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Current Affairs 2 April 2020

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Top 20 Current Affairs of 2 April 2020

Current Affairs April 2 2020

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Finance Minister participates in the 2nd Extraordinary G20 FMCBG virtual meeting 

G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Virtual Meeting

On March 31, 2020 Union finance & corporate affairs minister, Nirmala Sitharaman participates in the 2nd Extraordinary G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors (FMCBG) virtual meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19 in the global economy & coordinate efforts to respond to this global challenge hosted by the Saudi Arabian Presidency.
Discussions made by Finance Minister
i.Supported the proposal of G20 Action Plan & highlighted that these will provide a chance for immense cross-learning and critical insights.
ii.Made specific interventions to review & improve the International Monetary Fund (IMF) toolkit and further expand the swap line network.
iii.Suggested that the IMF can develop innovative and unique mechanisms to meet COVID-19 financial requirements, as policy space is severely restricted in most countries under these unprecedented circumstances.
iv.Encouraged the IMF to use its current resources to create a non-stigmatised short-term cash flow swap which can be used quickly when countries need it & also emphasized the need to allow countries to adapt to new bilateral swap arrangements as needed.
v.Stressed the importance of ensuring the continual support of the financial system & revive the economy in reference to the G20 leaders statement on regulatory and supervisory measures.
Background
The meeting was scheduled to follow up on the discussion on the extraordinary “Virtual Group of 20 (G20) Leaders’ Summit” held on March 26, 2020 & the G20 Virtual Leaders Summit held on March 23, 2020.

Govt extends implementation of uniform stamp duty for capital market instruments to July 1, 2020 from 1 April 2020

On March 30, 2020, the Department of Revenue has postponed the implementation of the uniform stamp duty on transfer of shares, debentures, futures, options, currency and other capital market instruments by 3 months to 1 July 2020 from 1 April 2020.

  • To curb tax evasion, the government through Finance Act 2019 amended the Indian Stamp Act, 1899. Specific changes were to be effective from April 1, 2020 while amendments would come into effect from July 1, 2020.
  • As part of the amendments, the stamp duty rates levied by Maharashtra will be taken as a benchmark as it accounts for 70% of the total collection.

Background:
In 2019, the government had introduced changes to the Stamp Duty Act by introducing a uniform rate of stamp duty on trading of shares and commodities which was being charged at different rates by different states.

Central govt redefines domicile for J&K; Perks and Privileges of ex-CMs of J&K WithdrawnCentral govt defines domicile Jammu and Kashmir

On March 31, 2020, a new definition for domicile for Jammu and Kashmir was introduced which has stated that a person residing in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir for at least 15 years or has studied for a period of seven years in Jammu and Kashmir and appeared in Class 10 or 12 examinations will now be eligible to be a permanent resident of the UT. The notification has been issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in the exercise of powers conferred by section 96 of the J&K Reorganization Act, 2019, under section 14 referred to as The J&K Civil Services (Decentralization and Recruitment Act).This new rule was issued under the Section 3A of the Jammu and Kashmir Reorganisation Adaptation of State Laws Order 2020, under the Jammu and Kashmir civil services decentralisation and recruitment Act.

  • The perks and privileges of former Chief Ministers (CMs) of Jammu & Kashmir have been withdrawn after the central government repealed section 3-C of the State Legislature Members’ Pension Act, 1984. Former J&K CMs were enjoying a long list of privilegessince 1984….Click here to Read More

ICCR: “United Against Corona- Express through Art”India launches soft-power initiative

On March 31, 2020, ICCR (Indian Council for Cultural Relations) launched a competition titled “United Against Corona- Express through Art”, the art in the time of Corona. The aim of the competition is to unite citizens across the world. The competition was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and this soft-power initiative is being organized by ICCR….Click here to Read More

COVID-19 outbreak: DGFT extends foreign trade policy 2015-20 for one year till March 2021

On March 31, 2020, Amid coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak and the 21-days lockdown to contain the virus spread, the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), the agency of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India (GoI), has extended the existing foreign trade policy (2015-20) for one year till March 2021.
Key Points:
i.The existing Policy came into effect on 1st April, 2015, is valid for 5 years and was originally up to March 31, 2020.
ii.Now, the commerce ministry will continue to provide the relief under various export promotion schemes such as Duty Free Import Authorisation (DFIA) and Export Promotion Capital Goods (EPCG) by granting an extension of another one year.

