Daily Current Affairs - 03rd Jul 2020

19 lakh tap connections provided in villages across the country under Jal Jeevan Mission during lockdown: Govt

  • The Union Government said that 19 lakh tap connections have been provided in villages across the country under Jal Jeevan Mission during lockdown period. The aim of Jal Jeevan mission is to provide 55 litres of potable water per person per day to every rural household of the country by 2024.
  • National Jal Jeevan Mission is working closely with the States to accomplish the task Har Ghar Jal, in mission mode and time-bound manner.

2 agricultural experts from India named by UN chief to scientific group for 2021 food summit

  • Two eminent agricultural experts hailing from India have been named members of an international scientific group, aimed to offer foremost scientific evidence for sustainable food systems, established by UN chief Antonio Guterres ahead of a global food summit next year.
  • Prof Rattan Lal of Ohio State University and Dr Uma Lele of the International Association of Agricultural Economists (IAAE) are among the Scientific Group Members named by Guterres.
  • Lal, a pre-eminent Indian-American soil scientist, was named last month as the 2020 World Food Prize Laureate
  • Uma Lele, the first woman to be awarded a PhD in agricultural economics by Cornell University, was elected President Elect of the International Association of Agricultural Economists in July 2018.

Africa: Over 350 elephants found dead in Botswana since May

  • Over 350 elephants have died in the southern African country of Botswana ’s famed Okavango Delta since May, leaving conservationists puzzled. Botswana is home to one-third of the continent’s elephant population. The Botswana government was alerted about the elephant carcasses in May. They had ruled out poaching as a cause of the deaths, saying the tusks had not been removed.

At least 162 killed in Myanmar Jade mine collapse

  • In Myanmar, at least 162 people have been killed in a landslide at a jade mine in northern Kachin province. Myanmar Fire Service Department said that 162 bodies have been recovered from the landslide in Hpakant, the centre of the world's biggest and most lucrative jade mining industry.

Axis Bank to shut down UK operations

  • Private lender Axis Bank said that it will wind up its business in the UK. The bank said that it has initiated proceedings with the regulators in UK to close operations of Axis Bank UK Limited, a subsidiary of Axis Bank and aims to wind up all operations by April 2021.
  • The bank said that the decision is a part of its review of international strategy under which it has adopted a "clear objective" to focus on the Indian banking market.

Bank credit grows 6.18%, deposits 11%: RBI data

  • Bank credit and deposits grew 6.18% and 11% to Rs. 102.45 lakh crore and Rs. 138.67 lakh crore, respectively, in the fortnight ended June 19, according to the RBI. In the fortnight ended June 21, 2019, bank credit had stood at Rs 96.48 lakh crore and deposits at Rs 124.92 lakh crore.
  • In the previous fortnight that ended on June 5 this year, advances had grown 6.24 per cent and deposits by 11.28 per cent.

Centre issues new guidelines for Unlock 2.0; Metro Rail services, Schools, Colleges, Cinemas and Gyms to remain shut

  • The Centre has issued new guidelines for Unlock -2 to open up more activities in areas outside the Containment Zones. The new guidelines will come into effect from tomorrow and the process of phased re-opening of activities has been extended further. It said, the lockdown will continue to be implemented strictly in the Containment Zones till 31st of July this year.
  • Under the new guidelines of Unlock -2, Metro Rail service, operation of Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars, auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places will not be allowed. Similarly, social, political, sports, entertainment, academic, cultural and religious functions and other large congregations will not be permitted.

Daruvala primed for F2 debut

  • Jehan Daruvala will take another crucial step on the ladder to Formula One when he makes his Formula 2 debut at the Austrian GP. He was identified by the Sahara Force India team for its young driver programme, got a boost this year when he was signed by F1 giant Red Bull Racing for its prestigious junior driver programme.
  • In pre-season testing in Bahrain, Daruvala, driving for Carlin Racing, topped the timesheets twice and showed consistent long-run pace before the coronavirus pandemic delayed the start of the season.

Drug Discovery Hackathon jointly launched by Union Ministers Dr Harsh Vardhan and Ramesh Pokhriyal

  • Human Resources and Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank and Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan have jointly launched the Drug Discovery Hackathon 2020. It is an online competition and anybody from anywhere in the country or world can participate.
  • Drug Discovery Hackathon is first of its kind national initiative for supporting drug discovery process. The objective of this Hackathon is to identify drug candidates against SARS-CoV-2 by in-silico drug discovery through the hackathon and follow up by chemical synthesis and biological testing.

