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Current Affairs 19 & 20 April 2020

Current Affairs 19 & 20 April 2020

We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 19 & 20 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 19 & 20 April 2020

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Nirmala Sitharaman attends the 101st Development Committee Meeting: IMFDevelopment Committee Meeting of the World Bank

On April 17, 2020 Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman attended the 101st Development Committee plenary Meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) through video conference.

  • The items on the agenda include the updates on World Bank group response to the coronavirus pandemic emergency & the COVID-19 Debt Initiative: International Call for Action in Support of International Development Association (IDA) countries.
  • The World Bank has decided to grant financial support of 150 to 160 billion USD to combat COVID-19 for the next 15 months and also explore a sustainable solution for debt challenges of the middle-income countries.

Statements made by IMF Managing Director Kristalina Georgieva in the meeting
i.The severe economic impact in the 1st half of 2020 is inevitable & the pandemic encounters a weak public health system.
ii.The pandemic poses a challenge for policymakers in many emerging markets and developing economies (EMDEs).
iii.Before the coronavirus outbreak the world economy was in a slow moving recovery & now will suffer a severe recession in 2020.
About IDA:
It is governed by the Board of Governors of the World Bank, aims to reduce poverty by providing loans (called “credits”) and grants for programs that boost economic growth, reduce inequalities, and improve people’s living conditions. It was launched on September 24, 1960.

Government increases loss coverage for micro loan defaults under CGFMU scheme Govt increases loss coverage for micro loan

On April 16, 2020 According to the amendment of Credit Guarantee Fund for Micro Units (CGFMU) scheme as notified by the Ministry of Finance states that the coverage of lender’s loss in case of loan default is increased to 75% from earlier 50%.

  • The aim of the amendment is to incentivise lending to micro businesses which bear the impact of coronavirus outbreak & the lockdown….Click here to Read More

Union minister Prahlad Singh Patel launches the National list of intangible cultural heritage of India in New DelhiShri Prahlad Singh Patel launches the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage

On April 18, 2020, Prahlad Singh Patel, the Union Minister for Culture, Independent Charge, launched the National List of Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) of India in New Delhi with the aim to create awareness about the various intangible cultural heritage sites from different states of India at national and international level and ensure their protection….Click here to Read More

Health Ministry formulated colour codes for Lockdown 2.0 to manage COVID-19 pandemic

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) formulated a new set of guidelines for the nationwide lockdown-2.0 or Smart Lockdown, which started from 20th April 2020 and continues till May 3, 2020. It decided to divide all Indian districts into hotspots (red zones); non-hotspots (orange zones) and green zones on the basis of absolute number of cases and the speed of growth in cases.

  • Any district reporting more than six cases classified as hotspot district or red zone.
  • The new guidelines have allowed partial economic activities in selected Orange  and green Zones adhering to the protocol of  social distancing while red zones will continue to have the current lockdown measures.

Key Points:
-A house with positive cases or a cluster with positive cases is marked as the epicentre of the containment zone with only essential services available.
-Also, a buffer zone is marked where people with severe and acute respiratory illnesses (SARI) are checked and monitored.

Rajasthan: First Indian State to carry out Rapid Testing for Covid-19Rajasthan claims to be first State in country

Rajasthan became the first state in the country to carry out Rapid Testing for Covid 19. State’s urban primary health centre of TopkhanaDesh (also known as Jaju Dispensary) in Jaipur started rapid tests at 5 p.m where 52 persons were tested and all were found COVID-19 negative.

  • This test will be done at a large scale to assess the prevalence of Covid 19 in hotspots or red zones.
  • Apart from this, Polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests or laboratory tests will continue to be done in acceleration in the containment zones all over Rajasthan.

About Rapid Testing:
This test requires a drop of blood just like a diabetes test and gives instant results. Though this is not a confirmatory test but helps in quick isolation of person tested COVID-19 positive to prevent spread.

Central Government releases 7,300 crore rupees to State & UTs under MGNREGS

On April 17, 2020, The Central Government has released 7,300 crore rupees to the States and Union Territories (UT) under Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme (MGNREGS) to liquidate pending dues of last financial year but also the wages dues for the first fortnight of 2020-21.
Key Points:
i.Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar conducted a detailed review of all flagship schemes of the Rural Development and said that MGNREGS works in Non-Containment Areas with adequate focus on social distancing, must be resumed in an efficient manner.
ii.The focus of the work is to create durable assets relating to irrigation and water conservation.
iii.The Minister also added that under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Gramin), over 800 crore rupees has been released to the States and around 40 lakh beneficiaries of this scheme have received second and third instalment of funds.
About MGNREGA:

  • “Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act”, (MGNREGA) is an Indian labour law and social security measure that aims to guarantee the ‘right to work’ and this act was passed in September 2005.
  • It aims to enhance livelihood security in rural areas by providing at least 100 days of wage employment in a financial year to every household whose adult members volunteer to do unskilled manual work.

