15th Oct, 2020

World Economic Outlook report released

World Economic Outlook October 2020 report titled, 'A Long and Difficult Ascent' was recently released.

Released by: international Monetary Fund

According to the report, Global output is projected to shrink 4.4% in 2020.

After 2021, global growth is expected to be moderate at 3.5% in the medium term.

India’s economy is expected to contract 10.3% in the current fiscal year due to COVID-19 pandemic.

There will be a downgrade of 5.8 percentage points from its June forecast. 

It is expected to rebound in April 2021 with 8.8% growth — an upgrade of 2.8% compared to the June update.

Consumer prices are expected to grow at 4.9% in 2020 and by 3.7% in 2021.

The current account balance is projected to grow by 0.3% in 2020 and -0.9% in 2021.

Place in news: Kastellorizo

Recently, Turkey’s redeployment of the Oruc Reis survey vessel for new energy exploration around Kastellorizo has reignited tensions over sea boundaries between Greek islands, Cyprus and Turkey’s southern coast.

Turkish survey ship was deployed to begin prospecting for hydrocarbons in disputed waters around the Greek island of Kastellorizo.

According to Germany, it would strike a serious blow to efforts at easing tensions and improving ties between the European Union and Turkey.

Kastellorizo or Castellorizo

Officially known as Megisti.

It is a Greek island.

It is a municipality of the Dodecanese in the Eastern Mediterranean.

Opposition Phenomenon (Mars)

Recently, Mars became the third brightest object (moon and Venus are first and second, respectively) outshining Jupiter in the night sky.

This event is referred to as “opposition”.

It takes place every two years and two months.


It is the event when the sun, Earth and an outer planet are lined up, with the Earth in the middle. 

The time of opposition is the point when the outer planet is typically also at its closest distance to the Earth for a given year.

Since it is close, the planet appears brighter in the sky.

‘STARS’ Project approved

The Union Cabinet has approved World Bank supported Strengthening Teaching-Learning and

Results for States -STARS project recently.

The Project seeks to support States in developing, implementing and evaluating interventions with direct linkages to improved education outcomes.

The total project cost is 5,718 crore rupees. 

World Bank shall provide assistance amounting to 500 million US dollars. 

It would be implemented as a new Centrally Sponsored Scheme under Department of School Education and Literacy

It will cover six States, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Kerala and Odisha.

Second phase of Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna launched 

The second phase of “Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna” was recently launched for the underprivileged Thalassemic patients.

Thalassemia Bal Sewa Yojna

Launched in: 2017

It is a Coal India CSR funded Hematopoietic Stem Cell Transplantation (HSCT) program.

Aim: To provide a one-time cure opportunity for Haemoglobinopathies like Thalassaemia and Sickle Cell Disease for patients who have a matched family donor.

The CSR initiative was targeted to provide financial assistance to a total of 200 patients by providing a package cost not exceeding Rs. 10 lakhs per HSCT.


Haemoglobinopathies, such as Thalassemia and sickle cell disease are inherited disorders of red

blood cells. 

They are preventable.

People with thalassaemia are not able to make enough haemoglobin due to which oxygen cannot get to all parts of the body. 

Due to this, organs are unable to function properly.

There are two major types of thalassaemia, alpha and beta. These are named for the two protein chains that make up normal haemoglobin.

In India, Thalassemia Major (TM) and the severe form of Thalassemia Intermedia (TI) constitute the major burden of disease.

MACS-6478 wheat variety doubles farmers’ yield

A new wheat variety MACS-6478 was recently in news. 

It has helped farmers in a village in Maharashtra to double their yield.

Developed by: Scientists from Agharkar Research Institute, an autonomous institute of the Department of Science and Technology.

The farmers are now getting a yield of 45 to 60 quintal per hectare with the new variety compared to earlier average yield ranging 25 to 30 quintal per hectare.

It is also called high yielding Aestivum, matures in 110 days and is resistant to most races of leaf and stem rust.

The Third Assembly of International Solar Alliance (ISA) recently held

The Third Assembly of the International Solar Alliance was recently held. 

India has been re-elected as the President of the International Solar Alliance (ISA) and France as

the Co-President for a term of two years.

The assembly also approved the initiatives of the ISA Secretariat in institutionalizing ISA’s engagement with the private and public corporate sector through the Coalition for Sustainable Climate Action (CSCA). 

Visvesvaraya award was also conferred. It recognizes the countries with maximum floating solar capacity in each of the four regions of ISA. 

The awards went to Japan for the Asia Pacific region and the Netherlands for Europe and Other region.

For COVID-19, ISA set up ISA CARES. It is an initiative dedicated to deployment of solar energy in healthcare sector in LDC/SIDS ISA Member countries. 

The initiative aims to solarize one primary health sector in each district of the target Member countries.

The ISA is an initiative that was launched by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France on 30 November 2015 at Paris, France on the side-lines of the COP-21.

Vision: Promotion of solar energy for making solar energy a valuable source of affordable and reliable green and clean energy in member countries

ISA Headquarter and interim Secretariat: Gurugram, India

Simultaneous blasting for Zojila Tunnel

Union Road Transport and Highways Minister will initiate simultaneous blasting for Zojila Tunnel in Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.

The tunnel will provide all-weather connectivity between Srinagar valley and Leh on NH-1 and will bring about an all-round economic and socio-cultural integration of Jammu and Kashmir.

It involves construction of a 14.15-kilometre long tunnel at an altitude of about three thousand metres under Zojila pass on NH-1 connecting Srinagar and Leh through Dras and Kargil.

Megha Engineering & Infrastructure Limited (MEIL) has been awarded with the contract of construction of ZojiLa Tunnel between Baltal and Minamarg within six years and nearly 19-KM approach roads on both sides in two and half years.

Both on the east portal of ZojiLa Tunnel at Meenamarg on Kargil side in UT Ladakh and the west portal of Nilagrar tunnel in Ganderbal district of UT Jammu & Kashmir, tunnel works would begin with simultaneous blasts. 

Operation Green

It is being implemented as part of Atmanirbhar Abhiyan. 

Ministry: Union Ministry of Food Processing. 

Under this scheme, 50% subsidy is given to the farmers for transporting the surplus produce of agricultural commodities like oranges and vegetables to the markets by rail. 

50% subsidy is also given for cold chain storage of agricultural commodities.

In order to get this subsidy, farmers have to attach self-certified documents online on ‘Sampada’ portal of the Ministry of Food Processing.