EC defends decision to allow postal votes for those above 65 years

  • The Election Commission has defended its decision to allow voters above 65 years - Coronavirus positive as well as suspected patients to cast postal votes. The poll body said, the decision was taken to minimise their exposure in public, while not depriving them of their right to vote. Keeping in mind the safety of senior citizens amid rising cases of coronavirus, the age limit for voters to opt for the postal ballot in Lok Sabha and assembly elections has been reduced to 65, which was earlier 80.
  • The Commission's response came after CPI(M) General Secretary Sitaram Yechury wrote a letter to Chief Election Commissioner saying unilateral measures are being taken by the poll panel in altering electoral procedures without consulting political parties.

Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara interrogated over 2011 World Cup final match-fixing allegation

  • Former Sri Lanka cricket captain Kumar Sangakkara was interrogated for over nine hours by special investigations unit of the Sports Ministry over allegations of match-fixing during the final of 2011 world cup against India.
  • The investigations are being conducted into claims made by former Sports minister Mahindananda Aluthgamage. Kumar Sangakkara was the Sri Lankan captain during the final of the 2011 World Cup, which Sri Lanka lost to India.
  • International Cricket Council (ICC) has said that they are looking at allegations into the match which India had won the final by six wickets.

Govt clears Defence acquisition worth Rs 38,900 Cr

  • Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) has accorded approval for Capital acquisitions of various platforms and equipment required by the Indian Armed Forces. Proposals for an approximate cost of 38900 Crore rupees were approved. The meeting chaired by Defence minister Rajnath Singh focused on indigenous design and development. These approvals include acquisitions from Indian Industry amounting to 31130 Crore rupees.
  • The equipments are to be manufactured in India involving Indian Defence Industry with participation of several MSMEs as prime tier vendors. The Indigenous content in some of these projects is up to 80 per cent of the project cost.

HDFC Bank launches ZipDrive Instant Auto Loans across 1,000 Indian cities

  • HDFC bank is going to launch state-of-the-art technology-enabled ZipDrive instant auto loans to customers across 1,000 cities in India. ZipDrive is HDFC bank’s instant auto loan disbursal product, exclusively for customers with pre-approved offers. This offering will be extended to Tier 2 and 3 cities, such as Bhimavaram in Andhra Pradesh, Hardoi in Uttar Pradesh, Thalassery in Kerala, and Balasore in Odisha amongst other places, across India.

HRD Minister releases eight weeks' alternative academic calendar for Primary stage

  • Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank has released eight weeks' alternative academic calendar for Primary stage. This Calendar contains detailed guidelines for teachers on the use of technology and social media tools to impart education while the students are at home.
  • The calendar further aims at empowering students, teachers, school principals and parents with positive ways to deal with COVID-19 via online teaching-learning resources and achieve the best possible learning outcomes.
  • The calendar also covers experiential learning activities such as Arts Education, Physical Exercises, yoga, pre-vocational skills, etc. This Calendar contains class-wise and subject-wise activities in tabular forms.

India loses jurisdiction over Italian marines case

  • The Government of India said it was studying an international tribunal’s ruling that the Italian marines accused of killing two fishermen in the waters off the Kerala coast on February 15, 2012, held “immunity” and would face a trial in Italy, not India. While the tribunal held in Italy’s favour the main submission, of jurisdiction, it found merit in India’s counter-claim that the marines on board “Enrica Lexie” had violated the freedom of navigation rights under the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) by shooting at fishing boat “St. Antony” and should pay compensation to the victims’ families, the boat owner and crew members.

India-Bangladesh operate record number of freight trains in June

  • India and Bangladesh Railways achieved a record by running more than 100 freight trains in June 2020 carrying essential items. Amid the disruption caused by Corona pandemic on movement of people and goods, in the month of June, Indian railways handed over 103 freight trains carrying essential commodities such as onions, ginger, chilies, maize, turmeric, sugar, finished products, and raw materials for industries to Bangladesh Railways.

