecast for the fiscal year 2021-22 to 8 percent from its earlier projection of 9.5 percent, in its June update of Global Economic Outlook released on 30 June 2020.

• However, the rating agency has retained its projection for the current fiscal which is expected to contract by 5 percent in the 2020-21.Fitch projected Indian economy to grow 5.5 percent in 2022-23.

Banks sanction over Rs 1 lakh cr loans to 30 lakh MSMEs under ECLGS

• As per the data by the Ministry of Finance on 30 June 2020, banks from public and private sectors have sanctioned over Rs 1 lakh crore loans under the Rs 3-lakh crore Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the MSME sector as of June 26, 2020.

• Out of this, more than Rs 45,860 crore has already been disbursed under the 100 percent ECLGS for the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs).

• The top lenders under the scheme are State Bank of India, Bank of Baroda, Punjab National Bank, Canara Bank and HDFC Bank.

World Bank approves $750 mn emergency response fund for India’s MSME sector

• The World Bank has approved loan worth $750 million to address the immediate liquidity and credit needs of India’s micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), severely impacted by the C-19 crisis.

• The World Bank’s MSME Emergency Response program will provide financial support to some 1.5 million viable MSMEs.

• With this, the World Bank’s total commitment has reached to $2.75 billion to support India’s emergency C-19 response.

Appointments and Resignations

Ravinder Bhakar becomes new CEO of CBFC

• Shri Ravinder Bhakar, a 1999 batch officer of Indian Railway Stores Service (IRSS), has taken over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Central Board of Films Certification (CBFC) on 30 June 2020.

• Prior to this, Mr. Bhakar was posted as the Secretary & Chief Public Relations Officer of Western Railways.

• He succeeds Anurag Srivastava. Chairperson of CBFC – Shri Prasoon Joshi

Shrikant Madhav Vaidya becomes new chairman of IOC

• Shrikant Madhav Vaidya took charge as the new chairman of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC). Prior to this, he was the Director (Refineries) on the IOC Board, since October 2019.

• He will replace Sanjiv Singh, who retired on June 30.

Shashank Manohar quits as ICC Chairman

• International Cricket Council (ICC) Chairman, Shashank Manohar has stepped down as the head of the cricket body after two-year tenures. ICC Board has decided that Deputy Chairman Imran Khawaja will take the charge until Manohar’s successor is elected.

•  The process for the Chairperson election is likely to be approved by the ICC Board within the next week.

Days

National Postal Worker Day

• The National Postal Worker Day is marked every year on July 1 globally in recognition of the contribution made by postal workers in our society.

• The day is a unique opportunity to say ‘thank you’ not only to postmen but also to all delivery personnel, as online shopping has become a lifeline for many of us.

• The day was initiated by a popular postal service provider from Seattle, United States of America in 1997  to felicitate and honour the co-postal workers for their dedication.

World UFO Day

• World UFO Day is observed on 2nd July. It was founded by the UFO hunter Haktan Akdogan.

• The first World UFO Day was celebrated in 2001 and spread awareness among people to gaze at the heavens scanning for unidentified flying objects.

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Important Current Affairs 30th June 2020

National

Ban on 59 Chinese apps for safety, security and integrity of India

• The Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology has announced that “Government of India Bans 59 Chinese mobile apps”, which are prejudicial to sovereignty and integrity of India, defence of India, the security of the state and public order”.

• The Ministry of Information Technology, invoking it’s power under section 69A of the Information Technology Act read with the relevant provisions of the Information Technology (Procedure and Safeguards for Blocking of Access of Information by Public) Rules 2009 and in view of the emergent nature of threats has decided to block 59 apps.

• The Ministry had also received concerns from citizens regarding security of data and risk to privacy in operation of certain apps.  The Indian Cyber Crime Coordination Centre under the Home Ministry had also sent a recommendation to block such malicious apps.

