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Important Current Affairs 16th May 2020

National

Finance Minister announced third Tranche of Rs.20 lakh Economic Package

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced the third Tranche of Rs.20 lakh Economic Package on 15 May in New Delhi. On 12 May, Prime Minister Modi announced an Economic relief Package of Rs.20 lakh crore with an aim of making it “AtmaNirbhar” or self-reliant.

Highlights:

• GoI is to create a facilitative legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters in a fair and transparent manner.

• Centre will formulate a law to provide adequate choices to the farmers to sell produce at an attractive price, barrier-free interstate trade, and framework for e-trading of agricultural produce. GoI will implement a Rs.500 crore scheme of infrastructure development related to integrated beekeeping development centres, collection, marketing & storage centres, post-harvest, and value addition facilities. It is expected to lead to an increase in income of 2 lakh bee-keepers.

• The National Medicinal Plants Board will bring an 800-hectare area by developing a corridor of medicinal plants along the banks of river Ganga.

• Centre allocated Rs.4000 crore for the promotion of herbal cultivation. Under this, 10,00,000 hectares will be covered in the next 2 years.

• Government has decided to amend the Essential Commodities Act. It will enable better price realization for farmers and attract investments that will lead to deregulation of prices for cereals, edible oils, oilseeds, pulses, onions, and potatoes.

• Centre also announced the Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund of Rs.15,000crore to support investment in dairy processing.

• Centre announced Rs.4,000crore for promotion of herbal cultivation to bring 10 lakh hectares of land under herbal growing in the next 2 years.

• A total outlay of Rs.13,343crore has been allocated for the National Animal Disease Control Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease and Brucellosis. Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana for the development of marine and inland fisheries will be given Rs.20,000crore. It is expected to generate job opportunities for 55 lakh people.

• All  related deadline extensions relating to fisheries activities which are aimed to help marine and coastal farmers will be undertaken.

• Government is to introduce a Rs.10,000crores scheme for the formalization of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE).

• Government aims to create an Rs.1 lakh croreAgri-Infrastructure Fund for farm gate infrastructure for Indian farmers.

• As an additional step for agriculture during the , Centre has announced an amount more than Rs.74,300crores for Minimum Support Price purchases and Rs.18,700 crore for Kisan fund transfer.

Himachal Chief Minister inaugurates e-udyan portal

• Himachal CM inaugurated the e-udyan portal and IHSMS application developed under World Bank funded Himachal Pradesh Horticulture Development Project for providing services of Department of Horticulture.

• The Management Information System (Integrated Horticulture Sector Management System) has been developed for all G2C services of the Horticulture Department through this portal.

Tribal Affairs Minister launches 'GOAL' programme

• Tribal Affairs Minister ArjunMunda launched the “GOAL" - Going Online As Leaders - programme during a webinar in New Delhi on May 15, 2020.

• The programme is designed to provide mentorship to tribal youth through digital mode.

• The programme aims to act as a catalyst to explore hidden talents of the tribal youth, which will help in their personal development as well as contribute to all-round upliftment of their society.

Banking and Economy

World Bank approves $1 billion social protection package for India

• 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.

• The social protection package for India would be funded in two tranches in the following manner:

 First tranche will be made available as an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020.

 Second tranche would be remaining $250 million that would be made available for fiscal year 2021.

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

• 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.

• Federal Bank has a 15% share of the country’s remittance market and expects that the tie-up with MoneyGram will give the business a further boost.

Ranking

International tourism to decline 60-80% in 2020

• According to the latest data of the United Nations World Tourism Organization(UNWTO) the international tourism could decline by 60-80% in 2020 when compared with 2019.

• Figures which will result in loss of USD 910 billion to USD 1.2 trillion and places millions of livelihoods at risk and threatens to curtail the progress made in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals(SDGs).

