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Important Current Affairs 27th May 2020

National

AarogyaSetu becomes open source

• The Government has decided to make the AarogyaSetu app an open source to show its commitment towards the core design principles of AraogyaSetu- which are transparency, privacy and security.

• Making the AarogyaSetu app open source means that the government will publish it on a public code repository and release the source code in the public domain. This move will allow developers to inspect the source code of the app and modify it for changes.

• The announcement was made by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant on May 26, 2020.

NitinGadkari inaugurates tunnel under ChardhamPariyojana in Chamba

• Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways of India NitinGadkari inaugurated the 440 metre-long tunnel, constructed below the busy town of Chamba, on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway(NH 94) as part of the Chardham Connectivity Project.

• The tunnel has been developed by the Border Roads Organisation (BRO).Of this BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath.

• The Rs 12,000 croreChardham Project includes construction of National Highway with approximate length of 889 Km, to connect Gangotri, Kedarnath, Yamunotri and Badrinath.

Army Commanders’ Conference begins in New Delhi

The Army Commanders’ Conference has commenced in New Delhi. This is the first phase of the conference which has been scheduled from 27 to 29 May 2020. The Army Commanders’ Conference is an apex level biannual event that was earlier scheduled to be held in April 2020.

PFC signs MoU with NBPCL to fund various projects in Madhya Pradesh

• Power Finance Corporation (PFC), the central PSU under Ministry of Power has signed anMoU with Narmada Basin Projects Company Ltd. (NBPCL), a wholly-owned company of Govt. of Madhya Pradesh, to fund various power projects to be executed in the State of Madhya Pradesh.

• The funds of worth Rs 22,000 crore will be deployed by NBPCL for setting up hydroelectric projects of 225 MW along with power components of 12 other major multipurpose projects to be executed in Madhya Pradesh.

Banking and Economy

Worst recession hits India in the current fiscal year: CRISIL

• The research and rating agency CRISIL has revised its forecast downwards again and expects Indian economy to contract 5 percent in fiscal 2020-21. This was 1.8 percent in last prediction.

• This means India’s GDP growth for FY21 has been estimated to be -5%.It also said that the pre- gross domestic product (GDP) rate in India will not be possible for the next three fiscals.

• Extension in , higher economic costs and an economic package are the three basic reasons for the downward revision.

Days

NGMA commemorates 115th Birth Anniversary of Ramkinkar Baij

• The National Gallery of Modern Art organised a virtual tour to commemorate the 115th Birth Anniversary of iconic artist Ramkinkar Baij. The virtual tour was titled as “Ramkinkar Baij | Journey through silent transformation and expressions”.

• The virtual tour was conducted in five different themes namely: Portrait, LifeStudy, Abstract & Structural Composition, Nature Study & Landscape and Sculptures.

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Important Current Affairs 26th May 2020

National

Fintech startup Zaggle joins hands with Visa to launch payment solutions for SMEs, startups

• In order to launch innovative payment solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups, a Fintech startup Zaggle has partnered with payments technology major “Visa”.

• Both the companies will work towards enhancing the productivity and efficiency of the SMEs and startups. They will also automate the processes and reduce the costs simultaneously focusing on easy and faster credit.

India hands over war game centre named as “INDIA” to UPDF

• The Indian Association Uganda (IAU) and Indian Military Advisory and Training Team for Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF) have jointly set up military war game centre called ‘INDIA’ at the Uganda Senior Command and Staff College in Kimaka in Jinja District of Uganda with a cost of over 1 billion Ugandan shillings or $2,65,000.

• The centre was inaugurated by the Ugandan President Yoweri Kaguta Museveni.

Sports

Italy beat Serbia to win the inaugural UEFA eEURO 2020

• Italy has won UEFA eEURO 2020, beating Serbia in the final to clinch the inaugural virtual European Championship.

• Italy emerged triumphant by defeating Serbia 3-1 in the best-of-five series.

• The UEFA EURO 2020 eTournament was the biggest ever national team efootball competition, featuring all 55 UEFA national associations.

