28th April 2020 Current Affairs in English from The Hindu Newspaper
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28th APRIL 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
- Coronavirus | Modi hints at graded exit from lockdown, says danger not over
- Coronavirus | ICMR says no payment made for Chinese test kits supplies
- RBI opens ₹50,000 liquidity tap for Mutual Funds
- ITI makes low-cost aerosol box, face shields
- India, China among top three military spenders in 2019: SIPRI report
- Chakmas, Hajongs starving in Arunachal, says rights body
1. Coronavirus | ICMR says no payment made for Chinese test kits supplies
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday told Chief Ministers that though the lockdown following the COVID-19 outbreak had yielded “positive results” and the country managed to “save thousands of lives in the past one and a half months”, the danger of the virus was far from over and “constant vigilance is of paramount importance”. While he was addressing a videoconference with Chief Ministers.
- The signal to the States, many of whom had asked for an extension of the lockdown, was clear that any exit from would be graded, and would take into account case load and virulence.
- He emphasised that all efforts should be made
- To convert the red zones (where cases have occurred in the past 14 days) to orange (where cases have not occurred in 14 days) to green zones (where no cases have occurred in 28 days).
- States should decide minute policies for the three zones. The hotspots and containment areas will continue to remain sealed.
2. Coronavirus | ICMR says no payment made for Chinese test kits supplies
- India does not stand to lose a single rupee, said the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) on Monday in response to a clarification sought on the alleged profiteering by distributors, exposed through a legal dispute between an importer and a distributor, in the delivery COVID-19 rapid antibody testing kits to it.
- According to details provided in the Delhi High Court, the kits procured from China, whose delivered cost was ₹245 a test, were sold to ICMR for ₹600 a test — a mark up of 145%.
- ICMR noted that the States have been advised to stop using the kits procured from Wondfo and Zhuhai Livzon Diagnostics after
- It found wide variation in their sensitivity despite early promise of good performance for surveillance purpose.
- States have now been told to not use these kits and return them to be sent back to the suppliers.
- The RT-PCR throat/nasal swab test was the best use for diagnosis of COVID -19. It detected the virus early and was the best strategy to identify and isolate the individual, ICMR pointed out.Referencehttps://www.thehindu.com/news/national/coronavirus-stop-using-2-chinese-firms-rapid-test-kits-icmr-tells-states/article31446078.ece
3. RBI opens ₹50,000 liquidity tap for Mutual Funds
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced a special window of ₹50,000 crore for mutual funds in view of the redemption pressure that the fund houses are facing.
- While announcing the window, the RBI said the liquidity stress is limited to high risk debt funds and the larger industry remains liquid.
- Under the scheme, the RBI will conduct repo operation of 90 day tenor at the fixed rate repo.
- Funds availed under this facility will be used by banks exclusively
- For meeting the liquidity requirements of MFs by extending loans, and
- Undertaking outright purchase of and/or repos against the collateral of investment grade corporate bonds,commercial papers (CPs), debentures and certificates of Deposit (CDs) held by MFs, the central bank said.
Reason Behind the Open Liquidity tap
- The move comes after Franklin Templeton Mutual Fund decided to wind up six debt funds that have combined assets under management of nearly ₹26,000 crore on account of illiquid, low rated instruments in their portfolio last weak.
- The fund house had said it decided to wind up the schemes to preserve the value at least at the current levels,
- As the value was getting eroded due to a combination of redemption pressures and
- mark-to-market losses due to lack of liquidity on account of the coronavirus impact on the markets.
Significance of RbI’s move
- RBI move is very timely.
- This move will first improve the confidence;
- second, it can help in providing the necessary liquidity to mutual fund industry if anyone needs to avail it.
- With the yields dropping, one would assume banks may go down the credit curve and extend facilities.
- Heightened volatility in capital markets in reaction to COVID-19 has imposed liquidity strains on mutual funds (MFs), which have intensified in the wake of redemption pressures related to closure of some debt MFs and potential contagious effects therefrom. The stress is, however, confined to the high-risk debt MF segment at this stage; the larger industry remains liquid.
4. ITI makes low-cost aerosol box, face shields
- The government-run Industrial Training Institute (ITI) in Odisha’s Berhampur has prepared low-cost ‘aerosol box’ and ‘face shields’ for the medical staff involved in the treatment of COVID-19 patients.
- An ‘aerosol box’ is a transparent box with holes to enter gloved hands, which is put over the head of a COVID-19 patient placed on ventilator in ICU during the intubation process.
- The ‘aerosol box’ serves as a barrier to check possible transmission of COVID-19 droplets from the patient to the treating doctors during intubation.
- The ‘aerosol box’ is made of 4 mm transparent acrylic sheets cut by a laser cutting machine to make the joints completely airtight.
- The ‘face shields’ are A4 transparent shield with foam-lined elastic bands to keep them attached to the head of the user.Referencehttps://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kolkata/iti-makes-low-cost-aerosol-box-face-shields/article31448906.ece
5. India, China among top three military spenders in 2019: SIPRI report
The global military expenditure rose to $1917 billion in 2019 with India and China emerging among the top three spenders, according to a report by a Swedish think tank, Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- The annual report ‘Trends in World Military Expenditure, 2019’ was released by the SIPRI on Monday.
- In 2019, China and India were, respectively, the second- and third-largest military spenders in the world. China’s military expenditure reached $261 billion in 2019, a 5.1% increase compared with 2018, while India’s grew by 6.8% to $71.1 billion,” the report said.
- The top five largest spenders — accounted for 62% of the global expenditure.
- U.S. ($732 bn)
- Russia ($65.1 bn) and
- Saudi Arabia ($61.9 bn).
- Global military spending in 2019 represented 2.2% of the global GDP and this was an increase of 3.6% from 2018.
- The top five largest spenders — accounted for 62% of the global expenditure.
6. Chakmas, Hajongs starving in Arunachal, says rights body
- A Delhi-based rights body has sought Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s intervention in ensuring food for the Chakma and Hajong communities in Arunachal Pradesh who have allegedly not been included in the government’s economic package.
- The Chakmas and Hajongs, displaced in the 1960s by violence and a dam in erstwhile East Pakistan, were settled in parts of Arunachal Pradesh.
- The Chakmas and Hajongs do not have ration cards as the State government had illegally and arbitrarily seized those through an order on October 25, 1991,” said Suhas Chakma, director of the Rights and Risks Analysis Group.
- As a result, the two communities have been forced to buy rice at ₹29 per kg while other vulnerable sections have been paying ₹5 per kg as per the economic package announced by the State government on April 12.
- This was beyond the means of most Chakma and Hajong people, resulting in hunger and starvation of members of the community who had legally become Indian citizens, Mr. Chakma claimed.
- Reminding that denial of food was a violation of the right to life guaranteed under Article 21 of the Constitution.
- He requested the Prime Minister to provide the two communities rice at the subsidised price till June or any time as may be extended by the Centre.