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CURRENT AFFAIRS: DAYS
International Delegate’s Day
- The first edition of International Delegate’s Day was observed on 25 April 2020.
- The day was proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) on 2 April 2019, to raise awareness of role of the delegates and representatives of the member states of the UN.
- The day marks 75th anniversary of San Francisco Conference, a gathering which laid the foundation stone of the formation of the United Nations.
World Intellectual Property Day
- World Intellectual Property Day is observed annually on 26 April.
- The event was established by the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) in 2000 to “raise awareness of how patents, copyright, trademarks and designs impact on daily life” and “to celebrate creativity, and the contribution made by creators and innovators to the development of societies across the globe.
- Thetheme for The World Intellectual Property Day 2020 is ‘Innovate for a Green Future.’
- HQ of WIPO- Geneva, Switzerland.
World Immunization Week
- The aim of World Immunization Week is to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. The week takes place from 24-30 April.
- Every year, millions of lives are saved thanks to immunization and it is recognized widely as one of the most successful and cost effective health interventions. However, nearly 20 million children are still unvaccinated and under-vaccinated worldwide.
- The theme 2020 #VaccinesWork for All
CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
eGov Foundation launches COVID e-pass platform for movement of essential goods and service providers
- To simplify the process of issuing e-passes for essential goods and service providers during lockdown, eGov foundation has launched COVID e-Pass system.
- The platform is expected to reduce the operational burden of government officials and help in ensuring a seamless supply of essential goods and services during the lockdown.
- The COVID e-Pass system is a trust-based application where the state nodal officers must approve one-time registration requests from the companies along with setting the daily quota of passes for each company.
- The designated authority from the company is then allowed to generate bulk passes for company employees/partners, within the set quota, on their own without having to reach out to the district administration for inter-city movement.
- The pass is delivered to the applicant in pdf and SMS with an instruction to carry a valid photo ID. State Nodal Officers will work with police authorities for verification and validation of the e-Pass during the commute.
NTPC Vindhyachal becomes India’s largest power plant to achieve 100 per cent Plant Load Factor
- NTPC Vindhyachal has become the largest power plant of the country to achieve a plant load factor (PLF) of 100 per cent. The 100 per cent PLF means that the power plant was run at its full capacity of 3760 MW for a certain period.
- This is a significant development because the average PLF of power plants across the country hovers at around 60 per cent.
- Prior to this, other NTPC power plants, such as the Talcher Thermal plant of 460 MW has also been run at 100 per cent PLF. But no plant with an installed capacity close to NTPC Vidhyachal has achieved this till now.
- An official statement stated that this 100 PLF was achieved on April 13, in the midst of the countrywide COVID-19 lockdowns.
- NTPC group’s total installed capacity is 62110 MW. The group has 70 power stations i.e. 24 Coal, 7 combined cycle gas/liquid fuel, 1 Hydro, 13 Renewables along with 25 joint venture power stations.
- The second 660MW unit of India’s first ultra-supercritical power station NTPC Khargone also became commercial during the lockdown period.
- Headquarters: New Delhi
- Gurdeep Singh (Chairman & MD)
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Australia launches COVID-19 tracking app
- Australia has launched its coronavirus tracing app named COVIDSafe despite drawing criticism for its approach to privacy.
- The voluntary software is based on Singapore’s TraceTogether and it will use a mix of Bluetooth and stored contact data on both the app and servers to let people know if they have been in close contact with people who have tested positive for COVID-19.
- The Australian government has also promised that the COVID-19 tracking app will not collect locations and will only share data with health officials after an infected person offers consent. The government has also vowed to delete information on its end when the pandemic is over.
- Applications like COVIDSafe may prove vital in order to end lockdowns in countries as it will it easier to track the spread of the coronavirus.
- Capital: Canberra
- Currency: Australian dollar
- Prime Minister : Scott Morrison
Facebook rolls out new group calling feature- Messenger rooms
- Facebook announced its new video conferencing feature, Messenger Rooms. Messenger rooms are joinable group video calls that can soon accommodate up to 50 people in a single call.
- Introducing Messenger Rooms, group video links that allow you to drop in and spend quality time with friends, family and people who share your interests, Facebook tweeted from its official account.
- The social media giant’s attempt to one-up Zoom, Messenger rooms lets users create a room from Messenger or Facebook and invite other users to join irrespective of them having a Facebook account.
- Users can start a Messenger room and share it directly on their News Feed, Groups and Events, so “it’s easy for people to drop by.” The feature sounds much like a group chat version of a Facebook or Instagram Live.
