• Current Affairs, 10 April 2020


    1. Ministry of Health to  divide health centers into 3 categories for corona patients

    • In order to ensure maximum use of resources in the care of coronavirus (COVID-19) patients, the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW)has proposed to divide the health centers into 3 categories namely- COVID Care Centre, Dedicated COVID Health Centre and Dedicated COVID Hospital.
    • Key Points:
    • Under these facilities, it will be ensured that the capacity of hospital beds is used only for moderate and severe patients of infection.
    • 1sttype- Covid Care Center: Patients suspected of corona or patients with mild or very mild symptoms will be placed here. These centers can be built in hostels, hotels, schools, stadiums, lodges and other places. A basic life support ambulance (BLSA) equipped with life-saving equipment will be available at every Covid Care Center at all times. Ayush doctors can be deployed under the supervision of allopathic doctors.
    • 2ndtype- Dedicated COVID Health Centre: Patients with moderate symptoms of coronavirus will be admitted here. These centers can be built in a separate block of a hospital or hospital with separate entry and exit doors. Here also an ambulance equipped with life-saving equipment will be available at all times.
    • 3rdtype- Dedicated COVID Hospital: Serious patients infected with the corona virus will be admitted here. These will be full hospitals or separate blocks within hospitals. These will include a fully equipped intensive care units (ICU), ventilator and oxygen-supported beds.

    2. Four schemes for agri sector to tackle COVID-19 impact

    • In a bid to provide financial relief to the agriculture sector which is under distress due to COVID-19, the Bank of Baroda (BoB) has initiated four agro schemes for Women Self Help Groups (SHGs), Farmer Producer Organizations (FPO/FPC) and farming community. It should be noted only the existing borrowers of BoBwhether individual or FPO or SHG are eligible for the schemes. Following are the four schemes launched by bank:
    • Additional Assurance to SHGs- COVID19
    • Baroda Emergency Credit Line for Farmer Producer Organization (FPO/FPC)
    • Baroda Special Scheme for existing Agriculture Investment Credit borrowers
    • Baroda Special Scheme for existing BKCC borrowers impacted by COVID-19
    • Additional Assurance to SHGs- COVID-19
      To provide immediate financial assistance to the Women SHGs to meet the emergent needs of its members for their domestic and agriculture purposes.
    • Minimum Loan Amount– Rs.30,000 per SHG group.
    • Maximum Loan Amount– Rs.1 Lac per member and Rs.10 lacsper SHG Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly. The entire tenure of the loan shall not exceed 24 months.
    • Baroda Emergency Credit Line for Farmer Producer Organization (FPO/FPC)
      It is an emergency credit line for FPO/FPC to deal with tremporary liquidity mismatches arised out of COVID-19.
    • Loan amount– 10% of the combined limits sanctioned to FPO / FPC with Max amount of Rs.5,00,000/- (Rupees Five lakhs only)
    • Repayment Period– Monthly / Quarterly with a tenor of 36 months.
    • Baroda Special Scheme for existing Agriculture Investment Credit borrowers
      It is an instant credit for farming community to meet the emergent funds requirements for farm maintenance and other farm related activities due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
    • Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000
    • Repayment Period– Half yearly / Yearly instalments
    • Baroda Special Scheme for existing BKCC borrowers impacted by COVID-19
      It is an instant credit for farming community who are existing Baroda Kisan Card (BKCC) account holders.
    • Minimum Loan amount– Rs.10000
    • Maximum Loan amount– Rs.50000
    • Repayment Period– 6 Half yearly / 3 Yearly instalments


    1. SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against coronavirus(SAFE)

    The Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) has announced that it will provide emergency working capital of up to Rs 1 crore to Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The SIDBI Assistance to Facilitate Emergency response against coronavirus (SAFE) loan limit has been increased to 2 crores from Rs 50 lakhs.

    Gist about SAFE scheme


    • It is a financial assistance program launched by SIDBI for (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) MSMEs that engage in the manufacturing of products (hand sanitizers, masks, gloves, head gear, bodysuits, shoe covers, ventilators, goggles, among others) or offer services to combat the novel coronavirus.
    • It will enable MSMEs to acquire equipment, plant and machinery, other assets including raw materials required for production or delivery of services & also to meet additional emergencies to ramp-up supplies of these essential products.
    • The loans have a fixed rate of interest of 5 % with a repayment tenure of 5 years.
    • They are collateral free loans & will be sanctioned within 48 hours of applying and submission of documents digitally.
    • Apart from this, SIDBI has opened an additional financial window for the healthcare sector under its flagship scheme called SIDBI Make in India Soft Loan Fund for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (Smile).

    About SAFE plus
    It will be offered collateral free and disbursed within 48 hours. The assistance is Maximum upto Rs 100 Lakh (is linked to turnover of the unit).

    About SIDBI:
    It is set up on 2nd April 1990 under an Act of Indian Parliament. It acts as a Principal Financial Institution for Promotion,Financing and Development of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprise (MSME) sector as well as for coordination of functions of institutions engaged in similar activities.

