Vaccine manufacturer Bharat Biotech and Jefferson University of Philadelphia have signed an exclusive deal to develop a replacement vaccine candidate for COVID-19 at Jefferson with the support from the Department of Biotechnology, Bharat Biotech aims for human trials in early December 2020.
The novel vaccine is developed from the prevailing deactivated rabies vaccine as a vehicle for coronavirus proteins. The carrier vaccine is understood to supply a robust immune reaction and approved for everybody including children and pregnant women. This vaccine was developed in January 2020 at Infectious diseases expert Professor Matthias Schnell’s lab and completed the preliminary tests in animal models. The mice which received the vaccine showed strong antibody response.
The Federation of Indian Export Organisations(FIEO), apex body of exporters informed that Indian exports are expected to fall by 20% within the current fiscal, in value terms it’ll be around USD 50 to 60 billion & also imports thanks to COVID-19 pandemic.
FIEO has requested the govt to supply 2% additional Merchandise Exports from India Scheme(MEIS) support to all or any exports & 4% to labour-intensive sectors like apparel, leather, handicraft, carpets, marine, tea and processed food. Merchandise exports constitute around 12% of India’s Gross Domestic Product(GDP), and exchange earnings are around USD 320 billion.
In a bid to spice up digital transactions and move towards a less-cash economy, the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), a statutory authority functioning under the Department of Revenue within the Ministry of Finance, has exempted firms with a turnover of over ₹50 crore & engaged in business-to-business (B2B) transactions, from the need of accepting payments only by e-payments facilities using debit cards powered by RuPay or BHIM-UPI (Bharat Interface for Money- Unified Payments Interface).
ICRA Limited (formerly Investment Information and Credit Rating Agency), an Indian independent and professional investment information and credit rating agency, has sharply reduced India’s FY21 (Fiscal Year 2020-21) growth forecast to minus 5 to stand proud of 1%,-2% growth predicted earlier, thanks to the multiple extension of lockdown and labour mismatches leads to further delays in supply chain resumption.
IBM (International Business Machines) ties up with the Intellect Design Arena Limited, a full spectrum banking and insurance products company, has launched iTurmeric FinCloud platform through IBM public cloud targeting financial institutions which are looking to modify to the newest tools and technologies.
The cloud-ready, API(Application Programming Interface)- first, microservices-based platform will help new digital banks systems to be tested and run in isolation or in parallel with core legacy systems, which can, in turn, still run without interruption or compromise.
Franklin Templeton Trustee Services Pvt. Ltd. has appointed an independent advisor Kotak Mahindra Bank to figure along side Franklin Templeton Asset Management (India) Pvt. Ltd (the AMC), to help the Trustees in monetizing portfolios of the 6 schemes that are being aroused & make payouts to the affected investors.
The 6 schemes are- Franklin India Low Duration Fund, Franklin India Dynamic Accrual Fund, Franklin India Credit Risk Fund, Franklin India Short Term Income Plan, Franklin India Ultra Short Bond Fund and Franklin India Income Opportunities Fund of Franklin Templeton open-end fund .
The two day long 73rd session of the planet Health Assembly (WHA) of World Health Organization (WHO) was held virtually for the primary time, amid COVID-19, from 18 – 19 May 2020. The target of the meet was to succeed in a consensus of EU backed draft stating an investigation on how the “severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2)” has originated.
From India, WHA73 was attended by Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare. He has explained the steps taken by India to fight COVID-19 by fostering bilateral and regional partnerships including supply of essential medicines to 123 nations as an expression of solidarity.
United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) partnered with Bharti Airtel’s Africa Arm to support the varsity children within the coronavirus affected areas and supply them access to remote learning and financial assistance to their families through mobile cash transfer.
Under this partnership, Airtel Africa will utilize mobile technology to support over 133 million school age children affected thanks to closure of faculties within the Chad, Congo, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Gabon, Kenya, Madagascar, Malawi, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda and Zambia (13 countries in sub-Saharan Africa).
India & Bangladesh signed the 2nd Addendum to the Protocol on Inland Water Transit and trade Dhaka. Under this pact- Increased 5 more ports of call from earlier 6(Total- 11) & extended 2 ports of call in each country; 2 new Indo Bangladesh Protocol(IBP) routes(from 8 to 10) & new locations also are added to the prevailing routes to facilitate the trade between two countries. it had been signed by the diplomat of India in Bangladesh, Riva Ganguly Das, and Bangladesh Shipping Secretary Mohammad Mezbah Uddin Chowdhury.
