Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 April 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 19 April 2020


Centre to allow relaxation in notified services after April 20th

  • The Centre in its revised guidelines has allowed certain relaxations in the notified services from 20th of April in areas without Hotspots. A series of directives have been put in place to ensure a strict compliance of lockdown. 
  • AIR Correspondent reports, all agricultural and horticultural activities such as farming operations by farmers and farm workers in field will remain fully functional. The agencies for procurement of agricultural products, including Minimum Support Price operations, will be at work. 
  • Mandis operated by the Agriculture Produce Market Committee or as notified by the states will be allowed to operate. Shops of agriculture machinery, its spare parts and repairs will remain open. 
  • Manufacturing, distribution and retail of fertilisers, pesticides and seeds have been permitted to remain open. Movement harvesting and sowing related machines within and across the states is allowed. 
  • Operation of the fishing aquaculture industry, movement of fish and fish products and workers of all these activities are allowed. The guideline also allows operations of tea, coffee and rubber plantations with maximum of 50 per cent workers. 
  • In case of Animal Husbandry, activities like collection, processing, distribution, and sale of milk and its products by milk processing plants including transport and supply chain are permitted.  Poultry farms, livestock farming activity are allowed. Animal feed manufacturing and feed plants and operation of animal shelter homes are permitted.

Centre reviews FDI policy, makes government nod mandatory 

  • The Government of India reviewed the existing Foreign Direct Investment policy in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic. The new provisions of the policy aim towards curbing opportunistic takeovers and acquisitions of Indian companies. 
  • The new norms state that an entity of a country sharing land border with India can invest only under the Government route. The policy is also applicable for entities whose owner is a citizen or is situated in any such border sharing country.
  • For Pakistan based owners, citizens or entities investment could be made only under the Government route in sectors other than defence, space, atomic energy and other notified sectors prohibited for foreign investment.



RBI reduces reverse repo rate, boosts liquidity further

  • Amidst the steep fall in the rupee and the continuing volatility in other segments of the financial market, Reserve Bank of India today announced several regulatory measures. 
  • While addressing media, RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das announced to slash the reverse repo rate from 4 per cent to 3.75 per cent while keeping the repo rate unchanged. He also announced 50,000 crore rupees booster package for small and medium-sized industries to recover from the lockdown.
  • The RBI Governor declared that the period of resolution plan for NPAs will be extended by 90 days and the loans given by NBFCs to real estate companies will get similar benefit as given by the scheduled commercial banks. 
  • He said that these measures will help to maintain liquidity in the system, facilitate and incentivize bank credit flows, ease financial stress and enable formal working of markets.
  • Mr Das also said that India's growth rate is expected to be highest among G20 nations, as per IMF estimates. The Governor mentioned that pre-monsoon kharif sowing has been aggressive and the IMD has forecasted a normal southwest monsoon.

Study finds more than half of top 500 firms could face liquidity crisis

  • Over half of the top 500 companies listed on the National Stock Exchange could find themselves strapped for cash to even make routine payments in the aftermath of the COVID-19 induced lockdown.
  • As per data analysed by Acuite Ratings & Research Ltd. exclusively for The Hindu, out of 467 of the top 500 NSE-listed companies, excluding banks, 257, or 55% of them, have less than 100% cushion for bearing fixed and debt-servicing costs.
  • In other words, they will need additional funds through debt or equity to maintain their operations or have to cut back on their existing costs.If one limits it to only fixed costs and assumes that the lenders will provide moratorium or refinance, then the number of companies having less than 100% cushion reduces to 208 or 45%.
  • So, in other words, 208 companies, among the top 500 listed companies in India, excluding banks, don’t have enough liquidity or cash to pay for their existing fixed costs.
  • Out of these 208 companies, 153 companies, or 33%, don’t have even 50% cushion i.e. they will not be in a position to pay even half of the fixed costs in Q1 unless if additional cash is generated from business or if promoters infuse funds.
  • And 210 companies can service both fixed costs and debt repayments comfortably without any business activity given their liquidity position.