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Important Current Affairs 15th May 2020

National

FM Nirmala Sitharaman announces second tranche of economic stimulus for farmers, migrant workers, traders under Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan

In continuation to PM Modi’s announcement of Rs 20 lakh crore boost to the economy, and the announcement made by her on May 13, 2020  the Finance Minister of India, Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman has made the announcement of the second tranche of economic support the Indian

Economy

These are the announcements made on May 14, 2020

• The announcement focusses on short term and long-term measures for supporting the poor, including migrants, farmers, tiny businesses and street vendors.

• 2% Interest Subvention for 12 months for Shishu MUDRA loanees- Relief of Rs. 1,500 crore- Government of India will provide Interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000.The current portfolio of MUDRA Shishu loans is around Rs 1.62 Lakh crore. This will provide relief of about Rs 1,500 crore to Shishu MUDRA loanee.

• Free food grains supply to migrants for 2 months (i.e. May and June, 2020)

• Scheme for Affordable Rental Housing Complexes for Migrant Workers and Urban Poor to be launched

• Technology system to be used enabling Migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any Fair Price Shops in India by March,2021-One Nation one Ration Card

• Rs 5,000 crore Credit facility for Street Vendors- Under this scheme, bank credit facility for initial working capital up to Rs. 10,000 for each enterprise.

• Rs 70,000 crore boost to housing sector and middle income group through extension of  Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG under PMAY(Urban)- The Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakhs) will be extended up to March 2021.

• Rs 6,000 crore for Creating employment using CAMPA funds- Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA)

• Rs 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital for farmers through NABARD- NABARD will extend additional re-finance support of Rs 30,000 crore for meeting crop loan requirement of Rural Cooperative Banks and RRBs. This refinance will be front-loaded and available on tap. This is over and above Rs 90,000 crore that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in the normal course.

• Rs 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crorefarmers  underKisan Credit Card Scheme- A special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards. 2.5 crore farmers will be covered.

ICCR launches song “United we Fight” to Strengthen India’s Fight

• The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), an autonomous body under MEA,  has unveiled a new song titled “United we Fight” to motivate people to be united, think positive and have never say die attitude in our collective fight.

• The musical creation has been dedicated to world by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of India, to spread India’s message of hope, resilience and ‘VasudhaivaKutumbakam’  (the world is one family).

• The 3.33 minutes long song ‘United We Fight’ is written and composed by Joe Alvares.

International

Rate of Forest Loss Globally Declined Between 2015 and 2020: FAO report

• The Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020) was released by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) on 13 May 2020.

• As per the report, the rate of forest loss during 2015-2020 declined to an estimated 10 million hectares (mha), compared to 12 million hectares (mha) loss in 2010-2015.

• The FRA 2020 report is based on more than 60 forest-related variables in 236 countries and territories in the period 1990–2020.

US CDC Commits USD3.6 mn to Assist India’s fight

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has committed $3.6 million to the Government of India to support the country in prevention, preparedness, and response activities.

The first tranche of funding will be utilised to further strengthen and support the Government of India’s efforts to increase laboratory capacity for SARS-COV-2 testing, including molecular diagnostics and serology

Appointments and Resignations

WTO chief Roberto Azevedo resigns from post

•  Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, the head of the World Trade Organization is likely to step down earlier than planned. Azevedo has summoned a virtual meeting to inform national members on May 14, 2020.

•  The 62-year-old has been the Director-General at the Geneva-based WTO since 2013. His second term of office was due to conclude at the end of August 2021.

•  The heads of delegations of the WTO's 164 members have been called for a special meeting to inform them about "pressing WTO administrative issues".

Ranking

India up at 74th place on WEF’s 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.

Days

International Family Day

• International Family Day observed globally on 15th May every year. This day is spread awareness about the importance of families and the role of the international community in the development of the families.

• The United Nation General Assembly proclaimed the International Year of the Families in its resolution 44/82 of 9 December 1989.

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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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Important Current Affairs 13th May 2020

National

Prime Minister announces Economic Package of Rs 20 Lakh Crore

• Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi addressed his countrymen and announced an Economic Package of Rs 20 Lakh crore, giving stress on land, labour, liquidity and law.

