Daily Current Affairs, 18th March 2020 - VISION

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Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Daily Current Affairs, 18th March 2020

1) Ordnance Factories’ Day observed on 18th March
•The Ordnance Factories’ Day is observed on the 18th of March every year. The production of India’s oldest Ordnance Factory, which is at Cossipore of Kolkata, was started in 18th of March, 1802. OFB is the 37th largest defence equipment manufacturer in the world, 2nd largest in Asia, and the largest in India.

•The day is celebrated by displaying the rifles, guns, artillery, ammunition etc in exhibitions all over India. The celebrations start with a parade and the exhibition will also display the photographs of various mountaineering expeditions.

2) Innovate for Accessible India campaign launched to empower PwD
•Innovate for Accessible India campaign has been launched jointly by Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation to empower people with disabilities. The campaign aims to empower people with disabilities with the help of technology and tools to provide better integration into society and access to equal opportunities.

About “Innovate for Accessible India” campaign:

•“Innovate for Accessible India” campaign has been launched jointly by Microsoft India and NASSCOM Foundation in partnership with Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, National Research and Education Network, and Department of Science and Technology. The campaign will act as an aggregator of workable technology solutions developed using Microsoft cloud, artificial intelligence and other technologies. These solutions will address the gaps experienced by people with disabilities across the 21 officially recognised disabilities such as in acquiring services and support in education, skill building, employment, mobility, rehabilitation and other government services.

•The campaign will feature the participation of students, citizens and social impact organisations. Top 10 best solutions developed in the campaign will be provided mentoring support by Microsoft and NASSCOM Foundation, along with grants to develop and scale their solution.

3) Kerala govt launches ‘break the chain’ campaign to combat coronavirus
•The Kerala government has launched a mass handwashing campaign named ‘break the chain’ to combat coronavirus. The campaign aims to educate people about the importance of public and personal hygiene.

•Under this campaign, the government has installed water taps at public spots such as at the entry and exit gates of the railway stations with hand wash bottles. The Kerala government also urging people to use hand sanitizers when they are outdoors. Sanitisers have also been made available in all offices.

4) World’s first commercial flying car PAL-V to be built in Gujarat
•World’s first commercial flying car named ‘PAL-V Liberty’ will be developed in Gujarat, India. PAL-V stands for Personal Air-Land Vehicle. The PAL-V Liberty is a combination of a car and an autogiro, or gyroplane.

•A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in the presence of Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani between state Industries Principal Secretary MK Das and Carlo Maasbommel, vice president of PAL-V’s international business development. Dutch company PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) will develop this car.

•The PAL-V flying car, having two engines, can run at a speed of 160 kilometres on road and can fly at a speed of 180 km. The car can turn into a flying vehicle in just three minutes and cover a distance of 500 km on a full tank.

5) US begun phase one clinical Human trial of coronavirus vaccine
•The United State has begun phase one of the clinical Human trial of an investigational vaccine designed to protect against the coronavirus disease which has claimed the lives of over 7,000 people globally.

Important Facts of Covid-19 vaccine trial:

•The trial began at the Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle as the first participant received the investigational vaccine.

•The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), is funding the trial.

•The open-label trial will enrol 45 healthy adult volunteers aged 18 to 55 years over approximately six weeks.

•The study participants will receive two doses of the vaccine via intramuscular injection in the upper arm approximately 28 days apart.

•The vaccine is called mRNA-1273 and was developed by the NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

•The Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations (CEPI) supported the manufacturing of the vaccine candidate for the Phase 1 clinical trial. CEPI so far has secured USD 760 million toward its USD 1 billion funding target, with multi-year funding from Norway, the UK, Germany, Japan, Canada, Ethiopia, Australia, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and Wellcome.

•The CEPI set up to accelerate the development of vaccines against emerging infectious diseases, made an urgent call for USD 2 billion to support the development of a vaccine against the virus responsible for COVID-19.

6) Karan Bajwa becomes new MD of Google Cloud India

•Google Cloud India has appointed Karan Bajwa as its new Managing Director. Karan Bajwa will manage various operations for Google Cloud’s extensive solution portfolio such as Google Cloud Platform and G Suite. He will also guide Google Cloud’s continued work with local developer ecosystem as well as India-based Global System Integrators (GSIs).

•Karan Bajwa has earlier served as the Managing Director of IBM for India and South Asia.

7) Ravinder singh Dhillion becomes new CMD of Power Finance Corporation
•Ravinder Singh Dhillon has appointed as Chairman and Managing Director of Power Finance Corporation (PFC). The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved his appointment. He will be serving in this post till his superannuation on May 31, 2023. He is presently served as a Director (Projects, Public Grievance) in Power Finance Corporation (PFC) Limited.

•Power Finance Corporation Ltd is an Indian financial institution. Established in 1986, it is the financial backbone of Indian Power Sector. Power Finance Corporation has conferred the title of a “Navratna CPSE” in June 2007 and was classified as an Infrastructure Finance Company by the RBI on 28th July 2010.

8) INST develops starch-based ‘hemostat’ material
•A starch-based ‘hemostat’ material has been developed by the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST). Starch-based ‘hemostat’ material concentrates the natural clotting factors in blood that are critical for stopping the blood flow. This is done by physically absorbing the excess fluid. But, the stopped bleeding can restart after the removal of non-biodegradable materials. The early-stage development of the starch-based ‘hemostat’ material has been published in the journal Materialia.

•With the development of the starch-based ‘hemostat’ material, scientists expects to develop a versatile, potentially life-saving, and inexpensive product. The product has enhanced absorption capacity, improved absorption, inexpensive, biocompatible as well as biodegradable.

•The Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) is an autonomous institute under the Department of Science & Technology.

9) Paytm Payments Bank to now issue Visa debit cards
•Paytm Payments Bank Ltd (PPBL) has partnered with Visa to issue Visa debit cards. With this, Paytm will issue over 10 million new digital debit cards in FY 2020-2021 to its customers. PPBL will issue Visa virtual debit cards to its customers and facilitate them to transact at all merchants accepting payments through cards. It will also enable its customers to make international transactions using their Visa debit cards.

•Paytm Payments Bank Ltd is the largest issuer of RuPay Debit Cards along with the fastest growing bank account base.

10) S&P cuts India’s growth forecast to 5.2% in 2020
•S&P Global Ratings has reduced India’s economic growth forecast to 5.2% for financial year 2020. The economic growth forecast was earlier forecasted at 5.7%. The rating agency stated that the global economy is entering a recession amid the coronavirus pandemic.

•Along with S&P, Moody’s and Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has also reduced their growth projections for India. Moody’s has lowered growth projections for India for financial year 2020 to 5.3%. While, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has lowered growth projections for India for financial year 2020 to 5.1%.

11) Manikaran Power becomes the first member to tie up with IGX
•Manikaran Power Ltd (MPL) has become the first member of India’s first gas trading platform which is called the Indian Gas Exchange (IGX). IGX is a part of Indian Energy Exchange (IEX). IGX commenced its membership drive in February this year. MPL which is already trading member in IEX is the first to join hands with IGX. MPL provides an electronic platform for trading of power at Indian Energy Exchange and Power Exchange India Limited, documentation and assistance in bilateral trading of power, REC trading and group captive. Its website states that it has close to 2,000 clients in both power trading and RECs.

•Indian Gas Exchange Ltd. (IGX) is India’s first automated national level trading platform to promote and sustain an efficient and robust Gas market and to foster gas trading in the country.