We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 18 April 2020, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2020 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.
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Top 20 Current Affairs of 18 April 2020
Nirmala Sitharaman attends the Plenary Meeting of IMFC through video-conference
On April 16, 2020 Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman attended the Plenary Meeting of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC) of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through video conference due to pandemic.
i.The discussion in the meeting is based on IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva global policy agenda titled, “Exceptional Times – Exceptional Action”.
ii.IMFC’s members updated the committee on the measures & actions taken by the member countries to combat COVID-19 & remarked on IMF’s crisis-response package to address global liquidity and members’ financing needs.
Nirmala Sitharaman’s intervention in the meeting
i.IMF’s critical role in maintaining the stability of the international monetary and financial system & emphasized the need that it should continue this service to global financial architecture.
ii.About various measures taken in India to mitigate COVID-19 impact namely;
- Allocation of about USD 2 Billion (Rs 15,000 crore) to strengthen healthcare system, announcement of relief package of USD 23 billion (Rs 1.70 lakh crore) under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana to reduce the hardship of the poor and the vulnerable.
- Provision of relief to firms in statutory and regulatory compliance matters, Reserve Bank of India(RBI) eased the monetary policy & 3-month moratorium on loan instalments.
About the IMFC meeting:
It meets twice a year, once during the Fund-Bank Annual Meetings in October, and again during the Spring Meetings in April. The committee discusses issues of common concern that affect the global economy and advises the IMF on the direction of its tasks.
India heading towards Ayurveda for COVID-19 treatment; Task force created for scientific validation
Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has formulated a task force for scientific validation of Ayurveda and traditional medicine formulas through research institutions, to be used in the treatment of COVID-19.
- The task force has members from the department of biotechnology (DBT), Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) and also AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) practitioners.
- Already AYUSH ministry has received around 1,300 proposals under Ayurveda, 700 under homoeopathy, and 100 each for Unani and Siddha of which many will be sent to Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and other research institutes after screening them for assessing their scientific validity….Click here to Read More
NIRDPR and UNICEF training community leaders online to combat COVID-19
On April 16, 2020, National Institute of Rural Development and Panchayati Raj (NIRDPR) in collaboration with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Hyderabad field office, is training over 28.33 lakh community leaders through online programs to practice social behaviours required to control the transmission of COVID-19 cases in villages in association with the governments of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh (AP) and Karnataka.
i.The online training program was initiated along the line of a detailed risk communication plan to build capacities of panchayat raj institutions (PRI), self-help groups (SHG), National Service Scheme (NSS) officials, volunteers and community radio stations (CRS) to control the spread of Coronavirus in their groups and village communities.
ii.The Communication Resource Unit (CRU) of NIRDPR and UNICEF, Hyderabad field office developed and shared relevant materials such as Handouts, Posters, FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) and Audio-visual documents with all trainees in order to be circulated in their respective rural communities.
iii.The programme is being conducted via a digital app for enabling video conference calls with District Master Trainers from Rural Development, Society for Elimination of Rural Poverty (SERP) of Telangana, officials of National Service Scheme (NSS), health functionaries of Andhra Pradesh and Community Radio Stations (CRS) functioning in Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka.
Headquarters– New York City (NYC), US (United States).
Executive Director– Henrietta Holsman Fore.
Advisory issued on secure use of Zoom meeting platform: MHA
On April 16, 2020, The Cyber Coordination Centre (CyCord), under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), has issued an advisory to safeguard private individuals who use the video-conferencing app, Zoom for private purposes like a meeting platform & states that it is not for use by government officers/officials for official purposes.
Objective of the advisory
To prevent unauthorized entry in the conference room, prevent an authorised participant from carrying out malicious attacks on the terminals of other users in the conference & avoid Denial-Of-Service(DOS) attack by restricting users through passwords.
Set new user ID and password for each meeting, Enable meeting room, Disable join before host, Allow screen sharing by host only, Disable allow removed participants to re-join, Restrict or disable file transfer option, Lock meeting once all attendees have joined, Restrict the recording feature, End meeting (and not just leave, if you are the administrator).
i.The Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (Cert-In) has been informed that it is not a safe platform on February 6 and March 30, 2020.
ii.Taiwan becomes the 1st country to ban it from government business over cyber security concerns on April 7, 2020.
It was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 22, 2018, to provide a one-stop platform to the Law Enforcement Agencies(LEA), government organisations and other stakeholders to collaborate and coordinate their efforts to resolve cyber crime, and other cyber related issues.