BANKING & FINANCE

Equitas Small Finance Bank launches Selfe Fixed Deposits and Selfe savings accounts

On April 15, 2020 Equitas Small Finance Bank (ESFB), a private sector, has launched Selfe Fixed Deposits (FD) and Selfe savings accounts to expand its digital banking services so as to help its customers to avoid visiting the branches as the lockdown is extended till May 3.
Selfe FD
i.With the Aadhaar and Permanent Account Number (PAN) details customers can open an online account for value of Minimum investment of Rs 5,000 and invest up to Rs 90,000 under 3 minutes, for which the bank offers interest rate upto 7.75% per annum (p.a) for 1 year. Choice to invest from 7 days to 365 days
ii.It is a digital standalone FD scheme which envisages booking from their respective residences & transfer of Unified Payments Interface (UPI) funding from any Know Your Customer bank account.
iii.No premature withdrawal penalty for Senior Citizen Selfe FD & if Selfe FD has completed a tenure of more than 180 days.
Selfe savings accounts
i.It is a digital bank account that can be opened with a web based interactive video form by registering using Aadhaar number, PAN and other basic details.
ii.Customers can set up a mobile banking PIN and start using their account instantly & can get an interest rate upto 7.5% p.a. with no minimum balance and virtual debit card.

  • Currently the interest rate offered by the Post Office for 1 year time deposit is 5.5% & on savings account is 4%, the SBI offers a FD rate on deposits of 211 days to less than 1 year is 5 % & on savings accounts it is 2.75%.

About ESFB:
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer– Vasudevan Pathangi Narasimhan

RBI’s 1st auction under TLTRO 2.0 for Rs 25,000 cr on Apr 23; final tranche of Rs 1 lakh crore TLTRO concluded

During the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das press conference, a Targeted Long-Term Repo Operations 2.0 (TLTRO) window of Rs 50,000 crore was announced. Now as a part of it, RBI is all set to conduct the first auction under the TLTRO 2.0 for an amount of Rs 25,000 crore on April 23, 2020.

  • It is aimed to provide liquidity to small and mid-sized corporates, including non-banking financial companies (NBFCs) and micro finance institutions (MFIs) impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The funds availed under TLTRO 2.0 shall be deployed in investment grade bonds, commercial paper (CPs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of NBFCs.
  • It should be noted that of the 50% of the total funds availed, 10% should go for securities issued by MFIs while 15% towards instruments issued by NBFCs with asset size of Rs 500 crore and below.

RBI concludes final tranche of Rs 1 lakh crore TLTRO
On April 17, 2020, RBI conducted the fourth and the final tranche of the Rs 1 lakh crore TLTRO, announced on March 27, 2020, by infusing Rs 25,000 crore into the system for three-year tenor at the repo rate (4.40%).

  • In this regard, RBI received total bids for Rs 61,415 crore. The amount allotted was Rs 25,009 crore, indicating a pro-rata allotment percentage of 40.71.

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

NCAER Business confidence index (N-BCI) declined to 77.3 in Q4 FY20Business sentiment worsened in Q4 FY20

In accordance with the economic think tank National Council for Applied Economic Research (NCAER) 112th Business Expectations Survey (BES), its quarterly business confidence index (N-BCI), covering 600 companies, declined by over 30% in the last quarter (Q4: Jan-March) of FY 19-20 to 77.3 from 111.2 in the Q3. The reason behind this downfall is the ongoing nationwide lockdown to contain the Covid-19 virus outbreak. It was the lowest figure since the 1998 Asian financial crisis.

  •  Political Confidence Index (PCI) fell from 96.2 per cent in January 2020 to 73.7 per cent in April 2020.
  • The N-BCI is a part of NCAER’s Business Expectations Survey (BES).
  • The survey consisted of four questions, two on macro and the other two on micro sentiments, relating to the respondents’ own firms.
  • Questions on macro sentiments: “The overall economic conditions will be better in the next six months” and “The present investment climate is positive”. In both questions, there was a decline of 21 percentage points each.
  • Questions on micro sentiments: “The financial position of firms will improve in the next six months” and “The present capacity utilisation is close to or above the optimal level”. In both questions, there was a drop of 13.3 and 11.6 percentage points, respectively.