    4. Parag Raja appointed as MD & CEO of Bharti AXA Life Insurance

    • Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company appointed Parag Rajaas the new MD (Managing Director) & CEO (Chief Executive Officer). The appointment will be subject to the requisite approval from the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI). Parag Raja will be the successor of Vikas Seth. About Parag Raja: Raja served as the Chief Distribution Officer at Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance (ABSLI) where he is responsible for planning & executing the strategic direction for expanding the company’s footprint across India.
    • He was also one of the founding members of the Max Life Insurance and worked with the company for 15 years.
    • Raja has a total experience of nearly 21 years, including 19 years in the life insurance industry.

    5.     CCI approves Hitachi’s acquisition of 80.1% stake in ABB’s power grid business


    • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) approved the proposed acquisition of 1% share capitalof ABB Management Holding AG by Hitachi Limited from ABB Ltd, where ABB Management will hold the entire power grid business of ABB.
    • It is a Japanese firm & is the parent company of Hitachi group of companies. It is active in business segments, including IT solution, energy solution, industry solution, mobility solution, and smart life solution.
      Headquarters– Chiyoda, Tokyo
      President & CEO– Toshiaki Higashihara
    • It is a Swiss company which involves development, engineering, manufacturing and sale of products, systems and projects in the power grids sector.
      Headquarters– Zurich, Switzerland
      Chief Executive Officer(CEO)– Björn Rosengre


    6. CCI approves 100% acquisition of GMR Kamalanga Energy Limited by JSW Energy Limited

    • The Competition Commission of India (CCI) has approved 100% acquisition of Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao (GMR)Kamalanga Energy Limited (Ltd) by Jindal South West (JSW) Energy Ltd under section 31(1) of the Competition Act, 2002.
    • JSW Energy Ltd
      It is a division of JSW group & is involved in power generation, power transmission, power trading, coal mining and power equipment manufacturing & has a power generation capacity of 4,541 MegaWatt (MW) out of which thermal (3,140 MW), hydro (1,391 MW) and solar (10 MW).
    • GMR Kamalanga Energy Ltd
      It is a subsidiary of GMR group & is one of the largest diversified Infrastructure Conglomerates in India. It is engaged in generation of power through its coal based thermal power plant & has an operating capacity of over 4400 MW & plants of over 2300 MW generation capacity are under various stages of development in India and Nepal
      is engaged in generation of power through its coal based thermal power plant

    7. Commerce Ministry designs online platform to issue certificate of origin for exporters


    • Commerce Ministry created an online platformto issue key documents required for exports to countries with which India has trade agreements. It is designed as a single-point access for all Free Trade Agreements (FTAs), Preferential Trade Agreements (PTAs), all designated Certificate of Origin (CoO) issuing agencies and for all export products to facilitate shipment during the COVID-19 crisis.
    • Key Points
    • The designated agencies will issue digitally signed electronic CoO only and no hard copy will be provided.
    • It is accessible at  https://coo.dgft.gov.in, with effect from April 7, 2020.
    • Export Certificates from India to Chile under the PTA , Export to Nepal under South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA)and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) and export to Korea under the India-Korea Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement have already been applied and issued through this online platform.
    • India has implemented such agreements with regions including ASEAN, Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, South Asian Free Trade Area, and Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement.
    • What is a CoO?
      This is a document that states in whichcountry a product is produced or good is manufactured, contains information about the product, its destination and the country of exporting & helps determine whether certain goods are eligible for import or are subject to goods obligations. An exporter has to submit CoO at the importing country’s landing port & is important to claim duty concessions under FTAs.

    8. Larsen & Toubro gets big contract from Indian Army to install state-of-the-art IT enabled network

    • The  Smart World and Communication Business Unit (SW&C BU) of Larsen & Toubro Limited (L&T), an Indian multinational conglomerate company, has received a large order from the Indian Armyto install state-of-the-art IT(Information Technology) based state-of-the-art systems, which will be used to operate the armed force network under the ‘Network of Spectrum (NFS)’.
      Key Points: 
    • However, the company has not disclosed the transaction amount but, according to its project classification, large orders are in the range of Rs.2,500 crore to Rs.5,000 crore.
    • The project,which is a very important and sensitive project for the Ministry of Defense (MoD), involves creating a centralised network monitoring, management and control system for all the 7 layers under NFS which connects 414 Defence stations.
    • According to L&T, the project will be implemented in 18 months. It is a 3-month warranty and a seven-year maintenance contract.

    9. DRDO & Wipro 3D team together to create full face shield for healthcare personnel treating coronavirus patients

    • The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), an agency of the Government of India charged with the military’s research and development,has partnered with private firm Wipro 3Dto create a full face shield, which is meant to be helpful for doctors and nurses who are treating patients infected with coronavirus (COVID-19).
      Key Points:
    • This would prove effective in protecting healthcare personnel from direct infection. DRDO has earlier made masks, full-body suits and many PPE (personal protection equipment ) for medical staff including doctors having a specific type of fabric with coating.
    • It is to be known that earlier, scientists working in different laboratories of DRDO have jointly created Bio Suite which will work like PPE for medical personnel.
    • DRDO is also working on a multi patient-ventilator to handle shortage of key equipment for corona victims.