The complete list of 59 Chinese App Banned in India is given below:

Chinese Mobile Applications

1. TikTok

2. Shareit

3. Kwai

4. UC Browser

5. Baidu map

6. Shein

7. Clash of Kings

8. DU battery saver

9. Helo

10. Likee

11. YouCam makeup

12. Mi Community

13. CM Browers

14. Virus Cleaner

15. APUS Browser

16. ROMWE

17. Club Factory

18. Newsdog

19. Beutry Plus

20. WeChat

21. UC News

22. QQ Mail

23. Weibo

24. Xender

25. QQ Music

26. QQ Newsfeed

27. Bigo Live

28. SelfieCity

29. Mail Master

30. Parallel Space

31. Mi Video Call – Xiaomi

32. WeSync

33. ES File Explorer

34. Viva Video – QU Video Inc

35. Meitu

36. Vigo Video

37. New Video Status

38. DU Recorder

39. Vault- Hide

40. Cache Cleaner DU App studio

41 DU Cleaner

42. DU Browser

43. Hago Play With New Friends

44. Cam Scanner

45. Clean Master – Cheetah Mobile

46. Wonder Camera

47. Photo Wonder

48. QQ Player

49. We Meet

50. Sweet Selfie

51. Baidu Translate

52. Vmate

53. QQ International

54. QQ Security Center

55. QQ Launcher

56. U Video

57. V fly Status Video

58. Mobile Legends

59. DU Privacy

Delhi Government to start its own Plasma Bank

• Delhi government will start its own 'Plasma Bank' for treatment of Chinese virus positive patients. Chief Minister ArvindKejriwal has urged all the C-19 recovered patients in national capital to donate their plasma for the bank.

• Plasma Bank will begin its operations in next two days at the Institute of Liver and Biliary Sciences, Delhi.

PM FME Scheme launched under Atmanirbhar Bharat

• The Union Minister of Food Processing Industries, Harsimrat Kaur Badal formally launched Pradhan Mantri Scheme for Formalization of Micro Food Processing Enterprises as a part of Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan on 29 June 2020.

• The scheme aims to enhance the competitiveness of the existing individual micro enterprises by increasing their access to credit, modern technologies among other things.

• The All India Centrally Sponsored Scheme has an outlay of Rs.10,000crore for 5 years from 2020-21 to 2024-25 and  Provide employment to about nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled workers.

Uttarakhand forest department develops India’s 1st lichen park

• Uttarakhand forest department has developed India’s first lichen park in Kumaon’s Munsiyari, Pithoragarh district. Lichens are found in the Himalayas up to 5000 metres are important species as they are the best bioindicators of the pollution levels.

• The project aims to study the distribution of different lichen species, their habitat, their morphological and physiological aspects, surveying and literature review, the establishment of species, current threats to their habitat including anthropological and climatic factors, and coming up with suitable conservation strategies and protection strategies.

• These Jurassic-era lichen species are used in food, perfumes, dyes and traditional medicines.

International

Micheal Martin takes over as the Prime Minister of Ireland

• Micheal Martin has been appointed as the Taoiseach (Prime Minister) of the Republic of Ireland on 27 June 2020.

• The 59-year-old will lead a three-party coalition government consisting of FiannaFáil, Fine Gael and the Green Party.

• Martin is serving as the 15th Taoiseach of the country. He succeeds Leo Varadkar.

Lazarus Chakwera wins President election in Malawi’s

• Lazarus Chakwera becomes the new President of Malawi. He defeated incumbent Peter Mutharika with 58.57% of votes. Chakwera won with 2.6 million votes against 1.75 million for Mutharika. He is the head of the Malawi Congress Party(MCP).

Banking and Economy

Indian economy expected to contract 5% in FY21: S&P Ratings

• The GDP growth of India is expected to contract by 5 percent in the fiscal year 2020-21, according to latest forecast by S&P Global Ratings.

• The growth is expected to rebound in 2021-22 at 8.5%

Summary

FY21: -5%

FY22: 8.5%

FY23: 6.5%

Days

International Asteroid Day

• The International Asteroid Day, also known as Asteroid Day is a United Nations proclaimed day observed globally on June 30 ever year to raise awareness about asteroids and what can be done to protect the Earth, its families, communities, and future generations from a catastrophic event.