About NCAER
Establishment– 1956
Headquarter– New Delhi
President– Nandan M. Nilekani

S&P cuts India growth forecast to 1.8% from 3.5% for FY 20-21

On April 17, 2020, S&P(Standard & Poor’s) Global Ratings has declined India’s growth forecast for the FY 20-21 to 1.8% from 3.5% estimated earlier due to an extended nationwide lockdown to contain COVID-19 spread. For FY 2021-2022, the rating agency has projected India’s growth to 7.5%.

  • In March 2020, S&P cut India’s growth forecast to 3.5% for 2020-21 fiscal, from 5.2% projected earlier.
  • On Asia-Pacific front, the growth is revised to 0.3%.
  • As per S&P, the recovery from the pandemic will be flattish U-shape by 2023. It means the economy is gradually declining but will bounce back over time with positive impact.
  • As per agency, if the unemployment rises, then there may be chances of L-shape, a recession that falls quickly but fails to recover.

Rate Cuts by other agencies for FY 20-21: India

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

  • Fitch- 2%
  • International Monetary Fund (IMF)- 1.9%
  • Moody’s Investors Service- 2.5%

Economic Growth

  • World Bank- 1.5% to 2.8%
  • Asian Development Bank (ADB)- 4%

 ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS        

TVS motor acquires 122-year-old UK-based firm Norton motorcycles for Rs 153 crTVS Motor buys Norton Motorcycles

On April 17, 2020, TVS (Thirukkurungudi Vengaram Sundram) Motor Company Ltd,  an Indian multinational motorcycle company, has acquired the 122-year-old  iconic British company Norton Motorcycle (UK) Ltd for Rs 153 crore (£16 million).
Key Points:
i.TVS now owns some of the UK properties of Norton in administration(Norton Motorcycles Holdings Ltd and Norton Motorcycles (UK) Ltd ) through one of its overseas subsidiaries,TVS Motor Singapore Pte. Ltd .
ii.It would be one of the most interesting deals of the historic motorcycle brand in recent times and would reflect India’s rapidly growing prominence & TVS Motor Company in the international two-wheeler market.
iii.TVS has also tied up with BMW Motorrad i.e. BMW G 310R and BMW G 310 GS are being manufactured at the TVS plant itself. Along with this, TVS also has its own motorcycle based platform TVS Apache RR 310.
About TVS Motor Company Ltd:
Headquarters
– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Chairman & Managing Director– Venu Srinivasan
Joint managing director– Sudarshan Venu
About Norton Motorcycle (UK) Ltd:
Headquarters– England, UK

Eros International & Hollywood’s STX Entertainment to merge all share- 1st of its kind

On April 18, 2020 1st of its kind deal, where Indian movie producer and distributor Eros International (which is also the holding company of the Lulla’s-promoted Eros Group) a NYSE-listed announced an all-share merger with 6 year old, privately held Hollywood’s STX Entertainment to create an equally-held global entertainment company with a value of USD 1 billion.
Key Points
i.The existing shareholders of Eros & STX will hold each about 42% of the merged entity & the  while the remaining 15-odd% will be with the new shareholders.
ii.Fresh capital of USD 125 million will be raised from STX’s existing investors, which includes TPG, Hony Capital and Liberty Global, already over USD 75 million commitments have been received & the remaining will be tied-up before merger’s execution, which is targeted to close by June-end.
iii.Eros issues value rights to STX’s shareholders, which will in the due course be converted into shares before the merger & the amalgamation will have no impact on the group’s listed on Indian exchange & there are also USD 50 million operational synergies across global operations.
iv.The merged entity’s executive co-chairman will be Kishore Lulla & the co-chairman and chief executive will be Robert Simonds of STX.
v.The merger will bring together talent from Bollywood and Hollywood, resulting in collaboration on projects and jointly accessing China’s mega market and will be known as “Eros STX Global Corporation”.
About Eros:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Executive Chairman & Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Kishore Lulla
About STX Entertainment:
Headquarters– Burbank, California
Chairman & CEO– Robert Simonds

 SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Automatic Mist Based Sanitisers Dispensing Unit & UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device introduced: DRDOCOVID-19 disinfection process

On April 17, 2020 Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has introduced Automatic Mist Based Sanitiser Dispensing Unit & UltraViolet (UV) Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device to enhance the operations at public places during the pandemic.
Automatic Mist Based Sanitiser Dispensing Unit
i.It is developed by The Centre for Fire Explosive & Environment Safety (CFEES).
UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device
i.It is designed & developed by Defence Institute of Physiology & Allied Sciences (DIPAS) and Institute of Nuclear Medicine & Allied Sciences (INMAS)….Click here to Read More

Gujarat’s GBRC: 2nd Indian institute to decode COVID-19 genome sequence; 3 new mutations found3 new mutations of novel coronavirus

Gujarat’s Gandhinagar-based Gujarat Biotechnology Research Centre (GBRC) has become the second institute in India after the National Institute of Virology (NIV) in Pune, Maharashtra to decode the entire genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus but with three new mutations.

