Daily Current Affairs - 19th Sep 2020

1,100 indigenous PPE kit manufacturers developed by govt till date, says Smriti Irani

  • From zero manufacturers in March this year, as many as 1,100 indigenous manufacturers of PPE kits have been developed by the government till date and most of them are from the MSME sector. In a written reply to the Lok Sabha, Textiles Minister Smriti Irani said, the capacity and production of PPE coveralls for COVID-19 touched a peak of 5 lakh per day in mid-May 2020.
  • As on September 13, a total of 1.42 crore PPE kits have been supplied to HLL Lifecare Ltd, the procurement arm of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, for the use of health professionals in government hospitals.

13th IPL to kick-start in Abu Dhabi

  • The 13th edition of Indian Premier League will begin at Abu Dhabi in the United Aarab Emirates on September 19. Rohit Sharma led Mumbai Indians will take on Mahendra Singh Dhoni led Chennai Super Kings in the opening match of the IPL.
  • The tournament, which has been shifted to the UAE due to COVID-19 pandemic, is a TV only event. In all, 60 matches will be held in three avenues- Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Dubai. All the participating teams have arrived in UAE to fight it out in a neutral venue away from their home conditions.

Angel Broking announces Rs. 600-cr. IPO

  • Angel Broking Ltd. has announced an initial public offering (IPO) of equity shares to raise Rs. 600 crore. The IPO, which will open for subscription next week, will include a fresh issue of Rs 300 crore, and an offer for sale (OFS) of Rs 300 crore from existing investors of the firm. Angel Broking plans to use the funds raised through the issue for general corporate purposes and to fulfill the capital requirements of the company. The price band for the issue has been fixed at Rs 305-306 per share.

Apple brings online store to India September 23

  • Apple will launch the Apple Store online in India on September 23, offering Apple’s full range of products and support directly to customers across the country for the first time. The new online store will provide customers with the same premium experience found in Apple store locations around the world, delivered by online team members who are ready to offer their expertise.

BRICS countries agree to continue support WHO to tackle COVID pandemic

  • BRICS countries have agreed to continue supporting the World Health Organization in playing a leading role, and to strengthen BRICS countries' cooperation in bio-safety governance and vaccine research and development.
  • The 10th meeting of National Security Advisors of BRICS countries was held via video link. Member nations exchanged views on wide ranging issues including bio-safety, anti-terrorism and cyber security. India was represented by NSA Ajit Doval.

E-commerce to grow 40% to $38 bn in 2020, says Redseer

  • E-commerce revenue is forecast to grow 40% to $38 billion in 2020, helped by an anticipated strong sales performance in the festival season, according to Redseer, a management consulting firm. The online festive sale has always been an important indicator of India’s e-commerce growth story and last year’s festive sale was the biggest so far,” the report said.
  • Players such as Flipkart, Snapdeal and Amazon reported major growth in Bharat sales and most of their growth was driven by tier 2 and tier 3 orders. Items including electronics, apparels, lifestyle, home essentials etc sold the most last year however, due to coronavirus pandemic and a new wave of customers, category mix this year will look different as compared to previous years.

E-way bill generation in Aug. tops Rs. 13.85 lakh cr.

  • More than 4.87 crore e-way bills valued at over Rs. 13.85 lakh crore, were generated by businesses and transporters in August, reflecting a pickup in economic activity, GSTN data show. Electronic way or e-way bills are required for inter-state movement of goods worth over Rs 50,000. For intra-state movement, limits vary from state to state. As per the data shared by the Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN), 4.76 crore e-way bills, valued at over Rs 13.66 lakh crore, were generated in July.

Eight Indian beaches recommended for coveted Blue Flag international eco-label

  • Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar has said that eight beaches of the country have been recommended for the coveted ‘Blue Flag’ international eco-label. The eight beaches recommended under the BEAMS are Shivrajpur in Gujarat, Ghoghla in Daman and Diu, Kasarkod and Padubidri in Karnataka, Kappad in Kerala, Rushikonda in Andhra Pradesh, Golden in Odisha and Radhanagar in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
  • Mr Javadekar also announced India’s own eco-label ‘Beach Environment and Aesthetics Management Services’ (BEAMS) under its Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) project.
  • Blue Flag certification is a globally recognised eco-label accorded by an international agency ‘Foundation for Environment Education, Denmark’ based on 33 stringent criteria in four major heads–environmental education and information, bathing water quality, environment management and conservation and safety and services in the beaches.

FM introduces Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation & Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 in Lok Sabha

  • Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman introduced the Taxation and Other Laws (Relaxation and Amendment of Certain Provisions) Bill, 2020 in the Lok Sabha for consideration. The bill will replace the ordinance which was promulgated in March this year to provide relaxations related to compliance by extending the time limit and waiving penalty in relation to certain specified laws.
  • These laws include the Income Tax Act, 1961 (IT Act), some Finance Acts, the Central Excise Act, 1944, the Customs Act, 1962, and the Prohibition of Benami Property Transactions Act, 1988. The ordinance which was brought earlier also extended the deadline for filing declaration and due amount under the Vivad Se Vishwas Scheme.
  • The bill provides these relaxations in view of spread of the coronavirus pandemic in India. The bill proposes amendment in the IT Act to provide that donations made by a person to the PM CARES Fund will be eligible for 100 per cent deduction in the taxable income.