American tennis star Jamie Hampton announces retirement

• American tennis player and former world number 24 Jamie Hampton has officially announced her retirement from professional tennis, bringing a sudden halt to her career.

• The right hander player then suffered numerous injuries and was unable to play against Venus Williams in the semi finals of ASB Classic in Auckland in 2014.

Days

World Thyroid Day

• World Thyroid Day is observed globally on 25 May every year. The main purpose of the WTD is to aware of the importance of Thyroid and the prevention and treatment of thyroid diseases.

• The World Thyroid Day was established in 2008 by the European Thyroid Association and the American Thyroid Association.

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Important Current Affairs 25th May 2020

National

Prakash Javadekar launched major initiatives on International Biodiversity Day

The Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Shri Prakash Javadekar virtually launched five key initiatives towards conservation of biodiversity on the occasion of International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May 2020.

• National Biodiversity Authority (NBA) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) ‘Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme which proposes to engage 20 students with postgraduate degrees for a period of one year through an open, transparent, online competitive process.

• Launch of UNEP Campaign on Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species: ‘Not all Animals Migrate by Choice’.

• A Webinar Series on ‘Biodiversity Conservation and Biological Diversity Act, 2002’

• WWF Model Conference of Parties (MCoP), to involve the younger generation so they engage in conversations around impact of humanity’s footprint on biodiversity.

• An awareness campaign supported by WWF to highlight the crucial role played by nature through its free ecological services provided for humankind.

Andhra Pradesh Launches Rs 1,110 crore Mega ReSTART Package for MSMEs

• In Andhra Pradesh, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy has announced Rs 1,110 crore ReSTART package for MSMEs to strengthen the sector during this emergency situation as well as create employment.

• The government immediately released Rs 450 crore as the first instalment under the scheme, which would benefit nearly 98,000 units. These units employ more than 10 lakh people who were facing hardships.

MoHFW constitutes committee to reform Drug Regulatory System

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has constituted a committee to reform the Drug Regulatory System. The committee comprises of 11 members including the senior health officials, scientists and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The committee is being headed by Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty to the Union health minister.

Obituary

Hockey legend Balbir Singh Sr dies at 96

• Former Indian hockey player Balbir Singh Dosanjh passed away. He was a part of three-time Olympic gold medal-winning Indian hockey team, i.e. in London Olympics (1948), Helsinki Olympics (1952), and Melbourne Olympics (1956).

• In 1956 Olympics, he was the captain of the Indian team that won the gold medal after defeating Pakistan in the finals. The three-time Olympic-medal winner was battling multiple health issues.

• He is survived by three sons Karanbir, Kanwalbir, and Gurbir and a daughter Sushbir. He was conferred with one of India's prestigious awards, Padma Shri in 1957.

Appointments and Resignations

Indian-origin Siddhartha Mukherjee appointed to Commission on Economic Recovery of New York

• Indian-American physician Siddhartha Mukherjee has been appointed as the Member of Commission on Economic Recovery of New York. The commission focuses on jumpstarting the economy of the state.

• On the other hand, Indian-origin Satish Tripathi has been appointed as the Member of the commission.

Days

International Missing Children’s Day

• Every year, 25 May is observed as International Missing Children’s Day (IMCD) around the world to commemorate the missing children who have found their way home, remember those who have been victims of crime, and continue efforts to find those who are still missing.

• The symbol for IMCD is the forget-me-not flower.

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Important Current Affairs 24th May 2020

National

LokSabha Passed Mineral Law Amendment Bill

• LokSabha has passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which aims to amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 along with Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015.

• Commercial mining will completely be open up in the coal sector by this bill. Another important feature of this bill is that it intends to remove end-use restrictions to participate in coal mine auction.

Banking and Economy

KKR invests in Reliance Jio for 2.32% stake

• KKR invests Rs 11367 crore in Reliance Jio Platforms to buy a stake of 2.32 percent in a fully diluted basis. The deal is subject to regulatory and customary approvals. This is fifth global investment deal in last one month.

