Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 April 2020

Current Affairs for IAS Exams - 24 April 2020


PM addresses nation on nationalpanchayat raj day

  • Prime Minister NarendraModi hailed the contribution of Rural India to the fight against Coronavirus in his address on National Panchayati Raj Day today.
  • Interacting with Gram Panchayats across the nation he said that the slogan of "Do gajDehkidoori" given by rural India showed the wisdom of the people. He appreciated the slogan, saying that it motivates people to practice social distancing.
  • Prime Minister added that this crisis has shown the need for self reliance. He said that every Gram Sabha, every block and every district needs to be self reliant for its basic needs.
  • Prime Minister also launched the e-Gramswaraj Portal and Mobile app as a portal to prepare and plan Gram Panchayat Development Plans. He said that the portal will ensure real time monitoring and accountability. The portal is a major step towards digitization down to the Gram Panchayat level.
  • The Swamitva scheme was also launched in pilot mode in 6 states to map rural inhabited lands using drones and latest survey methods. The Prime Minister said that the scheme will ensure streamlined planning, revenue collection and provide clarity over property rights in rural areas. 
  • This will open up avenues for applying for loans from financial institutions by the owners. Disputes related to property would also be settled through the title deeds allotted through this scheme.
  • The interaction was an opportunity to establish direct dialogue between the Prime Minister and the Gram Panchayat representatives. The PM said that the progress of Panchayats will ensure the development of the nation and democracy.

Parliamentary committee submits report on Industrial Relations Code, 2019

  • The Parliamentary Committee on Labour, in its report on the Industrial Relations Code, 2019, submitted on Thursday, has recommended that “in case of natural calamities, payment of wages to the workers until the re-establishment of the industry may be unjustifiable”.
  • The Industrial Code makes it incumbent upon the employer to pay 50% wages to the workers/employees who are laid off due to a shortage of power, coal, raw material and such instances for 45 days.
  • The committee has, however, expressed reservation on payment of the prescribed percentage of wages to the workers in the event of closure of an establishment due to “natural calamity”.
  • The committee has suggested that “clarity” be brought in so that employers “not responsible for closure or lay off, are not disadvantaged in case of such natural calamity of high intent”.
  • Committee Chairman and senior BJD leader BhartruhariMahtab said that the ongoing lockdown to check the spread of COVID-19 can be counted as one such calamity.



RBI’s LTRO auction seeks poor response

  • The first auction of the second tranche of Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) targeted long term repo operations (TLTRO 2.0), which were meant for liquidity support to non-banking financial companies, (NBFCs), received poor response as total value of bids received from banks was almost 50% less than the notified amount.
  • The RBI received 14 bids worth ₹12,850 crore in the auction that was conducted on Thursday, against a notified amount of ₹25,000 crore, of three-year tenor.
  • While announcing the auction, the RBI had said that the funds availed from Thursday’s auction should be deployed in investment grade bonds, commercial paper (CPs) and non-convertible debentures (NCDs) of NBFCs. At least 50% of the total funds availed of by the banks was mandated to be deployed in small and mid-sized NBFCs.
  • NBFCs, including housing finance companies and MFIs, are facing stretched liquidity conditions as banks turned risk-averse and choked lending. 
  • Adding to the woes, banks have not extended the three-month repayment moratorium to the NBFCs. NBFCs, however, extended such a moratorium to their customers. As a result, fund inflow for NBFCs has been severely hit.
  • A Crisil report estimated that NBFCs rated by it will see debt obligation worth ₹1.75 lakh crore maturing by the end of June.

Government to suspend IBC rules upto one year

  • In a major relief for corporate borrowers hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, the government has decided to amend the insolvency law to suspend up to one year provisions that trigger insolvency proceedings against defaulters, according to sources.
  • Further, the sources said amendments to the IBC (Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code) would pave the way for banks to restructure loans. The sources said an ordinance would be promulgated to suspend three sections of the IBC for up to one year and a decision in this regard was taken by the Union Cabinet on Wednesday.
  • Sections 7, 9 and 10 of the IBC would be suspended for six months and the suspension time can be extended by up to one year. An enabling provision with respect to extending the time would be part of the ordinance, they added.
  • Suspension of these provisions could be extended up to one year based on the economic situation going forward. The effective date of the amendments coming into force would be the date of promulgation of the ordinance, the sources said.
  • Section 7 and 9 pertain to initiation of corporate insolvency proceedings by a financial creditor and an operational creditor, respectively. Section 10 relates to filing of an application for insolvency resolution by a corporate.


