Daily Current Affairs - 27th May 2020

Aarogya Setu becomes open source

  • Arogya Setu, India's Covid-19 contact tracing, syndromic mapping and self assessment mobile app is now open source.NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant has said, transparency, privacy and security have been the core design principles of Araogya Setu since it's inception and opening of the source code upto the developer community signifies Government of India's continuing commitment to this principle.
  • He said, the scale and size of Arogya Setu is 115 million and it cuts across every smart phone and IVRS in 12 languages. He said, in just 41 days the mobile app crossed 100 million.

Army Commanders' Conference to be organised in two phases

  • The Army Commanders' Conference, an apex level biannual event which was scheduled for April 2020 and postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic, will now be organised in two phases. The first phase of the conference will commence from tomorrow which will continue till 29th of this month.
  • The second phase will be held in last week of June 2020.The apex level leadership of Indian Army will brainstorm on current emerging security and administrative challenges and chart the future course for Indian Army.
  • During the first phase of conference, various aspects pertaining to operational and administrative issues including studies pertaining to logistics and human resources will be discussed.

Bharti Telecom raises over Rs. 8,433 cr. via stake sale

  • Bharti Telecom, the promoter firm of Bharti Airtel raised over Rs. 8,433 crore by selling 2.75% stake in the mobile services provider in the secondary market. The sale proceeds will be fully utilised to repay debt at Bharti Telecom and will make the promoter holding company a 'debt free company. Bharti Group and Singtel will continue to hold a majority stake in Bharti Airtel at 56.23 per cent after the transaction.

Bopanna scholarship scheme for juniors

  • The Sports School, in association with Rohan Bopanna Tennis Academy, will offer a full scholarship to 60 promising junior tennis players. The junior players, in U-12, U-13 and U-16 age-groups, will be provided with boarding, lodging, school education and other facilities free of cost.
  • Selected children will be enrolled in The Sports School — a residential educational facility with a focus on high-performance sports training. The school boasts of seven all-weather floodlit courts, gymnasium, and access to physiotherapy and nutrition services.

CBIC says, has sanctioned GST refund claims worth Rs 11,052 crore in last 47 days

  • The Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) said that it has sanctioned GST refund claims worth Rs 11,052 crore in last 47 days. CBIC further said, 29,230 refund claims amounting to Rs 11,052 crore were disposed of between 8th of April to 24th of May.
  • All pending GST and custom refunds would benefit around one lakh business entities, including MSMEs.

GDP to contract by 5% in FY21: Crisil

  • Rating agency Crisil expects India’s economy to shrink by 5% during the current financial year as the nationwide lockdown crippled economic activity. The agency has revised its forecast downwards yet again after it slashed the rate of growth on April 28 to 1.8 per cent from its earlier forecast of 3.5 per cent growth.
  • Extension in lockdown, higher economic costs and an economic package that lacked muscle are the three key reasons why Crisil has downgraded the GDP forecast now.

Govt exploring new financial lending institutions to support small-scale units, says Nitin Gadkari

  • Minister for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Nitin Gadkari has said that the government is exploring new financial lending institutions to support small-scale units in terms of financial support. He said that government is working towards strengthening the Non- Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) which will help small businesses to avail easy credit in the coming time.
  • The Minister said that the current contribution of MSMEs in export is 48 per cent, which may be increased to 60 per cent.

ICC finalises election procedure

  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) Board met to finalise the election procedure for the chairman’s post. The decisions of the Board, headed by Shashank Manohar who is set to vacate the post after serving as the first independent chairman for four years, will be announced after a crucial meeting on Thursday to discuss the fate of the T20 World Cup, scheduled to be held in Australia in October-November this year.

India set to locally produce RT-PCR testing kits for Covid-19

  • India is set to locally produce RT-PCR testing and rapid antibody detection test kits for Covid-19, reducing dependence on imports. Helping this goal is the breakthrough by NBRIC in partnership with Richcore lifesciences. The two enzymes developed by them form a key to India’s efforts to produce the test kits.
  • Dr.Kiran Mazumdar Shah, the chairperson of Governing Council of National Biomedical Resource Indigenisation Consortium, NBRIC has said that two enzymes namely Taq Polymerase and Reverse Tranase needed for RT PCR test kits are developed in partnership with Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Science and private partner Richcore life sciences company.
  • She has said that Pune based Indian Institute of Science Education and Research has also partnered in the project.

Indian Open billiards and snooker put off

  • The eighth edition of the Indian Open, scheduled to be held this September in Odisha, will not be held this year in view of the COVID-19 crisis, according to Billiards & Snooker Federation of India chairman Capt. P.V.K. Mohan.

Major Suman Gawani to be honoured with UN Military Gender Advocate award

  • Major Suman Gawani, an Indian Army officer and woman peacekeeper who has served with the United Nations Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), has been selected for the prestigious United Nations Military Gender Advocate of the Year Award (2019). She has been awarded for her outstanding contribution to peacekeeping efforts in the UNMISS.
  • This is the first time that an Indian peacekeeper is being given the UN Military Gender Advocate award.
  • Along with her, Brazilian Naval Officer Commander Carla Monteiro de Castro Araujo will receive the award by United Nations Secretary-General Guterres on May 29, the International Day of UN Peacekeepers.