- The social media giant is leveraging its increased usage to roll out better video calling features. It also outlined certain privacy guidelines that the app will follow with its security features.
- The user who creates the room can control who can join, who sees the room, and if the room is locked or unlocked to new guests. The call can begin only when the user who has created the room is present on the call and the creator can remove guests at any time. Users can also report a room name or submit feedback about a room if they believe it violates Facebook’s Community Standards, the company stated.
- Mark Zuckerberg :CEO, Chairperson
- Headquarters: California, United States
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
RBI announces Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds of Rs 50,000 crore
- The Reserve Bank of India announced a Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds (SLF-MF) of 50,000 crore rupees with a view to easing liquidity pressures on MFs. The RBI has stated that it remains vigilant and will take whatever steps are necessary to mitigate the economic impact of COVID-19 and preserve financial stability.
- The RBI stated in a statement that the heightened volatility in capital markets in reaction to COVID-19 has imposed liquidity strains on Mutual Funds, which have intensified in the wake of redemption pressures related to closure of some debt MFs and potential contagious effects there from. The stress is, however, confined to the high-risk debt MF segment at this stage and the larger industry remains liquid.
- The Apex bank has stated that under the Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds (SLF-MF), the RBI shall conduct repo operations of 90 days tenor at the fixed repo rate. The SLF-MF is on-tap and open-ended and banks can submit their bids to avail funding on any day from Monday to Friday (excluding holidays).
- The Reserve Bank will review the timeline and amount, depending upon market conditions. The funds availed under the SLF-MF shall be used by banks exclusively for meeting the liquidity requirements of MFs by extending loans, and by undertaking outright purchase of land or repos against the collateral of investment grade corporate bonds, Commercial Papers (CPs), debentures and Certificates of Deposit (CDs) held by MFs.
About Mutual Funds:
- A mutual fund is a type of financial vehicle made up of a pool of money collected from many investors to invest in securities like stocks, bonds, money market instruments, and other assets.
- Mutual funds are operated by professional money managers, who allocate the fund’s assets and attempt to produce capital gains or income for the fund’s investors. A mutual fund’s portfolio is structured and maintained to match the investment objectives stated in its prospectus.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
India Ratings lowers GDP growth rate further to 1.9%, a 29-year low
- India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra), a Fitch group company, has further slashed its estimate for India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth rate to 1.9 per cent for 2020-21. This will be the lowest after India recorded growth rate at 1.1 per cent in 1991-92.
- The agency revised its estimate from the March 30 announcement of 6 per cent GDP growth to 1.9 per cent.
- The agency’s estimate suggests that GDP may come back to the 4QFY20 (January-March, 2020) level only by 3QFY21 (October-December, 2020), anticipating resumption of normal economic activities during 2QFY21 (July-September) and festive demand during 3QFY21.
- However, “if the lockdown continues beyond mid-May 2020 and a gradual recovery takes root only from end-June 2020, GDP growth may slip further to negative 1 per cent, lowest in the last 41 years and only the sixth instance of contraction since FY 1951-52.”
- The agency’s estimate is at par with IMF (1.9 per cent) and close to World Bank (1.5-2.8 per cent), but lower than ADB (4 per cent).
About India Ratings & Research (Ind-Ra):
- Headquartered : Mumbai
- Rohit Karan Sawhney : Chairman
APEC economy to reduce by 2.7 pc in 2020
- The Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region is expected to post a 7 per cent economic decline in 2020 due to the impact of COVID-19.
- This will be the most significant fall since the near-zero growth rate logged in 2009 during the global financial crisis, according to the APEC Secretariat.
- Last year, the 21-member region recorded economic growth of 3.6 per cent.
- The region’s unemployment rate is projected to rise to 5.4 per cent in 2020 from 3.8 per cent in 2019, or an additional 23.5 million workers being unemployed in 2020.
- An economic rebound is a forecast for 2021, with the anticipated growth of 6.3 per cent, higher than the projected global economic growth of 5.8 per cent.
- This rebound, however, depends on the effectiveness of containment mechanisms to avoid a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as measures to stimulate the economy.
About Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) region:
- APEC comprises Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the US and Vietnam.
- Chairperson :Muhyiddin Yassin
CARE Ratings predicts FY21 GDP growth at 1.1%
- CARE Ratings stated the country’s GDP growth is likely to decline to 1 per cent in the current financial year 2020-21 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The domestic rating agency added that the estimate has a “downward bias”, saying predicting the recovery is very difficult at present.
