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12 to 14 March 2020 Current Affairs

International :
  • US Supreme Court allows President Trump's 'Remain in Mexico' asylum policy to remain in place that allows asylum seekers to be sent back to Mexico. The "Remain in Mexico" policy unveiled in December 2018 by the Trump administration calls for non-Mexican asylum seekers to remain in Mexico while their cases are being decided.

  • The US President Donald Trump on 12th March signed a bill that provides 1 billion US Dollor to help small telecom providers replace equipment made by Chinese companies Huawei and ZTE. The legislation creates a reimbursement program that small telecom providers can use when removing and replacing equipment manufactured by entities deemed to pose national security risks. 

    The White House in a statement said the administration will not risk subjecting America's critical telecommunications infrastructure to companies that are controlled by authoritarian governments or foreign adversaries. The US government considers Chinese companies a security risk. However, both companies have denied that China uses its products for spying.

  • With the declaration of coronavirus pandemic, Namaste, an Indian way of greeting, instead of the normal handshake, has emerged as the most preferred form of pleasantries to reduce physical contact with others.

  • India delivers 600 tonnes of rice to flood-hit Madagascar. Indian Ambassador to Madagascar Abhay Kumar has handed over 600 tonnes of rice on behalf of the Government of India to the Madagascar Foreign Minister Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba Liva for quick relief to the flood victims. 

    Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shardul arrived in Madagascar at Port Antsiranana on 10th March carrying rice for the people of Madagascar. The rice will be distributed to the people affected by cyclone Diane that hit Madagascar coast in January this year.

  • The world's first Digital Solutions Exchange in the cloud "GOKADDAL" has been launched in India. GOKADDAL will revolutionize the way digital solutions are sourced, delivered, and managed. 

    1.) The cloud-based platform is created to help the customers realize their digital transformation vision by bringing them the right solutions with the right tools and right providers.

    2.) is a marketplace and cloud delivery platform. The platform focus on Automation, Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, and Augmentative Technologies.

    3.) GOKADDAL will create a new and significant revenue base for the solution providers.

    4.) GOKADDAL provides features including Solution search, compare, use EOI/Bidding process to select the right solution in the right budget.

    5.) For customers, it offers access to customer queries, EOI/bids, offer special offerings, and participate in solution events to showcase its capabilities.

  • According to KPMG's "2020 Global Technology Industry Innovation Survey" report, India shared the second position with China as the most promising source of disruptive technology in the world. The report was topped by the United States as the most promising market for developing disruptive technologies. 

    Highlights :
    1.) The report ranked countries that are committed to setting up strong innovation ecosystems. 

    2.) In terms of the world cities, it highlighted that Silicon Valley/San Francisco would be leading technology innovation hubs over the next four years. Under this category, Bengaluru entered the top 10 list and ranked ninth. Mumbai was ranked 16th.

    3.) In terms of hubs globally outside Silicon Valley, Singapore topped the global rankings for the year 2020. Singapore offers strong government support, advanced IT infrastructure, IP protection laws, and a deep pool of talent. It was followed by London, Tel Aviv.

National :
  • Minister of micro, small and medium enterprises, Nitin Gadkari requested the Lok Sabha members to spread the information about “Udyam Sakhi” Portal for awareness about government schemes and to facilitate the networking of women start ups, entrepreneurs, investors, incubators, mentors, students and enterprise facilitators.

  • Gram panchayats in Maharashtra will now allow its members to submit their caste validity certificates within a year of winning elections. A bill in this regard was unanimously passed by the state assembly. State Rural Development Minister Hassan Mushrif said the bill ensure that aspiring candidates are not barred from contesting elections.

  • Maharashtra government has approved the implementation of "happy hour" for autorickshaws as recommended by Khatua panel. A government resolution states that fares will be slashed by 15 percent between 12 noon and 4 pm. The decision will however not be applicable to local taxis and app based taxis. 

    The panel had said that the new concept will turn lean hours to happy hours, especially for housewives and senior citizens who normally don't have a fixed schedule for their outings. While citizens are pleased with the move, autorickshaw unions have indicated that they will oppose the move.