• Earlier, Facebook, Silver Lake, Vista Equity and General Atlantic invested in the Jio Platforms. Know all about KKR-Jio deal here.

Acquisitions and Mergers

IRDAI approves Union Bank to continue with its 30% holding in India First Life Insurance

Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) has approved the proposal of the state owned lender Union Bank of India-UBI(which holds 25.1% stake in Star Union Dai-Chi Life) to continue with its 30% holding in IndiaFirst Life Insurance.

Appointments and Resignations

Indian economist, AbhasJha appointed to key World Bank position in South Asia

• Indian economist, AbhasJha has been appointed as the Practice Manager for Climate Change and  Risk Management for South Asia at World Bank.

• AbhasJha’s appointment comes at a time when Cyclone Amphan has badly hit West Bengal, Orissa in India and Bangladesh.

Ranking

India Became Second Largest Manufacturer Of PPE In The World

• India has become the second-largest manufacturer of Personal Protective Equipment in the world following China which is currently leading producer of PPE in the world.

• At present, India is producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits every day which is the maximum capacity of the country. A PPE kit basically consists of shoe cover, gloves, eye shield, mask, and gown.

Days

International Day to End Obstetric Fistula

• International Day to End Obstetric Fistula (IDEOF) is observed on 23 May. The day is celebrated by the United Nations.

• In 2003, the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF), formerly known as the United Nations Fund for Population Activities (UNFPA) and its partners had launched a global campaign to End Obstetric Fistula.

• The theme for 2020 IDEOF is “End gender inequality! End health inequities! End Fistula now!”.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd May 2020

National

UP Government Signs MoU with SIDBI for ‘UP Start-up Fund’ to Boost Employment

• The Uttar Pradesh government under Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath has launched the ‘UP Start-up Fund’ on 20 May 2020, to boost job creation in the state.

• The fund will motivate more and more youths to establish their own startups in the state as well as provide employment opportunity to large number of migrant, coming to the state, as per their skill.

• The fund has been set up under the UP Information Technology and Start-up Policy 2017.The ‘UP Start-up Fund’ will be in the form of Fund of Funds.CM Adityanath handed over cheque of the initial contribution of Rs 15 crore towards the Fund, while signing the MoU with SIDBI.

• The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will be the fund manager.

Banking and Economy

NTPC, ONGC to set up Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy Business

•National Thermal Power Corporation Limited (NTPC) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to set up a joint venture company for the renewable energy business.

•The agreement will enable both companies to increase their presence in the renewable energy sector. Under the MoU, NTPC and ONGC will jointly explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India and overseas.

•The two companies will also explore opportunities in the field of E-mobility and ES (Environmental, Social and Governance), storage and sustainability projects.

RBI reduces Repo Rate by 40 bps to 4.0% in Monetary Policy Committee (MPC)

The Reserve Bank of India in its Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting on May 22, 2020 has decided to:

• Reduce Repo Rate by 40 bps to 4.00% from 4.40% earlier.

• Reverse repo rate has been reduced to 3.35%

• The marginal standing facility (MSF) rate and the Bank Rate stands at 4.25%

• The MPC decided to continue with the accommodative stance.

Obituary

Four-time Grand Slam singles champion Ashley Cooper passes away

•Former world no. 1 and four-time Grand Slam singles champion, Ashley Cooper passed away recently at the age of 83 after a prolonged illness. Cooper had won three of the four majors -the Australian Open, Wimbledon and US championships in 1958.

•Cooper had also won four doubles titles at Grand Slam tournaments. He achieved the top rank in 1957. The Australian was recognised as the world's best amateur player during the years of 1957 and 1958.

Appointments and Resignations

Assam’s Jahnabi Phookan Takes Charge as FICCI FLO National President

• Assam-based entrepreneur Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as the new National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO) on 22 May 2020.

• FICCI FLO is the women wing of the leading industry chamber, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).

• Phookan is the 37th National President of FICCI FLO. She succeeds Harjinder Kaur Talwar.

