Daily GK Update: 26th June 2020

KVIC launches Sandalwood and Bamboo plantation, a new initiative to spur monetization of its assets

  • The Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), in a first of its kind initiative has begun exploring the untapped but highly profitable venture of sandalwood and bamboo tree plantation for monetization of its assets. Seeking to encourage commercial plantation of sandalwood and bamboo, the KVIC has begun a drive with plantation of 500 saplings each of sandalwood and bamboo at its Nashik training center spread over 262 acres of land.
  • Union Minister for MSME, Shri Nitin Gadkari has lauded the initiative of KVIC.
  • KVIC has procured sandalwood saplings from Fragrance and Flavour Development Centre (FFDC) Kannauj, a unit of the Ministry of MSME, in Uttar Pradesh and Bamboo saplings from Assam. Plantation ceremony was launched through video-conference by KVIC Chairman, Shri Vinai Kumar Saxena yesterday.
  • The plantation of the Sandalwood has also been planned with an eye on creating an asset for the KVIC as it is estimated to fetch between Rs 50 crore to Rs 60 crore in the next 10 to 15 years. A sandalwood tree matures in 10 to 15 years and as per the current rate, sells at Rs 10 lakh to Rs 12 lakh each.
  • Likewise, a special variety of bamboo, Bambusa Tulda, used for making Agarbatti sticks, brought from Assam has been planted in Maharashtra with an aim to support the local Agarbatti industry and to create regular income for the training center.

Source: Ministry of Micro,Small & Medium Enterprises

Dr. Harsh Vardhan launches Indian Red Cross Society’s ‘eBloodServices’ Mobile App

  • Dr Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare launched the ‘eBloodServices’ mobile App developed by The Indian Red Cross Society (ICRS), here today, through a video conferencing. The Union Health Minister is also the Chairman of Indian Red Cross Society.
  • This application is developed by the E-Raktkosh team of Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) under the Digital India scheme launched by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in 2015. Dr. Harsh Vardhan said, “In keeping with the people-centered vision of the Hon. Prime Minister, Digital India has now become an integral part of every person’s daily life. This Blood Donation App is a prime example of how the Digital India Scheme is serving the need for accessing blood services”. He added that “Many people require blood related services on regularly because of certain medical conditions in their families. Through this App, four units of blood can be requisitioned at a time and the blood bank will wait for as long as 12 hours for the person to collect it. This app makes it easy for those in need to request for Blood units at IRCS NHQ.” At a time when the country is facing such a pandemic, the Mobile App will provide succor to all those who direly require blood, he stated.

Source: Ministry of Health and Family Welfare

NITI Aayog Launches Behaviour Change Campaign, ‘Navigating the New Normal’,and Website

  • NITI Aayog, in partnership with Bill andMelinda Gates Foundation (BMGF), Centre for Social and Behavioural Change (CSBC), Ashoka University, and the Ministries of Health and WCD, today launcheda behaviour change campaign called ‘Navigating the New Normal’, and its website.
  • Focusing on Covid-safe behaviours, especially wearing masks, during the ‘Unlock’ phase of the ongoing pandemic, the campaign was launched in the presence of NITI Aayog Member Dr V.K. Paul, CEO Amitabh Kant, Principal Scientific Adviser Prof. K. Vijayraghavan, BMGF Country Director Hari Menon, noted lyricist and CEO and CCO of McCann Worldgroup India Prasoon Joshi.Senior officials of NITI Aayog, Ministry of Health and Family Welfare,and BMGF were also present. As many as 92,000 NGOs and civil society organisations(CSOs) working with NITI Aayogtoo participated in the virtual launch, which was done via a webcast.

Source: NITI Aayog

J&K Bank launches products to provide financial support to business communities

  • In Jammu and Kashmir, in order to provide adequate financial support to different business communities to overcome business challenges due to the prevailing conditions, J&K Bank has launched two products titled ‘J&K Bank Business Support Loan Scheme 2019-20’ and ‘J&K Bank Business Support Loan Scheme 2019-20 for Hotels and Guest Houses’.
  • Launching the schemes, the Lt Governor G C Murmu said the bank’s schemes are a timely financial intervention for businesses of the region especially hotels and guest-houses which are crucial for the sustenance and development of tourism sector and calling for collaborated efforts by all stakeholders in this direction.

