Daily Current Affairs - 14th Mar 2020

Animal Protection Index: India ranks second

  • Global Animal Protection Index 2020 was released by World Animal Protection, an international animal welfare charity. India was ranked second in the Index.
  • The Animal Protection Index ranks countries from A to G. India was ranked along with Spain, Mexico, France and New Zealand. In other words, these countries were ranked equally to India.
  • According to the index, they were best performing countries. There are strong laws to protect animals in these countries.
  • According to the index, the countries that performed weakly included Iran, Morocco, Algeria and Belarus. These countries are missing the basic legal framework.

Cabinet hikes dearness allowance for Central govt employees by 4 per cent

  • The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved a four per cent hike in dearness allowance (DA) for central government employees.
  • The Cabinet approved an increase of four per cent DA to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners with effect from January 1, 2020.
  • This is over the existing rate of 17 percent of the Basic Pay/Pension.

Exposure Limits for Urban Cooperative Banks revised by RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India revised exposure limits of Urban Cooperative Banks. Earlier the RBI permitted 15% of its capital funds to single borrowers and 40% of its funds to group of borrowers. It has now revised the group of borrower fund limit to 25% of its funds.
  • Apart from Exposure limit, the central bank also increased the Priority Sector lending to 75%. These changes were introduced by the Reserve Bank of India through a notification.
  • The Exposure Limit is the maximum credit a bank avails to its borrower. In simple terms, higher the exposure limit, higher are the loans available to its customers.

Facebook launches ‘Pragati’ to boost women entrepreneurship in India

  • Facebook India called for applications for its CSR initiative, Facebook Pragati. The initiative will incubate and accelerate early-stage women-led non-profits that are working to drive women entrepreneurship and to spread awareness and adoption of technology among women in India.
  • Facebook Pragati will award four grants of up to Rs.50 lakh for each non-profit to scale their work. Non-profits that are less than three years old and have at least one woman founder can apply.
  • The programme will work on building second-tier capacity within the non-profits, with a series of functional mentors across marketing, HR and technology.
  • Apart from creating sustainability, this will also allow founders to spend time on strategic growth, resulting in scaling up faster.

GoI develops cost effective Solar Receiver Tube Technology

  • Scientists from ARCI-International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials operating under DST (Department of Science and Technology), Ministry of Science & Technology have developed cost effective solar receiver tube technology.
  • The tubes developed absorbs solar energy and converts the heat to required application. They provide high resistance to corrosion especially to Indian weather conditions. The tubes manufactured by this technology absorbs 93% of radiant energy and 14% of emittance.
  • The invention of the technology is highly important as the Indian Industries are currently importing high end Concentrating Solar Panel receivers for CST (concentrating solar Technologies). The technology will help India achieve its solar energy target of 100 GW by 2022.

GOKADDAL - World's first Digital Solutions Exchange Cloud launched in India

  • GOKADDAL, world's first Digital Solutions Exchange in the cloud has been launched in India. It is a one of its kind solutions aggregator, marketplace and cloud delivery platform.
  • GOKADDAL is going to revolutionize the way digital solutions are sourced, delivered and managed. GOKADDAL Technologies is a Dubai based emerging technology company.
  • GOKADDAL provides features like solution search, compare, use EOI/Bidding process to select the right solution in the right budget.

India’s 1st digital parcel locker service launched in West Bengal

  • The Department of Posts, Kolkata (West Bengal circle), has launched free digital parcel locker service in 2 post offices Nabadiganta IT post office of Salt Lake City & post office in New Town’s Action Area. Under this service, customers will be able to collect their parcel from the post office according to their convenience. This facility is quite popular in European countries but is starting for the first time in India.

Infosys, Qualcomm partner for smart cities solutions

  • Infosys announced that it has joined the Qualcomm Smart Cities Accelerator Program to offer end-to-end solutions for smart stadiums, smart venues and smart event management.
  • This program is designed to connect cities, municipalities, government agencies, and enterprises with Qualcomm Technologies' ecosystem to help deliver greater efficiencies.
  • These Smart Space solutions build upon Infosys' proprietary SCALE (Sustainable-Connected-Affordable-Livable-Experiential) framework for smart spaces.
  • SCALE offers a rich set of features for building and resource management, physical assets management and occupants' safety and security.

