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Latest Current Affairs - May 2020

Month Type

  1. As per S&T survey 2018 by National Science and Technology Management Information (Under Department of Science and Technology).
    1. Expenditure in R&D -
      1. India’s Gross expenditure in R&D has tripled between 2008 - 2018, from 39437 crores in 2007- 08 to 113825 crores in 2017-18.
      2. India’s per capita R&D expenditure increased to $ 47.2 in 2017-18 from $ 29.2 in 2007-08.
      3. India spent 0.7% of its GDP on R&D in 2017-18, while same among other developing BRICS countries - Brazil 1.3%, Russian Federation 1.1%, China 2.1% and South Africa 0.8%.
    2. Number of researchers -
      1. Number of researchers per million population in India increased to 255 in 2017 from 218 in 2015 and 110 in 2000.
      2. India occupies 3rd rank in terms of number of Ph. D.’s awarded in Science and Engineering (S&E) after USA (39,710 in 2016) and China (34,440 in 2015).
    3. Scientific publication -
      1. India ranks 3rd, in terms of Scientific Publication.
      2. During 2018, India was ranked at 3rd, 5th  and 9th  in scientific publication output as per the NSF, SCOPUS and SCI database respectively.
    4. Resident Patent Filing activity -
      1. India ranks 9th, in terms of Resident Patent Filing activity.
      2. According to WIPO, India’s Patent Office stands at the 7th position among the top 10 Patent Filing Offices in the world
  2. Shobhana Narasimhan from Theoretical Sciences Unit (TSU) at Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR), has been elected as an International Honorary Member to American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
    1. She has done significant work on rational design of nanomaterials, examining how lowering of dimensionality and reduction of size affect material properties. Her work is relevant for a number of different applications, such as nanocatalysts for clean energy applications, and magnetic materials for memory storage.
  3. CSIR Central Road Research Institute (CRRI) developed Kisan Sabha App, to connect farmers to supply chain and freight transportation management system.
    1. Amid COVID 19, farmers are looking for help in their harvest reaching market, seed/ fertilizer procurement, etc. A robust supply chain management is urgently required to facilitate the timely delivery of the produce at the best possible prices.
  4. Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) done away with role of District Level Task Force Committee (DLTFC), headed by Distt. Collectors, in recommending proposals under Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP), thereby simplifying entire procedure.
    1. As per amended guidelines, Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC), nodal agency for implementing PMEGP scheme, will directly clear proposals of prospective entrepreneurs and will forward it to Banks for taking credit decisions.
    2. As of now, proposals were scrutinized by DLTFC, that often led to inordinate delays in sanctioning of projects.
    3. Under PMEGP, loans up to 25 lakhs are given for manufacturing and service industries, in which 15 to 35% subsidy is provided by KVIC.
    4. Since its launch in 2008, PMEGP scheme has been receiving over 35000 applications per year.
  5. Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare added 200 new mandis from 7 States to e-NAM platform, bringing total e-NAM mandis in country to 785.
    1. It is for first time that Karnataka State has been added to e-NAM. e-NAM is now also integrated with Unified Market Platform (UMP) of Karnataka’s Rashtriya e-Market Services (ReMS).
    2. This is for the first time in India that two different e-trading platforms for Agri commodities of this scale will be made interoperable.
    3. e-NAM has over 1.66 Crore Farmers & 1.28 lakh traders registered.
    4. Ministry recently launched 2 major modules in e-NAM, to deal with COVID-19. These modules are -
      1. Warehouse based trading module in e-NAM software to  facilitate trade from warehouses based on e-NWR (Negotiable Warehouse Receipt).
      2. FPO trading module in e-NAM whereby FPOs can trade their produce from their collection center without bringing produce to APMC (Agricultural produce market committee). 
  6. May 1 is Formation day of Gujarat and Maharashtra. Both states were formed on May 01, 1960, when Bombay state was split.
  7. May 1 -  Labour Day, also known as International Worker's Day and May Day. In India, first celebration of the Labour Day was organised in Madras by Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan on May 1, 1923. 
    1. Labour Day commemorates happenings of May 4, 1886, the Haymarket affair (Haymarket Massacre) in the Chicago.  It was a big event as workers were on the general strike for their eight-hour workday, with protests getting violent.
  8. Black rice of Manipur (Chak-Hao), Gorakhpur Terracotta (Uttar Pradesh), Kadalai Mittai of Kovilpatti (Tamil Nadu) and Kashmir Saffron received Geographical Indication tag.
    1. Black rice's colour is mainly due to anthocyanin agent, suitable for creating dessert, porridge.
    2. Kovilpatti Kadalai Mittai is a pea nut candy made in southern parts of Tamil Nadu.
    3. Kashmir Saffron is long, thick and has natural deep red colour. Also, it has high aroma and is processed without adding any chemicals. Kashmir Saffron is the only saffron in the world that is grown at an altitude of 1,600 metres.
  9. US placed India and 9 Other nations (Including China) on Priority Watch List due to lack of measurable improvements in intellectual property framework.
    1. US alleged that intellectual properties and their enforcements have deteriorated equitable market access for Americans in these countries. Other countries - Argentina, Algeria, Chile, Russia, Indonesia, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, Ukraine, China.
    2. Countries that were removed from the list included Canada, Kuwait and Thailand.
  10. Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region directed Arunachal Pradesh Government to include members of Hajong and Chakma communities in COVID-19 relief programme.
    1. These communities are migrants from East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and are still living in relief camps. They came to India in 1964.
    2. Chakmas were predominantly Buddhists and Hajongs were Hindus. They inhabited Chittagong hills in East Pakistan, and migrated to India due to construction of Kaptai dam across Karnaphuli river in 1960s.
    3. Currently, they do not have citizenship or land rights.
  11. Environment Ministry cleared proposal for new Parliament Complex at 922 crores.
    1. According to CPWD, Parliament was constructed 93 years ago and building a new building is of utmost importance.
    2. Central Vista Redevelopment project aims to build a triangular parliament building. It will revamp 3-km long Raj Path from Rashtrapati Bhavan to India Gate.
    3. Central Vista houses Parliament House, Rashtrapati Bhavan, India Gate, North and South Block and National Archives.
    4. Parliament House was designed by Edwin Lutyens and Herbert Baker.
      1. Rashtrapati Bhavan was designed by Edwin Lutyens and secretariat that includes north and south block was designed by Herbert Baker.
  12. May 2 - World Tuna Day.
    1. May 2, 2020 is also observed as International Astronomy Day. It is Observed twice a year - one in autumn and another in spring. Next Astronomy Day on September 26, 2020.
    2. May 2, 2020 also represents 100th Birth Anniversary of Noted Filmmaker Satyajit Ray. On this occasion, Ministry of Culture’s Development of Museums and Cultural Spaces (DMCS) launched short film A Ray of Genius.
  13. Indian-origin girl Vaneeza Rupani has been honoured by NASA for naming its 1st Mars helicopter ‘Ingenuity’.
    1. She submitted her essay in “Name the Rover” contest held by NASA, suggesting name ‘INGENUITY’ for the helicopter.
    2. NASA's Mars Rover Perseverance and Helicopter Ingenuity are scheduled to launch in July 2020 and land in February 2021 at Mars.
  14. Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel launched e-book titled Prof. B.B. Lal: India Rediscovered, on occasion of centenary year of Noted archaeologist B. B. Lal (Born May 2, 1921).
  15. India’s epic mythological saga of 1980s, ‘Ramayan’ created the world record of Highest Viewed Entertainment Programme Globally. On 16th April, 2020, it was watched by 7.7 crore viewers globally.
  16. Manipuri doctor Thangjam Dhabali Singh has been conferred Order of Rising Sun by Japan, for promoting better ties.
    1. He is founder of Manipur Tourism Forum (MTF). He had organised 70th anniversary of Battle of Imphal of Second World War.
  17. IIT Madras Professor Thalappil Pradeep has been selected for Nikkei Asia Prize 2020, in category of ‘Science and Technology’.
    1. He would be honoured for his pioneering work in nanotechnology-based water purification.
    2. Other Winners -
      1. Science and Technology - Thalappil Pradeep (India)
      2. Culture and Community - Ram Prasad Kadel (Nepal)
      3. Economic and Business Innovation - Anthony Tan (Malaysia) & Tan Hooi Ling (Malaysia)
    3. Nikkei Asia Prize recognizes individuals who have contributed to region’s sustainable development, in three areas - Economic and Business Innovation, Science and Technology, Culture and Community.
  18. Russia will launch its first Arktika-M satellite to monitor Arctic climate and environment, later in 2020. 2nd Arktika-M satellite will be launched in 2023.
    1. Arktika-M is a remote-sensing and emergency communications satellite. It will help collect meteorological data from polar regions of Earth. Data will help improve weather forecasts and enable scientists to better study climate change.
  19. An analysis of 369 solar-like stars shows that brightness variations of our Sun are extremely weak by cosmic standards, making Sun extraordinarily monotonous. Study is led by Germany's Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research.
    1. For the first time, scientists compared Sun with hundreds of other stars with similar rotation periods and other fundamental properties. Study found that on average, other stars had five times more brightness variability than our sun.
    2. Sun is made up mainly of hydrogen and helium, formed more than 4.5 billion years ago. It stretches about 1.4 million kilometers across and has a surface temperature of 5,500 degrees Celsius.
    3. Records included about 400 years of observational data on sunspots, showing that sun has not been much more active than it is now. his The discovery that sun does not experience as many changes as other stars, may be good news for life on Earth.
  20. NASA selected Space Firms SpaceX, Blue Origin, and Dynetics, to build new lunar landing systems that will carry astronauts to moon by 2024. 3 companies will share amount of $967 million from NASA.
  21. Reliance Industries approved raising over 53125 crores from its shareholders through rights issue, biggest-ever by an Indian company.
    1. Recently, Facebook spent $5.7 billion to buy 9.99% stake in Reliance’s digital arm Jio.
  22. Ralf Speth, Chief Executive of Tata Motors owned Jaguar Land Rover (JLR), has been elected a Fellow of Royal Society in UK.
    1. Active since 1660, Royal Society is the oldest scientific academy in continuous existence.
    2. Indian-origin Persons Vikram Deshpande (University of Cambridge) is also among new Fellows.
  23. As per Mercom India report India Solar Market Leaderboard 2020 -
    1. India installed 7.3 GW of solar capacity in 2019, emerging 3rd largest solar market, with 35.7 GW capacity at end of December 2019.
    2. Solar accounted for 41% of new power capacity additions in 2019 behind coal (44%).
    3. At end of 2019, cumulative rooftop solar installations in India reached 4365 MW, with 1104 MW installed in 2019.
  24. New Zealand Cricketer Ross Taylor won Sir Richard Hadlee Medal for his 3rd time, given to player of the year in New Zealand. Ross became first player from any nation to play 100 international matches in all three formats. Other Winners -
    1. ANZ International Women’s ODI Player of the Year - Suzie Bates
    2. ANZ International Men’s ODI Player of the Year - Kane Williamson
    3. ANZ International Women’s T20 Player of the Year - Sophie Devine
    4. ANZ International Men’s T20 Player of the Year - Ross Taylor
  25. Joseph J Landsberg, Richard H Waring and Nicholas C Coops won 2020 Marcus Wallenberg Prize for forest sector’ for 3-PG (Physiological Principles Predicting Growth), a model to predict forest growth in a changing climate.
    1. Prize will be presented by King Carl Gustaf XVI of Sweden, with prize money of 2 million Kronor.
  26. May 3 - World Press Freedom Day. 2020 Theme is Journalism without Fear of Favor and host nation is The Netherlands.
    1. In December 1993, UNGA following recommendation of UNESCO’s General Conference proclaimed 3 May as World Press Freedom Day.
    2. UNESCO marks World Press Freedom Day by conferring the UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize, created in 1997.
    3. Colombian investigative journalist Jineth Bedoya Lima has been named as laureate of the 2020 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize.
    4. May 3, 2020 is also World Laughter Day, first Sunday of May of every year. First celebration was on January 10, 1998, in Mumbai.
  27. World Bank approved USD 400 million multi-year financial support to India, To enhance and safeguard coastal and marine resources.
    1. First phase will cover eight coastal States - Maharashtra, Karnataka, Goa, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal, along with 3 coastal Union Territories - Puducherry, Andaman, and Nicobar and Daman and Diu.
    2. These states / UTs will get USD 180 million for Enhancing Coastal and Ocean Resource Efficiency (ENCORE).
  28. Government brought Cauvery Water Management Authority(CWMA) under Jal Shakti Ministry, which was earlier under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation.
  29. U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) downgraded Indian ranking by naming it into the list of Country of Particular Concern, from Special Watch List earlier -
    1. This is the first time since 2004 that India has been placed in this category, under International Religious Freedom Act (IRFA) 1998. Total 14 Nations are under this category.
    2. India rejected this US religious freedom report, calling it biased.
  30. Book Shivaji in South Block: The Unwritten History of Proud People, written by Girish Kuber has been released.
  31. Tripura government launched an Agro-Entrepreneur Facilitation Desk to help entrepreneurs to get subsidies and incentives from government agencies such as National Horticulture Board or NABARD.
  32. National Board for WildLife (NBWL) permitted use of 98 hectares of land at Saleki, a part of Dehing Patkai Elephant Reserve in Assam for opencast coal mining project done by Coal India Limited's North-Easter Coal Field (NECF). Rest of area may be used for underground coal mining.
  33. Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) administration signed MoU with Tata Technologies limited to set up 2 Centres for Invention, Innovation, Incubation and Training (CIIITs), to promote skill development. Centres will be at Government Polytechnic Colleges at Jammu and Baramulla.
  34. Book The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, authored by John Bolton will be relased in June 2020.
  35. Reliance Industries Subsidiary Reliance Strategic Business Ventures Limited(RSBVL) increased its stake to 26.3% on a fully diluted basis in US-based SkyTran Incorporated(Inc), a venture-funded technology company which develops modern transport modes including personal rapid transit system.
  36. Manulife Investment Management (Singapore) Pte Ltd acquired 49% stake in Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services’ subsidiary Mahindra Asset Management Company (AMC), for $35 million.
    1. Agreement for the same was inked in June 2019. Mahindra Finance now owns 51% stake in its AMC.
  37. Government extended lockdown for another two weeks, from May 4 till May 17,  under Disaster Management Act 2005. It has been decided amid rising spread of Coronavirus across country.
    1. As per revised lockdown guidelines, several activities have been earmarked as prohibited / allowed, depending on zone they fall under (Red/Orange/Green).
    2. Red Zones are districts which are reporting considerable number of COVID-19 Infections.
      1. Most Activities are not allowed, except delivery of key items and essential services.
    3. Orange Zones are districts which reported considerable number of COVID-19 Infections in past. Allowed Activities -
      1. Taxi Services will be allowed to operate in Orange Zone with condition of only 1 drive and 1 passenger per car.
      2. Inter-district Movement of vehicles and individuals will be allowed, for permitted activities only.
      3. 4-wheelers can have 2 passengers, while 2-wheelers may carry 1 passenger per vehicle.
      4. Delivery of non-essential goods by e-commerce companies. 
    4. Green Zones are districts which have not yet reported any COVID-19 Infections, so far.
      1. All activities will be permitted except for limited activities that have been prohibited across nation, irrespective of the zone. 
      2. Buses will be allowed to operate with upto 50 % seating capacity. 
    5. To fight virus more efficiently, control rooms have been set up in smart cities, designed by private firm Honeywell. It uses artificial intelligence and camera feeds to monitor the city.
    6. Liquor shops have been opened in all Zones. Delhi Govt imposed Special Corona Fee of 70%, on Liquor.
    7. Also, Telangana Govt Extended Lockdown in the state till May 29.
  38. Scientists at Agharkar Research Institute Pune come up with plant data of the Northern Western Ghats, which indicates that plateaus, in addition to forests, should be prioritized for conservation of Northern Western Ghats.
    1. They found that majority of endemic species are therophytes, which complete their life cycle in a short period during monsoon.
    2. Northern Western Ghats have plateaus and cliffs that display maximum endemic species, unlike forests. Forests of Northern Western Ghats harbour many species which are not endemic.
  39. IIT BHU Researchers made significant achievements in developing nanomaterials based supercapacitors to achieve high energy density and power density of supercapacitors.
    1. High energy density of supercapacitors suggests that constant current can be withdrawn for longer duration without recharging. Hence automobiles can run longer distances without charging.
    2. Researchers developed a cost-effective process of producing reduced graphene oxide (rGO) at a moderate temperature of 100°C, with high capacitance performance.
    3. Researchers also developed a novel green approach for synthesis of Iron-based nanocatalyst, which can be used for large scale production of Cabon Nanotubes.
    4. Additionally, Group is working on optoelectronic applications of nanomaterials, for developing novel nanostructures of carbon and metal dichalcogenides semiconductors for photodetection and Surface-Enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS).
    5. SERS can help detect harmful molecules present in water at ultra-low concentrations.  They demonstrated detection of Rhodamine 6G (R6G), an organic laser dye up to lowest limit of sub-nano-molar concentration using rGO and MoS2 nanomaterials.
  40. DRDO's Delhi Based Laser Science & Technology Centre (LASTEC)dreveloped an Ultra Violet (UV) Disinfection Tower for rapid and chemical free disinfection of high infection prone areas, named UV blaster.
    1. UV Blaster is useful for high tech surfaces like electronic equipment, computers and other gadgets in laboratories and offices that are not suitable for disinfection with chemical methods.
  41. Minister for Rural Development and Panchayati Raj and Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar launched The Saras Collection, on Government e Marketplace (GeM).
    1. As a unique initiative of GeM and Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Saras Collection showcases daily utility products made by rural self-help groups (SHGs) and aims to provide SHGs in rural areas with market access to Government buyers.
    2. Under this, SHG sellers will be able to list their products in 5 product categories, namely (i) handicrafts, (ii) handloom and textiles, (iii) office accessories, (iv) grocery and pantry, and (v) personal care and hygiene.
  42. Border Roads Organisation (BRO) Resumed work on strategic Atal Tunnel in the Pir Panjal ranges of Himachal Pradesh, which was halted for 10 days due to COVID-19 outbreak.
    1. 8.8 KM Long Atal Tunnel is being constructed since Manali-Sarchu-Leh road remains closed for six months every year due to Rohtang Pass being completely snowbound between November and May.
    2. Tunnel will connect Manali to Lahaul Valley throughout year and will reduce length of Manali-Rohtang Pass Sarchu-Leh road by 46 kilometres.
  43. Indian Navy launched Operation Samudra Setu, as an effort to repatriate Indian citizens from overseas.
    1. Indian Naval Ships Jalashwa and Magar are enroute to port of Malè, Maldives to commence evacuation, Under Phase-1.
  44. Professor Saurabh Lodha from IIT Bombay received Young Career Award in Nano Science & Technology for 2020, instituted by Department of Science and Technology (DST).
    1. It recognises his pioneering contributions in development of logic transistor technologies beyond silicon and nanoelectronic devices based on two-dimensional Van der Waals materials.
  45. Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) launched GARUD (Government Authorisation for Relief Using Drones), to assist state entities to obtain exemptions from central government to operate drones for COVID-19 purposes.
    1. The portal is significant as several state entities are deploying drones to disinfect public places.
  46. Himachal Pradesh Government launched new programme called Nigah, which aims at educating family members that are coming from other parts of country.
    1. Under Nigah Programme, ASHA, anganwadi and health workers will be deployed to create awareness about maintaining social distancing during home quarantine. Health workers will sensitize members of families that are arriving from other states.
  47. Jharkhand Government launched 3 schemes to increase working hours of MNREGA workers, by generating over 25 crore man days.
    1. Birsa Harit Gram Yojana - Fruit bearing plantations are to be planted on either side of the roads.
    2. Nilamber-Pitamber Jal Samridhi Yojana - Increase ground water by creating 5 lakh crore litres of ground water reserve.
    3. Veer Shahid Poto Ho Khel Vikas Yojana - Playgorunds at panchayat levels to be constructed to promote sports and reserve jobs under sports quota.
  48. As per Centre for Monitoring of Indian Economy, 12.15 Crore people have lost their Jobs amid COVID-19 Outbreak, with 27.1 % Unemployment.
    1. 9.13 Crore daily wagers are out of jobs due to COVID-19 crisis.
    2. Also, 1.82 Crore entrepreneurs are without work.
    3. Around 1.78 Crore salaried workers are also affected due to COVID-19.
    4. Rural unemployment increased from 20.88% to 26.16%.
  49. Russia awarded North Korean leader Kim Jong-un a commemorative war medal, to mark 75th anniversary of victory over Nazis.
    1. Kim was awarded for preserving the memory of soviet soldiers that died during World War II in North Korean territory.
    2. In 1948, diplomatic relations were established between Soviet Union and North Korea. During Korean War, Soviet military forces supported Korean People’s Army. North Korea was established as communist bloc gaining maximum support from Russia.
  50. US President Donald Trump appointed Indian American Manisha Singh as his envoy to OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development).
    1. Also, President Trump appointed Indian American Ashok Michael Pinto as US representative to IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development).
  51. UNICEF released report called Lost at Home, which enforces risks and challenges of internally displaced children and need to protect them.
    1. At end of 2019, around 46 million people were internally displaced due to conflict and violence, with approx 20 Million Children.
    2. Highest number of children that were displaced were in Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
  52. May 4 is observed as International Firefighters' Day (IFFD), established in 1999, after deaths of five firefighters in tragic circumstances in a bushfire in Australia.
  53. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting issued draft guidelines for satellite TV channels -
    1. Ministry listed 11 violation under the guidelines, violation of any of which would cause penalty or prohibition of broadcast for up to 10 days.
    2. No need for Channels to get clearance ever year. Also, Permits will be provided to Indian teleports for up linking foreign channels to increase their business.
    3. Channels registered under ‘news’ category are allowed to make live telecasts. Rest channels have to get permission, to telecast live events.
    4. Non-news channels can live telecast an event (other than in news / current affairs) after registering itself online on Broadcast Seva portal, at least five days before event.
    5. Since 1997, giving preference to Indian satellite was always an integral part of Govt policies. However, this time, guidelines say that only criteria to use a satellite channel is that it should be uplinked on C band or Ku band.
      1. Ku band uses frequencies between 12 GHz and 19 GHz. The C band uses radio frequency between 4 GHz and 8 GHz.
    6. Ministry rejected recommendation of Telecom Regulatory Authority of India, which regulates TV broadcasting as well, for a 50% increase in uplinking and downlinking fee.
  54. First instance of African swine fever has been reported in India, with over 2500 Pigs killed by it in Assam. This does not pose a public health threat, as the disease does not spread to humans.
  55. Traders' body Confederation of All India Traders (CAIT) will launch national e-commerce marketplace 'bharat market', for all retail traders.
    1. It will integrate capabilities of various tech companies to provide end-to-end services in logistics and supply chains from manufacturers to end consumers.
  56. May 5 is observed as -
    1. World Hand Hygiene Day.
    2. International Day of the Midwife, Observed since 1991.
    3. May 5, 2020 is also observed as World Asthma Day, Observed on first Tuesday of May.
    4. Birth Anniversary of 7th President of India, Giani Zail Singh (1982 to 1987).
  57. Himachal Pradesh Cabinet will start Mukhya Mantri Shahari Rojgar Guarantee Yojna. Under it, 120 days assured employment will be provided to people in urban areas. Cabinet also decided to provide assistance of 2,000 to 1 lakh workers registered under Building and Other Construction Workers Board.
  58. Maharashtra Govt announced that all citizens will be covered under state government's health scheme Mahatma Jyotiba Phule Jan Arogya Yojana (MJPJAY), making Maharashtra first state to provide free and cashless insurance protection to people.
  59. Study at US' Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory suggested new paths to catch signals of dark matter particles whose energy is absorbed by the nuclei.
    1. Several experiments have been searching for dark matter particles by knocking into atomic nuclei, known as scattering. It produces tiny flashlights and other forms of signals in these interactions.
    2. Still, Dark matter has been able to defy every form of detector that has been designed to find it. It has been clearly known that dark matter makes up 85 % of total mass of the universe, but what it is made of, is still unknown.
    3. The absorption process can give an affected atom a kick which will cause it to eject a lighter and an energized particle such as an electron. The study mainly focuses on those cases where a neutrino or an electron has been ejected as the dark particle strikes an atom’s nucleus.
    4. Study proposes that some existing experiments can be broadened to also look for these absorption-related types of telltale dark matter signals. Weakly Interacting Massive Particle (WIMP), are among well-motivated candidates to look for Dark Matter.
    5. Researchers are considering other places where dark matter particles might be hiding. For example, sterile neutrinos. It can also be bought in the family of particles known as fermions, which includes protons, neutrinos, and electrons.
  60. Pulitzer Prize 2020 -
    1. Winners -
      1. Letters, Drama, and Music -
        1. Fiction - The Nickel Boys, by Colson Whitehead (Doubleday)
        2. Drama -  A Strange Loop, by Michael R. Jackson
        3. History -  Sweet Taste of Liberty: A True Story of Slavery and Restitution in America, by W. Caleb McDaniel (Oxford University Press)
        4. Biography or Autobiography -  Sontag: Her Life and Work, by Benjamin Moser (Ecco)
        5. Poetry -  The Tradition, by Jericho Brown (Copper Canyon Press)
        6. Music -  The Central Park Five, by Anthony Davis
        7. General Non-fiction -  The End of the Myth: From the Frontier to the Border Wall in the Mind of America, by Greg Grandin (Metropolitan Books) AND The Undying: Pain, Vulnerability, Mortality, Medicine, Art, Time, Dreams, Data, Exhaustion, Cancer, and Care, by Anne Boyer (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)
      2. Journalism -
        1. Public Service - Anchorage Daily News with contributions from ProPublica
        2. Breaking News Reporting - Staff of The Courier-Journal, Louisville, Ky.
        3. Investigative Reporting - Brian M. Rosenthal of The New York Times
        4. Explanatory Reporting - Staff of The Washington Post
        5. Local Reporting -  Staff of The Baltimore Sun
        6. National Reporting - Dominic Gates, Steve Miletich, Mike Baker and Lewis Kamb of The Seattle Times AND T. Christian Miller, Megan Rose and Robert Faturechi of ProPublica
        7. International Reporting - Staff of The New York Times
        8. Feature Writing - Ben Taub of The New Yorker
        9. Commentary - Nikole Hannah-Jones of The New York Times
        10. Criticism - Christopher Knight of the Los Angeles Times
        11. Editorial Writing - Jeffery Gerritt of the Palestine (Tx.) Herald-Press
        12. Editorial Cartooning - Barry Blitt, contributor, The New Yorker
        13. Breaking News Photography - Photography Staff of Reuters
        14. Feature Photography - Channi Anand, Mukhtar Khan and Dar Yasin of Associated Press (India)
      3. Special Awards and Citations -
        1. Ida B. Wells
    2. About Pulitzer Prizes -
      1. Given for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in USA.
      2. Established in 1917 by provisions in will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and is administered by Columbia University in New York City.
  61. Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) will launch SME Services Platform, as a digital platform to educate stakeholders in small and medium enterprises (SME) ecosystem. It will give micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) information about starting operations, getting finance or credit enhancement and other support services.
  62. Corporate Affairs Ministry (MCA) constituted a seven-member committee to examine the comments received on the consultation paper floated by it for enhancing audit independence and accountability in country.
  63. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set up a panel, headed by Yegnapriya Bharat, to frame standard professional indemnity policy for insurance intermediaries that can be issued by all insurers.
    1. It came after regulator witnessed several instances where policies taken by insurance intermediaries did not comply with regulatory provisions.
  64. IIT Hyderabad collaborated with Hong Kong based New Frontier Capital Management, to establish a global network for ventures as well as to create a venture ecosystem. Aim is to promote innovation, research and incubation.
  65. US Based Silver Lake partners  bought 1.15% stake in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms, for Rs 5,656 crores ($750 million).
    1. Also, Social Network Facebook had recently invested INR 43574 crores in Jio Platforms, for 9.99% stake. It was Largest FDI in India's Tech Industry.
  66. Polycab India Limited acquired 50% stake in Ryker Base Private Limited (RBPL), held by Trafigura Pte Ltd (Singapore), for approx US $ 4 Million.
    1. Polycab India had entered into a 50:50 JV with Trafigura in 2016 to incorporate Ryker to improve quality of its key input i.e., copper.
    2. Current transaction has terminated existing joint venture (JV).
  67. BharatPe launched 2 voice-based applications - Paisa Bolega and BharatPe Balance. These will enable account holders to access transactions and balance using without touching phones, amid COVID-19 pandemic.
    1. Paisa Bolega button provides voice alerts of transactions through their BharatPe QR.
    2. BharatPe Balance will provide information about total available balance across deposits, loan and daily collections through QR.
  68. US Scientists discovered a carnivorous (meat eating) swimming dinosaur named “Spinosaurus aegyptiacus”, at Kem Kem region of Moroccan Sahara in North Africa. Lived about 95 million years ago (Cretaceous period), spinosaurus was even longer than an adult Tyrannosaurus rex (T-rex).
  69. May 7 is observed as World Athletics Day.
    1. May 7 is also Birth Anniversary of India’s first Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore. He started Vishwa Bharati University in Shantiniketan. His birth anniversary is also known as Pochise Boishakh.
      1. On this occasion, National Gallery of Modern Art organised virtual tour Gurudev: Journey of the Maestro through his visual vocabulary.
      2. Also, Israel named a street in Tel Aviv after Rabindranath Tagore.
    2. May 07, 2020 is also observed as Vesak (Buddha Jayanti).
  70. Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan launched AYUSH Sanjivani App  and two AYUSH based studies related to COVID-19 situation.
    1. AYUSH Sanjivani app will help generate data on acceptance and usage of AYUSH advocacies and measures among population and its impact in prevention of COVID 19. It will aim to reach out to a 50 lakh people.
