Current Affairs Today 19th May 2020| Current Affairs News

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World AIDS Vaccine Day

  • World AIDS Vaccine Day or HIV Vaccine Awareness Day is observed on 18 May to spread awareness regarding the importance of a vaccine to prevent HIV.
  • World AIDS Vaccine Day was first celebrated in May 1998. Observed by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), the day began being marked after then president Bill Clinton’s 1997 speech which underlined the need of a vaccine to curb the spread of HIV.


Government implements Shekatkar Committee recommendations related to creating border infrastructure

  • Union Government has implemented General D B Shekatkar Committee’s recommendations related to creating border infrastructure. These were related to speeding up road construction leading to socio-economic development in the border areas.
  • On the matter related to creating border infrastructure, the Centre has implemented recommendation to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organization. It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than 100 crore rupees.
  • The other recommendation relating to introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented by delegating enhanced procurement powers from 7.5 crore rupees to 100 crore rupees to BRO, for domestic and foreign procurements.
  • New Technology like blasting technology for precision blasting, use of Geo-Textiles for soil stabilization, cementitious base for pavements, plastic coated aggregates for surfacing, is also being used to enhance the pace of construction. With the empowerment of field officers through enhanced delegation of financial and administrative powers, there has been significant improvement in faster financial closure of works.
About Border Roads Organization:
  • Headquarters: New Delhi
  • Director General: Lt. Gen.Harpal Singh


Japan launches new unit to step up defence in outer space

  • Japan launched its new space defence unit to monitor and counter threats to the country’s satellites.
  • The Space Operations Squadron, part of Japan’s Air Self-Defence Force, starts with 20 members and is expected to grow to about 100 members once the unit is fully operational in 2023
  • The role of the unit is mainly to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris. It will also conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops in the field.
  • The launch of the new unit comes amid growing Japanese concern that China and Russia are seeking ways to interfere, disable or destroy satellites.
About Japan:
  • Prime minister: Shinzō Abe
  • Capital: Tokyo
  • Currency: Japanese yen


Kotak Mahindra Bank launches India’s 1st zero-contact, video KYC savings account  

  • In a major development, Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) announced the introduction of Video KYC to open a full-fledged Kotak 811 savings account – a first in Indian banking. This initiative, presently being launched on a pilot basis for savings accounts, is in line with Kotak’s digital-first strategy and is a start-to-end fully integrated, zero-contact, completely digital and paperless account opening + Full KYC journey. The Video KYC process to onboard new customers will be extended to other products in a phased manner.
  • In January 2020, the Reserve Bank of India amended the Know Your Customer (KYC) norms and introduced the video-based KYC option to onboard customers. Kotak is the first bank to integrate the Video KYC process in the account opening journey, as per the company, as per the firm.
  • With Video KYC, verification of KYC documents and recording of the customer’s signature are completed via a video call with the bank, eliminating the need for a visit to the branch or in-person interaction, biometric verification or sharing of physical documents. After the Video KYC is completed, the customer gets a full-fledged bank account with no restrictions on deposits or account balances, the bank stated.
About kotak Mahindra bank:
  • CEO: Uday Kotak
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Tagline: Lets make money simple

BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25 per cent

  • The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) decided to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent amid challenges faced by small and medium enterprises due to coronavirus pandemic.
  • The fee rebate has been declared following Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s several announcements to rescue the ailing micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSME) sector.
  • The revised listing fee structure will be applicable for the existing companies as well as for the firms waiting to be listed on the exchange, BSE stated in a statement.
  • SMEs have been hit hard due to economic activities coming to a grinding halt in the wake of Covid-19 crisis. Some of the SMEs are under enormous financial stress to meet their obligations.
  • In view of the challenging times faced by SMEs, NSE has decided to provide 25 per cent rebate on the annual listing fees to the SME companies currently listed on the EMERGE platform of the exchange, the exchange stated.
  • BSE stated it has decided to bring down its annual listing fee for its SME platform by 25 per cent as part of efforts to support SMEs.
  • 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 .
About Bombay Stock Exchange:
  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Chairman: Vikramajit Sen;
  • MD & CEO: Ashishkumar Chauhan;
About National Stock Exchange:
  • Location: Mumbai, India
  • Chairman: Girish Chandra Chaturvedi
  • MD & CEO: Vikram Limaye