- Since the outbreak of the crisis, which has seen the country being put under a 40-day lockdown, watchers have been warning about a heavy toll on the economy, with some analysts also expecting the GDP to contract in 2020-21.
- We are expecting GDP growth to be 1-1.2 per cent in FY21 with a downward bias, CARE Ratings stated.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATES
Assam govt launches Dhanwantari scheme for home delivery of medicines
- Assam government has launched a new scheme Dhanwantari under which locally unavailable medicines are provided to the patients at home.
- The people who want to get scarce medicines through this scheme will have to telephone 104 and name the medicines. They can also send their prescriptions through WhatsApp.
- ASHA workers and multi-purpose workers will collect the medicines and deliver them to the patients’ families.
- If the cost of the medicines is Rs 200 or below, the medicines will be delivered free of cost.
- If the cost of the medicines is over Rs 200, the patients’ families will have to foot the bill.
- The delivery of medicines may take eight hours to seven days. If a medicine isn’t available in a particular locality, we may collect and deliver it within around eight hours. If it isn’t available in the pharmacies in a district, it may take one or two days for us to deliver. If medicines have to be brought from outside Assam, it may take around seven days to deliver.
- Capital- Dispur
- CM- Sarbananda Sonowal
- Governor- Jagdish Mukhi
Thuthukudi airport in Tamilnadu upgraded to level 3
- The Thuthukudi airport in Tamil Nadu, near the strategically important Bay of Bengal coast, has been upgraded to level 3 by the Airport Authority of India. This signifies a rise in the operational potentials of the airport and increases the scope of getting more funds for expansion activities.
- The airport run way is at present being extended to 3115 metres to enable bigger planes to use it. Plans are also in the pipeline for starting hopping flights to nearby destinations like Trivandrum, Kochi, Madurai etc.
- With the work of setting up a 720 acre industrial park in Ththukudi well underway, the upgrading of Thuthukudi airport has been welcomed by general public, industrialists and the commercial circles.
About Tamil Nadu:
- Capital: Chennai
- Chief minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
- Governor : Banwarilal Purohit
Madhya Pradesh govt launches Jivan Shakti Yojana for women
- The Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh launched Jeevan-Shakti Yojana at Mantralaya. Under the scheme, women will prepare masks at homes in the urban areas and earn profit. The Government will give 11 per mask to them immediately.
- Shri Chouhan stated that they will not only earn profit by preparing the masks but will also participate in a pious work. Masks will save people’s life and prevent the infection from spreading.
- Shri Chouhan informed that women wishing to make masks are required to register themselves by calling the call center number 0755-2700800 by their telephone or mobile phone.
- After registration, they will get the order to make the mask on the mobile itself. They will get order for minimum 200 masks at a time. The mask is to be made of cotton cloth.
- After preparing the masks, they will deliver the masks to the nodal officer of their urban body. A process to make payment will be initiated as soon as they deliver the masks and they will receive the payment in their account on the same day or the next day.
About Madhya Pradesh :
- Capital: Bhopal
- Chief minister: Shivraj Singh Chouhan
- Governor: Lalji Tandon
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPS AND PORTALS
Kerala (IIITM-K) Have Developed an AI-Based Search Engine For COVID-19 Research
- State-run Indian Institute of Information Technology and Management – Kerala (IIITM-K) has developed an AI Semantic search engine to enable researchers to get deeper insights into scientific studies, especially when they need to find an early solution to the COVID-19 crisis has resulted in a large set of complex scientific information.
- Named ‘www.vilokana.in’, which in Sanskrit means ‘finding out’, the search engine is developed by a team led by P. James, Professor at Centre for Artificial General Intelligence and Neuromorphic Systems (neuro GI), IIITM-K.
- The search engine will guide the researchers to the right information very fast. This makes easy the contextual search of information from the vast domain of scientific literature, which is a difficult problem faced by scientists and common people to get deeper insights into scientific studies.
- The user can supply key-words based queries, the meaning of which the search engine will be able to understand and find the relevant text from the scientific papers.
- The user also has the option to upload any scientific text for analysis, which can be used for sentiment analysis and knowledge discovery.
AP launches pharmacy app for surveillance on cold, fever patients
- Andhra Pradesh Government began tracking patients who could be suffering from cold and fever.
- It has launched a customised mobile application for pharmacies across the state who report details of people who buy medicines for cold, cough and fever.
- Every pharmacist in the State is expected to download the app and register the details of customers who buy general medicines for the cold/cough/fever.