Days

World Turtle Day

The World Turtle Day is observed on May 23 every year to raise awareness among people to protect turtles and tortoises and their disappearing habitats around the world.

International Day for Biological Diversity

The United Nations celebrates International Day for Biological Diversity on 22 May every year to raise awareness about the issue of significant reduction in biological diversity due to certain human activities.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd May 2020

National

Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana launched in Chhattisgarh

• Chhattisgarh CM Bhupesh Baghel has launched the Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana to mark the 29th anniversary of former PM Rajiv Gandhi. The scheme launched with financial outlay of Rs. 5,700 crore aims to stimulate the economy of rural areas of the state amid the situation.

• The scheme was announced in the Chhattisgarh Budget 2020-21.

Beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat crosses 1 crore mark

• The number of beneficiaries under the ‘Ayushman Bharat’ scheme has crossed the one crore mark. This was informed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

• Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana-Ayushman Bharat was launched in 2018 by PM Modi as the biggest government-sponsored healthcare scheme in the world.

Science and Technology

Sun goes into ‘Solar Minimum’ state

• Space agencies recently reported that the sun has entered the ‘Solar Minimum’ state and is soon going to make entry into the deepest period of sunshine recession.

• The Solar minimum is currently underway and is a deep one.

Sports

NADA Suspends Power lifters Savita Kumari and Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules

The National Anti-Doping Agency (NADA) has provisionally suspended Power lifters Savita Kumari and Ankit Shishodia for violating anti-doping rules.

Appointments and Resignations

Crisis expert Carmen Reinhart appointed World Bank Chief Economist

• World Bank Group has appointed Carmen Reinhart as its new Vice President and Chief Economist. Her appointment will be effective from June 15, 2020. She was a Senior Policy Advisor and Deputy Director at the IMF and Vice President and Chief Economist of the investment bank Bear Stearns.

• She has been listed among Bloomberg Markets Most Influential 50 in Finance, Foreign Policy’s Top 100 Global Thinkers, and Thomson Reuters’ The World’s Most Influential Scientific Minds.

Govinda Rajulu Chintala appointed NABARD chairman, Shaji KV and PVS Surya kumar appointed as DMD of NABARD

• The appointments committee of the union cabinet appointed Govinda Rajulu Chintala as Chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). He was the successor of Harsh Kumar Bhanwala.

• P V S Suryakumar: Suryakumar served as the chief general manager (CGM) of the NABARD, will hold the postof DMD of NABARD till his superannuation on July 31, 2023.

• Presently, Dr. Harsh Kumar Bhanwala is serving as the Chairman of NABARD.

Days

Anti Terrorism Day 2020

• Anti Terrorism Day 2020 is observed on 21st May every year in India. The day marks the death anniversary of India’s seventh Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi on 21 May 1991.

• He was killed in Tamil Nadu in a campaign by the Tamil Tigers Eelam (LTTE) a terrorist group. After this assassination, V.P. Singh government has decided to observe 21st May as Anti Terrorism Day.

World Metrology Day

• World Metrology Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. Many nations on this day, internationally collaborate to create awareness about metrology and its advancement in the respective field.

• This year theme for World Metrology Day: Measurements for global trade. This theme was chosen to create awareness of the important role measurement plays in facilitating fair global trade, ensuring products meet standards and regulations, and satisfying customer quality expectations.

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Important Current Affairs 21st May 2020

National

Union HRD Ministry launches new mobile app “National Test Abhyas”

• The Ministry of Human Resources Development has launched a new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas”. The application was developed by the National Testing Agency.

• The application is powered by Artificial Intelligence and therefore the students will get instant results after taking the tests. The main aim of the application is to help students during the closure of educational institutions.

Cabinet approval proposal to launch Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs & HFCs

• Union Cabinet given approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to launch a new Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies, HFCs to improve liquidity position of the NBFCs or HFCs.

• The direct financial implication for the Government is five crore rupees, which may be the equity contribution to the Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV.

