Daily Current Affairs - 04th Oct 2020

After record high, forex reserves decline $3 bn to $542 bn: RBI data

  • After touching a lifetime high in the previous week, the country's foreign exchange reserves declined by $3.017 billion to $542.021 billion in the week ended September 25, RBI data showed.
  • In the week ended September 18, the reserves had increased by $3.378 billion to a record $545.038 billion.
  • During the reporting week, the decline in the forex kitty was mainly due to a fall in foreign currency assets (FCAs), a major component of the overall reserves.
  • FCAs decreased by $1.523 billion to $499.941 billion, the central bank data showed.

Boris Johnson to talk Brexit with von der Leyen as trade negotiations end

  • UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will hold talks with the president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen in order to discuss the current post-Brexit negotiations and steps that needs to taken forward.
  • The decision of call was taken after the EU commission announced steps to initiate an infringement procedure against the UK. The infringement step was taken in after London’s plans to pass a controversial bill that override the parts of the bilateral Brexit agreement.
  • The fight is over a post-Brexit trade deal Bill that UK has passed. According to UK, the controversial legislation will ensure a barrier-free trade between the United Kingdom’s four constituent nations while EU is accusing the UK of breaching the “good faith” of the withdrawal agreement. This controversy has arisen when the UK and the EU are in the final round of negotiations on a post-Brexit trade deal.

Centre to waive compound interest on loans up to Rs 2 cr for six-months due to coronavirus pandemic

  • In a relief to individual borrowers and medium and small industries, the Centre has agreed in the Supreme Court to waive compound interest (interest on interest) charged on loans of up to two crore rupees for a six-month moratorium period announced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • It said, the government will seek due authorization from Parliament for making appropriate grants in this regard and the endeavour shall be over and above the support of 3.7 lakh crore rupees to MSMEs, 70,000 crore rupees for home loans already extended through the Garib Kalyan and Atmanirbhar packages announced by the government earlier.
  • Finance Ministry said, the government has decided that the relief on waiver of compound interest during the six-month moratorium period shall be limited to the most vulnerable category of borrowers. This category of borrowers, in whose case, the compounding of interest will be waived, would be MSME loans and personal loans of up to two crore rupees.
  • The loans were categorized into eight categories by the government including MSME (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), education, housing, consumer durable, credit card dues, auto, personal, and consumption.

Czech Republic PM''s party wins big in regional ballot amid pandemic

  • The senior party in the Czech Republic's coalition government dominated the country's regional elections and is ahead in the first round of voting for Parliament's upper house.
  • The Czech Statistics Office said that with ballots from almost 100% of polling stations counted, the ANO (YES) movement led by Prime Minister Andrej Babis won 10 of the 13 regions contested during voting.
  • The result was a sign of a stable support for ANO, which won nine regions in 2016.

EC appoints Ex IRS officer Madhu Mahajan & B. R Balakrishnan as Special Expenditure Observers for Bihar Assembly Polls

  • Election Commission has appointed Ex IRS officer Ms. Madhu Mahajan and B. R Balakrishnan as Special Expenditure Observers for General Election to Legislative Assembly of Bihar, 2020.
  • The commission said, Special Expenditure Observers in consultation with the Chief Electoral Officer of Bihar will be supervising and monitoring the work being done by the electoral machinery.
  • Earlier, Madhu Mahajan was also appointed as Special Expenditure Observer for Tamil Nadu and Karnataka during Lok Sabha Election, 2019 and Maharashtra Assembly Election, 2019.

Govt announces state mourning on Oct 4 as mark of respect to Kuwait's Amir

  • The Centre announced one-day state mourning on October 4 across India as a mark of respect to Amir of Kuwait, Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmed Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, who passed away on September 29.
  • The national flag will be flown at half mast on all buildings throughout India where it is flown regularly and there will be no official entertainment on the day.

Gujarat HC decides to upload one important judgement in Gujarati language daily on its website

  • Gujarat High Court has decided to upload one important judgement in Gujarati language daily on its website. This unique initiative has been launched from 2nd October, the birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
  • Chief Justice of Gujarat High Court Mr. Justice Vikram Nath had expressed his desire to upload daily one judgement on its website in Gujarati language. The Judges of the Artificial Intelligence Committee of the Gujarat High Court also recommended the same. Now the high court has started uploading the one order or judgment per working day in Gujarati language on its website for the benefit of litigants and general public.

India, Bangladesh hold second edition of naval exercise in Northern Bay of Bengal

  • The second edition of the bilateral naval exercise Bongosagar between India and Bangladesh was held in Northern Bay of Bengal. Ships from both navies participated in surface warfare drills, seamanship evolutions and helicopter operations. Indian Navy ships Kiltan, Khukri & Bangladesh Navy ships Abu Bakr, Prottoy,and MPA undertook manoeuvres, surface drills, operations and seamanship evolutions.
  • Bongosagar will be followed by the third edition of India Bangladesh Coordinated Patrol (CORPAT) on 4-5 October.
  • The first edition of the Exercise Bongosagar, was held in 2019. The Exercise Bongosagar and IN - BN CORPAT reflects the priority Indian Navy accords to Bangladesh Navy as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security And Growth for All in the Region).

