Current Affairs 2020

Dr Harsh Vardhan participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly [18 May 2020]

Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare participated in the 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through Video Conference.

$1 Billion from World Bank to Protect India’s Poorest from COVID-19 [15 May 2020]

The Government of India and the World Bank today signed a $750 million of $1 billion proposed for Accelerating India’s COVID-19 Social Protection Response Programme to support India’s efforts at providing social assistance to the poor and vulnerable households, severely impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. This takes the total commitment from the Bank towards emergency COVID-19 response in India to $2 billion. A $1 billion support was announced last month towards immediate support to India’s health sector. This new support will be funded in two phases – an immediate allocation of $750 million for fiscal year 2020 and a $250 million second tranche that will be made available for fiscal year 2021.

JNCASR scientists develop injectable Silk Fibroin-based hydrogel for sustained Insulin delivery in diabetic patients [15 May 2020]

Scientists at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous research institute under the Department of Science and Technology, have recently developed an injectable Silk fibroin-based hydrogel for sustained insulin delivery in diabetic patients. A patent application has also been filed for this invention. Prof. T. Govindaraju and his research team from JNCASR have developed the silk fibroin (SF) formulation using biocompatible additives and prepared an injectable SF hydrogel (iSFH) that can ease insulin delivery in diabetic patients. The iSFH has demonstrated successful delivery of active insulin in rats, and the results have been published in the journal ACS Applied Bio Materials. The JNCASR scientists have shown that subcutaneous injection of insulin with-iSFH in diabetic rats formed active depot under the skin from which insulin trickled out slowly and restored the physiological glucose homeostasis for a prolonged period of 4 days with no risks of low blood sugar through sudden burst of high concentration of insulin into the blood.

DST INSPIRE Faculty from Bhopal develops lightweight carbon foam that can replace lead batteries [15 May 2020]

Dr. Rajeev Kumar from CSIR-Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute, Bhopal, a recipient of the INSPIRE Faculty award instituted by the Department of Science &Technology, Govt. of India, is developing porous carbon materials which have the potential to replace lead grid in lead-acid batteries. It can also be useful for heat sinks in power electronics, electromagnetic interference shielding in aerospace, hydrogen storage and electrode for lead-acid batteries and water purification systems.

International Nurses Day observed [12 May 2020]

The International Nurses Day has been obsearved, which also marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Florence Nightingale. This year is also significant as World Health Organization (WHO) has declared it as the ‘Year of the Nurse and the Midwife’.

Mission Sagar : INS Kesari Hands Over Food Provisions to Maldives [12 May 2020]

As part of ‘Mission Sagar’, Indian Naval Ship Kesari entered Port of Male, Maldives on 12 May 2020. The Government of India is providing assistance to friendly foreign countries and towards this INS Kesari is carrying 580 tons of food provisions for the people of Maldives.

Bengaluru airport voted as best regional airport in India & Central Asia [11 May 2020]

Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport said on Monday it was voted by customers as the best regional airport in India & Central Asia for the third time in four years at the 2020 World Airport Awards. According to the statement, the World Airport Awards are the most prestigious accolades for the airport industry, voted by customers in the largest, annual global airport customer satisfaction survey. The Awards are based on the World Airport Survey questionnaires completed by over 100 nationalities of airport customers during the six-month survey period. The survey evaluated the customer experience across airport service and product key performance indicators.

JNCASR Professor elected as International Honorary Member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences [01 May 2020]

Professor Shobhana Narasimhan from the Theoretical Sciences Unit (TSU) at the Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology, has been elected as an International Honorary Member to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences honours scholars and leaders who have distinguished themselves in the sciences, arts, humanities and public life. The list of previous International Honorary Members includes Charles Darwin, Albert Einstein and Nelson Mandela. Prof Narasimhan heads the Computational Nanoscience group at JNCASR. She has done significant work on the rational design of nanomaterials, examining how the lowering of dimensionality and reduction of size affect material properties. Her work is relevant for a number of different applications, such as nanocatalysts for clean energy applications, and magnetic materials for memory storage. Her group predicted that the morphology and reactivity of gold nanoparticles deposited on oxide substrates can be tuned by doping the support with electron donors or acceptors.