India’s subsidies to renewables drops 35 per cent from FY17 to FY19: IISD & CEEW
On April 16, 2020 According to the study, Mapping India’s Energy Subsidies 2020 released by the International Institute for Sustainable Development (IISD) and the Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW), India’s energy subsidies drops 35% from Financial Year FY17 to FY19, while its oil and gas subsidies increased by 65% .
i.The study highlights that the health and economic crisis caused by COVID-19 will impact the subsidy expenditure….Click here to Read More
ASEAN leaders held Special summit and Special ASEAN plus 3 summit on COVID-19 via video conference
On April 14, 2020, the Member States of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) held the Special ASEAN Summit via video conference which was chaired by Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, in his capacity as Chair of ASEAN.
- The summit was attended by heads of state or government of the 10 ASEAN members– Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam.
- The objective behind this summit was to discuss measures relating to containing and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and to support people in the countries hit by the disease.
Special ASEAN Plus Three Summit:
After the above mention meet, virtual Special ASEAN along with China, Japan and South Korea (ASEAN Plus Three) Summit on COVID-19 Response was held to discuss measures to respond to and repel the global pandemic.
- The summit was attended by heads of state or government of the 10 ASEAN members, China, Japan and South Korea, the ASEAN secretary-general, Dato Lim Jock Hoi and the World Health Organization (WHO) director-general TedrosAdhanom Ghebreyesus.
The two summits were aimed to discuss measures to contain COVID-19 which is posing a grave threat to the human health and safety also impacting adversely on the economy regionally and globally.
India becomes World’s most digitally dexterous country; 39% technophiles want OTJ & JIT training: Gartner 2019 Survey
In accordance with the Gartner 2019 Digital Workplace Survey, India has become the world’s most digitally dexterous (skilful) country in the world as it has a vast Gen Z workforce who are keen to learn new digitally powered skills in the workplace. India is followed by the United Kingdom (UK) and United States (US).It should be noted that Generation Z or Gen Z are the ones born between 1995 and 2009.
- Sixty-seven per cent of digital workers in India said emerging technologies such as machine learning (ML), artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT) are increasing their effectiveness
- The digital workforce in India and Singapore use real-time messaging and social media networks more frequently for real-time collaboration than the workforce of China, France, Germany, the US and the UK….Click here to Read More
BANKING & FINANCE
OBICUS Q4: 2019-20: 49th round of quarterly survey on manufacturing sector launched by RBI
On April 16, 2020, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) launched the 49th round of quarterly order books, inventories and capacity utilization survey (OBICUS) of the manufacturing sector which will provide important figures and input for monetary policy formulation. The reference period for this survey is January-March 2020 (Q4: 2019-20).
- The information to be collected in this survey includes quantitative data on new orders received during the reference quarter, backlog of orders, pending orders, total inventories with a breakup between Work-in-Progress (WiP) and finished goods (FG) inventories and item-wise production….Click here to Read More
Tata AIA becomes the 1st Life Insurance company in India to announce additional benefits: COVID-19
On April 15, 2020, Tata AIA becomes the 1st Life Insurance company in India to announce additional benefits for its policyholders & agents so as to support them during the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
- Recently Tata Trusts and Tata group have announced their contribution towards the management of COVID-19 in India.
i.All policyholders will get additional benefit equal to the base sum assured or Rs 5,00,000 (no additional cost) whichever is lower, it is applicable for all valid death claims with a date of death on or before June 30th 2020.
ii.All ‘active’ agents with their spouse and children are entitled upto Rs 25,000 hospitalization cover if diagnosed with COVID-19 within the period as mentioned for the policyholders.
About Tata AIA life insurance:
It is a joint venture company, formed by Tata Sons and AIA Group Limited (AIA).
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Rishi Srivastava
RBI Governor announced relief measures for liquidity in system; Reverse Repo Rate slashed to 3.75% from 4%
On April 17, 2020, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das announced much-needed relief measures for small and medium-sized financial organisations which have been struggling to operate in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, during a press conference in New Delhi. These are a part of the stimulus package announced by the central government to support such smaller businesses, which often borrow from Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs).
- RBI slashed Reverse Repo rate by 25 bps to 3.75% from 4%; repo rate remained unchanged.
- Inflation could fall below 4% target by RBI in H2 FY21.
