Daily Current Affairs - 30th May 2020

Ajit Jogi, first CM of Chhattisgarh, dead

  • Former Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Ajit Jogi, died after being hospitalised in Raipur following a heart attack. Jogi, a bureaucrat-turned-politician, suffered a cardiac arrest earlier this month and has been in a Raipur hospital since then. He was in a comatose state all through this period.
  • Senior Jogi was an MLA from Marwahi seat and helmed the first Congress government from November 2000 to November 2003.

Badminton junior Worlds postponed

  • The World junior badminton championships, scheduled to be held in Auckland in September, has been postponed to January next year. The rescheduled dates for the world junior mixed team championship are January 11 to 16 followed by the World junior championships (Jan. 18 to 24).

Capgemini’s Delaporte to take over as Wipro CEO and MD

  • Wipro has appointed Capgemini executive Thierry Delaporte as chief executive officer and managing director. Mr Delaporte will take over from the incumbent, Abidali Neemuchwala on June 1, 2020. Mr Delaporte was the chief operating officer of Capgemini Group and a member of its group executive board until recently. Thierry Delaporte will be based in Paris and will report to Wipro chairman Rishad Premji .

CCMB establishes stable cultures of Corona virus from patients’ samples

  • The Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology, CCMB has established stable cultures of Corona virus from patients’ samples. Virologists at CCMB have isolated infectious viruses from several isolates.
  • The ability to culture the virus in lab enables the scientists to work towards vaccine development and testing of potential drugs to fight COVID-19.
  • CCMB has also started testing potential drugs with other partners such as the Defence Research Development Organization, DRDO using this viral culture.
  • Scientists also said that for the development of antibodies or anti-dots, virus cultures are important as inactivated viruses can trigger antibody response in other mammalian hosts in addition to humans.

Core sector output contracts 38% in April

  • According to Commerce Ministry data, the lockdown imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in core sector output contracting 38% in April 2020, compared with the same month in the previous year. The eight infrastructure sectors, which comprise 40.27% of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP), had grown 5.2% in April 2019.
  • The fall of 22.8% in electricity generation showed the sharp decline in industrial production although household consumption was higher than normal. Coal output shrank 15.5%. Lower imports of crude oil due to demand coming down meant that refinery products category was affected.
  • Fertilizers and crude oil production shrank 4.5% and 6.3%, respectively in April.

DGCA issues guidelines for Pilots, Aircraft Engineers to deal with locust swarms

  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had issued guidelines for stakeholders like pilots and engineers to deal with locust swarms. In its circular, the aviation regulator said, locusts pose a threat to aircraft in the critical landing and takeoff phase of a flight. It said, almost all air intake ports of the aircraft will be prone to ingestion in large numbers, if the aircraft flies through a swarm. Pilot and static sources can also get partially or fully blocked while flying through locust swarms.

Donald Trump announces America is terminating its relationship with WHO over its handling of Corona virus

  • United States President Donald Trump has announced that America is terminating its relationship with World Health Organization over its handling of the Corona virus and redirecting those funds to other worldwide and deserving, urgent global public health needs. He blamed WHO and China for the deaths and destruction caused by the COVID-19 pandemic across the world.
  • Mr.Trump also announced that the US will end special treatment of Hong Kong in response to Chinese imposition of new controls. US will revise its travel advisory to warn of surveillance in Hong Kong.

First phase of Army Commanders' Conference concluded

  • First phase of the Army Commanders' Conference, concluded in New Delhi. Over last three days, Army’s apex leadership deliberated upon various aspects related to existing and developing security challenges. Human resource management issues, studies pertaining to ammunition management, merger of co-located training establishments and merger of Military Training Directorate with HQ Army Training Command were also discussed.
  • The second phase of the conference will be held from 24th to 27 June.

Fiscal deficit at 4.6% for FY20 as revenue sags

  • According to the Controller General of Accounts (CGA) data, the country's fiscal deficit widened to 4.6 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product in 2019-20 mainly on account of poor revenue realization. The deficit, which signifies the gap between government revenue and expenditure, is higher than the revised estimate of 3.8 per cent for the fiscal.
  • The fiscal deficit for 2019-20 worked out to be 4.59 per cent of the GDP, while the revenue deficit was 3.27 per cent. The effective revenue deficit was 2.36 per cent.

GDP growth slows to a 11-year low of 4.2%, Q4 slumps to 3.1%

  • According to data released by the National Statistical Office, India’s economic growth slumped to 3.1% in the March quarter, the slowest pace in 11 years, even as fresh data suggested the economy may be headed for a major shock in the June quarter. Data released by the statistics department showed gross domestic product (GDP) grew at 4.2% in the year ended 31 March, compared with 6.1% in the previous year, as private consumption slowed down and investment demand contracted even before the pandemic hit the economy.

