5 & 6 March 2020 Current Affairs



International :
  • Mumbai is set to host the 2023 International Olympic Committee's session after the IOC Executive Board recommended the Indian city for the annual conference. 

    The IOC Executive Board decided to put Mumbai's candidature to a vote of the members. The decision is to be ratified at the 136th IOC session in Tokyo in July this year. After ratification, this will be the second-ever IOC session to be held in India after a long gap of 37 years. India last hosted an IOC session way back in 1983 in New Delhi.



  • In Pakistan, farmers are struggling to combat the worst locust plague in nearly three decades as insect swarms decimate entire harvests in the country's agricultural heartlands and send food prices soaring. The crisis is so severe that the government has declared a nationwide emergency and urgently appealed for help from the international community.



  • Bangladesh-based international development organization BRAC has retained its position as the top NGO of the world for the 5th consecutive year. The rankings for 2020 were announced by the Geneva-based organization NGO Adviser which publishes the rankings every year based on publicly available data for the top 500 global NGOs. 

    BRAC was founded by Sir Fazle Hasan Abed in 1972 immediately after Bangladesh came into existence as an independent nation in 1971 to help the returning war refugees with small-scale relief and rehabilitation project. BRAC recently announced a new 2030 strategy with the goal to make lives of 250 million people self-sustainabe.



  • Luxembourg has become the first government to have made public transport free from March 1, 2020. As per the move, buses, trams, and trains in the country became completely free of charge. 

    The move aims to encourage Luxembourg's inhabitants to use it and curb the continued traffic problems the country is experiencing. The country aims to achieve its vision of free mobility. The move focuses on alleviating constant traffic issues and finding a more suitable model for sustainability. Luxembourg aimed to transform into a mobility laboratory and to start making the people move around with public transport. The estimated cost of the project is around $46 million.




National :
  • Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani on March 5, 2020 released a book titled "Chronicles of Change Champions" at an event held in New Delhi. 

    The book is a compilation of 25 innovative initiatives taken at the state and district levels under the Prime Minister’s flagship scheme of Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao. It captures the convergent approach adopted at the grass-root level and provides insight into the unique manner of community engagement by the District Administration and front-line workers.



  • The Chief Minister of Uttarakhand Trivendra Singh Rawat declared Gairsain as the summer capital of Uttarakhand.



  • The Student Health Card scheme was launched in Jammu and Kashmir by Lt. Governor GC Murmu on March 5, 2020. The scheme will ensure regular medical check-ups of school-going children. 

    Under the health scheme, the Governor announced the launch of a midday meal for the poor and needy school-going children to prevent malnutrition. The Student Health Card scheme was launched during a programme, organized by the Directorate of Mid Day Meal, School Education Department in joint coordination with the National Health Mission at Teacher’s Bhavan in Jammu. 

    The Student Health Card scheme aims to ensure good health of school-going children, as health is a significant part of imparting quality education. The scheme also aims to make the parents of the school-going children aware of its benefits.



  • Union Government has sanctioned ten projects worth over 301 crore rupees in food processing sector. These projects are likely to generate employment for ten thousand people and benefit nearly forty thousand farmers. 

    The projects were sanctioned at a meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Approval Committee held in New Delhi on March 5, 2020 under the Chairpersonship of Food Processing Industries Minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal. ​The projects were sanctioned under the Agro Processing Cluster Scheme of Kisan Sampada Yojana.



  • Agricultural and Processed Food Export Development Authority (APEDA) signed MoUs with specialized institutions namely the Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), Indian Chamber of Food and Agriculture (ICFA), SGT University, Pearl Academy, and Quality Council of India (QCI) Delhi, on 4 March 2020. The MoU aims to utilize its expertise to work together to boost the activities in the interest of agriculture and allied sectors to bring better value to the stakeholders. 

    Highlights :
    1.) As per the agreement, IITD will cooperate in the areas of technology development for export promotion by APEDA. It will also develop early detection techniques for detecting spoilage of agri-produce to boost Agri exports. It will also identify the cause and suggest low-cost mitigation technology and develop Internet of things (IoT) based technologies in areas like early warning systems, efficient and precision farming related to international food exports.

    2.) With the Quality Council of India (QCI), APEDA aims to develop training material on various QCI Certification Schemes such as Product Certification, Inspection, INDGAP certification, IND-HACCP Certification, etc.

    3.) ICFA will work with the clusters identified by APEDA to enhance the capabilities of all the stakeholders in the supply chain for higher value realization for exports. It will support agri-startups to scale up their businesses and commercializing their products and conduct capacity development programs for large scale GAP certification in agriculture.

    4.) APEDA will develop suitable export worthy varieties of potatoes, groundnut, high TSS onion varieties, Moringa plantation for successful cultivation in Haryana, through a pilot project at SGT University agricultural fields.

    5.) Pearl Academy, along with APEDA, will develop appropriate media and marketing strategies to promote Agriculture and Processed food export through Digital Marketing, content creation, and social media support, photo shoots promotion campaigns, etc.





Business :
  • Google on March 5, 2020 announced its plans to open a Delhi Cloud Region. This will be the company's second cloud region in India since it launched one in Mumbai three years ago in 2017. The new cloud region will expand Google's existing network which stands at 8 regions in the Asia Pacific and 22 regions globally. 

    Google cloud regions bring Google Cloud Platform services to global organisations in industries like media and entertainment, retail and manufacturing. Projected to be launched in 2021, the Delhi cloud region will have three zones to protect against service disruptions. In combination with the existing Mumbai cloud region Mumbai, it will also enable in-country disaster recovery for the customers' mission-critical applications.





