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CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
Indian Railways for world-class stations, First-of-its-kind form based codes being developed by IRSDC
- PiyushGoyal-led Indian Railwaysfocuses on world-class stations, The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC) is developing a first-of-its-kind “Form Based Codes” for the development of railway land.
- IRSDC, with support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation, is developing Form Based Codes for designing and approval of layout plans as well as building plans for station areas that ensure a compact, pedestrian-friendly, market responsive, transit oriented, sustainable development.
- According to IRSDC, these codes shall enable the desired kind of development around station areas. The preparation of these codes has gone through the rigor of research, case studies, explorations, testing and consultation. The corporation is now in the process of its finalization and implementation.
- IRSDC is now not only the nodal agency for the redevelopment of railway stations but also the main Project Development Agency (PDA). Besides Indian Railways and RLDA, IRSDC has been empowered to approve its plans under the powers conferred to it as per section 11 of Railway Act 1989. The corporation has been also asked to ensure that the development planned in railway land after consultation with local bodies and other statutory authorities, is harmonious with its surroundings
About Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited (IRSDC)
- The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation is a special purpose vehicle of the Government of India that has been designed to develop new stations and redevelop existing Indian railway stations. IRSDC is a joint venture between IRCON and RLDA with a 51:49 equity shareholding ratio respectively. IRSDC was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 12 April 2012.
- VishveshChaube, Chairman
- Sanjeev Kumar Lohia, CEO
Cabinet approves MoU between Railways, Germany
- The Union Cabinet approved a memorandum of understanding signed between India and Germany for technological cooperation in the railway sector.
- The government in a release stated that the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister NarendraModi was apprised of a MoU signed between Ministry of Railways with DB Engineering and Consulting GMBH of Germany for technological cooperation in railways.
- India and Germany had signed the MoU in February this year for technological cooperation in railway sector that will enable cooperation in freight operations (including cross-border transport, automotive transport and logistics), passenger operations (including high-speed and cross-border traffic), infrastructure building and management (including dedicated freight corridors and development of passenger stations).
- The MoU will also help the Indian Railways in development of a modern, competitive railway organisation (including the improvement of organizational structures and railway reformation), IT solutions for railway operations, marketing and sales as well as administrative purposes, predictive maintenance, private train operations and any other areas which may be mutually agreed in writing between the two sides.
About Germany :
- Capital: Berlin
- Currency: euro
- President :Frank-Walter Steinmeier
- Chancellor :Angela Merkel
Rs 1.70 lakh crore relief package announced for the poor to help them fight against Corona Virus
The Union Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister Smt. Niramla Sitharaman announced Rs 1.70 Lakh Crore relief package under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana for the poor to help them fight the battle against Corona Virus.
PRADHAN MANTRI GARIB KALYAN PACKAGE
- Insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19 in Government Hospitals and Health Care Centres
- Safai karamcharis, ward-boys, nurses, ASHA workers, paramedics, technicians, doctors and specialists and other health workers would be covered by a Special insurance Scheme.
- Any health professional, who while treating Covid-19 patients, meet with some accident, then he/she would be compensated with an amount of Rs 50 lakh under the scheme.
- All government health centres, wellness centres and hospitals of Centre as well as States would be covered under this scheme approximately 22 lakh health workers would be provided insurance cover to fight this pandemic.
PM Garib Kalyan Ann (अन्न) Yojana
- Government of India would not allow anybody, especially any poor family, to suffer on account of non-availability of foodgrains due to disruption in the next three months.
- 80 crore individuals, i.e, roughly two-thirds of India’s population would be covered under this scheme.
- Each one of them would be provided double of their current entitlement over next three months.
- This additionality would be free of cost.
- To ensure adequate availability of protein to all the above mentioned individuals, 1 kg per family, would be provided pulses according to regional preferences for next three months.
- These pulses would be provided free of cost by the Government of India.
Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana,
Benefit to farmers:
- The first instalment of Rs 2,000 due in 2020-21 will be front-loaded and paid in April 2020 itself under the PM KISAN Yojana.
- It would cover 8.7 crore farmers
Cash transfers Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana:
Help to Poor:
- A total of 20.40 crores PMJDY women account-holders would be given an ex-gratia of Rs 500 per month for next three months.
- Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, gas cylinders, free of cost, would be provided to 8 crore poor families for the next three months.
- Help to low wage earners in organised sectors:
- Wage-earners below Rs 15,000 per month in businesses having less than 100 workers are at risk of losing their employment.
- Under this package, government proposes to pay 24 percent of their monthly wages into their PF accounts for next three months.
- This would prevent disruption in their employment.
- Support for senior citizens (above 60 years), widows and Divyang:
- There are around 3 crore aged widows and people in Divyang category who are vulnerable due to economic disruption caused by COVID-19.
- Government will give them Rs 1,000 to tide over difficulties during next three months.
- Under PM Garib Kalyan Yojana, MNREGA wages would be increased by Rs 20 with effect from 1 April, 2020. Wage increase under MNREGA will provide an additional Rs 2,000 benefit annually to a worker.
- This will benefit approximately 13.62 crore families.
- Women organised through 63 lakhs Self Help Groups (SHGs) support 6.85 crore households.
- Limit of collateral free lending would be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs.
Other components of PM Garib Kalyan package
- Employees’ Provident Fund Regulations will be amended to include Pandemic as the reason to allow non-refundable advance of 75 percent of the amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts.
- Families of four crore workers registered under EPF can take benefit of this window.
Building and Other Construction Workers Welfare Fund:
- Welfare Fund for Building and Other Constructions Workers has been created under a Central Government Act.
- There are around 3.5 Crore registered workers in the Fund.
- State Governments will be given directions to utilise this fund to provide assistance and support to these workers to protect them against economic disruptions.
District Mineral Fund:
- The State Government will be asked to utilise the funds available under District Mineral Fund (DMF) for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening and other requirements in connection with preventing the spread of CVID-19 pandemic as well as treating the patients affected with this pandemic.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
UN launches 2 Billion dollar response plan to fight corona
- United Nations has launched a 2 billion dollar global humanitarian response plan to fight Corona Virus in the world’s poorest countries.
- UN Secretary General Antonio Gueterres has warned that the pandemic is threatening the entire human race and all of us must fight back.
- As all nations struggle to combat coronavirus, the UN launched the global response plan, an interagency plan which will be coordinated by the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and brings together existing appeals from the World Health Organisation and other UN partners, and identifies new needs as well.
About United Nations:
- The United Nations is an intergovernmental organization that aims to maintain international peace and security, develop friendly relations among nations, achieve international cooperation, and be a center for harmonizing the actions of nations.
- Headquarters: New York, United States
- Founded: 24 October 1945.
- Secretary general: AntónioGuterres
IMF, World Bank call for suspension of debt payments by poorest nations
- The International Monetary Fund and World Bank called for governments to put a hold on debt payments from the world’s poorest nations so they can battle the coronavirus pandemic.
- The World Bank Group and the IMF believe it is imperative at this moment to provide a global sense of relief for developing countries as well as a strong signal to financial markets, the Washington-based development lenders stated in a joint statement.
- The move aims to help countries that are home to two-thirds of the world’s population living in extreme poverty — largely in sub-Saharan Africa — and qualify for the most generous, low-cost loans from the International Development Association (IDA) financed by wealthier nations.
- The IMF and World Bank called on the Group of 20 nations to support the initiative for “all official bilateral creditors to suspend debt payments from IDA countries that request forbearance.”
- In addition, the institutions called for an analysis of the financing needs these countries will face, and whether their total debt load is sustainable.
- Part of the World Bank, the IDA is one of the largest sources of assistance for the world’s 76 poorest countries, providing zero or low interest loans spread over 30 years or more, and grants to some distressed nations.
