Daily GK Update: 30th March 2020
Asian Development Bank to invest $100 million in Indian infrastructure sector via NIIF
- Multilateral institution Asian Development Bank (ADB) on Monday announced a USD 100 million funding for the Indian infrastructure sector through the government-promoted NIIF.
- The Manila-based body will be investing in the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund’s (NIIF) fund of funds which will ensure that the actual money invested will be a few times more than the USD 100 million.
- The investment announcement comes at a critical time for India, as the already sagging economic growth is feared to be taking a heavy hit due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Source: The Indian Express
Rajasthan celebrates Statehood Day
- Every year, Rajasthan celebrates its Statehood Day on March 30. Popularly known as “Land of the Kings”, it is the largest Indian state in area. The day is also called “Rajasthan Day”.
- This year, the state is silent due to the lock down in the country. Usually there are radiant and invigorating events held all over the state. The state was earlier called ‘Rajputana’. It got its recognition and its name as Rajasthan when it was formed on March 30, 1949.
- Rajasthan was formed with the unification of states namely Kota, Tonk, Shahpura, Pratagarh, Kishangarh, Jhalawar, Dungarpur, Bundi and Banswara. The Maharana of Udaipur joined Rajasthan after three days of its formation.
Source: Competitive India
ITTF suspends events till June 30, freezes world rankings
- The International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) has suspended all planned events till June 30 and froze the world rankings due to the upheaval caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. The ITTF Executive Committee met yesterday to discuss the effects of the Corona virus outbreak on the international table tennis events schedule.
- The ITTF said in a statement that due to the continued uncertainty caused by COVID-19 pandemic and postponement of Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympics Games, the Executive Committee decided to suspend all currently planned ITTF events and activities that involve international travel until 30th of June.
Source: All India Radio
Tamil Nadu Governor allocates funds for fight against COVID-19
- Tamil Nadu Governor Banwarilal Purohit has allocated ₹1 crore each to the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund (CMPRF) from the Governor’s Discretionary Grant, for the fight against COVID-19.
- The Governor has appealed to people to contribute generously to the PM-CARES Fund and CMPRF to help the needy.
Source: The Hindu
No ice makes it a tough winter for seal pups in Baltic Sea: Study
- Grey seals need ice – which helps them keep a distance from predators like wolves or foxes – in order to breed pups during the winter.
- Without it, they have been forced onto islets they would not normally inhabit, causing overcrowding, disrupting the breeding season and reducing the survival rate of newborns.
- “There were some islands that were white, all covered with seal pups … We haven’t seen such a picture before,” researcher Mart Jussi, who has studied seals for the last 30 years, said. He said some of the larger islands were so over-populated that he estimated the mortality rate among seal pups there would be at least 50 percent. That high rate was in part because pups lose their mothers more easily and so don’t get enough food. Around 3,000 seal pups are born each year on the Baltic Sea coast. “Most of the pups are going to die right now,” Jussi added.
Source: DD News
Coronavirus lockdown may interrupt operations in 21 mines in Odisha
- The outbreak of the deadly Covid-19 pandemic has queered the pitch for seamless continuity in operations of 21 iron ore, manganese and chromite mines in Odisha. The state government had recently auctioned these blocks whose leases are expected to expire by March 31, 2020.
- To facilitate a smooth transition in ownership of mines and their uninterrupted operations, the government, through an Ordinance, extended the validity of all statutory permits by two years. The state government too, showed alacrity in completing auction formalities well before the end of lease tenure of mines. But a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus and the consequential delay in paperwork needed to resume these mines is bound to delay the recommencement of the mines. Miners expect a delay of at least a month.
Source: Business Standard
Finance Minister, RBI meeting on Tuesday to decide first-half borrowing plan for FY21
- The Finance Ministry and RBI will hold a meeting on Tuesday to decide on government’s borrowing plan for the first half of 2020-21 amid the lockdown to contain the spread of coronavirus. According to sources, the government would resort to front-load its borrowing plan to deal with the challenges posed by COVID-19 on the economy.