• The event marks the anniversary of the Siberian Tunguska event that took place on June 30, 1908, and was the most harmful known asteroid-related event on Earth in recent history.

• The first International Asteroid Day was held in 2015.

International Day of Parliamentarism

• International Day of Parliamentarism is observed globally on 30 June every year. The Day celebrates parliaments and ways during which parliamentary systems of government improve the everyday lives of individuals throughout the world.

• It is also a chance for parliaments to spot challenges and stock ways to deal with them effectively.The 2020 event is the third edition of the celebration.

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Important Current Affairs 20th June 2020

National

India will serve as UNSC president for August 2021

• India will be serving as UNSC President for August 2021. India was earlier elected as the non-permanent member of the 15-member United Nations Security Council. The UNSC presidency is held for a month by each of its members in alphabetical order.

• For a two-year term beginning on January 1, 2021, India, Norway, Mexico, Ireland, and Kenya were elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) on June 17, 2020.

• This will be the eight-time that India will sit at the council’s table. India was elected previously for the years 1950-51, 1967-68, 1972-73, 1977-78, 1984-85, 1991-92 and the most recent in 2011-12

Coal Ministry & FICCI Initiated e-Auction Process of 41 Coal blocks for Commercial mining

• On the lines of the announcement made by Central government under the 20 Lakh crore Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan, on June 18, 2020, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has launched the two stage electronic auction of 41 coal blocks for commercial mining through video-conference.

• The commencement of the auction process of these blocks is likely to contribute Rs 20,000 crore revenues annually to the state governments. On the Central Government front, it is expected to garner Rs 33,000 crore of capital investment over next five to seven years.

Manipur Observes the 19th Great June Uprising Day

• The 19th Great June Uprising Day was observed on 18th June at Kekrupat, Manipur. The day is being observed every year on 18 June to pay tribute and respect to 18 persons who lost their lives in June, 2001 to protect the territorial integrity of Manipur.

• On the occasion, family members of the 18 martyrs and leaders of some organisations paid floral tribute & respect to 18 persons at Kekrupat, Manipur.

Banking and Economy

ICICI Home Finance launches “SARAL” scheme for affordable house loan

• ICICI Home Finance Company Limited (HFC) has launched “SARAL” scheme for a special affordable house loan for urban and rural areas.

• The beneficiaries are women, lower, middle-income customers and economically weaker sections, with a maximum household income up to Rs 6 lakh per annum.

Summits and Mou’s

MoHUA& SIDBI signs Mo/U for PM SVANidhi scheme

• Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for PM Street Vendor’s Atma Nirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi). PM SVANidhi is a Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors.

• The credit guarantee to the lending institutions would also be managed by the SIDBI through Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

Obituary

Veteran economist & FC memeber B.P.R. Vithal passes away

• Veteran economist and the member of 10th Finance Commission, B.P.R. Vithal passes away. He was a former IAS officer of the 1950 batch.

•  He also served as the Secretary, Finance and Planning, government of Andhra Pradesh, from 1972 to 1982.

Sports

India to host 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup

• The All India Football Consideration (AIFF) will be hosting the Women’s Asian Cup 2022 of Asian Football Confederation (AFC). The decision was taken during the AFC Women’s Football Committee. The Committee had recommended India to host the tournament earlier in February 2020.

•  It will be the first time for India to host the Women’s Asian Cup 2022 since 1979.

Days

World Refugee Day

• United Nations celebrates World Refugee Day globally on 20 June every year. The World Refugee Day 2020 aims to remind the world that everyone, including refugees, are capable in contributing towards society and Every Action Counts in the effort to create a more just, inclusive, and equal world.

• The theme of World Refugee Day 2020 is “Every Action Counts”.

World Sickle Cell Day 2020

• Every year on June 19 the World Sickle Cell Awareness Day is observed to increase public knowledge & understanding about sickle cell disease.The day also aims to put forth the challenges faced by these patients, their families and caregivers.