Banking and Economy

NABARD issues Rs. 20,500 crore to RRBs & co-operative banks

• The NABARD, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, has issued funds amounting Rs. 20,500 crore for the RRBs (regional rural banks) and co-operative banks for helping the farmers.

• The funding was provided under Rs. 25,000 crore refinance facility that was provided by the Reserve Bank of India to NABARD.

RBI reiterates usage of digital modes for banking transactions

•  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 20, 2020 reiterated the usage of digital modes for banking transactions.

•  The RBI stated that the use of digital payment modes has become more important with the ongoing nationwide.

•  The central bank stated that digital payment modes make it easier for people to do banking transactions while being safe at home and at any hour of the day.

Appointments and Resignations

Dilip Oommen is new President of Indian Steel Association

• Indian Steel Association (ISA) has appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President. He is presently the CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India. He was unanimously appointed as President for the next two years.

• He will replace Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran, who stepped down as President on May 1. Oommen is a veteran of the steel industry with more than 37 years of experience and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K).

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to assume charge as Chairman of Executive Board of WHO

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will on May 22, 2020 take charge as the Chairman of the Executive Board of World Health Organization (WHO), succeeding incumbent Japan’s Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, who is the current Chairman of the 34-member board.

Days

International Tea Day

• International Tea Day is observed globally May 21 on the recommendation of India. The purpose of International Tea Day is to try to improve the condition of tea producers and tea workers.

• Tea producing countries make a lot of profit but the condition of the labourers working in the tea plantations is very bad. Therefore, the purpose of International Tea Day is to encourage the status of tea workers, workers’ rights, daily wages, social security, employment security, and health.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

• World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed globally on 21 May every year. The purpose of the day is to deepen the understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the following goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions:

a) Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals

b) Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks

c) Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

d) support sustainable systems of governance for culture.

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Important Current Affairs 20th May 2020

National

Government declares six cities as 5-star garbage-free cities

•  The central government has declared six cities- Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage-free cities.

•  The star rating of garbage-free cities was announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on May 19, 2020. Overall, six cities were rated 5-star, 65 cities were rates 3-star and 70 cities were rated with one star.

•  The Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities. The Ministry has now brought importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management to the forefront due to the situation.

•  The star rating protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status and motivate other cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

SCR develops ‘Rail-Bot’ to provide better health care

• South Central Railway zone has developed a robotic device, “RAIL-BOT” (R-BOT) to assist in the functions of hospital management to provide better health care to the patients.

• The R-BOT can be operated by using Android mobile app and radio frequency (RF) remote control. R-BOT is being used to provide medicines, medical accessories, and to serve food to the patients, taking away the need for human contact in such activities.

International

Thomas Thabane resigns as Lesotho's prime minister

• Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has formally resigned more than a week after his coalition government fell apart, in a move that could help end a long-running political crisis in the country.

• Lesotho’s Finance Minister MoeketsiMajoro has been named by parliament as the interim PM of the country.

Japan launches new unit to boost defense in space named Space Operations Squadron

• Japan launched a new space defense unit that will monitor and counter threats to the satellites of Japan.

• The unit is named Space Operations Squadron and is a part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. It has started will 20 members and will become fully operational by the year 2023.

• The role of Space Operations Squadron is to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris.

Banking and Economy

Investment firm Bernstein projects India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -7%

• Bernstein, an investment management firm based in the United States, has projected India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -7.0%.

• This means India’s GDP will contract by 7% in FY21 as per Bernstein.

BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25%

• Stock exchanges BSE and NSE have announced to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent.

• BSE and NSE had launched their respective SME platforms in 2012 and since then have been facilitating SMEs for raising funds, listing and trading on the exchanges.

Goldman Sachs projects India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -5%

• The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -5.0%. Earlier it has predicted the same at -0.4%.

• It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 5.0% in FY21.

RBI extends KYC norms to Housing Finance Companies

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines/norms will now be applicable to Housing Finance Companies also.

• It must be noted that the Regulation of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) was transferred from the National Housing Bank to RBI in August 2019.

