• Current Affair , 14th March 2020



    1. Rehabilitation and Upgradation of various National Highways covering a total length of over 780 kms


    • The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its approval for Rehabilitation and Upgradation of 2-Lane/2-Lane with paved shoulders/4-Lane configuration (2-lane/single/Intermediate lane) and strengthening of stretches of various National Highways covering a total length of over 780 kms in the States of Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.
    • The project involves investment of Rs 7662.47 crore which includes a loan component of Rs. 3500 crore (USD 500 Million). The loan assistance of the World Bank will be under Green National Highways Corridor Project (GNHCP). The project also includes the maintenance of these National Highways stretches for 5 years (in the case of flexible pavement)/10 years (in the case of rigid pavement) after completion of construction.


    • The project comprises following four components:
    • Sustainable development and maintenance of National Highways
    • Institutional Capacity Enhancement
    • Road Safety and
    • Research and Development


    • Apart from construction of these highways the project would include strengthening of the Highway/Bridge Engineering Lab in the IAHE (Indian Academy of Highway Engineers) for testing of materials to assess quality of works and impact of interventions in climate resilience; enhancement of road safety through safety audits at design, implementation and operation & maintenance stages; capacity building of Central Institute of Road Transport (CIRT), Pune for crash investigation; and Research & Development studies on relevant topics, namely:
    • Stabilization of soils and pavement layers;
    • Use of fly ash, demolition waste etc. in embankments;
    • Use of waste plastic, modifiers etc. in bituminous works;
    • Tree plantation and
    • Slope protection using bio-engineering solutions.



    • The projects have been selected based on the necessity of providing smooth and motorable roads after considering the socio-economic needs of the region.  The external factors like the nature and quantum of local produce of the region, logistic infrastructure available to carry the produce and the requirement for connecting local population with the mainstream region etc. have been considered.
    • After completion of these stretches, there would be reduced travel time for vehicular traffic.  The valuable working hours of the people will be saved.  The efficiency of the public will be increased considerably.  Secondly, the wear and tear of the fast moving vehicles will be minimized because of the smooth movement of vehicular traffic, besides resulting in saving in fuel consumption.
    • The selected stretches are passing through industrial areas, rich agricultural belt, tourist places, religious places, and areas which are backward in terms of growth and income.  After completion of this project, the connectivity will be improved which help to generate more revenue for the States as well as income for the local public.
    • The construction period for the project stretches will be 2/3 years and maintenance period will be 5 years for flexible payment roads and 10 years for rigid payment road (one stretch in the State of Rajasthan only).


    • This project will set new standards for Green Highway Projects in the form of green cover, utilisation of reusable material in laying roads etc.



    1. Maternity Benefit Disbursed to 1.36 Crore Beneficiaries under PMMVY



    • In order to facilitate investments in Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), the following incentives are offered to attract entrepreneurs by the UT:


    1. Allotment of land at subsidized rate.
    2. Cheaper Power Tariffs.
    • Subsidy on purchase & installation of DG set.
    1. Subsidy on installation of Quality Control/Testing Equipments.

    Additionally Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade is implementing following Packages for providing incentives to industries in UT of Jammu & Kashmir:


    1. Special Package-I&II (from 14.06.2002 to 14.06.2017) The Scheme provides (i) Central Capital Investment Incentive (30% of the investment in plant & machinery with an upper limit of Rs. 5 crore),   (ii) Central Interest Incentive (3% interest on working capital for 5 years) and (iii) Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (Reimbursement of 100% insurance premium for 5 years).


    1. Industrial Development Scheme (IDS) (From 15.06.2017-31.03.2020) The scheme provides  (i) Central Capital Investment Incentive (30% of the investment in plant & machinery with an upper limit  of Rs. 5 crore),   (ii) Central Interest Incentive (3% interest on working capital for 5 years),  (iii) Central Comprehensive Insurance Incentive (Reimbursement of 100% insurance premium for 5 years),  (iv) Income Tax Reimbursement of centre’s share for 5 years, (v) GST reimbursement of Central Govt. share of CGST & IGST for 5 years, (vi) Employment Incentive under which additional 3.67% of the employer’s contribution to EPF in addition to Govt. bearing 8.33% Employee Pension Scheme (EPS) contribution of the employer in PMRPY and (vii) Transport incentive on finished goods movement by Railways(20% cost of the transportation), by Inland Waterways Authority (20% of the cost of transportation) & by air (33% of cost transportation of air freight) from the station/port/airport nearest to unit to the station/port/airport nearest to the destination point.