  • GBRC has found nine mutations in its genome sequence. However, six of the mutations were already found by other research institutes globally but the three new mutations will help in developing medicines or vaccines needed to stop the spread of the deadly virus.
  • The first genome sequence of the COVID-19 virus was found by Chinese Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) in Bejing, China on January 10, 2020.

Key Points:
-As per finding,the virus mutates (changes its form) in order to survive in different situations. It mutates when medicines try to control it.
-It should be noted that COVID-19 biological macro molecule is RNA (ribonucleic acid) not DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid).
-100 Positive COVID-19 samples have been collected in different parts of Gujarat. After analyzing their genome a strategy will be formed to curb the COVID-19 virus.
About GBRC
Director– Chaitanya G. Joshi

Indian Navy develops air evacuation pod for COVID-19 patients

Indian Navy’s Southern Command, Kochi has developed an air evacuation pod (AEP) to airlift COVID-19 infected patients safely from remote areas such as islands and ships in a fully sealed patient transfer capsule.
Key Points:
i.The evacuation pod was designed under guidance of Principal Medical officer of the naval air station, INS (Indian Naval Ship) Garuda, Kochi, in consultation with specialists from the naval hospital INHS (Indian Naval Hospital Ship) Sanjivani and HeadQuarters of Southern Naval Command.
ii.About AEP: The pod is made up of aluminium, nitrile rubber and perspex. It weighs only 32 kg and has incurred a manufacturing cost of Rs 50,000 which is only 0.1 percent of cost of an imported equivalent (Rs 59 lakh).
iii.The trials of patients inside AEP were undertaken on board Advanced Light Helicopter (ALH) and Dornier aircraft of Indian Navy at Southern Naval Command. Twelve AEPs are planned for distribution across Southern, Western, Eastern and Andaman and Nicobar Naval commands.
iv.The successful induction of the AEP will vastly increase the Indian Navy’s abilities in its relentless efforts towards aiding COVID prevention across the nation.
About Indian Navy:
Commander-in-Chief– President Ram NathKovind.
Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS)– Admiral Karmabir Singh.

Researchers at CeNS designs portable sensor to detect heavy metal in water

On April 17, 2020, A team of researchers led by Dr. Pralay K. Santra at the Centre for Nano and Soft Matter Sciences (CeNS), an autonomous research institute based in Bengaluru (Karnataka ), has developed a portable compact solid-state sensor to identify the heavy metal ions such as lead (Pb2+), mercury and cadmium in water up to 0.4 parts per billion (ppb).
Key Points:
i.Compact solid state sensor: How it works?

Health hazards associated with heavy metal ions in water demands the development of efficient and portable sensors for rapid detection ions causing potential threats to living beings.

  • The film in this sensor is prepared through a composite material of Manganese Doped Zinc Sulfide Quantum Dots and Reduced Graphene Oxide (RGO) made on a glass substrate.
  • These quantum dots are water soluble and have the highest photoluminescence (~ 30%) quantum efficiency, and are best suited for luminescence-based sensing.
  • As soon as the composites in the water sensor containing heavy metal ions (mercury, lead, cadmium, etc.) are exposed to the film, the emission from the film is extinguished within a few seconds, confirming the presence of heavy metal ions in the water.

ii.Benefit: The quantum dots used in this sensor can also be stimulated / activated through a small ultraviolet light (254nm) that can be captured in the hand, due to which it can be easily used even in remote areas.

