Daily Current Affairs - 18th Jul 2020

All capitals cities of North-Eastern states to be connected with rail network by 2023

  • Railway Board Chairman VK Yadav has said that all capitals of North-Eastern states will be connected to the rail network by 2023. He said, these are very important projects which topped railway's agenda during the last five years. He told media persons that work to connect capitals of Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Meghalaya is in progress.

CBDT issues refunds worth more than Rs 71,000 cr during pandemic

  • The Central Board of Direct Taxes, CBDT has issued refunds worth 71 thousand 229 crore rupees in more than 21 lakh cases to help taxpayers with liquidity in COVID-19 pandemic days. CBDT said that Income Tax refunds amounting to 24 thousand 603 crore rupees have been issued in over 19 lakh cases to taxpayers and Corporate Tax refunds amounting to 46 thousand 626 crore to taxpayers during COVID days.
  • CBDT further said that all the refund related cleaning up of the tax demands are being taken up on priority and will be completed by 31st August this year.

Celebrating International Criminal Justice Day on July 17

  • July 17 marks International Criminal Justice Day, commemorating the anniversary of the adoption of the Rome Statute, the founding treaty of the International Criminal Court (ICC), which seeks to protect people from genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes and the crime of aggression. The day is celebrated to highlight the importance of the International Criminal Court and the work it does to bring about justice for the victims

Deccan Chargers axing deemed illegal

  • Deccan Chronicle Holding Ltd, the owner of the now defunct Deccan Chargers has been awarded a compensation of Rs.4814.67 crore plus 10% interest from 2012, by a Bombay High Court-appointed arbitration tribunal. According to a statement released by the law firm Dhir and Dhir Associates, ‘the tribunal found illegal the termination of the Deccan Chargers IPL team by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).’

Enrolment of farmers under PMFBY for Kharif-2020 season going on in full swing

  • The enrolment of farmers under Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana, PMFBY for Kharif-2020 season is going on in full swing in various States and Union Territories of the country. Government of India has made enrolment free for all the farmers who only need to pay premium amount.
  • Farmers can get their food crops (cereals and oilseeds) insured at a minimal premium rate of 2 per cent of sum insured and commercial and horticulture crops at 5 per cent of sum insured in Kharif -2020. The remaining premium will be subsidised by the Centre Government and States.
  • The Scheme ensures protection of crop loss for entire cropping cycle, from pre-sowing to post-harvest activities.

Enthusiastic response from tech entrepreneurs & Start-ups for Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge

  • Aatmanirbhar Bharat App Innovation Challenge, launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 4th of July has seen a very enthusiastic response from tech entrepreneurs and Start-ups from across the country. So far 2,353 entries have been received across the eight categories identified. These include 1,496 from individuals and about 857 from organizations and companies.
  • Amongst those received from Individuals, around 788 applications are ready to use and the remaining 708 are under development. For the Apps submitted by organizations, 636 Apps have already been deployed and the remaining 221 are under development.
  • The category-wise break-up of the Apps submitted include 380 under Business, 286 under Health and Wellness, 339 under E- Learning, 414 under Social Networking,136 under Games, 238 under Office and Work from Home, 75 under News and 96 under Entertainment.

Former para-badminton player Ramesh Tikaram dies at 51

  • Arjuna awardee and ace para-badminton player Ramesh Tikaram died of coronavirus in a hospital. Ramesh Tikaram was instrumental in bringing the international para-badminton tournament to the country in 2001.

Gabon appoints Ossouka Raponda as its first woman prime minister

  • The president of Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba, has appointed the country's first female prime minister, Rose Christiane Ossouka Raponda. Ossouka Raponda was promoted from the defence ministry and takes over from Julien Nkoghe Bekale, who was appointed prime minister in January 2019.
  • Heavily dependent on income from oil, the central African state has been badly hit by the slump in the price of crude oil as well as the impact of the new coronavirus on trade.

ICMR asks States, UTs to upload rapid antigen testing data on ICMR portal

  • The Indian Council of Medical Research, ICMR has asked the States and Union Territories to identify and approve all government and private facilities for conducting rapid antigen testing for COVID-19.
  • In a letter to Chief Secretaries, ICMR has directed that all such testing data to be uploaded on the ICMR database so that all positive cases are brought to the attention of authorities for isolation, quarantine or treatment.

India fast tracked efforts for Covid-19 vaccine, 2 are under human clinical trials

  • India has become one of the frontrunners in the global effort to develop a vaccine for the containment of Covid-19 pandemic. Government agencies have stepped up collaboration with private partners to fastrack the approval process needed for development of a potential Covid vaccine. Bharat Biotech and Zydus Cadilla started the human clinical trials of their potential vaccines after getting the approvals from the Central Drug Standard Control Organization.
  • ICMR and Bharat Biotech have joined hands for the development of a potential Covid-19 vaccine called 'Covaxin' whereas the Department of Biotechnology has partially funded the development of Zydus's vaccine ZyCov-D. Zydus has set the target to complete the phase-I and II human clinical trial in the next three months.
  • Another top Indian pharma company Serum Institute of India has bagged a contract with British drugmaker AstraZeneca to supply one billion doses of Oxford University's potential COVID-19 vaccine.

India on track to achieve MMR targets for Sustainable Development Goals & National Health Policy: Dr Harsh Vardhan

  • Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan has said that India is on track to achieve the Maternal Mortality Ratio targets for Sustainable Development Goals and National Health Policy. Dr Harsh Vardhan said, MMR of India has declined by 9 points in one year as per the Special Bulletin released by the Registrar General of India. The ratio has declined from 122 in 2015-17 to 113 in 2016-18.
  • The State of Rajasthan, which has shown the maximum decline of 22 points, Uttar Pradesh 19 points, Odisha 18 points, Bihar 16 points and Madhya Pradesh 15 points.