- TLTRO 2.0 worth Rs 50,000 cr announced; Banks exempted from paying dividends.
- Refinancing NABARD, SIDBI & NHB with Rs 50,000 crores….Click here to Read More
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
India’s GDP growth may fall to 1.1% in FY21: SBI Ecowrap report
On April 16, 2020 The State Bank of India’s (SBI) Ecowrap report estimated India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth may fall to 1.1% in FY21 from its earlier projections of 2.6%, with the likelihood of 1st quarter growth contracting 6% or more and 2nd quarter witnessing no growth due to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic outbreak. The FY20 GDP growth has been revised from 5% to 4.1%….Click here to Read More
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS
World chess champion Viswanathan Anand becomes ambassador of WWF India’s environment education programme
On April 16, 2020, 5 time world chess champion Viswanathan Anand was appointed as ambassador of World Wildlife Fund (WWF) India’s environment education programme.
Gist about the programme
i.The programme was started in 1976 as an initiative of Nature Clubs of India (NCI) with aim to create a generation of critical thinkers, problem solvers and environmentally conscious individuals.
ii.It follows a 3 way strategy approach namely; building environmental awareness and knowledge; developing requisite capacity and skills; and enabling action for conservation and sustainability.
iii.Currently there are 5 education programmes running in 16 states across India to reach out to over 5,00,000 children across 2000 schools & youth and citizens.
About WWF India:
WWF India was founded with the objective to ensure the conservation of the country’s wildlife and natural habitats. It was set up as a Charitable Public Trust on 27th November 1969. It celebrates 50 years of conservation in India.
Headquarters– New Delhi, India
President– Jamshyd N. Godrej
Headquarters– Gland, Switzerland
President and CEO– Carter Roberts
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
COVID-19: Kerala institute develops Chitra GeneLAMP-N test kit gives results in 2 hours
On April 16, 2020, The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, under the Department of Science and Technology (DST) has developed a low-cost diagnostic test kit “Chitra GeneLAMP-N” that can confirm COVID-19 (Coronavirus) in just 2 hours.
i.Chitra GeneLAMP-N Kit: The kit detects the N Gene of SARS-CoV-2 using reverse transcriptase loop-mediated amplification of viral nucleic acid.
ii.The gene detection time is 10 minutes, the sample to result time will be less than 2 hours (from RNA extraction in swab to RT-LAMP(Reverse Transcriptase Loop-Mediated Amplification Of Viral Nucleic Acid) detection time) and at least 30 samples can be tested in a single batch in a single machine in multiple shifts. The development of the kit was fully funded by DST, Government of India.
iii.Development of kit: Anoop Thekkuveettil, a senior scientist of the Biomedical Technology wing of SCTIMST in charge of the division of molecular medicine under the Department of Applied Biology led the team that developed the kit.
iv.The same team had earlier developed a test kit and a highly sensitive device using the LAMP (loop-mediated isothermal amplification) technique for the detection of DNA (Deoxyribonucleic acid) of mycobacterium tuberculosis (TB) from sputum samples of patients with suspected lung TB in 2018-2019.
v.NIV (National Institute of Virology)- Alappuzha validate the tests and The test kit awaits the approval of ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) for COVID-19 testing in India and license from Central Drugs Standard Control Organisation (CDSCO).
Scientists at NASA discovers Earth-like planet ‘Kepler-1649c’ found to be hidden in early Kepler data
On April 15, 2020, A team of scientists at the US (United States) space agency NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration), has discovered an Earth-size exoplanet, called Kepler–1649c, orbiting in its red dwarf star’s habitable zone (an area where water conditions on the planets may be favorable).
It was spotted while observing old data of its Kepler space telescope, which the agency retired in 2018.
i.This planet is located 300 light years away from Earth & is only 1.06 times larger than the Earth. Its approximate temperature is the same as that of the earth and so it takes 75 % of its energy from its sun as our planet does.
ii.According to NASA, this planet orbits a small red star and this is the reason that the chances of life of this planet in the environment are challenging as red dwarf stars are very common in the Galaxy.
iii.The findings have been published in the Astrophysical Journal Letters & lead author of the study was Vanderburg, a researcher at the University of Texas at Austin, US.
About NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration):
Headquarters– Washington, D.C., United States
Administrator– Jim Bridenstine
Agriculture minister Narendra Singh Tomar launches transport aggregator app ‘Kisan Rath’ for farmers
On April 17, 2020, The Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar, has launched farmer friendly mobile application ‘Kisan Rath’ with tagline “Kisan ka apna Vahan” to facilitate the movement of crops. The app has been developed by the National Informatics Centre (NIC) and will connect 5 lakh trucks & 20,000 tractors for transporting farm produce.
i.The app will help in the movement of crops from farms to regulated markets, Farmer Producer Organization (FPO) Centres, village haats/ GrAMS (Gramin Agriculture Markets), warehouses, railway stations, airports, processing units, wholesale and retail markets etc.
ii.It will facilitate farmers & traders in searching for vehicles for Primary and Secondary transportation for movement of Agriculture & Horticulture produce.Initially,this Mobile app will be made available in 8 languages in Android version & can be downloaded from Google Play Store.
iii.This app will help further strengthen the agricultural supply chain management in the country during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare:
Headquarters– New Delhi
Minister of State– Parsottambhai Rupala, Kailash Choudhary
Integrated geospatial platform created: “SAHYOG” by Survey of India
On April 15, 2020, Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India (GOI) has created an integrated geospatial platform from the available geospatial datasets, standards-based services and analytic tools which helps in decision making during the present COVID-19 outbreak and supports area-specific strategies to handle the socio-economic impact in the recovery phase.
The mobile application SAHYOG and the web portal (https://indiamaps.gov.in/soiapp/) prepared and managed by Survey of India (SOI), will complement the “AAROGYA-SETU” mobile application launched by the Government of India for contact tracing, public awareness & self-assessment objectives….Click here to Read More
New pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh named after Harry Potter Character
The new species of green pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh by a team of researchers was named Salazar’s pit viper after Salazar Slytherin, a fictional character in J.K Rowling’s book series “Harry Potter”.
i.Venomous snakes which have heat sensing pit organs between the eyes and the nostril.
ii.Trimeresurus Salazar– a fifth variety of reptile to be discovered in Arunachal Pradesh
iii.They belong to genus Trimeresurus Lacépède “charismatic venomous serpents with morphologically as well as ecologically diverse species”.
iv.The discovery is published by Zeeshan A. AyazMirza of Bengaluru’s National Centre for Biological Science, Harshal S. Bhosale of Bombay Natural History Society and four others in the April issue of Zoosystematics and Evolution.
v.Two other species of Arunachal pit vipers, India’s fifth brown pit viper with reddish tinge and a natricid burrowing snake.
ITTF world rankings 2020: India’s No.1 Table tennis player at 31st spot, China tops
On April 16, 2020, According to the ITTF (International Table Tennis Federation) World Ranking 2020 of senior male players, India’s table tennis star Achanta Sharath Kamal has become the top-ranked player at 31st position with 6460 points by beating Sathiyan Gnanasekaran (who slipped one place to number 32). The list has been topped by Fan Zhendong of China with 17915 points.
i.The jump of 7 places in the rankings comes after Sharath acquired the title at the Oman Open 2020, his first ITTF title in the last 10 years.
ii.In the senior women’s rankings, Manika Batra is 63rd position with 4575 points while Sutirtha Mukherjee entered the top-100 for the first time & is ranked 95. Chen Meng of China tops the women’s list with 17915 points.
Here’s the list of Top 3 & Indian players at top 100:
|Rank||Men’s ranking||Women’s ranking|
|1||Fan Zhendong (China)||Chen Meng (China)|
|2||XU Xin (China)||Mima Ito (Japan)|
|3||MA Long (China)||Sun Yingsha (China)|
|Achanta Sharath Kamal-31st|
Amalraj Anthony Arputharaj-100th
About International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF):
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland
President– Thomas Weikert
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P V Sindhu authored by Krishnaswamy V
On April 17, 2020, A book titled “Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P V Sindhu” authored by Krishnaswamy V was published by HarperCollins in Amazon digital platform along with other two books, amid the lockdown due to Coronavirus.
i.“Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P V Sindhu”, conveys the story of one of the finest badminton players in the world. The biography tells her life from the time when, while living in the colony of Secunderabad, she travelled over 40 km every day by train to get to P Gopichand’s academy and train.
ii.P V Sindhu has achieved so much, including four World Championship medals besides those at Olympics, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games.
iii.About Krishnaswamy V: He is a sports journalist who has covered seven Olympic Games and numerous international championships in badminton. He is also the author of Sachin: A Hundred Hundreds Now.
iv.The other two books published by Harpercollins include “Shameless” by Taslima Nasreen. The book was translated from Bengali written by Arunava Sinha.
v.The third book is “The Big Questions of Life” authored by Om Swami which marks the way to enlightenment through mindful thinking.
