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20 June Current Affairs

Low Cost Covid-19 Diagnostic Kits developed by IIT Guwahati

In News:

In association with the Guwahati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) and RR Animal Healthcare Limited, at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati, kits for diagnosing Covid-19 has been developed by using material that is available in the local market. 3 different types of diagnosis low-cost kits have been developed, they are Ribonucleic acid (RNA) isolation kits, Viral Transport Media (VTM) kits, Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) test kits. The materials used for manufacturing the kits are as per the recommendations of the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Details:

Two batches of the Kits have been handed over to GMCH and the National Health Mission, Assam at present.

VTM Kits:

These Kits are used to collect the sample safely to the laboratory for testing. The VTM Kit must keep the sample specimen intact if any virus is present in the sample until the testing procedure for it can be completed in a laboratory, hence the quality of the VTM Kit is important for accurate results.

The VTM Kit developed at IIT Guwahati is said to preserve the viability of viruses at refrigerated temperature for up to 72 hours.

This VTM Kit of IIT Guwahati can be used to collect both oral and as well as nasal sample specimens. The Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has validated the VTM Kits as safe to use.

RT-PCR Kits:

A complementary Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) is generated in this type of Kit, an enzyme Reverse Transcriptase (RT) is used to generate the DNA from an isolated and purified RNA. This converted and newly formed DNA is then used to check the presence of the Covid-19 virus in the sample specimen.

RIL becomes first Indian Company to be valued at USD 150 Billion

In News:

In rupee term, Mumbai based Indian Multinational conglomerate company, Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) on 19th June 2020 was valued at USD 150 billion following a rise in the share market, this also made RIL the first-ever Indian company to achieve a market value of above Rs 11 lakh crore. The positive growth in the shares of the company was registered after it announced that the company has become net debt-free well ahead of its target of March 2021.

Details:

As of 31st March 2020, Reliance has a total debt of Rs 161,035 crore. Despite a pandemic, airlines & other international travel being suspended and a lockdown in most International business hubs across the world, in a period of 58 days, Reliance Industries was able to raise more than Rs 168,818 crore.

Breakdown of which as follows:

  • The existing shareholders of the company were offered shares worth Rs 53,124.20 crore.
  • The remaining Rs 115,693.95 crore was raised through 11 deals of stake sale in RIL’s subsidiary Jiop Platforms.

Stake’s of approx 24.70% in Jio Platforms are now owned by the following companies: United States company Facebook bought 9.99% stake at Rs 43,574 crore, this deal to date is the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in any sector in India. Other companies are Abu Dhabi based investment companies- Mubadala and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, United States companies- General Atlantic, Silver Lake, Vista Equity Partners, KKR & CO. Inc., TPG Capital, and Catterton Partners. The most recent of the stake sale of 2.32% was on the 18th of June 2020 to the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia at Rs 11,367 crore.

Supreme Court Calls for Uniformity in Fees for Covid-19 Testing

In News:

Since the outbreak of Covid-19 in India, the testing fees charged has been a point of discussion. On 19th June 19, 2020, during a hearing at the Supreme Court, it was observed by the bench comprising of Justice S.K Paul, M.R Shah, and Ashok Bhushan that the fee for Covid-19 testing must be uniform or same across the country and has asked the Central Government to fix an upper price cap. As per reports, in some states, people have charged as high up to Rs 4500 while in some other states the charges are as low as Rs 2200.

Details:

During the last week of May, the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) had removed the earlier upper price cap of Rs 4500 (set by ICMR on 17th March) that it had set for Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction (RT-PCR) tests. The Supreme Court Bench stated that the upper limit must be fixed throughout the country.

States that currently have Upper Price Cap

  • On 17th June 2020, the Union Home Minister taking note of the rising Covid-19 cases in the National Capital New Delhi has set a price cap of Rs 2400 in New Delhi.
  • Uttar Pradesh has set a price cap of Rs 2500 for RT PCR tests.
  • Maharashtra has a price cap of Rs 2,200 for private laboratories.
  • In Telangana as well the price cap for RT PCR test has been set at Rs 2,200

Covid-19 in India:

Until 18th June 2020, India has conducted tests of 62,49,668 samples with 3,80,532 samples being reported positive. The recovery rate stands at 53.79 percent. With 13,586 cases on 18th June- The highest number of single-day positive cases were reported.

