Current Affairs in Short: 21 May 2020
Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced on May 21, 2020 that the booking of train tickets will resume at around 1.7 lakh common service centres across the country from May 22, 2020.
Government launches scheme for 100 % solarisation of Konark sun temple
• The Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) has launched a scheme to facilitate complete solarisation of Konark sun temple and Konark town in Odisha.
• The scheme has been launched to take forward Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision to tranform the historical Sun temple town of Konark in Odisha into 'Surya Nagri'. The key objective is to convey a message of synergy between the modern use of solar energy and the ancient Sun Temple and the importance of promoting solar energy.
• Under the scheme, a 10 MW grid connected solar project will be set up along with various solar off-grid applications such as off-grid solar power plants with battery storage, solar trees and solar drinking water kiosks with complete Central Financial Assistance (CFA) support of around Rs 25 crores through New & Renewable Energy Ministry.
• The project will be implemented by the Odisha Renewable Energy Development Agency (OREDA). The scheme is expected to meet all the energy requirements of Konark town with solar energy.
Cabinet approves waiver of interest of HOCL loans
• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved waiver of interest worth Rs7.59 crore on the centre’s loans of Hindustan Organic Chemicals Limited (HOCL) as on March 31, 2005.
• This is in addition to the ‘Waiver of penal interest and interest on interest up to March 31, 2005’ that was approved earlier by the CCEA in March 2006 under the rehabilitation package for HOCL.
• The interest amount of Rs.7.59 crore has already been written off in the account books of the Government and HOCL and the interest amount involved is not substantial.
• The cabinet approval will enable HOCL to settle the pending CAG audit observation in the matter.
Coronavirus recovery rate jumps to 40.31 percent in India
• According to the Union Health and Family Welfare Ministry, a total 45, 300 people COVID-19 patients have been cured, taking the recovery rate to 40.31 percent in the country.
• In the last 24 hours, 3002 people recovered and 5,609 fresh cases of coronavirus were reported, taking the total number of coronavirus cases in India to 1,12,359.
• A total of 132 people died in the last 24 hours, taking the total death toll in India to 3,435. The COVID-19 mortality rate in India presently stands at 3.06 percent, much lower than global mortality rate of 6.65 percent.
• The elderly people, above the age of 60 years and people having co-morbidities, who are identified as high risks groups for COVID-19, constitute 50.5 per cent of the total mortality rate of India.
Railways to start ticket booking at 1.7 lakh common service centres from May 22
• Railway Minister Piyush Goyal announced on May 21, 2020 that the booking of train tickets will resume at around 1.7 lakh common service centres across the country from May 22, 2020.
• The Minister said that those who are in remote locations, with limited or neglible availability of computers and internet, can also access the centres.
• The bookings at counters of specific railways stations is also expected to resume withing the next 2-3 days.
• The Railways had announced the resumption of 200 non-AC trains from June 1,2020. The online bookings for the same commenced from 10 am today.
India conducts 1 lakh COVID-19 tests per day
• India has reached a landmark in its battle against COVID-19 virus by performing one lakh coronavirus tests in a day. This was confirmed by the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR). India performed a total of 1,03,532 tests in the last 24 hours.
• The total number of COVID-19 tests in India have reached 26, 25, 920. India, which had started from less than 100 tests per day, has seen a multifold increase in testing capacity within just two months.
• This effort has been aided by dedicated teams of various stakeholders including research institutions, medical colleges, testing laboratories, Ministries, airlines and postal services. India is also becoming self-reliant in its testing capabilities.