• World Sickle Cell Day was 1st organised by the United Nation General Assembly in the year 2008 to recognise sickle cell disease as a public health problem.

Books and Authors

The Debut Novel of Megha Majumdar – “A Burning”

• The Penguin Hamish Hamilton released the “A Burning”, debut novel of Megha Majumdar. The 32-year-old New York’s writer who was born and raised in Kolkata.The book was published on 2nd June 2020 by Knopf Doubleday publishing Group.

• The book is about the lives of three characters, Tommy Orange, YaaGyasi and Jhumpa Lahiri who want to rise to the middle class, to political power, to gain fame in the film industry and how their lives changed in Indian society.

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Important Current Affairs 18th June 2020

National

Uttar Pradesh becomes top state to provide employment to workers under MGNREGA

• Uttar Pradesh has become the top most state in the country to provide employment to the workers under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme MGNREGA.

• According to the data released by officials, the state provided employment to 57 lakh 12975 workers on 15 June 2020. These workers are engaged across 56,981 panchayats out of the total 58,000 panchayats in the state.

• Uttar Pradesh now accounts for 18 percent of the total workers employed under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) in the country and has generated 7.93 crore man-days.

Sports Ministry to set up “Khelo India State Centres of Excellence”

• Under the Sports Ministry’s flagship programme “Khelo India Scheme“, the ministry is going to set up Khelo India State Centres of Excellence (KISCE).

• To create a robust sporting ecosystem in the entire country, as well as to strengthen India’s pursuit for excellence in Olympics, one KISCE will be identified in each state and unionterritory (UT).

• In the first phase of setting up KISCE, sports ministry has identified state-owned sports facilities in eight states of India. These states are: Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Mizoram, Kerala, Telangana, Nagaland, Karnataka, and Odisha.

Trustees of PM CARES fund appoints SARC & Associates as its auditor

• The Trustees of the Prime Minister’s Citizens Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations (PM CARES) fund has appointed, New Delhi based Chartered Accountants, SARC & Associates, as its auditors for the next three years.

• The SARC & Associates headed by Sunil Kumar Gupta is also the auditor of the PM’s National Relief Fund(PMNRF) appointed in 2019.

AYUSH Ministry launches ‘Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family’ Campaign

• The AYUSH Ministry has launched 'Yoga at Home, Yoga with Family' campaign to mark the International Yoga Day 2020.

• Under the campaign, the Ministry will encourage people to perform Yogasanas from their homes, while maintaining social distancing and other restrictions imposed during the C-19 pandemic.

Science and Technology

Scientists observe “Fifth State of Matter” for first time in space

• A team of NASA scientists has observed the fifth state of matter for the first time in space. This observation will help scientists in solving some of the Bose-Einstein Quantum universe’s difficult questions.

• The existence of Bose-Einstein condensates (BEC) fifth state of matter was projected by Albert Einstein and Indian mathematician Satyendra Nath Bose a century ago.

Obituary

Maharashtra based senior journalist & freedom fighter Dinu Randive passes away at 95

• Senior journalist and freedom fighter from Maharashtra, Dinu Randive has passed away due to old age. He was 95.

• Randive played a key role in the struggle movement called Samyukta Maharashtra movement to carve out Maharashtra state. He also participated in the Goa liberation movement.

Maha Vir Chakra Awardee Lt Gen Raj Mohan Vohra passes away

• MahaVir Chakra awardee Lt Gen (retd) Raj Mohan Vohra passed away due to C-19. He was a 1971 war hero. Lt Gen Vohra had received the coveted award in 1972.

• The MahaVir Chakra is that the country’s second-highest gallantry award. It is awarded for acts of conspicuous gallantry within the presence of the enemy whether on land, at sea or in the air.

Days

Sustainable Gastronomy Day

• Sustainable Gastronomy Day is observed globally on 18th June every year. This day is observed to acknowledge gastronomy as a cultural expression related to nature as well as the cultural diversity of the world.

• It also reaffirms that each one culture and civilizations are contributors and crucial enablers of sustainable development throughout the planet.

