Daily Current Affairs - 04th Jul 2020

Bank deposits sink Rs.74,727 cr as of June 19

  • According to data published by the Reserve Bank of India, job losses, pay cuts and low nominal deposit rates seem to be pushing people to dip into bank deposits. Deposits of all scheduled banks collectively declined by a whopping Rs.74,727 crore in the fortnight ended June 19 against an increase of Rs.1,11,242 crore in the previous fortnight ended June 5, 2020. The report stated that either people are dipping into savings or diversifying into MFs and stocks.

2020 Hero Indian Open golf cancelled due to COVID-19 pandemic

  • Hero Indian Open, the biggest golf tournament the country hosts, was cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic. The tournament, co-sanctioned by the European Tour, was earlier scheduled to be held from March 19 to 22 in Gurugram but was postponed. The women’s Indian Open was also cancelled earlier due to the pandemic.
  • The Hero Indian Open was established by the IGU in 1964 and is one of the oldest running international sports events in the country. It has been a European Tour-sanctioned tournament since 2015.

Covid-19 impact: SBI expects flat growth in corporate loan book in FY21

  • State Bank of India expects a flat growth in its corporate loan book this fiscal due to the uncertainty triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic. The bank had registered a drop in growth in corporate credit portfolio to 2 per cent in FY20 against 14 per cent in FY19.

DGCA extends suspension of international commercial passenger flight till July 31

  • Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has extended the suspension of all scheduled international commercial passenger flight services in the country till 31st of July. It has said that the restriction shall not apply to international all-cargo operations and specially approved flights. DGCA has said that international scheduled flights may be allowed on selected routes by the competent authority on case to case basis.

EU clears use of remdesivir to fight virus

  • The European Commission, the bloc’s executive arm, has authorised the use of anti-viral drug remdesivir to treat COVID-19. At least two major U.S. studies have shown that remdesivir can reduce the duration of hospital stays for COVID-19 patients.
  • The USA had earlier authorised the emergency use of the medicine -- which was originally intended as a treatment for Ebola on May 1, followed by several Asian nations including Japan and South Korea.

Foreign and Indian coaches will now have a four-year contract

  • Union Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju said foreign and Indian coaches for training Indian Athletes will now have a four-year contract in alignment with the Olympic cycle. He said that this initiative will ensure the right coaching for country’s elite athletes and India’s chances in all major international tournaments, including the Olympics will be improved. Mr. Rijiju said, it will also help India’s long-term roadmap for Olympic preparation for 2024 and 2028.

Govt postpones JEE, NEET exams in view of COVID-19

  • Union Government has postponed medical and engineering entrance examinations NEET and JEE in view of COVID-19 pandemic. Now, Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) Main examination will be held from 1st to 6th September this year while JEE advanced exam on 27th of September.
  • National Eligibility-cum-Entrance Test (NEET) will be held on 13th of September. Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank said, the decision has been taken keeping in mind the safety of students and to ensure quality education.
  • The decision was taken following recommendations of an Expert Committee set up by the government to review the feasibility of conducting the exams in July. The panel recommended to postpone the examinations.

Govt to open all Centrally protected monuments in non containment zones from July 4

  • Union Government has decided to open all the Centrally protected monuments by completely abiding safety protocols from July 4. Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel said that only those monuments and museums which are in the non-containment zone will be open for visitors. He said, all Centrally protected monuments and sites will be bound by the protocols like sanitization, social distancing and other health protocols issued by the Health Ministry.

Health Ministry issues revised clinical management protocol for COVID-19 patients

  • The Union Health Ministry has issued revised clinical management protocol for COVID-19 patients. The new protocol also contains the details of symptoms and conditions in different stages of treatment.
  • The Ministry has also described the use of investigational therapies- Remdesivir, Convalescent Plasma, Tocilizumab and Hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) on COVID-19 infected persons. It said, the use of these drugs is subjected to limited availability in the country as of now and currently, these drugs should only be used in a defined sub-group of patients.

Housing and Urban Affairs Minister launches toolkit for Swachh Survekshan 2021

  • Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Singh Puri has launched the toolkit for Swachh Survekshan-2021, the sixth edition of the annual cleanliness survey of urban India conducted by Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.
  • Mr Puri announced a new category of awards titled Prerak Dauur Samman as part of Swachh Survekshan-2021. The Prerak Daaur Samman has a total of five additional sub- categories -Divya (Platinum), Anupam (Gold), Ujjwal (Silver), Udit (Bronze), Aarohi (Aspiring) - with top three cities being recognized in each.

