Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 April 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 20 April 2020


Govt. launches online data pool of critical HR for combating COVID

  • Government has launched online data pool of critical human resource for combating and containing COVID-19. Health Ministry said, it has created an online data pool on of doctors including nurses and other health care professionals, volunteers from National YuvaKendras, NCC, PradhanMantriKaushalVikasYojana and ex-Servicemen for use by the ground level administration at state, district or municipal levels. 
  • It contains state wise and district wise availability of the large pool of human resources from various groups along with contact details of the nodal officers. 
  • The Ministry said that dashboard is available for use by various authorities to prepare Crisis Management and Contingency Plans based on the available manpower, in coordination with nodal officers for each group. 
  • This database can also be used to utilise the services of volunteers for enforcing social distancing at banks, ration shops, mandis and for providing help to elderly, divyang and orphanages. 
  • This will also help States and Union Territories to move human resources from one location to the other for their utilisation.

Centre prohibits e-commerce companies from delivering non-essential goods

  • Government today said the supply of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies will remain prohibited during the lockdown. 
  • Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla issued an order excluding the non-essential items from sale by the e-commerce companies from the consolidated revised guidelines, which listed the exemption given to the services and people from the purview of the lockdown.
  • Mr.Bhalla  has also written to state Chief Secretaries, clarifying that while the supply of non-essential goods through e-commerce remains prohibited, the supply of essential goods will be allowed.



Govt. procures pulses and oilseeds from farmers at MSP

  • Central Government has been striving to assure better returns for the farmers  as procurement operations of Pulses and Oilseeds directly from them at Minimum Support Price-MSP are underway in different parts of the country.
  • The procurement under the Price Support Scheme (PSS) in Rabi 2020-21 season is currently in progress in Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana.
  • As on 16th of this month, over 1. 33 lakh Metric Tonnes  of Pulses  and over  29 thousand 264 Metric Tonnes  of Oilseeds were  procured by NAFED and Food Corporation of India  valued at around 785 crore rupee.
  • Toor is being procured from farmers by NAFED at MSP under Price Stabilisation Fund (PSF) scheme and also for the buffer stock of pulses. Toor procurement is underway in the States of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka  andTelangana. 
  • During Kharif Marketing Season 2019-20, over 5.32 lakh  Metric Tonnes  of Toor has been procured out of which  over 29 thousand  has been procured in the lockdown period. In Rajasthan, procurement of pulses and oilseeds in Kota Division was stopped after announcement of lockdown.
  • From 15th of this month, 54 centers in Kota division have started functioning and more number of procurement centres will be made operational in coming days. Procurement in remaining Divisions of Rajasthan is proposed from first week of next month.

RBI expects V-shaped recovery for India in 2021-22

  • The Reserve Bank Governor Shaktikanta Das expects a sharp V-shaped recovery for India as projected by the IMF in 2021-22.
  • Quoting IMF's projection of 1.9% growth for India in current fiscal, Das said that India is among the handful of countries that will cling on to positive growth. This is the highest in G20 countries as is estimated by the IMF.
  • The RBI Governor said that the inflation is also expected to fall within the comfort zone of the RBI and will provide policy space for further action.


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OIC warns on rising cases of Islamophobia in India

  • Calling on the Indian government to take steps to protect Muslim minorities who are being “negatively profiled,” facing “discrimination and violence” amidst the COVID-19 crisis, the 57-member Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has criticised what it called “growing Islamophobia” in India.
  • The statement came on the same day Prime Minister NarendraModi had clearly said that “unity and brotherhood” must be the response to the coronavirus, which does not see “race, religion, colour, caste, creed, language or borders before striking.”
  • Last week it had reacted sharply to two similar statements on religious “stigmatisation” of minorities in India by the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).
  • In one statement, the U.S. Commission criticised India, Pakistan and Cambodia for “failure to protect vulnerable religious communities” and “increased stigmatisation”.
  • Meanwhile, on March 30, the United Nations’ Office of The Commissioner for Human Rights had issued a more general statement against the “exploitation” of coronavirus-related fears by groups and politicians to “scapegoat minorities” in various countries.

Former Afghan president welcomes Indian involvement in talks

  • Former Afghan President Hamid Karzai has welcomed the American gesture to bring in India into the ongoing negotiation for sustained peace in the war-torn country. 
  • The response followed hours after U.S. Special Representative ZalmayKhalilzad discussed the state of the peace talks and the coronavirus crisis in South Asia with External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar.
  • During his visit to Delhi in January, Mr. Karzai had also pitched for India’s support to the U.S.-Taliban and intra-Afghan process in meetings with Prime Minister NarendraModi and National Security Advisor AjitDoval.
  • Mr.Khalilzad on Saturday made the move and said, “I reached out to Indian External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar yesterday to discuss the latest on the Afghan peace process.” He said that both sides discussed the issue of release of prisoners. “We also spent some time covering the immediate and longer-term impact of the coronavirus.”
  • The development is significant as it came days after a six-nation talk on the Afghan scenario was held which had excluded India.


ICMR finds presence of bat coronavirus in Indian bat species

  • As the world grapples with the coronavirus pandemic, researchers have found the presence of a different kind of coronavirus -- bat coronavirus (BtCoV) -- in two bat species from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu, according to a first of its study by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR).
  • Twenty-five bats of Rousettus and Pteropus species from Kerala, Himachal Pradesh, Puducherry and Tamil Nadu were found positive for BtCoV."These bat coronaviruses have no relation with SARS-CoV2 responsible for the COVID-19 pandemic," Yadav said, adding that Pteropus bat species were earlier found positive for Nipah virus in 2018 and 2019 in Kerala.
  • The detection and identification of such viruses from bats also recommends cross-sectional antibody surveys (human and domestic animals) in localities where the viruses have been detected.
  • Similarly, if the epidemiological situation demands, evidence-based surveillance should also be conducted, the study said while emphasing on the need of developing strong mechanisms for working jointly with various stakeholders such as wildlife, poultry, animal husbandry and human health departments.
  • The reverse-transcription polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) tests and sequencing were used for the confirmation of the findings.


German tennis legend urges authorities for closed door tennis tournaments

  • German legend Boris Becker has urged tennis authorities to seriously consider playing tournaments, behind closed doors, in order to save the careers of lower-ranked players.
  • In an Instagram live session with Indian great Vijay Amritraj on Saturday, the six-time Grand Slam winner said it was time for the multiple governing bodies — ATP, WTA and ITF — to unite and come up with a relief plan.
  • “While in the US and Europe there are several events where a majority of the revenue comes from television, in Asia and the Middle East that’s not the case. Television is not as big a money-spinner in tennis,” he stated.


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