- In the fiscal year ending June 30, 2019, IDA commitments totaled $22 billion, of which 36 percent was provided on grant terms, according to the World Bank.
About World Bank:
- Head quarters: Washington, D.C., U.S
- President :David Malpass
- MD and CFO : Anshula Kant
- Chief Economist : Penny Goldberg
- Managing Director :KristalinaGeorgieva
- Chief Economist :Gita Gopinath
- Head quarters :Washington, D.C. U.S
WHO begins mega trial of 4 promising drugs to cure Covid-19
- The World Health Organization (WHO) has initiated a global mega trial of the four most promising drugs that may cure the novel coronavirus. The mega trial is called Solidarity, under which the study, testing, and development of antidote against coronavirus will be made, as per the Science Magazine report.
- While many scientists have recommended dozens of existing compounds for testing, WHO is focusing on what it says are the four most promising therapies: an experimental antiviral compound called remdesivir; the malaria medications chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine; a combination of two HIV drugs, lopinavir and ritonavir; and that same combination plus interferon-beta, an immune system messenger that can help cripple viruses.
- ‘Solidarity’ will also test this drug, which is also being used to treat Middle-East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS) patients in Saudi Arabia.
- Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland
- Head: TedrosAdhanom
- Founded: 7 April 1948
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
Indian Bank announces special emergency loan schemes to address lockdown
- Indian Bank announced five special emergency loan schemes for customs to cushion effect of economic slump and lockdown. It will be the second bank after State Bank of India (SBI) to come out with such schemes.
- State-run Indian Bank has announced an additional funding facility for large corporates (MSME), retail customers, pensioners and self-help groups (SHGs) in the wake of COVID 19.
- The bank stated that IND-COVID Emergency Credit Line will provide additional funding of up to 10 per cent of the working capital limits both fund based and non-fund based limits with a maximum limit of 100 crore rupees.
- The loan tenor will be for 36 months with an initial moratorium of up to six months and would carry fixed interest rate of 1-year Marginal Cost of Funds based Lending Rate.
- he second scheme, IND- MSE COVID Emergency Loan— (INDMSE-CEL)will give additional funding of 10 per cent of FBWClimits with maximum Rs 50 lakh, available for all Micro and Small Enterprises and upto 60 months tenor.
- Indian Bank has launched the SHG-COVID – SAHAYA LOAN. Under this each member can avail a soft loan of Rs. 5000 I.e., Rs. 1 lakh per SHG. The loan is for 36 months with 6 months moratorium
- IND-COVID Emergency Salary Loan: to salaried employees upto an amount equal to 20 times latest monthly gross salary subject to maximum of Rs 2 lakh. This is to meet urgent medical and other expenditure. Concessional interest and all charges waived
- IND COVID- Emergency Pension Loan:15 times monthly pension subject to maximum of Rs 2 lakh, with 60 months repayment. Concessional interest and all charges waived.
About Indian bank:
- Headquarters: Chennai
- CEO: PadmajaChunduru
- Tagline :Your Own Bank
Centre approves Rs 1,340 crore to recapitalise Regional Rural Banks for next financial year
- The Central government approved Rs 1,340 crorerecapitalisation plan to help the Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) meet regulatory capital requirements for the next financial year, so that they continue to provide credit to farmers, small scale industries, rural artisans and entrepreneurs hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
- RRBs primarily cater to the credit and banking requirements of agriculture sector and rural areas with a focus on small and marginal farmers, micro and small enterprises, rural artisans and weaker sections of the society.
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) guidelines prescribes that the RRBs have to provide 75 per cent of their total credit under priority sector lending. The capital will be used for those RRBs that are unable to maintain minimum Capital to Risk weighted Assets Ratio (CRAR) of 9 per cent, as per the regulatory norms prescribed by the Reserve Bank.
- As per the law, the Centre holds 50 per cent stake in Regional Rural Banks, while 35 per cent and 15 per cent shares are with the concerned sponsor banks and state governments respectively.
