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Current Affairs 20 March 2020

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

Current Affairs 20 March 2020

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

 DAC gives green signal to procure Tejas Mark 1A fighter aircraft and defence equipment: Amendment in DPP 2016 approveddefence acquisition council

On March 18, 2020 the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the chairmanship of Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting with its Acquisition Wing in New Delhi. During the meet, DAC has approved the procurement of 83 Tejas Mark-1A jets from HAL for the Indian Air Force (IAF), marking a boost to the government’s flagship “Make in India” programme. The proposal will now be placed for consideration of Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS).

  • DAC also approved procurement of Rs 1,300 crore indigenous Defence equipment consisting of Aerial Fuses and Twin-Dome Simulators for Hawk Mk32 aircraft, for IAF….Click here to Read More

Indian Railways to electrify all broad gauge routes by December 2023

On March 18, 2020, Minister of Railways and Commerce & Industry, Piyush Goyal informed that Indian Railway(IR) Ministry plans to electrify all broad gauge(BG) routes by December 2023.
Key Points:
i.As a target to electrify 4,310 km of BG route in the year 2023-2024 (till December 2023), it is planned to electrify a total of 28,810 km of BG route.
ii.As part of its solar mission, it plans to source approximately 1000 megawatt (MW) of solar power & to source around 200 MV of wind power, based on the techno-commercial assessment.
iii.Out of this power, about 204.82 MW (101.42 MW of solar & 103.4 MW of wind power) is already set up on the network
iv.Apart from the above to reduce the fuel burden of IR, it also planned to install land-based solar plants on unused rail land across India to meet its energy requirements for traction and non-traction purposes.

Premium subsidy sharing pattern between Centre & NER changed: PM-KISAN Scheme reached more than 8crore beneficiaries

The government has changed the premium subsidy sharing pattern between Centre and the North Eastern States from 50:50 to 90:10 for PM- Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana and Restructured Weather Based Crop Insurance Scheme (RWBCIS). Simply, Central Share in Premium Subsidy increased to 90% for North Eastern Region (NER) or the North Eastern States. For remaining States, subsidy sharing pattern will continue as 50:50.

  • This change in the ratio will allow more states to notify the schemes and also facilitate greater coverage of farmers under the schemes.

PM- Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana reached 8,69,79,391 beneficiaries
As of March 17, 2020, a financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) has been released to 8 Crore 69 lakh 79 thousand 391 Indian beneficiaries. The funds are transferred directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries identified by the State Governments and are not released State-wise.

  • Under this scheme, the small and marginal farmers get Rs. 6000 in three instalments of Rs 2000 each.

About Ministry of Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare:
Union Minister– Narendra Singh Tomar
Minister of State (MoS)- Parshottam Rupala, Kailash Choudhary

APEDA signs MoU with SFAC

On 18th March 2020, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium (SFAC). This MoU aims for better synergy with this organization for the development of agriculture, allied sectors and its exports for bringing better value to the stakeholders.
Key Points:
i.The MoU was signed between Ms. Neelkamal Darbari, Managing Director of SFAC and Mr. Paban Kumar Borthakur, Chairman of APEDA.
ii.This collaboration focuses to reach large farmers for improving the production base of agri products quantitatively and qualitatively.
iii.The APEDA and SFAC together work to achieve their goal and double the farmer’s income by linking the FPOs/FPCs (Farmer Producer Organizations and Farmer Producer Companies) with the exporters.
Small Farmers Agribusiness Consortium(SFAC):
SFAC is an exclusive Society focused on increasing incomes of small and marginal farmers through aggregation and development of agribusiness.
Ministry- Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
APEDA:
APEDA was established by the Government of India under the Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority Act passed by the Parliament in December 1985.
Ministry– Ministry of Commerce and Industry
Headquarters– New Delhi

Rs 6.16 lakh crore approved so far under PMAY(U)

On March 19, 2020 Union Minister of Housing & Urban Affairs independent charge (I/C), Civil Aviation (I/C) and Minister of state of Commerce & Industry, Hardeep Singh Puri stated that Rs 6.16 lakh crore (trillion) has been approved so far under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban)– PMAY(U).
i.No data concerning the property-less people is maintained by the ministry.
ii.The contribution of the housing sector is significant to the country’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) which has a direct impact on employment generation.
Gist about PMAY(U):
It was launched by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation (MoHUPA) on 25th June 2015 to build affordable pucca houses for all with access to water, sanitation & electricity by 2022 when the nation completes 75 years of independence. The beneficiaries include low-income groups (LIGs), Middle Income Groups (MIGs) & EWS.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

