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Current Affairs for Banking, SSC, UPSC and other exams

March 1

Colossal explosion: Researchers have detected evidence of a colossal explosion in space which is five times bigger than anything observed before. The huge release of energy is expected to have occurred from a supermassive black hole which is located around some 390 million light-years from Earth. Also, the scientists stated that the explosion might have left a giant dent in the Ophiuchus galaxy cluster.

World financial crisis: Bank of America Corporation (BofA) economists stated that the world economy is heading for its worst performance since the 2009 financial crisis. The decline is due to the increasing spread of coronavirus across the world. The economists stated that they are expecting 2.8% global growth in 2020, which is the weakest since 2009. The forecast did not include a global pandemic that would basically shut down economic activity in many major cities. BofA forecast about the financial crisis

March 2

Restaurant on Wheels: Indian Railways launched its first ‘Restaurant on Wheels’ at the Asansol Railway station, Paschim Bardhaman district, West Bengal. It was inaugurated by the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, Shri Babul Supriyo in a programme held at Asansol station.

Restaurant on Wheels: ? Two over-aged Mainline Electric Multiple Unit (MEMU) coaches are converted into restaurants.

ADB Aid to fight Covid-19: Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to provide a total of $4 million (Rs.29 crore) to the Asia-Pacific countries. The bank aims to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific to fight the outbreak of novel coronavirus (COVID-19). ADB has also approved a further $2 million to help developing countries in Asia and the Pacific to contain the novel coronavirus outbreak. The bank also asked to improve resilience to COVID-19 and other communicable diseases

March 3

UGC Jeevan Kaushal: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has developed “Jeevan Kaushal” (life skills) curriculum for undergraduate students at Universities and Colleges. The information was passed by the Union Minister for Human Resource Development Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. Jeevan Kaushal: ? The Jeevan Kaushal Curriculum covers the courses on communication skills, professional skills, leadership and management skills, and universal human values.

Mexican Open 2020: Rafael Nadal won the Mexican Open 2020 championship at Acapulco. He defeated Taylor Fritz to claim the title. With this win, he defeated the World No.1 Novak Djokovic in the ATP Rankings.

Mexican Open 2020: 2020 Mexican Open is the 27th edition of the men’s Mexican Open and 20th for the women. The tournament is a part of the 2020 ATP Tour. The championship was held at Princess Mundo Imperial from 22-29 February 2020.


March 4

IASST Guwahati: Researchers at the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST) Guwahati found significant plant-growth-promoting and antifungal activities of endophyticactino bacteria associated with Tea plant and related genera, Eurya.

Hole on Mars: NASA released a photo of the mysterious hole on Mars that could hold a clue to life on Mars. The unusual hole on the planet was discovered in 2011. The image was taken by the High-Resolution Imaging Experiment (HiRISE) instrument. The photo was taken by Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter which currently circles the planet. Martian Pit: ? The image depicted the slopes of Mars’ Pavonis Mons volcano. ? It is expected that the Martian pit might contain life as they have interior caves

March 5

GISAT-1 launch postponed: ISRO launch of earth observation satellite GISAT-1 has been postponed due to technical reasons. Earlier, it was planned to launch the earth observation satellite on 5 March. ISRO has revised the launch date, and it will be informed in due course. The satellite was one of the key launches planned by the country’s space agency for 2020.

* The satellite has the capability to perform real-time and constant watch of the Indian subcontinent.

International Olympic Committee: Mumbai will be hosting the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) session in 2023. The announcement was passed by IOC president Thomas Bach. The committee chose India to encourage and support the National Olympic Committee of India and all the National Federations to promote and strengthen Olympic sport in the country. The decision by IOC committee is yet to be ratified at the 136th IOC session in Tokyo in July 2020

March 6

AFRS gets approval: Ministry of Home Affairs has approved the automated facial recognition system (AFRS) for the identification of unrecognized bodies, missing children, and criminals. It was announced by the Union Minister of State for Home G Kishan Reddy.
AFRS Highlights: The approval has been accorded for the implementation of AFRS by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB). * AFRS will use police records and will be accessible only to law enforcement agencies.

Bangladesh land ports: Bangladesh is to add two new land ports for the Bangladeshi citizens travelling to India. It will have the option of two more land port entry points on their visas. The announcement was made by the High Commissioner of India to Bangladesh Riva Ganguly Das.