  • Uttar Pradesh government has launched three ambitious schemes for skill development and employment generation for youths in the state and also announced to depute ''Arogya Mitras'' at all primary health centres to inform people about govt health schemes. 

    Launching three schemes Kaushal Satrang, Yuva Hub and Apprenticeship scheme in Lucknow on 12th March, Chief Minister of state Yogi Adityanath claimed that the state’s industrial sector had received private and public sector investment of nearly Rs 3 trillion during the last three years of his regime.

  • Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai has launched the Crime Multi Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) for sharing of information on heinous crime and other issues related to inter-state coordination. Mr Rai launched the Centre at a function organised on the occasion of 35th Inception Day of National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) on 12th March. 

    He also launched the National Cyber crime Training Centre (NCTC) for professional quality e-Learning services on cyber crime investigation to police officers, judges, prosecutors and other stakeholders.

  • The Census India-2021 will be conducted in two phases. The first phase will begin from the 1st April 2020 and will continue until the 30th of September 2020. The second phase is Population Enumeration which will be conducted from 9th February to 28th February, 2021 throughout the country simultaneously. Indian census is the largest single source of a range of statistical data on different characteristics of the people of the country.

  • Indian Cabinet has approved a proposal for the construction of 780 kilometer of green highways at a cost of 7,660 crore rupees. Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said the project pertains to rehabilitation and upgradation of various National Highways in four states, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Andhra Pradesh.

  • Parliament approved the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 on March 12, 2020. Parliament gave its approval to the bill when Rajya Sabha adopted the same. The bill was passed by the majority members and twelve members opposed it during the division of votes in Rajya Sabha. 

    The Minerals Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 will ensure a new era for promoting the Indian coal and mining sector, especially the ease of doing business. Experts believe that coal production will increase and dependence on imports will be reduced when this action will come into the force. 

    Benefits : 
    The Bill provides for licensing of coal mining leases (PL-and-ML) which will increase the availability of coal and lignite blocks and provide for an allocation of different grades of coal blocks in wide geographical distribution. 

    Environmental and forest clearances will be automatically transferred to the new owners of the mineral blocks along with other clearances for two years. This will allow the new owners to continue with the hassle-free mining operations. They can apply for new licenses for two years during the period. 

    Now, the auction of the lease of mines can be started before the end of the lease term. This will enable the state government to take advance action for auction of mineral blocks so that the new leaseholder can be decided before the current lease period ends. This will help in the smooth production of minerals in the country.

  • The Government of India, World Bank and the Government of Himachal Pradesh have signed a USD 80 million loan agreement to improve water management and agricultural productivity in some selected Gram Panchayats (Village Councils) in Himachal Pradesh. Himachal Pradesh is rich in natural resources. The integrated project for source stability in Himachal Pradesh will be implemented in 428 Gram Panchayats in 10 districts. It will benefit more than 4,00,000 small farmers, women, and rural communities. 

    Why this agreement ? : 1.) The low-lying areas of Himachal Pradesh do not have irrigation water facilities. These areas are dependent on the decreasing amount of rainfall during the crucial monsoon season. It is believed that agricultural production has already shifted to higher altitudes. It has affected the fruit production, including the iconic apple farming of Himachal Pradesh. 

    2.) Climate change is another reason for poor agriculture in the region. Natural rainfall has been reduced in lowland areas while both temperature and rainfall are expected to increase in high altitude regions. This project will improve water sources in forests, rural and grasslands areas. It will also ensure adequate water supply for sustainable agriculture in Himachal Pradesh and downstream areas. 

    Benefits : The project will establish hydrological monitoring stations to monitor water quality and quantity. This will not only help to better water management but also increase crop production in Himachal Pradesh. This project will focus on water productivity that will help farmers to maximize their financial benefits from water use.