• Details of the Economic Package will be revealed very shortly by the Ministry of Finance. This package will intend to support farmers, labourers, fishermen, migrants and the industry of the country.

• The Prime Minister announced 5 pillars of a self-reliant India, which will lead the world into the 21st century:

•  Economy that will bring quantum jump, not just incremental change.

•  Infrastructure that becomes a symbol of modern India.

•  System which is technology-driven and fulfill the dreams of the 21st century and is not based on the policy of the past century.

•  Demography which is our strength and source of energy for self-reliant India.

•  Demand: Cycle of Supply and Demand to boost economy and provide the power to harness its full potential.

MSME Ministry launches CHAMPIONS Portal

•  The Ministry of MSMEs launched the CHAMPIONS portal (www.Champions.gov.in) on May 12, 2020 to assist Indian MSMEs to become national and global champions.

•  The Champions portal is a technology-driven Control Room-Cum-Management Information System. The name Champion stands for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.

•  The technology is fully integrated on a real-time basis with GOI’s main grievances portal CPGRAMS and MSME Ministry’s own other web-based mechanisms. It is based on modern ICT tools.

SwasthVayu: Non-invasive ventilator developed by CSIR-NAL

• A Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator “SwasthVayu” has been developed by CSIR-National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore. The unique features of the Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator “SwasthVayu” helps to alleviate the fear of the virus spread.

• The ventilator is basically a microcontroller-based precise closed-loop adaptive control system. It has a built-in biocompatible manifold and coupler that is 3D printed, along with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).

Banking and Economy

Morgan Stanley projects India GDP growth for 2020 at 0%; For 2021 at 7.7%

• American multinational investment bank, Morgan Stanley has projected India’s GDP growth for 2020 at 0% and for 2021 at 7.7%.

• For the global GDP growth, Morgan Stanley has made a projection of -3% in 2020 and 5.9% in 2021.

Awards

DW Freedom of Speech Award 2020 announced

• 17 journalists from 14 countries have been named for Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award 2020 for showing “outstanding commitment to human rights and freedom of expression in the media”.

• Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan is among the 17 recipients of the 2020 Freedom of Speech Award presented by German public news outlet Deutsche Welle on the occasion of the World Press Freedom Day on 3rd May 2020.

Obituary

Former TT champion Manmeet Singh Walia passes away

• Former national table tennis champion Manmeet Singh Walia passed away at the age of 58 years.

• Manmeet was suffering from ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). He had represented the country at multiple international events after making his debut at the Asian Championships in 1980.

Sports

FIFA Under 17 Women’s World Cup to be held in February 2021

• The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on May 12, 2020 declared that the FIFA Under-17 Women’s World Cup will now be held during February 17, 2021 - March 7, 2021 in India.

• The tournament was earlier scheduled to be held on November 2, 2020. However, the AIFF had to cancel it.

Appointments and Resignations

Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi takes charge as Secretary of New &Renewable Energy Ministry

•  Indu Shekhar Chaturvedi (IAS) assumed charge as the new Secretary, Ministry of New & Renewable Energy on May 11, 2020.

•  Chaturvedi is a 1987 Batch IAS officer from Jharkhand cadre. He will be succeeding Anand Kumar, who has become the Secretary in the Ministry of Culture.

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Important Current Affairs 12th May 2020

National

PravasiRahatMitra app launched in UP

• Uttar Pradesh Government recently launched the ‘PravasiRahatMitra’ app to help migrant workers return safely. The app has been developed by UP Revenue Department in collaboration with UNDP - United Nations Development Programme.

• The App was launched by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

NIV Pune Develops India's First Anti-body Test 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.

• For mass scale production of the ELISA test kits, ICMR has tied-up with ZYDUS CADILA.