Public Sector Undertaking(PSU) major Oil India Ltd(OIL) informed that the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEF&CC) gave environmental clearance for extension drilling and testing of hydrocarbons at 7 locations inside the Assam’s Dibru-Saikhowa National Park(NP) from about 1.5 km distance outside the boundary of the forest with the assistance of the Extended Reach Drilling(ERD) technology by which may reach the target depth of around 3.5 km beneath the surface of the NP without completing any drilling activity inside the NP.
The clearance was given as a part of the Centre’s target to scale back 10% imports and therefore the Northeast Vision 2030, & the commercial production from this area shall also enable OIL to satisfy an equivalent centre’s target.
The Department of Defence Production(DDP), Ministry of Defence so as to further encourage procurement from local suppliers to spice up ‘Make in India’, has approved 26 defence items out of 127 already notified have now been notified under clause 3(a) of the general public Procurement (Preference to form in India) Order 2017.
Therefore, procuring entities shall procure these things only from local suppliers, no matter purchase value, and native suppliers must meet the Minimum Local Content(MLC) prescribed for every item.
The Ministry of latest and Renewable Energy (MNRE) announced that the govt of India launched a scheme for 100% solarisation of Konark Sun Temple and Konark town in Odisha. the target of this scheme is to advance the Prime Minister’s vision to develop the historical Sun Temple town of Konark as ‘Surya Nagri’ and to satisfy all the energy requirements of the Konark town with solar power .
State-owned Ircon International Limited (IRCON) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with RZD International L.L.C. (Limited Liability Company), a subsidiary of government-owned Russian Railways Company, to explore opportunities for joint development of railways and other infrastructure projects in Asia, Africa and Latin America .
Oil and gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and NTPC have signed a preliminary agreement to line up a venture for a renewable energy project and entered into a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on 21st May 2020 in New Delhi to formalize the agreement.
The World Bank announced emergency operations worth USD (United States Dollar) 160 billion to 100 developing countries over a 15-month period to fight the deadly Coronavirus. The coronavirus pandemic and shutdown is predicted to place over 60 million into extreme poverty globally.
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released its Monetary Policy Statement 2020-21 in Mumbai , Maharashtra. The three-day (May 20 to 22,2020) Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) virtual meeting by the 6 members was headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das with the members Dr. Pami Dua, Dr. Ravindra H. Dholakia, Dr. Janak Raj, Dr. Michael Debabrata Patra and Dr. Chetan Ghate.
Policy Repo Rate
Reverse Repo Rate
Marginal Standing Facility Rate
Cash reserve Ratio (CRR)
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR)
The reserve bank extended loan of Rs 15,000 crore to the Export-Import Bank of India (EXIM Bank), which can tend this loan for 90 days to swap US (United States) dollars.This will help affect the economic challenges faced by Coronavirus.
Reserve bank grants Rs 15,000-crore refinance facility for SIDBI
In a bid to supply greater flexibility to SIDBI (Small Industries Development Bank of India) in its operations, the RBI has announced a special refinance facility of Rs 15,000 crore to SIDBI for on-lending/refinancing to MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises). Now SIDBI will get a further 90 days to use the quantity .
RBI increases credit period to fifteen months from 12 months
As India’s exports and imports getting impacted by the pandemic, the RBI hiked the credit time sanctioned by banks from 12 months to15 months. it’s also increased the interval for completion of outward remittances against normal imports (excluding import of gold/diamonds and precious stones/jewellery) into India to 12 months from 6 months from the date of shipment.
RBI eases CSF withdrawal rules ; arranges additional Rs 13,300 crore for states
The reserve bank has relaxed the withdrawal rules from the Consolidated fund (CSF) to supply more resources to the states. With this, now the states are going to be ready to withdraw a further Rs 13,300 crore from this fund to form necessary payments. this alteration in withdrawal rules will inherit force with immediate effect and can be valid till 31 March 2021.
Industrial production decrease by Revolutionary Organization 17 November in March with manufacturing activity down by 21 % : RBI
According to the RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, there has been a Revolutionary Organization 17 November decrease in industrial production in March 2020 with the output of 8 core industries (coal, crude oil, gas , refinery products, fertiliser, steel, cement and electricity) has decreased by 6.5 attempt to manufacturing has fallen by 21 %.
Cabinet relaxes the prevailing “Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS)”; timeline extended till March 31, 2020
The Union cabinet has relaxed the norms of the Partial Credit Guarantee Scheme (PCGS) worth Rs 45000 crore and extended its period of time from June 30, 2020 to March 31, 2021 for purchase of pooled assets of the distressed entities. This relaxation has been provided to widen the coverage to incorporate a bigger number of Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs), housing finance companies (HFCs) and micro finance institutions (MFIs) under PCGS.
