Daily Current Affairs - 14th Apr 2020

1.27 lakh volunteers offer services

  • More than 1.27 lakh individuals and 5,300 organisations have so far registered themselves as volunteers with the Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) for the fight against COVID-19.

All policy tools at disposal to fight virus impact: RBI

  • The Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das has said the central bank will not shy away from using “any instrument” necessary to revive growth and preserve financial stability to mitigate the adverse economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. According to the minutes of the meeting released by the central bank, Das also said that the global macroeconomic situation had abruptly worsened in the last fortnight.
  • Authorities and central banks in many countries have deployed an extensive range of targeted policy instruments to deal with the macroeconomic fallout of Covid-19 caused by lockdowns and social distancing. However, Das said, there was a rising probability of a global recession, which may be deeper than the one experienced during the global financial crisis in 2008.

BFI to host Asian meet

  • Amid uncertainty over resumption of sporting activities, the Boxing Federation of India (BFI) said the country would host the 2020 Asian boxing championships for men and women towards the end of the year.
  • India last hosted the men's Asian meet back in 1980 in Mumbai, while it conducted the women's event in 2003 in Hisar. The tournament became a combined event for men and women last year.

Britain reports more death, bringing fatalities from coronavirus to 11,329

  • Britain reported another 717 deaths in a single day, bringing the fatalities from coronavirus to 11,329. The government indicated that the strict social distancing measures which entered a fourth week on Monday are unlikely to be eased up any time soon.
  • UK Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, who is deputising for Prime Minister Boris Johnson as he recovers from coronavirus, said the Cabinet would be reviewing the impact of the lockdown measures later this week.

China's Heilongjiang region reports highest number of new daily coronavirus cases

  • In China, the authorities of northeast Heilongjiang province reported the highest number of new daily cases in nearly six weeks, driven by infected travellers from overseas. A total of 108 new Corona virus cases were reported in mainland China, up from 99 a day earlier and marking the highest number of cases since 143 infections were reported on 5th of March.
  • Chinese cities near the border with Russia are tightening border controls and imposing stricter quarantines in response to influx of infected patients from the country.

CollabCAD launched to provide engineering solution to 3D product design

  • Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog and National Informatics Centre have jointly launched CollabCAD, a collaborative network, computer enabled software system providing a total engineering solution from 2D drafting and detailing to 3D product design. The aim of this initiative is to provide a great platform to students of Atal Tinkering Labs across country to create and modify 3d designs with free flow of creativity and imagination.
  • This software will also enable students to create data across the network and concurrently access the same design data for storage and visualization.
  • Atal Tinkering Labs established across the country, provide tinkering spaces to children to hone their innovative ideas and creativity.

Core Strategy Group formed in CSIR based on detailed review of COVID-19 research

  • A core Strategy Group has been formed in the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) based on a detailed review of COVID -19 research. The Strategy Group is working on digital and molecular surveillance, rapid and economical diagnostics, and new drugs and associated production processes.

Coronavirus cases reach 5,374 with 334 new infections in Pakistan

  • In Pakistan, the total number of Coronavirus cases has reached 5,374 with 334 new infections reported. The Health Officials said that seven more people died due to the disease taking the death toll in the country to 93.
  • The Ministry of National Health Services reported that 1,095 people had recovered fully, but 44 are still in critical condition.

COVID 19 cases reach 10363, Health Ministry says 1036 patients cured

  • A total of one thousand 211 new confirmed cases of novel coronavirus have been reported in the country during the last twenty four hours taking the total number of cases to ten thousand three hundred sixty three.
  • Health and Family Welfare Ministry said that 1036 patients have cured so far. During the last 24 hours, 31 deaths have been reported taking the nationwide toll to 339.
  • Till now, 166 government laboratories, three collection centres and 70 private laboratories' chains have been given approval to conduct the test for Covid-19.

Former Attorney General of India Ashok Desai passes away

  • Former Attorney General of India and senior advocate Ashok Desai passed away. A Padma Bhushan awardee, Desai held office as the Attorney General of India from July 9, 1996 to May 6, 1998. Earlier, he was the Solicitor General of India from 18 December, 1989 to December 2, 1990.
  • Desai took up several landmark cases, including decriminalisation of homosexuality, Vineet Narain case relating to investigation into allegations of corruption against high-ranking public officials in the country, Narmada Dam case and Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act in Assam, among others.

Free tests only for the poor, clarifies SC

  • The Supreme Court of India made changes to its order on covid-19 testing in private labs, saying it should be free for the poorest of the country rather than everybody. It said testing in private labs should be free for those eligible under the Ayushman Bharat health policy for the poor, something that is already mandated by the government.
  • The court also directed the Centre to issue guidelines within a week listing other categories of economically weaker sections for free testing.
  • The earlier order, telling private labs not to charge any Indian for covid-19 tests, became controversial after private laboratories objected, amid a lack of clarity over whether they would reimbursed for their costs.