India’s Permanent Mission to the United Nations [30 Apr 2020]

India has appointed diplomat T S Tirumurti, currently serving as Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, as its Permanent Representative to the United Nations. A 1985-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, Tirumurti succeeds Syed Akbaruddin who is credited with effectively presenting India’s position on a range of crucial issues at the global body’s headquarters in New York for the last several years. The Permanent Mission is the diplomatic mission that every member state deputes to the United Nations, and is headed by a Permanent Representative, who is also referred to as the "UN ambassador".

CCI approves BP Global proposed 49% acquisition of Reliance BP Mobility Limited (RBPML) [30 Apr 2020]

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves Proposed Combination between BP Global Investments Limited (BP Global) and Reliance BP Mobility Limited (RBPML)under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002. BP Global is an investment holding company and holds shares in subsidiaries and associated companies. It currently does not conduct any business operations in India.

Eminent Banker Shri Suresh N. Patel takes oath as Vigilance Commissioner [29 Apr 2020]

Shri Suresh N. Patel took oath as Vigilance Commissioner today. Following social distancing norms, he was administered the oath of office by Shri Sanjay Kothari, Central Vigilance Commissioner. Shri Patel had over three decades of experience in the banking sector. He was the Managing Director & CEO of Andhra Bank and was an Executive Director in Oriental Bank of Commerce. He had been Member, Management Committee, Indian Banks’ Association; Member, Bankers’ Institute of Rural Development, NABARD; President, State Level Bankers’ Committee, Andhra Pradesh and President, Bankers’ Institute of Rural & Entrepreneurship Development.

New Snake Species Found In Arunachal Pradesh By Researchers [27 Apr 2020]

In a dense forest of the Pakke Tiger Reserve, which is located in north-east state of Arunachal Pradesh, a researcher’s team has discovered a new venomous snake species. This newly discovered bright green snake is named Trimeresurus Salazar, after the fictional character of Salazar Slytherin from J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books. The meaning of the name is Salazar’s pit viper. This amazing green color snake has been discovered in the course of a herpetological expedition which was held in the Arunachal Pradesh that is popularly well-known for its Himalayan biodiversity hotspot.

NTPC launches Hydrogen Fuel bus and car project for Leh and New Delhi [26 Apr 2020]

NTPC Ltd, India's largest power producer and a central PSU under Ministry of Power, has invited Global Expression of Interest (EoI) to provide 10 Hydrogen Fuel Cell (FC) based electric buses and an equal number of Hydrogen Fuel Cell based electric cars in Leh and Delhi. The EoI has been issued by NTPC's wholly owned subsidiary, NTPC Vidyut Vyapar Nigam (NVVN) Limited. The move to procure Hydrogen Fuel Cell based vehicles is first of its kind project in the country, wherein a complete solution from green energy to the fuel cell vehicle would be developed. The initiative, which has been undertaken with support of Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, will also harness renewable energy for generation of hydrogen and develop it's storage and dispensation facilities as part of pilot projects at Leh and Delhi. The move to launch hydrogen powered vehicles aims at decarbonizing mobility segment.

Shri Sanjay Kothari was sworn in as the Central Vigilance Commissioner [25 Apr 2020]

At a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan, Shri Sanjay Kothari was sworn in as the Central Vigilance Commissioner. He made and subscribed the oath of his office before the President.

IIT(BHU)'s innovation center makes full body Sanitization Device [10 Apr 2020]

In today's global environment, everyone is trying to fight against Covid-19 virus. At present, the only way to defend ourselves from corona is to sanitize properly and maintain social distance. Shri Jeetu Shukla, an incubate of Malaviya Centre for Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship (MCIIE) at IIT(BHU) has developed a device that can be used to sanitize the entire body. The device can be mounted anywhere and it works in an automated manner. The device is sensor based which can be installed outside any premises. The sensor based installed machine will automatically detect a person coming in front of the device and will spray 10-15 ml of sanitizer for 15 seconds and this will sanitize the person's entire body, clothes, shoes, etc. This device can be installed at any place where there is movement of people, so that the person can enter the premises only after getting sanitized.

