Daily GK Update: 28th March 2020

Traffic triples on govt’s e-learning portal SWAYAM

  • The traffic on the national online education platform SWAYAM and other digital initiatives has tripled in the last one week, claims the HRD Ministry. Union HRD Minister, Ramesh Pokhriyal commented that the increase is a result of the content being made available free of cost. Pokhiryal had also urged students to continue their learning while at home during this lockdown period.
  • Earlier, the courses of SWAYAM were time-bound and called for advance registration. Now, to promote use of online courses during the lockdown period, the courses are available not only free of cost but also without any registration, the minister added.

Source: The Indian Express

Major relief measures approved for power sector amidst lockdown over COVID-19

COVID-19 | Power minister approves major relief measures for power ...

  • At such an hour of crisis, when the nation is currently under a 21-day lockdown period, the power sector is working 24*7 to ensure that homes and other establishments are properly electrified.
  • “Around 70% of power generation is from coal-based power plants. In order to maintain the continuity of supply of coal by domestic coal companies and transportation by railways, the ministry is in touch with the Ministries of Railways and Coal,” the press release stated.

Source: DNA India

Government exempts farming and allied activities from lockdown: COVID-19

Government exempts farming and allied activities from lockdown

  • The decision has been taken with a view to address problems being faced by the farming community. This will also ensure uninterrupted harvesting of crops.
  • Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar has been constantly monitoring issues related to the farmers ever since the lockdown was enforced. He was apprised of the difficulties the farmers could face in the harvesting of their crops and transporting foodgrains to the mandis. The decision will also allow unhindered harvesting of crops.

Source: DD News

MHA changes rules: State disaster funds to be used to give food, shelter for migrant workers

Coronavirus in India: Home Ministry changes state disaster fund ...

  • The Union Home Ministry on Saturday changed the rules for assistance under the State Disaster Relief Fund (SDRF), facilitating availability of money for food and temporary accommodation for migrant workers during the 21-day lockdown.
  • In a communication to all chief secretaries, the ministry also said medical care and clothing can be provided to migrant workers during the lockdown period announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to combat the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: The Hindu

Covid-19 pandemic | China’s propaganda machinery is in full swing

Covid-19 pandemic | China's propaganda machinery is in full swing ...

  • Currently, there is a full-blown propaganda effort by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) underway to try and make the world forget about China’s ‘original sin’ of allowing the novel coronavirus Covid-19 disease to spread beyond the country. There are at least five elements to this endeavour.
  • First, there is an effort to magnify the scale and scope of China’s mitigation efforts. Hitherto, China had used its economic might and political heft to ensure that the World Health Organization (WHO) kept Taiwan out of the membership of the world body. After the virus outbreak, Beijing has also been able to prevent any WHO criticism of China’s actions.
  • A joint WHO-China report on the coronavirus disease was practically hagiographic in tone, talking about how China had “rolled out perhaps the most ambitious, agile and aggressive disease containment effort in history” and that the measures China has adopted are “the only measures that are currently proven to interrupt or minimize transmission chains in humans.”

Source: Money Control

DRDO’s efforts in fight against COVID-19

DRDO News and Updates from The Economic Times

  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been tracking the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19) since the world media started reporting its devastating impact in China’s Wuhan Province.
  • The DRDO took a call in first week of March 2020 to enhance efforts to create counter measures to stop the spread of the disease in India. By then, the number of affected people in India had already crossed 30. It also started focusing on creating mass supply solutions of critical medical requirements, if COVID-19 becomes a crisis. As a result of focused approach, at present DRDO is ready with four different items ready to be deployed in ‘War against Corona’.

Source: Press Information Bureau

Japanese agency, JICA signs Rs 15,295 crore agreement with Modi govt for major rail infra projects

India, Japan signed major rail projects for public, freight transport

  • The Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Japanese government funding agency, has signed agreements with the Indian government for three rail infrastructure projects, totalling Rs 15,295 crore. The agency has granted an amount of Rs 8,553 crore for phase 1 of the Dedicated Freight Corridor (DFC); Rs 4,262 crore for the Mumbai Trans Harbour Link Project and an amount of Rs 2,480 crore for the Mumbai Metro Line 3 project, according to a PTI report.
  • For phase 1 of the DFC, Rs 8,553 crore loan comes with the objective to cope up with the increase in India’s freight transport demand by building a new dedicated freight railway system between Mumbai and Delhi, JICA said.

Source: Financial Express

Army Chief Launches Operation Namaste, Says Duty To Help Govt Fight Against COVID-19

Indian Army News: Indian Army Chief asks his force to take all ...

  • Launching Operation Namaste to combat the spread of COVID-19, Army Chief General MM Naravane on Friday said it was his force’s duty to help the government in its fight against the pandemic.
  • He asked his troops, deployed on the Line of Control or Line of Actual Control, to not worry about their near and dear ones and cancellation of leaves as a similar situation had been observed during Operation Parakram and the force had come out successfully from it and will execute Operation Namaste too successfully. “In this fight against coronavirus, it is our responsibility to help the government and civil administration. As an Army Chief, it is my priority to keep my force protected and fit too. We can serve in our duties only when we are ourselves protected from coronavirus,” Naravane told reporters here.

Source: Business World