Indian Coast Guard Fast Patrol Vessel ICGS Karnaklata Barua commissioned at Kolkata

  • The Indian Coast Guard Vessel Karnaklata Barua was commissioned at Kolkata. It is the fifth and last in a series of Fast Patrol Vessel (FPV) built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) Ltd.
  • Indian Coast Guard Vessel Karnaklata Barua was named after a teenage freedom fighter who was shot dead in Assam during the Quit India Movement. The other four are ICGS Priyadarshini (named after Indira Gandhi), ICGS Annie Besant, ICGS Kamala Devi (after Kamala Devi Chattopadhyay), and ICGS Amrit Kaur.
  • These ships are suited for patrolling, maritime surveillance, anti-smuggling, anti-poaching operations and also for fishery protection, and rescue and search missions.

Novak Djokovic advances to fourth round at French Open

  • In Tennis, world number one Novak Djokovic beat Daniel Elahi Galan and reached the French Open fourth round. The Serb, bidding for his 18th Grand Slam title, beat the Colombian qualifier 6-0, 6-3, 6-2.
  • Djokovic will face 15th seed Karen Khachanov of Russia for a place in the quarter-finals. It is the 11th consecutive year that Djokovic has reached the last 16. Aiming for a second French Open title, Djokovic barely looked troubled against the world number 153.

PM inaugurates strategic Atal Tunnel in Rohtang, Himachal Pradesh

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the world's longest Atal Tunnel in Himachal Pradesh's Rohtang which will reduce the travel time between Leh and Manali by 4-5 hours and the distance will be shortened by 46 Kms.
  • The 9.02 Km long tunnel connects Manali to Lahaul-Spiti valley throughout the year. Earlier, the valley was cut off for about 6 months every year due to heavy snowfall.
  • The Tunnel is built with ultra-modern specifications in the Pir Panjal range of Himalayas at an altitude of 3000 meters (10,000 Feet) from the Mean Sea Level (MSL).
  • The historic decision to construct a strategic tunnel below the Rohtang Pass was taken on June 03, 2000, when late Atal Bihari Vajpayee was the Prime Minister. The foundation stone for the access road to the South Portal of the tunnel was laid on May 26, 2002.

PM to inaugurate Summit RAISE 2020- ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020’ on Oct 5

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Summit RAISE 2020- ‘Responsible AI for Social Empowerment 2020 on October 5. The Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology and NITI Aayog are organizing the Mega Virtual Summit on Artificial Intelligence-AI from 5th to 9th of October.
  • RAISE-2020 will be a global meeting of minds to exchange ideas and chart a course for using AI for social transformation, inclusion and empowerment in areas like Healthcare, Agriculture, Education and Smart Mobility, among other sectors.

Reliance develops RT-PCR kit that can give Covid-19 results in two hours

  • Reliance Life Sciences has developed an RT-PCR kit that promises diagnosis of Covid-19 infection in about 2 hours.
  • At present, Covid-19 RT-PCR test, which is a real-time reverse transcription-polymerase chain reaction (rRT-PCR) test for the qualitative detection of nucleic acid from SARS-CoV-2, takes up to 24 hours to give a diagnosis.
  • The sources said computational biologists at Reliance Life Sciences, a subsidiary of billionaire Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries Ltd, analysed more than 100 genomes of SARS-CoV-2 sequenced in India and designed unique RT-PCR primers for developing quantitative-Real Time PCR (RT-PCR) kit for Covid-19 detection.
  • RT-PCR kit is so far considered as Gold standard.

Social activist Pushpa Bhave passes away at 81 in Mumbai

  • Veteran social activist Pushpa Bhave was cremated in Mumbai at Shivaji Park.
  • She has been associated with the Rashtra Seva Dal and democratic movements since her student days. She was also an academician and an intellectual, who fought for the rights of common citizens. She had taken part in the Samyukta Maharashtra movement and the Goa liberation movement. During the Emergency, she had offered her home as shelter to underground political workers.

Visnu Shivaraj Pandian wins gold in 10 meter air rifle event of International Online Shooting Championship

  • India's Visnu Shivaraj Pandian won the 10m air rifle event at the fifth edition of the International Online Shooting Championship yesterday. The 16-year-old Visnu shot 251.4 to win the title by a clear margin of two points.
  • The second place was won by world no. 27 Etienne Germond of France while Olympic quota winner Martin Strempfl of Austria took the third place.

West Bengal Launches Pathashree Abhijan Scheme To Repair 7,000 Roads In State

  • West Bengal government has launched the “Pathashree Abhijan” scheme. It is a road repair scheme, where more than 7,000 stretches of roads comprising 12,000 kilometers across the state will be repaired in a mission mode and in a time-bound manner.
  • The government of West Bengal has collated a list of the roads that will be repaired under the new scheme as the people of the state reached out to the Chief Minister through the ‘Didi Ke Bolo’ initiative of the government.

World Day For Farmed Animals: October 2

  • World Day for Farmed Animals was celebrated on October 2, 2020 by the International animals’ welfare organization, World Animal Protection along with the Asia for Animals coalition in order to bring the focus on the need to treat farm animals as sentient beings.
  • The day is being organised by the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM) since 1983.