March 7

Safe abodes for couples: Kerala government decided to offer safe abodes for couples who married across religion and castes. The main initiative, named Safe Homes will provide inter-faith and inter-caste couples temporary shelters for up to a year after their marriage. The project is likely to be initiated soon. The government will be joining hands with NGOs for opening the safe houses in all districts. Kerala Government: The initiative will include a segment that will ensure the financial stability of the couples

Google Cloud: Google announced plans to open its second Cloud region in India in Delhi next year and help regulated industries such as healthcare and financial services as well as public sector organizations across the country to achieve their Cloud goal. Google launched the Mumbai region in 2017. The new cloud region will expand Google’s existing network, which stands at eight areas in the Asia Pacific and 22 neighborhoods globally. As the company’s customers in India grow and diversify.


March 8

Indian Ocean Commission: India approved as a member of the Indian Ocean Commission, the inter-governmental organization that coordinates maritime governance in the south-western Indian Ocean. India made the application to join as an observer of the organization last month.IOC has four observers – China, Malta, European Union and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF) IOC It was set up in 1982, the Indian Ocean Commission comprises Seychelles, Madagascar, Comoros, Mauritius.

Coronavirus surveillance: Assam government started surveillance at land customs stations near international borders to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Minister of State for Health Pijush Hazarika and Commissioner- Secretary ( Health ) passengers have been screened at various airports in the state. There is no positive cases have been found so far, and the government is fully prepared to tackle the situation.

March 9

Oil prices plunged: Oil prices plunged by 20% after the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries’ (OPEC) failure to make a deal with its allies regarding production cuts. The meeting OPEC+ that was held between OPEC and its allies concluded with no deal on additional production cuts. Highlights: ? Saudi Arabia slashed oil prices. The country announced massive discounts on the official selling prices for April.

Sahyadri Megha: The University of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences (UAHS) of Shivamogga developed ‘Sahyadri Megha,’ a new red variety of paddy, as a part of its initiative to prevent a decline in the area under paddy cultivation. The new red variety of paddy is resistant to blast disease and is rich in nutrients. Sahyadri Megha: Sahyadri Megha variety of paddy is developed under the hybridization breeding method by crossing Jyothi variety.


March 10

Bloomberg Billionaires Index: Bloomberg Billionaires Index reported that Jack Ma became Asia’s richest man. Mukesh Ambani, who stood as Asia’s richest man, has moved to the second position after oil prices collapsed along with global stocks. The novel coronavirus erased $5.8 billion from Ambani’s net worth on and pushed him to No.2 on the list of Asia’s richest people.

Jack Ma: Jack Ma is the founder of Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. He topped the list with a $44.5 billion fortune.

India stands as the world’s second-largest arms importer as per the “Trends in international arms transfers 2019” report of Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) data. The data was released on 9 March. Saudi Arabia topped the list. Also, India has ranked 23rd position among the top 25 weapon exporters.

March 11

Infosys-Qualcomm tie-up: Software major Infosys partnered with the US-based chipmaker Qualcomm to offer smart cities solutions through Qualcomm’s accelerator program. The partnership will provide solutions for smart stadiums, smart venues, and smart event management.

Bullet Proof Jackets: Government-issued industrial licenses to 15 companies to manufacture Bullet Proof Jackets (BPJs) on 11 March. The announcement was made by Minister of Defence Rajnath Singh. The 15 companies for manufacturing Bullet Proof Jackets have the production capacity in the country of over 10 Lakh per annum to meet the domestic and export requirement. India exports Bullet Proof Jackets to 18 countries.

Hybrid variety of grapes: 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.
Highlights: ARI-516 was developed by interbreeding of two species from the same genus Catawba variety of Vitis labrusca and Beauty seedless variety of Vitis vinifera.

March 12
Supply Chain Finance Program:
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is to make available $200 million through its Supply Chain Finance Program for several companies that manufacture and distribute medicines and other items needed to combat the novel Coronavirus (COVID-19).

COVID-19 – a “pandemic: The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the novel coronavirus, COVID-19, a “pandemic” on 11 March. The infectious disease has spread freely in more than 100 countries around the world.

In January, WHO declared the COVID-19 outbreak as a “global health emergency.” WHO’s highest level of alarm reserves for the most sudden, serious, unexpected outbreaks that cross international borders and might require a coordinated response.


March 13

Santu Mukhopadhyay passed away: Veteran Bengali actor Santu Mukhopadhyay passed away on 11 March at South Kolkata. He was 69 years old. He died due to prolonged ailments. He was known for his works in films such as Sansar Simante and Bhalobasa Bhalobasa. He had been suffering from carcinoma and was admitted to a hospital with blood sugar and hypertension. Santu Mukhopadhyay: Santu Mukhopadhyay was born in Kolkata in 1951.