MoU for providing Special Micro-Credit Facility for Street Vendors signed

In News:

The Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Lucknow based financial institution SIDBI- Small Industries Development Bank of India on 19th June 2020. The MoU will provide a boost in building Atmanirbhar Bharat by providing credit or loans to the street vendors across the country for resuming their livelihood activities.

About the MoU:

The MoU authorizes SIDBI as the implementing agency for the Pradhan Mantri AtmaNirbhar Nidhi (PM SVANidhi) scheme. The scheme will be under the guidelines set up by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs.

PMSVANidhi”

The scheme was launched on 1st June 2020 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs with a target to provide financial support to more than 50 lakh street vendors across the country. A street vendor can avail a loan of up to Rs 10,000 under the scheme which has to be repaid within a period of 1 year, there will be no penalty for early repayment of the loan amount. For repayment of loan or credit, monthly installments can be availed by the vendor.

The interest on the loan amount will be 7%, which however will be credited back on a quarterly basis to the bank accounts on the beneficiary as interest subsidy –if the beneficiary is able to make timely repayment of the loan amount.

The scheme will be provided in a phased manner, with a total of 108 cities being selected for the first phase which is expected to commence in the month of July 2020.

To ensure collateral-free credit under the scheme, the credit guarantee for the lending institutions will be managed by SIDBI through the Credit Guarantee Fund Trust for Micro and Small Enterprises (CGTMSE).

Armed Forces of India and China to take part at Moscow Military Parade on 24th June 2020

Within 10 days of the Galwan Valley Clash, the Armed Forces of India and China are set to take part in the 75th Victory Anniversary of the Soviet Union over Nazi Germany at the Red Square in Moscow, Russia on 24th June 2020. A contingent of 75 all rank personnel from the Tri-service of the Indian Armed Forces will participate in the Parade. The contingent will be lead by a Colonel rank officer of the Sikh Light Infantry Regiment.

A total of 20 foreign countries are invited by the Russian armed forces to mark the diamond jubilee celebrations, this also includes armed forces from the United States, United Kingdom, and France.

Moscow Victory Day Parade:

The victory day parade is conducted by the Russian Armed Forces every year on 9th May. This year due to the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak the parade was postponed to 24th June. As the Supreme Commander of the Russian Armed Forces, the Russian President is the Guest of Honor for the parade.

On 9th May 1945: Nazi Germany surrendered to the Soviet commanders, while on 24th June 1945: a victory parade held at the Red Square of Moscow for the Soviet Armed Forces.

The military parade is to honor the sacrifices made by the Russian and citizens of the other friendly allies of the Soviet Union during the Second World War.

During the World War-II, one of the largest allied forces against the Axis powers was the British Indian Armed Forces contingent. About 87 thousand Indian armed forces servicemen sacrificed their lives while approx 35 thousand were wounded.

In September 1944, USSR (Soviet Union) awarded Havildar Gajendra Singh Chand and Subedar Narayan Rao Nikkam the prestigious Orders of the Red Star.

India will be UNSC President for August 2021

After securing 184 out of the total 192 votes on 17th June 2020, India became a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) for a period of 2 years. India’s term will begin on 1st January 2021. Apart from India, Norway, Kenya, Ireland, and Mexico were also elected for a period of 2 years as non-permanent members.

The post of the presidency of the UN Security Council is rotated among the 15 member states (5 permanent, 10 non-permanent) every month. Based on that, India will have the presidency of the UN Security Council in the month of August 2021 and again for a month in the year 2022.

India was last elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the years 2011-2012.

United Nations Security Council:

For ensuring peace and security across the world, the United Nations has a total of six principal organs, out of the six, the Security Council is one of the principal organs. The United Nations Security Council was formed in the year 1945.

The Council has a total of 15 member states of which 5 are permanent members (United States, France, China, Russia, and the United Kingdom), this 5 permanent members only have the right to use the power of veto against any resolution.

The remaining 10 non-permanent members are elected among the other member states of the United Nations for a period of 2 years.

As compared to the other principal organs of the United Nations, the UNSC is the only authorized body under the United Nations that can issue a binding resolution on the member states if the members of the Council vote in favor of the resolution.

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