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General Awareness

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Daily G.K. - Top Stories

27 Mar 2020

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INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders' Summit

  •  An Extraordinary Virtual G20 Leaders' Summit was convened on 26 March 2020 to discuss the challenges posed by the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic and to forge a global coordinated response. Earlier, PM had a telephonic conversation with the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia on this subject. The extraordinary G20 Summit was a culmination of the Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meeting and G20 Sherpas Meeting on the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • At the meeting, G20 Leaders agreed to take all necessary measures to contain the pandemic and protect people. They also supported strengthening of the WHO's mandate in the fight against pandemics, including delivery of medical supplies, diagnostic tools, treatments, medicines and vaccines.
  • Leaders also committed to use all available policy tools to minimize the economic and social cost of the pandemic and to restore global growth, market stability and strengthening resilience. G20 countries committed to inject over USD 5 trillion into the global economy to counter the social and economic impact of COVID-19. Leaders also agreed to contribute to the WHO led COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund on a voluntary basis.
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BUSINESS AND ECONOMY

Sameer Aggarwal Promoted As New Walmart India CEO

  •  Sameer Aggarwal was appointed as the new CEO of Walmart India on March 25, 2020. His appointment will be effective from April 1. 
  • Aggarwal will succeed Krish Iyer who is set to retire on March 31 after leading the retail giant for 8 years. With his retirement, Iyer's role will change from full-time management into an advisory one.
  • Aggarwal was promoted to the position of deputy CEO in January 2020. He has now been elevated again to the post of CEO of Best Price, Walmart India.
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SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Odisha To Set Up Second COVID-19 Testing Lab At VIMSAR

  • To ease the burden on the only COVID-19 testing facility in Odisha, the state government has started working on a Biosafety Level 2 (BSL-2) laboratory at Veer Surendra Sai Institute of Medical Sciences and Research (VIMSAR) at Burla.
  • VIMSAR Superintendent Jayashree Dora said that the feasibility report for setting up of the laboratory was sent to the state government.
  • The laboratory has been proposed to be set up in the Microbiology Department of VIMSAR at the earliest.
  • Swab samples of all suspected coronavirus patients are currently being sent to the Regional Medical Research Center (RMRC) in Bhubaneswar.
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SPORTS

Sunil Chhetri Among 28 Players Named For FIFA's Campaign To Combat COVID-19 Crisis

  •  Talismanic Indian football captain Sunil Chhetri was picked among 28 past and present stars for world governing body FIFA's campaign to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • FIFA and the World Health Organization (WHO) have teamed up to combat the coronavirus by launching a new awareness campaign led by world-renowned footballers, who are calling on all people around the world to follow five key steps to stop the spread of the disease.
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NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Ten key announcements by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman amid COVID-19 lockdown

  •  An insurance cover worth Rs. 50 lakh per person for sanitation workers, ASHA workers, doctors, nurses and paramedics who are on the frontlines of the corona battle.
  • Each household will receive 5 kg of rice or wheat per month free of cost, in addition to the existing 5 kg ration. They will also get 1 kg of preferred dal free of cost for the next three months.
  • Farmers will get first installment of  Rs. 2,000 of PM Kisan in the first week of April. The measure will benefit around 8.69 crore farmers.
  • MNREGA wages will be increased from Rs. 182 to Rs. 202 which is likely to benefit 5 crore families.
  • Women holding Jan Dhan account holders will get an ex-gratia amount of  Rs. 500 per month for the next three months.
  • Free LPG cylinders will be given to Ujjwala beneficiaries for three months which in effect will benefit 8.3 crore BPL families.
  • Under the Deen Dayal National Livelihood Mission, women self-help groups (SHGs) will be provided collateral-free loans up to Rs. 20 lakh from previous benchmark of  Rs.10 lakh.
  • For the organised sector, the government will pay provident fund contribution of both the employer and the employee, amounting to 24 per cent together, for the next three months. This is for the establishments with up to 100 employees, of which 90 per cent receive a salary of less than Rs. 15,000 per month.
  • The EPFO regulation will be amended so that workers can withdraw up to 75 per cent of the amount for their contingency expenditure. This will benefit 4.8 crore workers.
  • For 3.5 crore construction workers, state governments have been directed to use the welfare fund for building and construction labourers which has about Rs. 31,000 crore to help those who are facing economic disruption due to the lockdown.

IIT Madras to host India's first 'Global Hyperloop Pod Competition'

  •  Indian Institute of Technology Madras is organizing India's first Global Hyperloop Pod Competition to increase awareness and enthusiasm about Hyperloop in India. The competition is open globally and the final round will take place in the IIT Madras campus in July 2020.
  • Called the 'Indian Hyperloop Pod Competition' the objective is to encourage student teams in India and abroad to develop a Hyperloop Pod and compete to build the fastest, most innovative and efficient design and prototype of the relevant technologies in the field. This competition is open to all the engineering colleges across the world, to ideate, design and implement their ideas for the Hyperloop Pods.

Commerce Ministry Sets Up Help Desk To Resolve Import, Export Issues

  • The commerce ministry has set up a help desk to resolve export- and import-related issues arising due the coronavirus outbreak.
  • It was operationalised by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT).
  • It said all issues related to the Department of Commerce or DGFT can be forwarded at this help desk.
  • In this regard, it said a proforma spreadsheet listing coronavirus-related import and export issues can be sent to ''dgftedi@nic.in''.
  • Exporters and importers can also call at toll-free number 1800-111-550.
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PERSONS IN NEWS

Veteran Actor Nimmi Passes Away At 88

  •  Nimmi, the doe-eyed star of 1950s and '60s Hindi movies such as "Aan", "Barsaat" and "Deedar", has died after prolonged illness. She was 88.
  • The actor, born as Nawab Banoo, came to be known by her screen name 'Nimmi', which was given to her by filmmaker Raj Kapoor, who first spotted her as a shy teen on the sets of his film "Andaz".
  • Raj Kapoor cast her as the second lead in "Barsaat" in 1949. The film had three popular songs — 'Barsaat me hamse mile tum', 'Hawa me udta jaye' and 'Meri Patli qamar hai' — picturised on her.
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GOVERNMENT POLICIES AND SCHEMES

DPIIT Sets Up Control Room To Monitor The Supply Of EC goods

  • The Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), that functions under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, has set up a control room to monitor the supply of essential commodity goods on 26 March, 2020. The decision was made after the department had detailed discussions with states and e-commerce companies on the disruption of the supply of essential commodities. The moves come as the local administration and police stopping staff of e-commerce and other grocery retailers and thereby hindering supplies.
  •  The control room will monitor the live status of transportation and delivery of goods, manufacturing, delivery of essential commodities.
  • It will also monitor the difficulties that are faced by various stakeholders during the lockdown period. 
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BOOKS AND AUTHORS

National Book Trust Offers Over 100 E-Books In Multiple Languages

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development's National Trust (NBT) announced that it will be making over 100 e-books available in multiple languages as part of its '#StayHomeIndiaWithBooks' initiative to encourage reading during the 21-day lockdown.
  • The e-books are available on NBT's website in a PDF format in multiple languages including Hindi, English, Asamiya, Bangla, Gujarati, Malayalam, Odia, Marathi, Kokborok, Mizo, Bodo, Nepali, Tamil, Punjabi, Telugu, Kannada, Urdu and Sanskrit. "The books cover all genres of fiction, biography, popular science, teacher's handbook, and majorly books for children and young adult," the Ministry said. The collection includes books by legendary Indian authors including Tagore and Premchand.
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