Indian Railways achieves 100% punctuality record for first time in history

  • For the first time in the history of Indian Railways, all trains achieved 100 per cent punctuality on July 1. The Ministry of Railways said, no trains were delayed among the 201 that run on 1st July.
  • The previous best was 99.54 per cent on the 23rd of last month with one train getting delayed. Due to restrictions and lockdown, Indian Railways is running on a restricted capacity. All regular passenger trains are cancelled. Railways is running special trains to ferry passengers stranded or those travelling out of necessity.

Karnam Sekar retires as Indian Overseas Bank MD & CEO

  • Public sector Indian Overseas Bank (IOB) said its managing director and chief executive Karnam Sekar retired on June 30. Sekar was appointed as OSD of IOB after merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank into Bank of Baroda. He was MD and CEO of Dena Bank since September 21, 2018.

Ladakh Marathon cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

  • Due to COVID-19 Pandemic, the world famous sporting event in India, the Ladakh Marathon has been cancelled for this year. Ladakh Marathon Founder and Race Director Chewang Motup said that the 9th edition of the event scheduled for 13th September this year stands cancelled.
  • The 9th Edition of Ladakh Marathon had become a qualifying event of Abbott World Marathon Majors Wanda Age Group from this year.
  • At an altitude of 11000 ft and above, Ladakh Marathon has emerged as one of the most prestigious high altitude races on the Marathon Calendar of the world.

Myanmar to hold general elections on November 8

  • The Union Election Commission of Myanmar has announced that the general elections in the country will be held on November 8. Elections will be held for 1171 national, state and regional seats in the country. According to the Commission, 330 seats are for the Pyithu Hluttaw or Lower House of the Parliament. 168 seats are earmarked for the Upper house and 12 for each state and region.
  • More than 37 million voters are eligible to vote in the elections for which 94 parties will field their candidates. This will be the first election held under the civilian government in six decades since 1960.
  • In both houses of the national parliament, 75 percent of representatives are directly elected, while 25 per cent are appointed by the military called Tatmadaw
  • President U Win Myint and State Counselor Daw Aung San Suu Kyi will be contesting the elections as National League for Democracy (NLD) candidates.

Nominations for Padma Awards-2021 open till Sep 15

  • The nominations for Padma Awards-2021 is open till 15th September this year. Home Ministry said, online nominations and recommendations for the Padma Awards to be announced on the occasion of Republic Day next year have started from 1st May, 2020. The Ministry said, the nominations for Padma Awards will be received online only on the Padma Awards portal www.padmaawards.gov.in.
  • The Padma Awards, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri, are among the highest civilian awards of the country. Instituted in 1954, these Awards are announced on the occasion of the Republic Day every year

Ravi Shankar Prasad says banning Chinese Apps was a digital strike

  • Union Information and Technology minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has said, banning Chinese Apps was a Digital Strike. Addressing a virtual meeting, Mr Prasad said Chinese apps were banned to protect the personal data of countrymen. 59 Chinese mobile apps were banned on Monday. The government termed the apps were prejudicial to the sovereignty, integrity and security of the country

Tata Power to raise Rs 2,600 crore from promoter, set up InvIT for renewable business

  • Tata Power said its board has approved a proposal to raise Rs 2,600 crore through issuance of preference shares to its promoter Tata Sons. The board also gave in-principle approval for setting up of InvIT (Infrastructure Investment Trust) for the company's renewable business on terms and conditions to be discussed with potential investors.
  • Tata Power will issue 49,05,66,037 equity shares on a preferential basis to Tata Sons Private Limited ("Tata Sons") for an aggregate consideration of Rs 2,600 crore.

Two renowned Indian-Americans honoured by prestigious American foundation

  • Two renowned Indian-Americans who have contributed towards the efforts in mitigating the COVID-19 health crisis are among the 38 immigrants honoured by a prestigious American foundation ahead of US Independence Day commemoration this year.
  • Pulitzer Prize-winning author and oncologist Siddhartha Mukherjee and Professor of Economics at Harvard University Raj Chetty have been named by the Carnegie Corporation of New York as '2020 Great Immigrants' honorees.
  • Overall, the '2020 Great Immigrants' represent 35 countries of origin and a wide range of contributions to American life, from human rights and computer science to art, business, education, health care, journalism, music, politics, religion, research, and sports.