    Also, under this scheme a single unit can avail overall benefits up to Rs. 200 Crore.

    Besides the above, following steps have also been undertaken by UT of J&K to spur investment:


    1. Ease of Doing Business has been strengthened.
    2. Land Bank for new investments has been identified.
    • 14 Focus Sectors for investment have been identified and policies in all these sectors  have been drafted.
    • The Government of India is fully committed to the overall development and several steps, including preparation of a new Industrial policy, are being taken to boost trade, industry, investment and employment in the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir.
    • Further, schemes/projects under Prime Minister’s Development Package are under various stages of implementation. This package comprises of 63 major development projects in Road, Power, Health, Tourism, Agriculture, Horticulture & Skill Development sectors.
    • Post abolition of Article 370, 160 units have been formally registered in various District Industries Centres with total investment amounting to Rs. 187.28 crore. Further 493 units have also been registered provisionally with an investment of Rs. 836.82 crore.
    • This information was given by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri PiyushGoyal, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.



    1. Foreign Investments and ‘Make in India’ Programme



    • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) is a maternity benefit scheme. As on 9thMarch 2020,  1.36 crore of eligible beneficiaries have received maternity benefit of one or more than one installment amounting to Rs.5657.10 crore through Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) directly in their bank accounts.
    • As on 9.3.2020, 85,56,731 beneficiaries have received full financial assistance of Rs.5,000 under the scheme.
    • The number of children born during last three years is as follows:
    Financial Year 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20

    (Till January 2020)

    Number of children born 2,07,84,374 2,08,89,154 1,75,45,264
    • The number of births for which third installment under PMMVY has been claimed by the eligible beneficiaries is as under:
    Financial Year 2017-18 2018-19 2019-20

    (As on     6.03.2020)

    Number of births  for which third Installment under PMMVY was claimed 31,37,523 43,33,362 16,95,687
    • State-wise Number of beneficiaries and amount disbursed
    • (as on 09.03.2020)
    State/ UT Name Number of  beneficiaries Total Payment
    ANDAMAN AND NICOBAR ISLANDS 4,371 1,95,31,000
    ANDHRA PRADESH 8,51,295 374,54,68,000
    ARUNACHAL PRADESH 12,316 5,06,60,000
    ASSAM 4,50,886 191,30,22,000
    BIHAR 9,91,477 363,21,34,000
    CHANDIGARH 15,745 6,54,93,000
    CHHATTISGARH 3,36,849 127,98,17,000
    DADRA AND NAGAR HAVELI 5,880 2,28,25,000
    DAMAN AND DIU 3,110 1,21,19,000
    DELHI 1,43,790 60,74,08,000
    GOA 12,374 5,20,58,000
    GUJARAT 6,42,355 288,98,83,000
    HARYANA 3,70,605 160,07,80,000
    HIMACHAL PRADESH 1,28,924 55,79,73,000
    JAMMU AND KASHMIR 1,27,962 52,10,10,000
    JHARKHAND 3,72,284 149,85,24,000
    KARNATAKA 7,38,937 324,04,42,000
    KERALA 4,24,175 175,06,77,000
    LAKSHADWEEP 552 19,76,000
    MADHYA PRADESH 15,29,222 644,18,99,000
    MAHARASHTRA 14,24,695 619,64,51,000
    MANIPUR 28,395 13,38,82,000
    MEGHALAYA 17,811 7,17,05,000
    MIZORAM 16,933 7,53,49,000
    NAGALAND 16,046 7,61,72,000
    Odisha 5 23,000
    PUDUCHERRY 13,437 5,90,31,000
    PUNJAB 2,49,243 107,35,08,000
    RAJASTHAN 8,35,572 322,96,79,000
    SIKKIM 6,304 2,68,40,000
    TAMIL NADU 5,42,691 166,61,02,000
    TRIPURA 50,987 19,82,64,000
    UTTAR PRADESH 24,68,818 1009,58,37,000
    UTTARAKHAND 1,11,387 47,77,14,000
    WEST BENGAL 7,35,098 328,67,76,000
    All India Total 1,36,80,531 5657,10,32,000
    • This information was given by the Minister of Women and Child Development, Smriti Zubin Irani, in a written reply in the Lok Sabha today.



