Current Affairs 24 April 2020 – Daily Current Affairs

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Current Affairs Content

News Type

1

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ E-Launches Vidyadaan 2.0 Program On DIKSHA Platform.

National

2

Defense Minister Shrirajnath Singh Inaugurates DRDO Developed Mobile Laboratory To Test COVID-19 Samples.

National

3

BRO Builds Rs 17.89 Cr,484-Meter Permanent Bridge Connecting Punjab’s Kasowal Enclave With Rest Of The Country.

National

4

India Approves US$ 1 Million To Antigua As Project Outlay.

National & International

5

“Lockdown Learners” Series Launched With Students & Educators In India On COVID-19: UNODC.

National

6

Lebanon Becomes 1st Arab Nation To Legalise Cannabis Farming.

International

7

IOB Launches Working Capital Demand Loan For Agriculture Sector: COVID-19.

National

8

Fitch Ratings Reduces India’s Annual GDP Growth Estimates For FY21 To 0.8% From 2%.

National

9

India’s GDP Growth Likely To Grow At 1.5% In Current FY: CII.

National

10

23% Decline Projected In Migrants Remittances To India In 2020 Due To COVID-19: World Bank Report.

National & International

11

IT Firm Tech Mahindra Joins Hands With IBM To Set Up Innovation Centres.

National

12

NIIT’s US Arm Signs Agreement With US Based Edtech Company.

National & International

13

Federal Bank To Acquire Additional Stake Of Up To 4% In IDBI Federal Life Insurance.

National

14

CSIRIGIB Scientists Develops ”Feluda” A Low-Cost Coronavirus Test Strip.

National

15

Spacex Launches Falcon 9 Carrier Rocket With 60 Satellites Starlink.

International

16

World Games Birmingham Unveils New Logo, Title For 2022 Edition.

International

17

Mairabai Chanu And Jeremy Lalrinnunga Qualifies For Tokyo Olympics Confirmed By IWF.

National

18

COVID-19: BCCI Creates Team Mask Force To Spread Awareness.

National

19

April 23 – World Book And Copyright Day 2020.

National & International

20

April 23 – UN English Language Day & UN Spanish Language Day 2020.

International

21

Karnataka Government Launches “Apthamitra” To Combat COVID-19.

National

Detailed Description On Current Affairs 24 April 2020 – Daily Current Affairs.

1

Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ E-Launches Vidyadaan 2.0 Program On DIKSHA Platform.

Human Resources and Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank today launched national program VidyaDaan 2.0 for inviting e-learning Content contributions in New Delhi. VidyaDaan is a common national programme to develop and contribute e-learning content and a chance to be recognized nationally.

2

Defense Minister Shrirajnath Singh Inaugurates DRDO Developed Mobile Laboratory To Test COVID-19 Samples.

Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh today unveiled via video conference a Mobile Virology Research and Diagnostics Laboratory (MVRDL) developed by DRDO in association with ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad and Private industry. Speaking on this occasion, Raksha Mantri said the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has taken several timely decisions because of which the spread of COVID-19 in the country is far less compared to many other countries.

Shri Rajnath Singh appreciated the setting up of this Bio-Safety Level 2 and Level 3 lab in a record time of 15 days which usually takes about six months time. He said this testing facility which can process more than 1,000 samples in a day will enhance country’s capabilities in fighting COVID19.

He said our Armed Forces are contributing in many ways – such as setting up of quarantine centres, providing healthcare facilities, evacuating Indian Nationals from other countries etc – to fight COVID19 and these efforts will continue.

The function was also attended by Shri G Kishan Reddy Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar Hon’ble Union Minister of State for Labour & Employment, Shri KT Rama Rao Hon’ble Minister for IT Industries, Muncipal Administration & Urban Development, Govt of Telangana, Shri Ch Malla Reddy Hon’ble Minister of Labour, Govt of Telangana and Dr G Satheesh Reddy Secretary DDR&D & Chairman DRDO.

The first of such Mobile Viral Research Lab (MVRL) that will speed up COVID-19 screening and related R&D activities was developed by Research Centre Imarat (RCI), the Hyderabad based laboratory of DRDO in consultation with ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad. The Mobile Viral Research Lab is the combination of a BSL 3 lab and a BSL 2 lab essential to carry out the activities. The labs are built as per WHO and ICMR Bio-safety standards to meet international guidelines. The system has built in electrical controls, LAN, Telephone cabling, and CCTV.