• The UN General Assembly adopted on 21 December 2016 its resolution A/RES/71/246 and designated 18 June as an international observance, Sustainable Gastronomy Day.

World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought

• World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought is observed on 17th June every year. The day is observed to spread awareness among people about the cooperation required to combat desertification and the effects of drought.

• The theme of World Day to Combat Desertification and Drought 2020: Food. Feed. Fibre. – the links between consumption and land.

Others

New fish species discovered in Arunachal Pradesh

A new fish species named as “Schizothoraxsikusirumensis” has been discovered in Arunachal Pradesh. The new fish species was discovered by Dr. Keshav Kumar Jha. He discovered a new fish species from genus Schizothorax.

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Important Current Affairs 13th June 2020

National

NHAI goes completely digital

• The National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) has gone completely digital. It is the first organisation of the construction sector that has been transformed into online portal completely through the Data Lake and Project Management Software.

• The entire NHAI work will now be carried out online amid the C-19 .The online portal will help the NHAI employees in continuing their work without any physical contact.

Madhya Pradesh becomes the top wheat procurer; pumps Rs 25,000 crores to boost farmers

• MP becomes India’s largest wheat procurer in the year 20-21 surpassing Punjab. Rs 25,000 crore introduced to boost farmers.MP also produced the most wheat about 30 million tonnes this year.

Coimbatore becomes Koyampuththoor as TN changes English names of 1,018 places

• The Tamil Nadu government has issued a notification as per the recommendation of an experts committee for changing the names of 1,018 places, including of many important places, in accordance with how they are exactly pronounced in Tamil.

• For instance Coimbatore will be called Koyampuththoor and Ambattur has been re-christened as Ambaththoor. Vellore will be known as Veeloor.

Awards

Indian-American Dr. Rattan Lal awarded with World Food Prize 2020

• Indian-American Dr. Rattan Lal has been awarded with the 2020 World Food Prize for developing a soil centric approach for increasing food production while conserving natural resources and mitigating the climate change.

• Lal has been helping over 500 million small farmers through measures such as improved management, less soil degradation and recycling of nutrients.He will receive USD 250,000 as prize money.

• Lal serves as Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science and founding Director of the Carbon Management and Sequestration Center at The Ohio State University (OSU).

Obituary

Veteran Urdu poet Gulzar Dehlvi passes away

• Veteran Urdu poet, Anand Mohan Zutshi Gulzar Dehlvi passed away. He was the editor of ‘Science ki Duniya’, the only science magazine published in Urdu by the government, which was launched in 1975.

• He is also credited with setting up Urdu schools across India. He was also associated with the freedom movement since the ’30s, when he was in school.

Ranking

FIFA’s latest ranking: India retains 108th slot

• India football team retained its 108th spot in the latest FIFA rankings. While Belgium ranked first and world champion France is in 2nd place and Brazil is at 3rd spot.

• In the wake of the C-19 , the qualifier tournaments have been postponed for the FIFA World Cup and other major games at the international level.

Days

International Albinism Awareness Day 2020

• International Albinism Awareness Day is celebrated worldwide on June 13, 2020. The day aims at creating awareness and acknowledging the multiple forms of discrimination that people with albinism face worldwide.

• Albinism is non-contagious, genetically inherited, rare difference present at birth. This condition results in a lack of pigmentation in skin, hair, and eyes causing vulnerability to the sun and bright light.

• This year’s International Albinism Awareness Day theme is ‘Made to Shine’. The theme has been chosen to celebrate the achievements and successes of people with albinism worldwide.

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Important Current Affairs 31st May 2020

National

MP govt starts ‘RozgarSetu’ scheme for skilled workers

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan has launched a scheme ‘RozgarSetu’ for skilled workers who have returned from other states.

• As per the state government, Madhya Pradesh is the first to devise such a work plan, to provide work to the maximum number of returned skilled workers.

• The State government will act as a setu [bridge] between workers and employers so that both are benefited.

• The scheme will provide a platform to the workers and connect them with those needing them, thus fulfilling the manpower requirement of industries as well as provide employment to workers.

