1. The government forbade educational institutions to pressurize for payment of fees the situation is not normal
- Recently the government has instructed colleges and educational institutions not to pressurize the for payment of fees till the lockdown ends and the situation get back to normal.
- The government has said that salaries and other allowances of teachers and other employees should not be withheld during lockdown, and that they be paid on time.
- In this regard, the concerned Chief secretaries of States and Union Territories have been asked to reimburse the fees of colleges and institutions.
- University Grants Commission and All India Council for Technical Education will soon issue revised academic calendar.
- All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE):
- It is a statutory body.
- It is a national-level apex council that was set up for technical education, which is under the Department of Higher Education, Ministry of Human Resource Development.
- It was founded in November 1945.
- Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
2. Relief for small IT units from payment of four-month rent
- Recently, the government has provided rental waiver to small IT units working out of Software Technology Parks of India (STPI) for four months during the lockdown imposed due to COVID-19.
- This exemption will provide relief to these units from the rent payment from 1 March to 30 June 2020.
- This waiver will benefit about 200 IT and ITeS MSMEs, which are working from the centers of STPI.
- Software Technology Parks of India (STPI):
- It is an autonomous society established by the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology, and has 60 centers across the country.
- It is created with the objective of encouraging India's software exports.
- It is headquartered in New Delhi.
- It was established in the year 1991.
3. India will send hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries
- Recently, India has decided to send anti-malarial drugs hydroxychloroquine to 55 countries.
- Out of these, 21 countries will be provided the drug on a commercial basis, while other countries will be supplied this medicine in very small amounts on a grant.
- India is also coordinating with leading agencies for Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) kits. A large number of PPE kits will soon be available in the country.
- India itself will soon receive the COVID-19 test kits from South Korea.
4. Ministry of Home Affairs prohibited the use of ‘Zoom’
- Recently the Ministry of Home Affairs has warned against the use of the video conferencing platform 'Zoom'.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has said that it is not a safe platform.
- Zoom is a popular video conferencing platform.
- The Indian-Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In) has said that unsafe use of Zoom can provide sensitive information such as meeting details and conversations to cyber criminals.
- Indian-Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-in):
- It is an office under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.
- It is the nodal agency that ensures cyber security by dealing with cyber threats such as hacking and phishing.
- It was established on 19 January 2004.
- Its headquarters is located in New Delhi.
5. SOP issued for sowing of Kharif crops
- Recently, the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) has been issued by the Union Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare for planting kharif crops during the ongoing lockdown due to COVID-19 pandemic.
- This procedure has been issued to the farmers for planting kharif crops with safety and precautions as transplanting of paddy and vegetables are labor-intensive activities.
- Therefore, it is important for the farmers to follow the guidelines for social distance, hygiene and wearing masks at the time of sowing.
- Kharif crops:
- The crops sown during the monsoon season of the Indian subcontinent are called Kharif crops.
- They are usually sown in June-July and harvested from October-November.
- The major kharif crops are rice, maize, cotton, sorghum, millet, etc.
6. Apollo-13 spacecraft malfunction
- Recently the power generation system of the spacecraft Apollo-13 has malfunctioned.
- This system is known as a fuel cell. Here, electric energy is produced by chemical reaction between hydrogen and oxygen.
- This reaction results in production of water and heat. This water was used by astronauts in the spacecraft to drink.
- The cause of this defect is not known.
- For this reason, Apollo-13 astronauts had to postpone their moon landing plans.
- Now thus they are forced to return.
- Apollo-13 was NASA's third mission to land on the moon.
- It was launched on 11 April 1970 from Kennedy Space Center.
7. India strives to help migrant workers stranded in West Asia
- India strives to help stranded migrant workers in West Asia.
- Indian expatriates in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries contribute about 40% of the total foreign exchange remittances.
- Their labor is critical to the GCC economy.
- Most of these people who are on subsistence wages are facing a difficult situation in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- Thousands of Indian travelers have also been stranded in Dubai, Abu Dhabi and Doha at important places for international travel.
- India cannot leave them helpless with their fate.
- India is striving to work with the governments of the region to mitigate their problems.
- Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC):
- There is a regional intergovernmental political and economic union.
- It was established on 25 May 1981.
- It is headquartered in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs)
1. What type of body is All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE)?
2. In which year was the Software Technology Parks of India established?
3. Which medicine will India send to 55 countries?
4. Recently Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a warning for which video conferencing platform?
D. Face Time
5. Which of the following is not a Kharif crop?
6. Apollo-13 was the mission of which country's space agency?
7. Where is the headquarters of the Gulf Cooperation Council located?
A. Saudi Arabia
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