    1. India’s on-Going Trade Negotiations

    • During the 3rdRCEP Leaders Summit which was held on 4 November, 2019 in Bangkok, India stated that the current structure of RCEP did not reflect the RCEP Guiding Principles or address the outstanding issues and concerns of India, in the light of which India did not join RCEP.
    • RCEP was intended to provide mutually beneficial outcomes for RCEP countries including India, however, since the current structure did not adequately address ambition and concerns of India’s stakeholder, India did not join RCEP in its current form.
    • The list of country or group of countries with which trade negotiations have been initiated by India are given at Annex I.

    ·                                 Annex I.

    ·        On-going Trade Negotiations

     S. No. Name of the Agreement
    1 India – EU (European Union) Bilateral Trade and Investment Agreements ( BTIA)
    2 India – Sri Lanka Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreements (ETCA)
    3 India – Thailand Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA)
    4 India – Mauritius Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA)
    5 India – EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) Trade and Economic Partnership Agreement (TEPA)
    6 India – New Zealand FTA/CECA
    7 India – Israel Trade Agreement
    8 India – Singapore CECA(3rd review)
    9 India – SACU PTA (South Africa, Botswana, Lesotho, Swaziland and Namibia)
    10 India – Mercosur PTA expansion (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay)
    11 BIMSTEC CECA(Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal)
    12 India – Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Framework Agreement
    13 India – Canada FTA
    14 India – Australia CECA
    15 India-Malaysia CECA (1st  Review)
    16. India-ASEAN Trade in Goods Agreement (1st Review)
    17 India-Korea CEPA review
    18 India-Iran Preferential Trade Agreement (PTA)
    19 India-Peru Trade Agreement
    20 India-EAEU (Eurasian Economic Union) Technical Consultations
    21 India-Bangladesh CEPA
    22 India-Chile PTA (2nd expansion)
    23 India-Indonesia CECA


    1. Implementation of PMFBY in States

    • Based on the experience of past crop insurance schemes and with a view to include more risks under crop insurance and making it more affordable to the farmers etc., Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMFBY) has been introduced for implementation from Kharif 2016 season.
    • The scheme also aims to cover the risk of crop yield losses of insured farmers against all non-preventable natural risks from pre-sowing to post-harvest and to provide adequate claim amount and timely settlement of claims. As the scheme is voluntary for the States/Union Territories (UTs), only 27 States/UTs have participated in the scheme in one or more seasons. Further, the scheme was compulsory for loanee farmers obtaining operational agricultural/Kisan Credit Card loans for crops/areas notified by the concerned State Governments and is optional for other farmers. However, Government has recently revamped the PMFBY and made the scheme optional for all farmers for its implementation from Kharif 2020.
    • Due to the improved features of the scheme, coverage under the scheme has been increased to 30% of Gross Cropped area in the country from 23% in erstwhile crop insurance schemes in 2015-16. The coverage of non-loanee farmers, for whom the coverage is voluntary, has increased from 5% under erstwhile schemes in 2015-16 to 42% during Kharif 2019, which shows the acceptability and progress of the scheme on voluntary basis.This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in Rajya Sabha today.



