Daily Current Affairs - 25th Jun 2020

Cabinet approves establishment of Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund worth Rs. 15,000 crore

  • With an aim to provide employment to nearly 35 lakh youths in the country, the union government introduced a 15,000 crore rupees Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund for infrastructure related development in animal husbandry, dairy and livestock related enterprises. Under the scheme, upto 90 per cent of loan for starting such enterprises will be given by banks. Government has also extended an Interest subvention of 3 per cent on all such loans under the scheme.
  • The Development Fund will incentivise infrastructure investments in dairy, meat processing and animal feed plants. Eligible beneficiaries under the Scheme would be Farmer Producer Organizations (FPOs), MSMEs, Section 8 Companies, Private Companies and individual entrepreneurs.

CBDT extends last date for filing income tax return for 2019-20 till 30th November

  • Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) has extended time limit for filing of original as well as revised income-tax returns for 2018-19 till 31st July, this year. It has also extended the due date for filing income tax return for 2019-20 till 30th November of this year. The decision has been taken considering the difficulties faced by applicants due to the COVID pandemic.
  • In order to provide relief to small and middle class taxpayers, CBDT has also extended the due date for payment of self assessment tax upto the limit of 1 lakh rupees, till 30th November of this year.
  • The due-date for making various investments and payments for claiming deduction under section 80C of the Income Tax Act has also been extended till 31st of July for the financial year 2019-20. CBDT has also extended the date for linking of Aadhaar with PAN till 31 March next year.

CCI approves acquisition of 9.99% stake in Jio Platforms by Jaadhu Holdings LLC

  • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved acquisition of 9.99 per cent stake in Jio Platforms by Jaadhu Holdings LLC. Jaadhu is an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Facebook. It is a newly incorporated company formed in March this year under the laws of the State of Delaware in United States.
  • Whereas, Jio Platforms is a company organised and existing under the laws of India, and is a subsidiary of Reliance India Limited.

Final-Year University Exams Likely To Be Cancelled, New Session May Start From October

  • Exams for final year students in universities and higher education institutions which were to be held in July are likely to be cancelled in view of the spike in COVID-19 cases, and the commencement of the new session is likely to be deferred to October, according to officials.
  • Union HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal has asked the University Grants Commission (UGC) to revisit the guidelines issued earlier for intermediate and terminal semester examination, and the academic calendar.
  • According to officials, a panel, set up by UGC and headed by Haryana University vice-chancellor R C Kuhad, has been asked to revisit the guidelines and come up with alternative options. The revised guidelines are expected to be announced by the higher education regulator within a week's time.

Govt ratifies decision of boosting private sector participation in space sector in country

  • The Union Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ratified the decision of boosting private sector participation in space sector in the country. Union Atomic Energy and Space Minister, Dr. Jitendra Singh informed that that government will constitute Indian National Space Promotion and Authorization Centre (IN-SPACe) for effective socio-economic usage of space technology.
  • Dr. Singh added that, Public Sector Enterprise, New Space India Limited (NSIL) will endeavour to re-orient space activities from a supply driven model to a demand driven model, thereby ensuring optimum utilization of space assets in the country

Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan releases annual TB Report 2020

  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has released the annual TB Report 2020 through a virtual event. According to the report, over 24 lakh TB patients have been notified in 2019. This amounts to a 14 percent increase in TB notification as compared to 2018. Near-complete on-line notification of TB patients have been achieved through the NIKSHAY system.
  • Due to easy availability of molecular diagnostics, the proportion of children diagnosed with TB increased to 8 percent in 2019 compared to 6 percent in 2018.
  • Expansion of treatment services has resulted in a 12 percent improvement in the treatment success rate of notified patients.