- The meeting between the Finance Ministry and Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be held through video conferencing for the first time as there is lockdown across the country, the sources said.
- Post meeting, the borrowing calendar for issuance of dated government securities and short term papers will be announced in the evening.
Source: The Economic Times
No plan to extend 21-day lockdown, says Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba
- The Prasar Bharati News Service, India’s public broadcaster, has said that reports claiming that the government may further extend the 21-day nationwide lockdown are false.
- Referring to a report carrying the headline Modi govt could extend coronavirus lockdown by a week as migrant exodus triggers alarm’, Prasar Bharati said the news is fake.
- In a tweet on Monday, PBNS said, PBNS got in touch with the Cabinet Secretary Rajiv Gauba on this news article, “The Cabinet Secretary expressed surprise and said that there is no such plan of extending the lockdown.”
- After a day’s Janata Curfew on March 22, Prime Minister Modi on March 24 announced a countrywide lockdown from March 25 for a period of 3 weeks.
Source: India Today
Government approves insurance scheme for health workers fighting COVID-19
- The government today approved the insurance scheme for health workers fighting the novel coronavirus. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman, on March 26, announced a Rs 50 lakh insurance cover per person for frontline health workers involved in managing the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. The announcement was part of a slew of measures announced by the finance minister under the Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan package.
- “The medical insurance scheme would include sanitation staff, doctors, Asha workers, paramedics and nurses. These professionals are not considering their own health risks and have been attending to Coronavirus patients,” FM announced at a presser.
Source: The Economic Times
Coronavirus: National Skill Training Institutes to be used as Covid-19 quarantine centres
- The Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship decided to make the various National Skill Training Institutes (NSTIs) and their hostels acros India available as quarantine centres during the Coronavirus pandemic.
- “The decision was taken by the Ministry to align its efforts with the Centre in preparedness for the pandemic that has caused tens of thousands of deaths globally,” an official statement said.
- India implemented a nationwide lockdown last week to encourage social distancing among people and prevent the spread of coronavirus.
Source: India Today
Earth Hour: A Symbolic Movement of “Lights OFF” to save environment
- Since 2007, every year million participate in the campaign called “Earth Hour” on March 28.
- The main aim of the marking Earth Hour is to call attention towards global warming, loss of biodiversity and climate change.
- The event also brings people together.
Source: The World News Monitor
PM pays tribute to IAF’s Chandan Singh – Remembering the legacy of the gallant Maha Vir Chakra holder
- The missions Singh undertook required meticulous planning and forethought, and guided by Gen Sagat Singh, Chandan Singh would personally carry out dangerous reconnaissance that consistently put his life in jeopardy
- On 7 December, Singh conducted eight helicopter airlift operations deep in enemy territory, believed to have been critical to the success of India’s campaign
- On 26 January, 1972, Chandan Singh Rathore was awarded India’s second highest military honour, the Maha Vir Chakra
Source: Times Now News
APMC issues guidelines to prevent crowding
- With vegetable traders deciding to stop work to protect themselves from the novel coronavirus, the Agricultural Produce Market Committee (APMC) board has come up with strategies to keep the market functioning without crowds.
- The market saw a huge rush of customers on March 28, as vegetables were brought in on 1,200 trucks. The traders decided to stop work for their own safety. “We understand the traders’ concerns but at the same time, it is important that the essentials reach the citizen, so we have made a plan,” said Anil Chavan, secretary of the APMC board.
Source: The Hindu
PMO sets up high-level panels to deal with situation post lockdown; restore normalcy
- The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Sunday constituted ten different high-level committees to suggest measures to ramp up healthcare, put the economy back on track and reduce the misery of people as quickly as possible post 21-day lockdown imposed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
- These committees looking after various aspects will work under the overall guidance of P K Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister, sources said.
Source: Business Line