    1. GSP Benefits

    • Thedetails of GSP benefits that India got from U.S. during last five years from January 2014 to May 2019 in terms of dollars and percentage is given below;

    (in USD million)

    2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 (Jan-May)
    India’s exports to USA with GSP benefits 4622.30 4746.74 5765.97 6347.40 2860.57
    India’s total exports to USA 40,273.26 41,607.13 45,923.30 51,441.42 53,853.41
    GSP Benefits(in terms of percent) 11% 11% 13% 12% 5%

    (source: India’s total export to USA is taken from DGCIS data & GSP exports are from US-ITC data)

    • India availed U.S.GSP benefits on 1945 tariff lines / products in the year 2018 and the details of such items are available at https://dataweb.usitc.gov/.
    • The trade volume of India with U.S. in terms of dollars and in terms of percentage is as follows;

    (in USD million)

    Year India Export to U.S. India Exports to World % of exports to U.S. India’s imports from U.S. India Imports from World % of Imports from U.S. Total trade volume  with U.S. Total trade volume with World Total trade volume with U.S. (%)
    2015 40273.26 2,67,743.64 15% 21,326.67 3,93,830.96 5% 61599.93 661574.60 9%
    2016 41607.13 2,64,423.85 16% 22,510.74 3,61,496.10 6% 64117.87 625919.95 10%
    2017 45923.30 2,99,151.49 15% 24,840.32 4,49,794.91 6% 70763.62 748946.40 9%
    2018 51441.42 3,24,843.02 16% 34,145.92 5,14,555.02 7% 85587.34 839398.04 10%
    2019 53853.41 3,24,090.08 17% 36,233.28 4,83,754.55 7% 90086.69 807844.63 11%

    (source: DGCIS data)

    • The details of GSP tariff lines exported by India to U.S. since withdrawal of GSP in terms of dollars and in terms of percentage, sector-wise given below; (source: US-ITC data)


    (in USD million)

    Tariff lines Pre- GSP withdrawal Post GSP withdrawal
    2018    (Jun-Dec) 2019        (Jun-Dec) %  Growth
    1945 5201.77 5470.90 5%


    • This is a cumulative export by India to U.S. under the GSP tariff lines on which India had availed GSP benefits before June 2019. It is to be noted that some exporters / importers may not avail the GSP benefits under these tariff lines.The item-wise details are available at https://dataweb.usitc.gov/


    • The average duty benefits accrued to exporters and importers on account of U.S.GSP benefits were 3.8%, which varied across the products. The item-wise rate of benefits (MFN duty applicable) is available at https://tao.wto.org/.


    • As per the data available at https://dataweb.usitc.gov/, India’s exports to the U.S. which were under the GSP lines have shown an increase of 5 % in the period of June- Dec 2019 as compared to the corresponding period of previous year, i.e. June- Dec 2018 – when GSP benefits were available.
    • This information was given by the Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal, in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha today.




    1. Formation of Farmer Produce Organizations

    • In pursuant of announcement in Union Budget 2019-20, Government of India has approved a Central Sector Scheme titled “Formation and Promotion of Farmer Produce Organizations (FPOs)” to form and promote 10,000 new FPOs.
    • Under the scheme, a total number of 2000 FPOs have been proposed to be formed in 2020-21. No state-wise target has been decided as the FPOs will be formed based on justified produce clusters.
    • Under the scheme, it will be ensured that adequate support is extended to States of North East and hilly areas to offset deficiency in specialized manpower and expertise available in such areas. The minimum members per FPO in case of plain areas will be 300; while in North-Eastern and Hilly Region, it will be 100.
    • This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in Rajya Sabha today.


    1. Enrolment under PM Kisan Maan Dhan Yojana

    • Government has launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Maan DhanYojana (PM-KMY) on 12.9.2019 with a view to provide social security to Small and Marginal Farmers in their old age when they have no means of livelihood and minimal or no savings to take care of their expenses.
    • Under this scheme, a minimum fixed pension of Rs.3,000/- is provided to the small and marginal farmers, subject to certain exclusion criteria, on attaining the age of 60 years. Small and Marginal Farmers between the age of 18 to 40 years are eligible to join this scheme.
    • For enrollment, the eligible farmer is required to approach the nearest Common Service Center (CSC) or the Nodal Officer (PM-Kisan) nominated by the State / UT Governments. The farmers may also register themselves through the web-portal of the scheme www.pmkmy.gov.in.
    • It is a voluntary and contributory pension scheme. The eligible farmer is required to contribute to a Pension Fund between Rs.55 to Rs.200 per month depending on the entry age.
    • The Central Government also contributes in equal amount to the Pension Fund.
      So far (as on 11.3.2020), 19,97,553 farmers have registered themselves for the Scheme
      This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in Rajya Sabha today.