FSS launches eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0

  • Digital payments player FSS (Financial Software and Systems) announced the launch of eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0, which is expected to strengthen last-mile banking services.
  • Amidst the transforming dynamics of the global pandemic, FSS eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0 is aimed at enabling digital financial service providers offer secure, low-cost financial tools that expand the usage of digital banking products across diverse customer groups, and moderate and low-income segments in particular,” it stated.
  • The move comes amidst significant growth in transactions through Aadhaar-enabled payment system with the government releasing cash subsidy to help beneficiaries in the lockdown.
  • FSS eFinclusiv 2.0 has new features for digital financial service providers and customers, including UPI to withdraw funds, it stated.
  • Customers will not have to carry cards or recall their Aadhaar number anymore as banking correspondents who have a micro-ATM can initiate a withdrawal request on behalf of the customer by entering the UPI virtual private address and PIN, it stated.
  • Customers will also be able to view their bank account balance before confirming the payment, and the money is instantly debited from their account, giving them a real-time view of their available finances, it added.

Nabard extends Rs.20,500-cr special liquidity facility to co-op banks, RRBs

  • The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard), stated it has extended 20,500-crore special liquidity facility to co-operative banks (Rs.15,200 crore) and Regional Rural Banks (Rs.5,300 crore) in various States.
  • This is against the 5,000 crore lent during the first quarter of the last year, Nabard stated in a statement. The special liquidity facility is with a view to augment the resources of the Cooperative banks and RRBs to enable them to extend credit to farmers for taking up pre-monsoon and kharif (summer sown crops)2020 operations, it added.
  • As part of the government’s overall 20-lakh-crore special Covid-19 package, Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had mentioned that Nabard would extend additional refinance support of Rs.30,000 crore for crop loan requirement of Rural Co-operative Banks and RRBs.
  • This is over and above the 90,000 crore to be provided by Nabard through the normal refinance route during this year, she added.
  • This front-loaded on-tap refinance facility to 33 State Co-operative banks, 351 District Co-operative Banks, and 43 RRBs will be available on tap, based on their lending .
  • Meanwhile, Nabard stated cooperative banks and RRBs have initiated a programme of saturation of KCC (kisan credit cards) and about 12 lakh new KCC cards have been issued by them during the last two months. A total of 4.2 crore KCCs have been issued by Cooperative banks & RRBs as on 31 March, it added.
About Nabard:
  • Nabard is a development financial institution, promoting sustainable and equitable agriculture and rural development.
  • Founded: 12 July 1982
  • Headquarters: Mumbai
  • Chairperson: Harsh Kumar Bhanwala


India Post Mumbai releases Special Postal Cover dedicated to Migrant Workers

  • India Post, Mumbai paid  tribute to migrant workers, by releasing a Special Postal Cover dedicated to them at the Bicentennial Hall of the historic  Mumbai  GPO building.
  • The highlight of the event was that, five migrant workers from different sectors were called upon to release the Special Cover.
  • There were two workers from the construction sector, a taxi driver, a jewelry craftsman and a tailor, who is stitching masks for the India Post.
  • The event took place at a time when, migrant workers, stuck in different parts of the country following the nationwide lockdown, were making efforts to go back to their home states.

Karnataka launches incubator for cyber security startups in India

  • Karnataka launched its first cyber security-specific accelerator programme ‘H.A.C.K’ for start-ups recently.
  • This comes even at a time when there are serious discussions around surveillance and lack of safety through government-run online software for COVID-19.
  • The programme is implemented by CySecK, which is state’s CoE (Centre of Excellence) in Cyber Security meant for creating a cyber-safe environment for industry collaboration. It is housed at Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru.
  • An independent panel that comprises of members from the government, academia, industry practitioners and investor community evaluates applications from start-ups.
  • The accelerator programme already has 21 start-ups on board, stated a release from IISc, and these are divided into three cohorts namely ’10x cohort’, ‘0-1 cohort’ and ‘virtual cohort’.