JOIN Full Online Course for UPSC PRE Exam

General Studies Pre. Cum Mains Study Materials


UN report finds China allowing North Korea to evade sanctions

  • On October 10 last year, eight North Korean vessels — several carrying illicit coal shipments — were anchored in Chinese waters off the port of Ningbo-Zhoushan, according to a photo in a UN report published online on Friday.
  • That appears to be a lax enforcement by China of UN sanctions aimed at curbing Pyongyang’s nuclear programme under which countries are required to inspect cargo destined to or coming from North Korea that is within their territory or being transported on North Korean-flagged vessels.
  • The annual report to the UN Security Council by independent sanctions monitors said North Korea continued to flout council resolutions “through illicit maritime exports of commodities, notably coal and sand” in 2019, earning Pyongyang hundreds of millions of dollars.
  • According to a Security Council member, Chinese warships have received notification in real time on multiple occasions of vessels entering its territorial waters who have been observed to be in violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, the diplomat said.
  • China’ policing of neighbour North Korea’s adherence to UN sanctions is considered crucial to the effectiveness of the measures, spearheaded by the U.S. and unanimously adopted by the Security Council.
  • Under UN sanctions imposed in 2017 all countries were also required to repatriate North Koreans working abroad by the end of last year to stop them earning foreign currency.

UAE imposes heavy fine on spread of misleading information regarding pandemic

  • In United Arab Emirates, publishing or circulating fake, misleading and unapproved health information relating to communicable diseases and epidemics on any of the media sites or social media is prohibited and will be a punishable offence and the violators will be fined AED 20,000.
  • The UAE Government tweeted today that it is strictly prohibited for anyone to publish, re-publish or circulate false, misleading, misrepresented, unofficially published or unapproved health information or guidelines by the Ministry of Health and Prevention or the health regulators using any media, social media or method of publication or circulation. 
  • Contradicting what has been announced by the health authorities is also prohibited, according to the tweet.The tweet further added that this decision has been taken in the interest of the community.


Reduced trials show hydroxychloroquine does not reduce virus overload

  • Results of a randomised, control trial using hydroxychloroquine drug in 150 COVID-19 patients show that the drug does not reduce the viral load even on day 28. 
  • Seventy-five patients got the drug and standard of care while the remaining got only standard of care. Patients were given 1,200 mg of the drug for three days followed by 800 mg daily for two and three weeks in patients with mild/moderate and severe symptoms, respectively.
  • Researchers from the Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, who led the team say that in contrast to other trials that have shown good results, the randomised trial did not show that hydroxychloroquine drug was able to suppress viral replication.
  • This is the first trail using hydroxychloroquine where patients have been randomised to receive either the drug or just standard of care.However, patients who got the drug did show quicker alleviation of clinical symptoms, possibly through anti-inflammatory properties and improvement in white blood cell count.
  • The authors say that the dosage used in the trial was meant to reach the 50% effective concentrations of hydroxychloroquine against the virus. “It is not likely to have additional anti-viral effects by further escalating dosage,” they write.
  • The researchers observed “moderate increase” in while blood cell count and “significantly greater reduction” in the marker for inflammation. These effects were seen after fifth day of treatment and continued till the end of the treatment.
  • “These encouraging results suggest clinical benefits of adding hydroxychloroquine into the current standard management to limit inflammatory response, which is the key to prevent systemic inflammation and subsequent multiple organ failure and death,” they write.


Former Tour de France champion raises huge amount with turbo bike challenge

  • Former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas has raised £300,000 for Great Britain’s National Health Service after a 36-hour indoor cycling stint. 
  • The Welshman rode a trio of 12-hour rides over three days on a turbo bike in the garage of his home in Cardiff in a bid to raise funds to tackle the coronavirus outbreak. The 12-hour rides were to emulate a typical shift of an NHS worker.


Click Here For Today's Current Affairs MCQ's

Click Here for Old Current Affairs Archive

This is a Part of Online Coaching Programme for UPSC Exam

Buy Printed Study Material for UPSC PRELIMS EXAM

Join Test Series for IAS (Pre.) Exam