Myanmar to seek 700 million dollar IMF loan for COVID-19 spending

  • The parliament of Myanmar has approved the proposal to seek 700 million dollar loan from IMF to finance its spending on fighting COVID-19 in the country. Myanmar has sought the loan from IMF under its Rapid Credit Facility (RCF) and Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI) which offers quick loan facility at concessional rates for Low Income Countries.
  • The loan will be used to cover deficit incurred by the government due to increased spending on social security, health services and economic assistance in the wake of Corona pandemic outbreak.
  • According to a report of the IMF, Myanmar has been deeply affected by the outbreak of Corona pandemic. It has reported sharp decline in tourist arrival, supply chain disruption in the garment sector, losses in the SMEs, exports and foreign remittances.

Nakamura in semi-finals

  • Hikaru Nakamura packed off Levon Aronian by handing out a 3-1 drubbing and became the first to enter the semifinals of the $150,000 Lindores Abbey Rapid Challenge. Nakamura now awaits the winner of the Magnus Carlsen-Wesley quarterfinals.

Order on full wages withdrawn: Centre informs Supreme Court

  • The Centre informed the Supreme Court of India that it had withdrawn a contentious March 29 order requiring private employers to pay full wages to their workers during the lockdown. Attorney-General K.K. Venugopal said the May 17 order of the government extending the lockdown also saw the withdrawal of the condition requiring private establishments to pay full wages to their labourers.
  • The petitioners, mostly small businesses, said they were themselves in a precarious position financially due to the lockdown. Payment of full wages to workers during the crippling time was pushing them over the brink into insolvency.

Reliance Industries’ rights entitlement commands 7% premium on Day 4

  • The de-materialised trading of Reliance Industries Ltd. - Rights Entitlement (RIL-RE) continued to draw strong demand on day four on Tuesday with an average premium of more than 7% over the intrinsic value.
  • While RIL's Rs 53,125 crore mega rights issue opened for subscription by shareholders last week, it became the first issue where eligible shareholders got the rights entitlements (REs) in demat, which could be traded on stock exchanges.
  • RIL-REs on an average commanded a premium of Rs 12.07 on Tuesday, over 7 percent premium over the intrinsic value.

Robotic swab sample collection arm developed

  • An incubatee start-up based at the Indian Institute of Management, Kozhikode, (IIM-K), has developed a functional prototype of a robotic swab sample collection arm that can be remotely controlled for safe and speedy swab sample collection. The start-up, ispAgro, specialises in drone and robotics technology, and is one of the many start-ups mentored by IIMK’s business incubator and entrepreneurship development centre.
  • The start-up, which has been seed-funded by the collaborative initiative between IIMK LIVE and Mangalore Refineries and Petrochemicals Limited (MRPL), has developed this robot to replace the manual swab collection process and thereby reducing the Covid-19 threat to frontline health workers involved in test sample collection.

Supreme Court orders Centre and States to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to stranded migrant workers

  • A three-judge Bench of the Supreme Court of India said there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” on the part of the Central and State governments in dealing with the migrant workers crisis during the lockdown. The court ordered the Centre and the States to immediately provide transport, food and shelter free of cost to the stranded migrant workers.
  • The suo motu cognisance of media reports and representations from senior lawyers to step in to protect the fundamental rights of the migrant workers was taken by the judges in their chambers.

Uber India to lay off 600

  • Ride hailing firm Uber has decided to cut around 600 jobs in India, including full-time jobs across driver and rider support. Uber currently has around 2,400 full-time employees in the country. Uber said the impact of COVID-19 and the unpredictable nature of the recovery has left Uber India SA with no choice but to reduce the size of its workforce.
  • Ola had recently announced the retrenchment of 1,400 employees in India. Thus, Uber and Ola together have reduced their headcount by 2,000, to 5,300, or about a 27 per cent of the workforce.

WHO warns of 'second peak' in countries where Covid-19 declining

  • The World Health Organization (WHO) has warned that countries seeing a decline in COVID-19 infections could still face an "immediate second peak" if they let up too soon on measures to halt the outbreak. Mike Ryan, executive director of WHO's Health Emergencies Programme said that epidemics often come in waves, which means that outbreaks could come back later this year in places where the first wave has subsided.
  • Ryan warned that a second peak or wave could come during the normal influenza season, which will greatly complicate things for disease control.

Xi meets PLA, urges battle preparedness

  • Chinese President Xi Jinping has ordered the military to scale up the battle preparedness, visualising the worst-case scenarios and asked them to resolutely defend the country's sovereignty. Though he did no mention any specific threat, his comments came amid a face-off between soldiers of India and China at the Line of Actual Control (LAC).
  • Xi ordered the military to scale up training and battle preparedness, promptly and effectively deal with all sorts of complex situations.