    2. 2 Studies were also launched -
      1. Clinical research studies on Ayurveda interventions as prophylaxis and as an add-on to standard care to COVID 19.
      2. Population based interventional studies on impact of AYUSH based prophylactic interventions.
  71. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh approved optimisation of over 9300 posts in Military Engineering Service, in line with recommendations of Lt General Shekatkar Committee.
    1. Committee had recommended this, to enhance combat capability and rebalance defence expenditure of Armed Forces.
  72. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank announced various amendments in Prime Minister’s Research Fellowship Scheme, to boost research in country.
    1. For students (other than IISc/ IITs/NITs/IISERs/IIEST/CF IIITs), requirement of GATE Score is reduced to 650 from 750 apart from minimum CGPA of 8 or equivalent.
    2. Now there will be two channels of entries - direct / lateral.
    3. In lateral entry, students, who are pursuing PhD in PMRF granting institutions (completed 12 months or 24 months as per certain requirements) can also apply to become fellow under scheme.
    4. NITs, which appear in top 25 institutions as per NIRF Ranking, can also become PMRF Granting institution.
    5. To boost research, a dedicated Division is being created in ministry with name Research and Innovation Division.
  73. Coir Board signed MoU with IIT Madras, to establish a Centre of Excellence (CoE) for the application of Coir exclusively or in combination with other natural fibres.
  74. Scientists from Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) fabricated an economical and energy-efficient wafer-scale photodetector (thin slice-based) using gold – silicon interface, for security applications.
    1. It could help detect weak scattered light as an indication of unwanted activity.
    2. Photodetectors are utmost important in ay optoelectronic circuit, used in wide variety of applications. However, material cost and intricate fabrication processes involved in realizing high-performance detectors make them unaffordable for day to day applications.
    3. The current invention provides a cost-effective solution-based fabrication method for high-performance photodetector.
    4. Detector exhibits a rapid response of 40 microseconds and can detect low light intensities. It operates in self-powered mode, wich high precision.
  75. Scientists from Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology Dehradun found a seasonal advancement in 220 surge-type glaciers in the Karakoram Range of Ladakh. ‘Surging’ glaciers are those that have shown advancement in volume and length over time.
    1. Behaviour of these glaciers, which are 40% of glaciated area of Karakoram, goes against normal trend of considerable reduction in volume and length of most glaciers in the Himalaya in recent decades.
    2. Surging of glaciers is potentially catastrophic as it can lead to destruction of villages, roads and bridges. It can also advance across a river valley and form ice-dammed lake.
    3. Scientists focused on Shispare and Muchuhar glaciers, former tributaries of once larger Hasanabad Glacier situated in Hunza Valley, Gilgit-Baltistan, Pakistan. 
    4. Surge-type glaciers oscillate between brief (months to years) rapid flow and lengthy (tens to hundreds of years) slow flow or stagnation, which are called ‘active’ (or ‘surge’) and ‘quiescent’ phases, respectively.
    5. The study will help to understand diversity of glacial behaviour and help make accurate assessments of individual glacier mass balances for disaster planning and management.
  76. Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh inaugurated road link from Dharchula (Uttarakhand) to Lipulekh (China Border), as a long time demamd of Kailash Mansarovar Pilgrims.
    1. It will enable yatra to be completed in one week, compared to 2-3 weeks it took earlier, through Sikkim or Nepal routes.
    2. This 80 KM road originates from Ghatiabagarh and terminates at Lipulekh Pass, gateway to Kailash-Mansarovar.
    3. Earlier, Yatra entailed approximately 20 % land journeys on Indian roads and 80 % land journeys in China. With opening of Ghatiabgarh-Lipulekh road, this ratio has been reversed (84 % land journeys on Indian Roads and only 16 % land Journeys in China).
  77. Ministry of Defence signed contract for Modernisation of Air Field Infrastructure (MAFI) of 37 airfields for Indian Air Force(IAF), Indian Navy (IN) and Indian Coast Guard (ICG) with Tata Power SED (TPSED) at a cost of nearly Rs 1,200 crores.
    1. MAFI Phase-II is a follow-on programme based on MAFI Phase-I that included upgradation of 30 airfields of IAF.
  78. India signed 500 Million USD Loan Agreement with Beijing Based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB), for COVID-19 Emergency Response and Health Systems Preparedness Project. This is the first ever health sector support from AIIB to India.
  79. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman launched INR-USD Futures and Options contracts on two International Exchanges - BSE’s India INX and NSE’s NSE-IFSC, at GIFT International Financial Services Centre at Gandhinagar This will be available 22 hours across all time zones for all global participants from GIFT IFSC.
  80. International Energy Agency (IEA) released report Global Energy Review 2020 -
    1. Beyond immediate impact on health, current COVID-19 crisis has major implications for global economies, energy use and CO2 emissions.
    2. Countries in full lockdown are experiencing an average 25% decline in energy demand per week and countries in partial lockdown an average 18% decline.
    3. Global energy demand declined by 3.8% in the first quarter of 2020.
      1. Global coal demand fallen by almost 8% compared with first quarter of 2019.
      2. Oil demand fell 5% in first quarter.
      3. Gas demand went down by 2%.
      4. Renewables were only source that posted a growth in demand, driven by larger installed capacity and priority dispatch.
      5. Electricity demand  has been depressed by 20%.
    4. Result will be 6% contraction in energy demand by 6%, largest in 70 years in percentage terms and largest ever in absolute terms. Impact of Covid-19 on energy demand would be over 7 times larger than impact of 2008 financial crisis on global energy demand.
    5. Global electricity demand is expected to fall by 5%, with 10% reductions in some regions.
    6. Global CO2 emissions are expected to decline by 8%, or almost 2.6 gigatonnes (Gt), to levels of 10 years ago. It is six times larger than previous record reduction of 0.4 Gt in 2009, caused by global financial crisis.
  81. Task Force on National Infrastructure Pipeline in its recently submitted report, has recommended setting up National Land Management Corporation. It will help monetize state-owned surplus lands in a systematic way. It will also manage lands that owned by Government of India.
  82. Uttar Pradesh Government passed Temporary Exemption from Certain Labour Laws Ordinance 2020, to suspend labour laws in state for 3 years, to boost industrial investment and help migrants who have returned back to state amid COVID-19 Pandemic.
    1. It will allow industries to freely employ large number of migrant workers.
    2. Ordinance does not include Building and other Construction Workers Act, Bonded Labour Act, Workmen Compensation Act and Section 5 of Payment Wages Act.
    3. Ordinance will suspend laws that related to occupational safety, industrial disputes, contract workers, trade union related laws and laws related to migrant labourers.
    4. UP Government has sent the ordinance for approval of central government.
    5. Uttar Pradesh Govt also launched Pravasi Rahat Mitra app for migrant workers of state who have been returning from other states amid lockdown.Also, Madhya Pradesh Government had exempted manufacturing units from Factories Act, 1948.
    6. Maharashtra Govt also exempted industries registered under Factories Act 1948, from four sections related to working hours of staff, till June 30. With exemption from Sections 51,52, 54 and 56, employers can allow labourers to work in two shifts of 12 hours each.
  83. Styrene Gas leaked from LG Polymers Plant in Vishakhapatnam, claiming several lives.
    1. Styrene is a chemical compound identified as neuro-toxins. It is also known as Vinyl Benzene, Ethyl Benzene and Phenyl Benzene.
    2. Styrene gas affects respiratory system. It causes chest congestion, gasping, air hunger and wheezing.
  84. Chinese Kuaizhou-1A (Y6) rocket launched first two operational satellites for Xingyun narrowband constellation, with First satellite named Wuhan and Other Xingyun-2.
    1. Each satellite has a launch mass of 93 kg and its main payload is an L-band communication system and a trans-satellite laser communication package.
    2. Also, A large Long March 5B rocket which was earlier launched successfully by China, fell into atmosphere over Atlantic Ocean. It became most massive object in nearly 30 years to perform an uncontrolled re-entry from orbit.
  85. Mustafa Al Kadhimi has been chosen as New Prime Minister of Iraq, after Adel Abdul Mahdi had resigned in November 2019.
  86. Iran Introduced New currency Toman, which is equivalent to 10000 Rials (Earlier National Currency).
    1. Idea of removing four zeros from currency gained strength after 2018 when U.S. exited Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed sanctions. It caused Rial to loose 60% of its value.
  87. As per Ministry of New and Renewable Energy report Impact of Energy Efficiency Measures 2018-19 -
    1. Energy initiatives of BEE (Bureau of Energy Efficiency) has helped save 89122 crores, saving 113 billion units of electricity.
    2. Schemes have also helped to reduce 151.74 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions.
  88. Government began Vandhe Bharat Mission, considered as one of biggest evacuation exercises.
    1. It aims to bring over 15000 stranded Indians back to Home.
    2. Evacuees are to compulsorily download Aarogya Setu application and will be kept under quarantine for 14 days.
    3. Vandhe Bharat Mission is to be led by Air India. Earlierm in 1990, Air India had conducted similar mission. Around 111711 Indians were air lifted from Gulf after Iraq invaded Kuwait.
  89. May 8 - World Red Cross Day, also known as Red Crescent Day. It commemorates birth anniversary of Henri Dunant (born on 8 May 1828), the founder of Red Cross and International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
    1. May 8 is also observed as ‘World Thalassaemia Day’.
    2. May 8 is also observed as Victory in Europe Day, Marking formal end of World War II in Europe, when allied powers defeated German leader Adolf Hitler and his Nazi Forces, On May 8, 1945.
  90. Indian Meteorological Department began to include Jammu and Kashmir, Gilgit-Baltistan, Ladakh and Muzaffarabad into its meteorological sub-division of Jammu and Kashmir.
    1. Change came after Pakistan Government decided to hold elections in Gilgit-Baltistan. On April 30, Supreme court of Pakistan allowed to set up a caretaker government in Gilgit-Baltistan region and conduct provincial assembly elections.
  91. As per Internet and Mobile Association of India report, Number of internet users in rural India has surpassed Those in Urban India.
    1. Rural India had 227 million active internet users and urban India had 205 million internet users. This is the first time in Indian history the number of rural internet users have surpassed urban internet users.
  92. Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury has been appointed as Chairman of Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of Parliament.
  93. Tamil Nadu government increased retirement age of its employees from 58 years to 59 years.
  94. Book Vijyant at Kargil: The Life of a Kargil Hero authored by VN Thapar and Neha Dwivedi. It is 1st biography about Vir Chakra awardee Captain Vijyant Thapar.
  95. DPS Negi has been appointed as Director-General of Labour Bureau in Ministry of Labour and Employment.
  96. Government appointed Economic Affairs Secretary Tarun Bajaj as a director on central board of Reserve Bank of India (RBI). He replaces Atanu Chakraborty.
  97. US Based Vista Equity Partners invested 11367 crores into Reliance Jio Platforms for a 2.32 % stake.
    1. This would be the third major investment in Jio in less than three weeks. Earlier,
    2. US Based Silver Lake partners  bought 1.15% stake in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms, for Rs 5,656 crores ($750 million).
    3. Social Network Facebook invested INR 43574 crores in Jio Platforms, for 9.99% stake. It was Largest FDI in India's Tech Industry.
  98. Noted Bharatanatyam dancer and former chairperson of Sangeet Natak Akademi Leela Samson will head jury for Rs 25 lakh JCB Prize for Literature 2020.
    1. JCB Prize for Literature is an Indian literary award established in 2018, awarded annually with 25 lakh INR prize to a distinguished work of fiction by an Indian writer working in English or translated fiction by an Indian writer.
  99. May 9 is Birth Anniversary of Pratap Singh I (Also called Maharana Pratap), the 13th Sisodia king of Mewar.
    1. May 09, 2020 is observed as World Migratory Bird Day. It is observed on second Saturday in May and in October.
  100. Supreme Court ruled that provisions of Securitisation and Reconstruction of Financial Assets and Enforcement of Security Interest Act 2002, will be applicable to state and multi-state cooperative banks.
    1. Ruling challenged Parliament’s decision to amend Section 2(c) of Sarfaesi Act, which allows banks and financial institutions to seize and auction properties of defaulters to recover their dues, and include cooperative banks among those who can exercise powers under Act.
    2. With this judgment, state and multi-state cooperative banking societies can now seize and sell assets to recover their dues.
    3. SC also said that state and multi-state cooperative banks will fall under definition of banks under provisions of Banking Regulation Act.
  101. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) disbursed 12,767 crores to 33 State Co-operative Banks (StCBs) and 45 Regional Rural Banks (RRBs), to augment their resources for extending credit to farmers during lockdown.
    1. Earrlier, RBI had announced a 50,000-crore refinance facility for Nabard, SIDBI and National Housing Bank (NHB).
  102. Andhra Pradesh CM Jaganmohan Reddy has launched mobile application CMAPP (Comprehensive Monitoring of Agriculture, Price, and Procurement), aiming to monitor needs of farmers.
    1. It showcases all data relating to the cost, procurement, and marketing facilities of the farmers for their agriculture produce.
  103. Astronomers discovered that closest known brown dwarf, Luhman 16A (6.5 light years awsy), shows signs of cloud bands similar to those seen on Jupiter and Saturn.
    1. This is the first time scientists have used the technique of polarimetry to determine the properties of atmospheric clouds outside of the solar system or exoclouds.
    2. Brown dwarfs are objects heavier than planets but lighter than stars and typically have 13 to 80 times the mass of Jupiter.
    3. Luhman 16A is part of a binary system containing a second brown dwarf, Luhman 16B. Both brown dwarfs weigh about 30 times as much as Jupiter.
    4. Researchers used an instrument on Very Large Telescope in Chile to study polarised light from the Luhman 16 system.
    5. NASA's upcoming James Webb Space Telescope will study systems like Luhman 16 to look for signs of brightness variations in infrared light that are indicative of cloud features.
    6. NASA's Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST) will be equipped with a coronagraph instrument that can conduct polarimetry and may be able to detect giant exoplanets in reflected light and eventual signs of clouds in their atmospheres.
  104. Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb launched an online portal under Mukhyamantri Yuba Yogayog Yojana. Under it, government will provide 5,000 to over 14000 youths who are in final year in colleges or Universities as a grant for Smart Phones.
  105. General News / Events / Conferences (May 1-10, 2020) -
    1. Government will implement a new Agro MSME policy, to focus entrepreneurship in rural, tribal, forest and agricultural areas.
    2. NITI Aayog launched a campaign in association with Piramal Foundation to protect senior citizens during COVID-19, titled Surakshit Dada-Dadi & Nani-Nani Abhiyan.
    3. PM Narendra Modi participated in online Summit of Non Aligned Movement (NAM) Contact Group, under theme United against COVID-19.
      1. Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) is a forum of 120 developing world states that are not formally aligned with or against any major power bloc. After the United Nations, it is the largest grouping of states worldwide
    4. Ministry for Road Transport & Highways has set a target of constructing roads worth Rs 15 lakh crore in next two years.
    5. Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh presented awards to winners of Startup India-Animal Husbandry Grand Challenge, felicitating 12 startups with 1.02 Crores.
    6. TRIFED under Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Art Of Living Foundation (AOL) have signed MoU to collaborate in respective programmes of each organisation for promoting Tribal Enterprises.
    7. Ministry of Agriculture will launch farmers’ movement to integrate soil nutrient management. It will include soil testing and campaigns addressing the importance of application of fertilizers based on reports of soil testing, covering over 1 lakh villages.
    8. Madhya Pradesh became 1st state to provide mid-day meal ration.
      1. To provide mid-day meal to school children in corona outbreak, 117 crores are transferred to bank account of parents.
      2. Also, under door-to-door mid-day meal scheme, ration has also been provided to over 55 lakh children.
    9. Jharkhand government banned 11 brands of Pan Masala (containing Magnesium Carbonate) for 1 year in state.
    10. Germany classified organization Hezbollah as a terrorist organization.
    11. National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) under Ministry of Jal Shakti and National Institute of Urban Affairs (NIUA) organized an IDEAthon on “The future of River Management’, to explore how the COVID-19 crisis can shape River Management strategies.
    12. Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar launched integration of 177 mandis with National Agriculture Market (eNAM), taking number of eNAM mandis across country to 962.
  106. Indian Navy launched Mission Sagar, to extend helping hand to Indian Ocean Region Nations amid COVID-19 pandemic. Indian Naval Ship Kesari departed for Maldives, Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar and Comoros, to provide Food and medical aid Items.
  107. On May 09, 2020; Flagship social security scheme Atal Pension Yojana completed five years of implementation.
    1. It promises Pension ranging 1000 - 5000 upon attaining age of 60 years. So far, APY has 2.23 crore subscribers.
    2. Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA) has proposed hike in Maximum pension under APY to 10000, which might boost its popolarity further.
  108. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ launched Central University of Odisha Helpline Bharosa and Helpline Number 08046801010, To relieve distress of student community during COVID-19 pandemic. It aims at providing Cognitive Emotional Rehabilitation Services to all University Students of Odisha.
  109. MSME Ministry launched CHAMPIONS portal (URL - Champions.gov.in), as a Technology driven Control Room-Cum-Management Information System.
    1. CHAMPIONS here is acronym for Creation and Harmonious Application of Modern Processes for Increasing the Output and National Strength.
    2. It aims to help units upscale themselves by solving their grievances, encouraging, supporting, helping and handholding.
  110. World Health Organization and United Nations Postal Agency released commemorative stamp to mark 40th anniversary of eradication of small pox.
    1. WHO small pox eradication campaign was initiated in 1967. In 1980, world was declared is free from small pox.
  111. Central Insecticides Board and Registration Committee (CIBRC) recommended that TB drugs such as Streptomycin and Tetracycline should be completely banned on crops.
    1. 9% of Streptomycin sulphate and 1% of tetracycline hydrochloride is used on crops, with Highest in Delhi, Haryana and Punjab.
    2. Currently, CIBRC allows use of Streptocycline drug in eight crops. However, it is now found that it is being used on more crops as pesticides.
  112. National Green Tribunal (NGT) Order related to recent Styrene Gas leakage from LG Polymers Plant in Vishakhapatnam -
    1. NGT stated that LG Polymers was liable according to the Principle of Strict Liability, related to a 19th century British era law.
    2. According to Strict Liability, a company or a party is not liable and does not require to pay compensation in case hazardous substance leaks out from its premises. The leakage is considered accident. Strict liability evolved in 1868 and provides exemptions from assuming liability.
    3. Legal experts claim that term “absolute liability” should have been used in NGT Order, and not srict liability.
    4. NGT has ruled to deposit an initial amount of Rs 50 crores. However, usage of term srict liability itself exempts LG Polymers from paying the compensation.
    5. In 1986, Supreme Court while ruling Oluem Gas leak held that strict liability was inadequate to protect the citizens. Hence, it replaced with absolute liability. According to this, supreme court held that a company operating a hazardous industry cannot claim any exemption.
  113. Registrar General of India released data on national birth rate, death rate and infant mortality rate for 2018.
    1. National birth rate stood at 20, death rate at 6.2 and infant mortality rate at 32.
    2. Madhya Pradesh worst performer with highest IMR, with Nagaland as best performer.
    3. Andaman and Nicobar Islands had least birth rates, while Bihar had highest.
    4. Delhi had lowest death rates and Chhattisgarh had highest.
    5. Infant Mortality Rate has declined about one-fourth as compared to 1971 census.
    6. Definitions -
      1. Birth Rate - total number of live births per 1,000 population.
      2. Death Rate - total number of deaths per 1,000 population.
      3. IMR - Number of deaths per 1,000 live births of children under one year of age.
  114. Bengaluru City Corporation launched “Pranavayu Programme” to create awareness about the respiratory health of citizens.
    1. It aims to help people in increasing oxygen level of people by themselves.
    2. COVID-19 stimulates breathing difficulties through chemical reactions. Virus binds itself with haemoglobin in Red Blood Cells. This is the main reason for disruption in respiratory process.
  115. Madhya Pradesh Government launched FIR Aapke Dwar Yojana, as first such Initiative in India.
    1. It has been launched in 23 police stations as a pilot project. Under this, a person need not go to the police station to dodge a complaint. The scheme has deployed the head constables to register the complaints from the people.
    2. State also launched a helpline, “Dial 112”. This will provide in instant ambulance services, fire fighting services and also will enable to contact the police within a short period of time.
  116. Book Fear of God, written by Bomma Devara Sai Chandravadhan (pen name Vadhan) has been released.
  117. May 10, 2020 is observed as Mother's Day. Dates vary across Nations.
  118. May 11 - National Technology Day in India.
    1. It marks anniversary of Pokhran Nuclear Tests (Operation Shakti) of 1998. It was coined by late PM Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayeem, as a reminder of India’s technological advancements.
    2. A digital conference on Rebooting the Economy through Science, Technology and Research Translations (RESTART), has been organised by Technology Development Board (TDB)on this occasion. 
    3. May 11 also marks flight of Hansa-3, India’s first indigenous aircraft which was developed by National Aerospace Laboratories.
  119. First biopic on Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s life, titled ‘Finding Freedom: Harry and Meghan and the Making of A Modern Royal Family’, will be published soon. It has written by royal reporters Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.
  120. Automaker Mahindra & Mahindra rolled out an end to end, online vehicle ownership solution titled ‘Own-Online’, to offer its customers a transparent, seamless and contactless experience during vehicle delivery.
  121. Skytrax World Airport Awards 2020 -
    1. Top 5 Airports -
      1. Singapore Changi Airport
      2. Tokyo Haneda Airport
      3. Hamad International Airport
      4. Incheon International Airport
      5. Munich Airport
    2. Bengaluru's Kempegowda International Airport won Award for Best Regional Airport in India and Central Asia.
  122. FIFA Under 17 women’s world cup has been rescheduled from February 17 to March 7, 2021. It will be hosted by India.
  123. As per World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), International tourism could shrink by 60-80 % in 2020 due to Covid-19 pandemic, resulting in revenue loss of $910 billion to $1.2 trillion and placing millions of livelihoods at risk.
    1. Pandemic has already caused a 22 per cent fall in international tourist arrivals during first quarter of 2020.
  124. US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) provided $3.6 million to assist India in its response to COVID-19 pandemic.
  125. May 12 - International Nurses Day, Being observed since 1965. It is observed on Birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale, noted British social reformer, statistician, and the founder of modern nursing. She was born on May 12, 1820.
    1. 2020 is celebrated as Year of Nurse and Midwife as it is the 200th birth anniversary of Florence Nightingale.
    2. 2020 Theme is Nurses : A Voice to lead-Nursing the World to Health.
    3. World Health Organization, Nursing Now Campaign and International Council of Nurses released the State of World’s Nursing report.
      1. There are 36.9 nurses per 10,000 people with variations in different parts of world.
      2. In America, there are 83.4 nurse per 10,000 people and in Africa there are 8.7 nurses per 10,000 people.
      3. There are 1.56 million nurses in India. Nurses comprise of 47% of medical staff in India. The doctors constitute 23.3%, dentists constitute 5.5% and pharmacists constitute 24.1% of medical staff in India.
  126. British pharm Firm GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) sold its 5.7 % stake in Indian FMCG company Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) for $3.35 billion, in largest secondary trade on Indian stock exchanges.
  127. US Based Carlyle Group acquired 74% stake in Indian animal healthcare company SeQuent Scientific Limited, for 1587 crores ($210 million).
  128. Government increased its market borrowing estimate to 12 lakh crores for current fiscal (FY 2020-21), to deal with expected shortfall in revenue due to impact of COVID-19 crisis. Earlier the borrowing estimate was 7.80 lakh crores.
    1. Government also increased weekly borrowing target to 30000 crores from 21000 crores earlier.
  129. Government amended income tax rules as per which Indian authorities would endeavour to resolve mutual agreement procedure (MAP) disputes within 24 months, aimed at speedy settlement of cases of multinational corporations that have opted alternative dispute resolution process.
    1. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) amended Rule 44G of Income tax act 1962, dealing with application and procedure for giving effect to MAP agreement, and also revised Form 34F with respect to making application to competent authority for invoking MAP.
    2. MAP is an alternative dispute resolution process under tax treaties, under which competent authorities of two countries enter into discussions to resolve tax-related disputes.
  130. Scientists from Bombay Natural History Society (BNHS), Kerala University of Fisheries and Ocean Studies (KUFOS) and Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Pune (IISER), jointly discovered three new fish species under genus ‘Dawkinsia’ namely Dawkinsia apsara, Dawkinsia austellus, Dawkinsia crassa
    1. 1st species Dawkinsia apsara, found in Karnataka’s Sita and Sowparnika rivers, has been christened after the beautiful celestial nymphs in Hindu mythology.
    2. 2nd species Dawkinsia austellus, found from Muvattupuzha river in Kerala, has been named referring to Latin word for ‘South’ and refers to distribution range of species in Southern Kerala.
    3. 3rd species Dawkinsia crassa, found in Netravati river of Coastal Karnataka,  has been named after the Latin word for ‘round/thick’ referring to the rounded appearance of the fish.
  131. Sports Authority of India (SAI) formed six-member committee to prepare a Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for a phased resumption of training across sporting disciplines at all centres once the coronavirus-forced national lockdown is lifted. It will be headed by Rohit Bharadwaj.
  132. 17 journalists from 14 countries named for Deutsche Welle Freedom of Speech Award 2020 for showing “outstanding commitment to human rights and freedom of expression in the media”. Indian journalist Siddharth Varadarajan is among the 17 recipients. Awards were announced on World Press Freedom Day on May 03, 2020.
  133. PM CARES (Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations) Fund Trust allocated 3100 Crores for fight against COVID-19.
    1. Approx 2000 crores ar earmarked for purchase of 50000 ventilators, 1000 crores for care of migrant labourers and 100 crores for supporting vaccine development.
  134. Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan participated in 32nd Commonwealth Health Ministers’ Meeting through Video Conference, with theme Delivering a co-ordinated Commonwealth COVID-19 response.
  135. Gujarat will implement sensor-based service delivery monitoring system in rural drinking water sector under Jal Jeevan Mission (JJM).
    1. Department of Drinking Water & Sanitation has plans for providing household tap connections to rural households by end of FY 2020-21.
    2. JJM announced by Central govt in 2019, aims to provide tap water connections to 18 Crore rural households of country by 2024. 
    3. Haryana and UT of Jammu and Kashmir also laid out plans to provide tap connections to all rural households by December 2022.
  136. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar represented India at SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) foreign minister meet, held through video conferencing.
    1. EAM S Jaishankar also attened 7 nation meeting initiated by US. Nations included Australia, India, Brazil, Japan, Israel and South of Korea.
  137. UN Food and Agriculture Organization released Global Forest Resources Assessment Report 2020.
    1. Around 178 million hectares of forests is lost in last 30 years. However, rate of deforestration is being reduced.
    2. Between 2015 and 2020, rate of forest loss has declined to 10 million hectares. Between 2010 and 2015, it was 12 million hectares.
    3. Africa had largest decline of forest of all the continents (3.9 million hectares per year), followed by South America (2.6 million hectares per year), between 2000 - 2010.
    4. Largest proportion of forests is held by tropical forest (45%), followed by boreal forest, temperate forests and subtropical forests.
    5. 5 major countries with most forest resources - Brazil, USA, Canada, China and Russia.
  138. World Health Organization released Global Nutrition Report 2020.
    1. As per report, India is among 88 countries that are to miss global nutrition targets set for 2025.
    2. Major 4 nutritional indicators are anemia among women in reproductive age, stunting among children under-5, exclusive breast feeding and childhood overweight. The report says that India is to miss the target on all four nutritional indicators.
    3. Global Nutrition Report was conceived during first Nutrition for Growth Initiative Summit that was held in 2013.
    4. World Health Assembly in 2012 fixed nutrition targets. They are -
      1. To reduce anaemic conditions among women by 50%
      2. To reduce stunting in under-5 children by 40%
      3. To reduce underweight births by 30%
      4. To reduce childhood wasting to less than 5%.
  139. World Economic Forum Global Energy Transition Index 2020 -
    1. India ranked 74th, improving from 76th rank last year.
    2. Top 5 - Sweden (1), Switzerland (2), Finland (3), Denmark (4), Norway (5)
    3. Neighbors - China (78), Nepal (95), Pakistan (94), Sri Lanka (55), Bangladesh (87)
  140. As per Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) Emissions of toxic CO2 declined in India, For the first time in four decades. It has happened due to economic slowdown and lockdown due to COVID-19 Pandemic.
    1. CO2 emissions in India fell by around 15% in March, and are likely to have fallen by 30% last month, year-on-year.
    2. Power and transportation sectors are the major contributors of CO2 pollution in the country. Thermal sector spewed out nearly 929 million tones of CO2 in a year.
    3. Earlier, International Energy Agency estimated that Global carbon emissions from fossil fuel industry could fall by a record 2.5bn tonnes this year, a reduction of 5%, as coronavirus pandemic triggers the biggest drop in demand for fossil fuels on record.
  141. TVS group, Sundaram Medical Foundation and IIT-Madras jointly developed a low-cost, automated respiratory assist device called Sundaram Ventago.
    1. It provides respiratory support to patients via controlled squeezing of a self-inflating or AMBU bag and includes functionalities to control respiratory rate (breaths per minute), tidal volume, pressure parameters and I:E ratios.
  142. Govt. appointed V. Vidyavathi as Director General of Archaeological Survey of India (ASI).
  143. Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat launched “HOPE” (Helping Out People Everywhere) portal to help unemployed youth to get jobs opportunities.