In this regard, Sovereign guarantee of up to twenty of first loss are going to be provided to state-owned banks for purchase of bonds or commercial papers of NBFCs, MFIs and housing finance companies (HFCs) having a credit rating of AA or below, including unrated paper with original maturity of up to at least one year.
Cabinet approves Rs 10,000 cr “Scheme for formalisation of Micro Food Processing Enterprises (FME)”
Centre has approved the “Scheme for Formalisation of Micro food processing Enterprises (FME)” for the Unorganized Sector on all India basis with an outlay of Rs 10,000 crore. The expenditure are going to be shared by GOI and therefore the States during a ratio of 60:40.
It will be implemented over a 5 year period from 2020-21 to 2024-25 on the idea of Cluster approach. The scheme aims to extend access to finance by micro food processing units with special specialise in women entrepreneurs and Aspirational districts. It also lays specialise in minor forest produce in Tribal Districts.
Cabinet approves extension of ‘Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana till 2023
Union Cabinet has approved the extension of the Pradhan Mantri Vaya Vandana Yojana (PMVVY) for further 3 years till March 31, 2023 from March 31, 2020. The assured rate of return for fiscal 2020-21 has been pegged at 4% once a year . Earlier, the scheme offered an assured return of 8%. The expected financial liability will range from an estimated expenditure of Rs 829 crore within the 2023-24 fiscal to Rs 264 crore in last FY 2032-33.
Cabinet approves Rs 20,050 cr Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana
Centre has given its approval to implement the Pradhan Mantri Matsya Sampada Yojana (PMMSY) to bring a blue revolution through sustainable and responsible development of fisheries. the entire estimated investment for the scheme is Rs 20,050 crore, comprising the central government’s share of Rs 9,407 crore, state’s share of Rs 4,880 crore and beneficiaries’ share of Rs 5,763 crore. The scheme are going to be implemented during FY 2020-21 to FY 2024-25.
Cabinet approves Atma Nirbhar Bharat Package for allocation of foodgrains to the migrants / stranded migrants
The Union Cabinet has given its ex-post facto approval to supply free foodgrains for 2 months to eight crore migrants / stranded migrants @ 5 kg per person per month (May and June, 2020). it had been announced in AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package.
The total subsidy from the govt of India is estimated at about 3,109.52 crore including food subsidy of about Rs.2,982.27 crore and intra-state transportation and handling charges and dealer’s margin / additional dealer margin will account for about 127.25 crore.
Cabinet approves Rs 30,000 cr Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs/HFCs to deal with their Liquidity Stress
A Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs and HFCs was announced in AtmaNirbhar Bharat Package by the Ministry of Finance has received a Union Cabinet post facto approval. The outlay of the scheme is Rs 30,000 crore and can be administered by the Department of monetary Services, Ministry of Finance. Also a Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) would be found out to manage a Stressed Asset Fund (SAF) whose special securities would be guaranteed by the govt of India and purchased by the Federal Reserve Bank of India (RBI) only.
Cabinet approves additional funding of up to Rupees 3 lakh crore through introduction of Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS)
The Union Cabinet approved the extra funding of up to Rs 3 lakh crore, collateral-free loan support at a concessional rate of 9.25% through the Emergency Credit Line Guarantee Scheme (ECLGS) for the Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSME) sector, which has adversely impacted by COVID-19.
This scheme was announced within the Rs 21 lakh crore comprehensive package. Under this, the lenders including banks, financial institutions and NBFCs, are going to be given complete guarantee cover by the National Credit Guarantee Trustee Company Limited (NCGTC) for giving loans to MSMEs within the sort of a Guaranteed Emergency Credit Line (GECL) facility.
Cabinet approves issuance of the Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation (Adaptation of State Laws) Second Order, 2020 in relation of Jammu & Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act
The Union Cabinet has given its ex post facto approval for the Jammu & Kashmir (Adaptation of State Laws) Second Order, 2020 issued under section 96 of Jammu & Kashmir Reorganisation Act, 2019. This order has further modified the applicability of domicile conditions to all or any levels of jobs within the Union Territory of Jammu & Kashmir under the Jammu & Kashmir Civil Services (Decentralisation and Recruitment) Act (Act No. XVI of 2010).
Cabinet approves waiver of interest of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, has given its ex-post facto approval for waiver of interest of Rs.7.59 crore on Government of India loans of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL), as on 31st March, 2005 additionally to the ‘Waiver of penal interest and interest on interest up to 31st March, 2005’ that was earlier approved by the CCEA in March, 2006 under the rehabilitation package for HOCL.