  • The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was passed by the Parliament on March 13, 2020. The Rajya Sabha approved the bill through voice vote and passed a motion to send it back to the Lok Sabha as it is a money bill. The bill was passed with certain amendments by the lower house of the Parliament on March 4, 2020 

    The Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 was tabled in the Parliament on March 2. It was announced during the Union Budget 2020 presentation and received the approval of the Union Cabinet on February 12. The bill aims to settle all the pending direct tax disputes in the country. The bill seeks to resolve around 4.83 lakh direct tax cases that are currently pending in the various appellate forums of the country including the High Courts and the Supreme Court. 

    The Vivad se Vishwas Bill seeks to provide the taxpayers with an opportunity to settle all their direct tax disputes within the ongoing financial year by waiving of interest and penalty on their pending taxes. The legislation will benefit those who have pending direct tax disputes in multiple forums.

  • The Government of India notified Masks and Hand Sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act, 1955 by June 30, 2020. The government has made this declaration because most of the vendors have said that these items have gone out of stock. The government has to take this step because of the current outbreaks of Covid-19 (Coronavirus) in India. The government has also issued an advisory under the Legal Metrology Act. 

    More Powers to States :
    1.) Under the Essential Commodities Act, states can consult with manufacturers and ask them to increase the production capacity of these goods. However, under the Legal Metrology Act, states can ensure the sale of these two items at the maximum retail price (MRP). 

    2.) The states can now notify the central government’s order in their official gazette and can also issue their orders under the Essential Commodities Act concerning these two items. The concerned states can take action according to the circumstances there. 

    3.) Under the Essential Commodities Act, the powers of the Central Government have already been given to the states. Therefore, States and UTs can take action against the violators under the Essential Commodities Act and Prevention of Burglary and Supply of Essential Commodities Act. 

    A violator can be punished with imprisonment for seven years or with fine or both under the Essential Commodities Act. Under the Prevention of Burglary and Supply of Essential Commodities Act, he can be put under house arrest for a maximum period of 6 months. 

    States have also been advised to publicize the state consumer helpline for lodging complaints by consumers. In this regard, consumers can make their complaints on the National Consumer Helpline number 1800-11-4000. Online complaints can be made on and email can be sent to and,

  • Government of India is to invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897. The 123-year old Law is to be invoked in order to limit the spread of the outbreak. The announcement comes after WHO declaring COVID-19 as GLOBAL PANDEMIC. 

    Highlights : 
    1.) The Central government has declared that all the states and Union Territories (UTs) should invoke provisions of Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897.

    2.) The move comes as COVID-19 cases crossed the 70 mark on 12 March.

    3.) The Act is meant to contain dangerous epidemic diseases.

    4.) The Law confers special powers upon local authorities to implement measures necessary to control epidemics.

    5.) Section 2 of the Epidemic Diseases Act 1897 states that When at any time the State Government is satisfied that the State is threatened with an outbreak of any dangerous epidemic disease, the State Government, may take, or require or empower any person to take, such measures and, by public notice, prescribe such temporary regulations to be observed by the public or by any person. 

    6.) It is necessary to prevent the outbreak of such disease or the spread thereof and may determine in what manner and by whom any expenses incurred, including compensation if any, shall be defrayed.

  • The Assam government has announced that it is to construct 33 stadiums in the state under the Uttaran scheme. It was announced by the Principal Secretary of Sports Avinash Joshi and Joint Director Kamaljit Talukdar. 

    A total sum of Rs.300 crore will be spent to build the stadiums across the state. Also, 500 playgrounds will be developed at the state to encourage rural talents. The state of the art sports facilities are being set up in Assam. Rs. 50,000 will be given to 1000 players and 2500 clubs to get a grant of Rs.75,000.

  • National Archives of India's (NAI) exhibition on Jallianwala Bagh was inaugurated by the Joint Secretary of Ministry of Culture Shri P.L. Sahu during the 130th Foundation Day of NAI at the premises of National Archives, New Delhi on 11 March. 