HRD Ministry releases roadmap for NCERT for year 2020-21

  • Human Resource Development Ministry has released roadmap for NCERT for the year 2020-21. Under it, the NCERT has been asked to prepare infographics, posters and presentations explaining each of the learning outcome, for each subject and grade for classes one to five by October this year and for classes 6 to 12 by March next year.
  • The NCERT will prepare supplementary and alternative academic learning material for entire curriculum for learners in COVID-19 times, especially those without any form of digital and online access.
  • The HRD Ministry said, the new National Curriculum Framework (NCF) for School Education has also been initiated. NCERT will be expected to make changes in the textbooks in accordance with the new NCF and the subject experts will initiate this process for school education, and give interim report by December this year.

IMF sharply lowers forecast for global growth this year

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sharply lowered its forecast for global growth this year, saying the coronavirus pandemic is causing a much steeper recession and a slower recovery than initially expected. IMF predicts that the global economy will shrink 4.9 per cent this year, significantly worse than the 3 per cent drop it had estimated in its previous report in April.
  • IMF's chief economist Gita Gopinath told reporters that the global economic damage from the recession will be worse than from any other downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s.

Immunization dropped 49 pct in April due to COVID-19 pandemic in Bangladesh: UNICEF

  • The number of children receiving routine immunization in Bangladesh dropped by 49 percent in March compared to the previous month. In its latest report on children in South Asia released , the UNICEF says that COVID 19 pandemic is unravelling decades of health, education and other advances for children across South Asia.
  • According to the report, immunization, nutrition and other vital health services have been severely disrupted in the South Asian region. It is potentially threatening the lives of up to 459,000 children and mothers over the next six months.
  • UNICEF projects that over the coming six months as many as 120 million more children could be pushed into poverty and food insecurity, joining some 240 million children already classified as poor.

India GDP to contract 4.5% on COVID-19: IMF

  • Covid-19 battered India's economy is projected to contract by 4.5 per cent this fiscal a steep drop from its April forecast of a 1.9 per cent expansion, calling it a "historic low" for India by the International Monetary Fund. In the World Economic Outlook (WEO) forecast report, the IMF said that India's economy is expected to contract on the back of a longer lockdown and a slower recovery than anticipated in April.

India retains position as third largest economy in PPP, global actual Individual consumption, capital formation

  • India has retained its position as the third-largest economy in the world in terms of purchasing power parity (PPP), behind the US and China, the Ministry of Statistics & Programme Implementation (MoSPI) said. India is also the third largest economy in terms of its PPP-based share in global Actual Individual Consumption and Global Gross Capital Formation. India was followed by Japan, Germany, and the Russian Federation.
  • India accounts for 6.7% or $8,051 billion, out of the world's total of $119,547 billion of global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in terms of PPP compared to 16.4 % in case of China and 16.3 % for the US, World Bank data for reference year 2017 show.
  • In the Asia-Pacific Region, in 2017, India retained its regional position, as the second largest economy, accounted for 20.83 % in terms of PPPs where China was first at 50.76% and Indonesia at 7.49% was third.
  • The findings are part of the World Bank new PPPs for reference year 2017, under the International Comparison Programme that adjust for differences in the cost of living across economies of the World.

India, China discuss in detail the developments in India-China border areas

  • India and China discussed in detail the developments in the India-China border areas in particular the situation in Eastern Ladakh. The 15th meeting of the Working Mechanism for Consultation and Coordination on India-China Border Affairs was held through video-conference.
  • The Indian side conveyed its concerns on the recent developments in Eastern Ladakh, including on the violent face off in Galwan Valley area on 15th June that had resulted in casualties. It was emphasised that both sides should strictly respect and observe the line of actual control
  • The two sides also agreed to maintain communication both at diplomatic and military level including under the framework of Working Mechanism for Consultation & Coordination (WMCC) to resolve the existing situation peacefully.