    1. Imparting new technologies to farmers through electronic media

    DAC&FW is educating farmers through following use of electronic media as follows :-
    1) Kisan Suvidha mobile app facilitates dissemination of information to farmers on the critical parameters viz., Weather; Market Prices; Plant Protection; Input Dealers (Seed, Pesticide, Fertilizer) Farm Machinery; Soil Health Card; Cold Storages &Godowns, Veterinary Centres and Diagnostic Labs.

    2) Crop related advisories are regularly sent to the registered farmers through SMSs on mKisan Portal (www.mkisan.gov.in).

    3) The Indian Council of Agriculture Research (ICAR) has compiled more than 100 mobile apps developed by ICAR, State Agricultural Universities and KrishiVigyanKendras (KVKs) in the areas of crops, horticulture, veterinary, dairy, poultry, fisheries, natural resources management and integrated subjects.

    4)Awareness/ education is being created among farmers through various electronic mass media mediums like DD Kisan Channel, Doordarshan, All India Radio etc.

    5) Apart from the above, Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube are being used to educate farmers, across the country.

    The Government is implementing the following schemes aimed at imparting training to farmers in the agriculture and allied sectors:-

    i) A Centrally Sponsored Scheme on ‘Support to State Extension Programmes for Extension Reforms’ popularly known as Agriculture Technology Management Agency (ATMA) Scheme is under implementation in 691 districts of 28 States & 5 UTs of the country. The extension activities under ATMA, inter-alia, include Farmers’ Training. During the year, 2018-19, 19.18 lakh farmers availed training benefits under ATMA.

    ii) Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) with its network of 717 KrishiVigyanKendras (KVKs) has mandate of technology assessment, demonstration and capacity development of farmers. KVKs are imparting training to farmers for getting higher agricultural production and income. During the year 2018-19, 13.51 lakh farmers were trained by KVKs in various thematic areas.

    iii) Four Farm Machinery Training & Testing Institutes (FMTTIs) located at Budni (MP), Hissar (Haryana), Ananthapur (AP) and BiswanathChariali (Assam) are engaged in imparting training to various categories of trainees including farmers, in the field of Farm Mechanization. During the year 2018-19, these Institutes have trained 9905 candidates.

    iv) National Food Security Mission (NFSM) is being implemented in identified districts of 28 States and 2 UTs viz. Ladakh and J&K of the country to increase the production and productivity of rice, wheat, pulses, coarse cereals and nutri- cereals (millets) through area expansion and productivity enhancement. During the year 2018-19, 3,42,188 number of farmers were trained.

    v) Mission for Integrated Development of Horticulture (MIDH), a Centrally Sponsored Scheme is being implemented for holistic growth of the horticulture sector covering fruits, vegetables, root and tuber crops, mushrooms, spices, flowers, aromatic plants, coconut, cashew, cocoa and bamboo. All States and UTs are covered under MIDH. During 2018-19, 1,91,086 number of farmers were trained.

    vi) In addition to the above, training of farmers is an inbuilt component under Sub-Mission on Plan Protection & Plant Quarantine. Farmer Field Schools are conducted for promoting Integrated Pest Management among farmers. During the year 2018-19, 712 FFSs were organized under the scheme.
    This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in Rajya Sabha today.



