Daily GK Update: 21st April 2020

Current Affairs

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Nirmala Sitharaman attends the 5th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of New Development Bank

i.Union Minister of Finance & Corporate Affairs, Nirmala Sitharaman attended the 5th Annual Meeting of Board of Governors of New Development Bank (NDB).
ii.Appreciated NDB’s effort to provide financial assistance of about USD 5 billion to  Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) countries including USD 1 billion to India as an emergency Assistance to combat COVID-19 pandemic….

CM Pema Khandu inaugurated revamped Hangpan Dada Bridge in Arunachal Pradesh through video conferencing

i.The reconstruction work of this 430 feet multi span Hangpan Dada Bridge was done by Border Roads Task Force (BRTF) of Border Road Organization (BRO) within a month’s time (started 17th Mar, 2020), Government of India under Project ARUNANK.
ii.The design of the new bridge was prepared in discussion with professionals at the College of Military Engineering, Pune of Maharashtra.
iii.The older bridge was constructed in 1992…


IREDA to handle CPSU Scheme Phase-II: MNRE

i.The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has appointed the Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Limited (IREDA) as the implementing agency to handle the Central Public Sector Undertaking (CPSU) Scheme Phase-II.
ii.In case of power produced that can be used on payment of usage charges will be not more than  Rs 2.80 per unit & was Rs 3.50 per unit in the existing clause…


FCI allowed to convert surplus rice to ethanol: Government

i.The National Biofuel Coordination Committee (NBCC) meeting under the chairmanship of  Dharmendra Pradhan, Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas has approved & allowed  Food Corporation of India (FCI).

  • To convert the available surplus rice to ethanol so as to utilize it in making alcohol-based hand-sanitizers & also for the Ethanol Blended Petrol (EBP) programme.

ii.It is approved in reference to the National Policy on Biofuels (2018)…..


DCGI approves trial of a drug to reduce mortality rate in critically ill COVID-19 patients

On April 20, 2020, The Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) approved a trial of a drug for reducing mortality rate in critically ill COVID-19 patients and the trial is likely to begin at multiple hospitals. The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) through the New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) program.
Key Points:
i.The drug has been developed by Cadila Pharmaceuticals Limited with the support of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to treat critically ill patients suffering from Gram-negative bacterial sepsis.
ii.About Gram-negative bacterial sepsis: Sepsis is defined as a systemic disease caused by microorganisms or their products in the blood. Bacteremia is the presence of viable organisms in the circulation. Gram negative bacteremia in the critically ill patient is synonymous with gram negative sepsis.
iii.CSIR appointed monitoring committee supervised the research trials and development of this drug which has proved its efficacy in providing faster recovery from organ dysfunction seen in infected patients.
iv.The patients suffering from COVID-19 and Gram-negative bacterial sepsis have similarities and hence the drug is used to treat critically ill COVID-19 patients.
v.The drug contains heat-killed Mycobacterium which helps in boosting protective immunity and suppressing non-protective response. The drug used to treat Gram Negative Bacterial Sepsis has been found extremely safe and has no systematic side effects associated with its use.


RBI increases WMA limit for States/UTs to Rs 2 lakh cr from 1.2 Lakh cr for H1 FY21

i.RBI has increased the limit for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) by 66% for States/Union Territories (UTs) to Rs 2,00,000 crore from Rs 1,20,000 crore for the remaining part of first half of the financial year 2020-21 i.e H1 FY21 to tackle the financial crisis arisen due to COVID-19 pandemic.
ii.The continuous overdraft limit for a state increased to 21 working days from 14 days.
iii.Under Article 293(3) of Constitution of India, the states are allowed to raise Rs 3.2 trillion during the first 9 months of FY21……


RBI instructed its regulated entities to carry out money laundering risk assessment periodically

On April 20, 2020, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) instructed its regulated entities (REs) to carry out money laundering (ML)and terrorist financing (TF) risk assessment exercise periodically. In this regard the central bank has added a new section in the Master Directions on KYC (know your customer), which has come into force with immediate effect.