iii.Some of the key points of the changes made in the foreign trade policy (FTP) includes- exemption from payment of IGST & Compensation Cess on the imports, allowing duty-free import of inputs, which is physically incorporated in the export product.The MEIS (Merchandise Export from India Scheme ) benefits would be discontinued as rates will be fixed for products under the new scheme — Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Product (RoDTEP). Last dates for applying for various duty credit scrips (MEIS- Merchandise Exports from India Scheme /SEIS- Service Exports from India Scheme /ROSCTL- Rebate of State and Central Taxes and Levies)and other authorizations, an exemption to imports from bonded warehouse in domestic tariff region or from the international exhibition held in India.

About Commerce ministry:
Headquarters
– New Delhi
Union Minister– Piyush Goyal

Jitendra Singh launched DARPG’s National Monitoring Dashboard for COVID- 19 Grievances

On April 1, 2020, Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State for Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, launched DARPG’s [ Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances] National Monitoring Dashboard on COVID- 19 grievances.

The National Monitoring Dashboard was developed by DARPG in pursuance of the recommendations of the Empowered Group of Officers 10 constituted under the Disaster Management Act 2005 on Public Grievances and Suggestions to ensure timely implementation of COVID 19 Response Activities.
Key Points:
i.The National Monitoring Dashboard developed by DARPG & implemented at https://darpg.gov.in where COVID-19 related grievances are monitored on a daily basis by a technical team of DARPG & provides redressal in a period of 3 days.
ii.The National Monitoring Dashboard received 43 grievances from the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW), 31 grievances of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) and 26 grievances of Ministry of Finance (MoF) and 62 Citizens grievances were redressed.
iii.The nature of grievances were related to quarantine facilities, lockdown not being adhered to complaints, essential supplies related complaints, examination related complaints, rescheduling of interest repayments on loans, evacuation requests from foreign countries etc. iv.Dr.Kshatrapati Shivaji, Secretary DARPG, Additional Secretary DARPG V.Srinivas, Joint Secretaries Smt. Jaya Dubey and N.B.S.Rajput were present on the occasion.

Government notifies regulation of 24 medical devices 

On March 31, 2020, the government has regulated 24 classes of medical devices notified under Drugs & Cosmetics Act, 1940 and Drugs & Cosmetics Rules, 1945.
Key Points
i.Out of 24, for 4 scheduled  medical devices- Cardiac Stents, Drug-Eluting Stents, Condoms and, Intra-Uterine Device (Cu-T)the ceiling prices is been fixed
ii.The remaining non-scheduled medical devices which are notified and regulated as drugs, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority(NPPA) is currently monitoring Maximum Retail Prices (MRP) to ensure that no manufacturer or importer can increase the price by more than 10% in the preceding 12 months.
iii.NPPA states that all medical devices will be governed under the provisions of the Drugs (Prices Control) Order, 2013(with effect from 1st April 2020) by which all medical devices will be regulated by the Government as Drugs for quality control and price monitoring.
iv.According to the Essential Commodities Act, 1955, the manufacturer or importer shall be liable to charge a higher fee along with the interest from the date of increase in price in addition to the penalty.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

World will go into recession except India and China due to COVID-19, USD 2.5 trillion rescue package needed: UNCTADWorld economy, except India, China, will go into recession

According to new analysis from United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) titled ‘The COVID-19 Shock to Developing Countries: Towards a ‘whatever it takes’ programme for the two-thirds of the world’s population being left behind” the year 2020 will face world recession, mainly developing countries due to COVID-19 pandemic with an exception to India and China.

  • The exporting countries will face $2 trillion to $3 trillion drop in investment from overseas in the next two years.
  • United Nations (UN) asked USD 2.5 trillion rescue package for developing countries facing economic damage from the corona virus crisis….Click here to Read More

Poverty to increase by 11 mn in East Asia and Pacific due to COVID-19:World Bank April 2020 UpdateWorld Bank says about 11 million

World Bank in its April 2020 Economic Update for East Asia and Pacific (EAP) titled “East Asia and Pacific in the Time of COVID-19” has stated that if the economic situation become worsen further due to COVID-19 consequences then the poverty is estimated to increase by about 11 million people in the EAP region.

