• Current Affairs, 27 March 2020


    1. Relief measures for financial sectors amid COVID-19 outbreak


    • Union Finance &Corporate Affairs Minister Nirmala Sitharamanpublicized necessitated relief measures for statutory and regulatory compliance matters related to Income Tax, GST, Customs & Central Excise, Corporate Affairs, Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code (IBC) Fisheries, Banking Sector and Commerce.
    • The information regarding the relief measures was provided through video conferencing in New Delhi. She was accompanied by Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, Ajay Bhushan Pandey, Finance Secretary and Atanu Chakraborty, Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs during the video conferencing.
    • The decision regarding the statutory and regulatory relief measures has been taken due to thenational shutdownto control the spread of the highly contagious coronavirus or Covid-19 infection.
    3 month Extensions (From 31st March, 2020 to 30th June, 2020) on following parts of IT Reduced interest rate on Tax deduction at source (TDS)
    ·        Filing financial year 2018-19 (assessment year 2019-20) return

    ·        Aadhaar-PAN linking date

    ·        Vivad se Vishwas scheme extendedwith no levy of additional 10% charge for late payment made byJune 30, 2020

    For delayed payments of TDSmade till June 30, 2020 reduced interest rate of 9%from 18%annually will be charged for this period. There will be no late fee or penalty for delay during this period.




    Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC): The existing threshold of default hiked to Rs1 crore from Rs 1 Lakh under section 4 of the IBC 2016to protect MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises).

    Additional time for new companies: Newly incorporated companies have been given an additional time of 6 months for filing a declaration about the commencement of business.

    Extension of date for Deposit reserve: Requirement to create a Deposit reserve of 20% of deposits maturing during the financial year 2020-21 before 30th April 2020 is extended till 30th June 2020.

    Board meeting rules relaxed for 60 days: The mandatory requirement of holding meetings of the Board of the companies within prescribed interval provided in the Companies Act (120 days), 2013, is extended by a period of 60 days till next two quarters i.e., till 30th September.

    -For a director in any company, less than minimum residency of 182 days is not  treated as a violation.

    -Applicability of Companies Auditors’ Report Order 2020 shifted to 2020-21 instead of from 2019-2020.


    -The Custom clearance has made 24*7 as an essential service till end of 30th June, 2020 to support exports and imports of India.

    -Time limit for any compliance under the Customs Act and other allied Laws expiring between March 20-June 29, 2020is extended to 30th June 2020.

    Financial/Banking Services

    -Debit cardholders to withdraw cash for free from any other banks’ ATM for 3 months.

    -Minimum (account) balance feewaived and bank charges for digital trade transactions for all trade finance consumers reduced.

    Department of Fisheries

    -All Sanitary Permits (SIPs) for import of SPF Shrimp Broodstock and other Agriculture inputs expiring between 01.03.2020 to  15.04.2020 extended by 3 months.

    -Delay upto 1 month in arrival of consignments is approved.

    -The verification of documents and grant of No Objection Certificate (NOC) for Quarantine would be relaxed from 7 days to 3 days.

    Department of Commerce
    Extension of timelines for various compliance and procedures will be given in detailed notificationto be issued by Ministry of Commerce.



    1. Mayiladuthurai to become Tamil Nadu’s 38th district 


    • Tamil Nadu Chief Minister(CM) Edappadi Palaniswamy announced at the Legislative Assembly that Nagapattinam districtwill be bifurcated and a new district (38th) will be formed with its headquarters at Mayiladuthurai.
    • Currently, in Tamil Nadu there are 37 districts out of which 5 districts were formed in 2019  namely;
    • Kallakurichi was the 1st new district to be formed in January 2019 by splitting from Villupuram.
    • Chengalpattu and Tenkasi districts were formed in July 2019 by slicing Kanchipuram and Tirunelveli districts respectively.
    • Tirupathur and Ranipet were formed in August 2019 by trifurcating  Vellore.
    • The CM announces that the pension will be hiked for village temple priests toRs 3,000 from Rs 1,000 & also will launch a television(TV) channel to the shrines named as Thirukkoil at an estimated cost of Rs 8.77 crore.
    • The beneficiaries are those who have completed 20 years of service and completed 60 years of age and served at temples but not under the limits of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department  (HR and CE).
    • He stated that an additional expenditure of Rs 4.64 crore will be met from government funds & renovation work will be carried out in 55 ancient temples at  Rs 50 crore from government & temple fund
    • An electric vehicle park to be set up at Manalur SIPCOT Industrial Estate near Chennai with an estimated cost of Rs 148 crore.
    • A data centre park to be established over a 150-acre site with an investment of Rs 500 crore near Sriperumbudur which may generate 3,500 new jobs.