Source: All India Radio

June 26 observed as International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking

  • In 1987, the United Nations General Assembly decided to observe 26th June as the International Day against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking as an expression of its determination to strengthen action and cooperation to achieve the goal of an international society free of drug abuse.
  • The theme for this year’s International Day Against Drug Abuse and Illicit Trafficking is “Better Knowledge for Better Care”. The theme emphasizes the need to improve the understanding of the world drug problem and how in turn, better knowledge will foster greater international cooperation for countering its impact on health, governance and security.
  • Supported each year by individuals, communities and various organizations all over the world, this global observance aims to raise awareness of the major problem that illicit drugs represent to society.
  • Around 269 million people used drugs worldwide in 2018, which is 30 per cent more than in 2009, while over 35 million people suffer from drug use disorders, according to the latest World Drug Report.

Source: DD News

IIT-Bombay decides to hold online classes from next semester in wake of COVID-19

  • Indian Institute of Technology-Bombay has decided to scrap face-to-face lectures and has instead opted for online classes, starting from the next semester, in view of the COVID-19 pandemic. IIT-Bombay director Subhasis Chaudhuri said in a statement to the media that after a long deliberation in the Senate yesterday, the institute has decided that the next semester will be run purely in the online mode so that there is no compromise on the safety and well being of the students.
  • He added that IIT Bombay is planning extensive online classes to ensure that its students begin the academic year without further delay. The details will be informed to all students in due course of time. Meanwhile, other IITs are also likely to follow the suit. However, no final decision has been taken yet.

Source: All India Radio

Clare Connor to become first female president of MCC in 233-year history

  • Former England captain Clare Connor is set to become the first female president of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), guardian of the laws of the game, in its 233-year history.
  • Connor was on Wednesday named as the successor to current chief Kumar Sangakkara, who steps down from the post next year.
  • The nomination of Connor, who is currently the ECB’s managing director of women’s cricket, was made by Sangakkara himself during Wednesday’s Annual General Meeting.
  • Connor will take up the post on October 1 next year, pending approval by the club’s members, as Sangakkara has been invited to remain in the role for a second twelve-month tenure due to the impact of Covid-19 on the cricketing landscape.

Source: Business Standard

IMF sharply lowers forecast for global growth this year

  • International Monetary Fund (IMF) has sharply lowered its forecast for global growth this year, saying the coronavirus pandemic is causing a much steeper recession and a slower recovery than initially expected. IMF predicts that the global economy will shrink 4.9 per cent this year, significantly worse than the 3 per cent drop it had estimated in its previous report in April.
  • IMF’s chief economist Gita Gopinath told reporters that the global economic damage from the recession will be worse than from any other downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, the outlook is slightly rosier than those provided by the World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Source: All India Radio

Shri Dharmendra Pradhan inaugurates Product Application and Development Centre at Paradip, Odisha;

  • PADC has been setup by Indian Oil at Paradip with a capex of Rs 43 crores, adjacent to its Refinery and Petrochemicals complex. There are 4 laboratories in PADC namely Polymer Processing Lab, Analytical Testing Lab, Chemical Analysis Lab and Characterisation Lab.The Technical centre is equipped with 50 latest sophisticated polymer testing and processing equipment to cater to the needs of customers and new investors. PADC, Paradip is recognized as a research centre by the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research (DSIR), Ministry of Science & Technology, Govt of India.
  • PADC will act as incubation centre for new entrepreneur development in and around Odisha in the field of Plastics.The centre will render assistance to customers and investors in product and application development for polymer finished products such as molded furniture, houseware, wovensacks for packaging cement, fertiliser, healthcare applications like baby diaper, personal protective suit, mask etc.The centre will carry out testing and developmental activities for investors of Paradeep Plastic Park and other clusters like Balasore and Khurda.The centre will impart requisite product and process training to the prospective and budding investors including hand holding activities for plant set-up, selection of machinery and material. PADC will provide quality assurance, complaint handling, customer support, benchmarking studies, new & niche grade development and application development activities.

Source: Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas

RBI directs banks, NBFCs, digital lending platforms to disclose full information

  • To make digital lending more transparent, the Reserve Bank of India has directed banks, Non Banking Financial Corporations and digital lending platforms to disclose full information upfront on their websites to customers. The direction comes against the backdrop of several complaints relating to exorbitant interest rates and harsh recovery measures, among others, against lending platforms.
  • The RBI said that immediately after sanction of loan, a letter must be issued to the borrower on the letter head of the bank/ NBFC concerned. It also said that a copy of the loan agreement along with a copy each of all enclosures quoted in the loan agreement shall be furnished to all borrowers at the time of sanction/ disbursement of loans. It also asked the banks and NBFCs to create awareness about the grievance redressal mechanism.

Source: All India Radio