Relief material for Madagascar: India offered 600 tonnes of rice to flood victims of Madagascar. Indian Naval Ship (INS) Shardul brought the relief material and arrived at Port Antsiranana in Madagascar. This is The second delivery of relief materials was handed over by Ambassador Abhay Kumar to Madagascar Foreign Minister Tehindrazanarivelo Djacoba Liva. The rice is to be distributed to the people who are affected by cyclone Diane that hit Madagascar coast in the month of January 2020.


March 14

World Sleep Day: World Sleep Day is observed on March 13. The day focuses on the issues related to sleep, sleep medicine, education about sleep. The day raises awareness about the social effects that sleep deprivation can have on everyday life. World Sleep Day: World Sleep Day aims to help those who have sleep problems, educate people all over about the importance of sleep, and change the way people view and experience sleep by giving people valuable resources to help them.


Masks and hand sanitizers under ECA:
Government of India brings masks and hand sanitizers under the Essential Commodities Act. Under the act, 2 ply & 3 ply surgical masks, N95 masks, and hand sanitizer has been declared as Essential Commodities up to 30 June 2020 by amending the Schedule of the Essential Commodities (EC) Act, 1955. The moves come as a measure of COVID-19 (CoronaVirus) and concern of the logistics for COVID-19 management. Provision of EC Act

March 15

Bill Gates steps down: Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates stepped down from Microsoft’s board. Microsoft did not announce any replacement for Gates on the board. Gates also announced that he would be stepping down from the board of Berkshire Hathaway. Since 2004, he has served as a director of Berkshire Hathaway.

Excise duty: Government hiked the Excise duty on petrol and diesel by Rs.3 per litre on 14 March. The move is due to the fall in international oil prices. Hike on Petrol & Diesel: Special excise duty on petrol was hiked by Rs.2 to Rs.8 per litre in case of petrol and to Rs.4 per litre in case of diesel. Government has also raised the road cess on petrol by Rs. 1 per litre each on petrol and diesel to Rs. 10 per litre.

March 16

UNCTAD on Covid-19: The UN’s trade and development agency United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) reported that the coronavirus (Covid-19) cost the global economy up to $2 trillion in 2019. The announcement was made by Richard Kozul-Wright, Director, Division on Globalization and Development Strategies at UNCTAD. Report: ? As per the report, the epidemic caused a recession in some countries and depress global annual growth to below 2.5%.

Modi SAARC Meet: Prime Minister Narendra Modi hosted a video-conference meet of leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member nations to tackle the novel coronavirus (Covid-19).
Highlights: The conference witnessed the participation of leaders of all SAARC countries. * PM Modi proposed for Covid-19 emergency fund. * India pledged $10 million toward a Covid-19 emergency fund and planned to put together a rapid response team of doctors and specialists .


March 17

Covid-19 at KPWHRI: The first human trial of a vaccine against coronavirus (COVID-19) began at Kaiser Permanente Washington Health Research Institute (KPWHRI) in Seattle, the US.

Covid-19 vaccine trial: The vaccine is called mRNA-1273. The vaccine has shown promise in animal models. ? It was developed by NIAID scientists and their collaborators at the biotechnology company Moderna, Inc., based in Cambridge, Massachusetts.


Visas suspended for visitors:
Government of India has suspended visas for visitors from all other countries for at least a month in response to the coronavirus pandemic. India has drastically limited the number of people entering the country. The announcement was approved and announced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. The blanket ban by India was criticized by the World Health Organization (WHO). Ban: ? India has banned travellers from the European Union (EU), Turkey and the United Kingdom (UK)

March 18

CIHCS at Dahung: Ministry of Culture has established an institute named Central Institute of Himalayan Culture Studies (CIHCS) at Dahung, Arunachal Pradesh.

Aim: The main objective of CIHCS is to preserve ancient Buddhist manuscripts, to promote research in different aspects of Buddhism, digitize ancient Buddhist text preserved in the languages of Pali, Sanskrit, Tibetan, Chinese, Japanese, and other Asian languages through the system of a modern university.

Hemostat: Scientists from the Institute of Nano Science and Technology (INST) have developed a starch-based ‘hemostat’ material, named calcium-modified carboxymethyl-starch, that can stop life-threatening bleeding after a serious injury.

