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Important Current Affairs 17th March 2019

NATIONAL:

India sets aspirational target for engineering exports at USD 200 bn by 2025.

• India can achieve a three-fold "aspirational" increase in its engineering exports to reach $200 billion by 2025, if concerted efforts are made by the government and industry to develop a conducive ecosystem, and ensuring inputs at competitive prices, according to an EEPC India-Deloitte strategy paper. India's engineering exports, which contribute 25 per cent to the overall merchandise shipments, are projected to touch about $80-82 billion in the current financial year ending March 31.

West Bengal has maximum first-time voters in Lok Sabha polls.

• According to Election Commission, West Bengal has the maximum number of first-time voters, around 20.1 lakh, in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. WB is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with around 16.7 lakh and 13.6 lakh first-time voters, respectively. The number of people eligible to vote has reportedly increased by 8.4 crore as compared to 2014 General Elections. Over 1.5 crore voters are in the age group of 18-19 years. These "young voters" constitute 1.66 per cent of the total electors.

AFINDEX 2019 held at Pune.

• Africa-India Joint Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-19) between the Indian Army and 16 African nations will be conducted in Pune from March 18 to 27. The joint exercise would be held at Pune's Foreign Training Node at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering in Kirkee. 

Features of AFINDEX-19:

♦ 10 personnel, each from the participating nations from the African continent and personnel of Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian Army will participate in the joint exercise

♦ The exercise aims to train the participating contingents in Humanitarian Mine Assistance (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) under the United Nations Charter through practical

♦ Contingents from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger & Zambia are part of the joint exercise together with officers from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar as Observers

Erode Turmeric received GI tag.

• Erode Turmeric has finally received GI tag from the Geographical Indication Registry. Erode is the city in the state of Tamil Nadu. The product to acquire GI tag has to indicate that a product of a particular origin has a certain quality or reputation or some other characteristics, which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

The uniqueness of the Erode Turmeric:

♦ Erode Turmeric is golden yellow in colour with resistance to pests after boiling

♦ Erode turmeric contains 2.5 to 4.5% of curcumin content

♦ Erode Turmeric is grown in hot moist conditions prevalent in the area with temperature ranging from 20 degrees to 37.9 degrees Celsius with an average of 600 to 800 mm rainfall in a year Geographical Indication defines the goods as originating in the territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory, provided a given quality reputation or other characteristics of the product are attributable to its geographical origin.

Income Tax dept cracks down on terror funding in Kashmir valley.

• Income Tax Department conducted search actions at 5 locations in the Kashmir Valley. Few places in Jammu were also searched. In a release, the CBDT said, these actions are part of the Department’s continued drive against use of black money by disruptive elements in the State.

• It said, the operations also send a message of deterrence and obviation to those intending to vitiate the democratic process of free and fair elections.  The preliminary results are extremely encouraging. In the aggregate, undisclosed cash of one crore 44 lakh and unaccounted jewellery of 2.48 crore rupees has been seized.

NITI Aayog and USAID organised IEMF.

• Niti Ayog in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on the development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF). The workshop was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership.

•  IEMF aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modelling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build the capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modelling activities and future areas of research. The workshop featured eight expert sessions which saw discussions around the various aspects of setting up an India-centric energy modelling platform and was attended by various central government ministries and agencies.

SPORTS:

South Africas Duminy announces retirement from ODIs after 2019 World Cup.

• The 2019 World Cup will be Duminy's third appearance in the tournament, having featured for South Africa in 2011 in the subcontinent and in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. Allrounder Jean-Paul Duminy had already retired from Test cricket in September 2017 after featuring in 46 matches. Duminy has played 193 ODIs so far - scoring 5047 runs at an average of 37.39 - in addition to bagging 68 wickets.

Argentina, Colombia set to co-host Copa America in 2020.

• Argentina and Colombia have been chosen in principle to co-host the 2020 Copa America. The 2020 Copa América will be the 47th edition of the Copa América. 2019 Copa América will be  staged in Brazil between June 14 and July 7. The Copa América is the world's oldest international football tournament. The event was first held in 1916 in honour of the 100th anniversary of Argentina's independence—with Uruguay winning the inaugural title.

Sourav Ganguly appointed as advisor of Delhi Capitals for IPL 2019.

• Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was appointed as the advisor of Delhi Capitals (formerly known as Delhi Daredevils) for the upcoming edition of Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL), where he will work closely with the team’s head coach Ricky Ponting. With Captain Shreyas Iyer, Delhi Capitals will be facing Mumbai Indians on 24th March 2019 at the Wankhede Stadium.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

State Bank of India launched YONO Cash for cardless withdrawal of cash.

• State Bank of India launched ‘YONO Cash’ for cardless withdrawal of cash at over 16,500 SBI ATMs across the country. With this facility, customers can initiate the cash withdrawal process on the YONO app and set a six-digit YONO Cash PIN for the transaction.  They will also get a six-digit reference number for the transaction on their registered mobile number via SMS. The withdrawal has to be completed in the next 30 minutes at the nearest ATM. The initiative will also address their concern of using debit card at the ATMs for cash withdrawals by eliminating possible risk associated with it.

AWARDS:

Manmohan Singh presented the Business Line Changemaker of the Year award to Arun Jaitley.

• Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley received the award over successful implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The award was also presented to the petitioners against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalised homosexuality.

Indian Embassy in Nepal awarded 200 scholarships to meritorious Nepali students.

• The Indian Embassy in Nepal has announced 200 scholarships to meritorious Nepali students for continuing various undergraduate courses at colleges and universities. The scholarships were granted under the Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme.

• Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme was initiated by the Indian Embassy in Nepal to mark the completion of 50 years of India-Nepal Economic Cooperation. This year the scholarship programme covered 36 undergraduate courses including MBBS, BDS, BE, BSc and BBA The recipients of the scholarships represent 50 districts of Nepal. Under the scheme, an MBBS/BDS student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for five years, a BE student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for four years and a student studying in other undergraduate courses receives NRs. 3,000/- per month for three years. Those provided scholarship included 45% of girls and 8% differently-abled students.

INTERNATIONAL:

India welcomes France's decision to sanction Masood Azhar.

• India welcomed the decision taken by France to sanction Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar.  In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, Azhar who is a Pakistan-based and his outfit is UN proscribed terrorist organisation who is responsible for the Pulwama terrorist attack. Earlier, France has decided to freeze all assets of Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, JeM chief Masood Azhar, in the application of the country's Monetary and Financial Code.

• The French government's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France always been and always will be by India's side in the fight against terrorism.  France has decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets in the application of the Monetary and Financial Code.                                  

OBITUARIES:

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Passes Away Aged 63 After Battle with Pancreatic Cancer.

• Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister and former defence minister, has passed away at the age of 63 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Parrikar was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February 2018 and had been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since.

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Important Current Affairs of 14th March

NATIONAL:

Chennai to get second Greenfield airport.

• The Tamil Nadu government has finally taken the first step towards building the second Greenfield airport near Chennai. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) Limited has issued a Request for Proposal to appoint a consultant for preparing a draft report and identify potential sites near the city.

•  Tidco was chosen as the nodal agency for selection of a consultant, officials said. No site has been identified yet. The consultant will identify and propose three potential sites near Chennai for the greenfield airport. The consultant will look at the air traffic projections and the demand and do a detailed master plan citing the necessary airside and land facilities and other infrastructure and industrial provisions the site will need.

Over 12 Indian states banned e-cigarettes.

• Following an advisory from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued in 2018, Twelve states across India have banned Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.

• States of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Jharkhand have taken steps to ban the use of ENDS.

• ENDS, more commonly known as e-cigarettes or “vapes" in India, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavored liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.

Over 605 people have died of swine flu in 2019 so far: Health Ministry.

• According to data from the Union Health Ministry, as many as 605 people have died due to swine flu this year, with 75 deaths being reported last week. Over 19,380 people have tested positive for the virus. Rajasthan reported the highest number of swine flu cases (4,551) and deaths (162) followed by Gujarat (118 deaths  and 3,969 cases). Delhi was third with 3,362 swine flu cases and seven deaths. Swine flu is the common name for the H1N1 influenza virus. H1N1 is a self-limiting viral, air-borne disease spread from person to person, through large droplets generated due to coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface and close contact, including handshaking, hugging and kissing.

India extended USD 250 million to Nepal.

• India has extended a grant assistance of up to USD 250 million to Nepal for the reconstruction of infrastructures in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage that was destroyed during the devastating April 2015 earthquake which saw the death of over 9,000 people.

India ranks 16th in terms of highest number of impacted species in hotspots.

