DAILY CURRENT AFFAIRS + PIB -24th March 2020- IASbhai

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Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do, so throw off the bowlines, sail away from safe harbor, catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore, Dream, Discover.– Mark Twain


ORANGE COLOUR: Important for Prelims.

RED COLOUR: Important for Mains.


BLUE COLOUR : Important Links/Survey.

PINK COLOUR: Reports/Themes/Summits.

Covid-19 fund


SAARC members warm up to PM Modi’s Covid-19 fund call

      WHY IN NEWS:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi during a video conference with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) leaders on chalking out a plan to combat the COVID-19 Novel Coronavirus.

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2: International Grouping


For PRELIMS it is important to understand how and why such funds will be used.

For MAINS SAARC co-operation has been operational with such initiatives.Go through the article.



PM Modi announced the fund he had said, “any of us (SAARC countries) can use the fund to meet the cost of immediate actions.” The coordination of the fund is being monitored by the respective Foreign Secretaries.
  • Sri Lanka earmarks $5 million for the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund.
  • Bangladesh has promised $1.5 million to the kitty.
  • Afghanistan had last week pledged $1 million to the SAARC Corona fund.

PM had then announced an initial amount of $10 million to the fund to which contributions were to be made on a voluntary basis by member countries.

Contributions to a fund put together by South Asian countries to combat the challenge posed by the Covid-19 pandemic to one of the most underdeveloped regions of the world seems to take taking off, with almost all nations pledging money to the pool.

All member countries, except Pakistan, have made voluntary contributions to the Emergency Fund

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

“Pakistan was obliged to participate in the SAARC video conference meet initiated at India’s instance or it would have invited criticism,” .

Not contributing to the SAARC Corona Emergency Fund is a way of showing “resistance to India’s initiative.


National Supercomputing Mission


National Supercomputing Mission: a transformative approach in supercomputing

      WHY IN NEWS:

Hot from PIB!

MINISTRY?Ministry of Science & Technology
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3: Supercomputers : Cloud Computing


For PRELIMS It is important to understand why such heavy processors are being used and in which fields by what name !


The 2020-21 is an important year for India’s National Super-computing Mission (NSM).


Param - Bhrama at IISER-Pune (with DCLC)


The mission was set up to provide the country with supercomputing infrastructure to meet the increasing computational demands of academia, researchers, MSMEs, and startups by creating the capability design, manufacturing, of supercomputers indigenously in India.


National Super Computing Mission is steered jointly by the Ministry of Electronics and IT (MeitY) and Department of Science and Technology (DST) and implemented by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC), Pune and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru.


The target of the mission was set to establish a network of supercomputers ranging from a few Tera Flops (TF) to Hundreds of Tera Flops (TF) and three systems with greater than or equal to 3 Peta Flops (PF) in academic and research institutions of National importance across the country by 2022.


  • This network of Supercomputers envisaging a total of 15-20 PF  was approved in 2015 and was later revised to a total of 45 PF (45000 TFs), a jump of 6 times more compute power within the same cost and capable of solving large and complex computational problems.
  • First supercomputer assembled indigenously, called Param Shivay, was installed in IIT (BHU) and was inaugurated by the Prime Minister.
  • Similar systems Param Shakti and Param Brahma were installed at IIT-Kharagpur and IISER, Pune.
  • They are equipped with applications from domains like Weather and Climate, Computational Fluid Dynamics, Bioinformatics, and Material science.

Param-Shakti at IIT-Kharagpur (1


11 new systems are likely to be set up in different IITs, NITs, National Labs, and IISERs across India by December this year, which will have many sub-systems manufactured and microprocessors designed in India which will bring in a cumulative capacity of 10.4 petaflops.

Geared to provide Supercomputing facility to about 60-70 institutions Nation-wide and more than thousands of active Researchers, Academicians, and so on, NSM has gathered momentum and is moving fast not only towards creating a computer infrastructure for the country but also to build capacity of the country to develop the next generation of supercomputer experts.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Spreading out the reach to the North-East region of the country, 8 systems with a total Compute Power of 16 PF are being commissioned.

5 indigenously designed systems with three 3 PF computing power will be installed at IIT-Mumbai, IIT-Chennai and Inter-University Accelerator Centre (IUAC) at Delhi with NKN as its backbone.

It also includes an indigenously build 20 PF system at C-DAC, Pune, and a 100 PF Artificial Intelligence supercomputing system. One midlevel 650 TFs system is also to be installed at C-DAC Bengaluru to provide consultancy to Start-ups, SSIs & MSMEs.


