Daily Current Affairs - 10th Sep 2020

Bangladesh launches campaign against fake information, rumours

  • The Bangladesh government has launched a campaign named ‘Asol Chini’ or ‘real-sugar’ to fight fake information and rumour spreading on social media. The Digital Security Agency (DSA) of the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Department and the LICT project of the Bangladesh Computer Council (BCC) will jointly run the campaign to create awareness among people in the country in a three-month campaign.

California wildfires already set the record for number of acres burned in a year: Governor Newsom

  • California wildfires have already set the record for number of acres burned in a year, Governor of the state Gavin Newsom has stated. Fires have already burned 2.3 million acres of land thus far in 2020. At this point in 2019, 118,000 acres of land had burned, he added while addressing members of the press. 14,000 fire fighters were employed for battling the blazes, which left at least eight people dead and destroyed 3,300 structures.

Defence exports increased 700% in 3 years: Rawat

  • In the past three years, the country witnessed a “staggering” 700% growth in defence exports — from Rs. 1,521 crore in 2016-17 to Rs. 10,745 crore in 2018-19, an all-time high and 19th in the list of defence exporters in 2019, according to Chief of Defence Staff Gen. Bipin Rawat.

EPFO decides to pay 8.5% interest during 2019-20

  • The Labour and Employment Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar had chaired the 227th Meeting of the Central Board of Trustees of Employees' Provident Fund. In view of the exceptional circumstances arising out of Covid-19, the Central Board has recommended the same interest rate at 8.50 per cent to the Central Government.
  • It would comprise of 8.15 per cent from debt income and balance 0.35 per cent capital gain from the sale of Exchange Traded Funds, ETFs subject to their redemption by 31st December this year. It further recommended to account such capital gains in the income of the financial year 2019-20 as being an exceptional case.
  • The Central Board accorded approval for an Amendment to Employees’ Deposit Linked Insurance Scheme, 1976 to enhance the maximum assurance benefit to 7 lakh rupees from the present maximum assurance benefit of 6 lakh rupees.

First India-France-Australia Trilateral Dialogue held virtually

  • The first India-France-Australia Trilateral Dialogue was held virtually. The meeting was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Secretary-General, French Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs François Delattre, and Secretary, Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade Frances Adamson. The focus of the dialogue was on enhancing cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • It said the “outcome-oriented” meeting was held with the objective of building on the strong bilateral ties that the three countries share with each other and synergise their respective strengths to ensure a peaceful, secure, prosperous and rules-based Indo-Pacific Region.

Five PSUs under Petroleum Ministry to join International Solar Alliance Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action

  • Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradahan said that five Public Sector Undertakings under his Ministry will be joining International Solar Alliance (ISA) Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (ISA-CSCA) as Corporate Partners. Mr Pradhan said that Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited (BPCL), Hindustan Petroleum Corporation Limited (HPCL) and GAIL (India) Limited will be contributing to ISA’s Corpus Fund. He said, to reduce carbon footprint, these companies will be focusing more on green energy investments such as renewables and biofuels.

Govt aiming to create 5 crore additional jobs in MSME sector: Nitin Gadkari

  • Minister for MSME Nitin Gadkari has said that the Union Government aims to enhance MSME contribution to GDP from about 30 per cent to 50 per cent and in exports from 49 per cent to 60 per cent. Speaking at a virtual meet organised to launch Aatmanirbhar Bharat ARISE Atal New India Challenges by NITI Aayog , Mr Gadkari said, Centre is aiming to create 5 crore additional jobs in the MSME sector which presently employs about 11 crore people.

Govt issues SOP for partial reopening of schools for Class 9th to 12th from 21st September

  • Union Health Ministry has issued Standard Operating Procedure, SOP for partial reopening of schools for Class 9th to 12th from 21st of this month on voluntary basis. Disallowing of sharing of notebooks, pens or pencils, water bottles among students, prohibition of assemblies and sports, encouraging online learning, entry of asymptomatic persons are some of important points of the guidelines.
  • It said, however, written consent of the student's parents or guardians will be required and such visits for teacher student interactions must be organized in a staggered manner.

