J&K starts an initiative ‘SUKOON’ – COVID-19 Beat the Stress

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1.World Bee Day: 20 May

 World Bee Day 2020 is observed across the globe on 20 May every year.The World Bee Day celebration is done in order to raise awareness amongst the people about the importance of bees in the universe.

The World Bee Day was started by the United Nations General Assembly so that bees’ conservation is highlighted for sustainable development.

World Bee Day 2020 theme is “Save the Bees”.

2.Nepal approves new map including Lipulekh, Kalapani, Limpiyadhura amid border row with India

Nepal’s cabinet has endorsed a new political map showing Lipulekh, Kalapani and Limpiyadhura under its territory, amid a border dispute with India.The move announced by foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali came weeks after he said that efforts were on to resolve the border issue with India through diplomatic initiatives.

The Lipulekh pass is a far western point near Kalapani. Both India and Nepal claim Kalapani as an integral part of their territory – India as part of Uttarakhand’s Pithoragarh district and Nepal as part of Dharchula district.

India has said that the recently-inaugurated road section in Pithoragarh district in Uttarakhand lies completely within its territory.

3.Govt launches National Test Abhyas mobile app for candidates to take mock tests for JEE Main and NEET

Union Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank launched a new mobile app named – the ‘National Test Abhyas’.The App has been developed by National Testing Agency-NTA to enable candidates to take mock tests for upcoming exams such as JEE Main and NEET under the NTA’s purview.

The app has been launched to facilitate candidates’ access to high quality mock tests as there was a demand for making up the loss to students due to closure of educational institutions and NTA’s Test-Practice Centers due to the lockdown.

Students across the country can use the App to access high quality tests, free of cost, in a bid to be fully prepared for the upcoming JEE, NEET and other competitive exams.

4.Centre reduces EPFO contributions from 12 percent to 10 percent from May to July this year

The Centre has notified the reduction in statutory rate of contributions from 12 per cent to 10 per cent for wage months period from May to July, 2020 for all class of establishments covered under the Employees Provident Fund and Miscellaneous Provisions Act, 1952.Earlier, the government had announced to reduce the rate as part of the Atma-Nirbhar Bharat package.

As a result of reduction in statutory rate of contributions, the employee will have a higher take home pay and employers will also have their liabilities reduced by 2 percent of wages of the employees.

5.South Central Railway Develops ‘Rail-Bot’ To Provide Better Health Care To COVID Patients

In the wake of the Coronavirus outbreak, the South Central Railway zone has developed a robotic device, “RAIL-BOT” (R-BOT).The device has been developed to assist in the functions of hospital management so that they can provide better health care to the COVID patients.

R-BOT is being used to provide medicines, medical accessories and to serve food to the patients, without any need for physical contact.

Using this device will enable doctors, nurses and other support medical staff to stay away from the risk of contracting infections.

The R-BOT is operated through a unique mobile application developed as part of the Innovation, supported by Wi-FI- facility.

The R-BOT holds sensor-based features to read the body temperature of patients and transmit the same for display on Mobile phones.

6.J&K starts an initiative ‘SUKOON’ – COVID-19 Beat the Stress

In order to spread awareness about the psychological impact of lockdown and measures to be adopted to overcome them, the Department of Information and Public Relations, J&K has started an initiative ‘SUKOON’ – COVID-19 Beat the Stress”.The programme will be telecast on Doordarshan Kashir Channel every Tuesday at 9.00 PM during which psychiatrists, eminent doctors and scientists will share their knowledge on psychological health and how to keep the mind anxiety free and the measures which people can adopt to keep stress level under control.

The aim is to ensure that people stay mentally fit and cope with the fears related to COVID-19 with a sound mind.

7.NABARD to Provide Financial Aid worth Rs 20,500 Crore for Agricultural Operations for Pre-Monsoon & Kharif

NABARD has decided to provide financial assistance to Cooperative Banks and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) in order to increase the efficacy of their pre-monsoon Kharif operations.The financial aid is worth Rs 20,500 crores.

While Rs 15,200 crores out of the total amount will be provided to the farmers through cooperative banks, the remaining amount of Rs 5,300 crore will be allocated through RRBs as a special liquidity facility across various states.

The fund will be given as a means of front-loading the resources of these banks in order to maintain adequate liquidity with the banks for financing the farmers in the future.

8.Railways’ Most Powerful 12,000 HP Made in India Locomotive Begins Commercial Run

The Indian Railways’ most powerful 12000 HP Made in India locomotive made its maiden commercial run between Deen Dayal Upadhaya and Shivpur stations in Uttar Pradesh.Built by French company Alstom under the government’s Make in India programme at the Railways’ Madhepura factory in Bihar, these engines are the highest-powered locomotives that will run on Indian rails.

All 800 of these locos are being manufactured indigenously while they have been designed at the company’s engineering centre in Bengaluru.

The locomotive is capable of working on railway tracks with conventional OHE lines as well as on Dedicated Freight corridors with high rise OHE lines.

The locomotive has air-conditioned driver cabs on either side.

9.Indian Steel Association names Dilip Oommen as next President    

Indian Steel Association (ISA) appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President with immediate effect.An extraordinary board meeting was called to decide on the leadership of the association after Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran stepped down as President on May 1, months before the end of his term in August.          

Oommen was unanimously appointed as President for the next two years.

Oommen is a veteran of the steel industry with more than 37 years of experience and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K).

10.Thomas Thabane resigns as Lesotho’s prime minister

Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has formally resigned more than a week after his coalition government fell apart.This move could help end a long-running political crisis in the country.

Thabane, the leader of All Basotho Convention (ABC) party, was facing mounting pressure to step down over a case in which he and his current wife are suspected of involvement in the 2017 murder of his previous, estranged wife.

Thabane’s ruling coalition collapsed on May 11, and he had been expected to resign by May 22 when a new government is due to be installed.

Finance Minister Moeketsi Majoro, 58, is expected to replace him.

11.India’s Chief Hydrographer Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar wins UK award

Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar has been honoured with the 2019 Alexander Dalrymple Award in recognition of his outstanding contribution to Indian hydrography and across the wider Indian Ocean region.He is the National Hydrographer to the government of India.

The award, first presented by the UK Ministry of Defence-sponsored UKHO in 2006, is named after the first Hydrographer of the Admiralty, Alexander Dalrymple.

The recipients of the award are selected by the chief Committee of the UK Hydrographic Office(UKHO) for his or her efforts in raising the standards of hydrography, cartography and navigation around the world.

12.Ruskin Bond’s new book released on his 86th birthday

Popular author Ruskin Bond turned 86 on May 19 and to celebrate the occasion, publisher Speaking Tiger has brought out his new book which is about his adventures on boats, trains and planes.In “Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes”, Bond narrates some of his memorable travel adventures from his childhood.

The book takes readers on a journey with young Bond that is as hilarious as is wonderful.

It was released in an e-book format on his 86th birthday.