The Mobile Lab will be helpful to carry out diagnosis of COVID-19 and also virus culturing for drug screening, Convalescent plasma derived therapy, comprehensive immune profiling of COVID-19 patients towards vaccine development early clinical trials specific to Indian population. The lab screens 1000-2000 samples per day. This lab can be positioned anywhere in the country, as per requirement.

DRDO acknowledged the contributions of M/s iCOMM for provision of containers, M/s iClean for design and build of the BSL2 and BSL3 labs in a time bound manner, and M/s Hi Tech Hydraulics for providing the base frame.

3

BRO Builds Rs 17.89 Cr,484-Meter Permanent Bridge Connecting Punjab’s Kasowal Enclave With Rest Of The Country.

Border Roads Organisation (BRO) has constructed and opened a new permanent bridge on the river Ravi connecting Kasowal enclave in Punjab to the rest of the country much ahead of its schedule. The enclave of around 35 square kilometres had hither to been connected via pontoon bridge of limited load capacity.

4

India Approves US$ 1 Million To Antigua As Project Outlay.

India has approved USD 1 million to Antigua as project outlay, with immediate assistance of USD 1,50,000 for medical equipment to combat coronavirus crisis.

“India supplies medical aid across the world to fight COVID19. India approves US$1 mn to Antigua as project outlay, with immediate assistance of US $150k for medical equipment etc,” tweeted the High Commission of India in Georgetown. In order to help the world to combat the coronavirus, India has sent medical supplies including hydroxychloroquine tablets to several countries.

Early this month, India announced that it will send hydroxychloroquine to 55 nations to fight COVID19 including Kazakhstan. Hydroxychloroquine has been deemed as an important medicine for the treatment of a patient suffering from coronavirus. 

5

“Lockdown Learners” Series Launched With Students & Educators In India On COVID-19: UNODC.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) has launched a ‘Lockdown Learners’ series of online dialogues with students and educators in India on COVID-19 and its impact on Sustainable Development Goals, peace and rule of law. Educational institutes have been shut down in India due to the nationwide lockdown imposed to stop the spread of covid-19. This has resulted to a halt in the academic session of 2020, which is motivating organisations to take steps like launching online platforms for students.

The dialogues have been launched by the United Nations body under its flagship Education for Justice initiative.

“Through these dialogues, the aim is to sensitise students on concerns of vulnerable groups and emerging issues such as cybercrime, misinformation, gender-based violence, discrimination, corruption among others,” the UNODC said in a statement.

6

Lebanon Becomes 1st Arab Nation To Legalise Cannabis Farming.

Lebanon has become the first Arab country to legalise cannabis farming for medical and industrial purposes – a move that could generate lucrative exports and foreign currency as the country struggles to cope with a financial crisis. Although growing the plant was previously illegal, cannabis has long been farmed openly in the fertile and impoverished Bekaa Valley.

According to the United Nations, the country is the world’s third largest supplier of cannabis resin, or hashish, after Morocco and Afghanistan. The new law, which was passed on Tuesday, will regulate the already existing cultivation efforts and help stem unlawful production of the plant, with all recreational production and use remaining illegal.

7

IOB Launches Working Capital Demand Loan For Agriculture Sector: COVID-19.

Public sector lender Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) has launched an exclusive credit facility for agriculture and allied activities. Titled WCDL-Agri (working capital demand loan – agriculture), these loans will be available to all existing borrowers enjoying cash credit/OD facilities, from sectors such as agriculture, poultry, dairy, fisheries and allied activities, said the bank. This scheme is valid up to June 30 and is available to all existing borrowers enjoying cash credit/OD for sectors such as poultry, dairy, fisheries and other allied activities, said the bank in a statement.As per the bank’s policy, only accounts that are standard and performing as at March 2020 are eligible for these loans.

Borrowers will not be charged any processing fee or pre-payment penalty. About 10% of the existing fund-based working capital limit, subject to a maximum of ₹10 crore for poultry sector and ₹2 crore for allied activities, will be the quantum of loan disbursed under the scheme. Applicants can submit their requests to the branches directly or through e-mail. These loans will be sanctioned and disbursed by the bank within six working days of the receipt of required documents by the bank. It is repayable in six monthly instalments after an initial moratorium of six months. Interest will be serviced as and when debited.

