Daily Current Affairs - 12th Apr 2020

586 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals set up

  • The Government of India has set up 586 dedicated COVID-19 hospitals. The hospitals have capacity to accommodate more than 1 lakh isolation beds.
  • The GoI has taken preemptive actions to identify COVID-19 hotspots in India. Apart from isolation beds, around 11,500 ICU beds have also been set up. According to Ministry of Health, in the absence of containment measures there should have been 41% more cases by April 15.

Apple, Google team up to 'contact trace' the virus

  • In one of the most far-ranging attempts to halt the spread of coronavirus, Apple and Google said they were building software into smart phones that would tell people if they were recently in contact with someone who was infected with it.
  • The technology giants said they were teaming up to release the tool within several months, building it into the operating systems of the billions of iPhones and Android devices around the world.

April 12: International Day of Human Space Flight

  • Every year, International Day of Human Space Flight is observed on April 12. The day commemorates the anniversary of Yuri Gagarin’s historic spaceflight in 1961.
  • The United Nations General Assembly passed a resolution in April 2011 to observe International Day of human Space Flight on April 12. It aims to reaffirm the contribution of space in achieving SDGs.
  • In 1957, the first human made earth satellite Sputnik I was launched into outer space. On April 12, 1961, Yuri Gagarin became the first man to orbit the earth successfully. This opened human endeavor to outer space.

CSIR- National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune ties up with Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL) for production of medical devices

  • CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL) Pune, Maharashtra has designed and developed Digital IR Thermometer and Oxygen Enrichment Unit (OEU) to assist within the mitigation of the Coronavirus outbreak. To speed-up, the project NCL has partnered with Bharat Electronics Ltd, Pune (BEL).
  • The Oxygen Enrichment Unit is that the other technology that’s in great demand within the treatment of COVID-19 patients. because the lungs of COVID-19 patients get badly affected, the OEU can do the function of a ventilator by increasing the oxygen concentration from 21-22% to 38-40% from the ambient air.

Donations to CM fund won't qualify as CSR, says MCA

  • Companies can’t claim contributions made to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund or the State Relief Fund for Covid-19 as corporate social responsibility (CSR) spending, the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has said.
  • These funds are not part of the Schedule VII of the Act that enumerates eligible funds under CSR, it said.
  • Also, payments made to temporary and daily wage workers during the lockdown period would not be counted as CSR as such payments are a part of “moral, humanitarian and contractual obligations of the company”, the MCA said.
  • It said any ex-gratia payment made to daily wage earners specifically for the purpose of fighting Covid-19 over and above the disbursement of wages would be allowed as CSR expenditure as a one-time exception.

Double Layered Khadi masks developed by KVIC

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission has developed double layered Khadi masks. The orders for these masks have been procured in large quantities.
  • Double layered khadi masks have good demand in the market as they absorb 70% of moisture content inside. This provides an easy passage for air. Also, the fabric used to make these masks are hand spun and breathable. Hence these masks are washable, biodegradable and reusable as well.

DST funds development of Active Virosome Vaccine Production

  • The Department of Science and Technology operating under Ministry of Science and Technology is to fund Seagull Bio solutions to develop Active Virosome vaccines and immunodiagnostic kits for COVID-19. The kits are expected to reach the market by August 2020.
  • In India, currently Polymerase Chain Reaction based kits are being used. These kits are rapid and they enable detection of active COVID-19 infection. However, the kits do not identify asymptomatic infections. This means that the people that were exposed to the or recovered from or infected with COVID-19 in the past may be left undetected. On the other hand, the immunodiagnostic kits help in detection of antibodies and identify infections as well.

Flipkart ties up with Tata Consumer to provide essentials

  • E-commerce firm Flipkart joined hands with Tata Consumer Products to provide its customers access to essential food and beverage products, in the wake of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) outbreak.
  • As a part of this, distributors of the Tata group companies will list themselves on Flipkart as marketplace sellers. Consumers can use the Flipkart to buy different combo packs of essential products such as beverages (Tata Tea and Coffee) and foods (Tata Sampann spices, pulses, and nutri mixes) offered by Tata Consumer Products.

IFFCO Tokio General Insurance appoints Anamika Roy Rashtrawar as MD, CEO

  • IFFCO Tokio General Insurance has appointed Anamika Roy Rashtrawar as the new Managng Director & Chief Executive Officer of the company.
  • She will take over Warendra Sinha who was leading the company from past three years. After taking over as the MD & CEO of IFFCO Tokio General Insurance, Anamika Roy Rashtrawar will become the first woman MD and CEO of a large private sector general insurance company in India.

India ranks high on "Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker"

  • The "Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker" has identified India's response to Covid-19 as one of the most stringent in the world. This data are based on tracking 73 countries. This tracker is created by researchers from Blavatnik School of Government at the University of Oxford. The tracker is designed to systematically record government responses worldwide and aggregate the scores into a common 'Stringency Index'.
  • Some of the other countries to score a perfect 100 in the tracker are Israel, Mauritius, New Zealand and South Africa. Czech Republic, Italy, Lebanon and France scored in the 90s in the index. Germany and the United States have scored below these countries in the 80s, while the United Kingdom scored in 70s.

Tax dept gives fresh relief to companies on lower TDS

  • The Income-Tax Department has provided further relief to companies seeking lower tax deducted at source (TDS) or tax collected at source (TCS).
  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) had recently extended the validity of certificates issued for lower TDS or TCS for three months — till June 30 this year — in light of the disruptions caused by the coronavirus disease (Covid-19).
  • Now, the department has said that threshold would be taken afresh for the financial year 2020-21 (FY21) even if the validity of past certificates has been extended by three months.

The Indian chess community raised around Rs 250,000 to fight Corona through an online blitz at the Play chess site

  • The Indian chess community raised around Rs 250,000 to fight Corona through an online blitz at the Play chess site.
  • The event was jointly won by GM Nihal Sarin, GM Aravindh Chithambaram and GM Vidit Gujrathi with Nihal taking a tiebreak. The players all contributed, as did others including GM Krishnan Sasikiran who gave Rs 20,000 without playing.

YUKTI Portal launched by Ministry of HRD

  • The Ministry of Human Resource and Development has launched the YUKTI portal to monitor initiatives. YUKTI is Young India Combating COVID with Knowledge, Technology and Innovation. The portal will record, cover and monitor initiatives of Ministry of HRD and other educational institutes in the country.
  • The main aim of the portal is to act as a two-way communication between the institutions and the ministry. It will act as a platform for the institutions to share their knowledge about challenges faced in encountering COVID-19.

“Bharat Padhe Online Campaign” launched by Ministry of HRD

  • The Ministry of Human Resources Development has launched a week long campaign called “Bharat Padhe Online Campaign”. The campaign aims to improve online education in India.
  • The main aim of the campaign is to invite experts in the country to share their knowledge and solutions in order to overcome the constraints in promoting digital education. Students and teachers are the main targets of the campaign.

“Global Indian Physician COVID-19 Collaborative” by doctors of Indian Origin

  • The doctors of Indian origin spread all over the world have come together under an initiative called “Global Indian Physician COVID-19”. The initiative aims to foster cross system learning.
  • The initiative will work on early warning algorithm, vaccination, antiviral therapy and plasma therapy for COVID-19.
  • Several leading associations of doctors all over the world namely Global Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin and Canadian Association of Physicians of Indian Heritage are a part of the collaboration.