WhatsApp launched Coronavirus Information Hub, donated $1 million to IFCN

On March 19, 2020 Facebook-owned messaging app WhatsApp launched the “WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub” globally, in partnership with WHO (World Health Organization), UNICEF (United Nations Children’s Fund) and UNDP (United Nations Development Programme). WhatsApp also donated $1 million dollars to Poynter Institute’s International Fast-Checking Network (IFCN) in order to avoid fake information about the disease.
Key Points:
i.Uses: The WhatsApp Coronavirus Information Hub will be available at Whatsapp.com/coronavirus and provides simple, actionable guidance for health workers, educators, community leaders, nonprofits, local governments & local businesses.
ii.The site also offers general tips and resources for users around the world to reduce the spread of rumours and provides accurate health information.
iii.IFCN: The International Fast-Checking Network identifies the spread of health-related fake news on Whatsapp in different formats. The network detects & debunks misinformation on the messaging app.
iv.Whatsapp has also worked with a number of national health ministries and NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisation) to provide factual information to users via text in countries including Singapore, Israel, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia.
About Whatsapp:
Founders- Jan Koum, Brian Acton.
Headquarters- California, United States (US).
About UNDP:
Headquarters- New York City.
Administrator- Achim Steiner.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI extended authorisation to Vakrangee Ltd for white label ATMs till Mar 31, 2021

On March 18, 2020, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has extended the validity of Authorization to Vakrangee Limited till March 31, 2021 to set up, own and operates the White Label ATMs (WLA) Business in India. In this regard, Renewal of Authorization has been granted to Vakrangee Limited.
Key Points:
-As per the renewal, Vakrangee Ltd has to deploy minimum 1,000 ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) for every calendar year starting 2020 for an initial period of three years. They shall be in the ratio of 1:2:3 for Metro & Urban, Semi-Urban and Rural regions respectively.
-It should be noted that ATM is one of the key services offered by Vakrangee under Nextgen Vakrangee Kendra Business Model. Vakrangee’s target is to open 25,000 Nextgen Vakrangee Kendras by 2020 and to reach 3,00,000 Nextgen outlets by FY 2024-25.
About White label-ATM:
ATMs)set up, owned and operated by non-bank entities are called “White Label ATMs” (WLAs). They provide the banking services to the customers of Indian banks based on the cards issued by banks. WLA operators are authorised under the Payment & Settlement Systems Act, 2007 RBI.
About Vakrangee Ltd:
Established in 1990, it provide services across various sectors by providing BFSI, ATM, E-Commerce & Logistics Services to the unserved and the underserved rural, semi-urban and urban population of India.  The Assisted Digital Convenience stores are called as Nextgen Vakrangee Kendras, which act as the ‘One Stop Shop’ for availing multiple products and services.

  • As per the recent report on “Financial Inclusion and Rural India – Banking & ATM sector in India” by Grant Thornton (GT), Vakrangee is the fastest-growing WLA player as well as 3rd largest ATM operator in rural India.
  • Managing Director & Group CEO– Dinesh Nandwana
  • Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

RBI to infuse 10,000 crores via OMO to maintain liquidity in the banking system

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is all set to infuse ₹10,000 crore liquidity in the banking system by buying government securities through open market operations (OMO) on March 20, 2020. The securities will be purchased through a multi-security auction using the multiple price method with tenure between two and five years. RBI will offer to buy four set of sovereign papers maturing between February 2022 and May 2025.

  • The decision has been taken due to ensure the standard functioning of all market segments by maintaining liquidity and stability which is getting affected due to COVID-19 pandemic. OMO mainly aids shorter-term yields.

Key Point:
-Currently, RBI is using liquidity tools instead of rate cuts to bring down borrowing costs in the economy. It adopted a mix of the Federal Reserve-style ‘Operation Twist’ and the long-term repurchase operations (LTRO) to boost cash in the banking system.

Paytm Bank to issue virtual debit cards to customers

On March 18, 2020, After Rupay debit cards Paytm Payments Bank Limited(PPBL) announced to issue Visa virtual debit cards to its customers.
i.It targets to issue over 10 million new digital debit cards in 2020-21.
ii.This issue will enable the customers to transact at all merchants who accept payments through cards.
iii.They can make international transactions using the card.
iv.Shortly, they will have an option to request a physical card, which enables them to have a contactless payment by the chip-inserted cards.
v.The bank is famous for launching neo-banking in the country & is the largest issuer of RuPay Debit Cards.
What is Neo-Bank?
It is like a normal bank where there are accounts to put money, borrow funds & make transfers but are solely online & do not relate to any traditional banks.
About Paytm Payments Bank:
Headquarters- Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Chairman- Vijay Shekhar Sharma

DBS Bank India ties up with Bharti AXA to roll out insurance plan covering COVID-19