KVB Q4 profit rises 40% to Rs. 84 crore

  • Private sector lender Karur Vysya Bank Ltd. has reported a 40% increase in its standalone net profit for the fourth quarter ended March 2020 to Rs. 84 crore . The bank's provisioning for bad loans and contingencies during March quarter of FY20 were raised to Rs 429.27 crore as against Rs 352.34 crore in the year-ago period.
  • On the asset front, gross non-performing assets (NPAs) or bad loans of the bank remained elevated at 8.68 per cent (Rs 4,212.77 crore) of gross advances as of March 31, 2020.

MSDE Ministry, IBM unveil Free Digital Learning Platform to reach job seekers

  • Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship (MSDE) in partnership with IBM has unveiled Free Digital Learning Platform ‘Skills Build Reignite’ to reach more job seekers and provide new resources to business owners in India. Directorate General of Training, DGT, under the aegis of MSDE has also announced a 10-week duration Skills Build Innovation Camp for students, providing hands on project experience, enhanced learning and increased employability.

MSME Minister Nitin Gadkari launches CGSSD

  • Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, MSME, Minister Nitin Gadkari has launched the Credit Guarantee Scheme for Sub-ordinate Debt, CGSSD. As per the Scheme, guarantee cover worth twenty thousand crore rupees will be provided to the promoters who can take debt from the banks to further invest in their stressed MSMEs as equity. The scheme seeks to extend support to the promoters of the operational MSMEs which are stressed and have become NPA as on 30th April of this year.
  • Under the scheme, Promoters of the MSMEs will be given credit equal to 15 percent of their stake or 75 lakh rupees whichever is lower. There will be a moratorium of 7 years on payment of principal whereas maximum tenure for repayment will be 10 years.
  • The scheme will provide support to around 2 lakh MSMEs and will help in reviving the economic activity in and through this sector.

OBC panel gets 6-month extension

  • The Union Cabinet has approved a six-month extension to the commission appointed to examine sub-categorisation of Other Backward Classes. The Commission will submit its report to the government by January 31 next year. The tenure of the Commission was to end on July 31. This is the 9th extension given to the OBC Commission.
  • Union minister Prakash Javadekar said that the panel’s work was affected due to the coronavirus outbreak, therefore, the Cabinet decided to grant an extension to the panel.

OVL gets nod for investment in Myanmar

  • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved an additional investment of $121.27 million (about Rs. 909 crore) by ONGC Videsh Ltd. (OVL), for further development of the Shwe oil and gas project in Myanmar.

Pakistan remains safe harbor for regionally focused terrorist groups: US

  • The US has said that Pakistan remains a safe harbor for regionally focused terrorist groups. In its annual Country Reports on Terrorism, US State Department said Pakistan is one of the countries that figures in terrorist safe havens list. It said, Pakistan allows terror groups such as Lashkar e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) to operate from its territory and target India.
  • The US said, Pakistan did not take action against terrorists such as JeM founder and UN-designated terrorist Masood Azhar believed to remain free in Pakistan. State Department said Islamabad also allows terror outfits like Afghan Taliban and Haqqani Network (HQN) to operate from its soil and target Afghanistan.
  • It said, the suspension of US aid to Pakistan, which was announced by President Donald Trump in January 2018, remained in effect throughout 2019.

Railways to generate 8 lakh man days of employment for migrant workers in next 125 days

  • Railways will generate eight lakh man days of employment opportunity for migrants and others in infrastructure projects worth 1800 crore rupees in the next 125 days. Ministry of Railways has reviewed the progress of Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan with Zonal Railways and Railway PSUs through video conference meeting.
  • The Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan is in operation in 116 identified districts of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Jharkhand. Each of these districts has a large concentration of returnee migrant workers. The Garib Kalyan Rojgar Abhiyaan of 125 days will involve focused implementation of 25 categories of works and activities in 116 districts.

Rakitic is Barca’s hero

  • Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic came off the bench to give his side a 1-0 win at home to Athletic Bilbao , averting a second consecutive draw which would have further dented the champion’s LaLiga title defence.