About Karnataka:

  • Chief minister: B. S. Yediyurappa
  • Capital: Bengaluru
  • Governor: Vajubhai Vala


US-Based General Atlantic To Buy 1.3% Stake In Jio Platforms For Rs 6,598 Crore

  • Reliance Industries announced that US-based private equity firm General Atlantic will invest Rs 6,598.38 crore for a 1.34 per cent stake in Jio Platforms. That marked Jio Platforms’ fourth major deal with a US-based technology investor within a month, following investments from internet major Facebook and private equity companies Silver Lake and Vista Equity Partners.
  • The General Atlantic deal values Reliance Industries’ digital unit Jio Platforms, which houses Reliance Jio Infocomm, at an an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.
  • With its deal with General Atlantic, Reliance Jio has so far raised Rs 67,194.75 crore.
  • The string of investments began in April with Facebook announcing an investment of Rs 43,574 crore for a 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms.
  • In May, Silver Lake announced an investment of Rs 5,656 crore in Jio Platforms, which was followed by Rs 11,367 crore from Vista Equity Partners.
  • Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) is also considering to buy a minority stake in Jio.
About General Atlantic
  • Chief Executive Officer New York- Bill Ford
  • Managing Director Mumbai- Sandeep Naik
About Reliance
  • Corporate Office– Mumbai, Maharashtra
  • Chairman & Managing Director(MD)– Mukesh D. Ambani

Tata Consumer to acquire PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages

  • Tata Consumer Products Limited (TCPL) stated it will acquire PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages Limited—a 50:50 joint venture between the two companies as it moves to build a strong play in the packaged beverages market.
  • The move comes as India’s leading conglomerate Tata Group has moved to consolidate its packaged consumer goods business to form Tata Consumer Products that now has a wide play across foods and beverages.
  • The JV was formed in 2010 as the two joined hands to develop and sell a range of healthy hydration beverages. NourishCo Beverages Limited sells hydration brands such as Himalayan mineral water, Tata Gluco Plus and Tata Water Plus.
  • Tata Consumer Products Ltd is a consumer products arm that covers the food and beverage interests of the Tata Group.
  • The new business created by the merger was consolidated under Tata Consumer Products Ltd to include various food and beverage brands—Tetley Tea, Eight O’Clock Coffee, Tata Tea, Tata salt and Tata Sampann, which sells packaged pulses and spices.
About   Tata Consumer Products:
  • Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
  • CEO & MD: Sunil D’Souza
  • Chairman: Natarajan Chandrasekaran


Keva Bain of Bahamas is new president of World Health Assembly

  • Keva Bain, the permanent representative of Bahamas to the UN, has been elected as the president of the 73rd World Health Assembly.
  • The WHA73 have elected Keva Bain, Permanent Representative of the Bahamas to the UN in Geneva as the President of the 73rd World Health Assembly
  • The World Health Assembly is the main decision-making body of the WHO. The current two-day assembly is being held online.
  • In her first remarks following the election, Bain stated the WHO must be steadfast in its response to the coronavirus pandemic and balance it with the need to help ensure the survival of many people.
About World Health Assembly:
  • The World Health Assembly (WHA) is the forum through which the World Health Organization (WHO) is governed by its 194 member states. It is the world’s highest health policy setting body and is composed of health ministers from member states.
  • The members of the WHA generally meet every year in May in Geneva at the Palace of Nations, the location of WHO Headquarters. The main tasks of the WHA are to decide major policy questions, as well as to approve the WHO work programme and budget and elect its Director-General.


Trump recognises 10-year-old Indian and Pakistani girls as ‘coronavirus heroes’ in the US

  • Ten-year-old Pakistani and Indian American girls have been recognised as ‘coronavirus heroes’ by US President Donald Trump.
  • Laila Khan, an American of Pakistani origin and Sravya Annappareddy, an Indian-American girl, were honoured by President Trump for donating cookies to doctors, nurses and firefighters and sending personalised greeting cards to healthcare workers fighting Covid-19 pandemic in the US.
  • Both the girls are 10-year-old and were recognised at a ceremony held in Washington to honour coronavirus heroes.
  • President Trump and first lady Melania Trump paid tribute on Friday to several American heroes who are helping on the front lines of the coronavirus crisis, including Girl Scouts from Maryland who donated cookies to nurses and firefighters.