About Harpercollins publication:
Headquarters– New York, United States (US).
Commissioning Editor– Ananya Borgohain.
World Haemophilia Day 2020: April 17
World Haemophilia Day is celebrated worldwide on 17th April to create awareness about Haemophilia and other inherited bleeding disorders.World Federation of Haemophilia was established by Frank Schnabel in 1963. The World Federation of Haemophilia (WFH) initiated the celebration of the World Haemophilia Day in 1989 on April 17 to honor the birth anniversary of Frank Schnabel, the founder of WFH.
i.The theme of the World Haemophilia Day is “Get+involved”.
ii.Dr. John Conrad Otto in Philadelphia found individuals suffering from small wounds but bleed to death in the 10th century and determined this as a hereditary illness passed to male children from mothers and he called them “Bleeders”.
iii.For the past 30 years, various events and programs were conducted to create awareness and educate people on the bleeding disorders, this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic the community is advised to have a virtual gathering.
Inability of the body to make blood clots after an injury or easy bruising resulting in excessive bleeding.
Cause: Genetic disorder
Treatment: Treated with injection of clotting factors and plasma.
Complications: Internal bleeding, Joint damage, Intracranial haemorrhage.
World Art Day 2020: April 15
To celebrate the fine arts & to promote awareness of creative activity worldwide, The International Association of Art (IAA/AIAP), partner of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has declared the World Art Day on April 15.
i.The day is chosen to honor & mark the birthday of famous Mona Lisa’s painter Leonardo da Vinci who is a symbol of world peace, freedom of expression, tolerance and brotherhood.
ii.The day is to help strengthen the links between artistic creations and society, encourage awareness of the diversity of artistic expressions, highlight the contribution of artists to sustainable development & also to focus on arts education in schools.
iii.The day is 1st held on April 15th, 2012, & officially held in the City of Los Angeles on April 15th, 2015, and yearly after that. In 2017, IAA USA, the official U.S.based chapter of the IAA, was formed.
About IAA/AIAP: President – Bedri Baykam, Headquarter – Los Angeles, U.S.
Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)
|1||Nirmala Sitharaman attends the Plenary Meeting of IMFC through video-conference|
|2||India heading towards Ayurveda for COVID-19 treatment; Task force created for scientific validation|
|3||NIRDPR and UNICEF training community leaders online to combat COVID-19|
|4||Advisory issued on secure use of Zoom meeting platform: MHA|
|5||India’s subsidies to renewables drops 35 per cent from FY17 to FY19: IISD & CEEW|
|6||ASEAN leaders held Special summit and Special ASEAN plus 3 summit on COVID-19 via video conference|
|7||India becomes world’s most digitally dexterous country; 39% technophiles want OTJ & JIT training: Gartner 2019 Survey|
|8||OBICUS Q4: 2019-20: 49th round of quarterly survey on manufacturing sector launched by RBI|
|9||Tata AIA becomes the 1st Life Insurance company in India to announce additional benefits: COVID-19|
|10||RBI Governor announced relief measures for liquidity in system; Reverse Repo Rate slashed to 3.7% from 4%|
|11||India’s GDP growth may fall to 1.1% in FY21: SBI Ecowrap report|
|12||World chess champion Viswanathan Anand becomes ambassador of WWF India’s environment education programme|
|13||COVID-19: Kerala institute develops Chitra GeneLAMP-N test kit gives results in 2 hours|
|14||Scientists at NASA discovers Earth-like planet ‘Kepler-1649c’ found to be hidden in early Kepler data|
|15||Agriculture minister Narendra singh tomar launches transport aggregator app ‘Kisan Rath’ for farmers|
|16||Integrated geospatial platform created: “SAHYOG” by Survey of India|
|17||New pit viper discovered in Arunachal Pradesh named after Harry Potter Character|
|18||ITTF world rankings 2020: Table tennis player Sharath kamal become India’s No.1 player at 31st spot, Fan zhendong of China tops|
|19||Shuttling to the Top: The Story of P V Sindhu authored by Krishnaswamy V|
|20||World Haemophilia Day 2020: April 17|
|21||World Art Day 2020: April 15|