• Current Affairs, 23 March 2020


    1. India Fights Corona: PM Narendra Modi urges people not to leave their houses in lockdown


    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has urged people not to leave their houses in lockdown districts and states and follow instructions in fight against COVID-19. In a series of tweets,  Mr Modi cautioned people against complacency.
    • Prime Minister has lauded the people for showing their gratitude to Corona warriors like doctors, nurses and sanitation workers. People across the country came out of their homes and on their balconies at 5 pm yesterday to clap, clang utensils and ring bells to express solidarity.
    • In a series of tweets, Mr Modi said, the nation thanks every citizen who is leading the fight against Coronavirus. Prime Minister said, this is just a beginning of nation’s victory march in a long battle against COVID-19. As the clock struck five, people came out in balconies, lawns and terraces, to express gratitude to doctors, nurses and others working continuously to combat Covid 19.
    • The country also observed an unprecedented ‘Janta Curfew’ to control the spread of the deadly virus. Influencers and achievers from various fields and several organisations also voiced their support to the Janata Curfew.
    • In his address to the nation on Thursday evening, Mr Modi had urged citizens to help the government in fighting the pandemic and had asked citizens to observe Janta curfew on Sunday from 7 am to 9 pm. The janta curfew, as Prime Minister explained, was a curfew observed by the janta and for the janta.


    1. Tribute to revolutionary freedom fighters – Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev & Rajguru

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tribute to revolutionary freedom fighters – Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev and Rajguru on their death anniversary today. In a tweet, Mr Modi said, nation will always remember their sacrifices.
    • Prime Minister also paid homage to veteran socialist leader Ram Manohar Lohia on his birth anniversary. Mr Modi said, Dr Lohia’s works and ideology will always inspire people.
    1. J&K: Large quantity of arms, ammunition recovered from Keran sector

    • Police on Sunday evening recovered large quantity of arms and ammunition from Keran sector of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district after apprehending terrorist associates. Police Officials said that five terrorist associates were arrested by Sopore police who were involved in providing logistic support and shelter to active terrorists operating in the northern region of Kashmir.
    • Officials further added that during sustained questioning, the arrested persons gave location to Sopore police of the place in Keran of Kupwara where large quantity of war like stores was dumped. A team of police from Sopore went to Keran sector of Kupwara were from they recovered war like storage.
    • Officals termed this as a major success and said war like stores were recovered which included eight AK Assault rifles, nine Pistol 9MM, one thousand AK rounds and seventy Hand grenades  during search operation in the area. The officer said they are expecting more arrests in coming days.



    1. ICMR approves COVID-19 testing at 3 more facilities in Maharashtra

    • Maharashtra, which has been testing around 100 samples daily for coronavirus infection, will now be able to scale up this number up to 600, as the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) approved testing at three more facilities.
    • State medical education minister Amit Deshmukh informed that two of these testing facilities are in Pune and one in Mumbai. In an official statement  Deshmukh said that We were testing around 100 samples on daily a basis. The Indian Council of Medical Research has now permitted Covid-19 detection tests at Haffkine Institute in Mumbai as well as at Sassoon General Hospital and B J Medical College in Pune.
    • He informed that the state government has also demanded setting up testing laboratories at private hospitals as well. Deshmukh said that state-run medical colleges and hospitals at Dhule, Aurangabad, Solapur, Miraj and Latur will also have similar testing facilities once centre gives its permission.
    1. Total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India rises to 415

    • The total number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in India has reached 415. Out of the total positive cases, 23 people have been discharged after being cured and seven patients have died. So far over 15.17 lakh passengers have been screened at various airports in the country.
    1. New draft defence procurement Procedure 2020 unveiled, aims to boost indigenization; introduced ‘leasing’ category

    • Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh proposed a new “Draft Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) 2020” featuring promotion of indigenous manufacturing, during a meeting in New Delhi. The proposed DPP 2020 will come into effect from 1st April 2020by replacing DPP 2016, and would remain in force till March 31, 2025. Its draft has been finalized by a high-level committee headed by Apurva Chandra, Director General (DG) Acquisition, Ministry of Defence that was set up in August 2019.
    • A total of 47 amendmentscarried out as part of Business Process Reengineering to draft DPP 2020.
    • The new Draft has proposed a simplified procedure on military procurement to ensure seamless flow in acquisition and maintenance of assets.
    • The objective of DPP 2020 is to turn India into a global manufacturing hub, developing a robust defence industrial base, use of indigenous raw materials, and incentivised of special alloys and software.
    1. Services rendered by Parliamentarians, doctors, and paramedics fall under Essential Services category


    • Union Minister Piyush Goyal in Rajya Sabha said that the functioning of Parliament after invoking the Epidemics Act and notification restricting the movement of people above sixty-five years in the wake of Coronavirus does not violate any provision of the law.
    • His remarks came in the wake of a query raised by Anand Sharma of the Congress who said, most of the Parliamentarians above the age of sixty-five fall under the ambit of the notification.
    • He clarified that the services rendered by Parliamentarians, doctors, and paramedics fall under the Essential Services category.
    1. India’s population reached 1.36 billion in mid 2019

    • World Population Prospects 2019’ report, India’s population reached 1.36 billion (136 crore) in mid 2019, which makes it the second most populous country in the world.
    • Minister of State for Health and Family Welfare, Ashwini Kumar Choubey, also said that, as per the Census of India, India’s population was 121.02 crore in 2011.
    • He also informed the house that 9,040 Crore 45 lakh rupees have been allocated to States/ UTs to promote family planning during the last three years.
    1. Himachal govt launches Police Station Visitor Survey System and e-Night Beat Checking System


    • Himachal Pradesh State government launched Police Station Visitor Survey System and e-Night Beat Checking System for Himachal police in Shimla.
    • These systems would help the Police Department in doing self-evaluation and improve the working of Police.
    • This system would be used for the surveillance of visitors visiting the Police Stations, Police Posts and all other police units and would help in creating a database of visitors.
    • All the visitors/complainants visiting the Police Stations, Police Posts or traffic units would be requested to fill the survey link.
    • Jai Ram Thakur also launched the Night Beat Checking system for the Police Department would help the State Police to keep a track of the suspected vehicles and criminals who move in the night.



    1. World Sparrow Day


    • World Sparrow Day is observed every year on March 20.
    • The day aims to raise awareness about the Sparrow.
    • The need for marking this day was felt due to the tremendous decrease in its population.
    • The house sparrow is on the verge of extinction.
    • The first World Sparrow Day was celebrated in 2010 in different parts of the world.
    • Increased use of pesticides, change in the pattern of buildings and gardens missing from the houses have become the main factors why the number of sparrows has declined sharply in the past few years.


    1. Defence Ministry signs contract with Israeli firm IWI 



    • The Defence Ministry has signed a capital acquisition contract with Israel Weapons Industries, IWI for procurement of 16,479 light machine guns, LMGs at a cost of 880 crore rupees.
    • IWI, which is based out of Ramat HaSharon city in Israel, would be providing Negev 7.62X51 mm LMGs to the Indian armed forces under the contract.
    • The contracted Negev 7.62X51 mm LMG is a combat proven weapon and currently used by several countries around the globe.
    • The LMG will greatly enhance the lethality and range of a soldier vis-a-vis the presently used weapon.


    1. Canadian Olympic officials urge postponement of Tokyo Games

    • Canadian Olympic officials urged postponement of the Tokyo Games, saying that in view of the coronavirus pandemic they won’t send a team in the summer of 2020.
    • The Canadian Olympic Committee (COC) said in statement that COC and Canadian Paralympic Committee (CPC), backed by their Athletes’ Commissions, National Sports Organizations and the Government of Canada, have made the difficult decision to not send Canadian teams to the Olympic and Paralympic Games in the summer of 2020. It has also urged the  International Olympic Committee to postpone the Games scheduled to start on July 24.
    • The IOC has come under increasing pressure to push back the games from sporting federations and athletes worried about the health risks as the COVID-19 global death tally has crossed 14,400. IOC president Thomas Bach said a decision on when the Games would take place would be made within the next four weeks.




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