Current Affairs Pocket : 20 May 2020

WHO to initiate Independent Inquiry in handling of COVID-19
* The World Health Organisation will be initiating Independent Inquiry in the handling of COVID-19. In order to achieve this, the organization is to launch “Resolution on COVID-19 response”. The main aim of the review is to put an end to the international blame game in the origin of COVID-19. The resolution was taken at the 73rd World Health Assembly that was held through video conference. India was represented by the Union Health Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan.
* Around 116 countries backed the resolution of independent review. India backed the resolution. The idea of the resolution was initiated by Australia. However, the resolution was drafted by the European Union. China opposed the resolution.

Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar wins Alexander Dalrymple Award 2019
* India’s Chief Hydrographer of Indian Naval Hydrographic, Vice Admiral Vinay Badhwar has been awarded the Alexander Dalrymple Award 2019. This award is given to him for his outstanding contribution to Indian hydrography and across the broader Indian Ocean region. The award was presented by the UK Ministry of Defence. 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.

Madhya Pradesh launches Charan Paduka Campaign for migrant Labourers
* In a first of its kind of initiative, the Madhya Pradesh police has started Charan Paduka campaign for the migrant labourers passing through the state.
* Under the Charan Paduka campaign, the migrant labourers going barefoot are being provided shoes and slippers by the police to reduce their pain.
The campaign was started from the Rau Police Station of Indore and has spread in many cities of MP including Damoh, Umaria and Sagar.

India donates $2 million to UNRWA for Palestinian refugees Amid COVID-19
* India has extended USD 2 million in aid to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) for the welfare of Palestinian refugees, amidst the coronavirus crisis.
* UNRWA provides education, health care, relief and social services to Palestinian refugees in Near East.
* India’s contribution was handed over by India’s representative to Palestine Sunil Kumar to Chief of Donor Relations of UNRWA Marc Lassouaoui.
* India increased its annual contribution to the UNRWA from USD 1.25 million in 2016 to USD 5 million in 2019.
* It pledged another USD 5 million for 2020, opening the way to become a member of the Agency’s Advisory Commission.

RBI extends KYC norms to Housing Finance Companies
* The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines/norms will now be applicable to Housing Finance Companies also.
* It must be noted that the Regulation of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) was transferred from the National Housing Bank to RBI in August 2019.
* And KYC norms are applicable to all Regulated Entities of the RBI and hence it has now been made applicable on Housing Finance Companies also.

Government Notifies Cut in EPF Contribution to 10% Three Months till July 2020
* The Ministry of Labour & Employment has announced a cut in the rate of employees’ provident fund (EPF) contributions to 10 percent from the existing 12 percent, for three months till July 2020. This means that the new rate would be applicable on May-June-July salary period.
* The existing rate of contribution by both employee and employer is 12%.
The decision is estimated to infuse liquidity of Rs 6,750 crore in next three months.
* This reduction of the EPF contributions will be applicable for those workers who are not eligible for 24 percent EPF support under PM Garib Kalyan Package and its extension.
* However, the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs) and public sector undertakings (PSUs) will continue to contribute 12 percent.

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