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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 21st May 2020

National

Union HRD Ministry launches new mobile app “National Test Abhyas”

• The Ministry of Human Resources Development has launched a new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas”. The application was developed by the National Testing Agency.

• The application is powered by Artificial Intelligence and therefore the students will get instant results after taking the tests. The main aim of the application is to help students during the closure of educational institutions.

Cabinet approval proposal to launch Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs & HFCs

• Union Cabinet given approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to launch a new Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies, HFCs to improve liquidity position of the NBFCs or HFCs.

• The direct financial implication for the Government is five crore rupees, which may be the equity contribution to the Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV.

Banking and Economy

NABARD issues Rs. 20,500 crore to RRBs & co-operative banks

• The NABARD, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, has issued funds amounting Rs. 20,500 crore for the RRBs (regional rural banks) and co-operative banks for helping the farmers.

• The funding was provided under Rs. 25,000 crore refinance facility that was provided by the Reserve Bank of India to NABARD.

RBI reiterates usage of digital modes for banking transactions

•  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 20, 2020 reiterated the usage of digital modes for banking transactions.

•  The RBI stated that the use of digital payment modes has become more important with the ongoing nationwide.

•  The central bank stated that digital payment modes make it easier for people to do banking transactions while being safe at home and at any hour of the day.

Appointments and Resignations

Dilip Oommen is new President of Indian Steel Association

• Indian Steel Association (ISA) has appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President. He is presently the CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India. He was unanimously appointed as President for the next two years.

• He will replace Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran, who stepped down as President on May 1. Oommen is a veteran of the steel industry with more than 37 years of experience and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K).

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to assume charge as Chairman of Executive Board of WHO

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will on May 22, 2020 take charge as the Chairman of the Executive Board of World Health Organization (WHO), succeeding incumbent Japan’s Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, who is the current Chairman of the 34-member board.

Days

International Tea Day

• International Tea Day is observed globally May 21 on the recommendation of India. The purpose of International Tea Day is to try to improve the condition of tea producers and tea workers.

• Tea producing countries make a lot of profit but the condition of the labourers working in the tea plantations is very bad. Therefore, the purpose of International Tea Day is to encourage the status of tea workers, workers’ rights, daily wages, social security, employment security, and health.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

• World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed globally on 21 May every year. The purpose of the day is to deepen the understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the following goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions:

a) Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals

b) Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks

c) Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

d) support sustainable systems of governance for culture.

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Important Current Affairs 20th May 2020

National

Government declares six cities as 5-star garbage-free cities

•  The central government has declared six cities- Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage-free cities.

•  The star rating of garbage-free cities was announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on May 19, 2020. Overall, six cities were rated 5-star, 65 cities were rates 3-star and 70 cities were rated with one star.

•  The Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities. The Ministry has now brought importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management to the forefront due to the situation.

•  The star rating protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status and motivate other cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

SCR develops ‘Rail-Bot’ to provide better health care

• South Central Railway zone has developed a robotic device, “RAIL-BOT” (R-BOT) to assist in the functions of hospital management to provide better health care to the patients.

• The R-BOT can be operated by using Android mobile app and radio frequency (RF) remote control. R-BOT is being used to provide medicines, medical accessories, and to serve food to the patients, taking away the need for human contact in such activities.

International

Thomas Thabane resigns as Lesotho's prime minister

• Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has formally resigned more than a week after his coalition government fell apart, in a move that could help end a long-running political crisis in the country.

• Lesotho’s Finance Minister MoeketsiMajoro has been named by parliament as the interim PM of the country.

Japan launches new unit to boost defense in space named Space Operations Squadron

• Japan launched a new space defense unit that will monitor and counter threats to the satellites of Japan.

• The unit is named Space Operations Squadron and is a part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. It has started will 20 members and will become fully operational by the year 2023.

• The role of Space Operations Squadron is to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris.

Banking and Economy

Investment firm Bernstein projects India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -7%

• Bernstein, an investment management firm based in the United States, has projected India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -7.0%.

• This means India’s GDP will contract by 7% in FY21 as per Bernstein.

BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25%

• Stock exchanges BSE and NSE have announced to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent.

• BSE and NSE had launched their respective SME platforms in 2012 and since then have been facilitating SMEs for raising funds, listing and trading on the exchanges.

Goldman Sachs projects India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -5%

• The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -5.0%. Earlier it has predicted the same at -0.4%.

• It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 5.0% in FY21.

RBI extends KYC norms to Housing Finance Companies

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines/norms will now be applicable to Housing Finance Companies also.

• It must be noted that the Regulation of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) was transferred from the National Housing Bank to RBI in August 2019.

• And KYC norms are applicable to all Regulated Entities of the RBI and hence it has now been made applicable on Housing Finance Companies also.

Days

World Bee Day

• World Bee Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. On this date, 20 May, the pioneer of beekeeping Anton Janša was born in 1734 in Slovenia. The purpose of the bee day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.

• About 33% of the world’s food production depends on bees thus they are vital for the preservation of biodiversity, ecological balance in nature and helpful in reducing pollution.