March 19

New hand-sanitizer: Scientists of Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR)-Institute of Himalayan Bioresource Technology (CSIR-IHBT), Palampur, Himachal Pradesh, has developed a new hand-sanitizer as a preventive measure against Coronavirus.
New hand-sanitizer: The natural flavours, active tea constituents, and alcohol content in the hand-sanitizer have been used as per the guidelines of the World Health Organization (WHO).

Google gets new MD: Google appointed Karan Bajwa as Managing Director (MD) of Google Cloud in India. He will advise Google Cloud’s work with the local developer ecosystem and India-based Global System Integrators (GSIs). Google Cloud’s field sales, partner, and customer engineering organizations in India will report to Bajwa. He will be responsible for driving all revenue and go-to-market operations for Google Cloud’s extensive solution portfolio.

March 20

Janata Curfew: Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced for a Janata Curfew on 22 March 2020. The curfew also aims to express gratitude to the doctors, nurses, hospital staff, housekeeping staff, airlines staff, government servants, police personnel, media persons, railways, bus, autorickshaw, home delivery people, among others who are working round the clock to save lives that are affected with Coronavirus.

SpaceX has announced that it is to launch its first manned flight to the International Space Station (ISS) in May 2020. The announcement comes despite the COVID-19 epidemic.

SpaceX 1st manned Mission: SpaceX’ Falcon 9 rocket is to launch the Crew Dragon. It will carry NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to space from Launch Complex 39A at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

March 21

COVID-19 cases rose to 236 in India after 63 new cases were reported in a day. The government in the national capital and Maharashtra announced the shutdown of public places to contain the spread of coronavirus that has claimed more than 10,000 lives globally. Around 15,404 samples from 14,514 individuals have been tested for SARS-CoV2. A total of 236 individuals have been confirmed positive among suspected cases and contacts of known positive instances.

CBSE Helpline: Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has launched a toll-free helpline on coronavirus safeguards for students. The facility is available on helpline number 1800118004 from 8 am to 8 pm, initially up to 31st March. CBSE: The dedicated coronavirus safeguard tele-counseling service will be provided by trained counselors who will deal with students and parents for preventive interventions, reducing transmission and counsel on first-aid to stop corona spread.

March 22

Covid-19 cases in China: China reported no new domestic cases of COVID – 19 for the second successive day. The Chineses National Health Commission registered 41 new imported cases of COVID-19 and no instances of internal transmission. The nation also recorded seven further fatalities. No new cases of the coronavirus have registered in Wuhan, where the outbreak is believed to have originated.

UP prepares to fight Covid-19: Uttar Pradesh govt announced several actions and measures in its fight against coronavirus. Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath announced to provide one-month free food grains to poor people along with Rs 1,000 as compensation to daily wage workers who have been affected due to the outbreak of the deadly virus. Corona Virus: Around 20 lakh 37 thousand labourers registered with the labor department will be given rupees 1000 each in their accounts through the DBT scheme.


March 23

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics: Japanese authorities are planning to postpone the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The final decision will be announced soon. It was announced by Yoshiro Mori, president of the Tokyo 2020 Organizing Committee.

Highlights: The game will not be cancelled but will be postponed.

The organizers are still discussing if they could still secure the Olympic venues for all 33 sports, and for the Paralympics.


Elimination of Racial Discrimination:
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed on 21 March. The day aims to promote equality and reminds people of the negative consequences of racial discrimination. It encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination. Theme: On 23 December 2013, the UN General Assembly proclaimed the International Decade for People of African Descent from 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2024.


March 24

ATM use: 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.

Highlights: 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.

Don’t cut salaries: The Central government directed all public and private companies to ensure that they do not cut the salaries of their staff during the lockdowns imposed to curtail the spread of COVID-19. The announcement was made by the Secretary of the Labour Ministry, Heeralal Samariya.

March 25

Albert Uderzo passed away on 24 March 2020. He died at the age of 92. He died due to a heart attack. He was the co-creator and illustrator behind the hugely popular of the Asterix comic books. Albert Uderzo: Albert Uderzo is a French comic book artist. He was born on 25 April 1927 in Fismes, France. He created the beloved Asterix comics in 1959 in collaboration with René Goscinny. The famous character was sold worldwide with more than 370m albums, 11 films, and an Asterix theme.

Sikkim glaciers melting: Scientists from the Wadia Institute of Himalayan Geology (WIHG), Dehradun found that glaciers in Sikkim are melting at a higher magnitude as compared to other Himalayan regions.

Study Highlights: The scientists assessed the response of 23 glaciers of Sikkim to climate change for the period of 1991-2015. It revealed that the glaciers in Sikkim have retreated and deglaciated significantly from 1991 to 2015.