  • The update has projected slow growth in the developing EAP region to 2.1% from an estimated 5.8% in 2019. Growth in China is also projected to decline to 2.3% from 6.1% in 2019.
  • If the uncertainty of COVID-19 were not arisen then under the baseline growth scenario, nearly 35 million people would have escaped across the EAP region in 2020.
  • The analysis in the report is based on the latest country-level data as of March 27….Click here to Read More

BANKING & FINANCE

Centre reduced small savingsschemes interest rates for Q1FY20-21; PPF interest lowered to 7.1%
Government cuts interest rates on NSC, PPF

On March 31, 2020, the Central government has decreased the Interest rates on small savings schemes for the first quarter (Q1-April to June) of FY 2020-21 by exercising the powers conferred under Rule 9(1) of the Government Saving Promotion General Rules, 2018. This move has been suggested by the Economic Survey 2019-2020 to bring small savings schemes interest rates on the lines of bank deposit rates which had also been reduced on fixed deposits (FDs).  Also, the high small savings interest rates forbid banks to cut their deposit rates immediately. Starting from April 1, 2020, to 30th June 2020.

  • It should be noted that the Interest rate on public provident fund (PPF) scheme has been lowered to 7.1 % for Q1FY20-21 which is the lowest interest rate offered since 1977 or lowest in 43 years….Click here to Read More

RBI increases WMA limit to Rs 1.2 lakh crore for the first half of FY21RBI raises WMA limit for H1FY21

On April 01, 2020, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consultation with the Government of India (GoI), has hiked the limit of Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the centre to Rs 1.2 lakh crore for the first half of the financial year 2020-21(FY21), up from Rs 75,000 crore in the first half of FY20….Click here to Read More

RBI has revised norms for appointment & reappointment of MD & CEO

On March 31, 2020 Reserve of Bank (RBI) has notified regarding the revision of norms for appointment and reappointment of Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of private sector & foreign banks.
New Norms

  • Proposal of re-appointment should be submitted 6 months in advance from 4 months earlier.
  • Proposal for appointment of new MD & CEO or CEO should consist of a panel of at least 2 names in the order of preference(earlier was 3 names) & the proposal have to be submitted at least 4 months before the expiry of the term of present incumbent office.

Highlights
The revised form aims to enhance disclosure, improve transparency, gain more clarity in the information sought, & also to comply with the requirements of the Companies Act, 2013.
Background
The change in norms for appointment of c-suites in banks comes after the intervention of RBI over the past two years, in order to evict positions of private sector lenders and to reluctantly re-appoint foreign lenders.
What is c-suite?
C-suite or C-level describes the most important senior executives. It gets its name from the start letter C for chief as in CEO, Chief Operating Officer(COO), Chief Financial Officer(CFO) & Chief Information Officer(CIO)

World Banks offers USD 1 billion for proposed COVID-19 Indian project

On April1, 2020 The World Bank has offered USD 1 billion to India for the proposed a 4  year COVID-19 emergency response & health systems preparedness project which aims to develop the preparedness of India’s health care systems in the time of the pandemic & also to respond and mitigate the pandemic.
Key Points
i.The project measures the progress on key indicators, such as the proportion of laboratory-confirmed cases of Covid-19 who responded within 48 hours and the proportion of samples submitted for the confirmed Severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-COV-2) laboratory testing within the World Health Organisation(WHO) stipulated standard time.
ii.According to the project document, the government’s estimate  is that the outbreak of COVID-19 will continue in the coming years &  so  there needs to be a long-term strategy to tackle the next wave of disease.
iii.The funding is from its Covid-19 fast-track facility where both the entities (World Bank and the government of India) will work by following the best international practice.
iv.Joint document states that one of the key features of this partnership is that the objective of these components of the program is to reduce the spread of COVID-19 in India’s emergency response system for the disease.
v.Both the parties stated that this will be achieved by providing immediate support to improve diagnostic capability through surveillance capabilities, port health screening etc.,

RBI announced additional measures to tackle the economic fallout of COVID-19RBI announces more measures to deal with economic fallout

On April 1, 2020 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced additional measures namely- relax the export norms, increase in Ways & Means Advances (WMA) limit & implement the counter cyclical capital buffer (CCyB) to tackle the economic fallout due to COVID-19.
Brief about the measures
i.An extension of the realisation period of export proceeds