Happiest Minds Technologies IPO subscribed 126.15 times so far on last day of bidding

  • The initial public offering of IT services firm Happiest Minds Technologies was subscribed a whopping 126.15 times so far on the last day of bidding. The Rs 702-crore IPO, received bids for 2,93,41,84,140 shares against the total issue size of 2,32,59,550 shares. The price band for the offer, which opened for subscription on Monday, has been fixed at Rs 165 to Rs 166 per equity share.
  • The company, promoted by Ashok Soota, has raised Rs 316 crore from anchor investors. Soota was also the founding chairman and managing director of MindTree. He had also served as vice-chairman of Wipro.

I-T Dept issues refund worth Rs 1.01 lakh cr to 27.55 lakh taxpayers till Sept 8

  • The Income Tax Department said it has issued refunds of over 1.01 lakh crore rupees to 27.55 lakh taxpayers between April 1st to September 8th.This includes personal income tax (PIT) refunds amounting to 30,768 crore rupees issued to 25.83 lakh taxpayers and corporate tax refunds amounting to 70,540 crore rupees issued to over 1.71 lakh taxpayers during this period.

India, ADB sign 500 million US dollar loan for Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System corridor

  • India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a 500 million US dollar loan for Delhi-Meerut Regional Rapid Transit System (RRTS) corridor.The first tranche of a total one billion dollar facility, to build a modern, high-speed 82-kilometer Delhi-Meerut RRTS corridor will improve regional connectivity and mobility in India’s national capital region (NCR).
  • The first tranche loan will support construction of the first of three priority rail corridors planned under the NCR Regional Plan 2021 to connect Delhi to other cities in adjoining states.

Japan calls for increased cooperation in the India-Pacific region to counter Chinese expansion

  • Japanese Defence Minister Taro Kono has called for increased cooperation in the India-Pacific region to counter Chinese expansion. Speaking at a webinar Kono pitched for a larger regional mechanism or global mechanism to counter China.
  • Indo Pacific region is largely viewed as an area comprising the Indian Ocean and the western and central Pacific Ocean, including the South China Sea. China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its efforts to advance into the Indian Ocean are seen to have challenged the established rules-based system. Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan have counterclaims in the South China Sea.

Kisan train to transport agri products from Andhra Pradesh to Delhi flagged off

  • The country's second and South India’s first Kisan Train was flagged off. The train will transport material from Anantapur in Andhra Pradesh to Adarsh Nagar Railway Station in Delhi. Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Minister Narendra Singh Tomar, Minister of State for Railways Suresh C. Angadi and Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Jaganmohan Reddy flagged of the train through video link.
  • The first Kisan train was flagged off on 7th of August this year and the train is running between Maharashtra's Devlali and Bihar's Danapur Railway Station.

Narendra Singh Tomar inaugurates 22 bamboo clusters in nine states

  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar had inaugurated 22 bamboo clusters in nine states by virtual mode. These States are Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Assam, Nagaland, Tripura, Uttarakhand and Karnataka. A logo for the National Bamboo Mission was also released.
  • He said, keeping in consideration the importance of bamboo, the Indian Forest Act 1927 was amended in the year 2017 to remove bamboo for the category of trees.

Over Rs 10,000 Cr released by MoRTH under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat scheme

  • Ministry of Road, Transport and Highways (MoRTH) has released over ten thousand crore rupees during the COVID-19 period under Aatma Nirbhar Bharat scheme. The Ministry said, another sum of two thousand 475 crore rupees is being processed and is likely to be released soon.
  • The Ministry said, it has taken various steps to ensure ease of doing business and to boost stakeholder confidence in building quality road infrastructure in the country. The Ministry said, this has proved extremely beneficial towards timely completion of National Highway projects in the country.

PM Modi to digitally launch Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana & e-Gopala App

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will digitally launch the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY). He will also inaugurate the e-Gopala App, a comprehensive breed improvement marketplace and information portal for direct use of farmers. The PMMSY is a flagship scheme for focused and sustainable development of fisheries sector in the country with an estimated investment of Rs. 20,050 crore. The investment of Rs. 20,050 crore under PMMSY is the highest ever in the fisheries sector. The project envisages investment of Rs. 1,390 crore in Bihar.