Modernisation of OFB


Modernisation of OFB

      WHY IN NEWS:

Modernisation of Ordnance Factories has been carried out in the last decade by procurement of state-of-the-art machines, as per the Comprehensive Modernization Plan for the XIth and XIIth five-year Plan prepared by OFB, leading to induction of new and modern technologies available globally.

MINISTRY?Ministry of Defence
SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 3:Defence: Ordinance Factories


For PRELIMS its important to understand the origin, aim , objective and the recently updated machine from OFB and the relevant technology upgrade

For MAINS stick to the historical perspective of OFB.


To keep pace with the contemporary manufacturing technologies, OFB now prepares an annual investment plan towards modernization of its existing Plant and Machineries and other infrastructure.


  • CNC 5 Axis Machines
  • Laser and Water Jet Cutting Machines
  • Hull Machining Centre
  • Robotic Welding
  • Flexible Manufacturing System (FMS)
  • Cold Swaging
  • Radial Forging Plant
  • Electro-Slag Refining (ESR)
  • Natural Gas (NG) Furnaces
  • Co-ordinate Measuring Machine (CMM)
  • Digitally Controlled Strength Testing Machine
  • HMX Plant
  • Auto-frettage Plant
  • Universal Tensile Testing Machine
  • EDM Wire Cut Machine
  • Heavy Duty Extrusion Press

OFB has been making sincere endeavour to train and re-skill its employees to meet the requirement of changing environment.

OFB has planned for training its suitably qualified Industrial Employees in new digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, internet of things, data analysis and additive manufacturing, which collectively comprise what is referred to as Industry 4.0.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The Government has taken a number of steps to strengthen the functioning of OFB:

  • OFB has been delegated with the enhanced financial powers for Revenue and Capital procurement in September, 2016.
  • OFB has been granted Approval-in-Principle by the Government for Capital procurement of Plant and Machinery for up-gradation and modernisation .
  • To streamline the purchase process of OFB.
  • Towards ease of doing business, revised Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for vendor registration by OFB has been formulated in January, 2019.
  • OFB has been geared up to focus on the export market and adequate thrust has been given to export of Arms and Ammunition by way of re-structuring export governance in OFB.

Yakshagana scripts to be digitised


Professionals join hands to digitise over 900 Yakshagana scripts

      WHY IN NEWS:

The content is made available online for free, thanks to the voluntary community effort by some Yakshagana lovers

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 1: Theater Forms: Folk Dances


For PRELIMS understand the art form and try to picturise this in your brain . If possible watch a video and to remember he costume !


More than 900 Yakshagana scripts, including the ones printed in 1905 and 1907, have now been digitised and made available online for free, thanks to the voluntary community effort by some Yakshagana lovers who did it under the banner Yakshavahini, a registered trust.


On a song: A Yakshagana performance in progress at Jeppu in Mangaluru on Monday.


Yakshagana is one of the most popular folk theatre forms of Karnataka.

It is noted for its music, colourful costumes, vigorous dance movements, subtle expressions and extempore dialogues.

Yakshagana has two main variations, each of which has many variations: Moodalapaya (the eastern form which is popular in north Karnataka) and Paduvalapaya (western style also known as coastal Yakshagana).

Of the two, the coastal Yakshagana is more popular for the great sophistication that it has achieved over the years by the efforts of artistes, thinkers and researchers.

Paduvalapaya is performed in three coastal districts of Karnataka‒Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Uttara Kannada. 


Regardless of where the Yakshagana is performed, at the back of the stage there is always a raised bench or table on which two persons (bhagavata or the playback singer and maddalegara, the artist who plays the percussion instrument maddale) can sit.

In the region with Mangalore at its centre (which includes Mangalore, Sullia, Puttur, Sampaaje, Bantwala, Belthangady, Karkala, Kasaragod (Kerala), Kodagu etc.) the tenkuthittu or the southern style is dominant

      IASbhai WINDUP: 


It was estimated that Karnataka had about 8,000 Yakshagana scripts. Of them, half might have disappeared due to various reasons.

The teamwork by about 100 professionals, including software engineers, has resulted in conservation of 934 scripts in the digital form in less than a year of launching the project.

The number of digitised scripts is expected to touch 1,000 by March-end.

SUGGESTED READING : prathisangraha.com



SC to go digital


SC to go digital to maintain social distancing

      WHY IN NEWS:

“To obviate difficulties and to ensure that lawyers/litigants do not have to come physically to file proceedings in respective courts/tribunals across the country, including this court, it is hereby ordered that a period of limitation in all proceedings, irrespective of the limitation prescribed under the general law or special laws, whether condonable or not, shall stand extended with effect from March 15 till further orders,” the apex court said after taking suo motu cognisance.



For PRELIMS remember the application name and see the ongoing process .

For MAINS do you think this is the fastest way to resolve any pending case ?


