Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 April 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 23 April 2020


Cabinet approves relaxation of Aadhar seeding for PM KISAN beneficiaries in some states

  • The Cabinet today gave its approval to relax the mandatory requirement of Aadhaar data seeding for beneficiaries of Assam, Meghalaya and Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh for release of benefits to them under PM-Kisan Scheme upto 31st March next year.
  • From 1st December, last year, release of benefits is done only through Aadhaar seeded data of beneficiaries uploaded by the State and UT Governments on the PM-KISAN portal, except in case of the States of Assam and Meghalaya and the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh, which have been given exemption from this requirement till 31st March this year as Aadhaar penetration there has been miniscule.
  • It has been assessed that it would take much more time for the States of Assam and Meghalaya and the UTs of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh to complete the work of Aadhaar seeding of data of beneficiaries and the beneficiaries of these States / UTs may not be able to avail the benefits of the Scheme from 1st April onwards, if the relaxation from mandatory requirement of Aadhaar seeding of data is not extended.
  • The PradhanMantriKisanSammanNidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme aims to provide income support to all landholder farmer families across the country with cultivable land, subject to certain exclusions. Under the Scheme, an amount of 6 thousand rupees per year is released in three 4-monthly instalments of 2 thousand rupees each directly into the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

Government brings in new ordinance making violence against health professionals non-bailable offences

  • The Union Cabinet  has approved promulgation of Ordinance to amend the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897 in the light of COVID-19 pandemic situation  making  acts of violence against the healthcare  workers as cognizable and non-bailable offences.
  • Under it , there is a provision  to provide compensation for injury to healthcare service personnel or for causing damage or loss to the property. Briefing media in New Delhi after the Cabinet meeting, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, PrakashJavadekar said that health workers who are trying to save the country from this COVID-19 pandemic  are unfortunately facing attacks. 
  • Mr.Javadekar said, no incident of violence or harassment, against them will be tolerated. He said the investigation  into the cases of attack on healthcare workers will be completed within 30 days and judgment will be pronounced within one  year.



Principal economic adviser moots more calibrated monetary and fiscal stimulus

  • Principal economic adviser SanjeevSanyal has said that more calibrated monetary and fiscal stimulus measures are on the anvil to deal with the economic fallout from Covid-19 and the consequent lockdown. 
  • International passenger travel would remain shut for a long time, not for weeks but for months, he said citing examples of sectors which will continue to be non-functional. 
  • As far as internal economy is concerned, he said, it will be opened up in phases and efforts would be made to provide a cushion to the sectors hit hard by the lockdown through a series of measures from both fiscal and monetary sides.
  • Sanyal said the RBI has already announced two stimulus packages and Governor Shaktikanta Das has hinted at more measures in the future depending on requirement.
  • To mitigate hardships faced by the poor, he said, the government last month announced a staggering 1.70 lakh crore rupees package to cushion the bottom of the pyramid by providing free food and ex-gratia.
  • He said the world has also recognised efficiency of India's administrative machinery in handling such kind of lockdown without much of a problem.

World Bank expects 20 % plunge in remittances amid COVID

  • The World Bank today said, the remittances are expected to plunge by about 20 percent globally this year due to Covid-19 pandemic.
  • In its report, the Bank said the biggest decline in recent history, as closures cause a global recession and job losses that prevent workers from sending money to their families back home.
  • It said, developing countries are losing a key source of revenue as the coronavirus pandemic causes worldwide shutdowns, sharply reducing payments from workers living abroad.
  • The report mentioned that total remittances, which comprise up to one-third of the economies of some poor countries, are expected to fall to 445 billion dollar from 554 billion dollar in 2019.

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U.K plans to maintain social distancing throughout the year

  • British government's chief medical adviser has warned that social distancing measures in the UK may well have to stay in place for the rest of the year.
  • Professor Chris Whitty said at the government's daily briefing that he's confident a vaccine will have proof of concept well within a year. But he said the probability of having that, or a treatment, any time in the next calendar year is incredibly small.
  • As a result, we're going to have to rely on other social measures, which of course are very socially disruptive as everyone is finding at the moment.
  • He said ministers will have to decide what mix of measures will have to remain in place once the UK goes through the peak of the coronavirus and beyond.

Iran confirms on launch of military satellite into orbit

  • Amidst tension with the US, Iran today said that it had successfully launched its first military satellite into the orbit.
  • The Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA), the official website of Iranian govt, quoting the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reported today that the first military satellite “Noor”, which means light was successfully put into orbit. The satellite was launched from three-stage carrier Ghased and was placed in 425-km orbit.



Researchers develop grapheme based material for separating oil from water

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati claim they have developed graphene-based "superhydrophobic" material that can separate oil and water, thus having wide uses in industry and healthcare.
  • IIT Guwahati researchers manipulated graphene, a form of carbon, to have superhydrophobic properties suitable for separation of oil from water in emulsions, said their research paper in the Chemical Science journal.
  • The team developed a method to produce graphene oxide-polymer composite with "hierarchical topography and low surface energy chemistry in the confined space". They further deposited iron oxide nanoparticles on the two dimensional nanosheets, which made the entire material magnetically active.
  • This graphene oxide species was capable of selectively soaking up tiny crude-oil droplets in oil-to-water emulsions with high absorption capacity (above 1000 wt%), as well as coalescing larger oil droplets of emulsions from water-in-oil emulsions, the institute claimed.
  • There is extensive global research on using "wonder material" graphene - a carbon allotrope similar to graphite, but much stronger and lighter - in applications that require superhydrophobicity, but attempts to engineer its composition have proved challenging.


Tennis star Roger Federer suggests merger of tours

  • Roger Federer on Wednesday called for a merger between the ATP and WTA Tours, as tennis wades through a lengthy shutdown.
  • “Just wondering  am I the only one thinking that now is the time for men’s and women’s tennis to be united and come together as one?” tweeted the Swiss. “I am not talking about merging competition on the court, but merging the 2 governing bodies (ATP and WTA) that oversee the men’s and women’s professional tours .


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