Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 29 2020
1. India to participate in WHO trials of COVID-19
ICMR (Indian Council of Medical Research) announced that India is to participate in trials of WHO (World Health Organization). The trials are to identify potential cures for the outbreak of COVID-19.
So far, the COVID-19 infected cases were few in numbers that India could not participate in the trials. Now with the number of cases increasing to 940, India becomes eligible to participate in the WHO solidarity trials. The WHO has launched 4 mega trials. The trials include the use of drugs such as hydroxychloroquine, currently used by India and also HIV drugs such as Lopinavir and Ritonavir.
2. FDA approves Convalescent Plasma Treatment for seriously ill COVID-19 patients
The Food and Drug Administration of the United States has approved the use of Convalescent plasma collected from patients recovered from COVID-19 to treat seriously ill COVID-19 patients. The idea of the method is to inject plasma with antibodies into critically ill patients for them to gain immunity against the virus.
3. Access to “SWAYAM”, National Online Education Platform has tripled
Ministry of HRD (Human Resources Department) announced that the access to the National Online Education Platform called the SWAYAM has tripled since Lock down.
SWAYAM is Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds. It was launched in 2014. The main aim of the online platform is to provide best quality education to around 3 crore students in the country. The SWAYAM MOOCs aims to address the needs of school level students studying 9th to 12th and to the post graduate students.
4. Nagaland CM launches Self Declaration COVID-19 App
Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio launched the Self Declaration COVID19 Nagaland App at Kohima today. Mr. Rio in a tweet said, the app will be mandatory for any person who entered Nagaland after March 6. He added that the app is crucial for tracking and surveillance of high-risk cases.
The app can be downloaded from the website nagalandhealthproject.org. User will be directed to click the menu button and select the nCOVID-19 App. For any technical difficulty in using the app, anyone can contact the phone numbers 9774656952 or 8794944850.
5. Himachal Pradesh govt forms ‘HP COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund’ for health workers
Himachal Pradesh State Government has created a ‘HP COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund’ to provide personal protection equipment to the health workers and other related officials. Fund will also ensure smooth supply of essential commodities like food items and medicines.
The fund would be used for eligible Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activity in the State. Jai Ram Thakur said that a new bank account number 50100340267282 (IFSC Code HDFC0004116) with HDFC Bank Chhota Shimla has been opened to facilitate donors for generous donating to help the persons suffering during the COVID-19 pandemic.
6. Maruti joins hands with AgVa Healthcare to scale up ventilator production
Maruti Suzuki on Saturday said it will work with AgVa Healthcare to help it rapidly scale up production of ventilators in the country in wake of coronavirus pandemic. “An arrangement has been entered into with AgVa Healthcare, an existing approved manufacturer of ventilators,” MSI said in a statement.
7. States can tap up to 30 per cent of remaining DMF funds to combat Covid-19
Centre issues directives to allow using DMF funds for healthcare, screening and food distribution
The Centre has issued guidelines to allow State governments to utilise District Mineral Foundation (DMF) fund collections to combat the Covid-19 pandemic. These directives, issued on Saturday by the Ministry of Mines, said that expenditure related to Covid-19 should not exceed 30 per cent of the balance funds available with a DMF.
8. Loans and EMIs to be cheaper as SBI to cut repo rate by 75 basis points
State Bank of India, SBI on Friday said that it has decided to pass on the entire 75 basis points repo rate cut announced by the Reserve Bank of India. The new rates, to be effective from 1st of April, will be applicable for its borrowers availing loans based on External Benchmark-linked lending rate, EBR and Repo-Linked Lending Rate, RLLR.
The bank said in a statement that equated-monthly installments on eligible home loan accounts, linked to EBR or RLLR will get cheaper by around 52 rupees per one lakh rupees on a 30-year loan.
9. BP Kanungo re-appointed RBI deputy governor for one year
BP Kaunungo on Friday was reappointed as Reserve Bank of India (RBI) deputy governor. The Appointments Committee of Cabinet has approved the extension of Kanungo’s term as RBI deputy Governor by one year with effect from 3 April, when his three year tenure comes to an end.
10. Government Says Contribution To PM-CARES Fund To Qualify As CSR Spending
The government has set up the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund (PM-CARES Fund) which would be utilised to deal with any emergency or distress situation like those in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Under section 135 of the Companies Act, 2013, every company having net worth of at least Rs 500 crore, turnover of Rs 1,000 crore or more, or a minimum net profit of Rs 5 crore during the immediate preceding financial year has to make Corporate Social ResponsibilityCSR expenditure.
11. Princess Maria Teresa of Spain becomes first royal to die from COVID-19
Spanish Princess Maria Teresa of Bourbon-Parma has become the first royal to pass away due to coronavirus complications. According to Fox News, the 86-year-old was a cousin of Spain’s King Felipe VI.
Her brother Prince Sixto Enrique de Borbon, the Duke of Aranjuez, announced on Facebook that she died after contracting COVID-19. The post reads, “On this afternoon our sister Maria Teresa de Borbon Parma and Borbon Busset, a victim of the coronavirus COVID-19, died in Paris at the age of eighty-six.