  144. Shanghai-Based BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) has approved 1 Billion USD for India, Under its Emergency Assistance Program, amid COVID-19 Pandemic.
  145. Manoj Ahuja has been appointed as New chairperson of CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education).
  146. Telangana became first state to regulate cultivation of crops by telling farmers what to grow, as a part of its pilot project.
    1. State will limit growing of paddy to 50 lakh acres, red gram to 10 lakh acres. Several other crops have also been limited.
    2. State will soon announce what crop will be cultivated in which areas.
    3. State will not extend benefitS of Minimum Support Price (MSP)and Rythu Bandhu scheme to the farmers who violate directives.
    4. Telangana government will also be setting up a seed regulatory authority to check spurious seeds in the state.
  147. As per a study by Comparisun -
    1. Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos could become world's first trillionaire by 2026.
    2. Chinese real estate tycoon Xu Jiayin will follow Bezos to become the second trillionaire in the world in 2027.
    3. India’s Mukesh Ambani could become a trillionaire in 2033.
    4. Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg comes next, expetedly gaining trillionaire status in 2036.
  148. Health & Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan dedicated COBAS 6800 testing machine to nation, at National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC).
    1. It is first such testing machine that has been procured by Government for testing of COVID-19 cases.
    2. NCDC has been equipped with COBAS 6800, a fully automated, high end machine for performing real time PCR testing COVID-19.
    3. COBAS 6800 can test around 1200 samples in 24 hours.
  149. Tamil Nadu Govt. constituted 24 member high-level committee headed by ex-RBI Governor C Rangarajan, to assess the immediate and medium-term impact of COVID-19 pandemic on various sectors of State’s economy, and suggest ways to improve it.
  150. Supreme Court ordered setting up a high-powered committee to look into the demands by petitioners who seek restoration of 4G internet services in UT of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). It is headed by Home Secretary (Ajay Kumar Bhalla Currently).
  151. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan re-launched  Sambal Yojana to strengthen lives of the poor and SC / ST communities by providing them social security cover. 42 Crores were transferred to beneficiaries.
    1. Sambal Yojana was started in April 2018.
    2. Cover is 2 lakh to beneficiaries mainly on general and untimely death, 4 lakh on accidental death, 2 lakh on permanent disability and 1 lakh on partial permanent disability.
    3. After death, 50000 will be provided for last rites and also assistance to upgrade small businesses to the family.
  152. 4 new products from 3 states received Geographical Indication (GI) tag from Geographical Indications Registry -
    1. Sohrai Khovar painting (Jharkhand) - Local tribal women of Jharkhand practices the Sohrai Khovar painting which is a traditional and ritualistic mural art. It is primarily practised only in the district of Hazaribagh during local harvest and marriage seasons.
    2. Telia Rumal (Telangana) cloth involves complex handmade work with cotton loom which can be only created by using the traditional handloom process and and not by any other mechanical means.
    3. Thanjavur Netti Works (Tamil Nadu) - Also called Pith Wor, it is Done by using pith obtained from netti, a hydrophyte plant called as Aeschynomene aspera that adorned palace of Rajaraja Chola. The Rraw material is from stem of the Netti plant in Pudukottai lake (Pudukullam & Kallaperumbur lake).
    4. Arambavur Wood Carvings (Tamil Nadu - Wooden sculpture made in the village of Veppanthattai in Perambalur district.
  153. JNCASR (Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research) developed injectable silk-fibroin based  injectable SF hydrogel (iSFH) to deliver sustained insulin to diabetic patients, developed using biocompatible additives.
    1. It will ease insulin delivery in diabetic patients. The gel was first tested in rats and was successful.
    2. Researchers found that subcutaneous injection of insulin with fibroid based hydrogel formed an active depot under skin. This helped to leach out insulin, restore physiological glucose for a longer period of time.
    3. Microstructures provide mechanical strength (to support injectability), and porous morphology of iSFH allowed the encapsulation of human recombinant insulin in its active form in diabetic rats.
    4. Diabetes results from inadequate production of insulin due to loss of beta cells or insulin resistance within the body, which imbalances the glucose homeostasis is leading to an abrupt increase of blood glucose level. Last resort of treatment involves repeated subcutaneous insulin injections to maintain the physiological glucose homeostasis.
  154. CSIR-Advanced Materials and Processes Research Institute (Bhopal) Researchers developed porous carbon materials which can replace lead grid in lead-acid batteries. It can also be useful for heat sinks in power electronics, electromagnetic interference shielding in aerospace, hydrogen storage and electrode for lead-acid batteries and water purification systems.
    1. Present grid-scale energy-storage sector is dominated by lithium-ion batteries. However, there are some serious concerns regarding Li-ion batteries, such as safety risk, limited resource supply, high cost, and lack of recycling infrastructure.
    2. Therefore, lead-acid batteries are among best options. However, electrodes in lead-acid batteries suffer from problem of heavyweight, corrosion, poor thermal stability, and diffusion of electrolytes in one dimension.
    3. AMPRI Researchers have developed lightweight carbon foam with a density of less than 0.3g/cc, high porosity of over 85%, good mechanical strength.
  155. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh commissioned Indian Coast Guard Ship (ICGS) Sachet and two interceptor boats C-451 and (IBs) C-450. Sachet is first in the series of five offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) and has been designed and built indigenously by Goa Shipyard (Ltd).
  156. Defence Minsiter Rajnath Singh approved Defence Testing Infrastructure Scheme (DTIS) with outlay of 400 crores, for creating state-of-the-art testing infrastructure for domestic defence and aerospace manufacturing sector.
    1. It would run for the duration of five years and envisages to 6 - 8 new test facilities in partnership with private industry.
    2. Projects under the scheme will be provided with up to 75% government funding and remaining will be borne by Special Purpose Vehicles (SPV), whose constituents will be private entities and State Governments.
  157. Beijing Based Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank approved loan of 145 million USD to improve irrigation facilities and flood management West Bengal.
  158. Tribal Affairs Minister Arjun Munda launched GOAL Programme (Going Online As Leaders), in partnership with Facebook. It will provide mentorship to tribal youth digitally.
    1. It will focus on three areas such as Life skills, digital literacy and Leadership and Entrepreneurship.
  159. World Bank approved 1 billion USD additional aid to India to accelerate COVID-19 Special Protection Response Programme.
    1. Around 550 million USD is to be credited by the IDA (International Development Association) and 220 million USD by the IBRD (International Bank of Reconstruction and Development).
    2. In April 2020, World Bank had announced 1 billion USD support to aid health sector of India.
    3. Recently, Shanghai-Based BRICS New Development Bank (NDB) also approved 1 Billion USD for India, Under its Emergency Assistance Program, amid COVID-19 Pandemic.
  160. United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) mid-2020 report -
    1. Global Economy -
      1. Global economy is expected to lose nearly $8.5 trillion in output over the next two years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
      2. World economy is to shrink by 3.2% in 2020.
      3. GDP growth in developed countries will decline to - 5.0 % in 2020. It will be -.7 % in developing nations.
      4. World trade is forecast to contract by 15 % in 2020.
      5. Pandemic will likely cause an estimated 34.3 million people to fall below the extreme poverty line in 2020.
    2. India -
      1. GDP growth rate of India in FY 21 (2020-21) will be 1.2%, down from 4.1% in FY 20 (2019-20). Growth of India will raise to 5.5% in FY 22 (2021-22).
  161. Atmanirbhar Gujarat Sahay Yojana has been launched by Gujarat Government, to boost economy amid pandemic. 
    1. It aims to provide an interest subsidy, a moratorium as well as a collateral free loan of up to Rs 1 lakh, for over a million small traders, street-vendors and small professionals in state.
    2. Gujarat government aims to lend 5000 crores as loans, with tenure of 3 years.
    3. Loans under this scheme would be available at 2% annual interest, while remaining 6% interest would be borne by state government. 
    4. Moratorium period of 6 months would also be provided to beneficiary in which he would not be required to pay.
  162. West Bengal Government launched Matir Smristi scheme to utilise 50000 acres of barren land in 6 districts, and will benefit approx 25 lakh people. It will help generate income activities in horticulture and pisciculture involving locals.
    1. Districts are Birbhum, Purulia, Bankura, Jhargram, West Burdwan and West Midnapore.
  163. Agricultural and Processed Foods Export Promotion Development Authority (APEDA) has set up Rice Export Promotion Forum (REPF), to provide stimulus to global rice exports.
  164. May 15 is observed as International Day of Families, proclaimed by United Nations General Assembly in 1993.
    1. May 15, 2020 is also observed as National Endangered Species day in India, observed on 3rd Friday of May.
  165. Government launched National Migration Information System to facilitate the smooth movement of migrant workers traveling across country, developed by National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on existing NDMA-GIS portal.
    1. States will upload Migrants data on the dashboard, enabling tracking of Migrant movements during COVID-19.
  166. May 16 Statehood Day of Sikkim. Sikkim Joined Indian Union as 22nd state on May 16, 1975.
    1. May 16 is also observed as UN International Day of Living Together in Peace.
    2. May 16 is also observed as International Day of Light. It marks anniversary of first successful operation of laser in 1960 by physicist Theodore Maiman. It is being held since 2018.
    3. May 16 is also observed as National Dengue Day in India.
  167. Central Govt (On May 17) extended lockdown for two more weeks till May 31, giving gave some major relaxations, permitting almost all economic activities and significant public movement.
    1. States will be issuing seperate guidelines for most activities, as per their infection status.
    2. Curbs will continue in containment zones.
    3. COVID-19 Lockdowns so far In India - Mar 23 - Apr 14 (Phase 1), Apr 15 - May 4 (Phase 2), May 5 - May 17 (Phase 3), May 18 - May 31 (Phase 4).
    4. Movement of people will be prohibited between 7 pm and 7 am, except for essential activities.
  168. Five more states (Bihar, UP, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Daman and Diu) integrated with 'one nation, one ration card' scheme.
    1. On 1st January 2020, 12 States were integrated amongst eachother and now 17 States are on Integrated Management of PDS.
    2. Under 'one nation, one ration card' initiative, eligible beneficiaries would be able to avail their entitled food grains under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) from any fair-price shop in the country.
    3. Ration card will be issued by states with 10-digit standard ration card number, with First two digits depicting state.
  169. Government announced 100 crores interest subvention scheme on working capital, To help milk co-operatives and farmer-owned milk producer companies (FPCs) struggling with excess milk supply following restricted procurement by private dairies.
    1. It will help dairies convert surplus quantity of milk into high shelf-value products such as milk powder, white butter, ghee and UHT milk.
    2. Scheme provides for interest subvention of 2 % per annum, with an additional incentive of 2 % per annum interest subvention to be given in case of prompt and timely repayment or interest servicing.
  170. 3rd Advance Estimates of production of major crops for 2019-20 released by Department of Agriculture, Cooperation and Farmers Welfare -
    1. Total Foodgrains  Productionj estimated at 295.67 million tonnes (record)
      1. Rice  –  117.94  million tonnes. (record)
      2. Wheat  –  107.18  million tonnes. (record)
      3. Nutri / Coarse Cereals  –  47.54 million tonnes. (record)
      4. Maize  –  28.98 million tonnes. (record)
      5. Pulses  –  23.01 million tonnes.
      6. Tur  –  3.75 million tonnes.
      7. Gram – 10.90 million tonnes.
      8. Oilseeds  –  33.50 million tonnes. (record)
        1. Soyabean  –  12.24 million tonnes
        2. Rapeseed and Mustard – 8.70 million tonnes
        3. Groundnut  –  9.35 million tonneS
    2. Cotton  –  36.05 million bales (170 kg per bale) (record)
    3. Jute  & Mesta - 9.92 million bales (180 kg per bale)
    4. Sugarcane – 358.14 million tonnes.
  171. As per study by Institute of Energy Economics and Financial Analysis -
    1. India has increased its potential of renewable energy investments to 500-700 billion USD, mainly because of improvements in solar power.
    2. Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan is the largest solar park in the world, spread over 14,000 acres, with capacity 2245 MW.
    3. In 2016, India had set target of setting up of 40 industrial solar parks with a capacity of 20GW. The target was doubled to 40 GW in 2022.
    4. India has target of installing 175 GW of renewable energy by 2021-22 and 275 GW by 2026-27.
    5. State of Renewable Energy in India -
      1. Under Paris Agreement, India had committed to achieve 40% of its total electricity generation from non-fossil fuel sources by 2030.
      2. Although India ambitiously targets 57% of electricity capacity from renewable sources by 2027. By 2027, India aims to have 275 GW from renewable energy, 72 GW of hydroelectricity, 15 GW of nuclear energy and nearly 100 GW from “other zero emission” sources.
      3. Currently, India's renewable electricity capacity is approx 130.68 GW, which is 35.7% of total electricity generation capacity in India (366 GW).
      4. Out of 2021-22 Target of 175 GW Reneweble Electricity, 83 GW is operational as of now. 175 GW interim target Includes 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind, 10 GW of bio mass and 5 GW of small hydro.
  172. INLCU L57 has been commissioned into Indian Navy, as seventh Landing Craft Utility (LCU) MK-IV class to be inducted into Indian Navy. It has been built by Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE).
  173. Scientists at International Advanced Research Centre for Powder Metallurgy and New Materials (ARCI) and Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences Thiruvananthapuram developed new generation Iron-Manganese based alloys for biodegradable metal implants for use in humans.
    1. Biodegradable materials (Fe, Mg, Zn, and polymer), which can participate in healing and then degrade gradually by maintaining mechanical integrity without leaving any implant residues in human body, are better alternatives to currently used metallic implants which remain permanently in human body and can cause long-term side effects.
    2. Iron-Manganese based alloy Fe-Mn (having Mn composition of more than 29% by weight) is a promising biodegradable metallic implant which exhibits single austenitic phase (non-magnetic form of iron) with MRI compatibility.
    3. Fe-Mn alloy produced at ARCI exhibited 99% density with impressive mechanical properties, comparable to presently used permanent Titanium (Ti) and stainless-steel metallic implants. 
  174. Group of Ministers under Social Justice and Empowerment Minister (Thawar Chand Gehlot) submitted its draft proposals on employment and skill development. Draft proposed -
    1. The Land Pooling Model, which is being used in greenfield airports. It is suggested for Use in agriculture to enable corporatization. This will increase the demand for skilled labours.
    2. Merge MNREGA (Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act) along with the skill development programmes, to create a wage subsidy programme.
    3. Reserve Bank of India should cut reverse repo rate to 0%. for a few months, to incentivize banks, to enable them to lend more to SMEs.
    4. A National Electronic Employment Exchange has been proposed, to help migrated workers at larger extent.
    5. Establish a Migrant Worker Welfare Fund.
    6. Cottage industry status to the food processing industries.
    7. Opening up EPF and ESIC for the unorganised sector.
    8. Enroll every migrant worker under Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana.
    9. Create a new Department of Hygiene to ensure hygienic practices.
  175. Parkinson’s disease is a common neurodegenerative diseasem with no cure so far. It is believed that an aggregation of a protein called alpha synuclein (ASyn) plays a crucial role in its pathology.
    1. Researchers are studying mechanism of how protein forms the aggregates, and how the aggregation results in the death of neuronal cells observed in Parkinson’s disease. It could help find a cure for the same.
    2. Aggregation of ASyn is not easy to understand. End point of the aggregation is the formation of small slender fibres or `fibrils’, in which the protein has a structure type, what is called a cross beta fold.  Scientists have solved 3D structures of  fibrils and have learnt how to develop drugs to target them. However, these drugs do not work.
    3. These failures have made the scientists to think that perhaps they need to understand not only the fibrilsbut also the variety of intermediates that form early in the aggregation process.
    4. Scientists from IIT (ISM) Dhanbad and CSIR-Indian Institute of Chemical Biology Kolkata teamed up to find a solution to this issue, finding Z-scan method useful. It could help in monitoring both the early and late stages of aggregation of ASyn nicely. Thus, this method can be really useful for both pharmaceutical and clinical research.
  176. Astronomers at the University of Canterbury (New Zealand) found a rare new Super-Earth planet towards the centre of the galaxy.
    1. Its host star is about 10% mass of our Sun. Planet would have a 'year' of approximately 617 days.
    2. Discovery was made using a technique called gravitational microlensing. Microlensing is a rare effect, with one in a million stars in the galaxy are affected at a given time.
    3. Planet named OGLE-2018-BLG-0677 was discovered in 2018 observation during the microlensing event by the Optical Gravitational Lensing Experiment(OGLE).
  177. Government implemented 3 important recommendations of Committee of Experts (CoE) under Chairmanship of D B Shekatkar, relating to border Infrastructure.
    1. On matter related to creating border infrastructure, Government accepted to outsource road construction work beyond optimal capacity of Border Roads Organisation (BRO). It has been made mandatory to adopt Engineering Procurement Contract (EPC) mode for execution of all works costing more than Rs 100 crore.
    2. Other recommendation relating to introduction of modern construction plants, equipment and machinery has been implemented by delegating enhanced procurement powers from Rs 7.5 crore to Rs 100 crore to BRO.
    3. Land acquisition and statutory clearances like forest and environmental clearance are also made part of approval of Detailed Project Report (DPR). Also, with adoption of EPC mode of execution, it is mandatory to award work only when 90 % of statutory clearances are obtained, implementing recommendation regarding obtaining prior clearances before commencement of project.
  178. Finance Minister announces several initiatives to boost Education Sector -
    1. Initiative called PM e-VIDYA will be launched which unifies efforts related to digital education. It includes DIKSHA (one nation-one digital platform) which will become nation’s digital infrastructure for providing quality e-content in school education.
    2. TV (one class-one channel) where one dedicated channel per grade for each of the classes 1 to 12 will provide access to quality educational material.
    3. Study material for differently abled developed on Digitally Accessible Information System (DAISY) and in sign language on NIOS website.
    4. Manodarpan initiative launched to provide psychosocial support to students, teachers and families.
    5. Government is expanding e-learning in higher education , by liberalizing open, distance and online education regulatory framework.
      1. Top 100 universities will start online courses. Also, online component in conventional Universities and ODL programmes will also be raised from present 20% to 40%.
    6. It has been decided to prepare a new National Curriculum and Pedagogical Framework for school education, teacher education and early childhood stage to prepare students and future teachers as per global benchmarks.
    7. A National Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission will be launched, for ensuring that every child in the country necessarily attains foundational literacy and numeracy in Grade 3.
    8. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriya Nishank stated that remaining exams of CBSE X and XII will be conducted between July 1-15, 2020.
  179. Baltic countries opened their borders to one another creating “travel bubble”, enabling their citizens to move freely. This is the first travel bubble since the lock down. Baltic states are not as badly affected as the other European states.
    1. Australia and New Zealand have also agreed to form a travel bubble, amid controlled spread of COVID-19.
    2. Baltic Nations is a geopolitical term, typically used to group three sovereign states in Northern Europe on eastern coast of Baltic Sea - Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania.
  180. A new parasitic fungus has been discovered by a University of Copenhagen (Denmark) biologist, termed as Troglomyces twitteri.
    1. It is named after Twitter as it was discovered in Twitter. The image was posted in Twitter by an entomologist 1n 2018.
    2. The Fungi belongs to the order called Laboulbeniales. These are fungi that attack millipedes and insects. They look like larvae.
  181. Pension Fund and Regulatory Authority (PFRDA) suggested Ministry of Finance to form a comprehensive scheme, for exploring social security measures for people with low income.
    1. Under PM Jeevan Jyoti Bima Yojana, Rs 330 is being charged on yearly basis and Rs 12 per year is being charged under Suraksha Bima Yojana. Charges on Atal Pension Yojana are also quite low. Plan is to club all these schemes together.
    2. Integration will enhance stability of pension system. This will increase number of participating entities and will also improve social security of beneficiaries.
  182. India joined 61 other countries in World Health Organization to identify source of COVID-19, with China and US staying out.
    1. Countries together moved a proposal at the WHO to identify zoonotic source. Only three permanent members of the United Nations Security Council have backed the resolution namely Russia, France and UK.
    2. From SAARC countries, only India, Bhutan and Bangladesh have signed the resolution.
    3. World Organization for Animal Health will conduct field missions to identify the zoonotic source of the virus. Zoonotic sources are animals from which diseases can transmit to humans.
  183. Indian Space Research Organization identified 17 technologies at lower costs from Indian start ups to use in Gaganyaan mission.
    1. Technologies identified includes food and medicine for astronauts, life support systems, inflatable habitats, thermal protection technologies and anti-radiation technologies.
    2. Under Gaganyaan, 3 air force pilots will be carried to space, to be launched in December 2021. A female looking robot Vyommitra is to accompany the astronauts. Flight will be for 7 days.
    3. Cost of mission is 12400 Crores. Russia is Training 4 Indian pilots for the same.
  184. Indian Army will convert 61st cavalry, the only horse serving cavalry in the world, into a regular armoured regiment with tanks.
    1. The jaipur based largely ceremonial unit, will now be formed into a combat force. There are oppositions to the steps claiming that the step will destroy glorious tradition of the regiment.
    2. 61st cavalry was raised in 1953, by amalgamating horse mounted cavalry units in princely states of India.
    3. Soldiers in cavalry are armed with Lancers. Teen Murti Memorial was erected in New Delhi to honour the lancers. The memorial was erected during British Raj, to commemorate heroic role played by Jodhpur, Hyderabad and Mysore during Battle of Hafia.
    4. Lancers represented British during world war I. Hafia Day is celebrated by Indian Army on September 23, to honour the regiment.
  185. In order to help fight unemployment generated due to COVID-19, and amid rising patriotism, Indian Army is considering ToD (Tour of Duty). ToD is a 3 year internship for youths to work as officers and soldiers.
    1. ToD is for persons who do not wish to take defence services as a career, but still want to experience adventure and thrills in armed forces.
    2. Earnings made by the individual under the scheme has been made tax free. Also, these candidates are to be given preferences in public sector jobs and also in post-graduate courses.
    3. ToD model is similar to short-service commission that allows to serve for 10 to 14 years.
  186. Many galaxies far more active than Milky Way have enormous twin jets of radio waves extending far into space. Normally these go in opposite directions, coming from a massive black hole at centre of galaxy. However, a few are more complicated and appear to have four jets forming an 'X' on sky.
    1. Several possible explanations have been proposed to understand this phenomenon. New MeerKAT Telescope (South African Radio Astronomy Observatory) observations of one such galaxy, PKS 2014-55, favors the phenomenon -
      1. Material falling back into the galaxy being deflected into different directions forming the other two arms of the ‘X.’
    2. Radio band images described as a ‘double boomerang’, sent by telescope, showed 2 powerful jets of radio waves of blue colour, that can be seen extending up to 2.5 million light-years into space (the distance between the Milky Way and the Andromeda galaxy). Significantly, due to the pressure of tenuous intergalactic gas, both of them are ‘turned back’.
  187. According to ADB report Updated Assessment of the Potential Economic Impact of COVID-19 -
    1. Global economy is expected to lose between $ 5.8 trillion to $ 8.8 trillion (6.4 % to 9.7 %) of global GDP, due to COVID-19 outbreak.
    2. GDP in South Asia is expected to decrease from USD 142 billion to 218 billion (3.9 to 6 %). In China, this loss can range from 1.1 trillion to 1.6 trillion dollars.
    3. Worldwide, workers’ revenues will fall from $ 1.2 trillion to $ 1.8 trillion.
    4. COVID-19 will likely cut global trade by $1.7 trillion to $2.6 trillion.
    5. Global employment decline will be between 15.8 to 24.2 crores, with Asia and Pacific comprising 70% of total employment.
  188. West Bengal Government launched two schemes to help migrant workers and workers in unorganised sector.
    1. Sneher Porosh is for migrant labourers.
    2. Prochesta Prokolpo is for workers in the unorganised sector. It will give 1000 INR to benecifiaries.
  189. As per Global Forest Resources Assessment 2020 (FRA 2020). -
    1. Rate of forest loss has declined during 2015-2020, due to the growth of sustainable management. It was 10 million hectares during 2015-2020, compared to 12 million hectares in 2010-2015,
    2. World lost 178 mha of forest since 1990.
    3. Rate of net forest loss declined from 7.8 mha per year in 1990–2000 to 5.2 mha per year in 2000–2010 and 4.7 mha per year in 2010–2020.
    4. Africa had largest annual rate of net forest loss in 2010–2020, at 3.9 mha, followed by South America, at 2.6 mha. Asia had the highest net gain of forest area in 2010–2020, followed by Oceania and Europe.
    5. World’s total forest area was 4.06 billion hectares (bha), 31 % of total land area.
    6. Largest proportion of the world’s forests are tropical (45 %), followed by boreal, temperate and subtropical.
    7. More than 54 % of world’s forests are in 4 countries — Russia, Brazil, Canada, US and China.
  190. To provide relief to exporters, RBI extended interest subsidy period by one year to 31 March 2021, on export credit received before and after shipment of goods to exporters.
    1. Exporters get subsidy under Interest Equalisation Scheme for pre and post shipment Rupee Export Credit, which ended on March 31, 2020.
    2. Government announced new scheme in November 2018, which applies to all exporters in MSME sector. It aims at encouraging enterprises to increase productivity and provides incentives to MSMEs for onboarding on GST platform.
  191. Finance Minister Announced a Stimulus Package to aid economc activities hampered Amid COVID-19 Pandemic,
    1. Facts -
      1. Termed as Aatmanirbhar Bharat Abhiyan. It values at approx 20 Lakh crores, approx 10 % of Indian GDP.
      2. Five pillars of Atmanirbhar Bharat – Economy, Infrastructure, System, Vibrant Demography and Demand.
    2. Earlier Measures -
      1. Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package - 1.7 Lakh Crores.
        1. Insurance cover of 50 Lakh per health worker.
        2. 80 crore poor people given benefit of 5 kg wheat or rice per person for 3 months
        3. 1 kg pulses for each household for free every month for 3 months
        4. 20 crore women Jan Dhan account holders get Rs 500 per month for 3 months
        5. Gas cylinders, free of cost, provided to 8 crore poor families for 3 months
        6. Increase in MNREGA wage to Rs 202 a day from Rs 182, to benefit 13.62 crore families
        7. Ex-gratia of Rs 1,000 to 3 crore poor senior citizen, poor widows and poor Divyang
        8. Traneferred 2000 to farmers under existing PM-KISAN to benefit 8.7 crore farmers
        9. Building and Construction Workers Welfare Fund allowed to be used to provide relief to workers
        10. 24% of monthly wages to be credited into PF accounts for three months for wage-earners below Rs 15,000 p.m. in businesses having less than 100 workers
        11. 5 crore workers under Employee Provident Fund EPF to get non-refundable advance of 75% of amount or three months of the wages, whichever is lower, from their accounts
        12. Limit of collateral free lending to be increased from Rs 10 to Rs 20 lakhs for Women Self Help Groups supporting 6.85 crore households
        13. District Mineral Fund (DMF) to be used for supplementing and augmenting facilities of medical testing, screening etc.
      2. Other Measures -
        1. RBI raised Ways and Means advance limits of States by 60% and enhanced the Overdraft duration limits
        2. Issued all the pending income-tax refunds up to 5 lakh, immediately benefiting around 14 lakh taxpayers
        3. Sanctioned Rs 15,000 crores for Emergency Health Response Package
      3. RBI Measures -
        1. Reduction of Cash Reserve Ratio (CRR) has resulted in liquidity enhancement of ₹1,37,000 crores
        2. Targeted Long Term Repo Operations (TLTROs) of 1,00,050 crores for fresh deployment in investment grade corporate bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures
        3. TLTRO of Rs.50,000 crore for investing them in investment grade bonds, commercial paper, and non-convertible debentures of NBFCs, and MFIs.
        4. Increased banks’ limit for borrowing overnight under the marginal standing facility (MSF), allowing banking system to avail additional 1,37,000 crore of liquidity at the reduced MSF rate
        5. Announced special refinance facilities to NABARD, SIDBI and the NHB for a total amount of ₹50,000 crore at the policy repo rate
        6. Announced opening of a special liquidity facility (SLF) of 50,000 crore for mutual funds to alleviate intensified liquidity pressures.
        7. Moratorium of 3 months on payment of dues in respect of all Term Loans
        8. For loans by NBFCs to commercial real estate sector, additional 1 year for commencement for commercial operations
    3. Tranche 1 (Businesses including MSMEs) -
      1. Rs 3 lakh crores Collateral-free Automatic Loans for Businesses, including MSMEs
        1. Borrowers with up to 25 crores outstanding and 100 crores turnover eligible.
        2. Loans to have 4 year tenor with moratorium of 12 months on Principal repayment
        3. 100% credit guarantee cover to Banks and NBFCs on principal and interest
        4. Scheme can be availed till 31st Oct 2020
        5. No guarantee fee, no fresh collateral
      2. 20000 crores Subordinate Debt for Stressed MSMEs
        1. Govt. will provide support of 4,000 Cr. to CGTMSE (Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises)
        2. CGTMSE will provide partial Credit Guarantee support to Banks
      3. 50000 crores Equity infusion for MSMEs through Fund of Funds
        1. Fund of Funds with Corpus of Rs 10,000 crores will be set up
        2. FoF will be operated through a Mother Fund and few daughter funds. Fund structure will help leverage Rs 50,000 cr of funds at daughter funds level
      4. New Definition of MSMEs
        1. Approved amendment to change criteria to classify MSMEs from “investment” to “Annual Turnover AND investment”, adding the annual turnover clause.
        2. Earlier definition only classified on the basis of Investment made in setting up the unit. The new definition, on adding up annual turnover criteria, will encourage MSMEs to grow faster, to be able to notch up higher benefits.
        3. Existing MSME Classification Criteria - Investment Made
          Classification Micro Small Medium
          Manufacturing Inv < 25 Lac Inv < 5 crore Inv < 10 crore
          Services Inv < 10 Lac Inv < 2 crore Inv < 5 crore