Govt to bring back over 1 lakh stranded Indians by end of Phase 2 of Vande Bharat Mission

  • The Vande Bharat Mission is in full swing and phase two of the Mission is underway till the 13th of June. Government has planned to bring back over One lakh stranded Indians from 60 countries by the end of Phase 2. Preparations for the third phase likely to commence after mid-June is also underway. Government has informed that nearly 47 thousand Indians have returned to the country till now.
  • During Phase II, a total of 429 Air India flights from 60 countries are scheduled to land in India. The Indian Navy will be making four more sorties to bring back returnees from Iran, Sri Lanka and the Maldives.
  • A total number of 3 lakh eight thousand and 200 people have registered their request with Missions abroad for repatriation to India on compelling grounds.

HI to introduce grading system for match officials

  • To improve umpiring standards and bring more structure to officiating, Hockey India has decided to introduce grading system for all officials, including umpires and technical officials. Tournament officials — technical delegates, umpire managers, technical officials, judges and umpires will be divided into three grades.
  • While for Umpires the final score will be based on performance reports from all domestic tournaments, fitness tests and online tests, for technical officials the parameters will be the same without fitness tests.

HRD Ministry postpones IND-SAT Exam, 2020 due to Corona virus pandemic

  • Human Resource Development Ministry has postponed the IND-SAT Examination, 2020 due to the Corona virus pandemic. The Ministry has decided to postpone the IND-SAT exam that was initially scheduled on 30th May to July this year.
  • IND- SAT It is a standardized online test for international students seeking scholarships with Study in India programme. The IND-SAT scores will serve as a criterion to shortlist the meritorious students for the allocation of scholarships.

IMF approves 732 million emergency assistance to Bangladesh for COVID-19

  • The IMF Executive Board approved an emergency financial assistance worth dollar 732 million for Bangladesh to address the COVID-19 pandemic in the country. The IMF in a press release said that the assistance has been approved for Bangladesh to meet its urgent Balance of payment and fiscal needs as Corona pandemic has led to sharp decline in its exports and income from remittances.
  • The assistance is provided under the Rapid Credit Facility and Rapid Financing Instrument provisions of the IMF. The money will help Bangladesh to meet its health, social protection and macro-stabilization measures.

India, Sri Lanka reaffirmed commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations

  • India and Sri Lanka have reaffirmed commitment to further strengthen bilateral relations exploring new avenues of cooperation. During his meeting with new Indian High Commissioner Gopal Baglay in Colombo, Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa stressed the need to expedite the implementation of already agreed joint projects for the benefit of both countries.
  • Areas such as tertiary education, tourism, information and communication technology, agriculture and agri-based products were mentioned for enhancing bilateral cooperation

Labour Ministry starts Online Career Skills Training to enhance personality development of job seekers

  • Ministry of Labour and Employment under its National Career Service (NCS) project has now started offering free online Career Skills Training for its registered job-seekers. This course on soft skills assists the learners in enhancing personality development with modules on corporate etiquette, improving inter personal skills, making impactful presentation including other necessary soft skills demanded by the industry at present.
  • The Ministry is implementing the NCS Project for transformation of the National Employment Service to provide a variety of employment related services like job search, career counselling, information on skill development courses, apprenticeship and internships through an on-line portal of NCS. NCS has so far conducted around 76 Online Job Fairs during the lockdown period.

Meeting of BRICS Heads of Tax Authorities held on May 29

  • The meting of the Heads of Tax Authorities of the BRICS countries, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa was held on May 29. The meeting was hosted by the Federal Tax Service of Russia, which currently holds the BRICS Presidency, to discuss the response of BRICS Tax Authorities to the COVID-19 pandemic and to explore potential areas of cooperation in tax matters.
  • The meeting was scheduled to be held in Moscow, but was held through video conference in view of COVID-19. Finance Secretary Ajay Bhushan Pandey represented India at the meeting.

Ministry of Tourism organizes its 25th webinar titled ‘Northeast India for the immersive traveller’

  • Ministry of Tourism organized its 25th webinar titled ‘Northeast India for the immersive traveller’ under Dekho Apna Desh Series. Dekho Apna Desh webinar series is promoting spirit of ‘Ek Bharat, Shreshtha Bharat’ through virtual tours of different parts of the country.
  • This webinar offered an attractive virtual tour of four north-eastern states-Nagaland, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam and Sikkim.

Ministry of Tribal Affairs announces inclusion of 23 additional MFP items in MSP list

  • Ministry of Tribal Affairs has announced inclusion of 23 additional Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items in Minimum Support Price (MSP) list. They include Van Tulsi seeds, Van Jeera, Mushroom, Black Rice and Johar Rice among others. The decision enhancing the coverage from 50 to 73 items comes in view of the COVID-19 pandemic so that much needed support could be provided to the tribal MFP gatherers.