International

US joins G7 Group’s Partnership on Artificial Intelligence to counter China

• United States has finally joined the rest of the G7 countries in the Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence (AI), in an effort to contain China‘s influence on AI.

• The Trump administration had been the only nation among leaders of the Group of Seven which was not the part of the Global Partnership on AI, set up by France and Canada in 2019.

• The Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence aims to guide the responsible adoption of AI based on shared principles of “human rights, inclusion, diversity, innovation and economic growth”, among the member nations.

• G7 Members: France, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, UK and US.

Obituary

RajyaSabha member M.P. Veerendra Kumar passes away

• Rajya Sabha (RS) MP from Kerala and Loktantrik Janata Dal (LJD) Leader, writer and journalist,  M.P. Veerendra Kumar passed away. He was born on July 22, 1936, at Kalpetta, Wayanad district, Kerala.

• In 1996, Kumar was elected to the Lok Sabha from Kozhikde and became a ‘Union Minister of State for Finance’ and later ‘Union Minister of State for Labour’ in the United Front governments led by HD Deve Gowda and IK Gujral.

• He was elected to the Lok Sabha again in 2004. He has been a member of the Rajya Sabha since April 2016. He was a recipient of the Sahitya Academy award.

Days

World No-Tobacco Day

• World No Tobacco Day (WNTD) is observed every year on 31 May, globally to inform the public on the dangers of using tobacco  and to discourage the use of tobacco in any form.

• Theme of the 2020 WNTD is ‘Tobacco and related industry tactics to attract younger generations’.

• The Day was created by the member states of the World Health Organization (WHO) in 1987.

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Important Current Affairs 25th May 2020

National

Prakash Javadekar launched major initiatives on International Biodiversity Day

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar virtually launched five key initiatives towards conservation of biodiversity on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2020.

• National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ‘Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme which proposes to engage 20 students with postgraduate degrees for a period of one year through an open, transparent, online competitive process.

• Launch of UNEP Campaign on Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species: ‘Not all Animals Migrate by Choice’.

• A Webinar Series on ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Biological Diversity Act, 2002’

• WWF Model Conference of Parties (MCoP), to involve the younger generation so they engage in conversations around impact of humanity’s footprint on biodiversity.

• An awareness campaign supported by WWF to highlight the crucial role played by nature through its free ecological services provided for humankind.

Andhra Pradesh Launches Rs 1,110 crore Mega ReSTART Package for MSMEs

• In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced Rs 1,110 crore ReSTART package for MSMEs to strengthen the sector during this emergency situation as well as create employment.

• The government immediately released Rs 450 crore as the first instalment under the scheme, which would benefit nearly 98,000 units. These units employ more than 10 lakh people who were facing hardships.

MoHFW constitutes committee to reform Drug Regulatory System

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has constituted a committee to reform the Drug Regulatory System. The committee comprises of 11 members including the senior health officials, scientists and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The committee is being headed by Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty to the Union health minister.

Obituary

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr dies at 96

• Former Indian hockey player Balbir Singh Dosanjh passed away. He was a part of three-time Olympic gold medal-winning Indian hockey team, i.e. in London Olympics (1948), Helsinki Olympics (1952), and Melbourne Olympics (1956).

• In 1956 Olympics, he was the captain of the Indian team that won the gold medal after defeating Pakistan in the finals. The three-time Olympic-medal winner was battling multiple health issues.

• He is survived by three sons Karanbir, Kanwalbir, and Gurbir and a daughter Sushbir. He was conferred with one of India's prestigious awards, Padma Shri in 1957.

Appointments and Resignations

Indian-origin Siddhartha Mukherjee appointed to Commission on Economic Recovery of New York

• Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee has been appointed as the Member of Commission on Economic Recovery of New York. The commission focuses on jumpstarting the economy of the state.

• On the other hand, Indian-origin Satish Tripathi has been appointed as the Member of the commission.

Days

International Missing Children’s Day

• Every year, 25 May is observed as International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) around the world to commemorate the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime, and continue efforts to find those who are still missing.