           

          Existing MSME Classification Criteria - Investment Made AND Annual Turnover

          Classification Micro Small Medium
          Manufacturing / Services

          Inv < 1 crore

          AND

          Turnover < 5 crore

          Inv < 10 crore

          AND

          Turnover < 50 crore

          Inv < 20 crore

          AND

          Turnover < 100 crore

      5. Global tenders to be disallowed upto Rs 200 crores
      6. Rs. 2500 crore EPF Support for Business & Workers for 3 more months
        1. Under Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP), payment of 12% of employer and 12% employee contributions was made into EPF accounts of eligible establishments.
        2. This support will be extended by another 3 months to salary months of June, July and August 2020.
      7. EPF contribution reduced for Business & Workers for 3 months - Rs 6750 crores Liquidity Support
        1. Statutory PF contribution of both employer and employee will be reduced to 10% each from existing 12% each for all establishments covered by EPFO for 3 months
        2. Applicable for workers who are not eligible for 24% EPF support under PM Garib Kalyan Package and its extension.
      8. Rs 30,000 crore Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs
        1. Investment will be made in both primary and secondary market transactions in investment grade debt paper of NBFCs/HFCs/MFIs
      9. Rs 45,000 crore Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme 2.0 for NBFCs
        1. Existing PCGS scheme to be extended to cover borrowings such as primary issuance of Bonds/ CPs (liability side of balance sheets) of such entities
        2. First 20% of loss will be borne by the Guarantor (Government)
      10. Rs. 90,000 Cr. Liquidity Injection for DISCOMs
        1. Loans to be given against State guarantees for exclusive purpose of discharging liabilities of Discoms to Gencos.
      11. Relief to Contractors
        1. Extension of up to 6 months  for completion of contractual obligations, including in respect of EPC and concession agreements
      12. Relief to Real Estate Projects registration and completion date for all registered projects will be extended up to six months
      13. To provide more funds at disposal of taxpayers for dealing with economic situation arising out of COVID-19 pandemic, rates of Tax Deduction at Source (TDS) for 23 non-salaried specified payments has been reduced by 25% for period 14th May, 2020 to 31st March, 2021.
        1. Tax Collection at Source (TCS) has also been reduced by 25 % for mentioned 4 receipt types.
        2. This measure will release Liquidity of Rs. 50,000 crore
      14. Due Dates for various tax relatedcompliances extended
        1. Income-tax return for FY 2019-20 will be extended from 31st July & 31st October, 2020 to 30th November and Tax audit from 30th September to 31st October, 2020
        2. Period of Vivad se Vishwas Scheme for making payment without additional amount will be extended to 31st December,2020
    4. Tranche 2 (Poor, including migrants and farmers) -
      1. Free food grains supply to migrants for 2 months (3500 Crores) -
        1. For migrant labour, additional food grain to all States/UTs at the rate of 5 kg per migrant labourer and 1 kg Chana per family per month for two months (May and June 2020), free of cost.
        2. Migrant labourers not covered under National Food Security Act or without a ration card, will be eligible.
        3. 8 Lakh MT of food-grain and 50,000 MT of Chana shall be allocated.
      2. Technology to be used, to enable Migrants to access PDS (Ration) from any Fair Price Shops by March 2021, Under One Nation one Ration Card Scheme -
        1. 100% National portability will be achieved by March, 2021.
      3. Scheme for Affordable Rental Housing Complexes for Migrant Workers and Urban Poor to be launched -
        1. Affordable Rental Housing Complexes will provide social security and quality life to migrant labour, urban poor, and students etc.
      4. 2% Interest Subvention for 12 months for Shishu MUDRA loanees (1500 Crores) -
        1. Govt will provide Interest subvention of 2% for prompt payees for a period of 12 months to MUDRA Shishu loanees, who have loans below Rs 50,000.
      5. Rs 5,000 crore Credit facility for Street Vendors -
        1. Under this, bank credit facility for initial working capital up to Rs. 10,000 for each enterprise will be extended.
      6. Rs 70,000 crore boost to housing sector and middle income group through extension of Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for MIG under PMAY(Urban) -
        1. Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for Middle Income Group (annual Income between Rs 6 and 18 lakhs) will be extended up to March 2021.
      7. Rs 6,000 crore for Creating employment using Compensatory Afforestation Management & Planning Authority (CAMPA) funds
      8. Rs 30,000 crore Additional Emergency Working Capital for farmers through NABARD
        1. NABARD will extend additional refinance support of Rs. 30,000 crore for crop loan requirement of Rural Co-op Banks & RRBs. This is above 90,000 crores that will be provided by NABARD to this sector in normal course.
        2. This will benefit around 3 crore farmers.
      9. 2 lakh crore credit boost to 2.5 crore farmers under Kisan Credit Card Scheme -
        1. Special drive to provide concessional credit to PM-KISAN beneficiaries through Kisan Credit Cards.
        2. Fisherman and Animal Husbandy Farmers will also be included in this drive.
    5. Tranche 3 (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors) -
      1. Rs 1 lakh crore Agri Infrastructure Fund for farm-gate infrastructure for farmers.
      2. Rs 10,000 crore scheme for Formalisation of Micro Food Enterprises (MFE) -
        1. Scheme promoting Vocal for Local with Global outreachwill be launched to help 2 lakh MFEs who need technical upgradation to attain FSSAI food standards, build brands and marketing.
      3. Rs 20,000 crore for fisherman through Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) -
        1. Government will launch the PMMSY for integrated, sustainable, inclusive development of marine and inland fisheries.
        2. Rs 11,000 crore for activities in Marine, Inland fisheries and Aquaculture and Rs. 9000 crore for Infrastructure - Fishing Harbours, Cold chain, Markets etc shall be provided.
      4. National Animal Disease Control Programme -
        1. NADC Programme for Foot and Mouth Disease (FMD) and Brucellosis launched with outlay of 13,343 crore to ensure 100% vaccination of cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat and pig population (total 53 crore animals).
      5. Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund (15,000 crores)
      6. Promotion of Herbal Cultivation (4,000 crores) -
        1. 10,00,000 hectare will be covered under Herbal cultivation in next two years with outlay of Rs. 4,000 crore.
      7. Beekeeping initiatives (500 crores)
      8. From ‘TOP’ to TOTAL (500 crores) -
        1. Operation Greens run by Ministry of Food Processing Industries (MOFPI) will be extended from tomatoes, onion and potatoes to ALL fruit and vegetables.
        2. Scheme would provide 50% subsidy on transportation from surplus to deficient markets, 50% subsidy on storage, including cold storages and will be launched as pilot for the 6 months.
      9. Measures for Governance and Administrative Reforms for Agriculture Sector -
        1. Amendments to Essential Commodities Act to enable better price realisation for farmers.
        2. Agriculture Marketing Reforms to provide marketing choices to farmers -
          1. A Central law will be formulated to provide adequate choices to the farmer to sell their produce at remunerative price, barrier free Inter-State Trade, a framework for e-trading of agriculture produce.
        3. Agriculture Produce Pricing and Quality Assurance -
          1. Government will finalise a facilitative legal framework to enable farmers to engage with processors, aggregators, large retailers, exporters etc. in a fair and transparent manner.
    6. Tranche 4 (New Horizons of Growth) -
      1. Finance Minister announced policy reforms to fast track investment -
        1. Fast tracking of investment clearance through Empowered Group of Secretaries.
        2. Project Development Cell will be constituted in each Ministry to prepare investible projects, coordinate with investors and Central/State Governments.
        3. Ranking of States on investment attractiveness to compete for new investment.
        4. Incentive schemes for promotion of new champion sectors will be launched in sectors such as solar PV manufacturing; advanced cell battery storage etc.
        5. A scheme will be implemented in States through challenge mode for Industrial Cluster Upgradation of common infrastructure facilities and connectivity.
      2. Coal -
        1. Introduction of Commercial Mining in Coal Sector -
          1. Government will introduce competition, transparency and private sector participation in the Coal Sector through A revenue sharing mechanism instead of regime of fixed Rupee/tonne.
          2. Any party can bid for a coal block and sell in open market. Nearly 50 Blocks will be offered immediately.
        2. Diversified Opportunities in Coal Sector -
          1. Coal Gasification / Liquefication will be incentivised through rebate in revenue share. This will result in significantly lower environment impact and also assist India in switching to a gas-based economy.
          2. Infrastructure development of 50,000 crore will be done for evacuation of enhanced Coal India Limited’s (CIL) target of 1 billion tons coal production by 2023-24.
        3. Liberalised Regime in Coal Sector -
          1. Coal Bed Methane (CBM) extraction rights will be auctioned from Coal India Limited’s (CIL) coal mines.
          2. Several ease of Doing Business measures will allow for automatic 40% increase in annual production.
          3. Concessions in commercial terms given to CIL’s consumers (relief worth Rs 5,000 crore offered).
      3. Mineral -
        1. Enhancing Private Investment -
          1. 500 mining blocks would be offered through an open and transparent auction process.
          2. Joint Auction of Bauxite and Coal mineral blocks to enhance Aluminum Industry’s competitiveness will be introduced to help Aluminum industry reduce electricity costs.
        2. Policy reforms -
          1. Distinction between captive and non-captive mines to allow transfer of mining leases and sale of surplus unused minerals, leading to better efficiency in mining and production shall be removed.
          2. Mineral Index for different minerals will be developed.
      4. Defence -
        1. Enhancing Self Reliance in Defence Production.
          1. ‘Make in India’ for Self-Reliance in Defence Production will be promoted.
          2. Improve autonomy, accountability and efficiency in Ordnance Supplies by Corporatisation of Ordnance Factory Board.
        2. Policy Reforms in Defence Production -
          1. FDI limit in Defence manufacturing under automatic route will be raised from 49% to 74%.
          2. Time-bound defence procurement process by setting up of a Project Management Unit (PMU).
      5. Civil Aviation -
        1. Efficient Airspace Management for Civil Aviation -
          1. Restrictions on utilisation of Air Space will be eased, bringing benefit of approx 1000 crore per year for aviation sector.
        2. More World-Class Airports through PPP -
          1. 6 more airports have been identified for 2nd round bidding for Operation and Maintenance on Public-Private Partnership (PPP) basis.
          2. Additional Private Investment in 12 airports in 2 rounds will bring 13,000 crores in sector.
          3. Other 6 airports will be put out for 3rd round of bidding.
        3. India to become a global hub for Aircraft Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) -
          1. Aircraft component repairs and airframe maintenance to increase from 800 crore to 2,000 crore in 3 years.
      6. Power -
        1. Tariff Policy Reform -
          1. Consumer Rights -
            1. DISCOM inefficiencies not to burden consumers
            2. DISCOMs to ensure adequate power
            3. Load-shedding to be penalized
          2. Promote Industry -
            1. Progressive reduction in cross subsidies
            2. Time bound grant of open access
            3. Generation / transmission project developers to be selected competitively
          3. Sustainability of Sector -
            1. No Regulatory Assets
            2. Timely payment of Gencos
            3. DBT for subsidy
            4. Smart prepaid meters
      7. Social Infrastructure -
        1. Government will enhance the quantum of Viability Gap Funding (VGF) upto 30% each of Total Project Cost as VGF by Govt.
        2. For other sectors, VGF existing support of 20 % each from Government shall continue. Outlay is Rs. 8,100 crore.
      8. Space -
        1. Level playing field for private companies in satellites, launches and space-based services.
        2. Private sector will be allowed to use ISRO facilities and other relevant assets to improve their capacities. 
      9. Atomic Energy -
        1. Research reactor in PPP mode for production of medical isotopes shall be established to promote welfare of humanity through affordable treatment for cancer and other diseases.
        2. Facilities in PPP mode to use irradiation technology for food preservation – to compliment agricultural reforms and assist farmers shall also be established.
        3. India’s robust start-up ecosystem will be linked to nuclear sector.
    7. Tranche 5 (Government Reforms and Enablers) -
      1. 40,000 crore increase in allocation for MGNREGS to provide employment boost.
        1. It will help generate nearly 300 crore person days.
      2. Health Reforms & Initiatives -
        1. Public Expenditure on Health will be increased by investing in grass root health institutions.
        2. Setting up of Infectious Diseases Hospital Blocks in all districts, to better manage pandemics.
        3. National Institutional Platform for One health by ICMR will encourage research.
        4. Implementation of National Digital Health Blueprint under National Digital Health Mission.
      3. Technology Driven Education with Equity post-COVID -
        1. PM eVIDYA, a programme for multi-mode access to digital education to be launched.
        2. Manodarpan, an initiative for psycho-social support for students, teachers and families for mental health and emotional well-being to be launched.
        3. New National Curriculum and Pedagogical framework for school, early childhood and teachers will be launched. National
        4. Foundational Literacy and Numeracy Mission for ensuring that every child attains Learning levels and outcomes in grade 5 by 2025, will be launched by December 2020.
      4. Further enhancement of Ease of Doing Business through IBC related measures -
        1. Minimum threshold to initiate insolvency proceedings has been raised to Rs. 1 crore (from Rs. 1 lakh, which largely insulates MSMEs).
        2. Special insolvency resolution framework for MSMEs under Section 240A of the Code will be notified.
        3. Suspension of fresh initiation of insolvency proceedings up to one year, depending upon pandemic.
        4. Empowering Government to exclude COVID 19 related debt from definition of “default”, under Code for purpose of triggering insolvency proceedings.
      5. Decriminalisation of Companies Act defaults -
        1. Decriminalisation of Companies Act violations involving mentioned minor technical and procedural defaults.
        2. It will de-clog criminal courts and NCLT.
        3. 7 compoundable offences altogether dropped and 5 to be dealt with under alternative framework.
      6. Ease of Doing Business for Corporates -
        1. Direct listing of securities by Indian public companies in permissible foreign jurisdictions.
        2. Private companies which list NCDs on stock exchanges not to be regarded as listed companies.
        3. Including provisions of Part IXA (Producer Companies) of Companies Act, 1956 in Companies Act, 2013.
        4. Power to create additional benches for NCLAT
        5. Lower penalties for all defaults for Small Companies, One-person Companies, Producer Companies & Start Ups.
      7. Public Sector Enterprise Policy for a New, Self-reliant India -
        1. Government will announce a new policy whereby -
          1. List of strategic sectors requiring presence of PSEs in public interest will be notified
          2. In strategic sectors, at least one enterprise will remain in public sector but private sector will also be allowed
          3. In other sectors, PSEs will be privatized.
          4. To minimise wasteful administrative costs, number of enterprises in strategic sectors will ordinarily be only one to four; others will be privatised/ merged/ brought under holding companies
        2. Support to State Governments -
          1. Centre has decided to increase borrowing limits of States from 3% to 5% for 2020-21 only. This will give States extra resources of Rs. 4.28 lakh crores.
          2. Part of the borrowing will be linked to specific reforms (including recommendations of the Finance Commission).
          3. Reform linkage will be in four areas - universalisation of ‘One Nation One Ration card’, Ease of Doing Business, Power distribution and Urban Local Body revenues.
          4. A specific scheme will be notified by Department of Expenditure on the following pattern -
            1. Unconditional increase of 0.50%
            2. 1% in 4 tranches of 0.25%, with each tranche linked to clearly specified, measurable and feasible reform actions
            3. Further 0.50% if milestones are achieved in at least three out of four reform areas.
    8. Stimulus Breakup (In Crores) -
      1. Stimulus from earlier measures
        Revenue lost due to tax concessions since Mar 22nd 2020 7800
        Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) 170000
        PM’s announcement for Health sector 15000
        Total 192800
        Tranche 1 (Businesses including MSMEs)
        Emergency W/C Facility for Businesses, incl MSMEs 300000
        Subordinate Debt for Stressed MSMEs 20000
        Fund of Funds for MSME 50000
        EPF Support for Business & Workers 2800
        Reduction in EPF rates 6750
        Special liquidity Scheme for NBFC/HFC/MFIs 30000
        Partial credit guarantee Scheme 2.0 for Liabilities of NBFCs/MFIs 45000
        Liquidity Injection for DISCOMs 90000
        Reduction in TDS/TCS rates 50000
        Total 594550
        Tranche 2 (Poor, including migrants and farmers)
        Interest Subvention for MUDRA Shishu Loans 1500
        Free Food grain Supply to Migrant Workers for 2 months 3500
        Special Credit Facility to Street Vendors 5000
        Housing CLSS-MIG 70000
        Additional Emergency WorkingCapital through NABARD 30000
        Additional credit through KCC 200000
        Total 310000
        Tranche 3 (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors)
        Food Micro enterprises 10000
        Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana 20000
        TOP to TOTAL: Operation Greens 500
        Agri Infrastructure Fund 100000
        Animal Husbandry Infrastructure Development Fund 15000
        Promotion of Herbal Cultivation 4500
        Beekeeping Initiative 500
        Total 150000
        Tranche 4 + 5 (New Horizons of Growth AND Government Reforms and Enablers)
        Viability Gap Funding 8100
        Additional MGNREGS allocation 40000
        Total 48100
        Grand Total
        Tranche 1 (Businesses including MSMEs) 594550
        Tranche 2 (Poor, including migrants and farmers) 310000
        Tranche 3 (Agriculture, Fisheries and Food Processing Sectors) 150000
        Tranche 4 + 5 (New Horizons of Growth AND Government Reforms and Enablers) 48100
        Sub-Total of 5 Tranches 1102650
        Earlier Measuresincl PMGKP 192800
        RBI Measures (Actual) 801603
        Sub-Total of Earlier Measuresincl PMGKP AND RBI Measures 994403
        Grand Total 1102650 + 994403 = 20,97,053 Crores
  192. Super Cyclonic Storm Amphan struck India's Andaman Islands, Odisha, West Bengal. It also affected Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Bhutan.
    1. It was strongest tropical cyclone to strike Ganges Delta since Sidr of 2007 season and the first super cyclonic storm to occur in the Bay of Bengal since the 1999 Odisha cyclone.
    2. Causing over US$13 billion of damage, Amphan is also the costliest cyclone ever recorded in the North Indian Ocean, surpassing record held by Cyclone Nargis of 2008.
    3. It has wind speed upto 260 KM/H.
  193. Minister of Health & Family Welfare Harsh Vardhan participated in 73rd World Health Assembly (WHA) through Video Conference, as first ever virtual world health assembly.
    1. Harsh Vardhan is appointed as chairman of 34-Member World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board. He replaced Hiroki Nakatani of Japan. WHO is governed by two decision-making bodies, World Health Assembly and Executive Board.
    2. He also attended Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Health Ministers Meet through video conference.
    3. China announced to provide $2 billion over two years to fight coronavirus pandemic and economic fallout from it.
    4. Keva Bain from Bahamas has been elected to serve as president of 73rd World Health Assembly.
  194. May 18 is Observed as International Museum Day, held since 1977. 2020 Theme is Museum for Equality: Diversity and Inclusion.
    1. May 18 is also observed as World AIDS Vaccine Day.
  195. Jammu and Kashmir Govt appointed Zubair Iqbal as new managing director of Jammu and Kashmir Bank (earlier HDFC Bank Senior VP).
  196. Book Wuhan Diary: Dispatches from a Quarantined City authored by Chinese Author Fang Fang has been released.
  197. Benjamin Netanyahu secured his 5th term as Israeli Prime Minister.
  198. May 17 - World Telecommunication and Information Society Day (WTISD), first observed on 17 May, 1969. It marks establishment of International Telecommunication Union (ITU) and also signing of first International Telegraph Convention in 1865 in Paris. 2020 Theme is Connect 2030: ICTs for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
    1. May 17 is also observed as World Hypertension Day, Observed Since 2006. 2020 Theme is Measure Your Blood Pressure, Control It, Live Longer.
  199. US Investor General Atlantic invested Approx 6600 crores in Reliance Jio Platforms, for a 1.34% stake. It values Jio Platforms at an equity value of 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of 5.16 lakh crores. Recent Jio Stake Buy-outs -
    1. US Based Vista Equity Partners invested 11367 crores into Reliance Jio Platforms for a 2.32 % stake.
    2. US Based Silver Lake partners  bought 1.15% stake in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms, for Rs 5,656 crores ($750 million).
    3. Social Network Facebook invested INR 43574 crores in Jio Platforms, for 9.99% stake. It was Largest FDI in India's Tech Industry.
    4. Under concerned 4 deals, Jio has divested total 14.8 % Stake to 4 US Firms, since April 2020.
  200. Maharashtra CM Uddhav Thackeray has been inducted as a member of Legislative Council, Along with eight others.
    1. This marks debut of Uddhav Thackeray in Maharashtra State Legislature. He never personally contested in elections. He became state's Chief Minister after he was unanimously chosen as head of Maha Vikas Aghadi comprising Shiv Sena, NCP and Congress.
    2. Maharashtra has bicameral legislature, which consists of Vidhan Sabha (legislative assembly) and Vidhan Parishad (legislative council). Legislative assembly members are elected by Citizens and Legislative council members are elected by members of legislative assembly.
    3. Six Indian states - Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh, have bicameral Legislatures.
  201. Andhra Pradesh (AP) government formed a 5-member committee led by Neerabh Kumar Prasad, to probe into the causes behind leakage of styrene gas from the LG Polymers in Visakhapatnam, which claimed several lives.
  202. Godrej Consumer Products subsidiary Godrej East Africa Holdings Ltd acquired 25% stake in Kenya-based Canon Chemicals Ltd.
    1. Canon Chemicals would now be a wholly-owned subsidiary of Godrej East Africa Holdings Ltd. Earlier in February 2016, Godrej group had acquired 75 % stake in Canon.
  203. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) sanctioned 1500 crores for Punjab to ensure continuous credit flow to farmers.
    1. 1000 crores are sanctioned to Punjab State Cooperative Bank and 500 crores to Punjab Gramin Bank.
    2. It is part of NABARD’s Rs 25,000 crores nationwide special liquidity facility(SLF), made available to state cooperative banks, regional rural banks, and microfinance institutions (MFIs).
    3. NABARD also released 20500 crores, to act as front-loading resources to cooperative banks (15200 crores) and Regional Rural Banks (5300 Crores) ahead of the monsoon season.
  204. Amid Covid-19 Pandemic, Hanko personal stamps of Japan are being criticized. They are equivalent to signature in other countries.
    1. Japan is adopting work from home culture aggressively in response to COVID-19 pandemic. However, the age old Hanko tradition of Japan is forcing the employees to go to the office premises for security reasons.
    2. Hanko stamping is essential in Japan for several transactions.
  205. Govt approved updated Detailed Project Report (DPR) of Ujh multipurpose Project (MPP) on river Ujh, main tributary of river Ravi in Kathua district of Jammu and Kashmir, at estimated cost of 9167 crores.
    1. Proposal is modified, with inclusion of additional culturable command area (CCA) of 23973 hectares beyond scope of already approved project. Earlier, CCA to be irrigated was proposed as 16743 Ha, with proposed irrigation intensity of 187 %.
    2. DPR of Ujh project was declared as a national project in 2008 and was prepared by Indus Basin Organisation of Central Water Commission in 2013.
    3. 116 metre high dam is proposed at river with full reservoir level (FRL) at 608 metre. Proposed dam site is Barbari village about 1.6 km downstream of Panchtirthi.
  206. First 12000 HP made in India Locomotive, manufactured by Madhepura Electric Loco Factory situated in Bihar, has been operationalized by Indian Railways. It has been developed Under Make in India Initiative, Assisted by French Firm Alstom.
    1. Loco is named WAG12 with Number 60027. Train departed from Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Station.
    2. India became 6th country in to join elite club of producing high horse power locomotive indegenously. It is the first time, high horse power locomotive has been operationalised on broad gauge track in the world.
    3. These locomotives are IGBT based, 3 phase drive, 9000 KW (12000 horse power) electric locomotive. The locomotive is capable of maximum tractive effort of 706 kN, capable of running a 6000 T train in gradient of 1 in 150.
    4. Madhepura Electric Locomotive Pvt. Ltd. (MELPL) will manufacture 800 State of the Art 12000 HP Electric Freight Locomotives in 11 years.
  207. May 19 is Birth Anniversary of Former President of India, Neelam Sanjiva Reddy.He servied from 1977 to 1982, as 6th President of India.
  208. Coir Geo textiles has been accepted as a good material for rural road construction, under PMGSY-III.
    1. It is a permeable fabric, natural, strong, highly durable, resistant to rots, moulds and moisture, free from any microbial attack.
    2. As per PMGSY new technology guidelines for road construction, 15% length in each batch of proposals, is to be constructed using new technologies. Out of this, 5% roads are to be constructed using IRC accredited technology. IRC has now accredited coir Geo textiles for construction of rural roads.
    3. 1674 km road will be constructed using Coir Geo textiles in 07 states.
  209. Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has taken up Complete Solarisation of Konark sun temple and Konark town in Odisha.
    1. Scheme envisages setting up of 10 MW grid connected solar project and various solar off-grid applications,. with Central Assistance of approx 25 Crores.
  210. Scientists from S. N. Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences Kolkata (SNBNCBS) developed a novel protocol to find out whether a pair of electrons is in an entangled state so that they can be safely used as resources for facilitating quantum information processing tasks.