    The exhibition is primarily presented with the help of original and digital copies of archival documents that are related to the JallianwalaBagh Massacre available in the National Archives of India. The move by NAI is an earnest attempt to portray the relentless struggle of the Indian people against the British tyranny through the record holdings. Based on the original documents, the exhibition commemorated the centenary of the JallianwalaBagh Massacre that covered a period from 1915-50.

  • Anganwadi Workers are provided with Smart Phone through States for Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS)-Common Application Software (CAS) developed under POSHAN Abhiyaan. Union Women and Child Development Minister Smriti Zubin Irani announced the information. 

    The aim of distributing Smart Phone will enable efficient service delivery and efficient monitoring. POSHAN Abhiyaan aims to provide Smart Phone-based mobile Application to all Anganwadi Centers across 36 States/UTs. As of 29 February 2020, more than 6.25 lakh Anganwadi Workers across 28 States/UTs are using the application for service delivery. Due to the delay in the procurement of smartphones by the States, some states have not yet provided the smart phones to the Anganwadi Workers.

  • The Maharashtra state cabinet approved the renaming Mumbai Central Terminus station as Nana Shankarseth Terminus Station or Jagannath Sunkersett.

  • Government is planning to approve license for the persons with Color blindness. People with a mild or moderate color vision deficiency may get to drive commercial vehicles too.

  • The Department of Posts has introduced a free digital parcel locker service in Kolkata from 11 March for the first time in India. 

    Free digital parcel locker :
    1.) Free digital parcel locker facility will be available in two post offices in Kolkata, one in the Nabadiganta IT Post Office in Sector 5 of Salt Lake City and two another in New Town.

    2.) The locker will enable customers to collect their consignment from specified post offices at their convenience.

    3.) The facility is popular in European countries. It will be limited to consignments received through registered post or speed post. 

    4.) This facility will be given for the working people who cannot receive parcels because they have no one at home to receive consignments during office hours. 

    5.) Specific locker number will be given to a customer, where India Post will drop the parcel. The consignments will be dropped into the digital parcel locker, and an SMS will be issued along with an OTP number to the customer concerned. 

    6.) The consignment will remain accessible to customers for seven days during which they can collect the parcel at any time of the day. 

Bilateral :
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a telephonic conversation with his British counterpart Boris Johnson on March 12 and discussed the importance of coordinated international efforts to tackle the spread of the novel coronavirus. 

    The two leaders also discussed issue of climate change. Mr Johnson welcomed the steps taken by India to increase the generation of renewable energy. Mr Modi and Mr Johnson also committed to strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and the UK in a range of areas including trade, cultural relations, defence, and technology.

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi had proposed that the leadership of the SAARC nations chalk out a strong strategy to fight Coronavirus to set an example to the world and contribute to a healthier planet. He proposed to discuss the strategy with the SAARC leaders via video conferencing. 

    Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives welcomed the proposal of Prime Minister Modi to work out a strategy to fight Coronavirus infection which has been declared a pandemic by the WHO.

  • Indo-Thai workshop on stellar variability & star formation was held at ARIES, Nainital, Uttarakhand. The one-day workshop was organized by Aryabhatta Research Institute of Observational Sciences (ARIES), Department of Science and Technology (DST), that functions under the Ministry of Science & Technology. 

    The workshop aimed to strengthen the ongoing collaboration and expand the Indo-Thai cooperation from stellar sources to other areas of astronomy and astrophysics such as extra-galactic astronomy and instrumentation.

Economy :
  • The State Bank of India on March 12 said that it will buy shares worth 7,250 crore rupees of the cash-strapped Yes Bank in accordance with the draft reconstruction scheme envisaged by the Reserve Bank of India. In a regulatory filing, SBI said, its board has permitted the purchase of the private lender's shares at a price of 10 rupees per share subject to all regulatory approvals. SBI’s shareholding in Yes Bank will remain within 49 percent of the paid-up capital. 

    According to RBI’s reconstruction scheme, the strategic investor was not only supposed to pick up 49 percent stake but assure that the holding will not fall below 26 percent for a minimum period of three years from the date of capital infusion. The scheme was announced a day after RBI imposed a moratorium on the Yes Bank, restricting withdrawals to 50,000 rupees till the 3rd of April, while also superseding the bank’s board.