Forex reserves down by USD 353 mn to USD 541.66 bn: RBI data

  • After touching a life-time high in the previous week, the country's foreign exchange reserves declined by USD 353 million to USD 541.660 billion in the week ended September 11, according to the Reserve Bank data. The fall in reserves was due to a decline in foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves. FCAs decreased by USD 841 million to USD 497.521 billion in the reporting week
  • In the previous week ended September 4, the reserves had increased by USD 582 million to a record high of USD 542.013 billion.

IFC to provide two trillion dollars to India to develop green buildings

  • The International Finance Corporation has said that two trillion dollars will be provided to India to develop green buildings, improve public transport and to expand renewable sources of energy. IFC's Country Head Jun Zhang said the organisation is committed to urban development in India. Mr. Zhang added that India needs to focus on properly executing its infrastructure and smart city development projects.

Indian Navy aircraft carrier 'Viraat' to begin last journey

  • Viraat, the decommissioned aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy, will begin its last journey from Mumbai’s Naval Dockyard to Alang in Gujarat, where it will be dismantled. The vessel had served the Indian Navy for 30 years before being decommissioned in 2017. The aircraft carrier will be towed by the high capacity tugs owned by Shree Ram Group, the company that has won the bid to dismantle the ship.

PM Modi inaugurates Kosi Rail mega bridge & 12 railway projects in Bihar

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has dedicated the historic Kosi Rail Mahasetu (mega bridge) to the nation through video-conference. He also inaugurated 12 rail projects related to passenger facilities to benefit the people of Bihar. The 1.9-kilometre long Kosi mega bridge has been completed at a total cost of 516 crore rupees.
  • The bridge has connected Mitihila and Kosi region. With the construction of the bridge the rail distance between Nirmali and Saraigarh would come down from the present 298 kilometres to 22 kilometres. This bridge is of strategic importance along Indo-Nepal border

Rajya Sabha passes two Bills to reduce salary, allowances of MPs, Ministers by 30%

  • The Rajya Sabha unanimously passed the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers (Amendment) Bill 2020 and the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The two legislations are related to reduction in the salaries, allowances of the Ministers and Members of Parliament.
  • The bills will replace the two ordinances amending the Salaries and Allowances of Ministers Act, 1952 and the Salary, Allowances and Pension of Members of Parliament Act, 1954. The bills have provision to cut the salaries and other allowances by 30 per cent. These changes have been made for a period of one year effective from 1st of April this year.

Singapore tops global Smart City Index for second year

  • Singapore has topped the Institute for Management Development (IMD) Smart City Index for the second consecutive year, followed by the Finnish capital Helsinki and Swiss city of Zurich.
  • The 2020 Smart City Index measures citizens’ perceptions of the impact that technology has on their lives, surveying them on areas such as governance, health and safety, mobility and opportunities.
  • Four Indian cities -- New Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad, and Bengaluru -- witnessed a significant drop in their rankings in the global listing of smart cities. Hyderabad was placed at the 85th position (down from 67 in 2019), New Delhi at 86th rank (down from 68 in 2019), Mumbai was at 93rd place (in 2019 it was at 78) and Bengaluru at 95th (79 in 2019).

To boost trade, Pak. plans to set up markets on Afghan, Iran borders

  • The Pakistani government has decided to establish 18 markets along Pak-Afghan and Pak-Iran borders with a view to boosting trade with the two countries and curbing the menace of smuggling. The decision was taken at a meeting chaired by Prime Minister Imran Khan. He also gave the nod to a plan for setting up three border markets as a pilot project — two in Balo¬chistan and one in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. These three markets will start operation by February next year.

Tour de France: Andersen registers another win

  • Denmark’s Soren Kragh Andersen claimed his second audacious solo stage win of the Tour de France on Friday with a perfectly timed attack late in the 19th stage, an undulating 166.5-km ride from Bourg en Bresse to Champagnole. Meanwhile Roglic retains overall leader’s yellow jersey.

UN names Indian teenager Udit Singhal to 2020 Class of Young Leaders for SDGs

  • Udit Singhal, an 18-year-old youngster from India has been named by the United Nations to the 2020 cohort of young leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals, the highest-profile recognition opportunity at the world body for youngsters who are leading efforts to combat the world's most pressing issues. Singhal has been named to the 2020 Class of 17 Young Leaders for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • He is the founder of Glass2Sand, a zero-waste ecosystem that addresses the growing menace of glass waste in Delhi.

US bans Chinese apps Tik Tok and WeChat citing threat to national security

  • The United States has banned download of Chinese app TikTok and use of messaging and payment platform WeChat, saying they threaten national security. The ban will come into effect from tomorrow night. The initiative will ban WeChat and TikTok from the online marketplaces operated by Apple and Google. While WeChat will effectively be shut down in the US from tomorrow night, existing TikTok users will be able to continue using the app until November 12 - when it will also face a full ban on its US operations.

WHO calls for protective equipments for frontline medical workers

  • The World Health Organization has called for frontline medical workers to be provided with protective equipment to prevent them from being infected with the Novel Coronavirus and potentially spreading it to their patients and families. WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said one of the keys to keeping patients safe is keeping health workers safe. He said, every day, health workers are not only exposed to infection but also to stress, burnout, stigma, discrimination and even violence.