- The Cabinet has also approved extension of scheme for Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies on Export of Garments and Made-ups from April 1 onwards till the scheme is merged with Remission of Duties and Taxes on Exported Products. This will give some relief to the exporters, who are badly hit by the coronavirus outbreak.
- Centre to share 50 per cent burden
- Rs 1.340 crore approved to help RRBs meet regulatory capital requirements next fiscal
- Rs 670 crore approved as the Centre’s share for the RRB recapitalisation scheme
- Regional Rural Banks are Indian Scheduled Commercial Banks operating at regional level in different States of India. They have been created with a view of serving primarily the rural areas of India with basic banking and financial services.
- Regional Rural Banks were established under the provisions of an Ordinance passed on 26 September 1975 and the RRB Act 1976 to provide sufficient banking and credit facility for agriculture and other rural sectors.As a result, Five Regional Rural Banks were set up on 2 October 1975,Gandhi Jayanti. These were set up on the recommendations of The narshimham committee Working Group
Canara Bank offers credit support to MSMEs, corporates, agri, business entities & retail borrowers to tide over Covid-19
- Public sector Canara Bank has launched a new loan scheme ― Canara Credit Support ― with immediate effect to support its customers to tide over the liquidity/ cash flow mismatches in the wake of disruption in business operations due to the outbreak of Covid-19.
- Under the new scheme ‘Canara Credit Support-Covid-19’, MSMEs, corporates, agri, business entities and retail borrowers are eligible to avail from 10 per cent to 35 per cent of their existing working capital or loan limit depending upon category of borrowers on softer terms up to June 30. No additional security is required for the stated facility.
- The release further stated, they have as always come to the forefront to extend its support to its customers. Canara Bank has already announced waiver of charges for non-maintenance of minimum balance in SB accounts and waiver of ATM charges for using other bank ATMs for cash withdrawals, etc up to June 30.
- CEO: Lingam VenkatPrabhakar
- Headquarters: Bengaluru
- Founded: 1 July 1906
- Tagline :Together We Can
RBI doubles the variable rate repo auction amount to ₹50,000 cr
- The Reserve Bank has doubled the amount of the 12-day variable rate term repo auction scheduled to Rs50,000 crore.
- This auction was originally scheduled on March 30. But the RBI decided to advance it to March 26. The auction was advanced in view of the rapidly evolving financial conditions and taking into account the impact of disruptions caused by COVID-19.
- The RBI is conducting these auctions to address any additional demand for liquidity and to provide flexibility to the banking system in year-end liquidity management.
- As a special case, Standalone Primary Dealers (SPDs) were also allowed to participate in these auctions along with other eligible participants.
- The RBI will be conducting a 3-day variable rate term repo auction for Rs25,000 crore on March 31
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
- Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
- Formation– 1 April 1935
- Governor– Shaktikanta Das
- Deputy Governors– 4 (Bibhu Prasad Kanungo, N S Vishwanathan (will retire on March 31, 2020), Mahesh Kumar Jain, Michael DebabrataPatra)
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATES
Recent Schemes Launched by Various States in India for COVID 19
- Goa became first Indian state to launch a digital self-assessment test for COVID-19 to help people to identify whether they are at risk of being infected by novel coronavirus without having to physically visit a healthcare facility.The self-assessment tool called Test Yourself Goa.
- The Tamil Nadu government has announced aRs3,280-crore coronavirus relief package. This includes financial support ofRs1,000 to all ration card holders; and also free rice, cooking oil, sugar and other essential commodities.
- Palaniswamistatedregistered hawkers, autorickshaw drivers and construction workers will also get a special assistance ofRs1,000. Migrant labourers, construction workers and autorickshaw drivers will get 15 kg rice, 1 kg dal and cooking oil for free
- Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched Mo Jeebanprogramme and urged people to take a pledge to stay indoors.
- Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Yogi Adityanathhas announced to provide one month free food grains to poor people along with Rs 1,000 as compensation to daily wage workers who have been affected due to the outbreak of deadly virus.People under old age pension, Divyang pension and widows and poor people . pension will be given two months advance.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: FESTIVALS
- Ugadi marks the New Year as per Hindu calendar in parts of Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Karnataka. It falls in the month of Chaitra (March or April) as per the Gregorian calendar. The date usually coincides with GudiPadwa and Navreh — the Maharashtrian and Kashmiri New Year respectively.
- On this day, dressed in their best fineries, men, women and children decorate their homes and indulge in grand festivities. Family members, friends and neighbours get together to celebrate by greeting each other and exchanging sweets and prasadam.
- One of the most important rather significant preparations on this day is the UgadiPachchadi (made of jaggery, raw mango and neem leaves/ flowers) that tastes sweet, sour and bitter. This recipe is customarily prepared at homes to remind people that they need to embrace agony and ecstasy with grace because life is a blend of both joyful and sad moments.
- This year Ugadi is on March 25.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Microsoft, US CDC tie-up to create ‘Clara’, a COVID-19 self-screening bot
- The S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has introduced an AI bot called ‘Clara’ to help people assess potential symptoms of COVID-19.
- The CDC has partnered up with CDC Foundation and Microsoft Azure’s Healthcare Bot service to create Clara, the “coronavirus self-checker.” the bot is currently only available in the US on the CDC website.
- Bot can quickly assess the symptoms and risk factors for people worried about infection, provide information and suggest the next course of action such as contacting a medical provider or, for those who do not need in-person medical care, managing the illness safely at home.
- The bot helps users in self-screening to decide whether or not would they need a test, thus freeing up resources.
- Coronavirus Risk Scan by Apollo is designed to decrease the paranoia by generating a risk score based on your current symptoms. This will clear your doubts on whether you have or are likely to contract the novel.
- The risk-assessment test is designed based on advice from the World Health Organization and the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare India.
- Apple also updated its voice assistant Siri for Apple users in the US. Siri will now provide a step by step guide to users who ask questions that are variations of “Siri, do I have the coronavirus?” The guide is also based on advice and guidelines by WHO. If a person shows severe symptoms, they will be prompted by Siri to call
About Microsoft Corporation
- CEO- SatyaNadella
- Founders- Bill Gates, Paul Allen
- Home healthcare company Portea Medical, in partnership with Verloop, a customer support and engagement automation platform announced the launch of Cobot-19 Information and Awareness Chatbot.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SUMMITS AND CONFERENCE
Saudi king to chair G20 video summit on coronavirus
- Saudi Arabia’s King Salman will chair an emergency virtual summit of G20 leaders, including Prime Minister NarendraModi and US President Donald Trump, to advance the coordinated response to the novel corona virus pandemic that has claimed nearly 19,000 lives and upended life and businesses across the globe.
- King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the meeting to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications.
- Leaders from G20 nations will be joined by representatives from the coronavirus-affected countries like Italy, Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland.
- Several top international organisations such as the UN, the World Bank, the WHO, the World Trade Organisation, the IMF and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) will also participate in the summit.
- India is a member nation of the G20 group. The other members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, France, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, the Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the UK and the US.
About G20 Presidency
- 2019-Osaka, Japan
- 2020–Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
- 2021- Italy.
- 2022- India
About Saudi Arabia
- Capital- Riyadh
- Currency- Saudi riyal
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPS AND PORTALS
ITU launches Global Network Resiliency Platform
- The International Telecommunications Union, (ITU) is launching a “Global Network Resiliency Platform” to help protect telecoms networks during the COVID-19 crisis.
- The initiative is designed to help both national governments and the private sector to ensure that networks are “safer and stronger”, “kept resilient” and are “more connected” to ensure that telecoms services remain “available to all.”
- The new platform will help national policy-makers, regulators and industry stakeholders to ensure that network efficiency is maximised via the sharing of best practices and various initiatives put in place during the pandemic.