• India was ranked 16th in the world in terms of highest number of impacted species in biodiversity-rich zones (also known as hotspots) due to human actions.

• In India, 35 species affected on an average in biodiversity-rich zones. Malaysia ranks first among countries with highest number of impacted species (on an average 125 species). Southeast Asian tropical forests — including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species.

India bans Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

• Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft banned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the Indian airspace from 1600 hrs IST or 1030 UTC 13th March 2019. The airlines affected by this are SpiceJet which has 13 jets of the model 8 variant and Jet Airways which has 5 jets of this variant.

Thirty four edition of Aahar International Food and Hospitality Fair begins in New Delhi.

• 34th edition of Aahar- the International Food and Hospitality Fair which is organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) begins in New Delhi on 12th March 2019. Participants from China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA and UK are participating in the event.

HGS and NASSCOM to launch centre of excellence for PwDs in Bangalore.

• Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) partnered with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Foundation to launch a centre of excellence in Bengaluru for training differently-abled persons (PwDs) which will train a minimum of 100 PwDs making them industry-ready over the next 12 months with a goal to place at least 50% of them in companies already sensitised for hiring them.

• The trainees will be skilled in a variety of job roles suitable for hospitality, IT or BPM and retail industries and will also be trained on soft skills, interview skills, communication skills, and English language.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

HDFC Bank becomes third Indian firm to cross Rs 6 lakh crore in value.

• HDFC Bank crossed the Rs. 6 lakh crore market capitalisation mark for the first time on March 13, becoming only the third Indian company to achieve the milestone.

• Reliance Industries is the most valued Indian company with a market value of Rs.8.50 lakh crore, followed by TCS at Rs. 7.50 lakh crore.

About HDFC bank:

♦ HDFC Bank is India’s largest private sector lender by assets.

♦ CEO: Aditya Puri

♦ Headquarters: Mumbai

♦ Founded: August 1994, India

RBI to inject rupee liquidity through Forex swap.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap, a first-of-its-kind instrument, used for liquidity management. The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26.

•  The U.S. dollar amount mobilised through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities. This move of RBI can lower the dependence on open market operations (OMO) which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing as higher OMOs can distort the rates curve.

AWARDS AND RESIGNATION:

Rahul Bajaj resigns as chairman of Bajaj Finserv.

• Rahul Bajaj will step down as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Financial services company ‘Bajaj Finserv’ on May 16. However, he will continue to serve the company as Chairman Emeritus. The 80-year-old has been at the helm of Bajaj Finserv since its inception in 2007 and the Bajaj Group for around five decades.

Ved Rahi will be awarded with Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar.

• Famous Novelist and Film Director, Ved Rahi will be awarded prestigious Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar which carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh, A memento and a citation. Ved Rahi was born in Jammu in 1933 and he had written seven novels in Dogri Language. He also wrote in Hindi and Urdu. He was given Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Novel “Aale” which was written in Dogri Language.

INTERNATIONAL:

Japan announced Rs 22 lakh for Kolkata museum.

• The Japanese government announced a donation of some Rs 22 lakh ($31,800) to the Rabindra Bharati Museum, Kolkata in a bid to strengthen historical and cultural ties with India. Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel Prize recipient, visited Japan in 1916, 1924 and 1929, renewing relations between the countries as India's leading cultural ambassador.

About Japan:

♦ Capital: Tokyo

♦ Currency: Japanese yen

♦ Prime minister: Shinzo Abe

UK issued a Black hole Coin to commemorate Stephen Hawking.

• The United Kingdom has commemorated Professor Stephen Hawking in a new 50p coin. The coin has references to the late physicist's pioneering work on black holes.  Black Hole Coin  The commemorative coin aims to celebrate the life and "ground-breaking" achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018. It is a commemorative coin and not for circulation as currency.

• The coin features Hawkins's name in capital letters above a rippling drawing of concentric circles, intended to represent a black hole. The coin was designed by  British engraver and printmaker Edwina Ellis. The coin is available in gold, silver, and a double thickness silver version called a piedfort. The coin has been released by UK's Royal Mint.

EU has added 10 countries in the Tax blacklist.

• The European Union has expanded its tax haven blacklist by including 10 countries. The list now has 15 countries. The list was first drawn up by EU in 2017 in the wake of several scandals that pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

• Seven countries Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu, and Dominica were moved from greylist to blacklist due to their inability towards reform commitments. Three other countries added into the list are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates, and the Marshall Islands.