    1. Many companies come forward to help fight COVID-19 outbreak

    • Many companies have come forward to help fight the COVID 19 outbreak in the country.
    • Reliance Industries Limited has announced that Sir HN Reliance Foundation Hospital in collaboration with BMC has set up a 100 bedded centre at Mumbai. It has also offered support of 5 crore rupees to Maharashtra Chief Minister’s relief fund. The company is also enhancing production capacities to produce one lakh face masks a day along with other protective equipment to help health workers and medical professionals.
    • Vedanta Resources Limited has committed 100 crore rupees towards fighting the pandemic.
      Paytm announced that it is going to commit five crore rupees to help Indian innovators start building indigenous solutions for potential ventilator shortage and other COVID-19 cures.
    • Mahindra and Mahindra said its projects team is ready to assist the government in erecting temporary care facilities. The Mahindra Group has begun work on how their manufacturing facilities can make ventilators. The resorts of Mahindra Holidays have been offered as temporary care facilities.
    • Xiaomi said it will deliver imported N-95 masks and Hazmat suits to donate in hospitals across the country.



    1. COVID-19: Govt asks states to use cess fund to support construction workers

    • Ministry of Labour has issued advisory to all the States to use cess fund for Welfare of Construction Workers in the wake of COVID-19. In the advisory, Labour Minister Santosh Kumar Gangwar has asked the States to transfer funds in the account of construction workers through DBT mode from the Cess fund collected by the Labour Welfare Boards under the Building and Other Construction Workers Act, 1996.
    • About 52000 crore rupees are available as cess fund and about 3.5 crore construction workers are registered with these Construction welfare Boards.
    1. Govt takes series of measures to reduce inconvenience due to lockdown

    • As the nation gets into lockdown, a series of measures have already been taken by the Government to reduce inconvenience to the citizens.
    • Foodgrains are available and citizens need not worry and need not resort to panic buying. Foodgrains for 3 months can be lifted by States/ UTs on credit from Food Corporation of India. This will ensure adequate supply of foodgrains to the public and financially assist the States.
    • Beneficiaries of the Public Distribution System have been allowed to buy six months of their quota of subsidized grains.
    • Contractual, Casual and Outsourced employees will be paid even if they are unable to report on duty due to lockdown. It will be applicable to attached, subordinate offices, autonomous, statutory bodies of government of India till April 30th.
    • Pensioners’ details and pension amount statements for the current month will be generated by EPFO and reconciled by 25th March, 2020. It will be sent to the banks in advance so that the monthly pension is credited into the account.
    • Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has asked insurance companies to allow additional 30 days of grace period for payment of renewal premium for life insurance policies. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) has also extended the deadline up to April 15, 2020. For health insurance policies, insurers can now condone delay in renewal up to 30 days without deeming this as a break in policy.
    • Hand sanitizers and masks brought under the ambit of  the Essential Commodities Act. States asked to distribute Hand Sanitizers and face masks through ration shops at fair prices & ensure they are easily available. Prices fixed for masks and hand sanitizers. Retail prices of 200 ml bottle of hand sanitizers cannot be more than 100 rupees.
    • Researchers from IIT Kharagpur have developed two different alcohol-based hand sanitizers based on WHO guidelines for non-commercial purposes. These hand sanitizers have been provided to  employees of IIT Kharagpur institute who are providing essential services to students and staff on the campus.
    • Supply of personal protective equipment (PPEs) is being augmented. These include body coveralls, N-95 masks and 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks required for healthcare professionals dealing with COVID-19 cases.
      Government has banned exports of all personal protective equipment including body coveralls, N-95 masks, 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks all 2-ply/3-ply surgical masks and the raw materials required for manufacture of such products.
    1. Rs 15,000 cr allotted for healthcare by Centre