Iran seeks Financial Help from IMF first time since 1962 to fight against Corona Virus

  • For the first time since 1962, Iran is seeking the help of International Monetary Fund. Since Islamic Revolution Iran stopped getting help from IMF.
  • Iran has been facing economic challenges due to US sanctions. After US had withdrawn from JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), it had imposed sanctions on Iran.
  • Earlier, this month, IMF allocated emergency funds to middle income countries. The international banking institution allocated 50 billion USD to fund middle-income and poor countries. Also, it allocated 10 billion USD to low income countries.

Jaydev Unadkat-led Saurashtra beat Bengal to clinch maiden Ranji Trophy title

  • Saurashtra led by Jaydev Unadkat lifted their maiden Ranji Trophy beating Bengal on the basis of the first-innings lead at Rajkot.
  • Unadkat, who had single-handily taken Saurashtra into the final with a seven-wicket haul against Gujarat on the final day of their semifinal, rose to the occasion yet again to a historic victory.
  • With the win, Saurashtra ended their Ranji Trophy title drought while a fighting Bengal will have to wait longer for their first crown since the 1989-90 season.

MEIS scheme to be replaced with RoDTEP Scheme

  • The Union Cabinet approved to withdraw the MEIS (Merchandise Export from India) Scheme in phases. It is later to be replaced with RoDTEP (Remission of Duties or Taxes on Export Product) scheme.
  • The MEIS is being replaced as the exports are to fall further due to Corona Virus outbreak. The exports of India have already fallen by 2% for the year April-January 2019-20. The RoDTEP is compliant with WTO (World Trade Organization) norms.
  • The RoDTEP is a scheme for exporters to reimburse their taxes and duties. The scheme was announced by the Finance Minister to incentivize exporters at a cost of Rs 50,000 crores.

New Name for Mumbai Central Station: Nana Shankarseth

  • The Maharashtra Cabinet approved the proposal to rename Mumbai Central Station to Nana Shankarseth. The approved proposal is to be sent to Ministry of Railways that has the final say in the name change.
  • It is the state Government that usually initiates the process of name change of Railway Station. This is usually done to change the British name of the station to the local pronunciations. It is also done to honour a local leader. There are no rules or procedure by law or in constitution for the name change of the station.
  • Jagannath Shankarseth was a philanthropist and educationalist who lived between 1803 and 1865. He had high credit among Afghans and Arabs that they chose to place their treasure with him rather than the banks. Along with Sir Jamsetjee Jeejeebhoy, he launched Indian Railway Association. It was because of his efforts that Railway construction began in India.

Spanish Flu: Predecessor Pandemic to Corona Virus

  • In 1918, the Spanish Flu caused global pandemic. It spread indiscriminately killing more than 50 million people. 10% of the patients infected with the virus died. It is considered as the deadliest pandemic in the world history.
  • Though the disease was named Spanish Flu, it did not originate in Spain. It was Spain who actually discovered that the epidemic is because of a new strain of virus. And therefore, it was called Spanish Flu. Spanish Flu is said to have been originated from Northern China. The outbreak of Spanish Flu began during World War I. The virus affected the soldiers greatly.

The tiny island of Niue has been declared the World's First 'Dark Sky Nation'

  • The small Pacific island nation Niue, with a population of just over 1,600, is the first country to receive the designation by the International Dark-Sky Association. It has become the world's first whole country recognized as a 'Dark Sky Place'.
  • International Dark Sky Places are spaces recognized for responsible lighting policies that keep the night-time environment naturally dark.
  • There are over 130 of these accredited dark sites across the world, including parks, reserves, and local communities, but never before has the honour been bestowed on an entire country like this.

Two remaining ODIs between India and South Africa called off due to COVID-19 threat

  • The two remaining India-South Africa One Day Internationals in Lucknow and Kolkata have been called off owing to the COVID-19 threat as the country's sports calendar continued to go haywire because of the global pandemic.
  • The Board Secretary Jay Shah told agencies that with the IPL being postponed, it only made sense that at this point in time, this series is also called off. The South African team will come to Delhi and leave by taking the earliest available flight, he added.
  • This is only the second time in three decades that an international cricket series in India has been called off midway, the last being in 2014 by the West Indies team over a pay dispute with its Board.

“BHOOMI RASHI PORTAL” provides transparent and error free Land Acquisition

  • The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways claimed that “Bhoomi Rashi Portal” provides transparent and error free land acquisition.
  • The portal improves efficiency of land acquisition processes. It provides quicker process completion. It also helps to open new opportunities in land acquisition processes. After launching the portal, the processing time of land acquisition that was weeks to months together has been reduced to 2 weeks.