    1. Promoting use of bio pesticides and fertilizers

    • To promote the use of bio pesticides in agriculture, Central Insecticide Board & Registration Committee has formulated simplified guidelines for registration of bio pesticides as compared to chemical pesticides. During provisional registration granted under Section 9 (3B) of The Insecticides Act, 1968, the applicant is allowed to commercialize the bio-pesticides, unlike chemical pesticides.
    • Government of India through organic farming schemes of ParamparagatKrishiVikasYojana (PKVY), Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER) and Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme (CISS) aims for sustainable agriculture production with eco-friendly process in tune with nature, promoting organic inputs and chemical free agriculture produce for improving the health condition of the people.
    • Under, ParamparagatKrishiVikasYojana (PKVY), assistance of Rs. 50,000 per hectare for 3 years is provided, out of which Rs. 31,000 (62%) is given to the farmers directly through DBT, for inputs (bio-fertilizers, bio-pesticides, vermicompost, botanical extracts, etc.) production/ procurement, post-harvest management etc.
    • Under Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region (MOVCDNER), the farmers are given assistance of Rs. 25000 per hectare for 3 years for both on-farm & off-farm organic inputs, and seeds/ planting material.
    • Under, Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme, Government of India promotes production of bio-fertilizers by providing 100% assistance to State Government / Government Agencies upto a maximum limit of Rs.160.00 lakh/ unit for setting up of state of art liquid/ carrier-based Bio-fertilizer units of 200 Tonnes Per Annum capacity.
    • Similarly, for individuals/ private agencies assistance upto 25% of cost limited to Rs.40 lakh/unit as capital investment is provided through National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development.
    • Amount spent under, ParamparagatKrishiVikasYojana during last three years (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19) and current year (2019-20) is Rs. 152.82 crore, Rs. 203.46 crore, Rs. 329.46 crore and Rs. 226.42 crore respectively.
    • Amount spent under, Mission Organic Value Chain Development for North Eastern Region during last three years (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19) and current year (2019-20) is Rs. 47.63 crore, Rs. 66.22 crore, Rs. 174.78 crore and Rs. 78.83 crore respectively.
    • Under Capital Investment Subsidy Scheme, no amount has been disbursed to National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development during 2016-17 and 2017-18; however, during 2018-19, an amount of Rs.276.168 lakh was disbursed.
    • Use of bio-pesticides is promoted by educating farmers through Farmer Field schools and Human Resource Development programmes (2 & 5 days) under Integrated Pest Management approach.
    • The bio-pesticides (Trichoderma, Metazhizium, Beauveria etc.) are also multiplied in the Central and State Government laboratories and distributed to farmers. During the last 5 years (2015-16 to 2019-20), 3472 Farmer Field Schools and 647 Human Resource Development programs were conducted under Integrated Pest Management and 1,04,160 farmers and 25,880 pesticide dealers and State Extension officials have been trained.
    • This information was given in a written reply by the Union Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Shri Narendra Singh Tomar, in Rajya Sabha today.



    1. Productivity of different cow breeds

    • As per Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics-2019 average productivity of Indian breed of cattle and crossbred cattle is given in the following table:
    S. No Category Average Productivity in kg/day/ animal
    1 Indian Breed of Cattle 3.85
    2 Crossbred Cattle 7.85

    Source: Basic Animal Husbandry Statistics-2019


    • In order to complement and supplement the efforts made by the States and Union Territories to improve breeds of native cows Government of India has been implementing RashtriyaGokul Mission for development and conservation of indigenous bovine breeds, genetic upgradation of bovine population and enhancing milk production and productivity of bovines thereby making milk production more remunerative to the farmers.
    • This information was given in a written reply by the Minister of State for Fisheries, Animal Husbandry and Dairying, Shri Sanjeev Kumar Balyan, in Rajya Sabha today.




    1. Hiding information on Corona virus infection made punishable offense in Bangladesh

    • Hiding of information about Corona virus infection has been made a punishable offense in Bangladesh. Director General of Health Services (DGHS) of Bangladesh Dr Abul Kalam Azad said on Friday that legal action may be taken against the person under the Communicable Disease Prevention Act, reports the official news agency BSS.
    • The act empowers the government to sentence a person who gives wrong information about a communicable disease like Corona to two months imprisonment or a fine of Tk 25 thousand or both.
    • Updating the status of the Corona virus infection in the country, Director of the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research (IEDCR) Dr. Meerjady Sabrina Flora informed the media on Friday that one of the three persons admitted to the hospital with the infection has been relieved from the hospital.
    • Another recovered patient is still at the hospital along with the third person who is still infected. She said IEDCR tested samples of 24 persons in the last 24 hours. None were found Corona virus positive.
    • Keeping the hospitals ready to treat the patients with Corona virus infection government has prepared 1,350 beds in 14 hospitals in Dhaka, Chattogram, Sylhet, Barishal, and Rangpur cities, informed DGHS in a press release.
    • The government has also announced that no rally or parade will be held on the occasion of the independence day on March 26 in view of the Corona virus threat.