Public Sector Banks' doorstep banking services launched by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

  • Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharam inaugurated Doorstep Banking Services by Public Sector Banks (PSBs), which will provide the convenience of banking services to the customers at their doorsteps. The services can be rendered by doorstep banking agents deployed by the selected Service providers at 100 centres across the country.
  • As part of the EASE Reforms, Doorstep Banking Services is envisaged to provide the convenience of banking services to the customers at their doorstep through the universal touchpoints of Call Centre, Web Portal or Mobile App. Customers can also track their service request through these channels.
  • At present only non-financial services like pick up of negotiable instruments (cheque, demand draft, pay order, etc), pick up new cheque book requisition slip, pick up of 15G or 15H forms, pick up of IT or GST challan, issue request for standing instructions, request for account statement, delivery of non-personalised cheque book, demand draft, pay order, delivery of term deposit receipt, acknowledgement, etc, delivery of TDS or Form 16 certificate issuance, delivery of the pre-paid instrument or gift card are available to customers.

Rijiju requests WADA to lift ban on NDTL

  • Claiming that the National Dope Testing Laboratory (NDTL) is now ‘fully compliant’ with the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) requirements, Union Sports Ministry Kiren Rijiju has requested WADA to lift the suspension on NDTL.

Serena Williams enters semi-finals of US Open of 11th consecutive time

  • In the US Open, Serena Williams has pulled out another three-setter to reach the semifinals in an 11th consecutive appearance. Williams trailed by a set and a break against Tsvetana Pironkova before coming back to win 4-6, 6-3, 6-2. Two more victories for Williams, and she will claim a record-tying 24th Grand Slam singles title.

Shooters of all categories to be given ammunition & targets from Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range, other academies: Kiren Rijiju

  • Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju has announced that shooters of all categories - elite, developmental and Khelo India - will be given ammunition and targets from Dr Karni Singh Shooting Range and other accredited academies so that they can continue training at their home range.
  • The minister said owing to coronavirus athletes are facing difficulty going to their facilities and this decision will help them to continue training in their nearby academies.

Silver Lake to invest Rs. 7,500 cr. in RIL retail arm

  • Silver Lake Partners, an American private equity firm specialising in large- scale technology investment, is set to invest Rs. 7,500 crore in Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd. (RRVL), a subsidiary of Reliance Industries Ltd. (RIL), for a 1.75% stake.
  • Silver Lake’s investment is the second billion dollar investment by the company in a Reliance Industries subsidiary after its $1.35 billion investment in Jio Platforms announced earlier this year. Silver Lake bought a total of 2.08% equity stake in RIL’s telecom and digital services arm Reliance Jio for Rs 10,202 crore.

Travel and tourism may lose Rs. 5 lakh crore: study

  • The Indian travel and tourism industry, one of the worst-impacted sectors by the COVID-19 pandemic, may suffer a loss of Rs. 5 lakh crore, or $65.6 billion, this year, according to the latest research report from the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and hospitality consulting firm Hotelivate.
  • The organised sector alone is likely to lose $25 billion. The figures are quite alarming and the industry needs immediate measures for survival, according to the report.
  • This is the one of the worst crises ever to hit the Indian tourism industry impacting all its geographical segments – inbound, outbound and domestic, almost all tourism verticals – leisure , adventure, heritage, MICE, cruise, corporate and niche segments.

Unicef report says Child Mortality Rate in India has declined substantially

  • India’s child mortality rate has declined substantially between 1990 and 2019. According to the new mortality estimates released by UNICEF, the World Health Organization (WHO), the Population Division of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs and the World Bank Group, the under-five mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) in India declined to 34 in 2019 from 126 in 1990.
  • The country registered a 4.5 per cent annual rate of reduction in under-five mortality between 1990-2019. The number of under-five deaths in India dropped from 3.4 million in 1990 to 824,000 in 2019. The infant mortality rate (deaths per 1,000 live births) in India declined from 89 in 1990 to 28 last year.

Yuvraj to come out of retirement

  • Former India all-rounder Yuvraj Singh has decided to come out of retirement, giving in to a request from the Punjab Cricket Association more than a year after he called it quits from international cricket. Yuvraj had announced his retirement from all forms of cricket last June. Since then, Yuvraj featured in the Global T20 league in Canada and the T10 league in Dubai last year.