HRD Minister launches Central Univ. of Odisha Helpline “Bharosa”

• Union HRD Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has launched Central University of Odisha Helpline “Bharosa”. This helpline has been launched with an objective of relieving the student community from the distress caused during the troubled time.

• All University Students of Odisha will be offered Cognitive Emotional Rehabilitation Services via this helpline.

International

WHO & UN’s Postal Agency Release Commemorative Stamp on 40th Anniversary of Smallpox Eradication

• The World Health Organisation (WHO) and United Nations Postal Administration – the postal agency of UN, have released a commemorative postage stamp to mark the 40th anniversary of the eradication of smallpox on 9th May 2020.

• The stamp recognises the global solidarity in fighting smallpox and honours millions of people working together to eradicate smallpox.

Saudi Arabia triples taxes

•  Saudi Arabia announced on May 11, 2020 that it was tripling the taxes levied on basic goods, raising them to 15 percent and cutting spending on major projects by around $26 billion.

•  The Gulf Nation is reeling with the blow on its economy due to low oil prices as a result of the imposed across the world.

Science and Technology

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.

Obituary

Founding father of rock-and-roll Little Richard dies at 87

• Founding father of Rock ‘n’ roll, Little Richard passed away. His full name Richard Wayne Pennima, was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of its first group of inductees in 1986 and he picked up a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1993 from the Recording Academy.

Ranking

Bengaluru airport voted as best regional airport in India & Central Asia

• Kempegowda International Airport of Bengaluru has been voted by customers as the best regional airport in India & Central Asia at the 2020 World Airport Awards.

• Bengaluru Airport has won this award for the third time in four years.

Days

International Nurses Day

• The International Nurses Day is celebrated around the world every May 12, to mark the contributions and hard work of nursing staff around the world.

• The day was created by the International Council of Nurses, and is celebrated globally since January 1974.This day also marks the birth anniversary of nursing pioneer Florence Nightingale.

• The theme of 2020 International Nurses Day is Nurses: A voice to lead – Nursing the World to Health.

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Important Current Affairs 11th May 2020

National

India starts “Mission Sagar” to assist island nations in EIO

  • The Government of India has launched Mission Sagar on 10 May 2020 as part of it’s outreach initiative towards assisting five Island nations in the Indian Ocean amidst the ongoing current situation.
  • Under the mission, Indian Naval Ship (INS) Kesari has been deployed, carrying on board two medical assistance teams, essential Food Items and Medicines and Special Ayurvedic Medicines five to Island countries in the Indian Ocean. The five countries are Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros.
  • The mission is inspired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and is in line with India’s role as the first responder in the region.

Banking and Economy

Government hikes its market borrowing to Rs 12 lakh crore from Rs 7.80 lakh crore for FY 21

  • The Finance Ministry has informed that Government has hiked its estimated gross market borrowing to Rs 12 lakh crore(additional Rs 4.2 lakh crore) from Rs 7.80 lakh crore for Financial Year(FY) 2020-21 as per the Budget Estimates(BE) so as to tackle the expected shortfall in revenue.
  • The borrowing happens by issuing dated securities and treasury bills, the purchase and sale of which is conducted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

Awards

Startup India-Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge awards 

  • Union Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh has presented the award to the winners of “Startup India-Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge”.
  • The challenge was open for application to Startups from 11th of September, 2019 to 15th of November, 2019 on the Startup India portal – www.startupindia.gov.in. 

Days

National Technology Day

  • The National Technology Day is observed every year on May 11 since 1999 to mark the anniversary of 1998 Pokhran nuclear tests and India’s technological advancements in space.
  • It was on this day in 1998 that India successfully fired an Operation Shakti missile at the Indian Army’s Pokhran Test Range in Rajasthan. The Test was led by late aerospace engineer and President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

Mother’s day 2020

  • Mother’s day is celebrated on every second Sunday of May month and this year, it’s falling on 10th May 2020. Mother’s Day is widely known to salute the motherhood, to extend the influence of mothers within the society, to extend the maternal bonds to children, etc.
  • In 1914 President Woodrow Wilson declared second Sunday of May as an official holiday in the United States.
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Important Current Affairs 10th May 2020

National

ICMR, Bharat Biotech tie up to develop a fully indigenous vaccine

• The Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited to develop India’s first fully indigenous vaccine. Bharat Biotech is a Hyderabad-based leading Vaccine manufacturing company.