Books and Authors

New book released to mark Ruskin Bond's 86th birthday

• Ruskin Bond’s new book titled ‘Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes’ was released on his 86th Birthday in an e-book format. The book narrates some of his memorable travel adventures on boats, trains and planes from his childhood.

• The book presents its readers with a number of the author’s hilarious journeys and travel adventures. The illustrations for Ruskin Bond’s new book has been done by SamratHalder.

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Important Current Affairs 19th May 2020

National

National Migrant Information System launched to track movement of migrants

• The central government has launched the ‘National Migration Information System’  to track the movement of migrant workers in India. The portal will ensure smooth movement of migrants who have been stranded in different states/UTs.

• The system has been developed by the National  Management Authority (NDMA).

Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka initiative for migrant labourers

• In Madhya Pradesh, in a first of its kind of initiative, Charan Paduka campaign has been started for the migrant labourers passing through the state.

• Under this campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being providing shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.

International

PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in for the 5th time

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally swore in his new government on 17 May for the fifth time.

• The ceremony of the swearing-in of Israel’s new government, the Knesset, was held in accordance with directives.

• Netanyahu will be in power until 13 November 2021. This ended the 18-month political crisis in the country.

• Benny Gantz will serve in the specially created role of alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Cyclonic Amphan (Um-Pun) intensifies into a very severe cyclonic storm

• Severe Cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ over southeast bay and adjoining southwest bay has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm as it moved northwards.

• It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction before turning towards Bangladesh. It may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram.

Science and Technology

ISRO directs start-ups to build local tech for Gaganyaan mission

• India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has directed the startups to develop tools and machines for its maiden human space flight Gaganyaan-1 mission.

• ISRO focuses to potentially help them build products and solutions that they can exploit commercially.ISRO has identified a set of 17 technologies that to develop locally at lower costs for use in its Gaganyaan missions.

ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree ChitraTirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.

Appointments and Resignations

Jack Ma resigns from the Board of SoftBank

• Alibaba's Jack Ma has resigned from the Softbank's Board of Directors. The official reason of Ma's resignation has not been revealed yet. 

• Ma's resignation will come into effect on June 25, 2020, on the day of annual shareholder meeting of the Softbank. He served the group for nearly 13 years.

Rajesh Goel becomes new DG of NAREDCO

• Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). Prior to this, he was serving as the chairman and managing director, Hindustan Prefab Ltd.

• He is a professional with over 37 years of experience in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Books and Authors

A Book titled “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Fang Fang

• The book titled as “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Chinese literary writer Fang Fang is a compilation of online diary entries and social media posts, captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information & is a remarkable record of the extraordinary time.

• The book was released in India in an ebook format on May 15, 2020, published by Harper NonFiction, the audio will follow on May 26.The book will be translated into 15 languages.

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Important Current Affairs 18th May 2020

National

FM announces 5th tranche of measures for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”

The 5th tranche is focussed on Government Reforms and Enablers for providing employment, support to businesses, Ease of Doing Business, and State Governments as well sectors such as Education and Health. Seven measures have been announced under this.

1. Allocation for MGNREGS increased by Rs 40,000 Crore to provide employment boost– Will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.

2. Health Reforms & Initiatives- Public Expenditure on Health will be increased by investing in grass-root health institutions. National Institutional Platform for One health by ICMR will encourage research. And the implementation of National Digital Health Blueprint under the National Digital Health Mission.

3. Technology Driven Education with Equity post-

PM eVIDYA– A programme for multi-mode access to digital/online education to be launched immediately; consisting of:

DIKSHA for school education in states/UTs: e-content and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform)

One earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel)

Extensive use of Radio, Community radio and Podcasts

Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired.

Top 100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by 30th May, 2020.

Manodarpan– An initiative for psychosocial support of students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing to be launched immediately.

National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for ensuring that every child attains Learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025 will be launched by December 2020.

4. Further enhancement of Ease of Doing Business through IBC related measures-

Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which largely insulates MSMEs).

Suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year, depending upon the pandemic situation.

5. Decriminalisation of Companies Act defaults- The Amendments will de-clog the criminal courts and NCLT. 7 compoundable offences altogether dropped and 5 to be dealt with under alternative framework.

6. Ease of Doing Business for Corporates- Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Power to create additional/ specialized benches for NCLAT.Lower penalties for all defaults for Small Companies, One-person Companies, Producer Companies & Start Ups.

7. Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India-  There is a need for a new coherent policy—where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises(PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas. Accordingly, the government will announce a new policy whereby.

NRAI tie-up with DotPe to build tech platform

• National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has partnered with DotPe (a fintech start-up) to build its own tech platform that would enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.

• NRAI is the apex body of the Food and Beverage Industry in India.

• This would be in direct take on with existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy. It is also exploring synergies with social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to provide and ordering facilities and visibility for restaurant partners who could potentially be its members.

Centre launched ‘National Migrant Information System’ to track movement of migrants

• The online dashboard has been developed by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the existing NDMA-GIS portal. It will help in capturing the information regarding the movement of workers who have been stranded in different states.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the states to upload data on NMIS to ensure better coordination, contact tracing, and movement monitoring of the migrant workers.

e-NAM reaches milestone of 1000 Mandis across 18 States, 3 UTs

• 38 new mandis were integrated with the e-NAM platform.