National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune ties up with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) for production of medical devices [09 Apr 2020]

CSIR’s constituent Lab, CSIR-NCL Pune, has been leading the way in promoting innovation and entrepreneurship through its Venture Centre for the past decade and new innovations from there are helping in fight against the Corona outbreak. Two of the recent innovations that can help in the mitigation of the Corona outbreak are Digital IR Thermometer and The second innovation is the oxygen enrichment unit (OEU).

Biofortified carrot variety developed by farmer scientist benefits local farmers [08 Apr 2020]

Madhuban Gajar, a biofortified carrot variety with high ß-carotene and iron content developed by Shri Vallabhhai Vasrambhai Marvaniya, a farmer scientist from Junagadh district, Gujarat is benefitting more than 150 local farmers in the area. It is being planted in an area of over 200 hectares in Junagadh, and the average yield, which is 40-50 t/ha, has become the main source of income to the local farmers. The variety is being cultivated in more than 1000 hectares of land in Gujarat, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh during the last three years. The Madhuvan Gajar is a highly nutritious carrot variety developed through the selection methodwith higher ß-carotene content (277.75 mg/kg) and iron content (276.7 mg/kg) dry basis and is used for various value-added products like carrot chips, juices, and pickles. Among all the varieties tested, beta-carotene and iron content were found to be superior.

CCI approves Hitachi's proposed acquisition of 80.1% in power grid business of ABB Limited [07 Apr 2020]

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves proposed acquisition of 80.1% stake by Hitachi in the power grid business of ABB Limited, in its meeting held today through video conferencing. The proposed combination envisages acquisition of 80.1% share capital of ABB Management Holding AG (ABB Management) by Hitachi Limited (Hitachi) from ABB Limited (ABB). ABB Management will hold the entire power grid business of ABB (Target Business). Hitachi, headquartered in Japan, is the parent company of the Hitachi group of companies. It is active in a variety of business segments including IT Solution, Energy Solution, Industry Solution, Mobility Solution, and Smart Life Solution. The Target Business involves development, engineering, manufacturing and sale of products, systems and projects in the power grids sector.

CCI approves acquisition of GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited by JSW Energy Limited [07 Apr 2020]

The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approves the acquisition by JSW Energy Limited (“Acquirer”) of GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited (“Target”), under Section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002, in its meeting held today through video conferencing. The proposed combination envisages the acquisition of the entire (i.e., 100%) shareholding of the Target by the Acquirer. The Acquirer (also through its subsidiaries) is engaged in power generation, power transmission, power trading, coal mining and power equipment manufacturing. Presently, the Acquirer has a power generation capacity of 4,541 MW comprising of portfolio of thermal (3,140 MW), hydro (1,391 MW) and solar (10 MW). The Target is engaged in generation of power through its coal based thermal power plant at Kamalanga village, Dhenkanal district, Odisha.

Cabinet approves Non-operation of MPLADS for two years (2020-21 and 2021-22) [06 Apr 2020]

As a part of Government’s continued efforts to contain spread of COVID 19, the Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has decided not to operate Members of Parliament Local Area Development Scheme (MPLADS) for two years (2020-21 and 2021-22). These funds will be used to strengthen Government’s efforts in managing the challenges and adverse impact of COVID19 in the country.

NHAI achieves highest ever Construction of National Highways in FY 2019-20 [06 Apr 2020]

NHAI has accomplished construction of 3,979 km of national highways in the financial Year 2019-20. This is the highest ever highway construction achieved in a financial year by NHAI. The construction pace as noticed in last years has seen a steady growth with 3,380 Km construction in the FY 2018-19. Continuing the same trend with the development of 3,979 km of national highways during FY 2019-20, NHAI has achieved an all-time high construction since its inception in 1995. The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways has envisaged an ambitious highway development programme Bharatmala Pariyojana which includes development of about 65,000 km national highways. Under Phase-I of Bharatmala Pariyojana, the Ministry has approved implementation of 34,800 km of national highways in 5 years with an outlay of Rs 5,35,000 crore. NHAI has been mandated development of about 27,500 km of national highways under Bharatmal Pariyojna Phase-I.