Business :
  • Infosys and Qualcomm join hands to provide Smart City Solutions in India. A smart city contains several smart-solutions and features such as smart-stadiums, smart-hotels, smart-markets and much more. Now, Infosys and Qualcomm will provide smart city solutions in India as both of these companies signed an agreement for the same. Infosys is an Indian software giant while Qualcomm is a US-based chip maker company. Infosys and Qualcomm joined hands to provide smart solutions in India’s smart cities. 

    Both of these companies will provide several facilities in Indian Smart Cities like Smart Stadiums, Smart Venues, Smart Event Management and much more. Infosys and Qualcomm believes that it will connect government offices and smart cities to deliver better results. 

    Infosys has a SCALE system that means Sustainable-Connected-Affordable Livable-Experiential. This SCALE system provides help for building resources, asset management and people safety. Infosys said that they will use computing and connectivity from Qualcomm Technologies for smart space solutions and stadiums. As per the media reports, Infosys will enable the fan experience with the use of smart technology. Media reports highlight that usage of digital technologies will enhance the user experience, convenience, and wellness.

  • Microsoft has appointed Eric Horvitz as its first-ever Chief Scientific Officer (CSO). The team under Horvitz will advise the company on its scientific directions and capabilities, including standing up new initiatives, providing guidance on company priorities, and assessing important areas for investment in science and technology.

Defence :
  • India has joined the list of global arms exporters for the first time. India has started at number 23 in terms of arms exporter, but the government's move to boost arms sales abroad is likely to improve India's ranking in terms of arms exports in the coming years. SIPRI report informed that the French arms industry got the major benefits from India, Egypt, and Qatar due to the demand of French arms. The report said that French arms exports reached their highest level in five years. 

    SIPRI Arms Transfer Database :
    The latest SIPRI Arms Transfer database shows that India's imports of arms have fallen drastically by 32 percent since 2015, indicating that India's Make in India program is progressing well. However, the figures also show that India remains the second-largest importer of arms after Saudi Arabia. As per the SIPRI Arms Transfer Database, India has delivered 103 ships to the other countries as compared to the 37 in 2018. SIPRI’s export list said that India has export 12 missiles in 2019. 

    Arms import from Russia :
    India has ordered to purchase Apache and Chinook helicopters from the USA but the import of S-400 Anti-Air System and T-90 tanks from Russia are big deals. However, it has not included the recent USD 3 billion deal with the US for the Apache and MH60 'Romeo' helicopters. The report said that India retained the policy of change in the arms supplier and during this period (2015-19), arms imports from the US declined compared to 2010–14. 

    India as Arms Exporter :
    India's biggest arms customers are Myanmar (46 percent), Sri Lanka (25 percent) and Mauritius (14 percent). India currently accounts for just 0.2 percent of the world's arms exports. But India aims to increase its defense exports to USD 5 billion within five years. SIPRI data also shows that Pakistan is not completely dependent on China for its weapons systems. Since 2015, Pakistan imports 73 percent of its weapons from China.

  • The family members of the personnel of paramilitary forces killed in the line of duty were offered jobs under the scheme of compassionate appointment. The announcement was made by Shri Nityanand Rai, the Union Minister of State for Home Affairs. 

    The Compassionate appointment Scheme aims to grant appointment on compassionate grounds to a dependent family member of a Government servant killed in the line of duty or who is retired on medical grounds, thereby leaving his family without any means of livelihood. The scheme also focuses on the family of the Government servant concerned from financial destitution and to help it get over the emergency.

Sports :
  • American golfer Tiger Woods will be inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2021. The hall of fame, located in St. Augustine, Florida, released a statement saying Woods, winner of 15 major titles, will be inducted in the male competitor category. 

    Woods is a three-time winner of the career Grand Slam and in 2000-01 completed the "Tiger Slam" when he became the first golfer since Bobby Jones to hold all four major championship titles at the same time. The 2021 class was chosen by Hall's selection committee, a 20-member panel.