• And KYC norms are applicable to all Regulated Entities of the RBI and hence it has now been made applicable on Housing Finance Companies also.

Days

World Bee Day

• World Bee Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. On this date, 20 May, the pioneer of beekeeping Anton Janša was born in 1734 in Slovenia. The purpose of the bee day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.

• About 33% of the world’s food production depends on bees thus they are vital for the preservation of biodiversity, ecological balance in nature and helpful in reducing pollution.

Books and Authors

New book released to mark Ruskin Bond's 86th birthday

• Ruskin Bond’s new book titled ‘Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes’ was released on his 86th Birthday in an e-book format. The book narrates some of his memorable travel adventures on boats, trains and planes from his childhood.

• The book presents its readers with a number of the author’s hilarious journeys and travel adventures. The illustrations for Ruskin Bond’s new book has been done by SamratHalder.

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Important Current Affairs 19th May 2020

National

National Migrant Information System launched to track movement of migrants

• The central government has launched the ‘National Migration Information System’  to track the movement of migrant workers in India. The portal will ensure smooth movement of migrants who have been stranded in different states/UTs.

• The system has been developed by the National  Management Authority (NDMA).

Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka initiative for migrant labourers

• In Madhya Pradesh, in a first of its kind of initiative, Charan Paduka campaign has been started for the migrant labourers passing through the state.

• Under this campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being providing shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.

International

PM of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu sworn-in for the 5th time

• Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu finally swore in his new government on 17 May for the fifth time.

• The ceremony of the swearing-in of Israel’s new government, the Knesset, was held in accordance with directives.

• Netanyahu will be in power until 13 November 2021. This ended the 18-month political crisis in the country.

• Benny Gantz will serve in the specially created role of alternate Prime Minister and Defense Minister.

Cyclonic Amphan (Um-Pun) intensifies into a very severe cyclonic storm

• Severe Cyclonic storm ‘Amphan’ over southeast bay and adjoining southwest bay has intensified into a very severe cyclonic storm as it moved northwards.

• It is likely to intensify further and move in a north-northwesterly direction before turning towards Bangladesh. It may cross Bangladesh coast between Khulna-Chattogram.

Science and Technology

ISRO directs start-ups to build local tech for Gaganyaan mission

• India’s space agency Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has directed the startups to develop tools and machines for its maiden human space flight Gaganyaan-1 mission.

• ISRO focuses to potentially help them build products and solutions that they can exploit commercially.ISRO has identified a set of 17 technologies that to develop locally at lower costs for use in its Gaganyaan missions.

ARCI & SCTIMST jointly develops biodegradable metal implants

International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree ChitraTirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST), Thiruvananthapuram have jointly developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.

Appointments and Resignations

Jack Ma resigns from the Board of SoftBank

• Alibaba's Jack Ma has resigned from the Softbank's Board of Directors. The official reason of Ma's resignation has not been revealed yet. 

• Ma's resignation will come into effect on June 25, 2020, on the day of annual shareholder meeting of the Softbank. He served the group for nearly 13 years.

Rajesh Goel becomes new DG of NAREDCO

• Rajesh Goel becomes new director-general (DG) of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO). Prior to this, he was serving as the chairman and managing director, Hindustan Prefab Ltd.

• He is a professional with over 37 years of experience in leading PSUs under the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

Books and Authors

A Book titled “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Fang Fang

• The book titled as “Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City” authored by Chinese literary writer Fang Fang is a compilation of online diary entries and social media posts, captures the challenges of daily life and the changing moods and emotions of being quarantined without reliable information & is a remarkable record of the extraordinary time.

• The book was released in India in an ebook format on May 15, 2020, published by Harper NonFiction, the audio will follow on May 26.The book will be translated into 15 languages.

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Important Current Affairs 18th May 2020

National

FM announces 5th tranche of measures for “Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan”

The 5th tranche is focussed on Government Reforms and Enablers for providing employment, support to businesses, Ease of Doing Business, and State Governments as well sectors such as Education and Health. Seven measures have been announced under this.