    1. Quantum entanglement makes phenomena such as quantum teleportation and super-dense coding possible.  It occurs when particles interact in a way such that quantum state particles cannot be described independently of state of others. 
    2. However, entanglement is fragile and is easily lost during transit of photons. Hence, it is extremely important to know whether a pair of hotons is entangled, in order to use them as resource.
    3. Devices measuring entanglement may be hacked by eavesdroppers. Device-independent self-testing (DIST) is a method that can be used in order to overcome such a possibility.
    4. This enables verification of entanglement in an unknown quantum state of two photons without having direct access to state, based on quantum uncertainty principle. Idea has been implemented experimentally in collaboration with Beijing Computational Science Research Centre.
    5. In Experimental optical set-up, entangled pairs of photons are created by laser light on Beta barium borate (BBOcrystals,  used as laser crystal. Bob is used as trusted party and Alice as untrusted, to verify that pair of photons they share is entangled.
  211. In India, Approx 23 million tonnes of leftover rice residues are annually burnt by farmers to get rid of straw and prepare their fields for sowing wheat, which is next crop, resulting in air pollution.
    1.  To overcome this, Scientists at Pune based Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) mapped 2 alternative dwarfing genes Rht14 and Rht18  on chromosome 6A in durum wheat, and DNA-based markers were developed for better selection of these genes in wheat breeding lines.
    2. Wheat lines with these alternative dwarfing genes, apart from reducing crop residue burning, can allow deeper sowing of wheat seeds to avail advantage of residual moisture in the soil under dry environments.
    3. Presently available semi-dwarf wheat varieties, carry conventional Rht1 dwarfing alleles and produce optimum yields under high-fertility irrigated conditions. However, they are not well adapted for deeper sowing conditions in dry environments.
  212. Researchers at IIT Guwahati explored new ways to prevent accumulation of neurotoxic molecules in brain, that are associated with short-term memory loss associated with Alzheimer’s disease.
    1. Team has reported interesting methods such as application of low-voltage electric field, and the use of ‘trojan peptides’ to arrest aggregation of neurotoxic molecules in brain.
    2. India has 3rd highest number of Alzheimer’s patients in world, after China and US. There is no therapeutic approach yet that can treat the underlying causes of Alzheimer’s.
  213. Competition Commission of India Approvals (May 2020) -
    1. Approved acquisition of 100% stake in Emami Cement Limited, by Nirma promoter group company Nuvoco Vistas Corporation Limited.
  214. 2nd Addendum on Protocol on Inland Water Transit and Trade between India and Bangladesh has been signed.
    1. Bangladesh and India signed a Protocol in 1972 , for Transit and Trade through inland waterways. It was last renewed in 2015 for five years.
    2. In Dec 2019, it was decided to include new routes and declaration of new Ports of Call to facilitate trade. These have now been made effective with signing of 2nd Addendum to Protocol .
    3. Number of Indo Bangladesh Protocol (IBP) routes are being increased from 8 to 10 and new locations are also added to existing routes.
    4. Presently, There are six Ports of Call each in India and Bangladesh under the Protocol. Five more Ports of Call and two more extended Ports of Call have been added.
  215. J&K administration notified J&K grant of domicile certificate procedure rules 2020 and set a fast track process in motion to issue certificates within 15 days.
    1. Eligible non-locals can also apply for the certificate.
    2. Domicile certificates have now been made basic eligibility condition, for appointment to any post under UT of J&K.
    3. Any officer not able to issue the certificate would be pensalised INR 50,000.
    4. Kashmiri migrants living outside J&K can get domicile certificates by producing their Permanent Residence Certificate (PRC), ration card copy, voter card or any other valid document.
    5. New process will allow West Pakistan refugees, safai karamcharis and children of women who married non-locals to apply for jobs. Government Employees who served in UT of Jammu and Kashmir for 10 years, are eligible for the certificate.
  216. Cabinet Approvals (May 20, 2020) -
    1. General -
      1. Approved Sovereign portfolio guarantee of up to 20% of first loss for purchase of Bonds or Commercial Papers (CPs) with a rating of AA and below issued by NBFCs/ MFCs/Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) by Public Sector Banks (PSBs), through an extension of Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS).
        1. Cabinet also approved modifications in existing PCGS on purchase of pooled assets, increasing its coverage.
        2. Existing PCGS was issued on 11.12.2019 offering sovereign guarantee of up to 10% of first loss to PSBs for purchasing pooled assets worth rated BBB+ or above worth up to Rs. 1,00,000 crore, from financially sound NBFCs/ MFCs.
        3. COVID-19 outbreak has now necessitated adoption of additional measures to support NBFCs and HFCs - On the liabilities side by providing a sovereign guarantee to cover purchase of Bonds/CPs issued by NBFCs/HFCs as well as MFIs.
        4. Window one-time partial scredit guarantee will remain open till 31st March, 2021.
      2. Approved a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme Scheme for Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)for Unorganized Sector, with outlay of 10000 crores (shared by Centre and States in ratio of 60:40).
        1. Features Include -
          1. 2,00,000 micro-enterprises are to be assisted with credit linked subsidy.
          2. Scheme will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25.
          3. Cluster approach.
          4. Focus on perishables.
        2. Support to Individual micro units -
          1. Micro enterprises will get credit linked subsidy @ 35% of the eligible project cost with ceiling of Rs.10 lakh.
          2. Beneficiary contribution will be minimum 10% and balance from loan.
          3. On-site skill training & Handholding for DPR and technical upgradation
        3. Support to FPOs/SHGs/Cooperatives: -
          1. Grant for backward/ forward linkages, common infrastructure, packaging, marketing & branding.
          2. Skill training & Handholding support.
          3. Credit linked capital subsidy.
          4. Seed capital will be given to SHGs (@Rs. 4 lakh per SHG) for loan to members for working capital and small tools.
        4. Impact -
          1. 8 lakh micro- enterprises will benefit through access to information, better exposure and formalization.
          2. The project is likely to generate nine lakh skilled and semi-skilled jobs.
          3. Scheme envisages increased access to credit by existing micro food processing entrepreneurs, women entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs in the Aspirational Districts.
      3. Approval Extension of Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) by 3 years, up to 31st March 2023.
        1. Assured rate of return of 7.40 % per annum for 2020-21 per annum, to be reset every year.
        2. Annual reset of assured rate of interest with effect from April 1st of financial year in line with revised rate of returns of Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS), upto 7.75%, with fresh appraisal of scheme on breach of this threshold at any point.
        3. Expenditure to be incurred on account of the difference between the market rate of return generated by LIC and guaranteed rate of return under scheme.
        4. Capping Management expenses at 0.5% p.a. of funds of the scheme for first year of scheme in respect of new policies issued and thereafter 0.3% p.a. for second year onwards for next 9 years.
        5. Delegating authority to Finance Minister to approve annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.
        6. Minimum investment revised to Rs.1,56,658 for pension of 12000 per annum and 162162 for minimum pension of 1000 per month.
        7. About -
          1. PMVVY was announced by Government in May 2017, for senior citizens aged above 60 years.
          2. It provides pension upto 10 years, implemented by LIC.
      4. Approved implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), aimed at bringing about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector
        1. Components Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) have estimated investment of 20050 crores, with Central share of 9407 crores. It will be implemented for 5 years (FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25).
        2. Central Sector Scheme -
          1. Entire cost will be borne by Central government.
          2. Wherever direct beneficiary oriented activities are undertaken by entities of central government, central assistance will be up to 40% of project cost for General and 60% for SC/ST/Women category.
        3. For Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), Project/unit cost will be shared between Centre and State as -
          1. North Eastern & Himalayan States - 90% Central share and 10% State share.
          2. Other States - 60% Central share and 40% State share.
          3. Union Territories - 100% Central share.
        4. Benefits Include -
          1. Address critical gaps in the fisheries sector and realize its potential.
          2. Augmenting fish production and productivity at a sustained average annual growth rate of about 9% to achieve a target of 22 million metric tons by 2024-25.
          3. Creation of critical infrastructure including modernisation and strengthening of value chain.
          4. Doubling of fishers, fish farmers and fish workers incomes by 2024
      5. Approved allocation of foodgrains from Central Pool to approximately 8 crore migrants @ 5 kg per person per month (May and June, 2020) for two months free of cost.  It would entail an estimated food subsidy of about 2,982 crores.  Expenditure towards migants' intra-state transportation will be approx 127 crores.
      6. Approved proposal of Ministry of Finance to launch a new Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to improve liquidity position of the NBFCs/HFCs.
        1. There is no financial implication for Government until Guarantee involved is invoked. On invocation, ceiling of aggregate guarantee has been set at 30000 crores, to be extended by amount required.
        2. An SPV would be set up to manage a Stressed Asset Fund (SAF) whose special securities would be guaranteed by Government and purchased by RBI only. Proceeds of sale of such securities would be used by SPV to acquire short-term debt of NBFCs/HFCs.
        3. Unlike Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme which requires NBFCs to liquidate their current asset portfolio, the proposed scheme would be a one-stop arrangement between SPV and NBFCs without having to liquidate their current asset portfolio.
        4. It was announced in Budget Speech of 2020-21 that a mechanism would be devised to provide additional liquidity facility to NBFCs/HFCs over that provided through the PCGS.
      7. Appr0ved enabling additional funding of up to 3 lakh crores to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA borrowers by way of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS).
        1. 100% guarantee coverage to be provided by National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) for additional funding of up to 3 lakh crore to eligible MSMEs and interested MUDRA borrowers, in form of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL).
        2. Corpus of 41600 crores shall be provided by Government, spread over 4 financial years.
        3. Features -
          1. MSME borrowers with outstanding credit of up to 25 crore as on 29.2.2020, and with an annual turnover of up to 100 crores, are eligible for GECL funding under Scheme.
          2. Tenor of loan under Scheme shall be four years with moratorium period of one year on the principal amount.
          3. No Guarantee Fee shall be charged by NCGTC from Member Lending Institutions (MLIs) under the Scheme.
          4. Interest rates under the Scheme shall be capped at 9.25% for banks and FIs, and at 14% for NBFCs.
        4. Scheme would be applicable to all loans sanctioned under GECL during the period from the date of announcement of the Scheme to 31.10.2020, or till an amount of Rs 3 lakh crores is sanctioned under GECL, whichever is earlier.
      8. Approved Jammu & Kashmir (Adaptation of State Laws) Second Order 2020 issued under section 96 of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act 2019. It modified applicability of Domicile conditions to all level of jobs in UT of Jammu & Kashmir.
    2. Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Approvals -
      1. Approved waiver of interest of 7.59 crores on Government loans of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL), in addition to Waiver of penal interest and interest on interest up to 31st March 2005, that was earlier approved by CCEA in March 2006.
      2. Approved methodology for auction of coal and lignite mines/blocks for sale of coal / lignite on revenue sharing basis and increasing tenure of coking coal linkage. This provides that bid parameter will be revenue share.
        1. The bidders would be required to bid for a percentage share of revenue payable to the Government. The floor price shall be 4% of the revenue share.
        2. Bids would be accepted in multiples of 0.5% of revenue share till percentage of revenue share is up to 10%, and thereafter in multiples of 0.25% of revenue share.
        3. It aims to make maximum coal available in the market at the earliest and it also enables adequate competition which will allow discovery of market prices for the blocks and faster development of coal blocks.
        4. Geological Reserves in mine (MT) Upper ceiling of Upfront Amount (Rs. cr)
          Upto 200 100
          Above 200 500
  217. Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry informed that for Assessment year 2019-20, 6 cities are certified as 5-Star (Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysuru, Indore and Navi Mumbai), 65 cities as 3-Star and 70 cities as 1-Star, under results of Star Rating of Garbage Free Cities.
    1. Star Rating Protocol was launched by Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve Garbage Free status, and to motivate cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.
  218. A rare palm from South Andaman Island has been re-planted in Jawaharlal Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI), to prevent its extinction.
    1. Rare palm is called Pinanga andamanensis and is a critically endangered species, with only 600 specimens of the species at present.
    2. It resembles areca palm and is used in preparing palm oil.
  219. Ministry of environment, forest and climate change accorded environment clearance for Oil India Limited's extension of drilling for hydrocarbon exploration inside Dibru Saikhowa National Park in eastern Assam.
    1. Concerns were that this project would affect flora and fauna in the region. The park is the only region in India that supports feral horses and several other species.
  220. As per federation of Indian Export Organization, Indian Exports are to fall by 20% in FY 2020-21 (FY 21) due to COVID-19 Outbreak, amountign approx 50-60 billion USD.
    1. FIEO requested to provide additional 2% support under the MEIS (Merchandise Exported from India) scheme and additional 4% support to labour intensive sectors.
  221. May 20 is observed as UN World Bee Day, being observed since 2018. 2020 Theme is Bee Engaged.
    1. May 20 is also observed as World Metrology Day. 2020 theme is Measurements for global trade. The date is the anniversary of the signing of the Metre Convention in 1875.
  222. India provided 2 million USD relief aid to UNRWA (United Nations Relief and Works Agency) to help in welfare of Palestine refugees.
    1. India recently increased its annual contribution to UNRWA from 1.25 million to 5 million USD.
  223. Nepal approved a new map that includs territories of Kalapani, Lipuleh and Limpiyadhura; which are claimed by India as well.
    1. In October 2019, India issued a new political map that included Lipulekh and Kalapani on its side of border.
    2. In 1816, kingdom of Nepal and British India signed the Treaty of Sugauli under which Kali River was fixed as Western Border of Nepal. Issue has arisen in locating source of the river that led to boundary disputes between India and Nepal.
    3. According to India, under treaty of Sugauli, Limpiyadhura is point of origin of Kali river. It is point where Nepal border begins.
  224. Indian Air Force shelved 3 projects worth INR 8000 crores, amid Central Government pushing for Make in India.
    1. Projects include buying 20 additional Hawk Planes from UK, 30 Jaguar fighter planes from US and 38 trainer aircrafts.
  225. Space authorities reported that sun has gone into ‘Solar Minimum’ state and is about to enter the deepest period of sunshine recession.
    1. It has almost been 100 days of 2020 when sun has shown zero sunspots.
    2. Sun goes through regular cycles of high & low activity. This affects frequency of space weather events, but it doesn't have a major effect on Earth's climate. It causes Earth’s atmosphere to shrink slightly which reduces drag on satellites.
    3. During Solar Minimum, sun’s magnetic field weakens and it provides less shielding from cosmic rays. This cycle usually lasts on average of 11 years.
  226. General Conferences (May 11-20, 2020) -
    1. Ministry of Human Resources Development launched a new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas”, developed by National Testing Agency. It aims to help candidates to take mock tests for exams such as JEE Mains, NEET, etc.
    2. Ministry of Defence approved procurement of 26 defence items to boost “Make in India” initiative, done through amendment of Public Procurement Order 2017.
    3. Number of beneficiaries under Ayushman Bharat Yojana crossed 1 crore.
      1. Ayushman Bharat (PMJAY) was launched in 2018. It provides an insurance cover of Ts 5 lakh per annum per family.
    4. Lieutenant Commander Akshay Kumar of Southern Naval Command has been awarded Vice Admiral G.M. Hiranandani Memorial Rolling Trophy for 2020.
    5. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' announced that MHRD regularized retrospectively certain Teacher Education Programmes being conducted by some Central and State Govt Institutions. These programmes were being conducted without any formal recognition from National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE).
    6. Computer Emergency Response of Team (CERT) issued warning against a new malware called “EventBot”, which steals personal financial information from Android phone users.
    7. NIT Kurukshetra implemented SAMARTH scheme of Ministry of Human Resources and Development, developed under National Mission in Education through ICT. Platform will provide information to strengthen the productivity through better information management.
  227. United Kingdom unveiled a new post-Brexit tariff regime to replace European Union's external tariff, called UK Global Tariff (UKGT).
    1. New tax regime will continue 10% tariff on cars but will cut levies on many supply chain imports.
    2. The new tax regime aims to have deals covering 80 percent of British trade within a period of three years.
    3. UKGT will apply to countries with which UK has no agreements and will remove all tariffs below 2 %.
    4. Around 60 % of trade will come into the UK tariff free on WTO terms or through existing preferential access. It will remove tariffs on $37 billion worth of imports entering UK supply chains.
    5. It will also introduce a temporary zero tariff rate on products being used to fight the COVID-19 outbreak such as personal protective equipment.
    6. New UK trade regime will be set in pounds. UK formally ended its 47 years of membership with the European Union on January 31, 2020.
  228. US Senate passed legislation Holding Foreign Companies Accountable Act, that seeks to delist Chinese firms from US securities exchanges, if they fail to comply with US Public Company Accounting Oversight Board's audits for 3 years in a row.
    1. Legislation now needs to be passed by the House of Representatives and then be signed by US President Donald Trump to become a law.
  229. Mee Annapurna inclusive programe has been launched for welfare of farmers in Maharashtra, announced by IRDA Licensed insurance intermediary Integrated Risk Insurance.
    1. Through this, Integrated Risk Insurance aims to re-invest in building long-term sustainable program for continuity of income for farmers and other individuals associated with agriculture and allied activities.
  230. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) gave security clearance to Swiss firm Zurich Airport International AG for construction of Jewar airport in Uttar Pradesh.
    1. Jewar Airport Project is to cost approx 29560 crores, spread over 5000 hectares. Once fully operational, it is expected to handle over 160 million passengers per year, having 6 - 6 runways (highest in India).
  231. Astronomers from Cornell University (US) developed a practical model- an environmental colour ‘decoder’- to get the climate clues of potentially habitable exoplanets in faraway galaxies.
    1. As per research, Light reflected on the surface of planets plays a crucial role not only on overall planet but also on detectable spectra of Earth-like planets. For example, a rocky, black, basalt planet will absorb light well and will be very hot but if there is an addition of sand and clouds, the planet will cool.
  232. May 21, 2020 is observed as First ever UN International Tea Day.
    1. On this occasion, IHBT Palampur stated that Tea chemicals could be effective in boosting immunity as they can block coronavirus activity better than anti-HIV drugs.
    2. May 21 is also observed as World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development, proclaimed by UNESCO in 2002.
  233. May 21, death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi is observed as Anti-Terrorism Day in India.
    1. On this occasion, Chhattisgarh Government launched Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana. It will infuse Rs 5,100 crores into the rural economy of the state. Farmers are to be paid Rs 10,000 per acre, for sowing 14 types of crops (1 rabi and 13 kharif ).
    2. As First Tranche, State Government transferred 1,500 crores into accounts of more than 18,000 farmers
  234. Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan appointed as chairman of 34-Member World Health Organization (WHO) Executive Board. He replaced Hiroki Nakatani of Japan. WHO is governed by two decision-making bodies, World Health Assembly and Executive Board.
  235. World Bank Group appointed Carmen Reinhart (US)as its new Vice President and Chief Economist.
  236. Moeketsi Majoro has been appointed as Prime Minister of Lesotho (Southern Africa), after Tom Thabane resigned from the post.
  237. Noted Indian Author Ruskin Bond's new book Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes, has been released.
  238. Didi Vehicle Service has been launched by the women of Rural Livelihood Mission in the tribal-dominated Jhabua district of Madhya Pradesh.
  239. Indian Steel Association (ISA) appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President. He is presently CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India.
  240. Govinda Rajulu Chintala has been appointed as chairman of National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
  241. Directorate General Defence Estates (DGDE), Ministry of Defence and eGov Foundation signed MoU for Online Management of Cantonment Boards. Services will be delivered under a cloud-based platform DIGIT (Digital Infrastructure for Governance, Impact & Transformation), under program named e-Chhawani.
  242. Facebook acquired Giphy, a popular website for making and sharing animated images. Cost was not disclosed, although expected at around $400 million.
  243. IT Major Accenture acquired Ahmedabad-based data analytics company Byte Prophecy, to meet growing demand for enterprise-scale AI and digital analytics solutions across the region.
  244. Punjab Government promulgated Good Conduct Prisoners (Temporary Release) Amendment Ordinance 2020. Under it, temporary release of the prisoners has been allowed beyond the maximum period of 16 weeks in a calendar year.
  245. Zoological Survey of India  updated list of Indian amphibians, listing 20 species as critically endangered and 35 species as endangered. Number of amphibian species recorded in checklist of ZSI has increased from 284 (2009) to 447(2020).
  246. As a relief measure amid COVID-19 Pandemic, RBI Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) announced changes in Policy Rates. New Rates are -
    1. Repo Rate - 4.00 % (-.40 %)
    2. Reverse Repo - 3.35 % (-.40 %)
    3. Bank Rate - 4.25 % (-.40 %)
    4. CRR (Cash Reserve Ratio) - 3 %
    5. SLR(Statutory Liquidity ratio) - 18.00 %
    6. Marginal Standing Facility (MSF) Rate - 4.25 % (-.40 %)
    7. Other Measures -
      1. RBI Extended Moratorium on Term Loans by 3 Months, to enable borrowers to avail 3 months deferment on payment of Loan EMIs. It is applicable between repayments due between June 1 - Aug 31, 2020.
      2. In order to enable increased supply of affordable credit to small industries, RBI had announced a special refinance facility of 15000 crore to for 90 days. This facility has now been extended by another 90 days.
      3. Relaxation of Rules for Foreign Portfolio Investment under Voluntary Retention Route. Rules stipulate that at least 75% of allotted investment limit be invested within 3 months. This has now been revised to six months.
      4. RBI announced a line of credit of 15,000 crore to the EXIM Bank, for financing, facilitating and promoting foreign trade.
      5. Maximum credit which banks can extend to a particular corporate group has been increased from 25% to 30% of the bank’s eligible capital base.
  247. India’s nominal GDP growth rate in 2020-21 could range between -6% and 1%, according to 15th Finance Commission’s committee on the fiscal consolidation roadmap, which met via video conferencing, headed by Commission’s Chairman N.K. Singh.
  248. Ministry of Road Transport and Highways notified emission norms for L7 category for BS VI. These emission norms will encourage the production of quadricycles.
    1. Quadricycle segment in India was introduced in less than 2 years, with full-fledged production yet to begin.
    2. Quadricycle are of size of a three wheeler but runs with four wheels. The Quadricycle was inserted as “Non-Transport” under Motor Vehicles Act, 1988.
    3. Vehicles with four wheels with mass more than 400 kg are placed under L7 category.
  249. Maharatna PSUs NTPC and ONGC signed MoU to set up a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business.
    1.  NTPC and ONGC will explore setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India and overseas. They shall also explore opportunities in the fields of sustainability, storage, E-mobility and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) compliant projects.
    2. NTPC has 920 MW of installed Renewable power projects in its portfolio and about 2300 MW of RE projects under construction. It aims for 32 GW Renewable Energy Projects by 2032.
    3. ONGC has renewable portfolio of 176 MW comprising of 153 MW wind power and 23 MW of solar. It aims to add 10 GW of renewable power to its portfolio by 2040.
  250. Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology Guwahati (IASST) developed an electrochemical sensing platform for detecting carcinogenic or mutagenic compound N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA) and N-nitrosodiethanolamine (NDEA) sometimes found in food items like cured meat, bacon, some cheese, and low-fat milk.
    1. It was achieved by developing a modified electrode by immobilizing carbon nanomaterials (carbon dots) in DNA.
    2. Electrochemical biosensor platform was developed using ability of NDMA and NDEA, to alter the DNA. Electrode was developed by depositing carbon dots (carbon nanoparticles) and then immobilizing bacterial DNA on them.