On March 18, 2020, DBS Bank India Limited, a wholly-owned subsidiary of  DBS (Development Bank of Singapore) Bank Ltd, has entered into the partnership with Bharti AXA General Insurance Company Ltd to launch a complimentary insurance for customers of DBS treasures.
Key Points:
i.The plan covers all medical conditions including Novel Coronavirus (Covid-19), under which a cover of Rs 5000 per day is available for a period of 30 days if DBS customers are hospitalized for 10 days.
ii.Apart from this, the customers of the bank can also adopt health insurance products which are currently available through the General Insurance Partner on the Digibank app.
iii.The bank has also launched a special program called ‘Emergency Global Medical Assist Program’ to help non-resident Indians (NRIs) to take care of their close ones in India, which provides 24 hours and 7 days of medical support.
This includes arranging emergency medical evacuation for NRIs from hospitalization.
iv.Apart from this, focusing on the health and safety of customers, the bank is adding anti-microbial coating to all its ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) and biometric devices.
About Bharti AXA General Insurance:
Headquarter
– Mumbai, Maharashtra
MD & CEO– Sanjeev Srinivasan
It is a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and Axa Business Group.
About DBS Bank India Limited:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra
Managing Director & CEO- Mr. Surojit Shome

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS         

Indian umpires Janani Narayanan and Vrinda Rathi named in International Panel of ICC Development Umpires

On March 18, 2020, Janani Narayanan from Tamil Nadu (TN) and Vrinda Rathi from Mumbai were named in the International Panel of ICC (International Cricket Council) Development Umpires. After the inclusion of Janani and Vrinda, the count of females from India in ICC panel becomes 3 after the appointment of GS Lakshmi as the International Panel of Match Referees.
Key Points:
i.Janani: Janani Narayanan has been umpiring in Indian domestic tournaments since 2018.
ii.Vrinda: Vrinda Rathi, has also kept scores in international matches and has been umpiring in the Indian domestic cricket from 2018. She also played for Mumbai University as a pace bowler from 2007/08 to 2010/11.
iii.The women officials across the ICC panel consists of 12 members.
iv.GS Lakshmi & Shandre Fritz are International Panel Match Referees and the other officials  are Lauren Agenbag, Kim Cotton, Shivani Mishra, Claire Polosak, Sue Redfern, Eloise Sheridan, Mary Waldron, Jacquline Williams from International Panel of ICC Development Umpires.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
Motto- Cricket for good.
Headquarters- Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Chairman- Shashank Manohar.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)- Manu Sawhney.

Ex-SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya resigns from Crisil boardArundhati Bhattacharya resigns from Crisil board

On 19th March 2020, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Former chairman of State Bank of India, submitted the resignation as an independent director of the company effective from April 15. She will take charge as a chairperson and CEO for the India operations of Salesforce, USA from April 20.
i.She is the first woman to be the chairperson of the State Bank of India and retired in 2017. She was also the 36th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes in 2014.
About CRISIL:
CRISIL (Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) is a leading, agile and innovative global analytics company driven by its mission of making markets function better.
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra.
CEO– Ashu Suyash

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS        

Ashok Leyland to acquire 19% additional stake in HLFL for Rs 1,200 cr

Ashok Leyland Ltd (ALL), an Indian automobile company, has decided to acquire up to 19% additional equity shares in Hinduja Leyland Finance Ltd (HLFL), the Non-Banking Finance Company (NBFC) part of Hinduja group, from the existing shareholders, in tranches, for a consideration of up to Rs1,200 crore.
Key Points:
i.This decision forms part of ALL’s consolidation in the company. Along with other investors,ALL had signed an additional share purchase agreement with Everfin Holding to acquire 3,28,14,401 equity shares (comprising 7% in the paid-up share capital of HLFL) for Rs 119 per share for a total consideration of Rs 390.94 crore.
ii.In November 2017, ALL had bought out 4.68% stake of  Everfin Holdings, an arm of Everstone Group, in HLFL for Rs 225 crore.
About Ashok Leyland:
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Parent organization– Hinduja Group
Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer– Mr. Vipin Sondhi
About Hinduja Leyland Finance Ltd (HLFL):
Headquarters– Chennai, Tamil Nadu
Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Sachin Pillai
Executive Vice Chairman– Mr. S Nagarajan

SPORTS

New Zealand all-rounder Andrew Malcolm Ellis announced retirementAndrew Ellis Retirement

On March 19, 2020 New Zealand(NZ) all-rounder Andrew Malcolm Ellis (37) announced his retirement from Canterbury cricket after 18 years of his career.
Key Points
i.After Ross Taylor he became the 2nd player in NZ to play over 100 games in each format.
ii.He is the only player to be named as Men’s Domestic Player of the Year twice by NZ National Cricket Team, in the 2014-15 & 2016-17 seasons.
iii.The highlight of his career was the 2016-17 season, as he raised the Plunket Shield & The Ford Trophy in his first year as captain.
iv.He finished his career with 9366 runs & 548 wickets.