  • The entities regulated by the RBI include, banks, All India Financial Institutions, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), and all payment system providers.
  • The periodic risk assessment will identify, assess and take effective measures to mitigate money laundering and terrorist financing risk for clients, countries or geographic areas, products, services, and transactions or delivery channels.

Key Points:
-The REs should be aware of the overall sector-specific vulnerabilities.
-The internal risk assessment carried out by the regulated entity should be compatible to its size, geographical presence, complexity of activities/structure
-Also, REs should apply a Risk Based Approach (RBA) for mitigation and management of the identified risk and should have Board approved policies, controls and procedures.

RBI cancels license of Goa’s oldest bank, Mapusa urban co-operative bank of Goa Ltd.

On April 16, 2020,The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has canceled the license granted to the Mapusa Urban Co-operative Bank of Goa Ltd., Goa to conduct banking business which includes acceptance of deposits and repayment of deposits as defined in Section 5 (b) read with Section 56 of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
The RBI gave 5 specific reasons for cancelling the licence including the bank doesn’t maintain the adequate capital structure & income potential……


Paytm Payments Bank partnered with Mastercard to issue virtual and physical debit cards

Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has collaborated with Mastercard to issue virtual and physical debit cards to enable its customers to perform secure online transactions, make payment in stores as well as withdraw cash from ATMs.

  • PPBL will issue Mastercard virtual debit cards to its new customers to perform secure online transactions for everyday purchases.
  • After this, Customers will also have an option to request a physical card, for contactless in-store transactions supported by Mastercard’s chip-based technology.
  • The aim of PPBL is to issue over 10 million digital debit cards in FY 2020-21.

Point to be noted:
In the start of April, 2020, Paytm partnered with fast-food chain McDonald’s to distribute burgers, chilli paneer pockets, and other food items to frontline workers, who are tirelessly working to contain the spread of COVID-19 across India as a part of it’s‘India Fights Corona’ campaign. It has also introduced an ‘Information and Help center’ on its app under its #IndiaFightsCorona section to offer verified information directly from the government bodies and health authorities.
About PPBL:
Headquarter– Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) & Managing Director (MD)– Satish Kumar Gupta
About Mastercard:
Headquarter– New York, United States (US)
President and CEO– Ajay Banga


N Kamakodi re-appointed as MD & CEO of City Union Bank: RBI

On April 21, 2020 The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) approved the re-appointment of N Kamakodi as the Managing Director (MD) & Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of City Union Bank (CUB), a private sector bank for 3 years with effect from May 1.
Journey in the Bank
He joined CUB as Deputy General Manager (DGM) in 2003, elevated as General Manager in 2005, Executive Director in 2006 & as MD and CEO with effect from May 1, 2011.
A Bachelor of Technology in Chemical Engineering, an MBA from Chinese University of Hong Kong, Ph.D. in e-Banking and a Certified Associate of Indian Institute of Bankers (CAIIB).
About CUB:
It was formally called ‘The Kumbakonam Bank Limited’ & was incorporated as a limited company on 31st October, 1904.
Headquarters– Kumbakonam, Tamil Nadu
Tagline- Trust and Excellene since 1904

HSBC appoints Noel Quinn as Chief Executive Officer

HSBC (Hong Kong and Shanghai Banking Corporation) Bank appointed Noel Quinn as its Chief Executive Officer (CEO). He served as the interim CEO of the bank since August 2019. He was the successor of John Flint.
Key Points:
i.Noel joined HSBC in 1987 and has proven the outstanding candidate to take on a role permanently as CEO.
ii.Quinn will earn a base salary of 1.27 million pounds per annum.
About HSBC bank:
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom (UK).
Chairman– Mark Edward Tucker.