• Eu list of Tax Blacklist or Tax Havens: Tax Havens provide taxpayers with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serve to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. Features of these Tax Havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy.

Krishna Kumari Kohli becomes the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Senate of Pakistan.

• Krishna Kumari Kohli appointed as the first female senator of Pakistan from the Hindu Dalit community. She is also the first Thai Hindu woman to be elected to the Pakistan Senate. On 8th March 2019, which was celebrated as the International Women’s Day, she chaired the session of the Upper House of Parliament.

Industrial production growth declined to 1.7% in January 2019 as per CSO report.

• The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released the data for the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of January. The IIP data shows that: Industrial output growth stood at 1.7% in January against the 2.6% growth recorded in December 2018.  Eleven out of the twenty-three industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of January 2019 as compared to January 2018. The cumulative industrial production increased by 4% in April-January FY2019 compared with 4.1% growth in April-January FY2018.

Japan plans to stun the world in 2020 Olympics.

• Driverless cars, robot volunteers and ultra high-definition TV: Japan Inc. plans to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to show the world it has regained its touch for innovation and technology.  The last time Japan hosted the summer games, Tokyo 1964, it stunned the visitors with its shinkansen, the sleek high-speed bullet train that has since become a byword for cool and efficient transport.

•  The country used the games as a springboard to dominate the tech world. From Sharp's LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens to the Sony Walkman, Japan enjoyed an unparalleled reputation in the vanguard of technological innovation. Japan’s vision for the 2020 Games includes an aspiration to make them the most innovative in history.

NASA to send women to Mars.

• NASA, the US Space agency, said that the first person to set foot on Mars is likely to be a woman. It said that women are at the forefront of the U.S. space agency’s upcoming plans.

• NASA recently announced that it will have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. NASA has the first all-female spacewalk at the end of March, which is, of course, National Women’s Month. So NASA is committed to making sure that it has a diverse set of talent. It is also looking forward to the first woman on the Moon.

DAY:

World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March.

• World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March. The theme of the World Kidney Day 2019 is Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere.  Second Thursday of March every year is observed as World Kidney Day every year as a global health awareness campaign focusing on the importance of the kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

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Important Current Affairs of 10th March

NATIONAL:

Google launches 'Bolo' app to help children read in Hindi, English

• Google has launched a new app called Bolo, which aims to help students with their reading and comprehension skills and will help them read out aloud in English and in Hindi.

• The app features an animated character 'Diya', who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word.

• Bolo will also be a free app and relies on Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.

Southern Railway gets a boost; Kerala to get a new coaching terminal in Nemom

• Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal laid the foundation stone for New Coaching Terminal at Nemom and unveiled WAP-7HS passenger locomotive through video conferencing here today. Shri Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction), Railway Board, Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, Shri Vishwesh Chaubey, Member (Engineering), Railway Board and other Senior Railway Officers were present on this occasion.

• Shri Piyush Goyal said that the present Government has consistently focused on development for all areas in the country

• The main focus has been on large scale infrastructure creation both physical and social.

Telangana govt forms SIT to probe data theft case

• The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

• The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

• The SIT will have three IPS officers, two DSPs and a few instants A YSR Congress leader had lodged a complaint with the Cyberattack.

• YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy alleged that the TDP president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Centre to launch work from home jobs in the IT sector

• The government is working on a scheme to push work-from-home jobs in the IT sector by offering financial incentives to both employees and employers. Incentivising work-from-home jobs through policy-level initiatives can help in creating jobs in the ITES domain while increasing the available talent pool for the sector.

• This will create employment opportunities in the IT/ITES industry, especially for women and differently-abled persons. Currently, the scheme is proposed for a three-year period till March 31, 2022, with an outlay of about Rs.270 crore to create about 50,000 work-from-home jobs.

• The initiative is likely to be launched as phase II of the IT Ministry’s India BPO Promotion Scheme that incentivises firms to set up operations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the country. The scheme, launched in 2016, had an outlay of about Rs. 500 crore with an objective to create about 1.45 lakh jobs.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

DBS plans to triple balance sheet size in 5 years as a WoS

• Singapore’s DBS Bank plans to grow its balance sheet size threefold in five years. DBS recently started operations in India as a wholly owned subsidiary (WoS). The bank is expected to close the financial year with a balance sheet size of Rs.50,000 crore.