RBI directs banks, NBFCs, digital lending platforms to disclose full information

  • To make digital lending more transparent, the Reserve Bank of India has directed banks, Non Banking Financial Corporations and digital lending platforms to disclose full information upfront on their websites to customers. The direction comes against the backdrop of several complaints relating to exorbitant interest rates and harsh recovery measures, among others, against lending platforms.
  • The RBI said that immediately after sanction of loan, a letter must be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/ NBFC concerned. It also said that a copy of the loan agreement along with a copy each of all enclosures quoted in the loan agreement shall be furnished to all borrowers at the time of sanction/ disbursement of loans.
  • It also asked the banks and NBFCs to create awareness about the grievance redressal mechanism.

Terror financing watchdog FATF decides to continue Pakistan in Grey List

  • The global terror financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force (FATF) has decided to keep Pakistan in the Grey List' for terror financing. The decision has been taken as Pakistan has failed to check flow of money to terror groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba (LeT) and Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM). Now, Pakistan will continue to remain in the Grey List till FATF's next meeting to be held in October. If Pakistan fails to comply with the FATF directive by October, there is every possibility that the global body may put the country in the 'Black List' along with North Korea and Iran.
  • Now, it will be difficult for Pakistan to get financial aid from the IMF, World Bank, ADB and the European Union, thus further enhancing problems for the nation which is in a precarious financial situation.

Tourism Ministry conducts webinar on ‘Vedic Food and Spices of India’

  • To showcase the benefits about our country’s ancient form of health science, Tourism Ministry conducted a webinar on ‘Vedic Food and Spices of India’ under Dekho Apna Desh webinar series. The webinar focused on the importance of Vedic food and spices of India which remain unexplained to the world. This session attempted to decode myths about some foods and presented the secret of spices and the technique of preparations in order to inspire the traveller to come, explore and experience.
  • Dekho Apna Desh Webinar Series is an effort to showcase India’s rich diversity under Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat.

Urban Cooperative, Multi State Co-Op banks to be brought under direct supervision of RBI

  • Union Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that Urban Cooperative and Multi State Cooperative banks will be brought under the direct supervision of Reserve Bank of India. The decision, he said, will ensure financial security for over 8 crore 60 lakh account holders in nearly one thousand five hundred fourty cooperative banks.

Vaishali wins, Humpy loses

  • R. Vaishali stunned former World champion Antoaneta Stefanova of Bulgaria and entered the quarterfinals of the first leg of the FIDE Chess.com Women’s Speed Chess. Koneru Humpy, the reigning World rapid champion, was shocked earlier in the day by Vietnam’s Le Thao Nguyen Pham. Humpy lost the match 4.5-5.5

Vande Bharat Mission: About 19,604 passengers brought to Mumbai from different countries so far

  • As many as 19,604 passengers have been brought to Mumbai in 125 flights from different countries so far as part of the Centre's 'Vande Bharat Mission'. Some of the countries from where these passengers were flown into India include Britain, Singapore, Japan, Philippines, the USA, Bangladesh, Malaysia, Kuwait, Ethiopia, Afghanistan, Oman, South Africa, Indonesia, the Netherlands, Sri Lanka, Mynanmar, Tanzania, Spain, Ireland, Qatar, Kazakhstan, Mauritius and Brazil among others.

World’s First Gold-backed US Digital Gold Currency Launched in India, GCC, Middle East and Africa by IBMC

  • IBMC Financial Professionals Group, an internationally recognized financial services institution and business consultants, has joined hands with US Gold Currency Inc and Blockfills to bring the world's first monetary gold-backed digital gold currency to India. The currency is also being simultaneously introduced in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), Middle East and Africa.
  • Each US Gold digital currency is backed by US American Eagle one ounce (33.931 gram) gold coin, minted by US Federal Agency, US Mint. The holders of the currency can redeem their digital assets as physical gold coin or in US dollars anywhere in the world.