- The objective behind the app is to monitor any increase in incidence of cold and fever so that the patients can be tracked. This works as an additional pre-cautionary measure simultaneous to regular sample testing being done, stated senior health department official.
- Andhra Pradesh now tops the number of sample tests conducted per million population in the country.
About Andhra Pradesh:
- Governor: Biswabhusan Harichandan
- Chief minister: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy
- Capitals: Amaravati, Hyderabad
CURRENT AFFAIRS: ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS
HDFC acquires 6.43% stake in debt-trapped Reliance Capital
- Mortgage lender HDFCstated it has acquired 43 per cent stake in debt-trapped Reliance Capital by invoking pledged shares.
- These shares were acquired pursuant to invocation of pledge by security trustee on behalf of the corporation, which was pledged against a loan given by the lender in its normal course of business, HDFC Ltd stated in a regulatory filing.
- The company acquired 25.27 crore shares of 10 each, it stated, adding that the total value of these shares are Rs.252 crore.
- It further stated the requisite disclosure had already been made on March 27, and since the shares have now been credited to the account of the Corporation, the disclosure was being made once again.
- CEO: Aditya Puri
- Headquarters: Mumbai
- Tagline :We understand your world
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND HONOURS
Govt appoints new Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments
- Union Government appointed new Secretaries, Special Secretaries and Additional Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments.
- Information and Broadcasting Secretary Ravi Mittal has been appointed as the Sports Secretary.
- Secretary, Higher Education Amit Khare will hold additional charge of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
- CBSE Chairperson Anita Karwal has been appointed as Secretary School Education and Literacy.
- Health Secretary Preeti Sudan, who was to retire this month, has been given three month extension.
- Vice Chairman of Delhi Development Authority Tarun Kapoor will be Secretary in Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas .
Tarun Bajaj will be Secretary Department of Economic Affairs in Ministry of Finance
CURRENT AFFAIRS: RANKING
Mukesh Ambani back on top as Asia’s richest man
- Following the Rs.43,574-crore Facebook-Jio Platforms deal, billionaire Mukesh Ambani has clawed back his position as Asia’s richest man, a position he lost to Chinese technology giant Alibaba founder Jack Ma in March.
- In January this year, Mukesh Ambani’s net worth stood at $67 billion, making him the richest Asian, while that of Jack Ma stood at $45 billion, according to data compiled by Hurun Report. This was based on a conversion rate of Rs.71 to a dollar.
- However, two months into the Covid-19 outbreak and the subsequent oil price crash, Ambani’s net worth fell to $39 billion, while that of Jack Ma stood at $47 billion.
- Following the Facebook-Jio Platforms deal, the equation changed again, and Ambani’s net worth rose to $60 billion as the markets cheered the deal. Jack Ma’s net worth at the time of the Facebook deal was at $43 billion, which helped Ambani regain his position as Asia’s richest person.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
IIT Roorkee professor developed a software that detects Coronavirus in five seconds by using the patient’s X-ray scan
- An IIT-Roorkee professor claims to have developed a software which can detect COVID-19 within five seconds using an X-ray scan of the suspected patient.
- The professor, who took over 40 days to develop the software, has filed a patent for the same and has approached the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) for a review.
- Kamal Jain, a professor at the institute’s civil engineering department, claims that the software will not only reduce testing costs but will also reduce the risk of exposure to healthcare professionals.
- Using the software developed, the doctors can simply upload pictures of an individual’s X-ray. The software will not only classify whether the patient has any sign of pneumonia, it will be able to tell whether it is due to COVID-19 or other bacteria and also measure the severity of the infection. The results can be processed within five seconds.
Kerala government hospital deploys robot”KARMI-Bot” to serve COVID-19 patients
- Malayalam star Mohanlal’s Viswasanthi Foundation donated the autonomous robot to the COVID-19 ward of the Ernakulam government medical college hospital.
- The robot named ”KARMI-Bot” will be used to assist patients at the medical college’s COVID-19 isolation ward.
- Robot is developed by ASIMOV robotics, a company working under maker village of Kerala start-up mission.
- The purpose of this project is to limit the interaction between COVID-19 patients and health workers as well as to address the shortage of PPE kits by minimizing its use.
- The robot will be able to perform its duties fully autonomously. Carrying a payload of up to 25 kgs, the robot is capable of achieving a maximum speed of 1m per sec. UV based disinfection and targeted detergent spray are the additional capabilities of KARMI-Bot, which featured in the latest cover story of Forbes magazine.
- ASIMOV Robotics aims to incorporate contactless routine temperature checking and automated charger docking to KARMI- Bot, once the spare parts are available after lock down.