DRDO develops bio suit with seam sealing glue to keep health professionals fighting COVID-19 safe [02 Apr 2020]

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a bio suit to keep the medical, paramedical and other personnel engaged in combating COVID-19 safe from the deadly virus. Scientists at various DRDO laboratories have applied their technical know-how and expertise in textile, coating and nanotechnology to develop the Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) having specific type of fabric with coating. The suit has been prepared with the help of the industry and subjected to rigorous testing for textile parameters as well as protection against synthetic blood. The protection against synthetic blood exceeds the criteria defined for body suits by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW). The DRDO is making all efforts to ensure that these suits are produced in large numbers and serve as robust line of defence for the medics, paramedics and other personnel in the front line combating COVID-19.

Naval Dockyard Mumbai designs low cost Temperature Gun [02 Apr 2020]

Naval Dockyard, Mumbai has designed and developed its own handheld IR based temperature sensor for undertaking screening of large number of personnel at the entry gates of the yard reducing the load on the security sentries at the gate. The instrument has been manufactured under Rs. 1000 through in-house resources (which is fraction of the cost of the Temperature Guns in the market). The ongoing pandemic of COVID-19 has led to one of the biggest medical emergencies the world has witnessed in the recent times. View massive surge in the number of infected patients, the medical infrastructure of the nation is being put to its ultimate test.

Cabinet approves MoU between India and Germany in Railway sector [25 Mar 2020]

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi was apprised of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between Ministry of Railways, Government of India with DB Engineering & Consulting GMBH of Germany for technological cooperation in Railway Sector.

Shivraj Singh Chouhan sworn in as Madhya Pradesh CM for fourth time [23 Mar 2020]

Shivraj Singh Chouhan was sworn in as chief minister of Madhya Pradesh by Governor Lalji Tandon at a ceremony at the Raj Bhawan in Bhopal. This is the fourth time Shivraj Singh Chouhan has been administered the oath of office as CM.

Janta curfew from 7 AM to 9 PM [22 Mar 2020]

In an effort to prevent the spread of the virus, appeal of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi is being recalled to observe Janta curfew on 22 March from 7 AM to 9 PM. To salute the efforts of those providing selfless service to the nation during this trying times, appeal of PM is being recalled urging citizens to stand at the doors and in the balconies of their houses at 5 PM and express gratitude by clapping hands or ringing bells for five minutes.

Cabinet approves promotion of the Domestic Manufacturing of Medical Devices in country [21 Mar 2020]

The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following schemes:

(i) The scheme on Promotion of Medical Device Parks for financing Common Infrastructure Facilities in 04 Medical Device Parks with financial implications of Rs. 400 crore. (ii) The Production Linked Incentive (PLI) Scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of medical devices with financial implications of Rs. 3,420 crore.The expenditure to be incurred for the above schemes will be for the next five years i.e. from 2020-21 to 2024-25.

Under the sub-scheme for Promotion of Medical Device Parks, Common Infrastructure Facilities would be created in 4 Medical Device Parks, which is expected to reduce manufacturing cost of medical devices in the country. The PLI Scheme for promoting domestic manufacturing of Medical Devices would boost domestic manufacturing and attract large investments in the medical device sector, particularly in the identified target segments. It will lead to expected incremental production of Rs. 68,437 crore over a period of five years. The Schemes will lead to generation of additional employment of 33,750 jobs over a period of five years.

Saurashtra beat Bengal to win first title 2020 [14 Mar 2020]

Saurashtra win first Ranji Trophy title after beating Bengal. The Ranji Trophy finally returned to Ranji-land.

Australia win Womens T20 World Cup [08 Mar 2020]

Australia win their fifth ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. India crumbled to 99 all out in front of a turnout of 86,174 at the iconic Melbourne Cricket Ground, a record in women's cricket history.

Nupur Kulshrestha becomes Indian Coast Guard's first woman DIG [08 Mar 2020]

Nupur Kulshrestha becomes the first woman as DIG of Indian Coast Guard. She had joined this service in 1999.

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