  • The legendary batsman of the Indian team, Wasim Jaffer, announced his retirement from all formats of cricket recently. Wasim Jaffer has scored about 20,000 runs in first-class cricket. He is also the highest run-scorer in Ranji Trophy matches. He is known as the Sachin Tendulkar of domestic cricket.

Awards :
  • Top Indian shuttler PV Sindhu won the BBC Indian Sportswoman of the Year 2019. Veteran athlete PT Usha was awarded the BBC Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has instituted a special 'Shakti Award.' It will be annually presented to chosen personnel who work for the empowerment of women. 

    The award was announced on International Women's Day on 8 March. The award will be conferred every year on 19 March, the CRPF Raising Day. Women who work for creating women-friendly infrastructure, better work environment, ease of living with safety, addressing women-specific issues, and related innovation and initiatives will be awarded. The award will carry a reward of Rs.1 lakh, a citation, and a trophy. 

    The award aims to recognize the best practices and efforts made towards women empowerment and gender equality in the force. It aims to motivate CRPF personnel to do better and innovate in the field. CRPF has raised the world's first all-women battalion with a strength of over 1,000 personnel in 1986. Currently, there are six such battalions.

  • Rajesh Chaplot, a distinguished Non-Resident Indian (NRI) businessman, was honoured with the Highest Civilian Award "Golden Jubilee Medal-Civilians" of Uganda. The award was conferred by the President of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, in a ceremony in Kampala. Chaplot was awarded for his excellence in the field of Business and Commerce, Social Service and for fostering better India-Uganda ties.

  • The culinary museum in Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA), Karnataka, has been listed in Limca Book of Records as India's First Living Culinary Arts Museum. The process for making WGSHA's culinary museum to enter into the popular Limca Book of Records (LBR) started in 2019. 

    The culinary art museum was opened in April 2018. The museum is spread approximately over 25,000 sq ft. It is shaped in the form of a giant pot very similar to the ones found in Harappa. There are historical and regular household items including an old seed sprinkler, plates made by the Portuguese in India, a 100-year-old ladle used to dole out food at temples and bowls dating to the Harappan era, an ancient Kashmiri tea brewer known as 'samovar,' vessels from the Konkan, among others.

Science & Technology :
  • Scientists from the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) have developed a hybrid variety of grapes, ARI-516. It is resistant to fungal diseases, high yielding, and has excellent juice quality. 

    ARI-516 was developed by interbreeding of two species from the same genus Catawba variety of Vitislabrusca and Beauty seedless variety of Vitisvinifera. The hybrid suitable for the preparation of juice, raisin, jam, and red wine, and farmers are enthusiastically adopting the variety.

  • India used Anti-HIV drugs to treat COVID-19 for the first time. India used a combination of two drugs, namely lopinavir and ritonavir was administered on an elderly Italian couple undergoing treatment at a Jaipur hospital for Covid- 19. The two drugs are widely used for controlling HIV infection.

  • Researchers at the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have developed a new method to rapidly identify and check whether a disease-causing bacterium is alive or dead. The uniqueness of the method is the rapidity and sensitivity of the method. 

    The new method uses Raman spectroscopy to recognize bacteria and check for their viability, or their state of being alive. The Raman spectroscopy technique is usually used to identify chemical bonds in materials. The method can be potentially modified into a bed-side, table-top device for diagnosis. Quick detection of the disease-causing agent or pathogen and checking for whether it is alive or not in the patient samples are vital to treating infectious diseases. By identifying the pathogen's viability, the physicians generally decide the dose of antibiotics to be prescribed and reduces the possibility of overprescription that can lead to antibiotic resistance.

  • Google launched a new Chrome tool that will allow developers to tune their websites for visual impairments like color blindness to help them fix accessibility issues on their sites.