NASA develops high-pressure ventilator ‘ VITAL’ to fight COVID-19
- NASA engineers have developed a new, easy-to-build high-pressure ventilator tailored specifically to treat COVID-19 patients.
- The device, called VITAL (Ventilator Intervention Technology Accessible Locally), passed a critical test at the Icahn School of Medicine in New York, an epicentre of COVID-19 in the US.
- VITAL is designed to treat patients with milder symptoms, thereby keeping country’s limited supply of traditional ventilators available for patients with more severe COVID-19 symptoms.
- VITAL can be built faster and maintained more easily than a traditional ventilator, and is composed of far fewer parts, many of which are currently available to potential manufacturers through existing supply chains.
- Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
China names its Mars mission Tianwen-1
- China named its first Mars exploration mission to be launched later this year as Tianwen-1 as it celebrated Space Day on Apr 24 to mark the 50th anniversary of the launch of the country’s first satellite Dong Fang Hong-1 in 1970.
- Aiming to catch up with India, U.S., Russia and the European Union to reach the red planet, China’s Mars mission plans to complete orbiting, landing and roving in one mission.
- China National Space Administration (CNSA) named the Mars mission as “Tianwen,” which means Heavenly Questions or Questions to Heaven, a poem written by China’s well known poet Qu Yuan (340-278 BC).
- India became the first Asian country to have successfully launched its Mars orbiter mission, Mangalyaan which has entered the orbit of the red planet in 2014.
- India also became the first country to have entered the Martian orbit in its first attempt.
- Capital– Beijing
- Currency– Renminbi
- President– Xi Jinping
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARY
Veteran photojournalist Ronny Roy passes away
- Veteran sports photojournalist Ronojoy ‘Ronny’ Roy passes away following a cardiac arrest.
- Popularly known as ‘Ronny’, he was associated withBengali daily Aajkaal since 1990s and covered the ICC WorldCup in England last year.
DAILY CA 25th APR
- World Malaria Day: 25 April
- UNODC launches ‘Lockdown Learners’ series for students, teachers of India
- Govt declares banking industry as a public utility service for six months till October 21
- WHO launches ‘landmark’ collaboration to develop COVID-19 drug, vaccine
- Vodafone Idea ties up with Paytm to launch ‘Recharge Saathi’
- Bank of Baroda announces ex-gratia, health cover for business correspondents
- HCL to offer tech support to TN govt in tackling Covid- 19
- CM Jagan launches zero-interest loan scheme, gives SHGs Rs 1,400 crore in Andhra Pradesh
- CISF launches ”e-office” app for movement of files
- Sanjay Kothari takes oath as Chief Vigilance Commissioner
- IIT-Delhi develops COVID-19 test kit, gets ICMR’s approval
- Former Australian cricketer Graeme Watson dies at 75
DAILY CA 26th & 27th APR
- International Delegate’s Day- 25th april
- World Intellectual Property Day- 26th april
- World Immunization Week- 24-30 April
- eGov Foundation launches COVID e-pass platform for movement of essential goods and service providers
- NTPC Vindhyachal becomes India’s largest power plant to achieve 100 per cent Plant Load Factor
- Australia launches COVID-19 tracking app
- Facebook rolls out new group calling feature- Messenger rooms
- RBI announces Special Liquidity Facility for Mutual Funds of Rs 50,000 crore
- India Ratings lowers GDP growth rate further to 9%, a 29-year low
- APEC economy to reduce by 7 pc in 2020
- CARE Ratings predicts FY21 GDP growth at 1.1%
- Assam govt launches Dhanwantari scheme for home delivery of medicines
- Thuthukudi airport in Tamilnadu upgraded to level 3
- Madhya Pradesh govt launches Jivan Shakti Yojana for women
- Kerala (IIITM-K) Have Developed an AI-Based Search Engine For COVID-19 Research
- AP launches pharmacy app for surveillance on cold, fever patients
- HDFC acquires 43% stake in debt-trapped Reliance Capital
- Govt appoints new Secretaries in different Ministries and Departments
- Mukesh Ambani back on top as Asia’s richest man
- IIT Roorkee professor developed a software that detects Coronavirus in five seconds by using the patient’s X-ray scan
- Kerala government hospital deploys robot”KARMI-Bot” to serve COVID-19 patients
- NASA develops high-pressure ventilator ‘ VITAL’ to fight COVID-19
- China names its Mars mission Tianwen-1
- Veteran photojournalist Ronny Roy passes away