OBITUARY

Chilean author Luis Sepúlveda dies of coronavirus in northern Spain at 70Author Luis Sepulveda dies

On 16th April 2020, the best selling Chilean writer and journalist Luis Sepúlveda Calfucura, 70 years, passed away at a hospital in Oviedo, northern Spain six weeks after testing positive for coronavirus. He was born on 4th October 1949 in Ovalle, Limari Province, Chile.
Key points:
i.On 25th February 2020, returning from a literary festival in Porto, Portugal he was taken to the hospital after having symptoms of COVID-19 and his condition became critical by March 10th.
ii.He was with Chile’s Communist Youth and socialists working against Pinochet regime and in 1973 he was arrested and imprisoned for treason for 2 and half years and freed after the intervention of Amnesty International.
iii.He was exiled from Chile by Pinochet dictatorship in 1977 and settled in Europe in 1980s after his extensive travel.
Works of Luis Sepúlveda:
i.He was best known for his first novel ”The Old Man Who Read Love Stories” which was translated in numerous languages and later made into a feature film by Rolf de Heer, starring Richard Dreyfuss.
ii.He wrote around 20 novels, short stories, chronicles and children’s books like “The World at the End of the World”, “The name of a Bullfighter” a crime novel and “Patagonia Express” a travel book.
iii.His works were known for their humor, grace and depictions of ordinary life in Latin America.
iv.He was the writer and director of “Vivir a los” in 1986, and “Nowhere” in 2002.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Heritage Day 2020: April 18World Heritage Day 2020

World Heritage Day, which is also known as the International Day for Monuments and Sites is an annual event which is celebrated every year on April 18, to promote awareness about the diversity of cultural heritage of humanity, their vulnerability and the efforts required for their protection and conservation.
Theme for the year 2020: Shared Culture, Shared Heritage and Shared Responsibility.
The theme recognizes the value of all types of heritage sites across varied diverse groups and communities.
Key Points:
i.History of the day: The day was proposed by the International Council on Monuments and Sites (ICOMOS) on April 18, 1982, and was approved by the general assembly of UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) in 1983.
ii.There are a grand total of 1,121 UNESCO World Heritage Sites worldwide, of which 869 are cultural, 213 are natural and 39 are a mixture.

Five Delhi monuments(The Red Fort, the Qutub Minar, Humayun’s Tomb, Purana Qila and Safdarjung’s Tomb) to be illuminated for World Heritage Day 2020.

 

AC GAZE

South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s party wins election amid COVID-19 pandemic

The Democratic Party  of South Korean President Moon Jae-in has won victory in parliamentary elections, with 163 seats in the 300-seat National Assembly, first country conducted election among COVID-19 pandemic. The capital and currency of South Korea is Seoul and South Korean won respectively

44th session of World Heritage Committee 2020 of UNESCO in Fuzhou postponed

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, The 44th session of the World Heritage Committee 2020 of UNESCO, scheduled from 29th of June to 9th of July, in Fuzhou of eastern China’s Fujian Province, has been postponed, which was made by the committee’s bureau members and consultations.The Headquarter of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) is Paris, France.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)

S.no Current Affairs 19 & 20 April 2020
1 Nirmala Sitharaman attends the 101st Development Committee Meeting: IMF
2 Government increases loss coverage for micro loan defaults under CGFMU scheme to 75% from 50% earlier
3 Union minister Prahlad singh patel launches the National list of intangible cultural heritage of India in New Delhi
4 Health Ministry formulated colour codes for Lockdown 2.0 to manage COVID-19 pandemic
5 Rajasthan: First Indian to carry out Rapid Testing for Covid-19
6 Centre Government releases 7,300 crore rupees to State & UTs under MGNREGS
7 Equitas Small Finance Bank launches Selfe Fixed Deposits and Selfe savings accounts
8 RBI’s 1st auction under TLTRO 2.0 for Rs 25,000 cr on Apr 23; final tranche of Rs 1 lakh crore TLTRO concluded
9 NCAER Business confidence index (N-BCI) declined to 77.3 from 111.2 in Q4 FY20
10 S&P cuts India growth forecast to 1.8% from 3.5% for FY 20-21
11 TVS motor acquires 122-year-old UK-based firm Norton motorcycles for Rs 153 cr
12 Eros International & Hollywood’s STX Entertainment to merge all share- 1st of its kind
13 Automatic Mist Based Sanitisers Dispensing Unit & UV Sanitisation Box and Hand-held UV device introduced: DRDO
14 Gujarat’s GBRC: 2nd Indian institute to decode COVID-19 genome sequence; 3 new mutations found
15 Indian Navy develops air evacuation pod for COVID-19 patients
16 Researchers at CeNS designs portable sensor to detect heavy metal in water
17 Chilean author Luis Sepúlveda dies of coronavirus in northern Spain at 70
18 World Heritage Day 2020: April 18
19 South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s party wins election amid COVID-19 pandemic
20 44th session of World Heritage Committee 2020 of UNESCO in Fuzhou postponed

AffairsCloud Today April 19 & 20 2020

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