Volvo & Daimler Truck set up Joint Venture to develop fuel cells for heavy vehicles

Swedish luxury vehicles brand Volvo Group and German automotive corporation Daimler Truck AG aka Mercedes have collaborated to set up a joint venture (JV) with equal partnership for the development and production of fuel cell systems for heavy vehicles.

  • As a part of JV, Daimler Truck will put all its current fuel cell activities, and Volvo Group will buy a 50% stake in the venture for around 600 million euros ($652 million).
  • This JV will be an independent and autonomous organization which will focus on Green Deal for sustainable transport and a carbon neutral Europe by 2050.
  • It should be noted that Fuel cells use hydrogen to create electricity.

Their current preliminary agreement is non-binding. A final agreement is expected by Q3 FY21.
About Volvo Group:
Headquarters– Gothenburg, Sweden
President and CEO– Martin Lundstedt
About Daimler Truck AG:
Headquarters– Stuttgart, Germany
Chairman– Martin Daum

Road Ministry launches dashboard link in its website with list of Dhabas and Truck Repair Shops

i.The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has created & launched a dashboard link in its website which lists details of Dhabas and Truck Repair Shops available across the country
ii.NHAI’s centralized call number 1033 is also enabled to answer calls and help drivers/cleaners to find information about the dhabas and repair shops along National Highways…..


Health ministry launches citizen engagement platform on coronavirus called ‘COVID India Seva’

On April 21, 2020, Dr Harsh Vardhan, the Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare has launched the ‘COVID India Seva’, a Twitter handle for citizen engagement on the coronavirus (COVID-19) with the aim of this initiative is to enable real-time e-governance delivery and answer citizen queries.
i.The channel @CovidIndiaSeva is a multi-lingual platform and is being hosted on Twitter Seva……


Swiss scientists discovers six-planets system with near 3:2 resonance

On April 20, 2020, According to the study published in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics, a team of scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), Switzerland, have discovered a six-planet system (a ‘super-Earth’ & five ‘mini-Neptunes’) orbiting the star HD 158259 in the Draco constellation.
Every planet in the star has the same orbital resonance from its later planet and it is 3: 2…….


CSIR-NAL develops Personal Protective Coverall suit to fight against COVID-19

The Council of Scientific and Industrial Research – National Aerospace Laboratories (CSIR-NAL) with MAF clothing Private Limited develops a fabric based personal protective coverall which is non-penetrable by neither blood nor virus and the cost of the developed coverall is much lesser than the available manufacturers….


Fish gills used to develop efficient low-cost electro-catalysts: INST

i.The Scientists at the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST), Mohali, an autonomous institute under the Department of Science and Technology(DST) developed an efficientlow-cost electro-catalyst from fish gills.
ii.Helps to develop environment-friendly energy conversion devices & it is better than commercial Platinum on carbon (Pt/C) catalyst…..


Former Fiji Prime Minister Laisenia Qarase passed away at 79

On April 21, 2020 The founder of the Soqosoqo Duavata Ni Lewenivanua Party & former Fiji Prime Minister (2000-2006) Laisenia Qarase passed away at 79 in Oceania Hospital, Suva due to an illness. He hails from Mavana, Vanuabalavu, Lau.
Key Points
He was the former Managing Director (MD) of Fiji Development Bank, served on the board of Fijian Holdings Limited, was a former Chairman of Fiji Television Limited, was the MD of Merchant Finance & also served as a senator after being nominated by the Great Council of Chiefs.
Political Journey
i.After the military quashed the George Speight led coup(2000), he joined the interim government as a financial adviser on 9th June 2000, until his appointment as Prime Minister on 4th July.
ii.Without gaining any significant support from the Indo-Fijian population he won 2 elections & formed the government after the 2001 and 2006 general elections
iii.Removed from power in a military coup led by Frank Bainimarama on December 5, 2006 and later imprisoned on corruption charges.
About Fiji:
Capital– Suva
President– Jioji Konousi Konrote
Prime Minister– Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama

World Creativity and Innovation Day 2020: April 21

World Creativity and Innovation Day (WCID) is a global United Nation (UN) day celebrated on April 21 to raise awareness around the importance of creativity and innovation in problem solving with respect to advancing the United Nations sustainable development goals, also known as the “global goals”. The day was founded by the Canadian Marci Segal in 1977……


National Civil Service Day 2020: April 21

On April 21st The National Civil Service Day is celebrated to celebrate the civil servants who dedicate their lives to serve the government and the citizens of the nation and to honour them for their services and to encourage them to continue to do their service with commitments and excellence.  This is also to encourage the passion of the aspirants to get into civil service……


Administrative Professionals (Secretary’s) Day 2020

Administrative Professionals Day (also known as Secretaries day or Admin Day) is observed every year on April 21, across India to recognize the work of secretaries, receptionists, administrative assistants and other administrative support professionals.
Key Points:
i.National Professional Secretaries Week and National Secretary’s Day was created  in 1952 through the work of Harry F. Klemfuss of Young and Rubicam.
ii.Klemfuss recognized the importance and value of the secretarial position, to a company or business and to management and his goal in creating this day, was to encourage more women to become Secretaries.
International Administrative Professionals Day:
i.The Secretary or Admin Day observance varies to countries in the United States (US), Canada, Hong Kong and Malaysia is celebrated annually on Wednesday (April 22, 2020) of the last full week of April.
ii.In New Zealand, it is on the third Wednesday of April and in Belgium, France, Netherlands, it is celebrated annually on the third thursday of April.
iii.The official period of celebration was first proclaimed by US Secretary of Commerce Charles W.Sawyer as National secretaries week which was held from June 1 to 7 in 1952 and first Admin day is observed on June 4, 1952, which was sponsored by National Secretaries Association.

Madhya Pradesh govt launches ‘Chief Minister COVID-19 Yoddha Kalyan Yojana’ to benefit Anganwadi workers & Assistants

On April 21, 2020,The state Government of Madhya Pradesh (MP) has launched the ‘Chief Minister COVID-19 Yoddha Kalyan Yojana’ to benefit the Anganwadi workers and Assistants of the state. Under the scheme, the state government will provide a special health insurance cover of Rs 50 lakhs.
i.The benefit of this scheme will be given to the warriors under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Yojana (PMGKY), which was launched by the Central Government…..


Rajasthan government partners with ‘Aayu’ to tackle COVID-19

The Government of Rajasthan partnered with healthcare app ‘Aayu’ to provide accessibility to quality healthcare and to deliver the medicine to the people in the rural and urban India during the COVID-19 pandemic.  The application and the helpline number-7816811111 to provide services to the people in both English and Hindi language…..


Delhi govt: Use ‘Assess Koro Na’ app for door-to-door survey in containment zones

On April 17, 2020, Delhi Chief Secretary Vijay Dev has asked all district magistrates (DM) to use the new “Assess Koro Na” app for door-to-door survey in COVID-19 containment zones to speed up decision-making by analysing real-time data. The first phase of the app-based assessment will be launched in South Delhi.
Key Points:
i.Since there is a delay in collecting and analysing the data of a person in a physical form during the door-to-door survey. With this app, the data collected can be uploaded on the servers in real-time and immediate analysis.
ii.Uses of the app: This app helps in making a quick decision on requirement of ambulances, other medical equipment and personnel in the area.
iii.During the process, surveyors will ask questions about travel and contact history, flu-like symptoms and shortness of breath and 60 containment zones had been notified in Delhi.
iv.The data will be then updated on a real-time basis on a server which can be analysed by desktop tools to make decisions for mobilization of ambulances to shift severe cases to hospital or Covid care centers and conduct tests on suspected persons.
About Delhi:
Governor– Anil Baijal.
Chief Minister (CM)– Arvind Kejriwal.
Deputy Chief Minister– Manish Sisodia.