Missile Park 'Agneeprastha' to be set up at INS Kalinga

  • Foundation Stone for a Missile Park " AGNEEPRASTHA" was laid at INS Kalinga. The Missile Park "AGNEEPRASTHA", once completed will be dedicated to all the Officers, Sailors and Support Staff of INS Kalinga, who have served in this premier op-support Base of the ENC since its establishment in 1981. The Park also commemorates the award of the prestigious Unit Citation to INS Kalinga for the year 2018-19.
  • 'AGNEEPRASTHA ' aims to capture glimpses of Missile History of INS Kalinga since 1981 till date. It will also provide a one-stop arena for motivation and stimulation of inquisitive minds regarding the missiles and related technologies, from school children to Naval personnel and their families.

Olympics: India could add to shooting quota

  • The International Olympic Committee has approved the world shooting governing body’s updated qualification system for the Tokyo Olympics, which could see India add at least one more to the 15 secured so far. India have so far earned a record number of quota places in the qualification cycle that began with the 2018 World Championship in Korea.
  • The new deadline for Tokyo 2020 Qualification in shooting is June 6, 2021.

Petroleum Minister dedicates to nation, 56 CNG stations

  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has dedicated to nation, 56 CNG stations spread over 11 States and Union Territories. These stations are in Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, New Delhi, Punjab, Rajasthan, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.
  • Mr Pradhan said that 72 per cent population of the country will soon be covered through the City Gas Distribution network, with spread over 53 per cent of the geographical area. He said that the country is moving towards gas based economy.
  • The number of PNG stations has gone up from 25 lakh to 60 lakh and number of CNG vehicles has gone up from 22 lakh to 34 lakh.

Sun Pharma gets nod for drug trial in COVID-19 patients

  • Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has announced that it has received the approval from the Drugs Controller General of India (DCGI) to initiate a clinical trial with Nafamostat Mesilate in COVID-19 patients.
  • Nafamostat is approved in Japan for improvement of acute symptoms of pancreatitis and treatment of disseminated intravascular coagulation, a condition in which abnormal clumps of blood clots form inside blood vessels.

Sundaram Finance net at Rs. 131 crore

  • Sundaram Finance Ltd. (SFL) has registered a net profit of Rs. 130.89 crore for the fourth quarter ended March 2020. The non-banking financial company's net profit in the corresponding quarter of the previous financial year had stood at Rs 675 crore.
  • Sundaram Finance said these two numbers are not comparable on a like-to-like basis as net profit for the fourth quarter of 2018-19 included an exceptional income of Rs 522 crore on account of sale of shares in its general insurance subsidiary Royal Sundaram.
  • For the full 2019-20, the company registered a net profit of Rs 723.95 crore. The net profit had stood at Rs 1,126 crore for the year ended March 31, 2019.

Telecom regulator moots national numbering plan

  • The Telecom Regulatory Authority of India recommended that a new National Numbering Plan be issued at the earliest so that a uniquely identifiable number can be provided to every subscriber in India. Some of the options that TRAI has recommended include switching to a 11-digit mobile number, reallocation of mobile numbering resources surrendered by operators who have shut shop and prefixing zero for all mobile calls made from fixed line.

U.K. moots ‘5G club’ to keep out Huawei

  • Britain said that it was pushing the U.S. to form a club of 10 nations that could develop its own 5G technology and reduce dependence on Huawei. Britain has allowed the Chinese international chief in 5G expertise to construct up to 35% of the infrastructure crucial to roll out its new speedy knowledge community. But Prime Minister Boris Johnson has instructed officers to draw up plans to lower Huawei out of the community by 2023 as relations with China grew bitter.
  • Britain is proposing a “D10” membership of democratic companions that teams the G7 nations with Australia and the Asian expertise leaders South Korea and India.

US President Donald Trump signs executive order regarding liability protections for social media companies

  • US President Donald Trump has signed an executive order regarding liability protections for social media companies such as Twitter and Facebook for content posted on these platforms.The president claimed that the move aims to defend free speech from one of the gravest dangers it has faced in American history. The move came after Twitter applied fact checks to two of President Trump's tweets.
  • Trump said the fact checks were editorial decisions by Twitter and amounted to political activism. He said the companies should not be able to avail protection from lawsuits for what is posted on their platforms.

Veteran lyricist Yogesh passes away

  • Veteran lyricist Yogesh Gaur, known for his famous songs like 'Kahin Door Jab Din Dhal Jaaye' and 'Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli' in 'Anand', passed away. He was 77. Known by his first name in film circles, Yogesh was a prominent lyricist in '70s Hindi cinema and gave some of his best songs in the middle-of-the-road films of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee.

Williams may sell F1 team

  • Williams say they are considering selling a minority or majority stake in the iconic British Formula 1 team as they pursue a new strategic direction to ensure they arewell positioned to take advantage of Formula 1’s new era which will begin in 2021. Williams Grand Prix Holdings (WGPH) group reported a loss of £13 million for the year ending 2019.
  • Williams have finished 10th in the constructors’ championship for two successive seasons, which in turn has had a negative impact on the commercial revenues they receive from Formula 1. There has also been a decline in sponsorship while the coronoavirus pandemic has forced a delay to the start of the 2020 season, which in turn has increased the financial pressure on the business.