Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 24 December 2020

Bank Exam Current Affairs

Current Affairs for BANK, IBPS Exams - 24 December 2020


Active caseload in country further decreases to stand at 2.80%

  • India has leaped across a significant milestone in its fight against COVID.
  • With a continuous decline in the number of active corona cases, the active caseload in the country today has further decreased to stand at 2.80 per cent.
  • The active cases in the country witnessed a decline of nearly 5,400 cases in the past 24 hours to stand at around 2.83 lakh.
  • The number of new daily cases remained even below 25 thousand with 24, 712 cases being reported in the last 24 hours.
  • The national cumulative recovery rate has also further improved to be at 95.75 per cent with recovery of over 96.93 lakh people so far.
  • With recovery of nearly 30 thousand people in the last 24 hours, the number of daily recoveries continue to outnumber the new daily cases.
  • The total recovered cases in the country today stands at over 34 times the number of active cases.

Various farmers' organizations extend support towards new farm laws

  • A memorandum signed by more than 3 lakh farmers submitted to Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar extending support to new farm laws.
  • Confederation of NGOs of Rural India's delegation handed over the memorandum containing more than 3 lakh 13 thousand signatures of farmers to Mr Tomar in New Delhi yesterday.
  • Speaking on the occasion, Mr Tomar said there is enthusiasm among the farmers across the nation with respect to the new agri-laws.
  • He said, these reforms were long overdue. Mr Tomar said, because of Prime Minister Narendra  Modi's determination that the necessary reforms can be seen taking shape on the ground.
  • He said that empowering the rural agrarian economy is government's duty and will continue to remain so in future.

PM to release next instalment under PM-KISAN on 25 December

  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release the next instalment of financial benefit under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) on 25th December 2020 at 12 noon via video conferencing.
  • With the push of a button, the Prime Minister will enable the transfer of more than Rs. 18,000 crores to more than 9 crores beneficiary farmer families. 
  • Prime Minister will also have a conversation with farmers from six different States during the event. The farmers will share their experiences with PM-KISAN and also on various other initiatives taken by the Government for the welfare of farmers. Union Agriculture Minister will also be present on the occasion.
  • Under the PM-KISAN Scheme, a financial benefit of Rs.6000/- per year is provided to the eligible beneficiary farmers, payable in three equal 4-monthly installments of Rs.2000/- each. The fund is transferred directly to the bank accounts of the beneficiaries.

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MV Jag Anand crew continue to languish as China reiterates its unwillingness to allow crew change

  • The plight of 23 crew members of Indian ship Jag Anand is far from over as Chinese govt on Wednesday reiterated its unwillingness to allow a crew change citing epidemic control requirements at ports.
  • The ship MV Jag Anand laden with huge consignment of Australian coal is stuck at China’s Jingtang port since June as China is not allowing the ship to unload the cargo from Australia with which it is locked in a political tussle.
  • In response to a question on whether China would allow the change of the crew of ‘Jag Anand’ on humanitarian grounds, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian at a press briefing, did not give any clear reply, instead he cited the epidemic prevention measures. 
  • Mr. Zhao also did not give a clear reply to a question on whether crew change can be allowed after due quarantine protocol. Generally, a 14 days quarantine period is a scientifically accepted practice across the globe to detect the presence of COVID-19 virus. "In China, there are clear requirements on epidemic prevention and control at ports and on quarantine of crew members. These are all based on science,” he said without detailing the requirements.

Frequency of allergic reactions to Pfizer Covid-19 vaccine greater than expected: US official

  • While the United States on Wednesday secured a deal with Pfizer Inc. for an additional 100 million doses of its Covid-19 vaccine, the cases of allergic reactions have reportedly prompted discussions between vaccine makers and the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to run clinical trials in very allergic populations. According to a CNN report, US President Donald Trump’s Covid-19 vaccine czar said that the frequency of allergic reactions to Pfizer’s vaccine is greater than expected.
  • “That frequency, as it stood December 22, is superior to what one would expect with other vaccines,” Dr Moncef Slaoui, chief scientific adviser for Operation Warp Speed, was quoted as saying by the US media network.
  • The UK regulators have already issued an advisory regarding the issue, urging people who have a history of “significant” allergic reactions to not get the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) issued precautionary advice to the National Health Service (NHS) after two health care staff members experienced allergic reactions. Dr June Raine, chief executive of the MHRA, had testified to a parliamentary committee where she acknowledged that the cases of allergic reactions didn’t feature in the extensive clinical trials.


Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman concludes pre-Budget meetings for forthcoming Union Budget 2021-22

  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman chaired the pre-budget consultation meetings for budget 2021-22 held in virtual mode from 14th to 23rd December, 2020.
  • More than 170 invitees representing 9 stakeholder groups participated in 15 meetings scheduled during this period. The stakeholder groups include, Financial and Capital Markets; Health, Education and Rural Development; Water and Sanitation; Trade Union and Labour Organization; Industry, Services and Trade; Infrastructure, Energy and Climate Change sector; Agriculture and Agro Processing Industry; Industrialists; and Economists.
  • Union Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs Anurag Singh Thakur, Finance Secretary Dr A.B. Pandey; Secretary, DIPAM, Tuhin Kanta Pandey; Secretary, Expenditure, T.V. Somanathan; Secretary, DEA, Shri Tarun Bajaj; Chief Economic Advisor Krishnamurthy Subramanian and senior officers from Ministry of Finance and other Ministries also participated in the meeting.
  • The stakeholder groups made several suggestions on various subjects that included Fiscal Policy, including Taxation; Bond Markets; Insurance; Infrastructure Spending; Health and Education Budget; Social Protection; Skilling; Water Harvesting and Conservation; Sanitation; MGNREGA; Public Distribution System; Ease of Doing Business; Production Linked Investment scheme, Exports; Branding of ‘Made in India’ products, Public Sector Delivery Mechanisms; Innovation, Green Growth; Non-Polluting sources of Energy and Vehicles, among others.
  • Indian economy recovering fast, growth to turn positive in Q3
  • The economy is coming out of the Covid-19 pandemic’s deep abyss faster than most of the predictions, and the growth will enter positive zone in the third quarter of the current financial year, said an article on the ‘state of economy’ in the RBI Bulletin.
  • Impacted by the coronavirus pandemic, the Indian economy dipped by a historic 23.9 per cent in the first quarter of the current financial year. The contraction narrowed down to 7.5 per cent in the second quarter.
  • Quoting reports, the article said, “Real GDP growth is expected to break out into positive territory in Q3 - albeit, to a slender 0.1 per cent.” Two important forces are conspiring to bless this turning of the page on the virus, the article said.
  • “First, India is bending the COVID infection curve: since mid-September, barring localised surges, infections are slanting fashion to support investment and consumption demand,” it said, “The fiscal measures have been sequenced in a designed shift in focus from consumption expenditure in Pradhan Mantri Garib Kalyan Package (PMGKP) to investment expenditure in Aatma Nirbhar 2.0 and 3.0,” the article added.

Ind-Ra revises FY21 GDP contraction to 7.8% on easing pandemic headwinds

  • Citing the better-than-expected recovery in second quarter and the faster than anticipated easing of the pandemic headwinds, India Ratings on Thursday projected 7.8% contraction for the economy for 2020-21 as compared to 11.8 per cent degrowth estimated earlier.
  • But the agency was quick to question the sustainability of the recovery seen in September quarter when the Indian economy contracted only 7.5%, after 23.9% contraction in April-June , saying ‘‘a significant part of the impetus came from the festival and pent-up demand. “Although the headwinds emanating from the pandemic-related challenges are unlikely to go away till mass vaccination becomes a reality, the economic agents and economic activities not only have learnt to live with it but are also adjusting swiftly to the new reality,” it said.
  • Given this, Ind-Ra now expects third quarter to see contraction at 0.8% and fourth quarter to print in 0.3% growth as against the earlier expectation of positive numbers only in July-September 2021-22.
  • Accordingly, it expects 7.8% contraction in 2020-21 as against (-) 11.8% earlier, and GDP to grow by 9.6% in 2021-22, mainly due to the weak base of 2020-21, India Ratings chief economist Devendra Pant said in a report.

::Science and Technology::

Scientists Developed High-Performance Hybrid Super Capacitors With Novel Electrode Material

  • Scientists have developed a low-cost supercapacitor that has excellent capacitance retention and uses their synthesized new electrode material, which can pave the way for the next generation of high-power and high-energy storage devices.
  • A supercapacitor is a high-capacity capacitor whose capacitance value is much higher than other capacitors, but has a lower voltage limit, thus bridging the gap between the electrolytic capacitor and the rechargeable battery. A capacitor is one that stores electrical energy in an electric field.
  • It usually stores 10 to 100 times more energy per unit volume or mass than electrolytic capacitors, and can accept and transfer charges much faster than batteries. Supercapacitors are the next generation of energy storage devices. 
  • Compared with traditional capacitors and Lithium-Ion Batteries (LIB), supercapacitors have received extensive research attention due to their high power density, long life and ultra-fast charging characteristics.
  • Among the 4 main components of a super capacitor-electrode, electrolyte, separator and current collector, the first two are the key components, which directly determine the electrochemical behaviour of the supercapacitor.


Odisha CM announces India's largest Hockey Stadium in Rourkela

  • The wheels to host the prestigious FIH Odisha Men’s Hockey World Cup India 2023 started rolling in as Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, announced a new world class Hockey stadium in Rourkela city which would be the biggest stadium for Hockey in India with a sitting capacity of 20 thousand.
  • This is going to redefine the sports landscape in the region. 
  • The stadium along with the allied facilities will be developed as a benchmark for other Hockey stadiums around the world. Spread over 15 acres of land, the stadium will be constructed in the Biju Patnaik University of Technology campus, Rourkela.

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