  • Astronomers of Spain- Institute of Astrophysics of the Canary Islands (IAC) has discovered an exo-planet WASP-76b where it "rains iron." The conditions of the exo-planet were discovered by Echelle Spectrograph for Rocky Exo-planets and Stable Spectroscopic Observations (ESPRESSO). The high-resolution instrument is installed on the European Southern Observatory's Very Large Telescope (VLT) in Chile. 

    Exoplanet WASP-76b is located 360 million light-years away, toward the constellation Pisces. It has days when its temperatures exceed 2,400 degrees Celsius (4,352 degrees Fahrenheit). The temperature is hot enough to evaporate metals. At nights, with strong winds, cool down the iron vapor so that it condenses into drops of Iron. The planet always keeps the same face towards its star as it rotates around it.

  • Scientists at Agharkar Research Institute (ARI), Pune, have isolated 45 different strains of methanotrophic bacteria. These bacteria have been found to be capable of reducing methane emissions from rice plants. 

    Methanotrophic bacteria metabolize and convert methane into carbon-di-oxide (CO2). Methanotrophs can effectively reduce the emission of methane. In rice fields, the bacteria are active near the roots or soil-water interfaces. ARI Scientist has enriched, isolated, and cultivated the 45 different strains of methanotrophs and created the first indigenous methanotroph culture. They have also isolated indigenous methanotrophs from Western and Southern India, mainly from rice field soils and freshwater mud. They have documented two novel genera and six novel species of methanotrophs from rice fields in Western India.

Days :
  • World Kidney Day is observed on 12th March. It is celebrated on the second Thursday of March every year. The day aims to create awareness and educate people about the importance of kidneys to overall health and to reduce the frequency. 

    The theme of the 2020 World Kidney day is "Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere–from Prevention to Detection and Equitable Access to Care." The theme stresses the need to strive for kidney health for everyone everywhere. The theme also highlights to focus on the importance of preventive interventions to avert the onset and progression of kidney disease. 

    The day highlights that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for chronic kidney disease (CKD). It encourages the systematic screening of all patients with diabetes and hypertension for CKD. It also encourages preventive behaviors and educate all healthcare professionals about their key role in detecting and reducing the risk of CKD. The day encourages transplantation as a best-outcome option for kidney failure, and the act of organ donation as a life-saving initiative.

Environment :
  • Animal Protection Index 2020 released by World Animal Protection highlighted that India is improving in the area of animal protection. The objective of the Animal Protection Index (API) is to showcase what and how countries across the world are treating animals. 

    It also aims to highlight countries that are doing well for animal welfare. Also, if they fall short on animal welfare policies they can take necessary steps to improve. The Animal Protection Index 2020 ranks various countries from A (highest score) to G (lowest score) as per their policies and constitutional system. 

    India specific findings :
    1.) India has scored 'C' ranking in the Animal Protection Index 2020. Some other countries like Spain, New Zealand, France, and Mexico also attained 'C' ranking in the index. India has also made progress in protecting animals used in scientific research. India has banned the use of cosmetic products on animals in 2013. India was the first country in Asia to ban the import of cosmetic products that were tested on animals in 2014. 

    2.) On the other hand, API said that India can consider many domains for improvement in the animal welfare sector. The report said that there is a lack of regulation regarding the rearing of farm animals, notably with an unregulated urban dairy system developing quickly with very poor welfare standards. 

    3.) The API report said that in March 2017, Uttarakhand High Court accorded the status of the ‘first living entity of India’ to the river Ganga. Also, in July 2018, the Uttarakhand High Court granted the status of legal persons or entities to animals in the Northern state. Similarly, the Punjab and Haryana High Court declared that animals are living persons with their own set of rights. 

  • A newly discovered species of treehopper was named after the singer, song writer- Lady Gaga. The insect species has been named as Kaikaia Gaga. It was named by Brendan Morris, a University of Illinois, a PhD entomology student. 

    Kaikaia Gaga is a part of the family Membracidae. The species is around 40 million years old. K. gaga was found nearly 30 years ago in a tropical forest near the Pacific coast of Nicaragua. The bugs are known for their bright coloring and individuality in appearance. It sings to each other by vibrating plant stems.



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