The Supreme Court on Monday decided to further restrict its functioning on account of the COVID-19 scare and resort to the digital mode to maintain social distancing and prevent spread of infection. The court premises would be completely shutdown.



In a meeting among judges, lawyers and the government through the Solicitor General held on Monday, it was decided that only extremely urgent cases would be taken up by a Bench(es) through a video app.

  • The link would lapse automatically by default shortly after the hearing.
  • If the case is not listed for hearing via videoconferencing, the advocate-on-record concerned would be provided with a telephone number by the registry.
  • The lawyer is free to call the judge between 10.30 and 11 a.m. the following day and directly press his case for urgent hearing.
  • The lawyer concerned would be mailed a video link and he or she can use it to present his case via videoconferencing at an allotted time.


The Supreme Court Bench led by Chief Justice of India Sharad A. Bobde used its extraordinary powers under Article 142 to lift the limitation period for all cases across tribunals and courts in the country until further notice.

A circular issued by the Supreme Court late on Monday explained that the cases would be heard through an app called ‘Vidyo’.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

A giant screen, instead of the usual crowd of lawyers and litigants, greeted Chief Justice Bobde and his fellow judges as they entered the courtroom.


Scientists identify drug candidates against virus


Scientists identify drug candidates against virus

      WHY IN NEWS:

They investigated 26 of the SARS-CoV-2’s 29 genes, which direct production of the viral proteins



For PRELIMS the whole world is experimenting with drugs ! You should be aware of this latest update .


Nearly 70 drugs and experimental compounds may be effective in treating the COVID-19 disease, a team of researchers reported on Sunday night.


A researcher working on a vaccine against COVID-19 in Copenhagen, Denmark.


  • Some of the medications are already used to treat other diseases, and repurposing them to treat COVID-19 may be faster than trying to invent a new anti-viral from scratch.
  • To come up with the list, hundreds of researchers embarked on an unusual study of the genes of the coronavirus, also called SARS-CoV-2.
  • To infect a lung cell, the virus must insert its genes, co-opting the cell’s own genetic machinery.
  • The cell begins to produce viral proteins, which are used to produce millions of new viruses.
  • Each of those viral proteins must be able to latch onto the necessary human proteins for the process to work.
FINDING: In the new study, the scientists investigated 26 of the virus’s 29 genes, which direct production of the viral proteins. Researchers found 332 human proteins targeted by the virus. Some viral proteins seemed to target just one human protein; other viral proteins are capable of targeting a dozen human cellular proteins.


Researchers sought drugs that also latch onto the human proteins that the virus seems to need to enter and replicate in human cells.

Intriguingly, some of the possible treatments are drugs used to attack parasites.

And the list includes antibiotics that kill bacteria by gumming up the cellular machinery they use to build proteins.

But some of those drugs also attach to human proteins.

The new study raises the possibility that this side effect might turn out to be an anti-viral treatment.

One drug on the list:

CHLOROQUINE: kills the single-celled parasite that causes malaria.

Scientists have long known that it can also attach to a human cellular protein called the sigma-1 receptor. And that receptor is also the target of the virus.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

The World Health Organization announced it would begin a trial on chloroquine, among other drugs.


Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill without debate


Lok Sabha passes Finance Bill without debate

      WHY IN NEWS:

Budget session ends early because of the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic

SYLLABUS COVERED: GS 2:Adjournment sine die


For PRELIMS you need to know all the motions in Parliament of India. This is one of the important motions !


The Lok Sabha was adjourned sine die on Monday after the passage of the Finance Bill, 2020 without any debate due to the situation arising out of the COVID-19 pandemic. The House was scheduled to adjourn on April 3.


Sense of the House: Lok Sabha members, led by Narendra Modi, applaud the work of health workers.


The decision was taken before the House convened at 2 p.m. (later than the usual time of 11 a.m. as flight disruptions delayed the arrival of MPs to Delhi) after a meeting was held by Speaker Om Birla with floor leaders of various parties.

Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs Arjun Ram Meghwal said it was an extraordinary situation and that the Finance Bill needed to be passed.


Adjournment sine die means dismissing a sitting of Parliament for an unspecified period.

In other words, when the House is suspended without naming a day for reassembly, it is known as adjournment sine die.

The ultimate authority of adjournment sine die lies with the presiding officer of the House(Speaker).

The presiding officer of a House can call a sitting of the House before the date or time to which it has been suspended or at any time after the House has been adjourned sine die.

      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Lok Sabha and members gave a standing ovation to the first responders, medical professionals, essential services workers and media for being at the forefront in the fight against COVID-19.



 Let us ‘Discuss’


      IASbhai WINDUP: 

Let us know what you think about this in the comment section.



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