• The Indian vaccine will be developed using the virus strain, which has been isolated at ICMR's National Institute of Virology (NIV), Pune. The details of the virus strain have been successfully transferred from NIV to Bharat Biotech.

Vista Equity Partners Buys 2.32% Stake in Jio Platforms for Rs 11,367 Crore

• US-based private equity firm Vista Equity Partners has become the third company to buy a stake in billionaire Mukesh Ambani’s digital unit, Jio Platforms.

• It has bought 2.32 percent stake for Rs 11,367 crore in the company.

• This investment values Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

Banking and Economy

Mahindra & Mahindra launches digital sales platform ‘Own-Online’

• Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd has announced the launch of an online vehicle ownership platform named “Own-Online’.

• The portal will offer an end-to-end sales experience for prospective buyers. It will also help customers to finance, insure, exchange, accessorize, and own a Mahindra vehicle from home.

Obituary

KFH Tournament founder Pandanda Kuttappa passes away

• Founder of Kodava Family Hockey Tournament, Pandanda Kuttappa passed away. Kuttappa conceived the idea of Kodava family hockey festival in 1997.

• He was a former State Bank of India employee and an ex-first division hockey referee, Pandanda Kuttappa has bestowed the Karnataka Rajyothsava award in 2015.

Days

Nation celebrates 480th birth anniversary of MaharanaPratap

• Nation celebrates 480th birth anniversary of Maharana Pratap on 9 May. He was Born on 9 May 1540. To honour of the brave king, Maharana Pratap Jayanti is celebrated every year on 9 May.

• Pratap Singh I, popularly known as Maharana Pratap, was born to King Udai Singh II and Queen JaiwantaBai of Mewar. Udai Singh II died in 1572 in Gogunda and following his death, Maharana Pratap ascended the throne on 1 March 1572.

Books and Authors

Book titled “Fear of God” authored by Vadhan

• A book titled “Fear of God” has been authored by Bommadevara Sai Chandravadhan. He is popularly known as Vadhan.

• It is a book based on the lack of respect or fear of law in India.

• This is Vadhan’s third novel after “Agniputr: When Agni First Spoke” and “Shatru”.

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Important Current Affairs 9th May 2020

National

Defence Minister inaugurates link road to Mansarovar Yatra

• The 80 km long link road to Mansarovar Yatra was inaugurated recently by the Defence Minister Rajnath Singh. The road starts from Dharchula in Uttarakhand to Lipulek, China Border.

•  The road will not only reduce the time taken to cover Kailash-Mansarovar pilgrimage but will also boost border area connectivity.

UP suspends labour laws for 1000 days to boost investment

• Uttar Pradesh government has decided to suspend majority of the labour laws for a period of 1000 years or over 3 years to attract investment. The move is expected to make UP a favourable destination for investment in existing and new industrial units.

• The government will soon set up a Japanese Help Desk to attract investors from Japan.

ICMR partners India Post for delivery of testing kits

• Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has entered into a tie-up with the India Post for delivery of its testing kits.

Defence Ministry signs contract with Tata Power SED for infra modernisation at 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.

• The contract has been signed in Two Phases. Under 1st-Phase of the contract is to Modernization of Airfield Infrastructure, the airfields of the Indian Air Force were upgraded.

 Banking and Economy

AIIB approves USD 500 million loan to support India’s fight

• Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has approved a loan worth of $500 million for India’s 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.