• With this move, the pan-India electronic agriculture trading portal, e-NAM has reached the milestone of 1,000 Mandis across 18 States and 3 Union Territories (UTS).

• The information was announced by the Agriculture Ministry.

International

Indian-origin Hinduja-Reuben Brothers Shares Second Spot in Annual UK  Rich List 2020

• The pair of Indian-origin siblings, Reuben and the Hinduja brothers, shares the second spot in the Britain’s annual rich list, with a fortune of 16 billion pounds each.

• ‘The Sunday Times Rich List 2020’ has been topped by British inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson tops with 16.2 billion pounds.

• Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, the Hinduja Group of companies owner in UK, lost 6 billion pounds to slip to second position from the top slot in 2019.

Appointments and Resignations

Zubair Iqbal is JK Bank's New Managing Director

Senior vice president of HDFC Bank, ZubairIqbal has appointed as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank by Jammu and Kashmir Government. Iqbal will have a three-year tenure.

Days

International Museum Day: 18 May

• The International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May to raise awareness about the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”

• Theme of International Museum Day 2020: “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”.

• It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

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Important Current Affairs 17th May 2020

National

FM announces 4th tranche of economic support under the AatmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan

The announcement focusses on reforming 8 sectors which are (1) coal, (2) minerals, (3) defence production, (4) airports and airspace management, (5) MRO, (6) power distribution of companies in UTs, (7) space and (8) atomic energy.

• Coal- Commercial mining of coal on a revenue-sharing basis is being introduced.  Government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation through revenue sharing mechanism instead of the current fixed rupee per tonne. Coal Bed Methane will also be auctioned.

• Mineral- To enhance private investments in the mineral sector, a seamless composite exploration -cum-mining – cum production regime will be introduced. 500 mining blocks will be offered through an open and transparent auction process immediately.

• Make in India for  Defence Production- Foreign Direct Investment limit in defence manufacturing under automatic route is being raised from 49% to 74% to boost indigenous defence production.

• Airports and airspace- 6 airports will be put up for bidding by the Airports Authority of India for operation and maintenance on PPP mode.

• Maintenance- Repairs and Operations (MRO)- Tax regime for MRO ecosystem has been rationalised. Convergence between defence sector and the civil MROs will be established to create economies of scale

• Power Sector- Power distribution companies in Union Territories will be privatised.

• Social Infrastructure Projects- Boosting private sector investment in social infrastructure projects through revamped viability gap funding scheme of Rs 8,100 crore. The govt will enhance the quantum of viability gap funding up to 30 per cent each of total project cost as VGF by Centre and state

• Space & Atomic Energy- Private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. India to establish a research reactor in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes.

Government of India & AIIB signs agreement to improve irrigation services in West Bengal

• The Government of India, the Government of West Bengal and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) has inked a loan agreement worth US$145 million to improve irrigation services and flood management in the Damodar Valley Command Area (DVCA) in West Bengal.

• The loan sanctioned under West Bengal Major Irrigation and Flood Management Project will benefit about 2.7 million farmers from five districts of West Bengal across 393,964 ha area.

• It will provide better irrigation services and improved protection against annual flooding to mitigate the impact of climate change.

AYUSH ministry & CSIR India to Begin Clinical Trial for 4 Ayurvedic Drugs

Minister of State(Independent/Charge) for ayurveda, Yoga and Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy(AYUSH), Shripad Yesso(Y) Naik has announced that AYUSH ministry & Council of Scientific & Industrial Research(CSIR) are working together to validate 4 Ayush formulations Ashwagandha, Yashtimadhu (Mulethi), Guduchi Pippali(Giloy) and AYUSH-64(poly herbal formulation).

Acquisitions and Mergers

Facebook acquires animated graphics startup GIPHY

• Facebook has announced that it has acquired the animated graphics startup GIPHY. Facebook will now integrate GIPHY in its Instagram visual social network.

• GIPHY is known for its use of stickers and other products using the graphics interchange format or GIFs.

Obituary

Sahitya Akademi winning Bengali author Debesh Roy passes away

• Veteran Bengali author Debesh Roy, who had five decades of career as a writer, passed away.

• He was awarded with the Sahitya Akademi award for his novel ‘Teesta Parer Brittanto’.

Days

World Telecommunication and Information Society Day

• The World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD) is observed every year on 17 May since 1969, to commemorate the founding of the International Telecommunication Union (ITU).

• The theme of 2020 is “Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)”

• The ITU was founded on 17 May 1865, when the first International Telegraph Convention was signed in Paris.

World Hypertension Day

• The World Hypertension Day (WHD) is celebrated on 17 May worldwide to promote public awareness of increasing high blood pressure (BP) and to encourage citizens of all countries to prevent and control this silent killer.

• The day was held for the first time in May 2005.

• World Hypertension Day (WHD) is an initiative of the World Hypertension League (WHL), an affiliated section of the International Society of Hypertension.

• The theme for World Hypertension Day 2020 is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.

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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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