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Prelims Booster

30th March – Prelims Booster

PRELIMS BOOSTER

Increase in the usage of SWAYAM

The access to the National Online Education Platform SWAYAM and other Digital Initiatives has tripled in the last one week.

Details –

Ministry of HRD has said that the growth has been seen after provision of free access to best teaching learning resources at SWAYAM while earlier the courses of SWAYAM were time bound  for which registration needed to be done in advance.

About SWAYAM –

  • SWAYAM stands for Study Webs of Active Learning for Young Aspiring Minds.
  • This is a program under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD).
  • SWAYAM is a free online education program started by the Government of India.
  • It is conducted through a platform that facilitates the hosting of all courses.
  • Courses included are from Class 9 till post-graduation.
  • It was started to achieve 3 important principles of education policy – Access; Equity, and; Quality.

PM-CARES

Keeping in mind the need for having a dedicated national fund with the primary objective of dealing with any kind of emergency or distress situation, like posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to provide relief to the affected, a public charitable trust under the name of ‘Prime Minister’s Citizen Assistance and Relief in Emergency Situations Fund’ (PM CARES Fund)’ has been set up.

Details –

  • Prime Minister is the Chairman of this trust and its Members include Defence Minister, Home Minister and Finance Minister.
  • Donations to this fund will be exempted from income tax under section 80(G).

SC extends BS-IV deadline

In a relief to automobile dealers, the Supreme Court has extended the March 31, 2020 deadline for the sale and registration of BS-IV vehicles because of the “extraordinary” situation arising out of the 21-day COVID-19 lockdown.

What are Bharat Stage norms?

  • Bharat Stage emission standards, introduced in 2000, are emission standards that have been set up the Central government to regulate the output of air pollutants from internal combustion engine equipment, including motor vehicles.
  • Bharat Emission Standards (BS) is standard set for automobile industry which quantifies the emission of pollutants like NO, PM etc. This concept is borrowed from European Standards which are currently undergoing Euro VI standards as against our BS IV.

Difference between BS-IV and BS-VI –

  • The major difference in standards between the existing BS-IV and the new BS-VI auto fuel norms is the presence of sulphur.
  • The newly introduced fuel is estimated to reduce the amount of sulphur released by 80 per cent, from 50 parts per million to 10 ppm.
  • As per the analysts, the emission of NOx (nitrogen oxides) from diesel cars is also expected to reduce by nearly 70 per cent and 25 per cent from cars with petrol engines.
  • Current rise of pollution and life threatening breathing air in metropolitan cities have pushed government to rethink and decided to follow better standards like BS VI by even skipping BS V.

World is now in recession: IMF

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the global economy into a downturn that will require massive funding to help developing nations, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said recently.

Details –

  • “It is clear that we have entered a recession” that will be worse than the one in 2009, following the global financial crisis, she said.
  • With the worldwide economic “sudden stop,” Ms. Georgieva said the fund’s estimate “for the overall financial needs of emerging markets is $2.5 trillion.”
  • Governments in emerging markets, which have suffered an exodus of capital of more than $83 billion in recent weeks, can cover much of that, but “clearly the domestic resources are insufficient” and many already have high debt loads.
  • Over 80 countries, mostly with low incomes, have already requested emergency aid from the International Monetary Fund, she said.

What is ‘economic recession’?

Major traits of recession – there is a general fall in demand as economic activities takes a downturn; inflation remains lower or/and shows further signs of falling down; employment rate falls/unemployment rate grows; Industries resort to ‘price cuts’ to sustain their business.

Types of recession –

  • Growth Recession – An expression coined by economists to describe an economy that is growing at such a slow pace that more jobs are being lost than are being added. The lack of job creation makes it “feel” as if the economy is in a recession, even though the economy is still advancing.
  • Double-Dip Recession – A double-dip recession refers to a recession followed by a short-lived recovery, followed by another recession—the GDP growth sliding back to negative after a quarter or two of positive growth. The causes for such a recession vary but often include a slowdown in the demand for goods and services because of layoffs and spending cutbacks done in the previous downturn.

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