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modihas declared a 21-day lockdown for the whole nation starting from March 25, 2020 till April 14, 2020 as an only way to break the chain of COVID-19 infection. It is an emergency protocol mandating people to stay at home and stepping out of the house unless for an essential purpose will be a punishable offence.
    • During the lockdown, all essential commodities like groceries, medicines and milk remain available.
    • As of now, each state had different rules for lockdown but this national lockdown laid uniform guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the entire country.
    • On March 24, 2020, 564 positive coronavirus cases were reported in India.
    • For quick set up health infrastructure to deal with the pandemic, Centre has allocated 15,000 crore for the purchase of personal protection equipment for healthcare workers, increasing the number of beds, testing kits, setting up testing laboratories and quarantine centres, and training of professionals to combat the disease.
    • Amid the impact on the construction sector due to Coronavirus epidemic, Shri Santosh Kumar Gangwar, the Union Minister of State (Mos) for Labour and Employment, has issued an advisory under Section 60 of the Building and Other Construction Workers (BOCW) Act, 1996 to all the state and UT (Union Territory) governments to provide financial aid to nearly 5 crore construction workersfrom Rs 52,000-crore construction cess collected by the Labour Welfare Boards.
    • The funds will be transferred in the account of construction workers through DBT (direct benefit transfer) mode. However the amount to be granted to those people will be decided by the respective governments.
    • The BOCW 1996 act mandates levy and collection of cess at such rate not exceeding 2 %, but not less than 1 % of the cost of construction.This cess is used for the welfare of the employees working in the construction sector.


    1. COVID-19 will be tested and treated under Ayushman Bharat scheme


    • Amid the growing outbreak of Corona virus(COVID-19) in India, National Health Authority (NHA), which is responsible for the implementation of the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJA) has to bring the cost of testing and treatment of corona virus infection under the ambit of this scheme.
    • After the implementation of this decision, all the beneficiaries of  scheme will be able to get the treatment at government-designated testing centers and public hospitals for symptoms of  COVID-19 such as Acute Febrile Illness, Pneumonia, Severe Pneumonia, Pyrexia of unknown origin, Respiratory failure due to any cause (pneumonia, asthma, COPD, ARDS, foreign body, poisoning, head injury etc.), among others for free.
    • This scheme will be implemented as soon as the government allows treatment of COVID-19 patients in private hospitals.
    • It is noteworthy that the government aims to bring 10.74 crore poor families in the country under PMJAY as per the socio-economic caste census 2011.
    • It is the world’s largest health insurance scheme fully financed by the government. The scheme was launched in 2018 under the aegis of Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) in India aimed at making necessary interventions in primary, secondary and tertiary health-care systems.
    • Health insurance cover of Rs. 5 lakhs per family per year for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to the poor and vulnerable families will be provided under the scheme.
    • Chief Executive Officer (CEO)– Dr. Indu Bhushan
    1. IRSDC is developing 1st of its kind “Form Based Codes”: Railway land

    • The Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation Limited(IRSDC) with support from Shakti Sustainable Energy Foundation is developing a 1st of its kind “Form Based Codes” for the development of railway land.
    • The code is being designed & approved for layout plans, building plans for station areas which will ensure a compact, pedestrian-friendly, market responsive, transit oriented & sustainable development.
    • It will enable the desired kind of development around station areas & includes Layout Regulating Plans, Sub Plot Property Development Card, Building Design Codes.
    • Several stations across the country are being developed into world-class transit hubs; the first two being Habibganj in Madhya Pradesh and Gandhinagar in Gujarat.
    1. Goa becomes the 1st Indian state to launch assessment tool for COVID-19




    • Goa health minister Vishwajit Rane launched Test Yourself Goa, a self-assessment tool for COVID-19to help people identify if they are infected by the virus without visiting a doctor or hospital.
    • Goa has partnered with Innovaccer Inc, a United States (US)-based healthcare data analytics company, to launch the tool.
    • The online portal enables a person to check themselves from their home, by answering questions like; Name, contact number, location, recent travel to high-risk countries, symptoms such as fever, cough, wheezing, and any health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, hypertension among others.
    • Based on the answers, the tool states whether the individual is likely or not likely the suspect of COVID-19,  as per the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)‘s guidelines.
    • The tool will then assist the personto take further steps by providing information on self-quarantine, helpline numbers to reach out to the concerned authorities.
    • The tool is accessible in English, Konkani &  Hindi, and will also work on Smartphones.