Sports :
  • The International Olympic Committee (IOC) announced that this year's Tokyo Olympics will have the option of a male and female competitor jointly bearing their country's flag at the opening ceremony. IOC has encouraged all National Olympic Committees to make use of this option.





Persons :
  • Former UN Chief Javier Perez de Cuellar, who served as United Nations Secretary General from 1981 to 1991, passed away on March 4, 2020.





Awards :
  • TIME Magazine has named India’s former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and freedom fighter Amrit Kaur among 100 greatest women of the year. TIME has created 100 coves for 100 women from 1920 to 2020. TIME has named Amrit Kaur as the women of the year for 1947 and Indira Gandhi for 1976. TIME has recreated special covers and dedicated each year to a woman who made an impression in that particular year.



  • Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2019 function held in New Delhi on March 6, 2020.
    PV Sindhu (shuttler) was named as Sportsperson of the Year.
    Bhaichung Bhutia (football) was given the Lifetime Achievement award.
    Balbir Singh Sr (Hockey) was honoured with the Icon of the Century award.
    Pulella Gopichand (National Badminton coach) won the Mentor of the Year award.
    Jaspal Rana (shooting) was recognised as the Coach of the Year.





Defence :
  • Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and IISC Bangalore recently unveiled a new explosive detection device. A new explosive detection device – RaIDer-X was recently showcased during the National Workshop on Explosive Detection (NWED-2020) on March 01, 2020. According to the reports, RaIDer-X can detect an explosive from a specific stand-off distance. It can also expand its capability to detect various explosives at a time in a pure form as well as with contaminated objects. 

    It is a portable device that can be taken to any place along with the military contingent. This device will also help security agencies to work efficiently and safely. DRDO said that RaIDer-X will help Indian Security Agencies to save people from anti-social elements. RaiDer-X will also enhance the Indian Army’s power in the field to work more efficiently. 

    Features of RaIDer-X :
    • DRDO’s new explosive detection device RaIDer-X can detect explosives from a specific range and inform the operator.
    • It can also detect bulk explosives located in a hidden place.
    • The device has been developed by DRDO and IISc’s High Energy Materials Research Laboratory.
    • DRDO believes that it is really important to detect explosives to save the country and mankind.



  • Pragyan Conclave 2020 held from March 4 & 5 in New Delhi. The two-day Indian Army International Seminar is being organized by the Centre for Land Warfare Studies (CLAWS). The event aims to bring together cross-domain national and international experts to deliberate on the complex subject of Changing Characteristics of Land Warfare and its Impact on the Military. 

    Highlights :
    1.) The seminar provides a platform for deliberations on emerging ideas that define the New Age Warfare, which is increasingly witnessing a change in its character and battle space with the usage of new methods to pursue the ends.
    2.) The conclave emphasizes on the need for a comprehensive transformation of the Armed Forces by taking a wider view of the changing security dynamics.
    3.) The experts deliberated on themes, namely "Evolving Warfare: An Insight into the Changing Realm," "the Technological Revolution - A Seminal Challenge," "Transformation in the Battle Spaces," and "Hybrid/Sub-Conventional Warfare."
    4.) In the event, the Chief of the Army Staff felicitated the winners of the "Field Marshal Manekshaw Open Essay Competition on National Security", a flagship event of CLAWS to encourage strategic thinking in the youth of the country.




Science & Technology :
  • Scientists identify bacteria that can replace fertilizers, fungicides in tea plants. Researchers at Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) Guwahati, an autonomous institute under Department of Science & Technology, have found significant plant-growth-promoting and antifungal activities of endophyticactino bacteria associated with Tea plant and related genera, Eurya to find potent plant growth-promoting strains. Application of endophytic Actinobacteria could reduce chemical inputs in Tea plantation. 



  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has named its Mars rover as "Perseverance". NASA has scheduled its Mars mission in July 2020. NASA has renamed its rover after a nationwide competition. Earlier, NASA has given it an unofficial title. According to the information released by NASA, a seventh-grade student was declared the winner for naming the rover. Alexander Mather recommended that Rover should be named ‘Perseverance’ that voted more than any other entry.



  • Researchers from Raman Research Institute (RRI), an autonomous institution under the Department of Science & Technology, have devised a new test for fairness of quantum coin or ‘qubit’ (the basic unit of information in a quantum computer) using entanglement theory. 

    This is a significant contribution to quantum state discrimination, an essential aspect of quantum information science which is expected to influence quantum sensing. The new test uses entanglement to test the fairness of the quantum coin. 

    Entanglement is a special type of correlation that exists in the quantum world with no classical counterpart. The researchers from RRI made use of this quantum resource to arrive at a test for fairness of a quantum coin (a qubit). Their strategy, which makes use of entanglement, enables better discrimination between quantum states. Such advantage is valuable in quantum sensors.



  • The Union Minister Jitendra Singh announced that ISRO's Chandrayaan-III would be launched in the first half of 2021. Chandrayaan-III mission was configured based on the lessons learnt from Chandrayaan-II. The revised configuration is expected to take care of the robustness in design, capacity enhancement for mission flexibility.




Environment :
  • The Government of India on March 2, 2020, declared the National Chambal Sanctuary an eco-sensitive zone. This sanctuary is famous for Ganga dolphins and critically endangered crocodiles. According to a notification issued by the Ministry of Environment, the union government has declared an area to an extent of zero to two kilometers around the National Chambal Sanctuary in Madhya Pradesh as the Eco-Sensitive Zone. 

    An eco-sensitive zone is a protected area that acts as a "shock absorber". Eco-sensitive zones also act as transition zones. They are controlled by the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change. There are no enactments for regulating zones. However, these areas are regulated according to the guidelines set by the Ministry.




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