Gold futures surge on local demand

  • Gold prices rose Rs. 771 to Rs. 46,065 per 10 gm in futures trade as speculators indulged in creating fresh positions on firm spot demand. On the Multi Commodity Exchange, gold contracts for June traded higher by Rs. 771, or 1.7%, to Rs. 46,065 per 10 gm on a business turnover of 17,577 lots.
  • The yellow metal for August delivery edged up by Rs 737, or 1.62 percent, to Rs 46,223 per 10 gram.

Maharashtra virus cases cross 2,000

  • The COVID-19 outbreak continued to wreak havoc in Maharashtra as a staggering 352 persons — the highest single-day surge yet — tested positive on Monday. The State’s cumulative tally exceeded well past the 2000 mark, surging to 2334, while its death toll rose to 160 with 11 deaths occurring during the day. Mumbai city records more than 60% of the State’s toll.

Meghalaya govt decides to extend lockdown till April 30

  • Meghalaya Government has decided to extend the lockdown till April 30 following a Cabinet meeting held at Shillong. The Cabinet also decided to pay 700 rupees per week to over 1,20,000 beneficiaries who work in unorganised sectors during the lockdown which began from March 23 till April 14.

Nation remembers Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his 129th birth anniversary

  • Nation remembers Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar on his 129th birth anniversary on April 14. Dr. Ambedkar is known as the chief architect of the Indian Constitution and has been bestowed with the country’s highest civilian honor, Bharat Ratna in 1990 posthumously.
  • Dr. Ambedkar was a known jurist, economist, politician and social reformer who worked hard throughout his life to end social discrimination against weaker sections of the society.
  • He became the first Law and Justice Minister after the independence and played an important role in drafting the Indian Constitution and made provisions for abolition of all forms of discrimination. He inspired the Dalit Buddhist Movement in India and embraced Buddhism on 14th October, 1956.

Over 29 thousand crore rupees cash support provided to more than 32 crore beneficiaries through DBT under PMGKY

  • The Union Government has provided cash support of over 29 thousand crore rupees to more than 32 crore beneficiaries through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package announced in the wake of COVID 19 outbreak.
  • Out of this, around 15 thousand crore rupees have been directly transferred to over seven crore farmers under PM - KISAN scheme, around 10 thousand crore rupees to around 20 crore PM Jan Dhan Yojana women account holders and over three thousand crore rupees to more than two crore building and other construction workers so far.
  • Over one thousand four hundred crore rupees have been transferred in the accounts of around three crore Divyang, senior citizens and aged widows by the Centre. As part of this package, the Government had also announced free food grains and other benefits to women, poor senior citizens and others.

Retail inflation eases to 5.91 percent in March

  • Retail inflation slowed to 5.91 per cent in March over the previous month, mainly due to easing food prices as per the data by the National Statistical Office (NSO). The retail inflation based on Consumer Price Index (CPI) was 6.58 per cent in February 2020 and 2.86 per cent in March 2019.
  • The inflation in the food basket was 8.76 per cent in March 2020, lower from 10.81 per cent in the previous month. The government has mandated the central bank to keep inflation at around 4 per cent.
  • The Reserve Bank of India mainly factors in the retail inflation while deciding its bi-monthly monetary policy.

Spain eases lockdown as toll falls to 517

  • Spain reopened parts of its COVID-19-stricken economy on Monday as slowing death tolls in some of the worst-hit countries boosted hopes that the curve may be starting to flatten and lockdown restrictions could soon be eased. Some factory and construction staff is set to return to work under strict safety guidelines.

Top players for Magnus Carlsen Invitational

  • The top five in the world, headed by Magnus Carlsen, are part of an elite eight-man field in the $250,000 Magnus Calrsen Invitational online chess, that begins on April 18. Carlsen, Fabiano Caruana, Ding Liren, Ian Nepomniachtchi, Maxime Vachier-Lagrave, Anish Giri, Hikaru Nakamura and 16-year-old sensation Alireza Firouzja will battle for the $70,000 winner’s share.
  • The richest online event in chess will be played on a league-cum knockout format. After a double round-robin league, the top four players move to the knockout semifinals. The final is slated for May 3.

Ukraine President offers $1 mn for virus vaccine

  • Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has promised a $1 million reward to the country's scientists if they manage to develop a coronavirus vaccine. The ex-Soviet country with a population of around 42 million has confirmed 3,102 cases of COVID-19 and 93 people have died.

Visa and e-visa of stranded foreigners in India due to COVID-19 extended till April 30

  • The Union Government has extended on gratis basis the regular visa and e-visa of foreign nationals who are stranded in India due to COVID-19 till the 30th of this month. Many foreign nationals are stranded in the country due to the nationwide lockdown announced on the 24th of last month to curb the spread of COVID-19.