Nomura predicts Indian GDP for FY21 at -5.2%

• Nomura has made the following GDP growth/contraction prediction for India for various years:

• For year 2020 (Jan-Dec 2020)= -5.0% (contraction by 5%)

• For FY21 (April 2020 to March 2021)= -5.2% (contraction by 5.2%)

• For year 2021= 7.9%

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%.

Goldman Sachs predicts India’s GDP growth at -0.4% for FY21

• The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -0.4%.

• It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 0.4% in FY21.

Days

World Migratory Bird Day

• World Migratory Bird Day is observed globally on 9 May every year. The aim of the day is to raise awareness of migratory birds and the importance of international cooperation to conserve them.

• This time the theme of World Migratory Bird Day 2020 is “Birds Connect Our World”.

World Thalassaemia Day

• World Thalassaemia Day is observed on every 8th of May to create awareness about the disease and help thalassaemia patients lead a normal life.

• The theme for the International Thalassaemia Day 2020 is ‘The dawning of a new era for thalassaemia’.

• Thalassaemia is a blood disorder in which your body has less hemoglobin than normal.

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Important Current Affairs 8th May 2020

National

AarogyaSetu IVRS service launched for feature phones & landline

• The AarogyaSetu IVRS service was launched recently to help people with landlines and feature phones. The IVRS is a toll-free service that can be used by people across the country by giving a missed call at 1921 number.

• Once the user gives a missed call, he or she will get a call back from officials asking for their health. The questions will be aligned with the app.

Government Launches Biggest Ever Evacuation Exercise ‘Vande Bharat Mission’ to bring Indians Stranded Abroad

• The Government of India has launched its biggest ever evacuation exercises named the Vande Bharat Mission, to bring home nearly 15,000 Indian nationals stranded abroad.

• Under the mission, to be undertaken in phased manner, the government will operate 64 flights from 07 May till May 13, 2020, to repatriate its citizens from 12 countries..

Niti Aayog Launches Campaign ”Surakshit Dada-Dadi & Nana-Nani Abhiyan” to protect senior citizens

• The Government think tank NITI Aayog has launched a campaign titled ”Surakshit Dada-Dadi & Nana-Nani Abhiyan” to ensure well-being of senior citizens of the country.

• The campaign has been launched in association with Piramal Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Piramal Group.

International

Iran changes national currency from 'rial' to 'toman'

•  Iranian lawmakers voted on May 4, 2020 to change Iran’s national currency from ‘rial’ to ‘toman’. The lawmakers approved an amendment to Iran’s Monetary and Banking Act of Iran to make the change.

•  Under the amended law, the existing currency of Iran will continue to remain valid alongside "toman" for two years, during which the old coins and bills will be gradually collected to replace them with new ones.

•  The new currency is equal to 10,000 rials, marking a reduction of four zeros. The new currency has been introduced amid the sharp fall in the value of Iranian currency as a result of crippling sanctions imposed by the United States.

Banking and Economy

EU forecasts deep and uneven recession in 2020

• The European Commission recently released spring economic forecast that projects Europe’s economy to witness a record decline of 7.7 percent this year.

•  The economic projections hint at a "recession of historic proportions" in 2020 as an impact of current situation. Europe is currently facing worst ever recession since the Great Depression in 1930

Ranking

Delhi Top State in Internet Penetration Followed by Kerala: IAMAI Report

• Delhi has emerged as the top most state with the highest Internet penetration rate among all the other states of India, according to a study titled ‘Digital in India’ by Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI). The study has been curated by Nielsen and based on IRS data.

• Delhi is followed by Kerala at second position in terms of internet penetration, means the number of internet users.

• In terms of cities, Mumbai has registered highest number of Internet users, which is estimated to be 13 million. Delhi is ranked second with 11.3 million, followed by Bengaluru (6.6 million), Kolkata (6.3 million) and Chennai (6 million) respectively.

Days

World Athletics Day 2020 observed globally on 7 May

• The World Athletics Day-2020 is observed on the 7 May. The date is subject to adjustment, the date of World Athletics Day is decided by the IAAF, however, the month stays the same as May.