• In 2018, the bank infused Rs.1,800 crore capital while transforming itself into a WoS. The total capital of the bank now stands at Rs.7,700 crore, with a capital adequacy ratio of more than 19%. The loan book, which is about Rs. 20,000 crore, is predominantly made up of corporate loans while the share of retail is less than 10%. The deposit base of the bank is about Rs. 30,000 crore.

• DBS aims to grow the retail so that it contributes 30% of the income and profitability over the next few years.

AWARDS AND PRIZES:

Arata Isozaki won Pritzker Architecture Prize

• Arata Isozaki, a prominent Japanese architect renowned for his versatility and transnational approach to design, has won his field's highest accolade, the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

• He is the 46th person and eighth Japanese architect to receive the Pritzker Prize.

President Ram Nath Kovind to give Nari Shakti awards on International Womens Day

• International Women’s Day is being observed on 08th March. Governments, NGOs and other organisations across the world observe the day on the 8th of March every year to highlight the achievements of women.

• The theme for this year’s women’s day is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’.

• The purpose of the theme is to achieve gender equality by putting innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts.

RESIGNATION:

Kummanam Rajasekharan Resigns as Mizoram Governor

• Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan stepped down from his post. Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, has been given temporary charge of the Aizawl Raj Bhavan.

• Mr. Rajasekharan, who was former State president of the BJP in Kerala, sworn in as Governor of Mizoram in May 2018.

INTERNATIONAL:

China hikes defence budget to USD 177.61 billion, turns second highest spender

• China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per cent for this year, hiking it to USD 177.61 billion from last year's USD 175 billion.

• It is over three times India's defence budget.

• With this increase, China becomes the highest defence spender on defence after the United States.

• India's defence budget this year was increased by 6.87 per cent to Rs 3.18 lakh crore against last year's allocation of Rs 2.98 lakh crore.

France reiterates support for India’s permanent seat in reformed UNSC

• France, which assumed the March Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), has reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN organ. It said that the UNSC’s enlargement is the first crucial part towards its reform.

• India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany, and Japan for long, emphasizing that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.

• It also stressed that the UN cannot be recognised as a centre of gravity for multilateralism throughout the world unless it can step up partnerships and focus should also be made on openness to civil society, business world, NGOs and trade unions, which are all stakeholders that breathe life into the UN.

SPORTS:

Yomif Kejelcha sets world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec

• Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha smashed the world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec at the Bruce Lehane Invitational in Boston. The 21-year-old broke a record of a mark of 3:48.45 set by Morocco's Hicham El Gerrouj on February 12, 1997.

• It was third time lucky for Kejelcha, who narrowly missed out on breaking world indoor records in his two previous races. He finished just 0.01 outside the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games with a time of 3:48.46, and was then beaten to the world indoor 1,500m record in Birmingham one week later when compatriot Samuel Tefera won in 3:31.04.

EXTRAS:

HIV remission achieved via stem cell transplantation

• In a significant development, a person with HIV infection has been reported to be experiencing remission for the last 18 months after antiretroviral therapy (ART) was stopped following stem-cell transplantation in London. Remission is when HIV RNA (ribonucleic acid) is undetectable in blood. ART is used for treating HIV.

• The person with HIV was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 2012. To treat cancer, stem cells which give rise to blood cells were transplanted from a donor who had two mutant copies of a co-receptor for HIV infection. This exercise was carried out in London.  The co-receptor (CCR5) is used by the HIV virus to gain entry into host cells in humans. But a mutant does not allow the virus to enter the host cells and hence makes the person resistant to HIV infection.

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Important Current Affairs of 9th March

INTERNATIONAL:

Punjab Cabinet decision bring smiles on faces of teachers and nurses

• Punjab government is in a fix over the job status of 2,200 master-cadre contractual school teachers who have not been paid salary since November last year when their three-year contract had expired.

• They were supposed to get regular job at the expiry of the contract, but that hasn’t happened to date.

• Finance minister Manpreet Singh Badal gave a royal ignore to the teachers, who were demanding a regular job as per the conditions notified during their appointment in November 2014.

IRDAI, NHA form working group to curb fraud in Ayushman Bharat scheme

• The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the National Health Authority (NHA) have formed a working group on the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PM JAY).