OBITUARY

Former world champion boxer Roger Mayweather passes awayRoger Mayweather boxer

The former world champion boxer and trainer, Roger Mayweather passed away on 18th March 2020 at the age of 58 due to health-related illness. Roger Mayweather won the world champion boxer title in two weight classes.

Key Points:

i.He won his first 17 career fights and captured the world title in World Boxing Association junior lightweight and earned the World Boxing Council junior welterweight title in 1987.

ii.He was born on April 24, 1961 in Grand Rapids, Michigan, US. The United States named him Black Mamba, who is trainer and uncle of Floyd Mayweather’s.

 

STATE NEWS

Jammu & Kashmir announces Rs 5 lakh Free Health Insurance under Ayushman Bharat

On March 18, 2020, The Jammu & Kashmir (J&K), Union Territory (UT) administration has sanctioned J&K Health Scheme to provide free cost of Universal Health Coverage of Rs 5 lakh as health insurance to all the residents of UT in convergence with Ayushman Bharat- PMJAY (Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana). The decision was taken by the administrative council under the chairmanship of J&K Lieutenant Governor Girish Chandra Murmu.
Key Points:
i.Nearly 1.25 crore residents of the UT will be benefited & at present 5.95 lakh families are eligible for benefits under the center’s Ayushman Bharat- PMJAY scheme.
ii.Benefits of the scheme: The scheme also covers 15 lakh, additional families, under J&K health scheme & the beneficiaries will receive free health insurance of Rs 5 lakh per family per year on the floater basis & there is no restriction for family size, age or gender.
iii.All employees, pensioners and their family members are also covered under the scheme.
iv.The employees shall continue to get Rs 300 per month as medical allowances for OPD (Outpatient Department) treatment.
v.The eligible families registered under the health scheme are recognized on the basis of socio-economic census of 2011 & the families left out in the census can be enrolled on the basis of definite process.
About Jammu & Kashmir (J&K):
Capital- Srinagar (Summer), Jammu (Winter).

Uttarakhand cancels quota in promotion for state government employees

On March 19, 2020, Uttarakhand government cancelled reservation in promotion for state government employees.
i.It issued orders relating to the departmental promotion committee (DPC).
ii.For the period of strike, the striking employees were granted leave.
iii.The order of the state government stated that it has abolished the promotion ban dated September 11, 2019 according to the Supreme Court decision.
iv.Apart from that, the order of the state government dated September 5, 2012 to ban reservation in promotions has also come into effect.
About Uttarakhand:
Capital– Dehradun
Chief Minister– Trivendra Singh Rawat
Governor– Baby Rani Maurya

AC GAZE

Saudi Arabia accepts India’s Proposal For Virtual G20 Summit

Saudi Arabia has accepted India’s proposal to hold a virtual conference of G20 member nations to figure out a coordinated response to tackle the economic implications of COVID-19 during a telephone conversation between Crown Prince of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman and Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi.

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Current Affairs Today (AffairsCloud Today)
S.no  Current Affairs 20 March 2020
1 DAC provided a green signal to procure 83 Tejas Mark 1A fighter aircraft and Rs 1300 cr defence equipment for IAF; Amendment in DPP 2016 also approved
2 Indian Railways to electrify all broad gauge routes by December 2023
3 Premium subsidy sharing pattern between Centre & NER changed from 50:50 to 90:10; PM-KISAN Scheme reached to 8,69,79,391 beneficiaries
4 APEDA signs MoU with SFAC
5 Rs 6.16 lakh crore approved so far under PMAY(U)
6 WhatsApp launched Coronavirus Information Hub, donated $1 million to IFCN
7 RBI extended authorisation to Vakrangee Ltd for white label ATMs till Mar 31, 2020
8 RBI to infuse ₹10,000 crores via OMO to maintain liquidity in the banking system
9 Paytm Bank to issue virtual debit cards to customers
10 DBS Bank India ties up with Bharti AXA to roll out insurance plan covering COVID-19
11 Indian umpires Janani Narayanan and Vrinda Rathi named in International Panel of ICC Development Umpires
12 Ex-SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya resigns from Crisil board
13 Ashok Leyland to acquire 19% additional stake in HLFL for Rs 1,200 cr
14 New Zealand all-rounder Andrew Malcolm Ellis announced retirement
15 Former world champion boxer Roger Mayweather passes away
16 Jammu & Kashmir announces Rs 5 lakh Free Health Insurance under Ayushman Bharat
17 Uttarakhand cancels quota in promotion for state government employees
18 Saudi Arabia accepts India’s Proposal For Virtual G20 Summit

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