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Indian high commissioner to Bangladesh holds webinar on trade promotion

  • High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das has called upon the business leaders of India and Bangladesh to come forward with innovative ideas in response to the emerging economic scenario in the midst of Corona pandemic in the world.
  • Participating in a webinar organized on Thursday with India Bangladesh Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IBCCI) the High Commissioner said that bilateral trade has been showing significant growth in the last few months and the truck exchanges at ICP Petrapole-Benapole showed positive trends in the month of March 2020. 
  • She urged all the stake holder to work together to tide over the difficulties being faced by the business in both countries due to the ongoing COVID 19 pandemic.
  • President, India-Bangladesh Chamber of Commerce Mr. Abdul Matlub Ahmed expressed the hope that the business will emerge stronger from this adversity. He emphasized upon the need of greater integration, cohesion, capacity building and knowledge sharing in the South Asian region to build a robust trade network.
  • Earlier, following up the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on 15 March led by Prime Minister NarendraModi, a video conference of senior trade officials of SAARC countries, was held on 8 April to discuss the impact of travel restrictions and the larger Covid-19 situation on intra-regional trade.

U.S president favours safe and phased reopening of American economy

  • United States President Donald Trump has favoured safe and phased reopening of the American economy, which has been devastated by the Corona virus pandemic that resulted in more than 50,000 deaths and infected over eight lakh in a matter of few months.
  • More than 95 per cent of the country's 330 million people are under stay-at-home order as a result of the social mitigation measures including social distancing being enforced till 1st of May.
  • Mr Trump yesterday indicated that this might be extended beyond 1st of May, but forcefully advocated the need to gradually open up the economy that is safe. Both the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund have projected a negative growth in the US in 2020.
  • President Trump told reporters at his daily White House news conference on Corona virus, safe and phased reopening of our economy it's very exciting, but it does not mean that we are letting down our guard at all in any way; on the contrary, continued diligence is an essential part of our strategy to get our country back to work to take our country back. The data and facts on the ground suggest that the US is making great progress, he said.


DRDO develops mobile virology lab

  • Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday inaugurated through videoconference a mobile virology research and diagnostics laboratory (MVRDL). It has been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), together with ESIC Hospital, Hyderabad, and the private industry.
  • “The mobile lab will be helpful in carrying out diagnosis of COVID-19 and in virus-culturing for drug screening, convalescent plasma-derived therapy, comprehensive immune profiling of patients towards vaccine development and early clinical trials specific to Indian population,” the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
  • The MVRDL is the combination of a bio-safety level (BSL)-3 lab and a BSL-2 lab and was set up in a record time of 15 days. It can process 1,000-2,000 samples a day, the statement said.
  • The laboratories comply with the biosafety standards of the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) so as to meet international guidelines.
  • The first such MVRDL was developed by the Research Centre Imarat (RCI), Hyderabad, in consultation with ESIC Hospital. It can be positioned anywhere in the country, the statement said.


Former Indian captain Dhoni named IPL’s greatest captain of all times

  • With three Indian Premier League titles with Chennai Super Kings, M.S. Dhoni was named IPL’s Greatest of All Time (GOAT) captain by a Star Sports jury on the 13th anniversary of the league.
  • ‘Captain Cool’, who has a staggering win percentage of 60.11, pippedRohit Sharma, who has led Mumbai Indians to a record four titles.
  • Dhoni has led CSK to eight finals, the most by any captain in the IPL.BesidesRohit,Dhoni also faced stiff competition from GautamGambhir who helped KKR bag two titles. Shane Warne, Adam Gilchrist and David Warner were also a part of the elite nominee list.


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