    1. Wife of Canada’s PM tests positive for Novel Corona virus                                                                                                                       
    • In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau has tested positive for Novel Corona virus. His office said in a statement issued yesterday that she would remain in isolation and her symptoms were mild, while assuring the public that the Canadian Prime Minister is fine. The statement said, the Prime Minister would also be in isolation for two weeks and on the advice of his doctors, will not be tested for the virus.
    • The PM would continue his duties, his office said and would address the country tomorrow.
    • It follows several provinces in Canada, which so far has reported nearly 150 cases in six states and one death unveiling stricter measures to combat the spread of the virus while sporting events and entertainment galas were cancelled.
    • Mr Trudeau held several meetings over the phone yesterday, including with the special cabinet committee on COVID-19, his office said and also spoke with the leaders of Italy, the US and Britain.He will talk with indigenous leaders today, as well as provincial and territorial premiers to coordinate Canada’s response to the virus, and limit the economic impact on the country.
    • Since the Novel Corona virus first emerged in late December 2019, more than 130,000 cases have been recorded in 116 countries and territories, killing at least 4,900 people, according to AFP news agency.
    • Most of Canada’s cases have been traced to China, Iran, Italy or Egypt, but seven people who recently returned from the US also tested positive, public health authorities said.
    • A ban on indoor gatherings of more than 250 people was also announced, with Montreal’s Saint Patrick’s Day parade, held since 1824, postponed. Alberta and British Columbia announced bans on large gatherings too. Quebec, which has 13 confirmed cases of the virus, is also considering placing the entire island of Montreal — a population of nearly two million under quarantine.
    • In neighbouring Ontario, public health officials announced the public schools would be shut until 5th of April.
    • The Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television cancelled this year’s Canadian Screen Awards, scheduled to air on 29th of March and the country’s Juno music awards, planned for Sunday, were also scrapped.


    1. Iran accuses US of economic terrorism,’ urges sanctions end


    • Iran’s foreign minister today demanded that United States immediately halt what he called a “campaign of economic terrorism” and lift sanctions, saying they have made it increasingly difficult for the country to export oil and import medicine and medical equipment, including to identify and treat coronavirus patients.
    • Mohammad Javad Zarif in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that US sanctions have also left thousands of Iranians stranded abroad and severely disrupted air links with Europe.
    • He said it is “imperative” that the US immediately halt its campaign of economic terrorism against the Iranian people and lift all sanctions it has illegally imposed on his country, in violation of the Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers which the US pulled out of in 2018.





    1. Lakshya Sen crashes out of All England Open

    • Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen today crashed out of the tournament in men’s singles after losing his second-round match at Arena Birmingham in United Kindom.
    • Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen defeated Sen in two straight games 21-17, 21-18 and advanced to the third round of the competition. The world number seven ousted Sen in 45 minutes.
    • In the first round match, Sen triumphed against Hong Kong’s Lee Cheuk Yiu 17-21, 21-8, 21-17. Later in the day, ace shuttler PV Sindhu will take on South Korea’s Sung Ji-Hyun.


    1. P V Sindhu enters quarterfinals of All England Championships


    • In Badminton, P V Sindhu enters the quarterfinals of the 2020 All England Championships in the women’s singles in Birmingham. She defeated Sung Ji Hyun of South Korea in a straight-game 21-19, 21-15 yesterday.
    • Sindhu will next meet fourth-seed Nozomi Okuhara of Japan today. She is now the lone Indian representation at the Championships.
    • Earlier in Men’s Singles, Lakshya Sen bowed out of the tournament after suffering a 21-17, 21-18 defeat at the hands of Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen in second round.
    • In Women’s doubles, Indian pair of Ashwini Ponnappa and N. Sikki Reddy also made an exit after being defeated by the Japanese duo of Mitaki Matsutomo and Ayaka Takahashi.

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