  251. 7 services hosted on IMD Website (http://mausam.imd.gov.in) have been onboarded to UMANG Application.
    1. Services are - Current Weather, Nowcas, City Forecast, Rainfall Information, Tourism Forecast, Warnings, Cyclone.
    2. UMANG app (Unified Mobile Application for New-age Governance) is a unified multi-service mobile app launched by govt in 2017. About 660 services from 127 departments & 25 states and about 180 utility bill payment services are live and more are in pipeline.
  252. US Firm KKR  invested Approx 11367 crores in Reliance Jio Platforms, for a 2.32% stake. Recent Jio Stake Buy-outs -
    1. US Investor General Atlantic invested Approx 6600 crores in Reliance Jio Platforms, for a 1.34% stake. 
    2. US Based Vista Equity Partners invested 11367 crores into Reliance Jio Platforms for a 2.32 % stake.
    3. US Based Silver Lake partners  bought 1.15% stake in Reliance Industries subsidiary Jio Platforms, for Rs 5,656 crores ($750 million).
    4. Social Network Facebook invested INR 43574 crores in Jio Platforms, for 9.99% stake. It was Largest FDI in India's Tech Industry.
    5. Under concerned 5 deals, Jio has divested total 17.12 % Stake to 5 US Firms, since April 2020.
  253. May 22 - International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB), first observed by United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in 1993. 2020 Theme is Our Solutions are in nature. On the occasion, Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change launched 5 initiatives on conservation of biodiversity -
    1. Biodiversity Samrakshan Internship Programme
    2. United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) campaign called Illegal Trafficking of Endangered Species.
    3. Wildlife Crime Control Bureau campaign called Not All Animals Migrate by Choice.
    4. A Webinar series on “Biodiversity Conservation and Biological Diversity Act, 2002”.
    5. World Wildlife Fund Model Conference of Parties.
  254. Government amended General Financial Rules 2017 (GFR) to make sure goods and services that are of value less than Rs 200 crores are procured from domestic firms. This was announced under Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan.
    1. GFR are set of rules that deal with matters that involve public finances, first issued in 1947. GFRs were earlier modified in 1963 and 2005.
    2. GFR were last revised in 2017, to make sure an organization manages its business without compromising its flexibility.
  255. US to withdraw from Open Skies treaty, which was signed in 2002 as an aerial surveillance system for its 34 participants.
    1. It establishes a region of unarmed aerial observation. It is considered as one of most wide-ranging arms control effort that promotes transparency and openness amongst military forces.
    2. US accused that Russia has not stuck to its part of the deal. This is the third international arms pact the US has pulled out from since Donald Trump became the president. Earlier, US had opted out of Iran nuclear accord and Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
    3. India has similar treaty with Japan, signed in 2017.
  256. Indian economist Abhas Jha has been appointed by World Bank as Practice Manager for Climate Change and Disaster Risk Management for South Asia.
  257. Ministry of Finance released 9th Status Paper on Government Debt, for year 2018-19 (Being issued since 2010).
    1. Central Govt. Liabilities were 86.7 Lakh Crores (45.7 % of GDP), while General Govt. Liabilities were 130 Lakh Crores (68.6 % of GDP). Both these metrices saw decrease of .1% of GDP, over last year.
    2. External Debt is 5.1 Lakh Crores (2.7 % of GDP).
    3. 94.1 % of Central Government debt at end-March 2019 was domestic. Sovereign external debt constituted 2.7 % cent of GDP at end-March 2019.
  258. United Nations listed KHUDOL initiative of Manipur as one of the top 10 global initiatives to fight against COVID-19.
    1. KHUDOL is an initiative of a NGO called Ya_All. Under this, NGO provides food, hygiene and health of LGBTQ community, daily wage workers, people with AIDS.
  259. May 23 is observed as World Turtle Day, observed since 2000.
  260. Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka became highest-paid female athlete in sporting history, raking in $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements in past 12 months, according to Forbes. However, Osaka ranks only 29th overall among sports stars in terms of total earnings in past year.
    1. Swiss Tennis Star Roger Federer is top earner athelete (106 Million USD), Followed by Portugese Footballer Cristianpo Ronaldo (105 Million USD).
    2. Indian Cricketer Virat Kohli is top ranked Cricketer in List (66th), with earnings of 26 Million USD.
  261. Tata Power's Tata Power International Pte Ltd (TPIPL) acquired 10 % stake in Adjaristsqali Netherlands BV (ABV) from International Finance Corporation (IFC) for USD 150000, increasing TPIPL's shareholding in ABV to 50 %.
  262. Madhya Pradesh Govt inaugurated Everybody will get employment scheme. Under this, MNREGA job cards will be distributed to labourers.
  263. May 23 is observed as International Day to End Obstetric Fistula.
  264. Assam-based entrepreneur Jahnabi Phookan has been appointed as National President of FICCI Ladies Organization (FLO), women wing of FICCI.
  265. Mizoram Govt granted industry status to sports, to invest more in sports in order to generate employment and increase value.
  266. Andhra Pradesh government has come up with a 1,110-crore ‘ReSTART’ policy boost, to provide relief at to MSMEs amid the Pandemic TRiggered Slowdown.
    1. ReSTART Policy will include release of 905 crore of pending incentives to MSME units in two months, waive fixed demand charges towards power for a period of three months from April to June for MSMEs (188 crore) and 200-crore working capital loans by creating a fund to meet their liquidity crisis.
    2. It has proposed to defer the payment of fixed power demand charges of 17 crore for same period to all large and mega industries without interest or penal charges.
    3. MSMEs Preferential Market Access Policy will ensure that 25 % of government purchases will be from Micro and small units covering about 364 items.
    4. Government has also constituted a task force with Industries Minister Mekapati Goutham Reddy as chairman to attract investments into State.
  267. Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has constituted a committee to reform Drug Regulatory System, headed by Rajesh Bhushan (Officer on Special Duty to health minister).
  268. iTurmeric FinCloud microservices-based platform has been launched by Intellect Design Arena Ltd, launched through IBM public cloud.
    1. This platform will enable new digital banks’ systems to be tested and run in isolation or in parallel with core legacy systems.
  269. Uttar Pradesh government has set up ‘UP Start-up Fund’ under UP Information Technology and Start-up Policy 2017, signing an MOU with Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) for the same, with Initial contribution of 15 crore.
  270. UNICEF and Airtel Africa partnered to support children & families affected by COVID-19, to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families through mobile cash transfers.
  271. May 24 - Commonwealth Day in India. It is globally observed on Second Monday of March. However, in some nations Including India, it is observed on May 24.
    1. May 24 is Birth Anniversary of Queen Victoria (1819), who was Queen of United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland from 20 June 1837 until her death. On 1 May 1876, she adopted additional title of Empress of India.
  272. Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) Allowed Union Bank of India to continue with its 30% holding in IndiaFirst Life Insurance.
    1. UBI also holds 25.1% stake in Star Union Dai-Chi Life Insurance.
    2. Condition is that ank lender will not exercise management or any control over insurer’s management.
    3. RBI permitted UBI and insurers promoted by it a period of 1 year to hold existing shares of Andhra Bank in IndiaFirst Life Insurance for 1 year, following merger of UBI, Corporation bank & Andhra bank.
    4. As per IRDAI’s guidelines, a Bank must not own more than 10% stake in two insurance companies.
  273. Bharti Airtel acquired 10% stake in Voicezen, a Gurgaon based startup focused on conversational AI technologies.
  274. A new trough collector equipped with enhanced energy to serve industries has been developed by IIT Madras.
    1. The Parabolic Trough Collector is a lightweight and low-cost system with high energy efficiency and can operate under the country's varied climatic conditions. It can pave way for sustainable energy solutions in agriculture and industrial process heat sectors.
    2. Trough Collector focuses sunlight on a small area where it is absorbed and then utilised for heating and subsequently into energy generation.
  275. Japan launched its new space defense unit to monitor and counter threats to country's satellites. Called Space Operations Squadron, It is part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force.
    1. It has 20 members initially, expected to grow to about 100 members once fully operational in 2023.
  276. World Bank announced emergency operations worth USD 160 billion to 100 developing countries over a 15-month period to fight COVID-19 Pandemic, which is expected to put over 6 crore into extreme poverty globally.
  277. Australian Scientists discovered corals with increased heat tolerance which has potential to reduce impacts of coral reef bleaching due to climatic change.
    1. Bolstering heat tolerance of its microalgal symbionts, tiny cells of algae that live inside the coral tissues, the team made the coral more tolerant to temperature induced leaching.
    2. This will strengthen heat resistance of the coral reef by manipulating microalgae, the key factor of the coral’s heat tolerance.
  278. Central Board of Direct Taxes exempted Companies engaged in business-to-business (B2B) transactions have been exempted from installing e-payments facilities such as RuPay or UPI.
    1. It is applicable for B2B companies for which min 95% of aggregate of amount received during previous year, are by any mode other than cash.
    2. This came amid representations stating that requirement of mandatory facility for payments through prescribed electronic modes was not applicable to B2B businesses since they don’t deal with customers directly. Also, it puts cap on their daily receipts.
  279. Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Pvt. Ltd. appointed Kotak Mahindra Bank as an independent advisor, to assist Trustees in monetizing portfolios of 6 schemes that are being wound up & make payouts to affected investors.
    1. 6 schemes are - Low Duration Fund, Dynamic Accrual Fund, Credit Risk Fund, Short Term Income Plan, Ultra Short Bond Fund and Income Opportunities Fund of Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund.
  280. IRDAI Panel headed by New India Assurance (NIA) CMD Atul Sahai has recommended -
    1. Increase in indemnity (protection against finances) being provided to policyholders under Trade Credit Insurance (TCI) from existing 85% of trade receivables from each buyer to 90%. For Micro and small enterprises (MSEs), 95% indemnity is proposed to provide relief in event of loss which is beyond their control.
    2. Recommendations are aimed at improving overall business environment by protecting suppliers as well as lenders against payment defaults. Other recommendations Include -
      1. Permitting issue of TCI policy to banks, financiers, lenders for trade-related transactions, except for covering loan default of seller.
      2. Modifications in certain definitions for improved clarity and understanding.
      3. Creation of a Buyer Default Database with Insurance Information Bureau (IIB) as a measure to keep a check on defaulters.
      4. RBI to recognise credit insurance products as risk mitigation tools for banks to make them eligible for capital relief.
    3. TCI was Introduced in 2016, as an effective risk management tool for suppliers of goods and services and other financial institutions, to facilitate and promote trade by addressing issues concerning losses arising from payment related defaults.
  281. Indian PSU IRCON signed MoU with Russia's RZD International L.L.C., to explore opportunities for joint development of railways and other infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America.
  282. Railways PSU RITES acquired 24% stake in Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation (IRSDC) for 48 crores. IRSDC is joint venture of Rail Land Development Authority (RLDA) and IRCON International.
  283. In order to meet demand of growing Demand of rice, its production needs to increase by about 50% of current productivity.
    1. In this direction, Under a Joint study by National Institute of Plant Genome Research, National Rice Research Institute and University of Delhi, Researchers identified a region in genome of rice, which seems to have potential for improving productivity.
    2. Scientists sequenced genomes of four Indian genotypes (LGR, PB 1121, Sonasal & Bindli), and found that Indian rice germplasms had much more genomic diversity than that estimated so far.
    3. They studied DNA from 3000 rice accessions from across world, identifying a long (~6 Mb) genomic region, which had an unusually suppressed nucleotide diversity region across centromere of chromosome 5. They named it as `low diversity region’.
    4. This region played important role during domestication of rice varieties, as it was present in most cultivated rice genotypes and absent in wild varieties.
    5. Most of modern cultivated rice varieties belong to japonica and indica genotypes. They had this region prominently.
    6. The study assumes importance as in addition to genome-wide exploration, it has highlighted an important and a long domestication-related genomic region, which was found to be evolutionarily crafted to carry multiple agronomic traits associations. 
  284. Researchers at Institute of Nano Science and Technology Mohali found a unique route to fabricate precisely controlled nanostructures of desired geometry and location on 2D materials, through a rapid one-step low power laser writing process.
    1. Approaches used so far to achieve controllability over hotspots distribution, limits their potential to be used for large area substrates.
    2. To overcome this, INST developed a hybrid Surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) platform of Molybdenum disulfide (MoS2) nanostructure decorated with gold nanoparticles, where direct laser writing is used to engineer artificial edges on surface of MoS2. 
    3. This created localized hotspots with remarkable precision and control. SERS is a technique for molecular detection and characterization that relies on enhanced Raman scattering of molecules that are adsorbed on SERS-active surfaces, such as nanostructured gold or silver.
  285. Scientists from Raman Research Institute along with IISER Pune and Paris Diderot University (France), have found out that spectrin, which are flexible rod-shaped molecules present in axons, act as ‘shock absorbers’ to protect axons from stretch-induced damage.
    1. Axons are long tubular extensions of nerve cells that transmit electrical signals across long distances and can be up to a meter long in case of humans. At such lengths, they are subjected to large stretch deformations during limb or other bodily movements. Axons undergo significant deformations even during normal activities like jumping.
    2. Probing into what strategies axons adopt to protect themselves from damage during deformations, scientists showed that neuronal cells may have evolved a clever strategy using an etched optical fiber attached to a piezo drive as a force-sensing cantilever to stretch live axons and to measure resultant tension.
    3. Brain undergoes significant deformations (up to 5% of strain) even under normal activities such as jumping. In contact sports, brain concussion occurs and is a leading cause of injuries.
  286. Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs, Nitin Gadkari inaugurated Chamba Tunnel under Chardham Pariyojana through video conference, built by Border Roads Organisation.
    1. Its a 440 m long Tunnel below busy Chamba town on Rishikesh-Dharasu road Highway (NH 94). Tunnel will ease out congestion though Chamba town and reduce distance by 1 kilometer and journey through town will take 10 minutes, compared to 30 minutes earlier.
    2. Tunnel is Horse shoe type, with 10 mtr carriage way width and 5.5 mtr vertical clearance. Sanctioned cost is 107 Crores.
    3. Under Chardham Project costing around Rs 12,000 Crore with approximate length of 889 Km, BRO is constructing 250 Km of National Highways leading to holy shrine Gangotri and Badrinath.
  287. Power Ministry PSU Power Finance Corporation (PFC) signed agreement with Madhya Pradesh Govt. PSU Narmada Basin Projects Company Ltd. (NBPCL), to fund projects worth Rs.22,000 crore for 225 MW hydro-electric projects & multipurpose projects in Madhya Pradesh.
  288. Minister for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Giriraj Singh Launched Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY), which aims to enhance fish production to 220 lakh metric tons by 2024-25 from 137.58 lakh metric tons in 2018-19 at an average annual growth rate of about 9%.
    1. It will result in doubling export earnings to Rs.1,00,000 crore and generate about 55 lakhs direct and indirect employment opportunities in fisheries sector over 5 years.
    2. Earlier on May 20, Cabinet Approved implementation of PMMSY, aimed at bringing about Blue Revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries sector
      1. Components Central Sector Scheme (CS) and Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS) have estimated investment of 20050 crores, with Central share of 9407 crores. It will be implemented for 5 years (FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25).
      2. Central Sector Scheme -
        1. Entire cost will be borne by Central government.
        2. Wherever direct beneficiary oriented activities are undertaken by entities of central government, central assistance will be up to 40% of project cost for General and 60% for SC/ST/Women category.
      3. For Centrally Sponsored Scheme (CSS), Project/unit cost will be shared between Centre and State as -
        1. North Eastern & Himalayan States - 90% Central share and 10% State share.
        2. Other States - 60% Central share and 40% State share.
        3. Union Territories - 100% Central share.
      4. Benefits Include -
        1. Address critical gaps in the fisheries sector and realize its potential.
        2. Augmenting fish production and productivity at a sustained average annual growth rate of about 9% to achieve a target of 22 million metric tons by 2024-25.
        3. Creation of critical infrastructure including modernisation and strengthening of value chain.
        4. Doubling of fishers, fish farmers and fish workers incomes by 2024
  289. Govt. released code for Android version of contact tracing app Aarogya Setu, on open-source code repository Github.
    1. Government also rolled out a bug bounty programme, promising a reward of 1 lakh for those who discover bugs or loopholes in app.
    2. Aarogya setu has appprox 11.5 Crore users, most for any contact tracing app anywhere in world.
  290. BRICS Nations' Bank New Development Bank (NDB) elected Marcos Troyjo from Brazil as its new president, as term of India's KV Kamath as NDB President has ended. Anil Kishora from India will be new vice-president.
  291. Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted Tejas Mk-1 FOC aircraft into recently resurrected No 18 Sqn, the “Flying Bullets” at Air Force Station Sulur. The Squadron is the first in the IAF to induct this platform.
    1. Tejas Mk-1 FOC is a single engine, light weight, highly agile, all weather multi role fighter aircraft capable of air-to-air refueling.
  292. Credit Rating Agency CRISIL stated that India’s worst recession ever has arrived and economy will shrink by 5 % in current fiscal FY 21 (2020-21).
    1. It will be fourth recession since Independence and first since Liberalisation. India has seen recession only thrice- in fiscals 1958, 1966 and 1980. The reason for the recession in all three of them was the same- a monsoon shock hitting agriculture and then economy.
    2. In real terms there will be a permanent loss of about 10% GDP, which means that going back to the growth rates seen before the pandemic is highly unlikely in the next three fiscals.
  293. May 25 is observed as World Thyroid Day, observed since 2008. May 25 is also International Missing Children's Day.
  294. Astronomers developed a model that can predict which of many types of clouds, from smoggy methane haze to sapphire, can be expected on hot Planets of different temperatures (Jupiter like Exoplanets), which can be up to thousands of degrees kelvin.
    1. This will help astronomers in studying gases in atmospheres of distant worlds as clouds interfere in getting measurement of atmospheric composition. It will also be helpful in understanding atmospheres of cooler giant planets and their moons, such as Saturn and Jupiter’s moon Titan.
    2. Most common type of cloud that can be expected over a large range of temperatures must consist of solid or liquid droplets of Oxygen and Silicon, like melted quartz or molten sand. Skies on cooler hot Jupiters that (950 kelvin) are dominated by a hydrocarbon haze, essentially smog.
  295. NASA renamed its next-generation space telescope Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope (WFIRST), after NASAs' first chief astronomer Nancy Grace Roman, set for launch in 2025. 
    1. She paved the way for space telescopes focused on broader universe. She is considered as mother of Hubble Space Telescope, which was launched 30 years ago. 
    2. Roman Space Telescope is expected to help NASA better understand space and help unravel long-standing astronomical mysteries, such as force behind the universe’s expansion and also boost its search for distant planets beyond our solar system.
  296. Pulitzer winning Indian-American physician, Siddhartha Mukherjee has been appointed as member of New York’s commission that will focus on jumpstarting state’s economy, which is badly hit by coronavirus pandemic. Another Indian-origin higher education leader, Satish Tripathi has also been named as member of commission.
  297. Uttar Pradesh Government announced to set up a Migration Commission for welfare of migrants, to ensure job and social security of the migrant workers through skill mapping.
  298. As per World Steel Report by World Steel Association -
    1. Crude steel report of India declined by 65%. During April 2020, the steel output of India was 3.13 million tonnes, compared to 9.02 million tonnes in in April 2019.
    2. In March 2020, India faced a decline of 14% steel output as compared to March 2019. Global steel output declined by 13%.
  299. Noted British author and Harry Potter Series Creator J.K. Rowling released first two chapters of her new Children’s book “The lckabog”.
  300. Supreme Court took suo motu cognisance of migrant workers issue and noted that there have been “inadequacies and certain lapses” on the part of the Central and State governments in dealing with the migrant workers crisis during lockdown.
    1. Suo motu is a latin phrase which means “on its own”. This means that the court has taken the matter into cognisance on its own and without any plaintiff. A plaintiff is a person or entity which files a case or petition in the court.
    2. SC seeks response by May 28, 2020 on this matter.
  301. NASA researchers found high energy particles erupting from ice in Antarctic region. Researchers believe that these particles are proof to parallel universe.
    1. ANTIA is high-energy cosmic neutrino that detect radio pulses that are being emitted by Antarctic ice sheet. The neutrinos in the ice produce radio pulses due to Askaryan effect.
    2. ANTIA succeeded in detecting 'fountain' of high-energy particles in 2006 and 2014 but the researchers initially thought them as background noise or glitches. Neutrinos are only particle that reach earth unattenuated.
    3. Askaryan Effect is the phenomenon where a particle travelling at a velocity faster than light in a dense electric medium, produces shower of secondary charged particles.
  302. Calling application named CatchUp has been launched by Facebook, aiming to coordinate call timings with friends and family members, and will enable users to check availability of time with a group of up to eight people.
  303. Indian Army's Major Suman Gawani will be awarded UN Military Gender Advocate of 2019, as first time an Indian peacekeeper will be honored by this award.
    1. Major Suman was stationed in South Sudan under the United Nations Mission. Recently she has completed her mission.
    2. UN Military Gender Advocate Award began In 2016.
  304. Indian-American IBM Inventor Rajiv Joshi won NYIPLA “Inventor of the Year award” for 2020, for his contribution to advancing the electronic industry and improving artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities. This award is presented by the New York Intellectual Property Law Association (NYIPLA), carrying $5,000.
  305. India handed over war game centre named as “INDIA” to Uganda Peoples Defence Forces (UPDF), built at approx $2,65,000.
  306. Former SC judge A K Sikri inaugurated Indian Dispute Resolution Centre (IDRC) in New Delhi, which aims at providing a completely paperless dispute resolution environment. The centre offers offline also as e-alternate dispute resolution (ADR) facility through its state-of-the-art e-arbitration, e-meditation and e-conciliation software portal.
  307. Indian consumer goods Firm ITC acquired spices maker Sunrise Foods Private Limited.
  308. British Telecom Major Vodafone appointed Jean-Francois Van Boxmeer (CEO of brewer Heineken), to succeed Gerard Kleisterlee as chairman from November 2020.
  309. Madhya Pradesh CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan started Shram Siddhi campaign in every Panchayat of State. Under this, labourers of rural areas will be provided job cards, who do not have them.
    1. Madhya Pradesh Government also launched Rojgar Setu Yojana to help migrant workers.
  310. Airtel Payments Bank (APBL) partnered with Payments Firm Mastercard, to develop customized products catering to customers across the underbanked spectrum including farmers, small and medium enterprises and retail customers.
  311. May 27 is Death Anniversary of Jawaharlal Nehru, first Prime Minister of India.
  312. Scientists at Kolkata based Botanical Survey of India (BSI)  discovered 3 new plant species namely- Eugenia sphaerocarpa, Goniothalamus sericeus and Memecylon nervosum at the Western Ghats in Kerala and Tamil Nadu (TN).
    1. Eugenia sphaenrocarpa is Found primarily in the Kakkayam area of the Malabar wildlife sanctuary in Kerala at an altitude of  800 m, it belongs to the Myrtaceae or Rose apple family.
    2. Goniothalamus sericeus was Discovered in Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu (TN) at an altitude of 1400m, this species belongs to the Annonaceae family of custard apple.
    3. Memecylon nervosum is Found at an altitude between 700-900m at the Kanyakumari wildlife sanctuary in Tamil Nadu (TN), this species belongs to the Melastomataceae (Kayamboo or Kaasavu in local parlance) family.
  313. Amphibious transport dock ship, USS Portland (LPD-27) of US Navy destroyed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) with a solid-state laser “Laser Weapon System Demonstrator (LWSD)” from Pacific. It was first system-level implementation of a high-energy class solid-state laser to disable an aerial drone aircraft.
  314. Uttarakhand became 1st state to release a report highlighting its conservation efforts to save 1145 rare plants from extinction -
    1. Project aims at Germplasm conservation so that species remain conserved and also to promote conservation of plant species among general public so as to end plant blindness.
    2. According to the red list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), under this project, 46 species are endemic to Uttarakhand and 68 species are rare, endangered or threatened.
  315. LIC launched Modified Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana-PMVVY  Scheme for those over 60 years.
    1. Sale will be available from May 26 for 3 financial years(up to March 31, 2023).
    2. As per Cabinet's Recent Approval -