India’s Chief Hydrographer Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar wins UK award

  • Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar, the National Hydrographer to the government of India, has been honoured with the 2019 Alexander Dalrymple Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Indian hydrography and across the wider Indian Ocean region, the UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO) stated.
  • The award, first presented by the UK Ministry of Defence-sponsored UKHO in 2006, is named after the first Hydrographer of the Admiralty, Alexander Dalrymple.
  • Recipients of the award are selected by the Executive Committee of the UKHO for their efforts in raising the standards of hydrography, cartography and navigation around the world.
  • Having joined the Indian Navy in 1982, Vice Admiral Badhwar has extensive hydrographic surveying experience.
  • In his capacity as National Hydrographer, Vice Admiral Badhwar has been a pivotal member of the IHO’s Capacity Building Sub-Committee since its creation.
  • He also leads the Indian Naval Hydrographic Office’s own regional Capacity Building programmes.
  • In this role, Badhwar coordinates efforts to help Indian Ocean coastal states to develop their hydrographic and cartographic capabilities an important step to unlocking each of these states’ blue economies.


Ministry of Culture’s Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces hosts a webinar on ‘Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces’ on the International Museum Day

  • Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, Government of India hosted a webinar on “Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces” to celebrate the International Museum Day(18th May).
  • The webinar featured some of the best experts in the museum and cultural spaces domain such as Founder Trustee of Museum of Art and Photography (MAP), Bengaluru Shri Abhishek Poddar, President of Kochi Biennale Foundation Shri Bose Krishnamachari, Founder and CEO of Cuseum Shri Brendan Ciecko, Managing Director of  Teamwork Arts Shi Sanjoy K Roy and CEO of Museums and Cultural Spaces, Ministry of Culture, GoI (Moderator) Shri Raghvendra Singh.
  • The Covid-19 pandemic will have significant economic and social repercussions for the cultural and creative industries. Organised for leading Indian and global cultural institutions, creative businesses, startups, policy makers and media, experts in the webinar discussed the way forward for the culture and creative industry.
  • One of the most important points of discussion was reimagining cultural spaces and was to introduce innovative ideas to maximise the social and economic value of cultural heritage and to build capacity in order to engage with local audiences and tourists.
  • The National e-Governance Division (NeGD) created by the Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) has supported DMCS, Ministry of Culture by providing technical assistance for conducting of this Webinar.
About MoCD
  • Minister of Culture and Minister of Tourism of India- Prahlad Singh Patel
  • Constituency- Damoh,Madhya Pradesh.


Vanora Robots launches AI-powered product for hospital disinfection

  • Vanora Robots Pvt Ltd, a Mangaluru-based robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) start-up, has launched an unmanned robotic platform to disinfect the rooms in hospitals, schools, etc.
  • This fully functional unmanned robotic platform disperses high doses of ‘type C’ ultraviolet rays to destroy the structure of bacteria, fungal spores, and many types of viruses, including various types of corona viruses.
  • The best way to fight anything that is multiplying out of control is to destroy it quicker than it multiplies. When UV light is used in a particular energy, the structure of micro-organisms dies.
  • He stated that Vanora Robot can disinfect a 140-sq.ft room in 6 minutes. During this period, the robot gives full visual access to the person controlling it remotely. It also constantly disinfects the floor it travels on.
  • He stated that the specially designed wheels give it multi-directional path, and make it very agile and easy to control without any technical skills or expertise. Vanora Robot’s artificial intelligence keeps it safe from wall collision damage, in case of navigational error by the technician, he stated.
  • Vanora Robots has already installed these robotic platforms in two hospitals — one in Mangaluru and another in Kanhangad, Kerala. One more will be installed in Udupi district soon.
  • Vanora Robots is working on a model that can be used to disinfect schools also. Vanora Robots is a start-up housed in K-Tech Innovation Hub in Mangaluru.


NADA provisionally suspends Savita Kumari, Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules

  • The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has provisionally suspended powerlifters Savita Kumari and Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules
  • Athletes were given an opportunity to present themselves before the Anti-Doping Disciplinary Panel (ADDP) and explain their cases on the date and time fixed by the panel for a hearing. However, due to COVID 19, followed by lockdown in the country no sitting of the panel could take place in April, a release by the company states.
  • Furthermore, Dope Control Officers, who are front-line medical workers in the battle against the COVID-19 pandemic, will not be sent for sample collection when training of athletes resumes following lockdown relaxation, NADA’s Director General Navin Agarwal told
  • NADA is gearing up for vigorous resumption of sample collection and testing after the home ministry allowed sports complexes and stadia to open but without spectators. Agarwal stated elaborate guidelines have been prepared and the body is now waiting for sports ministry’s green light to start sample collection.
About National Anti-Doping Agency:
  • CEO: Navin Agarwal
  • Headquarters: New Delhi, India