Local to Global: Khadi Masks to export in Foreign Markets
As the Ministry of Commerce and Industries lifted the ban on export of non-medical/ non-surgical masks of all kinds , now Khadi and village industries commission (KVIC) is watching exporting Khadi face masks to countries just like the USA, Dubai, Mauritius, several European and Middle East countries through the Indian embassies.
In this regard, KVIC has already developed double layered cotton masks and triple-layered silk face masks. If this came to effect then it’ll be an ideal example of “local the global”, a call in wake of AtmaNirbhar Bharat Abhiyan . The export of Khadi masks required a rise in production which ultimately create large scale employment opportunity for artisans in India.
Govt amends rules to ban global tender for procurement up to Rs 200 crores to profit MSMEs
Government has notified the amendments to the overall Financial Rules(GFR) 2017 to make sure that goods and services valued but Rs 200 crores are procured from domestic firms, which states that the worldwide tenders are going to be banned for state procurement upto 200 crores as announced within the AatmanirbharBharat Package. This move will boost domestic suppliers, particularly Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs).
Union Minister of Health & Family Welfare, Dr. Harsh Vardhan participated within the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Health Ministers meeting through video conference. The NAM Summit is organised during a time when international community faces an epidemic and therefore the meeting was chaired by Minister of Health, Republic of Azerbaijan, Mr. Ogtay Shiraliyev.
Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh participates in Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) E-conclave, “Society of Indian Defence Manufacturers (SIDM) MSME Conclave 2020“, jointly organised by SIDM, Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) and Department of Defence Production. The Theme of the E-conclave is ‘Business Continuity for MSMEs in Defence & Aerospace Sector’ during which quite 800 Defence MSMEs participated.
The Textiles Committee, Mumbai (Maharashtra) of Ministry of Textiles was named because the ninth approved laboratory to check and certify Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) body coveralls produced within the country for healthcare workers and other COVID-19 warriors.
The Textiles Committee has worked hard to develop the testing equipment namely “Synthetic Blood Penetration Testing equipment” for Determination of the resistance of Protective Clothing materials to penetration by blood and body fluids.
The National accreditation body NABL (National Accreditation Board for Testing & Calibration Laboratories) has audited the lab facility of Textile Committee and has approved it under three test standards: ASTM F1670/ 16an70M:17a, ISO 16603: 2004 & IS 16546: 2016.
Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare(HFW), Harsh Vardhan to mark 1 crore treatments(milestone) of the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana(AB-PMJAY), the flagship health assurance scheme of state since September 2018 has inaugurated the first edition of Arogya Dhara, a series of webinars titled “Ayushman Bharat: 1 crore treatments and beyond” which is made as an open platform for discussion on topical problems with public health and launched ‘Ask Ayushman’ a chatbot on WhatsApp & “Hospital Ranking Dashboard”. Minister of State(HFW), Ashwini Kumar Choubey was present during the webinar.
Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India(IRDAI) has approved the proposal of the state owned lender Union Bank of India-UBI(which holds 25.1% stake in Star Union Dai-Chi Life) to continue with its 30% holding in IndiaFirst life assurance .
The holding is with condition that- the lender won’t exercise management or any control over the insurer’s management & in appointing separate directors on the board or IndiaFirst and Star Union Dai-Chi and just in case of any conflict within the decision are going to be haunted with the Federal Reserve Bank of India(competent authority).
Reliance Industries Limited(RIL) announced the sale of a 2.32 burning in its digital unit, Jio Platforms to US private equity giant KKR for Rs 11,367 crores, which is that the 5th deal of Jio since 22 April which will inject Rs 78,562 crores in RIL to chop debt.
Bharti Airtel acquired a10% strategic stake in Voicezen, a Gurgaon based startup in early stage focused on conversational AI technologies under the fast expanding Airtel Startup Accelerator Program as a neighborhood of its strategy to deliver highly differentiated service experience.The acquisition was made in an all cash transaction basis and therefore the deal is predicted to shut by May 30.
The Competition Commission of India(CCI) has approved 100% acquisition of the entire issued and paid-up share capital of Emami Cement Limited(ECL)on a totally diluted basis, by Nuvoco Vistas Corporation Limited(NVCL) for an enterprise value of Rs 5,500 crore. ECL may be a a part of the Emami group & NVCL may be a Nirma promoter group company.
Tata Power announced that its subsidiary Tata Power International Pte Ltd(TPIPL) has acquired a tenth stake in Adjaristsqali Netherlands BV(ABV) from the International Finance Corporation(IFC) for USD 150,000 (about Rs 1.13 crore). the rise in stake has increased TPIPL’s shareholding in ABV to 50%.