• The symbol for IMCD is the forget-me-not flower.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd May 2020

National

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana launched in Chhattisgarh

• Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana to mark the 29th anniversary of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The scheme launched with financial outlay of Rs. 5,700 crore aims to stimulate the economy of rural areas of the state amid the situation.

• The scheme was announced in the Chhattisgarh Budget 2020-21.

Beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat crosses 1 crore mark

• The number of beneficiaries under the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme has crossed the one crore mark. This was informed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

• Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana-Ayushman Bharat was launched in 2018 by PM Modi as the biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme in the world.

Science and Technology

Sun goes into ‘Solar Minimum’ state

• Space agencies recently reported that the sun has entered the ‘Solar Minimum’ state and is soon going to make entry into the deepest period of sunshine recession.

• The Solar minimum is currently underway and is a deep one.

Sports

NADA Suspends Power lifters Savita Kumari and Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has provisionally suspended Power lifters Savita Kumari and Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules.

Appointments and Resignations

Crisis expert Carmen Reinhart appointed World Bank Chief Economist

• World Bank Group has appointed Carmen Reinhart as its new Vice President and Chief Economist. Her appointment will be effective from June 15, 2020. She was a Senior Policy Advisor and Deputy Director at the IMF and Vice President and Chief Economist of the investment bank Bear Stearns.

• She has been listed among Bloomberg Markets Most Influential 50 in Finance, Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, and Thomson Reuters’ The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Govinda Rajulu Chintala appointed NABARD chairman, Shaji KV and PVS Surya kumar appointed as DMD of NABARD

• The appointments committee of the union cabinet appointed Govinda Rajulu Chintala as Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). He was the successor of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.

• P V S Suryakumar: Suryakumar served as the chief general manager (CGM) of the NABARD, will hold the postof DMD of NABARD till his superannuation on July 31, 2023.

• Presently, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala is serving as the Chairman of NABARD.

Days

Anti Terrorism Day 2020

• Anti Terrorism Day 2020 is observed on 21st May every year in India. The day marks the death anniversary of India’s seventh Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991.

• He was killed in Tamil Nadu in a campaign by the Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist group. After this assassination, V.P. Singh government has decided to observe 21st May as Anti Terrorism Day.

World Metrology Day

• World Metrology Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. Many nations on this day, internationally collaborate to create awareness about metrology and its advancement in the respective field.

• This year theme for World Metrology Day: Measurements for global trade. This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in facilitating fair global trade, ensuring products meet standards and regulations, and satisfying customer quality expectations.

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Important Current Affairs 14th May 2020

National

Economic Relief Package announced for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”

In continuation to PM Modi’s announcement of Rs 20 lakh crore boost to the economy, the Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has made certain announcements for relief and credit support related to businesses, especially MSMEs to support the Indian Economy. These are the announcements made on May 13, 2020.

• Rs 3 lakh crore Emergency Working Capital Facility for Businesses, including MSMEs-  This will be available to units with uptoRs 25 crore outstanding and turnover of up to Rs 100 crore whose accounts are standard.

• Rs 20,000 crore Subordinate Debt for Stressed MSMEs- Provision made for Rs. 20,000 cr subordinate debt for two lakh MSMEs which are NPA or are stressed. Government will support them with Rs. 4,000 Cr. to Credit Guarantee Trust for Micro and Small enterprises (CGTMSE). Banks are expected to provide the subordinate-debt to promoters of such MSMEs equal to 15% of his existing stake in the unit subject to a maximum of Rs 75 lakhs.

• Rs 50,000 crores equity infusion through MSME Fund of Funds- Govt will set up a Fund of Funds with a corpus of Rs 10,000 crore that will provide equity funding support for MSMEs. The Fund of Funds shall be operated through a Mother and a few Daughter funds.

