Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 24 2020
1. Centre announces free ATM withdrawals for 3 months
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman announced that debit cardholders could withdraw cash from any other bank’s ATM free of charge for the next three months. There will not be any minimum balance requirement fee in the bank accounts. The announcement comes as lockdown, and the curfew is in place in many parts of India amid coronavirus pandemic. Centre has also waived minimum bank charges for savings bank accounts.
2. World Tuberculosis Day is observed on March 24
World Tuberculosis Day, observed on 24 March each year, is designed to build public awareness about the global epidemic of tuberculosis (TB) and efforts to eliminate the disease. In 2012, 8.6 million people fell ill with TB, and 1.3 million died from the disease, mostly in low and middle-income countries.
Theme 2020: It’s time to end TB!
3. Singapore tops economic freedom index
Singapore overtook Hong Kong as the world’s freest economy for the first time since 1995 in the latest Heritage Foundation Index of Economic Freedom published last week.
The Index was first published in 1995 and Hong Kong has topped the charts ever since; that is until this year.
Although India is ranked in 120th position in the study, it has been slowly but steadily making progress. It improved its score by 1.3 points from 2019 to tally 56.5 in 2020 due to improvements in the business freedom score. India’s score in 2017 was 52.6. It is the 28th freest economy among 42 countries in the Asia-Pacific region in the 2020 study.
4. EPFO directs field offices to timely credit pension to 65 lakh EPS beneficiaries
Retirement fund body EPFO on Monday said it has issued directions for timely credit of monthly pension to over 65 lakh employees’ pension scheme (EPS) beneficiaries amid the coronavirus outbreak. The Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation (EPFO) disburses monthly pension to over 65 lakh pensioners every month under the EPS.
5. Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill without discussion
The Lok Sabha passed the Finance Bill, Monday, by voice vote without discussion, amid ruckus in the House with opposition parties seeking a fiscal stimulus package in the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak.
In the Union Budget 2020-2021, the government proposed to spend Rs 30,42,230 crore in the next financial year, 12.7% higher than the revised estimate of 2019-20. By passing the Bill, these financial proposals have been given effect.
6. United Nations Warns: 4.4 billion people to live with limited water by 2050
On World Water Day, the United Nations warned that 3.5 to 4.4 billion people are to live with limited access to water by 2050. Of these more than 1 biillion are to live in major cities.
7. RBI advances second tranche of G-Sec buying under OMOs to March 26
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on March 23 said it has preponed the second tranche of purchase of Rs 15,000 crore of government securities under open market operations (OMOs) to March 26. The OMO purchase auction was earlier scheduled for March 30.
“On review of current liquidity and financial conditions, the RBI has decided to advance the second tranche of purchase of government securities under OMOs for Rs 15,000 crore to March 26, 2020,” the RBI said in a release.
8. IOC becomes 1st company to begin supply of BS-VI fuel across country
Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, has begun the supply of the world’s cleanest petrol and diesel across the country with all its 28,000 petrol pumps dispensing ultra-low sulphur fuel a good two weeks before the April 1 deadline.
“We have successfully rolled out the supply of BS-VI grade fuel across the country,” IOC Chairman Sanjiv Singh said.
9. 2020 Abel Prize to Furstenberg and Margulis
The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters has decided to award the Abel Prize for 2020 to Hillel Furstenberg, Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel and Gregory Margulis, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA, “for pioneering the use of methods from probability and dynamics in group theory, number theory and combinatorics”.
Due to the corona pandemic there will not be a physical Laureate ceremony on May 19 this year. The honoring of the Abel Prize Laureates will be announced later.
10. Canada first country to withdraw from 2020 Summer Games, others welcome talk of Olympics postponement
Canada became the first country to pull out of the Tokyo Games due to the coronavirus pandemic and Australia told its athletes to prepare for an Olympics next year as Japan and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) flagged the prospect of a postponement for the first time.