  • RBI has extended the period of realization & repatriation of export proceeds for exports made upto or on  July 31, 2020 has been extended to 15 months….Click here to Read More

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

India’s 8 core industries growth registers 11-month high of 5.5% in February 20208 core sectors growth up 5

On March 31, 2020, According to the ‘Index of Eight Core Industries (Base: 2011-12=100) ‘ released by the Ministry of Commerce & Industry, India’s 8 core industries grew 11 months high by 5.5 % to 132.9 in February 2020 as compared to the index of February 2019 with 125.9 due to increased production of coal, refinery products and electricity.
Key Points:
i.The output pace of 8 core industries (coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity) registered a growth of 2.2 percent in February 2019. These industries account for 40.27 % in the Index of Industrial Production (IIP).
ii.Coal, refinery products and electricity saw an increase of 10.3 %, 7.4 % and 11 % respectively. Fertilizer and cement production increased by 2.9 % and 8.6 % respectively. However, in contrast, production declined in crude oil, natural gas and steel sectors.
iii.This was the 4th consecutive month the index of core industries witnessed growth after 3 months of contraction. Earlier in March 2019, the growth rate was recorded at 5.8 %. It registered a growth of 1.4 % in January 2020.
About Ministry of Commerce & Industry:
Headquarters– New Delhi
Union Minister– Piyush Goyal

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS     

Lakshminarayanan appointed as MD of Sundaram Home Finance

On March 31,2020, D. Lakshminarayanan, whole-time director of Sundaram Finance Limited, was appointed as the MD (Managing Director) of its wholly owned home finance subsidiary, Sundaram Home Finance. He will take charge on April 1, 2020 and will replace Srinivas Acharya.
Key Points:
i.Srinivas Acharya has been the company’s MD since 2010 & has been part of the Sundaram Finance Group for almost 4 decades.
ii.The company had posted a total income of Rs 1006 crore and a net profit of Rs 145 crore for the financial year 2019.
About Sundaram Finance Limited:
M.D– T. T. Srinivasaraghavan. Chairman-S. Viji
Headquarters– Chennai,Tamil Nadu (TN).

  ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS        

Hindustan Unilever completes its merger with GSKCH India

On April 01, 2020, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), India’s largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) company, has completed the merger of Glaxo SmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited (GSKCH India) with itself.
Key Points:
i.This merger, announced on December 3, 2018,is one of the biggest deals in the FMCG field and it will result in better value creation for all stakeholders of the firm.
ii.Following the merger, GSKCH’s other brands such as Boost, Maltova and Viva will be HUL’s brand portfolio.
iii.Apart from this merger, HUL has also acquired the famous health drink brand Horlicks for India from GSK for an amount of  375.6 mln Euro (Rs. 3045 Crore).
iv.The merger is a part of HUL’s aim to build a sustainable and profitable foods and refreshment (F&R) business in India by increasing the big trend of health and wellness.
About Hindustan Unilever (HUL):
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Chairman and Managing Director– Sanjiv Mehta
About GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Limited (GSKCH India):
Headquarters– Gurgaon, Haryana

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA to launch new mission ‘SunRISE’ to study the Giant Solar Particle StormsNASA's New Mission

On March 31, 2020 The National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA) to launch its new mission called the Sun Radio Interferometer Space Experiment (SunRISE), a very large radio telescope to study how the sun generates & releases the giant space weather storms(solar particle storms) into planetary space.
Key Points

  • The study will help to protect the astronauts that travel to the moon & mars by providing better information on how the Sun’s radiation affects the space environment in which they travel.
  • The mission is led by Justin Kasper at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor & also managed by NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL).
  • NASA has awarded USD 62.6 million to design, build and launch SunRISE before July 1, 2023.

Gist about SunRISE
i.It is an array of 6 CubeSats, where each is about the size of a toaster oven, observes radio images of low-frequency emission from solar activity and shares them through NASA’s Deep Space Network.
ii.The constellation of CubeSats will fly within 6 miles(9.6kms) of each other above the earth’s atmosphere so as not to block the SunRISE’s observed radio signals.
iii.The 6 cubeSats together form a 3D map; it shows where the giant particle erupts in the sun form and how they evolve when expanded outward into space.
iv.It will help decide what initiatives & accelerates these giant jets of radiation.
v.For the 1st time 6 individual spacecraft will also work together to pattern the magnetic field lines reaching from the Sun out into interplanetary space.