“These loans will encourage more people to run their business for greater good of the society,” said Karnam Sekar, managing director and chief executive officer, IOB.

8

Fitch Ratings Reduces India’s Annual GDP Growth Estimates For FY21 To 0.8% From 2%.

Fitch Ratings has sharply reduced its FY21 growth projection for India to 2% from 5.1% estimated just 15 days ago, as Asia’s third largest economy announced a nationwide lockdown that crippled normal economic activity. This will be the slowest since the economy was liberalised 30 years back. The growth forecast by Fitch released on Friday as an update to its Global Economic Outlook (GEO) is the lowest among the major rating agencies such as S&P (3.5%) and Moody’s (2.5%).

Fitch said the speed with which the coronavirus pandemic is evolving has necessitated another round of huge cuts to its global GDP forecasts. “We now expect world economic activity to decline by 1.9% in 2020 with US GDP down by 3.3%, the eurozone down by 4.2% and the UK down by 3.9%. China’s recovery from the disruption in 1Q20 will be sharply curtailed by the global recession and annual growth will be below 2%. These numbers are much worse than the baseline (and downside variant) of the March 2020 GEO forecast published on 19 March, when we expected global growth of over 1%,” it said.

The rating agency said the lockdown policies being implemented in many countries are having instantaneous and dramatic effects on daily economic activity with full nationwide lockdowns reducing daily activity by about 20% relative to normal levels. “The impact on GDP will depend on how long the lockdowns last. By means of illustration, a two- to three-month crisis with a five week ‘peak stringency’ national lockdown period that reduces GDP by 20% a day would translate to a 7% to 8% decline in quarterly GDP. This is in fact in line with our latest estimate of the sequential quarter on quarter decline in China’s GDP in 1Q20 (which included a full lockdown period of four or five weeks) and we have used this as a guide in our baseline forecasts,” Fitch said.

9

India’s GDP Growth Likely To Grow At 1.5% In Current FY: CII.

India’s economic growth is likely to hover between zero and 1.5 per cent in the current financial year as the extended Covid-19 lockdown slows down activity across most sectors, the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) said on Thursday.

“Given the extent of damage to the economy from disruption to business, the GDP growth in the financial year 2020-21 is likely to be the lowest in many decades,” said Director-General Chandrajit Banerjee, while releasing a paper with three scenarios. In the baseline scenario, the GDP is expected to grow at just 0.6 per cent on an annual basis as economic activity is expected to remain constrained due to continuing restrictions on the free movement of goods and people beyond the lockdown period.

This will lead to disruption in supply chains, slow pickup in investment activity, labour shortages in the short-run and muted consumption demand on account of reduced household incomes. In the optimistic scenario, which envisages a faster pickup post the lockdown period, GDP is forecasted to register a growth of 1.5 per cent in the best case. In case of a more prolonged outbreak, where the restrictions in existing hot-spot regions get extended while new regions are identified as hotspots leading to intermittent stop and start in economic activity, the GDP is likely to decline to minus 0.9 per cent.

“There is no doubt that the economy is going through turbulent times and India will have to spend for navigating its way out of the current crisis. At this stage, the government must do whatever it takes to tide over the crisis,” said Banerjee. In manufacturing, only food processing, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment are operational while construction and mining activities have halted completely. Within services, a majority of trade, transportation and hospitality remains closed while financial, IT and government services remain partially operational. Even in the power sector which can operate, a significant reduction in demand owing to lockdown is having an adverse impact.

Any significant revival in investment activity is unlikely as capacity utilisation levels may remain suboptimal, said the paper. Consumption demand is likely to remain lacklustre as people’s incomes have been impacted. On the external front, as economies across the globe continue to struggle with the pandemic, global trade may decline by 13 to 32 per cent in 2020 as estimated by the World Trade Organisation.

“Given the situation, government intervention becomes critical not only to sustain the economy but also to prevent any humanitarian crisis,” said the paper. The urgent fiscal interventions as suggested by CII should include cash transfers amounting to Rs2 trillion to Jan Dhan, Aadhaar, Mobile (JAM) account holders in addition to the Rs1.7 trillion stimulus already announced.