Saleh Abdullah Kamel: Saudi billionaire passes away

  • Saudi billionaire businessman Saleh Abdullah Kamel passed away.
  • Kamel, who was 79, had a net worth estimated at $2.6 billion (Dh9.55 billion) as he had vast investments in 40 countries across the world.
  • He was the chairman and founder of the Dallah Albaraka Group, one of the Middle East’s largest conglomerates and a multi-national holding company with investments including the financial, banking, healthcare, real estate, manufacturing, transportation, media, operations and maintenance sectors.
  • Kamel, who founded Arab Radio and Television Network (ART) in 1993, was also the chairman of the General Council for Islamic Banks and the Jeddah Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Marathi writer, playwright, Ratnakar Matkari, passes away

  • Veteran Marathi writer and playwright Ratnakar Matkari, 81, who tested positive for Covid-19, passed away.
  • Considered a pioneer of the children’s drama movement in Marathi, Matkari died at a hospital in suburban Marol. From story books for kids to plays, his work in Marathi literature was phenomenal, a writer stated.

DAILY CA 17th and 18th  MAY

  • National Dengue Day- 16th may
  • International Day of Living Together in Peace- 16th may
  • International Day of Light– 16th may
  • World Hypertension Day– 17th may
  • World Telecommunication and Information Society Day – 17th may
  • International Museum Day- 18th may
  • Finance Minister announces 5th tranche (last) of economic support under the Aatma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyaan
  • Centre launches online dashboard to monitor movement of migrant workers
  • Kokeshi dolls one of Japan’s popular cultural icons
  • India GDP to fall 45 per cent in June quarter, predicts Goldman Sachs
  • Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka initiative for migrant labourers
  • Punjab govt promulgates ‘Punjab Good Conduct Prisoners Amendment Ordinance, 2020’
  • Maharashtra govt approves formation of AYUSH task force
  • Accenture acquires Ahmedabad-based Byte Prophecy
  • NRAI partners with DotPe to build tech platform for online payments
  • Zubair Iqbal Appointed as the New MD of J&K Bank
  • Benjamin Netanyahu to lead Israel with historic 5th term as prime minister
  • Alibaba’s Jack Ma resigns from SoftBank board
  • Health Minister Harsh Vardhan To Represent India At WHO’s 73rd World Health Assembly
  • Union HRD Minister e-Launches seven titles on “Psycho-Social Impact of Pandemic & Lockdown and How to Cope With”
  • EBook ‘Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City’ Releases in India
  • South Central Railway develops Rail-Bot to strengthen hospital care
  • ZSI Lists 20 Species Of Amphibians As ‘critically Endangered’
  • Indian Navy Commissions Seventh MK IV Landing Craft Utility, IN LCU L57
  • Hindujas share second spot with Reuben brothers in UK Rich List 2020
  • Iran’s OPEC governor Hossein Kazempour Ardebili passes away from brain hemorrhage
  • Former Australian rugby league captain Arthur Summons passes away


  • World AIDS Vaccine Day– 18th may
  • Government implements Shekatkar Committee recommendations related to creating border infrastructure
  • Japan launches new unit to step up defence in outer space
  • Kotak Mahindra Bank launches India’s 1st zero-contact, video KYC savings account
  • BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25 per cent
  • FSS launches eFinclusiv AEPS 2.0
  • Nabard extends 20,500-cr special liquidity facility to co-op banks, RRBs
  • India Post Mumbai releases Special Postal Cover dedicated to Migrant Workers
  • Karnataka launches incubator for cyber security startups in India
  • US-Based General Atlantic To Buy 1.3% Stake In Jio Platforms For Rs 6,598 Crore
  • Tata Consumer to acquire PepsiCo’s stake in NourishCo Beverages
  • Keva Bain of Bahamas is new president of World Health Assembly
  • Trump recognises 10-year-old Indian and Pakistani girls as ‘coronavirus heroes’ in the US
  • India’s Chief Hydrographer Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar wins UK award
  • Ministry of Culture’s Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces hosts a webinar on ‘Revitalising Museums and Cultural Spaces’ on the International Museum Day
  • Vanora Robots launches AI-powered product for hospital disinfection
  • NADA provisionally suspends Savita Kumari, Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules
  • Saleh Abdullah Kamel: Saudi billionaire passes away
  • Marathi writer, playwright, Ratnakar Matkari, passes away

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