• The first World Athletics Day was observed in 1996. The basic objective of World Athletics Day is to boost the participation of youths in athletics.

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Important Current Affairs 7th May 2020

National

Government to implement new Agro MSME policy

• The central government will soon be implementing the new agro MSME policy for the Micro, Small, and Medium Enterprises (MSME). The announcement regarding the same was made by  Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.

• The new policy will be aimed at developing entrepreneurship in rural, tribal, forest and agricultural areas.

India's Unemployment Rate rises to 27.11%: CMIE

• As per the data of Centre for Monitoring India Economy (CMIE), the unemployment rate in India rose to 27.11 percent for a week on May 3.

• Earlier in a week that ended on March 15, 2020, the unemployment rate was 6.74%. Nearly all the economic activities were suspended which led to the increase in unemployment in India.

National Gallery of Modern Art presents “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE”

• National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi has presented a virtual program “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE“. For the current week, the theme of the virtual program is “ARTIST BY ARTISTS” and dedicated it to Gurudev Rabindra nath Tagore as it coincides with his 159th birth anniversary on 7th May 2020.

• During the program “NGMA KE SANGRAH SE”, NGMA will display the rarely seen jewels from its repository.

International

Mustafa Al Kadhimi chosen as Iraq’s new Prime Minister

• Mustafa Al Kadhimi has been chosen as Iraq’s new Prime Minister, ending months of political deadlock. Iraq’s Parliament voted on May 7, 2020 to chose Mustafa Kadhimi as the nation’s new prime minister.

• Mustafa Kadhimi has become Iraq's first proper Prime Minister after Adel Abdul Mahdi resigned in November 2019 due to massive anti-government protests. Kadhimi is a former intelligence chief.

Banking and Economy

Punjab National Bank extends moratorium to NBFC

• The Punjab National Bank has extended moratorium to non-banking finance companies (NBFC), becoming the first lender to do so after the Reserve Bank of India cleared doubts over the issue on May 2, 2020.

• The bank has sent emails to the NBFCs for expressing their desire to avail moratorium. The banks were earlier divided over the issue.

Appointments and Resignations

D P S Negi takes charge as Director General of Labour Bureau in Ministry of Labour and Employment

• Indian Economic Services officer, DPS Negi took charge as Director-General of Labour Bureau in the Ministry of Labour and Employment. Besides this, Negi also assumed charge as Senior Labour & Employment Advisor of the ministry.

• He is an Indian Economic Services (IES) officer of the 1985 batch. Prior to this new assignment, Negi served as Advisor Finance (MSME).

• Labour Bureau collects and analyses data related to workers, employment, and retail inflation.

Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury reappointed as chairperson of Parliament's Public Accounts Committee

• Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, Congress leader in LokSabha has been reappointed as chairperson of the Parliament’s public accounts committee (PAC). He was reappointed the chairman of the committee by LokSabha Speaker Om Birla.

• The PAC examines accounts showing the appropriation of sums granted by Parliament for the expenditure of the Government of India, the annual financial accounts of the Government and others. The PAC is the oldest Parliamentary Committee in which 15 members are elected from the LokSabha and 7 members from the RajyaSabha are elected every year for the 22 member panel of PAC.

Days

Vesak Day 2020

Vesak Day 2020 is observed globally on 7 May. Vesak, the Day of Full Moon is the most sacred day to the Buddhists all over the world. On this day, Lord Gautham Buddha attained enlightenment. The Day is commemorated by the United Nations every year.

Books and Authors

Penguin to publish biography of Captain Vijyant Thapar

• The book titled as ‘Vijyant at Kargil: The Life of a Kargil Hero’ authored by Vijyant’s father Colonel VN Thapar and writer Neha Dwivedi, a martyr’s daughter. Its e-book will be released on May 15.

• It is published by Penguin Random House.This book shows the journey of Vijyant Thapar to join the Indian Military Academy and the experiences that shaped him into a fine officer.

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