Current Affairs Current Affairs May 2020

 The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has constituted a committee to reform the Drug Regulatory System. The committee comprises of 11 members including the senior health officials, scientists and representatives of the pharmaceutical industry. The committee is being headed by Rajesh Bhushan, Officer on Special Duty to the Union health minister. The committee has been tasked with examining the current drug regulatory system and to give recommendations for reforms in order to bring the system more efficient and to streamline it with global standards. It has also been tasked to examine the reports given by Parliamentary standing committee, Professor RR Choudhary Committee on clinical trials and SN Mishra Committee on qualification of DCGI.

 Spanish football player and Athletic Bilbao striker Aritz Aduriz has announced his retirement citing medical reasons. He has won 13 caps for Spain and also become the Spain’s oldest goalscorer in 2016, scoring at the age of 35 years and 275 days. Aritz Aduriz has scored 141 goals in 296 appearances for Bilbao and has also represented Real Valladolid, Real Mallorca and Valencia. He is also the only player other than Lionel Messi to score goals in 15 LaLiga seasons in a row.

  Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has increased the import duty of green energy equipment like cells by 20% in the Budget 2020-21. The aim is to drive local manufacturing of the equipment and lowering the import of low-quality Chinese equipment. Currently, India is the third-largest consumer of energy after US and China. The manufacturing capacity of India as of now is 3 GW for solar cells.

  Lok Sabha has passed the Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 which aims to amend Mines and Minerals (Development and Regulation) Act, 1957 along with Coal Mines (Special Provisions) Act, 2015. Commercial mining will completely be open up in the coal sector by this bill. Another important feature of this bill is that it intends to remove end-use restrictions to participate in coal mine auction.

 The Indian Council of Medical Research has revised its advisory on the use of HCQ (Hydroxychloroquine) On May 23, 2020.  As per the new advisory guide the HCQ is only permitted and should only be given on the prescription of a registered medical practitioner. Three new categories has been included to whom HCQ shall be prescribed as prophylactic treatment which are: Asymptomatic Health care workers, Asymptomatic frontline workers employed in containment zones, Paramilitary and police personnel.

 Union HRD Minister Ramesh Nishank has released three handbooks name: ‘Cyber safety – A handbook for students’; ‘In pursuit of Excellence’ and ‘21st Century skills’, by the CBSE based on the measures taken by the board to adopt value-based global standards of education.These books will help the students to adopt the value-based global standards of education.

 A scheme has been launched by the central governemnt for complete solarization of Konark Sun Temple and Konark town in Odisha. This scheme has been launched to develop the historical Sun Temple town of Konark as Surya Nagri. As a part of scheme, 10 Mega Watt grid connected solar project along with various solar off-grid applications such as solar trees and solar drinking water kiosks would be set up in the area. Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency would be responsible for the implementation of this project. This scheme will ensure meeting all the energy requirements of Konark town with solar energy. For the execution of project, Government of India will provide a 100% Central Financial Assistance (CFA) support of around Rs 25 Crores through Ministry of New & Renewable Energy.

 A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by NTPC Limited, and Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) to set up a Joint Venture Company for Renewable Energy business. This partnership will enable both the companies to accelerate their mark in the field of Renewable Energy. With this tie-up, the two companies will explore the setting up of offshore wind and other Renewable Energy Projects in India as well as overseas. They will also seek opportunities in the area of sustainability, storage, E-mobility, and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) compliant projects. This tie-up will enhance NTPC’s Renewable Energy capacity addition program and also the presence of ONGC in the Renewable Power business. It will also help ONGC in achieving its ambition of adding 10 GW of renewable power to its portfolio by 2040.

 UNICEF and Airtel Africa has partnered to support children & families affected by COVID-19. The partnership between the two aims to provide children with access to remote learning and enable access to cash assistance for their families through mobile cash transfers. Mobile technology will be used by the UNICEF and Airtel Africa to benefit around 133 million school age children who are currently affected by school closures in 13 countries across sub-Saharan Africa due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Airtel Africa will zero-rate the selected websites which are hosting educational content and will provide children with remote access to digital content at no cost. The partnership will also enable UNICEF to offer vital cash assistance to remove financial obstacles for some of the most vulnerable families across the region. Hence it will ensure that families have additional resources to tackle with the proceeding health and economic crisis due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The partnership will benefit the children and families in 13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa namely: Zambia, Congo, Nigeria, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Rwanda, Tanzania, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda and Chad.

 Indian Railways has operationalised its 1st 12,000 hp electric Locomotive- WAG12. The loco is named WAG12 with Number 60027. This Locomotive has manufactured by Madhepura Electric Loco Factory in Bihar. This locomotive has been put into operation by Indian Railways from Pandit Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Junction. Now, India has become the sixth country within the world to join the elite club of manufacturing high horsepower locomotive indigenously. It is the 1st time that prime horsepower locomotive has been operationalised on railroad track within the world. The locomotive has been produced under the It is the first time.

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