OBITUARY

Nobel laureate Phillip Anderson passed away at 96physicist Phillip Anderson

On April 1, 2020, Philip Warren Anderson, a Nobel Prize- winning physicist who expanded the world’s understanding of magnetism, superconductivity and the structure of matter, passed away at the age of 96 in Princeton, New Jersey, US (United States). He was born on December 13, 1923 in Indianapolis, Indiana, US.
Key Points:
i.About Philip Anderson: The American theoretical physicist graduated from Harvard University in 1949 & then worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories until he began teaching at Princeton and the University of Cambridge.
ii.Awards: Anderson received Nobel Prize in Physics in 1977, along with Nevill Francis Mott of Britain & the American John Hasbrouck van Vleck, for their contribution on fundamental theoretical investigations of the electronic structure of magnetic and disordered systems.
iii.He advised other Nobel prize winners during his career in academia such as F. Duncan Haldane, who won the 2016 prize in physics and Brian Josephson, who won Nobel prize in 1973. Anderson served in the Navy during World War II & was assigned to work in the U.S. Naval Research Lab.

STATE NEWS

COVID 19: Jharkhand Government launched PRAGYAAM app to issue e-passes for essential deliveries Jharkhand govt launches PRAGYAAM

On March 30, 2020, The Jharkhand Government launched a mobile application (app) PRAGYAAM to issue e-passes to everyone associated with the delivery of essential services during the national lockdown to combat COVID-19 (Coronavirus). The android platform based app can be downloaded from Google Playstore & has been designed locally.
Key Points:
i.About PRAGYAAM: Through this app District Transport Officers issues e-passes to vehicles through online mode after verification of the documents uploaded through the app.
ii.The passes will be issued to those involved in the regular supply services, medical, banking & other necessary services.
iii.The higher officials can also verify the status of the e-passes on the app and other details, including mobile number and identity card of the person engaged in such duties to curb the chances of fake e-passes.
About Jharkhand:
Capital– Ranchi.
Chief Minister– Hemant Soren.
Governor– Draupadi Murmu.

AC GAZE

Govt launches dedicated Twitter handle: COVID-19 updates

The Ministry of Information and Broadcasting has set up a dedicated Twitter handle for sharing news and updates about the novel coronavirus.The account is named #IndiaFightsCorona and uses the handle @CovidnewsbyMIB.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)
S.no             Current Affairs 2 April 2020
1 Finance Minister participates in the 2nd Extraordinary G20 FMCBG virtual meeting
2  Govt extends implementation of uniform stamp duty for capital market instruments to July 1, 2020 from 1 April 2020
3 Central govt redefines domicile for J&K; Perks and Privileges of ex-CMs of J&K Withdrawn
4 ICCR: “United Against Corona- Express through Art”
5 COVID-19 outbreak: DGFT extends foreign trade policy 2015-20 for one year till March 2021
6 Jitendra Singh launched DARPG’s National Monitoring Dashboard for COVID- 19 Grievances
7  Government notifies regulation of 24 medical devices
8 World will go into recession except India and China due to COVID-19, USD 2.5 trillion rescue package needed: UNCTAD
9 Poverty to increase by 11 mn in East Asia and Pacific due to COVID-19:World Bank April 2020 Update
10 Centre has decreased small savings schemes interest rates for Q1FY20-21; PPF int. rate lowered since 43 years to 7.1%
11 RBI increases WMA limit to Rs 1.2 lakh crore for the first half of FY21
12 RBI has revised norms for appointment & reappointment of MD & CEO
13 World Banks offers USD 1 billion for proposed COVID-19 Indian project
14 RBI announced additional measures to tackle the economic fallout of COVID-19
15 India’s 8 core industries growth registers 11-month high of 5.5% in February 2020
16 Lakshminarayanan appointed as MD of Sundaram Home Finance
17 Hindustan Unilever completes its merger with GSKCH India
18 NASA to launch new mission ‘SunRISE’ to study the Giant Solar Particle Storms
19 Nobel laureate Phillip Anderson passed away at 96
20 COVID 19: Jharkhand Government launched PRAGYAAM app to issue e-passes for essential deliveries
21 Govt launches dedicated Twitter handle: COVID-19 updates

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