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Daily Current Affairs : 30-Mar-2020


Why in news?

  • The Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched the National Teleconsultation Centre (CoNTeC).


  • The project CoNTeC, an acronym for COVID-19 National Teleconsultation Centre, has been conceptualised by the Ministry of Health & Family Welfare and has been implemented by the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi.

  •  CoNTeChas been made operational at AIIMS with a view to connect the Doctors across the country to AIIMS in real time for treatment of the COVID-19 patients.

  •  It has been set up in the AIIMS so that the small states should also make use of the vast experience of the Doctors at AIIMS.

  • A single mobile number (+91 9115444155) can be dialled from anywhere in the coutnry/world by COVID-19 treating doctors to reach the CoNTeC which has six lines that can be used simultaneously at present. This number of lines can be increased in future if needed.

  • The incoming calls will be picked up by the CoNTeC Managers, who will then handover the call to the appropriate expert doctors from the clinical domains as desired by the calling specialists managing the COVID-19 cases anywhere in the country.

Source : PIB



Why in news?

  • The Invest India Business Immunity Platform hosted on the website of Invest India, India’s National Investment Promotion & Facilitation Agency, under the Ministry of Commerce and Industry is working 24X7 as a comprehensive resource to help businesses and investors get real-time updates on India’s active response to COVID-19 (Coronavirus).


  • The platform launched on 21st March, 2020 has received over 1.75 lakh visitors from 50+ countries by 10 A.M. today.

  • The Business Immunity Platform (BIP) is the active platform for business issue redressal, with a team of dedicated sector experts who respond to queries at the earliest.

  • Invest India has also announced a partnership with SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) for responding and resolving queries for MSMEs.

Source : PIB



Why in news?

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for donations to the newly instituted PM-CARES Fund, which he said, has been formed on popular demand to help fight the novel coronavirus.


  • People from all walks of life expressed their desire to donate to India’s war against COVID-19. Respecting that spirit, the Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund has been constituted.

  • This will go a long way in creating a healthier India.

  • It will be permanent and will cater to similar distressing situations if they occur in the future ahead.

  •  The Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and members include the Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister. 

  • There is already a Prime Minister’s National Relief Fund for identical purpose.

Source : Hindu



Why in news?

  • To help fund the emergency relief package of the state of Kerala, the State proposes to borrow as much as ₹12,500 crore from the market in April itself and the Chief Minister has urged the Centre to provide Kerala with flexibility under the Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management (FRBM) Act so as to ensure that the State’s finances are not adversely impacted in the rest of the financial year starting on April.


FRBM Act :

  • Enacted in August 2003, the legislation is aimed at making the Central government responsible for ensuring “inter-generational equity in fiscal management and long-term macro-economic stability”.

  • Principle : The current generation of the country’s administrators must ensure that their management of the country’s finances, both in terms of expenditure and revenue, does not leave future generations saddled with the burden of having to service unsustainably high levels of inherited debt that would in turn affect their ability to provide a stable economic environment for contemporary society.

  • The Act envisages the setting of limits on the Central government’s debt and deficits as well as mandating greater transparency in fiscal operations of the Central government and the conduct of fiscal policy in a medium-term framework. 

  • Kerala’s current fiscal position means that it can borrow about ₹25,000 crore during the financial year 2020-21. Now, given that it proposes to raise half that amount of debt in the very first month of the new financial year, the State government is understandably concerned that the stringent borrowing cap under the fiscal responsibility laws should not constrain its borrowing and spending ability over the remaining 11 months 

Source : Hindu



Why in news?

  • Saudi Arabia intercepts missiles in attack claimed by Yemen’s Houthis. Shrapnel fall on capital Riyadh, border city of Jazan


  • Saudi Arabia said its air defences intercepted two ballistic missiles on Saturday night in an attack that Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group on Sunday said it had launched towards the capital Riyadh and southern areas near the Yemeni border.

  • The attacks come days after Yemen’s warring parties had welcomed a UN call for an immediate truce on Thursday to fight the COVID-19 outbreak

  • Yemen’s Houthis battling the Saudi-led coalition have launched hundreds of missiles and drones across the border, mostly at nearby military and civilian targets but also at Riyadh. 

  • Saudi Arabia blamed Iran for a September 2019 drone and missile attack on two oil installations that initially halved Saudi oil output, even after the Houthis claimed responsibility. Tehran denies involvement.

Source : Hindu



Why in news?

  • North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles into the ocean off its east coast, the latest in a flurry of launches that South Korea decried as “inappropriate” amid the global COVID-19 pandemic.


  • Two “short-range projectiles” were launched from the coastal Wonsan area, and flew 230 km at a maximum altitude of 30 km.

  • It is alleged that North Korea is developing a new ”strategic weapon” to be unveiled this year, with analysts speculating that it could be a new long-range ballistic missile, or a submarine capable of launching such missiles.

  • This month’s military drills have been conducted despite a border lockdown and quarantine measures imposed in North Korea in an effort to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19.

Source : Hindu



Why in news?

  • Ambika, a 72-year-old elephant which was gifted to the U.S. in 1961 on behalf of children of India, was “humanely euthanised” by veterinarians at a national zoo in Washington.


  • Estimated to be the third oldest Asian elephant in the North American population, Ambika was euthanised at the Smithsonian National Zoo.

  • Born in India around 1948, Ambika was captured in the Coorg forest when she was about 8 years old. She worked as a logging elephant until 1961, when she was given to the zoo as a gift from the children of India

  • Elephant keepers have fondly reflected on Ambika’s sense of humour, particularly during mealtimes, when the persnickety eater would arrange her grains to her liking before eating

  • For the past five decades, Ambika served as both an ambassador and a pioneer for her species. Much of what scientists know about Asian elephant biology, behaviour, reproduction and ecology is thanks to Ambika’s participation in the conservation-research studies.

Source : Hindu


Why in news?

  • A recent study by scientists of the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) has proved that Himalayan Ibex, distributed in the trans-Himalayan ranges of Jammu and Kashmir, Ladakh and Himachal Pradesh, is a distinct species from the Siberian Ibex.


  • The paper, ‘Genetic evidence for allopatric speciation of the Siberian Ibex (Capra sibirica) in India,’ has recently been published in Endangered Species Research, an international peer-reviewed journal.

  • Siberian Ibex is a species of wild goat and is distributed in diverse habitats, ranging from cold deserts, rocky outcrops, steep terrain, high-land flats and mountain ridges to low mountains and foothills.

  • From Mongolia, its distribution extends towards Altai, Hangai, Gobi-Altai, the Hurukh mountain ranges as well as Sayan Mountains near Russia and scattered populations in the small mountains of Trans-Altai Gobi.

  • In Asia, Ibex is distributed in the Montane habitats, ranging in elevations from 500 m to 6,700 m in countries like India, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Mongolia, Pakistan, Southern Siberia and China. In India, the Ibex is distributed mainly in the trans-Himalayan ranges of the Union Territories of Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh up to the river Sutlej.

  • The genetic analysis conducted with the inclusion of the sequences available from all across the distribution ranges in Central Asia, Tajikistan, Altai Mountains, Mongolia and Russia provided first evidence to claim that Himalayan Ibex is genetically different from all other ranges of Siberian Ibex. 

Source : Hindu

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