- This will be effected by the collection of “relevant and trustworthy information and expertise on actions that telecommunication policy-makers, regulators and others in the regulatory community can use to ensure that their telecommunication networks and services serve the needs of their country.
- The Global Network Resiliency Platform is currently a static information source but the ITU will soon transmute it into a continuously-updated interactive platform for sharing “throughout this crisis and beyond.
- Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
- Founded-17 May 1865
- Head- Houlin Zhao
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARY
Former India international footballer Abdul Latif passes away
- One of the finest footballers of the country and a widely respected coach Abdul Latif passed away.
- Latif was a member of India’s medal winning football team of Bangkok Asian Games in 1970.
- He won the bronze medal in the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games.
Veteran Hindi film actress Nimmi passes away
- Nimmi, the star of 1950s and ’60s Hindi movies such as ‘Aan’, ‘Barsaat’ and ‘Deedar’, died after prolonged illness. She was 88.
- The actor, born as NawabBanoo, came to be known by her screen name ‘Nimmi’, which was given to her by filmmaker Raj Kapoor, who first spotted her as a shy teen on the sets of his film ‘Andaz’.
DAILY CA 25th MAR
- International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade– 25th march
- International Day of Solidarity with Detained and Missing Staff Members-25th march
- Govt bans export of anti-malarial drug hydroxycloroquine
- PM Modi allocates Rs 15,000 Cr for Healthcare Infra to combat Covid-19
- S. Senate, White House agree on $2 trillionCoronavirus rescue plan
- US successfully tests hypersonic missile in bid to catch up with China and Russia
- Last date for filing income tax return for FY 2018-19 extended till June 30; Debit card holders allowed to withdraw money from ATM of any bank without charges
- SBI commits 25% of FY20 annual profit to help fight COVID-19
- Insolvency and Bankruptcy Codethreshold raised to Rs 1 crore to protect MSMEs: Finance Minister
- Jana SFB launches UPI QR-based loan instalment payment facility
- Rs 100-cr scheme announced to make Delhi tourism brand
- Scheme for triggering behavioral change launched by Delhi govt
- 38th district to be formed in Tamil Nadu
- In Mumbai, Reliance Industries sets up India’s first Covid-19 dedicated hospital
- Pune firm gets approval for first ‘Made in India’ Covid-19 testing kit
- Walmart appoints Sameer Aggarwal as CEO for India
- Mahindra Logistics appoints V S Parthasarathy as Chairman
- Novelist RuchikaTomar Wins 2020 Pen/Hemingway Award For Her Debut Novel ‘A Prayer For Travelers’
- IIFTC Tourism Impact Award 2020 goes to Zoya Akhtar for her Outstanding Contribution to World Film Tourism
- Sunil Chhetri chosen for FIFA campaign against COVID-19
- Tokyo Olympics postponed to 2021
DAILY CA 26th MAR
- Indian Railways for world-class stations, First-of-its-kind form based codes being developed by IRSDC
- Cabinet approves MoU between Railways, Germany
- UN launches 2 Billion dollar response plan to fight corona
- IMF, World Bank call for suspension of debt payments by poorest nations
- WHO begins mega trial of 4 promising drugs to cure Covid-19
- Indian Bank announces special emergency loan schemes to address lockdown
- Centre approves Rs 1,340 crore to recapitaliseRegional Rural Banks for next financial year
- Canara Bank offers credit support to MSMEs, corporates, agri, business entities & retail borrowers to tide over Covid-19
- RBI doubles the variable rate repo auction amount to ₹50,000 cr
- Recent Schemes Launched by Various States in India for COVID 19
- Ugadi 2020
- Microsoft, US CDC tie-up to create ‘Clara’, a COVID-19 self-screening bot
- Saudi king to chair G20 video summit on coronavirus
- ITU launches Global Network Resiliency Platform
- Former India international footballer Abdul Latif passes away
- Veteran Hindi film actress Nimmi passes away