The industry body also suggested additional working capital limits to be provided by banks equivalent to April to June wage bill of the borrowers backed by a government guarantee at four to five per cent interest. “Without an increase in government spending in the near-term to drive an economic recovery, government revenue will dwindle and high deficits will continue to be a problem in future,” said the paper.

10

 23% Decline Projected In Migrants Remittances To India In 2020 Due To COVID-19: World Bank Report.

Remittances to India are likely to drop by 23 per cent from $83 billion last year to $64 billion this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has resulted in a global recession, the World Bank has said. Globally remittances are projected to decline sharply by about 20 per cent this year due to the economic crisis induced by the pandemic and shutdowns, according to a World Bank report on the impact of the COVID-19 on migration and remittances released on Wednesday.

The projected fall, which would be the sharpest decline in recent history, is largely due to a fall in the wages and employment of migrant workers, who tend to be more vulnerable to loss of employment and wages during an economic crisis in a host country, it said. “In India, remittances are projected to fall by about 23 per cent in 2020, to $64 billion — a striking contrast with the growth of 5.5 percent and receipts of $83 billion seen in 2019,” the report said. World Bank Group President David Malpass said remittances are a “vital source of income” for developing countries.

11

IT Firm Tech Mahindra Joins Hands With IBM To Set Up Innovation Centres.

Tech Mahindra has decided to set up innovation centres in collaboration with IBM, in order to provide boost to digital transformation and encourage adoption of more cloud-based technologies among its global customers.

12

NIIT’s US Arm Signs Agreement With US Based Edtech Company.

NIIT’s US arm sign managed services agreement with US based EdTech company. NIIT announced that its wholly owned subsidiary, NIIT Inc., USA has signed Managed Services agreement with a US based EdTech company to provide virtual services to education providers. The term of the agreement is 5 years.

13

Federal Bank To Acquire Additional Stake Of Up To 4% In IDBI Federal Life Insurance.

Federal Bank on Tuesday said its Board has approved in principle purchase of additional stake of up to 4 per cent in the equity capital of IDBI Federal Life Insurance Co Ltd (IFLIC) from IDBI Bank. Post purchase, its total stake may increase up to 30 per cent. IDBI Bank has 48 per cent stake in IFLIC.

14

CSIR-IGIB Scientists Develops ”Feluda” A Low-Cost Coronavirus Test Strip.

Feluda will now detect if you are infected with Covid-19. Or, to be precise, a new paper-based test strip named after the beloved detective character created by Bengali filmmaker-author Satyajit Ray will soon be able to find the novel coronavirus in just a few minutes. The ‘Feluda’ test strip has been invented by a team led by two Bengali-origin scientists — Dr Souvik Maiti and Dr Debojyoti Chakraborty — at the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research’s Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) in New Delhi.

The simple paper-based test strip could also reduce Covid-19 testing costs — the real-time polymerase chain reaction test (RT-PCR) used currently requires machinery worth lakhs of rupees and its price is capped at Rs 4,500 in private labs, but the ‘Feluda’ test could cost as little as Rs 500. It can be used in a way similar to pregnancy test strips widely available over the counter.

“This strip will be similar to a pregnancy test strip, and will not require any specialised skill and machines to perform, as is the case with other PCR-based tests. This strip will just change colour, and can be used in a simple pathological lab. The most important part is it will be 100 per cent accurate,” CSIR Director-General Shekhar C. Mande told ThePrint.

“Normally, scientists take two to three years to develop this type of kits, but we are among the three or four countries leading the way in developing it, alongside Stanford University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US,” said Mande, head of India’s largest umbrella organisation for scientific research.

15

Spacex Launches Falcon 9 Carrier Rocket With 60 Satellites Starlink.

The Falcon 9 has now flown 84 times, more than any other currently operational U.S. rocket. CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — SpaceX successfully launched a new batch of 60 Starlink satellites into orbit today (April 22) and nailed a rocket landing at sea to cap the mission.

16

World Games Birmingham Unveils New Logo, Title For 2022 Edition.

The World Games in Birmingham, Alabama has unveiled an updated logo and title after being delayed a year because of the coronavirus pandemic. The Olympic-style competition for sports and events that are not on the Summer Games program will now be known as The World Games 2022.