    10.            International Romani Day 2020: April 8

    • The International Romani Dayis observed on April 8 globally to raise awareness of the issues faced by Romani people and to celebrate Romani culture.
      Key Points:
    • The International Romani Day was officially declared at the fourth World Romani Congress of the International Romani Union (IRU) in Serock, Poland, in 1990.
    • The day also remembers the first major international meeting of Romani representatives held between April 7 to 12, 1971 in Chelsfield, England.
    • Romani is an itinerant ethnic group from India, they have their own language and culture. For Romani people, their extended families, their customs called the Romanipen & their religion is of greatest importance.



    11.         SAARC Development Fund allocates USD 5 million for COVID-19 projects

    • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)Development Fund (SDF) has allocated USD 5 million (about Rs 38 crore) for COVID-19 projects in 8 member countries, in an effort to mitigate the financial losses and severe socio-economic impact of the pandemic.
      Key Points
    • The approval process, project implementation, funding disbursement, management, monitoring and reporting will be in accordance with the existing SDF-Board approved policy and the procedures of the SDF and social Window.
    • This project will be funded by the SDF under its Social Window thematic areas. SDF’s social window primarily funds projects on poverty alleviation, social development focusing on education, health, and human resource development, among others.
    • Currently, SDF operates 90 projects in SAARC countries under its 3 funding windows, with a total financial commitment or allocation of USD 198.24 million.
    • About SDF:
      The 1st funding mechanism of SAARC  was created in 1996 in the name of- South Asian Development Fund (SADF), merging the SAARC Fund for Regional Projects (SFRP) and the SAARC Regional Fund. The SADF was reconstituted into the SDF. It is created to promote the welfare of the people of the SAARC region. It has 3 funding windows-  Social Window, Economic Window and Infrastructure Window.


    1. Honor Blackman, one of the memorable co-stars of the early James Bond films, passed away


    • Honor Blackman, one of the memorable co-stars of the early James Bond films, passed away at the age of 94 in Lewes, Sussex, England. She was born on August 22, 1925 in Plaistow, Essex, England.
    • About Honor Blackman: Honor Blackman shot to fame in her late 30s after playing legendary Bond girl Pussy Galore in the 1964 movie Goldfinger.
    • She was well known in Britain for playing the character Cathy Gale in the popular 1960s Television (TV) spy series The Avengers and she had guest appearances on TV shows such as “Doctor Who”, “Colombo” and “Coronation Street”.
    • Blackman also played the goddess Hera in the 1963 film “Jason and the Argonauts”, & appeared in “Bridget Jones’s Diary”.


    1. People should never shake hands again: Anthony Fauci


    • US’ top infectious disease expert Anthony Fauci has said that People  should never shake hands again, underlining that the practise would not only prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus but also decrease instances of influenza dramatically in the world.
    • Fauci, who is the Director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a lead member of the White House Task Force on Coronavirus said that washing hands should be a must in people’s daily routine.
    • He further added that it would not only be good to prevent coronavirus disease but probably would decrease instances of influenza dramatically. Because as a matter of fact, that is one of the major ways you can transmit a respiratory-borne illness.
    • Responding to a question on the possible measures to be taken to contain the spread of the virus, he said, One of them is absolute compulsive hand-washing. The other is you don’t ever shake anybody’s hands.
    • In the recent weeks, President Donald Trump too has been talking about doing away with the hand shake, which is a part and parcel of the American culture.
    • Globally, 88,538 people have died due to coronavirus and nearly 1.5 million people have been infected.


    1. Global chemical weapons watchdog blames Syria for toxic attacks


    • The global chemical weapons watchdog on Wednesday for the first time explicitly blamed Syria for toxic attacks, saying President Bashar al-Assad’s air force used the nerve gas sarin and chlorine three times in 2017.
    • The findings came in the first report from a new investigative team set up by the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) to identify the perpetrators of attacks in Syria’s ongoing nine-year-long civil war.
    • Western nations and rights groups condemned Syria following the release of the report, which will now go to the United Nations among others to decide what and if any further action should be taken.
    • Western nations and human rights groups praised the OPCW report, saying it proved Syria continued chemical attacks on its own population. Almost two years ago, the OPCW confirmed that sarin and chlorine were used in two attacks on the town, but did not name those responsible at the time.
    • The OPCW won the Nobel Peace Prize in 2013 for its work in Syria and says it has eliminated 97 percent of the world’s chemical weapons.





    1. Brazil’s football clubs hand over their stadiums to turn them into field hospitals


    • Brazil’s top football clubs are handing over their stadiums to allow health authorities to turn them into field hospitals and clinics to fight the coronavirus pandemic.
    • Football in Brazil has been suspended until further notice and more than half the clubs in Brazil’s “Serie A” have given up their stadiums to expand hospital capacity to deal with the coronavirus.
    • Authorities in Sao Paulo said, they would install 200 beds in a field hospital at the Pacaembu municipal stadium to relieve pressure on the city’s hospitals. Brazil currently has 1,128 confirmed infections and 18 deaths.


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