      1. Approval Extension of Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) by 3 years, up to 31st March 2023.
        1. Assured rate of return of 7.40 % per annum for 2020-21 per annum, to be reset every year.
        2. Annual reset of assured rate of interest with effect from April 1st of financial year in line with revised rate of returns of Senior Citizens Saving Scheme (SCSS), upto 7.75%, with fresh appraisal of scheme on breach of this threshold at any point.
        3. Expenditure to be incurred on account of the difference between the market rate of return generated by LIC and guaranteed rate of return under scheme.
        4. Capping Management expenses at 0.5% p.a. of funds of the scheme for first year of scheme in respect of new policies issued and thereafter 0.3% p.a. for second year onwards for next 9 years.
        5. Delegating authority to Finance Minister to approve annual reset rate of return at the beginning of every financial year.
        6. Minimum investment revised to Rs.1,56,658 for pension of 12000 per annum and 162162 for minimum pension of 1000 per month.
        7. Maximum pension - In monthly mode – Rs 9,250;  In quarterly mode-Rs. 27,750;  In half-yearly mode- Rs 55,500; In yearly mode- Rs. 1,11,000
        8. Loan- After 3 policy years, the policy allows loan up to 75% of purchase price.
        9. Surrender Value– There is a provision of premature(early) exit for treatment of any critical/terminal illness of self or spouse. In this case, the surrender value payable shall be 98% of the purchase price.
  316. Tamil Nadu Government started works on Solar Fence Farmland Protection Programme, under Central Agriculture Improvement Scheme.
    1. It aims to protect agricultural lands of districts which have western ghats as their boundaries and are at risk of animal(Elephant) attacks.
    2. 50% of construction cost of the electric fence and setting up the solar panels for power generation will be provided under the Central Agriculture Improvement Scheme as a subsidy to farmers,up to INR 2.18 Lakhs.
  317. Minister for Electronics and IT, Law and Justice and Communications Ravi Shankar Prasad launched India’s national Artificial Intelligence Portal at URL www.ai.gov.in. It portal shall work as a one stop digital platform for AI related developments in India.
    1. A National Program for the youth,  Responsible AI for Youth was also launched, to equip young students with appropriate new age tech mind-set, relevant AI skill-sets and access to required AI tool-sets to make them digitally ready for the future. It is open to students of classes 8 - 12 from Central and State government-run schools from across country.
  318. Various measures taken by Department of Food & Public Distribution for current sugar season 2019-20 -
    1. Government reimbursing carrying cost of Rs.1674 crore towards maintenance of buffer stockof 40 LMT of sugar.
    2. Assistance@ Rs 10448/MT being provided tosugar mills to meet expenses on export of 60 LMT of sugar, at approx 6268 crores.
    3. Soft loans of about Rs. 18600 crores are being extended through banks to 362 sugar mills and molasses-based standalone distilleries, for which interest subvention of 4045 crores for 5 years is being borne by Government.
    4. Estimated Production during sugar season 2019-20 is 270 LMT, with 240 LMT expected as Domestic Consumption.
  319. May 28 is Birth Anniversary of Legendary freedom Fighter Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, also called Veer Savarkar. May 28 is also observed as International Day of Action for Women's Health.
  320. Central Institute of Plastics Engineering & Technology (CIPET) has been renamed as Central Institute of Petrochemicals Engineering & Technology (CIPET), a premier national institution under Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers.
  321. Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman launched facility for instant allotment of PAN (on near to real time basis), available for those PAN applicants who possess a valid Aadhaar number and have a mobile number registered with Aadhaar. An Electronic PAN (e-PAN) is issued to applicants free of cost. It was annouced by in Union Budget 2020.
  322. India signed $177 Million loan agreement with Asian Development Bank (ADB), to upgrade 450 kilometers of state highways and major district roads in Maharashtra.
  323. Ministry of Tribal Affairs Included 23 additional Minor Forest Produce (MFP) items and stipulation of their Minimum Support Price (MSP) under Centrally Sponsored Scheme titled "Mechanism for Marketing of Minor Forest Produce (MFP) through Minimum Support Price (MSP) and development of value chain of MFP". It enhances coverage from 50 to 73 items.
    1. Earlier on May 1, 2020, MSP revisions for existing 50 MFPs were announced, with increase in range 16% to 66%.
  324. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) established stable cultures of coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) from patients’ samples. It enables CCMB to work towards vaccine development and testing of potential drugs to fight COVID-19.
    1. Novel coronavirus enters human cell by binding with the ACE-2 receptor on the cell surface. Not all cells have ACE-2 receptors. Human epithelial cells in the respiratory tract copiously express ACE-2 receptors, causing respiratory disease in the infected patient. However, epithelial cells ca not be grown in lab.
    2. Researchers use Vero cells (kidney epithelial cell lines from green African monkey), which express ACE-2 proteins.
    3. Culturing a large amount of virus and inactivating it can be used as inactivated virus vaccine.
  325. Chhattisgarh presented their Annual Action Plan for 2020-21 for consideration of Ministry of Jal Shakti, under Jal Jeevan Mission.
    1. It aims to provide adequate potable drinking water to every rural household of country by 2024, with budget 3.60 lakh Crores.
    2. Chhattisgarh has planned to have 100% Functional Tap Water Connection (FHTC) by 2023-24, with budget of 445 Crore for Chhattisgarh for 2020-21.
    3. Under JJM, Bihar plans to provide tap connections to every household in 2020-21 itself, with budget of 1832 Crores.
  326. Foundation Stone for Missile Park AGNEEPRASTHA laid at INS Kalinga, to capture glimpses of Missile History of INS Kalinga since its inception in 1981.
    1. A 2 MW Solar Photovoltaic Plant was also commissioned at INS Kalinga. Govt aims to achieve 100 GW of solar power by 2022.
  327. Scientists from Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) developed a pH-responsive smart bandage that can deliver medicine applied in wound at pH that is suitable for the wound.
    1. It is developed by fabricating a nanotechnology-based cotton patch that uses cheap and sustainable materials like cotton and jute.
    2. Jute has been used for first time as a precursor in synthesizing fluorescent carbon dots, and water was used as dispersion medium.
    3. Stimuli-responsive nature of fabricated hybrid cotton patch acts as an advantage as in case of growth of bacterial infections in a wound, and this induces release of drug at lower pH which is favourable under these conditions.
    4. This pH-responsive behaviour of the fabricated cotton patch lies in the unique behaviour of the jute carbon dots incorporated in the system because of the different molecular linkages formed during the carbon dot preparation.
    5. Use of cheap and sustainable material like cotton and jute to fabricate patch makes whole process biocompatible, non-toxic, low cost and sustainable.
  328. Department of Science and Technology (DST) initiated a COVID -19 Indian National Supermodel to help monitor future transmission of infection.
    1. As part of this initiative, Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research (JNCASR) and IISc, Bangalore will co-ordinate to connect and work with all COVID-19 modeling projects and programs in the country.
  329. National Statistical Office (NSO), Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation released Estimates of National Income for financial year 2019-20, both at Constant (2011-12) and Current Prices -
    1. Quarterly -
      1. GDP at Constant (2011-12) Prices in Q4 of 2019-20 is estimated at 38.04 lakh crore, as against 36.90 lakh crore in Q4 of 2018-19, showing a growth of 3.1 %.
        1. Earlier in 2019-20 -
          1. Q3 - 4.7 %
          2. Q2 - 4.5 %
          3. Q1 - 5.0 %
    2. Annual -
      1. Real GDP or Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at Constant (2011-12) Prices in 2019-20 estimated to be 145.66 lakh crore, as against the First Revised Estimate of GDP for the year 2018-19 of 139.81 lakh crore. it shows 4.2 % Growth, compared to 6.1 % in 2018-19. It is India's lowest Growth in 11 Years.
      2. GDP at Current Prices in 2019-20 is estimated to be 203.40 lakh crores, as against First Revised Estimates of 189.71 lakh crore in 2018-19, showing growth rate of 7.2 %, as compared to 11.0 % in 2018-19.
    3. Per Capita Income -
      1. In real terms (at 2011-12 Prices) during 2019-20 is estimated to be 94,954, as compared to 92,085 in 2018-19, resulting in growth of 3.1 % during 2019-20, as against 4.8 % in the previous year.
      2. At current prices during 2019-20 is estimated to be 134226, showing rise of 6.1 %, as compared to 1,26,521 during 2018-19.
  330. Russia constructed its first Stealth Bomber Under its Perspective Aviation Complex for Long Range Aviation (PAKDA) programme.
    1. Bomber is second-generation combat aircraft after Sukhoi Su-57 supersonic fighter jet.
  331. May 28 is observed as World Hunger Day, an initiative of the Hunger Project.
    1. May 28 is also observed as Menstrual Hygiene Day.
  332. National Payment Corporation of India launched Artificial Intelligence based chatbot called Pai, to increase financial inclusion in India. It provides information about NPCI products, created by Bengaluru based CoRover Private Limited.
  333. European Union proposed 750 billion Euros as COVID-19 recovery fund, to recover from deep recession caused by COVID-19.
    1. France and Germany had earlier agreed to provide 543 billion USD fund to add cash to financial measures of the bloc.
    2. The alliance was led by France and Germany and the model is an outcome of the meet of 25 nations held in April 2020.
    3. Model aims to pull in world organizations in fight against COVID-19, aiming to strengthen UN and especially under financed World Health Organization (WHO) to develop and distribute tests and vaccines.
  334. Karnataka Government will launch a “State Health Register” to collect data of all its citizens, as first of its kind in India. The project is to be launched from Chikkaballapur district.
  335. New fresh water fish called Punitus Sanctus found in Velankanni, Tamil Nadu. Punitus is a species of fish that are commonly found in drains of western and eastern ghats and also in Eastern Himalayas.
  336. Leaders of G7 nations have set up Global Partnership on Artificial Intelligence, initiated by France and Canada. US had joined the alliance after initial denial. G7 consists France, Canada, Italy, Germany, Japan, UK and US. The group has more than 46% of global GDP.
  337. Kerala Government project K-FON (Kerala Fibre Optic Network) will be implemented by December 2020, to link all houses / offices with optical fibre network. Cost is approx 1548 Crores.
  338. World Health Organization (WHO) announced the creation of the WHO foundation to support critical health needs. It is an independent grant-making entity that aims at supporting the efforts of WHO to address the global health challenges.
  339. New astronomical transient that is faster, brighter, and heavier at radio wavelengths than its predecessors has been identified by astrophysicists.
    1. After a bright burst was captured in 2016, in a tiny galaxy 500 million lightyears away, Researchers determined that anomaly is third fast blue optical transient (FBOT) ever captured in X-ray and radio wavelengths.
    2. FBOTs are highly luminous cosmic explosions. The most famous FBOT is AT2018COW (“The Cow”)- a rare event that appeared to be birth of a neutron star or black hole.
    3. Newly identified FBOT, called CSS161010 in short has vastly overshadowed the previously discovered FBOT “The Cow” with the heaviness and sheer speed of its material outflows. It produced some kind of fastest outflows in nature launching particles and gas at more than 55% speed of the light.
    4. CSS161010 launched 1 to 10 percent mass of sun, at more than half the speed of light which shows that this is a new class of transient.
  340. US terminated its relationship with World Health Organisation, amid WHO being criticized for its role in COVID-19 Pandemic and its accused favoring of China. US used to pay approx USD 450 million a year to WHO.
  341. Indian IT Major Wipro appointed Thierry Delaporte as a new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Managing Director (MD), replacing Abidali Z Neemuchwala.
    1. Also, Aiman Ezzat has become new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of French technology major Capgemini Group.
  342. US President Donald Trump signed an executive order to increase government’s ability to regulate social media platforms. The order directs a Commerce Department agency to file a petition with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to clarify scope of Internet law, Section 230.
    1. Section 230 of Communications Decency Act (CDA) of 1996 is a landmark Internet legislation of US, which helped pave way for social media companies to grow into global giants.
    2. According to Section 230, no provider or user of an interactive computer service shall be treated as publisher or speaker of any information provided by another information content provider.
    3. Section 230 was developed in response to a pair of lawsuits against Internet service providers in early 1990s, which had different interpretations of whether service providers should be treated as publishers or distributors of content created by its users.
  343. As per Govt Data, total Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India grown by 18% to reach 73 billion USD in FY 2019-20.
    1. Of this, FDI equity inflows through Foreign Investment Promotion Board (FIPB), RBI’s automatic route of through acquisition rose 13 percent to around $49.98 billion.
  344. May 29 is observed as International Everest Day. On this day in 1953, Nepalese Tenzing Norgay and New Zealand's Edmund Hillary climbed Mt. Everest, as first humans to achieve this feat.
  345. 29 May - International Day of UN Peacekeepers, with 2020 theme is Women in Peacekeeping: A key to Peace.
    1. May 29 is also observed as World Digestive Health Day.
  346. RBI Imposed Monetary Penalties on Several Banks -
    1. Bharat Co-operative Bank (Mumbai) - 60 Lakh
    2. Citibank - 4 Crores
    3. TJSB Sahakari Bank - 45 Lakh
    4. Nagar Urban Co-operative Bank - 40 lakh
    5. Saraswat Co-operative Bank - 30 Lakh
    6. Bank of India - 5 Crores
    7. Karnataka Bank - 1.2 Crores
  347. Uttarakhand Govt inaugurated Mukhyamantri Swarozgar Yojana for returnee migrants, to give self-employment opportunities to youth and a boost to reverse migration, especially entrepreneurs returning to Uttarakhand and encourage skilled and unskilled artisans.
  348. South African HIV researcher Quarraisha Abdool Karim, who found that a topical gel could stop many women catching the virus has been awarded Christophe Merieux Prize. It is one of France’s top science prizes, carrying $551,000.
  349. IIT Madras and University of North Texas and United States Army lab, have developed a magnesium alloy to replace steel and aluminium in the automobile industry to reduce carbon footprint and increase fuel efficiency.
  350. Banks Board Bureau appointed SN Rajeswari as Chairman and MD of Oriental Insurance Company (OIC).
  351. Capital markets regulator SEBI imposed penalty of Rs 7 lakh on National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) for delay in making timely disclosure about financial results.
  352. Ministry of finance appointed PR Jaishankar as managing director of India Infrastructure Finance Company Ltd (IIFCL).
  353. Yes Bank acquired 24.19% stake in direct-to-home (DTH) provider Dish TV India, by invoking pledged shares after loan defaults by several companies.
  354. May 30 is statehood day for Goa. On this day in 1987, Goa became 25th state of India. It was a Union Territory along with Daman and Diu from December 1961 onwards when Goa was liberated from Portugese rule.
  355. Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and National Stock Exchange (NSE) reduced annual listing fee by 25% for Small and Medium Enterprises(SMEs) companies, to lower compliance costs for companies during ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
  356. Indian Twch Firm Infosys partnered with core banking software developer Swiss firm Avaloq, to offer end-to-end (e2e) products and services as Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) across the world to its clients.
  357. Mumbai based Tech Firm Vakrangee Limited signed Corporate Agency partnership with Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) to distribute LIC’s micro insurance products in unserved and underserved areas through its Nextgen Vakrangee Kendra network spread across India.
  358. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) received patent for its method of manufacturing highland lunar soil simulant or moon soil which was prepared to create an artificial moon surface as a part of 2019’s Moon landing mission Chandrayaan-2 so that Vikram lander and Pragyaan rover could be tested.
    1. This soil simulant represents the regolith (loose unconsolidated rock and dust that sits atop a layer of bedrock) of lunar highland region.
    2. It is made in bulk from anorthosite rocks, a sample similar to regolith identified and picked out from Sittampundi Anorthosite Complex, almost 67 km from Salem, in Tamil Nadu.
  359. Ola Electric acquired Netherlands-based Etergo BV, an innovative electric scooter company for an undisclosed sum. Ola plans to set its own line of premium electric two-wheelers. Ola electric will launch its global electric two-wheeler in India in 2021.
  360. National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved to sell 50% stake in Gujarat International Finance Tec-City Co Ltd (GIFT City) held by crisis hit Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services (IL&FS) to Gujarat government for 32.70 crores.
    1. IL&FS and the state government through Gujarat Urban Development Co Ltd hold 50:50 stake in GIFT City.
    2. IL&FS signed MOU with Gujarat government to develop an International Financial Services City (IFSC) in 2007.
  361. Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) issued new guidelines to fight COVID-19 and for phased re-opening of areas outside the Containment Zones, effective from June 1, 2020.  
    1. Current phase of re-opening, Unlock 1, will have an economic focus. Major parts of economy will be opened for trade activities.
    2. Lockdown measures would continue to be implemented strictly in the containment zones.
    3.  Phase I (permitted to open from June 8, 2020)
      1. Religious places and places of worship for public;
      2. Hotels, restaurants and other hospitality services; and
      3. Shopping malls. 
    4. Phase II -
      1. Schools, colleges, educational/ training/ coaching institutions etc., will be opened after consultations with States and UTs.
    5. Activities to remain prohibited throughout the country -
      1. International air travel of passengers;
      2. Operation of Metro Rail; 
      3. Cinema halls, gymnasiums, swimming pools, entertainment parks, theatres, bars and auditoriums, assembly halls and similar places; and,
      4. Social/ political/ sports/ entertainment/ academic/ cultural/ religious functions/ and other large congregations. 
      5. Dates for the opening of above activities would be decided in Phase III, based on assessment of the situation.
    6. No restriction on inter-State and intra-State movement of persons and goods. Night curfew would continue to remain in force, on the movement of individuals, for all non-essential activities. However, the revised timings of the curfew will be from 9 pm to 5 am.
    7. States and UTs, based on their assessment of the situation, may prohibit certain activities outside the Containment zones or impose such restrictions, as deemed necessary. 
  362. May 31 is Observed as No Tobacco Day, established by World Health Organization (WHO). 2020 Theme is Protecting Youth.
    1. On this occasion, WHO accorded World No Tobacco Day Award 2020 to Socio-Economic and Educational Development Society(SEEDS), an Indian non-governmental organization(NGO), one among 3 SouthEast Asian Region awardees, for its efforts to ban pan masala, gutkha, e-cigarettes and hookah in Bihar and Jharkhand.
    2. WNTD is one of eight official global public health campaigns marked by WHO, Others are -
      1. World Health Day - Apr 7
      2. World Blood Donor Day - June 14
      3. World Immunization Week - Last week of April
      4. World Tuberculosis Day - Mar 24
      5. World Malaria Day - Apr 25
      6. World Hepatitis Day - July 28
      7. World AIDS Day - Dec 1
  363. General Conferences (May 21 - 31, 2020) -
    1. In Ladakh, first Solar Lift Irrigation Plant of Kargil has been launched, with 5 KW Solar Plant and three HP Submersible Pump at Yak Breeding Farm. It ains to solve shortage of water to irrigate and drinking water.
    2. Ministry of Labour and Employment under its National Career Service (NCS) project started offering free online “Career Skills Training” in partnership with TCS ION for its registered job-seekers.
    3. Flagship programme of Ministry of Minority Affairs ‘Hunar Haat’ will restart with theme of “Local to Global” from September 2020. It is a platform for artisans and craftsmen from various parts of the country to showcase their art and craft.
    4. Governor of Maharashtra Bhagat Singh Koshyari made certain modifications in Section 6 of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act 2006.
      1. Aim to provide justice to tribals whose b Forest rights have been rejected by District Level Committee(DLC) constituted under FRA. Provision has been incorporated to enable rightful claimants of forest rights to appeal against Order of the DLC.
    5. National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) organised a virtual tour to commemorate the 115th Birth Anniversary of iconic artist Ramkinkar Baij. He was honoured with the Padma Bhushan Award by Government in 1970.
    6. Song titled ‘Jayatu Jayatu Bharatam – Vasudev Kutumbakkam’ has been released, penned by Prasoon Joshi and composed by Shankar Mahadevan. It includes 211 singers incuding legendary singer Lata Mangeshkar.
    7. Uttar Pradesh Government will implement Herbal Roads Project in a stretch of 800 km in state. State government is to plant trees that have medicinal values on either sides of the roads.
    8. Department of Posts, Department of Horticulture, Government of Bihar partnered to supply ''Shahi Lichi'' & "Zardalu Mango" to people at doorstep.
    9. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitaraman attended Special Board of Governors meet of BRICS New Development bank through video conference. Heads of Tax authorities of BRICS Nations also met through video conference.
    10. 6 States that form western ghats (Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu) urged central govt to expedite notification of Ecologically Sensitive Area (ESA) pertaining to Western Ghats.
      1. Government had formed a high-level working group under Dr. Kasturirangan to converse and protect the bio diversity of Western Ghats.
      2. Committee recommended declaring identified geographical areas falling under six states as Ecologically Sensitive Areas.
    11. An accelerator programme H.A.C.K has been launched by Karnataka’s Centre of Excellence in cyber security (CySecK), comprising of 21 start-ups on board across three cohorts - 10x cohort, 0-1 cohort and virtual cohort.
  364. Vinay Badhwar, India's National Hydrographer has been honoured with 2019 Alexander Dalrymple Award by UK Hydrographic Office (UKHO), for his contribution to Indian hydrography.
  365. SpaceX became first private rocket company to send astronauts to space, launching NASA Astronauts Doug Hurley and Bob Behnken. It will end reliance of NASA on Russian space rockets for sending NASA astronauts to space. As part of mission, Astronauts in SpaceX's Crew Dragon Capsule entered International Space Station (ISS).
  366. Researchers confirmed existence of Proxima b, an Earth-like planet that's orbiting the closest star to our Solar System, Proxima Centauri.
    1. Proxima b is 1.17 times the mass of Earth, smaller than older estimate of 1.3 times. It orbits its star in just 11.2 days.
    2. Proxima b was first discovered in 2016 using HARPS (High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher) planet-hunting spectrograph at European Southern Observatory in Chile. Now, ESPRESSO spectrograph on Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile has provided detailed confirmation.
    3. It is apporx 4.24 Light years away from earth, making it the nearest exoplanet.
  367. SPHERE instrument of Very Large Telescope in Chile has captured birth of new planet in the AB Aurigae star system, as first time in human history the birth of a star is being witnessed.
    1. The image depicts orange mass of gas. The mass showing the cosmic matter of the universe at gravitational tipping point is exactly the sign for a star system to be born.
  368. Banks Board Bureau (BBB) recommended names of Ashwini Bhatia, M V Rao and P P Sengupta for post of managing director of State Bank of India, Central Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank, respectively.
  369. Ministry of New and Renewable energy (MNRE) proposed One Sun One World One Grid (OSOWOG) to interconnect renewable energy by sharing solar resources with more than 140 countries of West Asia and SouthEast Asia. Its aim is to provide solar power to nations which lack sunlight, by building a common transmission system.
  370. India Observatory launched a GIS-enabled dashboard, CoAST India (Collaboration/Covid Action Support Group) in collaboration with Anand-based Forest Ecological Security(FES), to help plan urgent steps to get stranded migrant population to safety & care.
  371. Govt. appointed Arun Singhal as Chief Executive Officer of Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
  372. Coronavirus (Covid-19) Updates -
    1. India -
      1. May 2020 -
        1. Kerala Based Sree Chitra Triunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) developed two types of nasal and oral swabs and viral transport medium for COVID-19 testing - Chitra EmBed flocked nylon swabs and Chitra EnMesh polymeric foam-tipped lint-free swabs.
        2. Government raised Minimum Support Price (MSP) for Minor Forest Produce (MFP) of 49 items, amid Covid-19. Increase across various items of minor forest produce ranges from 16% to 66%.
        3. Compendium of Indian Technologies for Combating COVID-19 (Tracing, Testing and Treating) has been prepared by National Research Development Corporation (NRDC). It carries information about 200 COVID-19-related Indian technologies / research / initiatives taken by Government, categorised under 3Ts of Tracking, Testing and Treating.
        4. Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology Hyderabad tied up with a Bengaluru-based Eyestem Research Pte Ltd, to take up research activities on COVID-19.
          1. Attempt will be made to grow novel coronavirus in human cell lines, which will enable in vitro testing of potential drugs and vaccines against COVID-19. It will use Eyestem's human lung epithelial cell culture system.
        5. CSIR Institute of Genomics and Integrative Biology (CSIR-IGIB) and TATA Sons signed a MoU for licensing of knowhow for FNCAS9 Editor Linked Uniform Detection Assay (FELUDA) for rapid diagnosis of COVID-19.
        6. Uttar Pradesh Government launched Ayush Kavach application to help people access prescriptions, which will help the people to strengthen their resistance through ancient practices Ayurveda and Yoga.
        7. Arogya Setu Mitr Initiative has been launched under public-private partnership, to be available in the Arogya Setu application. It will offer free online consultation to COVID-19 with the data provided by the three private sector firms and government entities.
        8. Health Minister Harsh Vardhan launched 'COVID Katha', as a multimedia guide on COVID-19 disease.