1. Allocation for MGNREGS increased by Rs 40,000 Crore to provide employment boost– Will help generate nearly 300 crore person-days in total.

2. Health Reforms & Initiatives- Public Expenditure on Health will be increased by investing in grass-root health institutions. National Institutional Platform for One health by ICMR will encourage research. And the implementation of National Digital Health Blueprint under the National Digital Health Mission.

3. Technology Driven Education with Equity post-

PM eVIDYA– A programme for multi-mode access to digital/online education to be launched immediately; consisting of:

DIKSHA for school education in states/UTs: e-content and QR coded Energized Textbooks for all grades (one nation, one digital platform)

One earmarked TV channel per class from 1 to 12 (one class, one channel)

Extensive use of Radio, Community radio and Podcasts

Special e-content for visually and hearing impaired.

Top 100 universities will be permitted to automatically start online courses by 30th May, 2020.

Manodarpan– An initiative for psychosocial support of students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional wellbeing to be launched immediately.

National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for ensuring that every child attains Learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025 will be launched by December 2020.

4. Further enhancement of Ease of Doing Business through IBC related measures-

Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which largely insulates MSMEs).

Suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year, depending upon the pandemic situation.

5. Decriminalisation of Companies Act defaults- The Amendments will de-clog the criminal courts and NCLT. 7 compoundable offences altogether dropped and 5 to be dealt with under alternative framework.

6. Ease of Doing Business for Corporates- Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions. Power to create additional/ specialized benches for NCLAT.Lower penalties for all defaults for Small Companies, One-person Companies, Producer Companies & Start Ups.

7. Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India-  There is a need for a new coherent policy—where all sectors are open to the private sector while public sector enterprises(PSEs) will play an important role in defined areas. Accordingly, the government will announce a new policy whereby.

NRAI tie-up with DotPe to build tech platform

• National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) has partnered with DotPe (a fintech start-up) to build its own tech platform that would enable them with online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.

• NRAI is the apex body of the Food and Beverage Industry in India.

• This would be in direct take on with existing food-tech aggregators, Zomato and Swiggy. It is also exploring synergies with social media platforms such as WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram to provide and ordering facilities and visibility for restaurant partners who could potentially be its members.

Centre launched ‘National Migrant Information System’ to track movement of migrants

• The online dashboard has been developed by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on the existing NDMA-GIS portal. It will help in capturing the information regarding the movement of workers who have been stranded in different states.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has informed the states to upload data on NMIS to ensure better coordination, contact tracing, and movement monitoring of the migrant workers.

e-NAM reaches milestone of 1000 Mandis across 18 States, 3 UTs

• 38 new mandis were integrated with the e-NAM platform.

• With this move, the pan-India electronic agriculture trading portal, e-NAM has reached the milestone of 1,000 Mandis across 18 States and 3 Union Territories (UTS).

• The information was announced by the Agriculture Ministry.

International

Indian-origin Hinduja-Reuben Brothers Shares Second Spot in Annual UK  Rich List 2020

• The pair of Indian-origin siblings, Reuben and the Hinduja brothers, shares the second spot in the Britain’s annual rich list, with a fortune of 16 billion pounds each.

• ‘The Sunday Times Rich List 2020’ has been topped by British inventor-entrepreneur James Dyson tops with 16.2 billion pounds.

• Srichand and Gopichand Hinduja, the Hinduja Group of companies owner in UK, lost 6 billion pounds to slip to second position from the top slot in 2019.

Appointments and Resignations

Zubair Iqbal is JK Bank's New Managing Director

Senior vice president of HDFC Bank, ZubairIqbal has appointed as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank by Jammu and Kashmir Government. Iqbal will have a three-year tenure.

Days

International Museum Day: 18 May

• The International Museum Day is celebrated on 18 May to raise awareness about the fact that “Museums are an important means of cultural exchange, enrichment of cultures and development of mutual understanding, cooperation and peace among peoples.”

• Theme of International Museum Day 2020: “Museums for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion”.

• It is coordinated by the International Council of Museums (ICOM).

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