ICMR to launch indigenous Covid-19 vaccine for public use by Aug 15

  • Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR is planning to launch indigenous Covid-19 vaccine for public use by the 15th of August after completion of all clinical trials. ICMR has partnered with Bharat Biotech International Limited to develop this path breaking, Covid-19 vaccine. ICMR has asked Bharat Biotech to fast track the clinical trial mechanism and ensure that the subject enrolment is initiated by 7th of July.
  • This is the first indigenous vaccine being developed in India and one of the top priority projects of the government. The vaccine is derived from a SARS-COV2 strain isolated by ICMR-National Institute of Virology, Pune. ICMR and Bharat Biotech are jointly working for the pre-clinical as well as clinical development of this vaccine.
  • Recently, Bharat Biotech has been granted approval to conduct human clinical trials for Corona Vaccine called ‘Covaxin’.

IT dept refunds over Rs 62,000 cr to more than 20 lakh taxpayers during lockdown

  • Income Tax Department has refunded 62 thousand and 361 crore rupees to more than 20 lakh taxpayers during Covid-19 lockdown days. Central Board of Direct Taxes said, income tax refunds amounting to over 23 thousand and 453 crore rupees have been issued in more than 19.07 lakh cases and corporate tax refunds amounting to over 38 thousand 908 crore rupees have been issued in more than 1.36 lakh cases to taxpayers during this period.

Kritika Pandey wins 2020 Commonwealth Short Story Prize

  • India's Kritika Pandey was awarded the 5,000 pound Commonwealth Short Story Prize 2020 for "The Great Indian Tee and Snakes" in a virtual ceremony. The Asian Regional Winner beat challengers from four other contenders in the final round.
  • The prize is open to anyone from the commonwealth nations who have written a story in English, Bengali, Chinese, French, Greek, Kiswahili, Malay, Portuguese, Samoan, Tamil and Turkish. There will be a winner chosen from each region and one overall winner.

Locust control ops carried out in Rajasthan, MP, Punjab, Gujarat, UP & Haryana

  • Union Government has said that the locust control operations have been carried out in over one lakh 32 thousand hectares area in Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Punjab, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana by Locust Circle Offices.
  • Agriculture Ministry said, no significant crop losses have been reported in Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Bihar, and Haryana. However, some minor crop losses have been reported in some districts of Rajasthan.

Second tranche of Bharat Bond ETF to open on July 14, aims to raise Rs 14,000 crore

  • The second tranche of Bharat Bond ETF will open for subscription on July 14, with a base issue size of Rs 3,000 crore. The two new Bharat Bond ETF series will have maturities of April 2025 and April 2031 (i.e. Bharat Bond ETF April 2025 and Bharat Bond ETF April 2031. The new fund offer (NFO) will start from July 14 and end on July 17, 2020.
  • The Bharat Bond ETF program is an initiative of the government from the Department of Investment and Public Asset Management and the latter has given the mandate to Edelweiss AMC to design and manage the product.

Sri Lanka drops 2011 World Cup final fixing probe on lack of evidence

  • In Sri Lanka, the investigation launched into the match-fixing allegations during the final of 2011 World Cup cricket has been suspended following insufficient evidence and public outcry. Earlier, former Captain Kumar Sangakkara, Aravinda de Silva and Upul Tharanga had appeared before the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) which was set up to investigate into allegations levelled by former Minister of Sports Mahindananda Aluthgamage stating that the 2011 final between Sri Lanka and India was fixed.
  • Chief of the Special Investigation Unit (SIU) Senior Superintendent of Police has said, the statements of three cricketers summoned so far are genuine and has revealed the practical reason for a change in squad during the tournament.

Union Bank to offer insurance products after merger with Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank

  • Following the amalgamation of Andhra Bank and Corporation Bank with Union Bank of India (UBI) with effect from April 1, the 9,500-plus branches of UBI will offer insurance products of three life insurers, four non-life insurers and two standalone health insurers. Expansion of insurance distribution channel will help the bank increase insurance penetration.

US President Donald Trump blames Chinese aggression for standoff at India-China border

  • US president Donald Trump has blamed Chinese aggression for the stand-off at the India-China border. Quoting Mr Trump, White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany said, China’s aggressive stance along the India-China border fits with a larger pattern of Chinese aggression in other parts of the world.
  • Mr Trump’s remarks come in the backdrop of Chinese actions both internally as well as across the Asian geopolitical theatre in the past few months.

Veteran Bollywood Choreographer Saroj Khan Passes Away

  • Three-time National Award winner, veteran Bollywood choreographer, Saroj Khan, passed away due to cardiac arrest. She was 71. In a career spanning over four decades, Khan is credited with choreographing more than 2,000 songs, including 'Dola Re Dola' from Sanjay Leela Bhansali's 'Devdas', 'Ek Do Teen' from Madhuri Dixit-starrer 'Tezaab' and 'Ye Ishq Haaye' from 'Jab We Met' in 2007.