    1. Punjab becomes the 1st state to impose curfew after lockdown fails


    • After the lockdown became ineffective, PunjabChief Minister (CM) Captain Amarinder Singh has ordered an indefinite curfew across the state. With this, it becomes the 1st state in the country to take drastic measure to stop the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
    • After Punjab ,the Chandigarh Union Territory (UT) Administration has also imposed curfew in the city to check the spread of virus.
    • What is a Lockdown?
      It is an emergency tool that prevents people from leaving a given area. This scenario usually allows for essential supplies, grocery stores, pharmacies and banks to continue to serve the people. All non-essential activities remain shut for the entire period.
      It can be enforced by a Collector or Chief Medical Officer(CMO) under the Epidemic Diseases Act, 1897.
      What is section 144?
      Section 144 of the IPC (Indian Penal Code) prevents the congregation of 5 or more people within a particular area. Under this, anyone found in violation will be booked under Section 188 of IPC for disobeying a public servant.
      What is curfew?
      It differs in every country, means keeping people off the streets for pre-decided hours. Any violation is met with a fine or arrest. Curfew includes complete closure essential services in addition to Section 144.
      Only administration & police personnel are allowed on the street. The district administration is exempt from action, once the curfew is enforced.



    1. Prince Charles tests positive for COVID-19

    • The Prince of Wales, Prince Charles tested positive for COVID-19 today. Prince Charles’s office confirmed that he has mild symptoms and remains in good health.
    • However, his wife Camilla, tested negative for the virus. The couple are now self-isolating in Scotland. The 71-year-old, Prince Charles is the eldest son and heir to Queen Elizabeth II.
    1. India condemns terror attack on Gurudwara in Afghanistan


    • India has strongly condemned the heinous terror attack on a Gurudwara in Kabul, Afghanistan today. Ministry of External Affairs said, such cowardly attacks on the places of religious worship of the minority community, especially at this time of COVID-19 pandemic, is reflective of the diabolical mindset of the perpetrators and their backers.
    • India conveyed its sincerest condolences to the immediate family members of the deceased and wish speedy recovery to the injured. MEA said, India stands ready to extend all possible assistance to the affected families of the Hindu and Sikh community of Afghanistan.
      India commended the brave Afghan security forces for their valorous response to the attack and their exemplary courage and dedication to protect the Afghan people and secure the country.
    • MEA said, India stands in solidarity with the people, the government and the security forces of Afghanistan in their efforts for bringing peace and security to the country.


    1. COVID-19: Dubai Police use drones to disseminate critical information to public

    • Keeping in view the growing number of COVID-19 cases in the country, the Dubai Police have started using drones to disseminate critical information to the public.
    • The Emirates News Agency today reported that the Dubai Police have started using drones to ensure full compliance with decisions and disseminate the critical message of avoiding public spaces and vacating shores as a precautionary measure to prevent the transmission of the coronavirus, COVID-19.
    • The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention on Tuesday announced 50 new cases of the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, as well as the recovery of four people.The total number of confirmed cases in the UAE now stands at 248.These new cases were among individuals who had close contact with cases announced previously, as well as people who returned from abroad.
    • The new cases belong to the following nationalities: one person each from Sri Lanka, the UK, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, Tunisia, South Africa, Belgium, South Korea, Bulgaria, France, Czech Republic, Australia, Lebanon, Kenya, Maldives, Sudan, Iran, Ireland, Morocco, Pakistan, and Sweden; two each from Italy, Egypt, UAE, Spain, Netherlands, Jordan, the Philippines; three each from the US, Bangladesh, and Palestine, and six from India. The four individuals who completely recovered from the infection are three Pakistanis and one Bangladeshi. With these, the total number of recovered cases has reached 45.



    1. COVID-19: Saudi Arabia proposes to convene “extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit” on March 26

    • Saudi Arabia which is in chair has proposed to convene an “extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders’ Summit” on 26th March to advance a coordinated response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the meeting of this “extraordinary Summit”.
    • G20 members will be joined by leaders from invited countries, Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland as well as international organizations; United Nations (UN), World Bank Group (WBG), the World Health Organization (WHO) and World Trade Organization (WTO), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), the Financial Stability Board (FSB), the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Monetary Fund (IMF), the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
    • Regional organizations will be represented by Vietnam the Chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), South Africa the Chair of the African Union (AU), the United Arab Emirates the Chair of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Rwanda the Chair of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD).
    • G20 is one of the major forum for international cooperation on financial and economic issues and a primary platform for global economic governance.


    1. Former footballer Abdul Latif passes away

    • Former India midfielder Abdul Latif, who was also a key member of bronze medal winning team at the 1970 Bangkok Asian Games died in Guwahati.
    • He was also represented India in Asia Cup Qualifier in 1968 in Myanmar and Merdeka Cup in 1969 in Kuala Lumpur.
    • Latif represented Mohammedan Sporting from 1963-1967 and later took over as coach.



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