Fifth edition of joint exercise Indradhanush between the Indian Air Force (IAF) and Royal Air Force (RAF) of the United Kingdom concluded at Air Force Station Hindan on 29 February 2020 The focus of this edition of the exercise is 'Base Defence and Force Protection'. This theme is of significance considering the recent threats to military establishments from terror elements. The aim of the exercise is to enhance mutual operational understanding, exchanging tactics, techniques and procedures. The highlights of the exercise that commenced on 24 February 2020 were combat free fall (CFF), special heli-borne operations, air-field seizure and joint intervention drill.
Commonwealth Points of Light Award
Famous Environmental activist Jadav Payeng, popularly called the 'Forest Man', was named as the 128th Commonwealth Points of Light Award winner. The Points of Light Award recognizes people across Commonwealth nations for the difference they are making in their communities and beyond. He was conferred with this award for his exceptional voluntary service to environmental conservation. He belongs to Assam. He transformed a treeless sandbar along the Brahmaputra River into a 1360-acre vibrant wildlife haven.
World University Rankings
QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) released the World University Rankings by Subject 2020 on 4 March 2020. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) in Mumbai and Delhi found place among the top 50 engineering colleges across the globe in this ranking. While IIT Bombay ranked 44 and IIT Delhi bagged the 47th rank. Other Indian technological and engineering institutes like IIT Kharagpur (86), IIT Madras (88) and IIT Kanpur (96) found their places in top 100 of this category. Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in USA got first rank.
Land Records and Services Index
National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) released India's first land records and services index on 27 February 2020. Madhya Pradesh is the best performing state in terms of digitizing land records followed by Odisha. NCAER Land Records and Services Index (N-LRSI 2020) is based on data collected over 2019-20 on two aspects of the supply of land records. They are the extent of digitization of land records and the quality of these land record. The Director General of NCAER Shekhar Shah said that the index will help formulate state action plans to attain the goal of secure, assured land records that mirror ground realities and are generated by efficient titling services.
Union Government contemplated the replacement of all the level crossings on National Highways by Road Over Bridges or Road Under Bridges under the Setu Bharatam scheme. The programme is being implemented by Road Transport and Highways Ministry to ensure safe and smooth flow of traffic and reduced road fatalities by 50% by 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Setu Bharatam scheme on 4th March in 2016. 208 places were identified for construction of rail over-bridges or underpasses under the project at a cost of nearly 10,200 crore rupees.
USA-Taliban peace deal
On 29 February 2020, the USA signed historic peace deal with the Taliban in Doha, the capital of Qatar. India attended the historic event as observer. India’s envoy to Qatar P Kumaran witnessed the signing of the peace treaty to end USA soldier’s presence in Afghanistan in a phased manner in next 14 months. As part of the deal, the Talibans are required to initiate a dialogue with the Afghan government and other civil society and political groups for a permanent ceasefire and power sharing in post war Afghanistan. It was more than 18 years ago that the United States had ordered an attack on the Talibans, following the tragic 9/11 happening in USA.
Vivad Se Vishwas
Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 seeks to provide taxpayers an opportunity to settle direct tax disputes within the current financial year by waiving interest and penalty on their pending taxes. Lok Sabha passed the Vivad se Vishwas Bill, aims to settle pending direct tax disputes in the country recently. The bill paves the way to provide resolution of disputed tax and related matters.
There are four lakh eighty three thousand cases amounting to over nine lakh crore rupees related to direct tax pending in different appellate forums including High Courts and Supreme Court. Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said that taxpayers willing to settle disputes shall be allowed a complete waiver of interest and penalty if they pay the entire amount of tax before the stipulated date.
Chronicles of Change Champions
On 5 March 2020, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani 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'. She also urged those districts that are lagging in the girl child sex ratio to work with best performing States like Haryana and Arunachal Pradesh who have done commendable work in improving the sex ratio of the girl child.
Supreme Court allows trade in cryptocurrency
On 4 March 2020, the Supreme Court struck down Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s 2018 circular, preventing banks from providing services in support of cryptocurrencies. Among those entities that challenged the RBI were the Internet and Mobile Association of India (IAMAI), which represents the interests of the online and digital services industry, exchanges and crypto asset traders.
IAMAI argued that trading in cryptocurrencies in the absence of a law banning those was a 'legitimate' business activity under the Constitution.
Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) - II
On 4 March 2020, the Union government launched the second phase of the Swachh Bharat Mission (Grameen) (SBM (G) Phase-II). It will be implemented from 2020-2021 to 2024-2025 in a mission mode with an outlay of Rs.1,40,881 crores. Union Minister of Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat on this occasion said that the second phase will focus on sustaining the gains made under the programme in the last five years in terms of toilet access and usage, ensuring that no one is left behind.
It will continue to generate employment and provide impetus to the rural economy through the construction of household toilets and community toilets. It will also ensure that effective solid and liquid waste management (SLWM) is instituted in every Gram Panchayat of the country.
Pritzker Architecture prize 2020
Pritzker Architecture prize awarded each year to a living architect/s for significant achievement. Irish based Yvonne Farrell and Shelley McNamara was conferred with the Pritzker prize 2020. Both gained international fame for their inspired structures that include Paris's Institut Mines Telecom building. This is the first time a female duo conferred with architecture’s most prestigious award.
1. Jan Aushadi Diwas celebrated on .....
1) 1 March 2) 3 March 3) 5 March 4) 8 March 5) 7 March
2. Muhyiddin Yassin is the new Prime Minister of .....
1) Finland 2) Iraq 3) Malaysia 4) Sudan 5) Israel
3. 108th Indian Science Congress 2021 to be held in .....?
1) Pune 2) Bangalore 3) Jalandhar 4) Imphal 5) Tirupathi
4. How much aid committed by World Bank to help countries to combat the coronavirus outbreak?
1) $ 18 billion 2) $ 16 billion 3) $ 12 billion 4) $ 20 billion 5) $ 10 billion
5. From 16th to 20th May 2020, 4th Global Ayurveda Festival will be held at .....
1) Kochi 2) Kanyakumari 3) Haridwar 4) Porbandar 5) Jammu
6. The wrong combination is .....?
1) Foreign Secretary-Harsh Vardhan Shringla
2) Chief Economic Adviser - Krishnamurthy Subramanian
3) 15th Finance Commission chairman - N.K. Singh
4) Finance Secretary - Ajay Bhushan Pandey
5) Securities & Exchange Board of India (SEBI) chairman - Subhash Chandra Khuntia
7. AJEYA WARRIOR-2020 is the joint military exercise between India and .....
1) UK 2) France 3) Sri Lanka 4) Japan 5) Oman
8. Namaste Orchha festival recently concluded in .....
1) Arunachal Pradesh 2) Kerala 3) Assam 4) Madhya Pradesh 5) West Bengal
9. Chapchar Kut is the biggest and most joyful festival of ?
1) Maharashtra 2) Tamil Nadu 3) Mizoram 4) Karnataka 5) Haryana
10. National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) infused ..... in the rural banking system during the current fiscal year
1) Rs.2.46 lakh crore 2) Rs.1.06 lakh crore 3) Rs.3.46 lakh crore
4) Rs.1.46 lakh crore 5) Rs.2.86 lakh crore
11. Badminton Asia Championships 2020 shifted from Wuhan (China) to ..... due to coronavirus outbreak
1) New Delhi, India 2) Manila, Philippines 3) Colombo, Sri Lanka
4) Katmandu, Nepal 5) Tokyo, Japan
Key: 1-5; 2-3; 3-1; 4-3; 5-1; 6-5; 7-1; 8-4; 9-3; 10-4; 11-2.