The research team of Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Guwahati headed by Professor Vibin Ramakrishnan, Department of Bioscience and Bioengineering and Professor Harsha Nemade, Department of Electronics and EE , IIT Guwahati with research scholars Dr. Gaurav Pandey and Jahnu Daikia worked on a replacement idea to assist in preventing or reducing the STM loss related to Alzheimer’s disease.
A team of Scientists at the Agharkar Research Institute (ARI) based in Pune (Maharashtra) have mapped two alternative dwarf genes – Rht14 and Rht18– in wheat which will eliminate rice crop residue burning – one among the key sources of pollution in north India during early winter.
Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute for life science and Technology (SCTIMST), Trivandrum with Agappe Diagnostics Ltd, Cochin, a vitro diagnostics manufacturing company organised the commercial launch of The Agappe Chitra Manga, a magnetic nanoparticle-based RNA extraction Kit for the detection of COVID-19 at the Biomedical Technology Wing of SCTIMST.
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Madras (ITT-M), has developed a solar ‘parabolic trough collector’ (PTC) system for concentrating solar power for industrial applications like desalination, space heating and space cooling.
A rare palm of South Andaman Island ‘Pinanga andamanensis’ are going to be grown in Palode (Kerala) with the assistance of Nehru Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (JNTBGRI).
Union HRD (Human Resource Development Minister) Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched IGNOU’S (Indira Gandhi National Open University) Online Programme for Master of Arts (MA) in Hindi, through Facebook live session & also broadcasted get over IGNOU’s Gyan Darshan Channel, Gyan Dhara. The launch was done keeping in mind the prevailing situation and adherence to the partial-lockdown as per the Government’s directives.
A team of scientists of CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation )and Australia’s national science agency, the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and therefore the University of Melbourne successfully discovered corals with increased heat tolerance which has potential to scale back the impacts of reef bleaching thanks to climatic change.
A powerful super-cyclone Amphan, making landfall at 2.30 p.m. between Digha in West Bengal and and Hatiya island in Bangladesh with winds of about 120mph (190km/h), has killed a minimum of 22 people and destroying thousands of homes. Cyclone Amphan pronounced as ‘um-pun’, Thailand had given the name ‘Amphan’ for this cyclone way back in 2004, first cyclonic storm of 2020 which is predicted to be quite severe as per Indian Meteorological Department’s (IMD) latest forecast.
Popular author Ruskin Bond has authored a book titled ‘Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes. The e-book format was released on the occasion of his 86th birthday. The illustration has been done by Samrat Halder and published by Speaking Tiger’s children’s imprint Talking Cub.
International Day for Biological Diversity (IDB) is widely known per annum May 22 globally. The day was declared by the United Nations (UN) to boost awareness and increase understanding of biodiversity issues. Biological Diversity isn’t limited to nature alone, but also plants, animals, microorganisms and different ecosystems.
Theme for the year 2020: Our solutions are in nature.
Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank released three handbooks through video conferencing in New Delhi . the three handbooks were prepared by the Central Board of education (CBSE) on measures taken by the Board to adopt value-based global standards of education.
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is widely known per annum on May 21 globally. The day celebrates not only the richness of the world’s cultures, but also the essential role of intercultural dialogue for achieving peace and sustainable development.
The International Tea Day is annually celebrated by tea-growing countries like India and Sri Lanka since 2005 and in December 2019, the United Nation (UN) approved the proposal to celebrate the International Tea Day put forth by the govt of India within the session of the Intergovernmental Group on Tea and designated May 21st as International Tea Day.
Japan has launched a replacement space defense unity to watch and counter threats to the country’s satellites. the most role of the unit is to watch and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris and also to conduct satellite-based navigation and communications for other troops within the field.The capital and currency of Japan is Tokyo and Japanese yen respectively.
Facebook has acquired ny based GIF database GIPHY for $400 million to integrate its GIF library into Instagram and other Facebook apps, Vishal Shah, Instagram’s VP of product.
The Government of Uttar Pradesh launched the ‘Uttar Pradesh Startup Fund’ to market entrepreneurship among the youths of the state and Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath termed the MoU between the state and little Industries Development Bank of India(SIDBI).
The government of Chhattisgarh has launched its ambitious ‘Rajiv Gandhi Kisan Nyay Yojana’ (RGKNY) on May 21, 2020 (29th death anniversary of former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) to encourage crop production within the state and to offer the farmers the proper price for his or her produce. it had been initiated by the interim president of the Congress, Sonia Gandhi and Chief Minister (CM) Bhupesh Baghel through video conferencing.