        9. National Institute of Animal Biotechnology Hyderabad (NIAB) Researchers developed a biosensor called eCovSens, which can detect COVID-19 virus in saliva samples. The lens can help detect COVID-19 virus within 10 to 30 seconds of testing.
        10. Chandigarh government launched mobile app named “CHDCOVID” to provide COVID-19 related information.
        11. West Bengal government rolled out Exit App for people from other states who are stucked in West Bengal amid lockdown.
        12. HDFC Bank released song titled #HumHaarNahiMaanenge, to keep hopes up amid Covid-19 pandemic. It has been penned by Prasoon Joshi composed by AR Rahman. HDFC Bank will contribute INR 500 towards PM-CARES Fund, each time this song is shared via social media.
        13. Scientists at SN Bose National Centre for Basic Sciences Kolkata (SNBNCBS) developed cost-effective nanomedicine that can treat several diseases by altering oxidative stress in body. It provides hope in India’s fight against COVID-19.
        14. Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) produced by Indian Navy has been certified by DRDO's INMAS (Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences) Delhi.
        15. IIT Delhi incubated Startup Nanosafe Solutions developed first antimicrobial face mask that can be washed and reused for 50 times, to fight against COVID-19. Called NSAFE, it provides 99.2% bacterial filtration.
        16. CSIR, through its flagship New Millennium Indian Technology Leadership Initiative (NMITLI) program, has approved a project towards development of human monoclonal antibodies (hmAbs) that can neutralize SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19).
        17. MoU has been signed by PNB Housing Finance with IIT Delhi, to support Research & Development for reusable Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) to be supplied to government hospitals.
        18. Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) signed MoU with IIT Kanpur for large-scale manufacture of ventilators developed by NOCCA Robotics (incubated start-up of IIT Kanpur).
        19. CSIR National Aerospace Laboratories (NAL) Bangalore developed a Non Invasive BiPAP Ventilator named SwasthVayu, to treat COVID-19 patients.
          1. Its a microcontroller-based precise closed-loop adaptive control system with a built-in biocompatible “3D printed manifold & coupler” with HEPA filter (Highly Efficient Particulate Air Filter).
          2. These features help alleviate fear of virus spread.
        20. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and Pune-based National Institute of Virology Pune (NIV) developed Elisa based antibody testing kit for coronavirus COVID-19.
          1. ELISA test can process 90 samples together in a single run of two-and-a-half hours, and testing is easily possible even at the district level as the ELISA kit has an inactivated virus.
          2. There are also minimal biosafety requirements as compared to real-time RT-PCR test.
        21. Hyderabad Based DRDO Lab Research Centre Imarat (RCI) developed Defence Research Ultraviolet Sanitizer (DHRUVS), to sanitize mobile phones, laptops, iPads, passbooks, challans and paper (including currency notes). It provides 360-degree exposure to UV rays to the objects placed inside the cabinet.
        22. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and NCDC (National Centre for Disease Control) are to conduct a sero survey, which will help to learn about the prevalence of COVID-19 infection.
          1. A Sero Survey is testing of blood serum of individuals and determine the presence of antibodies against COVID-19.
        23. DRDO Lab Defence Food Research Laboratory (DFRL) handed over Mobile Microbial Containment (BSL-3) Laboratory ‘PARAKH’ to Mysuru Medical College and Research Institute (MMCRI) to test samples of coronavirus (Covid-19).
        24. Chhattisgarh topped among states in terms of providing jobs under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) amid nationwide lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic, with 18.52 lakh labourers employed in Chhattisgarh.
        25. CSIR received approval from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI) for its two clinical trial drugs- “favipiravir” and “phytopharmaceutical”, to combat coronavirus.
        26. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) tied-up with Bharat Biotech International Ltd(BBIL), to develop 1st fully indigenous COVID-19 vaccine by using virus strain isolated at National Institute of Virology (NIV) Pune.
        27. Indian Council for Medical Research began participation in Global Solidarity Trial of COVID-19 launched by the World Health Organization (WHO).
          1. WHO has launched four mega trials to test the efficiency and accuracy of four treatments - Hydroxychloroquine, Remdesivir, Lopinavir-Ritonavir.
        28. CSIR and Ministry of AYUSH began clinical trials of four Ayurvedic drugs - Ashwagandha, Guduchi + Pippali, Yashtimadhu and AYUSH-64 (an ayurvedic anti-malarial drug).
        29. Delhi Police launched Thermal Corona Combat Headgear, in collaboration with Indian Robotics Solution (IRS). It can protect Police personnel from COVID-19, by detecting temperature from distance of 10-15 metres.
        30. Gujarat Based Macpower CNC Machines made India’s 1st indigenous hot air seam sealing machine used to manufacture personal protective equipment (PPE) kits. It is used to seal seam of PPEs so that viruses cannot penetrate from the small pores and infect COVID-19 warriors.
        31. Under corona studies series published by NBT, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’  e-launched 7 titles as print and e-edition, based on Psycho-Social impact of pandemic & lockdown and how to Cope With. Titles -
          1. Vulnerable in Autumn: Understanding the Elderly
          2. The Future of Social Distancing: New Cardinals for Children, Adolescents and Youth
          3. The Ordeal of Being Corona Warriors: An Approach to Medical and Essential Service Providers
          4. New Frontiers At Home: An Approach to Women, Mothers and Parents
          5. Caught in Corona Conflict: An Approach to the Working Population
          6. Making Sense of It All: Understanding the Concerns of Persons With Disabilities
          7. Alienation And Resilience: Understanding Corona Affected Families
        32. Interactive COVID-19 dashboard named as MIR AHD Covid-19 Dashboard has been developed by IIT Gandhinagar, which aims to provide key information to stakeholders and public in order to make research-backed decisions during crisis.
        33. US President Donald Trump announced that US will donate 200 ventilators to India, to help fight COVID-19.
        34. National Institute of Pharmaceutical Education and Research Guwahati (NIPER-G) developed 2 products to help fight COVID-19.
          1. First is a 3D-printed hands-free object that can enable contactless operation of doors, windows, drawers etc.
          2. Second product is a 3D-printed antimicrobial face-shield to control the spread of novel coronavirus.
        35. Scientists at CSIR-Central Mechanical Engineering Research Institute Durgapur (CMERI) developed 2 mobile indoor Disinfection Sprayer units - Battery Powered Disinfectant Sprayer (BPDS) and Pneumatically Operated Mobile Indoor Disinfection (POMID).
        36. CSIR Partnered with Intel India and International Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) Hyderabad to help achieve faster and less expensive COVID-19 testing and coronavirus genome sequencing to understand epidemiology and AI-based risk stratification for patients with comorbidities.
        37. University of Hyderabad (UOH) and CSIR Centre for Cellular and Molecular Biology (CCMB) tied up with UOH-incubated Vins Bioproducts Limited, to develop antibody-based immunotherapy for immediate treatment for Covid-19 pandemic.
        38. Textiles Committee Mumbai has been named as 9th approved laboratory to certify Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) body coveralls produced in country for healthcare workers and other COVID-19 warriors. Textiles Committee has developed testing equipment namely Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing equipment.
        39. Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) commercially launched Agappe Chitra Magna, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction kit.
        40. Madhya Pradesh Police Initiated Charan Paduka Campaign, for migrant workers passing through the state. Migrant workers are provided with shoes and slippers to reduce their pain.
        41. India Post released a Special Postal Cover dedicated to the migrant workers with an objective of paying tribute to them. Five migrant workers were called upon from different sectors to release Special Postal Cover.
        42. South Central Railway zone developed a robotic device, “RAIL-BOT” (R-BOT) to assist in the functions of hospital management to provide better health care to the COVID patients.
        43. J&K Department of Information and Public Relations has started an initiative “SUKOON – COVID-19 Beat the Stress” programme.
        44. Ranchi district launched Tatpar program to help the migrant workers to get back to their native places on bus instead of tiresome travel by foot.
        45. India became second largest producer of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), with China at top. India is now producing 2.06 lakh PPE kits every day.
          1. Also, Textiles Committee recently launched Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing Equipment. This will help increase PPE testing potential of country.
        46. CSIR-Indian Institute of Integrative Medicine (Jammu) partnered with Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) to develop a new Reverse Transcriptase-Loop Mediated Isothermal Amplification (RT-LAMP) based COVID-19 diagnostic kit.
          1. COVID-19 RT-LAMP test is a nucleic acid based test carried out from nasal/throat swab sample from patients. It is rapid (45-60 min), cost effective and accurate test.
        47. Power Ministry PSU REC Limited's CSR wing REC Foundation, partnered with TajSATS (a joint venture of IHCL and SATS Ltd) to distribute specially-made nutritious meal packets for medical staff in Safdarjung Hospital, New Delhi.
          1.  REC Limited is a Navratna NBFC focusing on Power Sector Financing and Development across India.
        48. Indian Navy formed “NavRakshak” PPE kit with innovative breathable fabric material.
        49. Domestic flights resumed operations from May 25, after temporary pause due to COVID-19 Pandemic. Airports and Carriers will be following Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) issued by Ministry of Civil Aviaton.
        50. Hyderabad based Research Centre Imarat (RCI) of DRDO developed an Artificial Intelligence based Attendance application (AINA) which allows non-contact based personnel verification, using facial features of person in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic.
        51. Naval Dockyard Mumbai manufactured a UV sanitisation bay for sanitisation of worker's coveralls, tools, personal gadgets and masks, to control spread of coronavirus. It utilises UV-C light source for Germicidal Irradiation towards sterilising items.
        52. Goa Made COVID-19 negative certificate mandatory for entry into state.
        53. Mumbai based start-up has come up with world's first contactless Visitor Management Software called VAMS SafeGuard, with temperature scanner and mask detection.
          1. It uses AI, to allow entry of visitors, only who are only complying to all COVID protection measures.
        54. To prevent COVID-19 breakout within a healthcare facility, Kochi Based Devaditek Innovations Private Limited developed a multi-purpose decontamination device called ‘Lumos’ that can sanitize items ranging from N95 masks to vegetables by using UVGI (ultraviolet germicidal irradiation) technology.
    2. Global -
      1. May 2020 -
        1. Fédération Internationale de Football Association(FIFA) launched a campaign called "#WeWillWin", as a tribute to health workers / professionals working amid COVID-19 pandemic.
        2. Israel Institute for Biological Research (IIBR) isolated a key coronavirus antibody, as a significant breakthrough towards a possible treatment for Covid-19. It claimed that monoclonal neutralising antibody attacks and neutralizes the virus.
          1. Italy also claimed to have developed first COVID-19 vaccine.
          2. China completed successful trials of Its COVID-19 Vaccine on Monkeys, preparing for human Trials.
        3. US food and drug regulatory body allowed emergency use of Remdesivir, an investigational anti-viral vaccine to treat Covid-19 patients.
        4. US Treasury department plans to borrow USD 2.9 trillion during April-June quarter to deal with coronavirus pandemic. This is 5 times of what US borrowed at peak of the 2008 financial crisis.
        5. United Nations launched 6.7 billion USD global appeal in order to fight against COVID-19, under Global Humanitarian Response Plan.
        6. Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) developed ‘iFeel-You’ bracelet for social distancing. It will help users respect social distancing rules.
        7. Slovenia becomes 1st nation in Europe to declare an official end to COVID-19 pandemic.
        8. World Health Organization will initiate independent review in handling COVID-19 pandemic, launching Resolution on COVID-19 response. Aim is to put an end to international blame game about origin of COVID-19. Approx 116 countries backed the resolution of independent review. India supported the Australia initiated resulution, while China opposed it.
        9. WHO also informed that spraying disinfectant on streets does not eliminate COVID-19 Virus, and can poses a health risk.
        10. Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) developed “i-Feel you”, an intelligent bracelet which will help users respect social distancing rules.
        11. Japan’s economy officially entered a recession, with two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth, due to COVID-19 pandemic slowdown.
        12. World Health Organization suspended trials on the efficacy of drug Hydroxychloroquine in treating COVID-19, due to possible serious side effetcs in affected patients.
  373. Misc. Sports News (May 2020) -
    1. India lost its top spot to Australia in ICC test rankings, dropping to third.
    2. Sania Mirza became first Indian to win Fed Cup Heart Award for her successful return to court post motherhood. Sania won the award for Asia/Oceania zone.
    3. Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF) postponed 7th season of Commonwealth Youth Games from 2021 to 2023, following a clash with Tokyo Olympics, which were earlier postponed due to Covid-19 pandemic. Other major events postponed -
      1. Badminton World Championships (2020 to November 2021).
      2. Swimming world governing body Federation Internationale de Natation(FINA) rescheduled 2021 Fukuoka aquatics world championships to May 2022.
    4. World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) banned Indian discus thrower Sandeep Kumari for 4 years after failing a drug test.
    5. Tennis Integrity Unit banned Egypt’s tennis player Youssef Hossam from professional tennis for life.
    6. China won inaugural $180,000 FIDE Chess.com Online Nations Cup, following a 2-2 draw against USA.
    7. French cyclist Remy Di Gregorio has been banned for 4 years by International Cycling Union (UCI).
    8. All Indian Football Federation (AIFF) nominated N Bala Devi and Sandesh Jhingan for Arjuna Award 2020.
    9. Germany’s Football league Bundesliga became world’s first major sports competition to resume, post nationwide lockdown imposed to contain coronavirus pandemic.
    10. ICC Cricket Committee (Headed by Anil Kumble) banned use of saliva to shine the ball. The practice meant for swing bowling is now primarily held as health risk due to threats of COVID-19.
    11. Powerlifters Savita Kumari & Ankit Shishodia have been provisionally suspended by National Anti Doping Agency (NADA), for violating anti-doping rules.
    12. World Health Organization (WHO) and International Olympic Committee (IOC) signed an agreement to work together to promote health through sport and physical activity.
    13. India’s long-distance runner Kiranjeet Kaur has been handed a four-year ban by World Athletics’ anti-doping body for testing positive for a banned substance (Enobosarm).
    14. 36th National Games, planned for October-November in Goa, have been deferred indefinitely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    15. Sri Lankan Cricketer Shehan Madushanka has been suspended from all forms of cricket, for alleged possession of heroin.
    16. Sports Authority of India (SAI) deposited NR 30,000 each to 2,749 Khelo India athletes as out of pocket allowance (OPA) amid COVID-19 lockdown.
    17. Cricketer Rohit Sharma has been nominated by Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for Top sports Honour Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award 2020. BCCI Also nominated Shikhar Dhawan, Deepti Sharma and Ishant Sharma for Arjuna Awards.
  374. Misc. Appointments (May 2020) -
    1. Former Axis Bank CEO Shikha Sharma has been named advisor to Google Pay India.
    2. Yes Bank appointed Neeraj Dhawan as its Chief Risk Officer (CRO), while RBL Bank appoints Deepak Kumar to the same post.
    3. Raj Shukla assumed command of Indian Army's Army Training Command (ARTRAC).
    4. Krishnan Ramachandran has been appointed as MD and CEO of Max Bupa Health Insurance.
    5. Govt appointed Sanjay Kumar Jha as CMD of PSU Mishra Dhatu Nigam Ltd (MIDHANI). Also, Pradip Kumar Das is named CMD of Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency (IREDA).
    6. United Nations Environment Programme extended term of Indian actress Dia Mirza as Goodwill ambassador for India till 2022.
    7. Nilaya Mitash has been appointed as principal operations coordination specialist at Philippines Based Asian Development Bank (ADB).
    8. Former Sri Lanka Cricketer Kumar Sangakkara has been re-appointed as president of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) in England, for his second term.
    9. Narinder Batra’s term as President of International Hockey Federation has been extended until May 2021.
    10. Former CWG gold-winning boxer Akhil Kumar has been re-inducted into National Anti-Doping Agency’s Disciplinary Panel.
    11. Delhi HC Judge Sangita Dhingra Sehgal will be approinted as President of Delhi State Consumer Redressal Commission (DSCRC).
    12. Rajesh Goel has been appointed director-general of the Realtors body National Real Estate Development Council (NAREDCO).
    13. Chinese Video Sharing App Tiktok named Disney Executive Kevin Mayer as New CEO.
    14. Government appointed Prem K Nair as Indian Ambassador to Republic of Niger (West Africa).
    15. Government appointed P Kumaran Indian Ambassador to Singapore.
    16. Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports extended tenure of Sandip Pradhan as Director General of Sports Authority of India (SAI) by 2 years.
    17. Venkataramani Sumantran has been appointed as independent director of airline company IndiGo.
    18. Indian Olympic Association (IOA) president Narinder Batra has been designated as a member of Olympic Channel Commission. Batra Also likewise heads International Hockey Federation (FIH).
    19. Leo Puri has been appointed Chairman of JP Morgan South Asia and South East Asia.
    20. R Sreelekha is appointed as first woman Director General (DGP) of Kerala police.
    21. Ravinder Singh Dhillon is appointed as Chairman & MD of PSU PFC (Power Finance Corporation).
    22. Andhra Pradesh HC directed state government to reinstate State Election Commissioner Nimmagadda Ramesh Kumar, who was dismissed recently.
    23. Vishwas Mehta is appointed as chief secretary of Kerala.
    24. Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen won her second term as President.
    25. Food ordering platform Zomato elevated Mohit Gupta (CEO of its food delivery business) as a co-founder. Deepinder Goyal is other cofounder and CEO of Zomato.
    26. Manoj Pande appointed as Commander-in-Chief of Andaman & Nicobar Command of Indian Army.
  375. Misc. Corporate News / Events (May 2020) -
    1. Karnataka Vikas Grameen Bank (KVGB) launched loan scheme to provide relief to borrowers whose businesses are disrupted amid Covid-19 pandemic, with name Vikas Abhaya. It will be for existing MSME customers, enabling them to avail up to 1 lakh, with no collateral security.
    2. Customer engagement technology provider Ameyo launched video KYC engagement platform for banking / finance sector. It aims to eliminate requirement of physical KYC in accordance with latest RBI guidelines issued in January 2020.
    3. Kalpataru Power Transmission Limited(KPTL) completed sale of its entire stake in Kalpataru Satpura Transco Private Limited (KSTPL) to CLP India Private Limited.
    4. Federal Bank tied-up with MoneyGram Payment System to offer a cost-effective direct-to-bank account credit option for customers in India.
    5. National Restaurants Association of India (NRAI) partnered with fintech start-up DotPe to build its own tech platform, enabling online payments for digital ordering, bill settlements, and contactless dining.
    6. Canara Bank started a special business vertical dedicated to gold loans, aimed at meeting financial needs of customers amid COVID-19 pandemic. Bank has launched a gold loan campaign till 30th June 2020 with an interest rate as low as 7.85% per annum.
    7. Kotak Mahindra Bank became 1st bank in India to allow video Know your customer (KYC) facility for customers opening savings accounts, on its 811 banking platform.
    8. e-commerce Firm Flipkart and Bajaj Allianz General Insurance Company tied-up to offer a digital motor insurance policy to Flipkart’s customers.
    9. ICICI bank introduced a special fixed deposit (FD) scheme for senior citizens called ‘Golden Years FD’, which offers an interest rate of 6.55% per annum for deposits up to Rs 2 crores with a tenure of more than 5 - 10 years.
    10. Edelweiss General Insurance launched ‘SWITCH’, an app-based motor insurance own damage (OD) floater policy under IRDAI’s sandbox regulations. This allows owners of vehicles to cover multiple vehicles under a single policy.
    11. Maruti Suzuki Partnered with Cholamandalam Investment and Finance Company Limited, to launch ‘Buy Now Pay Later’ financing scheme to make purchase of its cars even more convenient amid COVID-19 outbreak. Customers will have option to avail a 60-day surcharge on their EMI.
    12. Government notified cessation of 7.75 percent Savings (Taxable) Bonds 2018, for subscription.
    13. Fintech startup Zaggle partnered with payments technology major Visa, to launch innovative payment solutions for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and startups.
    14. E-Commerce Firm Flipkart signed MoU with Karnataka State Mango Department and Marketing Corporation, to empower mango farmers to sell their produce online.
    15. Reliance Industries launched a “WhatsApp chatbot” to address rights issue queries of its 2.6 million shareholders on offering.
  376. Obituaries (May 2020) -
    1. K S Nisar Ahmed - Noted Kannada poet and Padma Shri awardee.
    2. RV Smith - Noted historian & author.
    3. Chuni Goswami - Former India football captain.
    4. Hema Bharali - Freedom fighter & Padma Shri awardee.
    5. Denis Goldberg - Noted South African Activist, who was active in struggle against Apartheid (रंगभेद).
    6. Dalit Ezhilmalai - Former union minister. He served as State, Health and Family Welfare (IC) during BJP government in 1998–99.
    7. Gerald Isaac Stiller - Noted American comedian.
    8. Richard Wayne Penniman (Little Richard) - Noted American singer, songwriter, and musician. He was Known as Founding Father of Rock 'n' Roll.
    9. Bessie Regina Norris (Known as Betty Wright) - Noted American singer, and a grammy awardee.
    10. Manmeet Singh - Former TT national champion.
    11. Notable Deaths due to COVID-19 -
      1. Hari Shankar Vasudevan - Noted historian.
      2. Noted Musician Wajid passed away. He was part of noted Musician-duo Brothers Sajid–Wajid.
    12. Anisuzzaman - Noted Bangladeshi Activist, literary personality. He was called national Professor of Bangladesh. He was honored by Padma Bhushan award by India.
    13. Debesh Roy - Noted Sahitya Akademi winning Bengali author.
    14. Sai Gundewar - Bollywood actor.
    15. Basu Chatterjee - Noted film director and screenwriter.
    16. Ratnakar Matkari - Noted Marathi writer and playwright.
    17. Ashley Cooper - Noted Australian tennis Player. He had won 4 Grand Slam Titles.
    18. Balbir Singh Dosanjh - Noted Indian hockey player. He was a three-time Olympic gold medallist, having played a key role in India's wins in London, Helsinki, and Melbourne Olympics.
    19. Shyamala G Bhave - Noted classical vocalist and Musician.
    20. Luigi "Gigi" Simoni - Italian footballer and manager.
    21. Mohit Baghel - Bollywood Actor.
    22. Hana Kimura - Noted Japanese female professional wrestler.
    23. Ajit Jogi - First chief minister of Chhattisgarh.
    24. Bejan Daruwala - Noted Astrologer.
    25. Yogesh Gaur - Noted lyricist.
    26. M. P. Veerendra Kumar - Politician, writer and journalist. He was incumbent member of Lok Sabha, from Kerala.
    27. R. Shanmugam -Former Tamil Nadu footballer.
    28. Mujtaba Hussain -Noted Urdu author and Padma Shri Awardee.
  377. Industrial Awards (May 2020) -
    1. Travel services company Thomas Cook (India) won silver award for Asia's Best Integrated Report (First Time) at the 5th Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ASRA).
    2. Bengaluru-based doctor Hema Divakar honoured with the 'Global Asian of the Year 2018-19' award in Dubai, for her contribution to women's healthcare ecosystem.
    3. Indian IT Major TCS won 2 Steviesin 2020 American Business Awards, for 2019 TCS New York City Marathon app.
  378. Persons Resigned / Retired (May 2020) -
    1. Noted English snooker player Peter Ebdon announced his retirement.
    2. Noted Indian Para-athlete Deepa Malik announced her retirement. She is the first Indian woman to earn a medal at the Paralympic Games. She won Silver medal at 2016 Summer Paralympics in shot put.
    3. World Trade Organization chief Roberto Azevedo announced to step down on August 31, a year before his term ends, amid COVID-19 pandemic ravaging global economy.
    4. Alibaba co-founder Jack Ma stepped down from Softbank Group’s board of directors, after serving for 13 years.
    5. Spanish Footballer Aritz Aduriz announced his retirement from football.
    6. Noted American tennis player Jamie Lee Hampton announced her retirement.
  379. Indian GDP Growth Forecasts (May 2020) -
    1. Singapore based DBS bank Projected India’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth forecast for FY 21 (2020-21) at 1%.
    2. Moody’s has cut down India’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP) growth to 0 % for current fiscal FY 21 (2020-21), down from previous estimate of 2.6%.
    3. Japanese brokerage firm Nomura Holdings Predicted India’s FY21 GDP growth forecast at - 5.2%, down from -0.4% earlier.
    4. UN World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) mid-2020 report Predicted Indian GDP growth rate for FY 21 (2020-21) to be 1.2%, down from 4.1% in FY 20 (2019-20). Growth of India will raise to 5.5% in FY 22 (2021-22).
    5. American brokerage Goldman Sachs expected Indian economy to contract by 5% in FY21, which means -5% GDP Growth. It will be the deepest compared to all recessions India has ever experienced since 1979.
    6. India’s nominal GDP growth rate in 2020-21 could range between -6% and 1%, according to 15th Finance Commission’s committee on the fiscal consolidation roadmap, which met via video conferencing, headed by Commission’s Chairman N.K. Singh.
    7. As per SBI Ecowrap report, India’s GDP is estimated to grow at 1.2% in last quarter(Q4) of FY20
      1. GDP Growth is likely to be 4.2% for FY20, and - 6.8% for FY21
      2. Gross value added (GVA) growth would be nearly - 3.1%. for FY21
    8. Rating agency Fitch Ratings Predicted India's GDP Growth to be -5% in FY 21 (2020-21) (5 % Contraction).
    9. Rating agency S&P Predicted India's GDP Growth to be -5% in FY 21 (2020-21) (5 % Contraction).
    10. Rating Agency ICRA reduced India’s FY21 (Fiscal Year 2020-21) growth forecast to - 5 %.

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