March 26

PDS foodgrains: Government of India is to supply an additional 2kg subsidized foodgrains under the Public Distribution System (PDS) over the next three months. A total quota of 7 kg per person will be given. The announcement was made by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution on 26 March


Hantavirus:
A report from China stated that a man died from Hantavirus. He was from China’s Yunnan province. He died on a bus to the Shandong province. The people who travelled along with him have been tested.

Hantavirus: Hantaviruses are a family of viruses that are transmitted mainly by rodents. It can show varied disease syndrome in people. The name varies differ in various regions. In America, it is known as “New World” hantaviruses, and in Europe and Asia.

March 27

Humanoid robots: The Sawai Man Singh (SMS) Government Hospital in Jaipur is to introduce the usage of humanoid robots to provide services to the COVID-19 patients admitted in the hospital.

Coronavirus Drugs Trial: The World Health Organization (WHO) has begun a global mega trial of the four most promising drugs that may cure the novel coronavirus. The 4 drugs are Remdesivir, Chloroquine and hydroxychloroquine, Ritonavir and lopinavir, Ritonavir/lopinavir and interferon-beta. Mega Trial: The mega trial by WHO is called Solidarity. Under Solidarity, the scientist will study, test, and develop an antidote against coronavirus will be done.


March 28

Train coaches as isolation wards: The Indian Railways have prepared a prototype of train coaches that can be used as isolation units for COVID-19 patients. The move is to face challenges that might be caused due to the outbreak of Coronavirus. Highlights: Initially, 10 coaches will be converted into isolation units for those affected by COVID- 19. There are 17 zones in Indian Railways.

Coronavirus lockdown: An article published in the Financial Times stated that the Coronavirus lockdown has affected India’s supply chain. The country’s farmers are not certain if they should harvest crops as the rural markets are close and there is no way to transport their supplies to the urban markets.

Urban consumers are facing challenges due to the lack of supplies that has resulted in a rise in the prices of essential commodities. The urban wholesale markets have reduced their incoming.


March 29

Self Declaration COVID-19 Nagaland App: Chief Minister of Nagaland Neiphiu Rio launched the Self Declaration COVID-19 Nagaland App at Kohima on 28 March. The app is aimed to trace the person who entered the state, as a measure to tackle the spread of Coronavirus. Self Declaration COVID-19 Nagaland App: ? The app will be mandatory for any person who entered Nagaland after 6th March. The app is available for Android and iOS users.


Convalescent plasma:
A study suggested that the convalescent plasma could be a possible treatment methodology. Convalescent plasma refers to the plasma extracted from those who are recovering from coronavirus (COVID-19). The study was conducted at the infectious disease department, Shenzhen Third People’s Hospital in Shenzhen, China.
Study Highlights: The study included five patients, critically ill with COVID-19. The preliminary results from the test were promising.

March 30

Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in July 2021:

Tokyo Olympics organizers are planning to host the Tokyo 2020 Summer Olympics in July 2021. The event was delayed due to the coronavirus. The Tokyo Organising Committee is planning to begin the events from 23 July 2021. The day was suggested by Tokyo Governor Yuriko Koike. The plan to host it in July 2021 comes as the International Olympic Committee (IOC) had decided to move the games to be held in northern Sapporo city, Japan instead of Tokyo.


Uninterrupted LPG Supply:
The Union Minister of Oil Dharmendra Pradhan said that Saudi Arabia has announced to provide uninterrupted liquid petroleum gas (LPG) supplies to India. On 29 March, he discussed global oil market developments with Saudi Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman and Aramco’s Chief Executive Amin Nasser. Saudi Arabia the LPG supplies to support the domestic requirement in India.


March 31

Cvoid-19 Testing:

Haryana State Government has designated three private laboratories in Gurugram district of the state for COVID-19 testing in the State. The three labs are SRL Limited in Sector-18, Strand Life Sciences in Sector-34, and Core Diagnostics Pvt. Ltd. in Udyog Vihar of Phase-3. The private labs shall carry out COVID-19 testing as per guidelines of Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR), Ministry of Health and Family Welfare.

Dr. Srinath Reddy: The Andhra Pradesh Government has appointed Dr. Srinath Reddy as an advisor to the Government on 31 March. Dr.Reddy is the former Head of the Department of Cardiology, All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. Srinath Reddy: Dr.Reddy will act as the advisor to the Andhra Pradesh Government. The state government has requested that he will not take any salary or perks in return for his services.

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