India Ranks Third In Global Manufacturing Risk Index: Cushman & Wakefield Report

  • India ranks third in the list of most-suitable locations for global manufacturing among 48 countries in terms of cost competitiveness and operating conditions, according to property consultant Cushman & Wakefield. China and the U.S. retain the top two positions, while India has moved one place higher to rank third, the consultant said in its Global Manufacturing Risk Index report.
  • The annual Global MRI scores each country against 20 variables that make up the three final weighted rankings that cover conditions, cost and risk.

India's foreign exchange reserves reach all-time high of 516.362 billion dollars

  • India's foreign exchange reserves have swelled by 3.108 billion dollars to reach a fresh all-time high of 516.362 billion dollars in the week ended 10th July 2020. Foreign currency assets, a major part of the overall reserves, rose by 2.372 billion dollars to 475.635 billion dollars. Gold reserves surged by 712 million dollars to end at 34.729 billion dollars. India's special drawing rights with the International Monetary Fund rose by 5 million dollars to reach 1.453 billion dollars, while the country's reserve position also increased by 19 million dollars to 4.545 billion dollars.
  • In the previous week, the reserves had increased by 6.416 billion dollars to end at 513.54 billion dollars.

IOC postpones Dakar Youth Olympics by 4 years to 2026

  • The 2022 Dakar Youth Olympics were postponed by four years in further fallout from delaying the Tokyo Olympics to 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The Youth Summer Games would be the first Olympics organized in Africa.

Kate Winslet to be honoured with Tribute Actor Award at Toronto International Film Festival 2020

  • Actor Kate Winslet will receive the Tribute Actor Award during the 2020 Toronto International Film Festival on 15 September. The Oscar-winning actor will receive the honour during the virtual gala following her latest film, Francis Lee's Ammonite.
  • Last year, the inaugural TIFF Tribute Gala honoured Meryl Streep, Taika Waititi, Mati Diop, and Joaquin Phoenix.

NPS subscriber base registers growth of 30 % in first quarter of FY2020-21

  • The National Pension System, NPS subscriber base has registered a growth of 30 per cent in the first quarter of this financial year. Finance Ministry said, one lakh three thousand individual subscribers are from the private sector and 206 corporates were enrolled during the 1st quarter, resulting in a total of over 10 lakh corporate subscribers.
  • After the onset of COVID-19, employers have adopted deeper measures to ensure adequate support to employees in terms of their financial well-being.
  • Chairman of Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority Supratim Bandyopadhyay said, the NPS scheme has been a success amongst the corporate employees.

RBI approves reappointment of Shyam Srinivasan as Federal Bank MD, CEO

  • The Reserve Bank of India has approved the reappointment of Shyam Srinivasan as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Federal Bank with effect from September 23 till September 22, 2021. The bank received the approval from the apex bank on July 16.
  • The private lender, in its Q1 results announced on July 15, reported 4 per cent growth in net profit at Rs 401 crore as against Rs 384 crore in the same period last year.

RBI sees robust investor interest in G-Sec auction to raise Rs.30,000 crore

  • The auction of four Government Securities (G-Secs) on Friday to raise Rs.30,000 crore saw robust investor interest, with the 5.09 per cent G-Sec maturing in 2022 receiving the highest quantum of competitive bids of about 5.8 times the notified amount of Rs.3,000 crore.
  • The weighted average price (WAP) and weighted average yield (WAY) at the auction of the two-year G-Sec was at Rs.101.88 and 3.9516 per cent, respectively, as per the results of the auction conducted by the Reserve Bank of India.

Real dethrones Barcelona, wins 34th LaLiga title

  • Real Madrid clinched the 2019-’20 La Liga title with a 2-1 win over Villareal at Estadio Alfredo di Stefano to win their 34th Spanish league title, moving eight clear of nearest rivals Barcelona. Trailing Barcelona by two points heading into the final eleven games of the season, Zinedine Zidane’s embarked on a 10-match winning streak to leave Barcelona in their wake.

Roshni Nadar Malhotra, India's Wealthiest Woman, New Chief Of HCL Tech

  • Roshni Nadar Malhotra, India's wealthiest woman, is now the chairperson of HCL Technologies, the Noida-based IT company. She succeeds her father, Shiv Nadar. The appointment of non-executive director Roshni Nadar Malhotra to the new role takes effect immediately.
  • Shiv Nadar will continue to be HCL Tech's managing director, with the designation as the chief strategy officer.

South Central Railway’s Ongole Sub-Division Office bags WATER HEROES AWARD from Jal Shakti Ministry

  • The Ongole Sub-Division Office of South Central Railway has bagged the WATER HEROES AWARD, from Ministry of Jal Shakti, Government of India. The Ongole Sub-Divisional Office of Vijayawada Division, Andhra Pradesh, South Central Railway led by Pratham Agarwal, Assistant Divisional Engineer have been declared as winner in the “Water Heroes Award” for the month of April, 2020 launched by Ministry of Jal Shakti .

Tokyo Olympic Venues Lined Up, Schedule Remains The Same

  • The 42 venues for next year’s delayed Tokyo Olympics have been secured and the competition schedule will remain almost identical to the one that would have been used this year. The Athletes Village and the main press center have also been lined up for 2021.
  • The opening ceremony for the Olympics will be on July 23, 2021. However, women's softball and soccer will open on July 21, men's soccer on July 22, and archery and rowing on July 23.
  • On July 24, the first full day after the opening, the first medal event will be the women's 10-meter air rifle.