• New definition of MSME- Definition of MSME will be revised by raising the Investment limit.  Additional criteria of turnover also being introduced. MSME receivables from Government and CPSEs will be released in 45 days

• Employees Provident Fund Support for business and organised workers- The scheme introduced as part of PMGKP under which Government of India contributes 12% of salary each on behalf of both employer and employee to EPF will be extended by another 3 months for salary months of June, July and August 2020. Total benefits accrued is about Rs 2500 crores to 72.22 lakh employees.

• EPF Contribution to be reduced for Employers and Employees for 3 months- Statutory PF contribution of both employer and employee reduced to 10% each from existing 12% each for all establishments covered by EPFO for next 3 months. This will provide liquidity of about Rs.2250 Crore per month.

• Rs 30,000 crores Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFC/HFC/MFIs- Government will launch Rs 30,000 crore Special Liquidity Scheme, liquidity being provided by RBI. This will be 100 percent guaranteed by the Government of India.

• Rs 45,000 crores Partial credit guarantee Scheme 2.0 for Liabilities of NBFCs/MFIs- Existing Partial Credit Guarantee scheme is being revamped and now will be extended to cover the borrowings of lower rated NBFCs, HFCs and other Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs). Government of India will provide 20 percent first loss sovereign guarantee to Public Sector Banks.

• Rs 90,000 crore Liquidity Injection for DISCOMs- Power Finance Corporation and Rural Electrification Corporation will infuse liquidity in the DISCOMS to the extent of Rs 90000 crores in two equal instalments. This amount will be used by DISCOMS to pay their dues to Transmission and Generation companies. Further, CPSE GENCOs will give a rebate to DISCOMS on the condition that the same is passed on to the final consumers as a relief towards their fixed charges.

• The TDS rates for all non-salaried payment to residents, and tax collected at source rate will be reduced by 25 percent of the specified rates for the remaining period of FY 20-21.This will provided liquidity to the tune of Rs 50,000 Crore.

• Tax related measures- The due date of all Income Tax Returns for Assessment Year 2020-21 will be extended to 30 November, 2020.

Telangana becomes first Indian state to regulate crop cultivation

• Telangana recently became the first Indian state to tell farmers what to grow as a part of its pilot project. The government will now be regulating the cultivation of crops and will limit the growing of paddy crops to just 50 lakh acres.

• The state government has also regulated the cultivation of Red Gram to 10 lakh acres.

Banking and Economy

BRICS' Bank provides USD 1 billion loan to India

• The BRICS’s New Development Bank has decided to provide USD 1 billion emergency assistance loan to India to reduce human, social and economic losses.

• The 'Emergency Assistance Program Loan' to India was approved by the Board of Directors of the bank on April 30, 2020. “The loan was approved in response to the immediate financing needs of the Indian Government," said NDB Vice President and CEO Xian Zhu.

Awards

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

• Tennis player Sania Mirza on Monday became the first Indian to win the Fed Cup Heart Award for her successful return to the court post motherhood.

• Sania won the award for Asia/Oceania zone after securing a whopping 10,000 plus votes out of the total 16,985 cast for this year's three regional Group I nominees.

• She  is one of 4 winners chosen by a public vote, alongside AnastasijaSevastova of Latvia (wins Qualifiers award), Estonian AnettKontaveit (Europe/Africa I zone) and Mexico’s Fernanda Contreras Gomez (Americas I zone).

Obituary

Grammy-winning singer Betty Wright passes away

• The Grammy-winning soul singer, Betty Wright passed away. Her real name is Bessie Regina Norris. She is an R&B (Rhythm & blues) singer, songwriter and background vocalist.

• She received her first Grammy Award for the Best Song, “Where is the Love?”.

Appointments and Resignations

Manoj Ahuja appointed as new Chairman of CBSE

•  Manoj Ahuja was appointed as the new Chairman of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on May 12, 2020. He will be replacing IAS officer Anita Karwal, who has been appointed as the Secretary, Department of School Education and Literacy under Human Resource Development Ministry.

•  Manoj Ahuja is a 1990 batch IAS officer of Odisha cadre. He is currently serving as the Special Director at the Lal Bahadur  Shastri National Academy of Administration under the Department of Personnel and Training.

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.

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