The event was initially scheduled for July 2021, but it will now be held in July 2022 to accommodate the one-year postponement of the 2020 Summer Olympics. While those games will continue to be known as Tokyo 2020, the World Games decided to go with a more accurate moniker.

17

Mairabai Chanu And Jeremy Lalrinnunga Qualifies For Tokyo Olympics Confirmed By IWF.

Star Indian weightlifter Mirabai Chanu could be set for a second appearance at the Games at the 2020 Olympics as her world ranking is set to guarantee her a spot at Tokyo.

The 25-year-old, who had also qualified for Rio 2016, is ranked third in the women’s 49kg, behind China’s Hou Zhihui and North Korean Ri Song Gum and the International Weightlifting Federation’s (IWF) rules stipulate that the top eight post the end of all qualification events automatically make it to the Olympics.

Mirabai Chanu was due to take part in the Asian Championships but the event was called off due to the coronavirus outbreak. The IWF, in a video conference meeting, reportedly recommended to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) that the list for the 2020 Olympics be decided on the current world rankings.

“Mirabai is certain to qualify for the Olympics, she is currently at third spot in the world rankings. The top eight from the world rankings after the end of the qualification period automatically qualifies for Tokyo Olympics,” Indian Weightlifting Federation Secretary General Sahdev Yadav told the Press Trust of India.

“She has competed in five qualifying events but the sixth one, the Asian Championships in Tashkent was cancelled. I think there will be no more qualifying events and the world rankings is set to be based on what it currently is.”

18

BCCI Creates Team Mask Force To Spread Awareness for COVID-19.

Featuring India’s most revered cricketers like Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has created a new video under the title Team Mask Force to promote wearing masks in public places and help the country battle the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Team Mask Force has been created to spread awareness about wearing masks in public places. The video has messages from Board president Sourav Ganguly, Smriti Mandhana, Rohit Sharma, Harbhajan Singh, Harmanpreet Kaur, Virender Sehwag, Rahul Dravid and Mithali Raj.

“Being a part of India team is a matter of great pride. “But today we are going to create a bigger team, Team Mask Force,” Indian captain Kohli says in the video. Tendulkar said: “Come on India, make masks and become part of mask force. And remember to wash hands for 20 seconds and maintain social distancing.” “Becoming a part of Mask Force is very easy, just sit at home and make masks, like I made one for myself,” Rohit said.

19

April 23 – World Book And Copyright Day 2020.

In 1995, UNESCO decided to celebrate April 23 as the World Book Day‘ or World Book and Copyright Day‘, since then the date has prominence in the history of literature. April 23 marks the death and birth anniversary of many other prominent authors, such as Maurice Druon, Haldor K.

20

April 23 – UN English Language Day & UN Spanish Language Day 2020.

English is one of the two working languages of the UN, along with French. It has also become the lingua franca of international relations. English Language Day at the UN is celebrated on 23 April, the date traditionally observed as both the birthday and date of death of William Shakespeare. The Day is the result of a 2010 initiative by the Department of Global Communications, establishing language days for each of the Organization’s six official languages. The purpose of the UN’s language days is to celebrate multilingualism and cultural diversity as well as to promote equal use of all six official languages throughout the Organization.

Under the initiative, UN duty stations around the world celebrate six separate days, each dedicated to one of the Organization’s six official languages.

The days are as follows:

  • Arabic (18 December)
  • Chinese (20 April)
  • English (23 April)
  • French (20 March)
  • Russian (6 June)
  • Spanish (23 April)

Language Days at the UN aim to entertain as well as inform, with the goal of increasing awareness and respect for the history, culture and achievements of each of the six working languages among the UN community. 

21

Karnataka Government Launches “Apthamitra” To Combat COVID-19.

In a bid to empower people in the fight against COVID-19, Chief Minister B.S. Yediyurappa on Wednesday launched Apthamitra helpline with an exclusive toll free No: 14410 and Apthamitra mobile app.

The main intention behind launching them is to reach out to people to help identify those having influenza-like illness (ILI), Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (SARI), COVID-19-like symptoms or having high risk of getting infected. The two platforms also intend to identify persons with low risk but having some symptoms similar to COVID-19 and provide them telemedicine support with over-the-counter medicines and counsel them about the need to go through self-quarantine.

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