• In six months, it will submit a report on how to detect and deter fraud through a common repository and capacity-building.

West Bengal Chief minister unveiled Yuvashree Arpan Scheme

• Under Yuvashree Arpan, 50,000 youths will receive financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each for setting up an enterprise.

• The Yuvashree I scheme is implemented by the state labour department.

• Launched in 2013, the state provides unemployment allowance of Rs 1,500 per month to 1, 00,000 unemployed youth.

• The state government's Khadya Sathi project was awarded the Skoch platinum award for providing service to the people under the governance category for bringing in socio-economic change.

Government doubled income tax exemption limit for gratuity to Rs 20 Lakh

• The government has doubled the income tax exemption limit for gratuity to Rs 20 lakh from the existing Rs 10 lakh.

• Gratuity law applies to all employees who work in an organization where there are 10 or more employees in a year.

• It will be implemented from March 29, 2018.

• This will increase the burden of paperwork for those who retired on March 31, 2018.

Kylie Jenner named youngest self-made billionaire of all time by Forbes magazine

• Jenner, 21, made it onto the annual Forbes list of billionaires after debuting her Kylie Cosmetics online in 2015 with $29 lip kits containing matching lipstick and lip liner.

• According to Forbes list, she was both the world's youngest billionaire and also the youngest self-made billionaire ever.

• The richest person in the world remained Amazon.com Inc Chief Executive Officer Jeff Bezos, whose net worth increased to $131 billion from $112 billion in 2018, according to Forbes.

CCEA approved new rules to provide greater coal availability

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved new rules that will provide greater coal availability to stressed thermal power projects, based on the recommendations of the Group of Ministers constituted to look into the issue. One of the reasons for the stress was the non-availability of coal and that thermal projects without a medium to long-term power purchase agreements would not get coal supply.

Uttarakhand CM Rawat lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat on Wednesday laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project which is considered to be a tourist novelty.

• The Rs 300-crore ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years, the Chief Minister said at a function here.

• The ropeway will shorten the one-hour zigzag drive to just 15 minutes from Purkul village the base camp at Dehradun to Mussoorie.

NGT ordered Volkswagen to deposit Rs.500 crore with CPCB

• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) ordered Volkswagen India to deposit a sum of Rs.500 crore with the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) within two months for using cheat devices in its diesel vehicles.

• A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel enhanced the compensation amount ofRs.171 crore, which was recommended by an NGT-appointed committee, as a means of creating deterrence.

• In November last year, the green panel had directed Volkswagen to deposit a sum of Rs.100 crore as interim compensation. Coming down heavily on the company for not complying with the order, the NGT, in January, had directed Volkswagen to deposit the sum within one day.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

United Bank, HDFC Life sign bancassurance deal

• United Bank of India, one of India’s premier Nationalized Banks signed a Bancassurance deal with HDFC Life Insurance Company. United Bank has a strong presence in rural and semi-urban areas with over 2,000 branches and offices while HDFC Life is India’s largest non-bank promoted private life insurer.

• Through this partnership, United Bank of India’s customers will be able to take advantage of HDFC Life’s expertise in Life Insurance products, distribution and customer service.

• The partnership promises to improve the overall business of both organizations.

• For the Bank’s customers, the choice of Life Insurance products will be a valuable addition.

• It will increase customer satisfaction and eventually lead to customer delight.

POLICY:

Cabinet approved for new hydroelectric policy

• The Union Cabinet approved a new hydroelectric policy aimed at boosting the sector, including according large hydro projects the status of renewable energy projects.

• According to the new policy, large hydro projects will also be designated as renewable energy projects. So far, only smaller projects of less than 25 MW in capacity were categorized as renewable energy. With the removal of this distinction, large hydro projects will be included as a separate category under the non-solar renewable purchase obligation policy.

• Under this policy, power purchasers will have to source a portion of electricity from large hydro projects. The new policy will increase the debt repayment period for hydro projects to 18 years from the current 12 years with the provision to introduce an escalating tariff of 2%.

SPORTS:

Cabinet approved for the Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior

• The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for setting up of a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. The Centre for Disability Sports, Gwalior will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 170.99 crore, spread over a period of 5 years. The Centre of Disability Sports would be registered under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.

• The centre would create an improved sports infrastructure to ensure effective participation of persons with disabilities in sports activities and also enable them to compete at national and international levels. It would aid in developing a sense of belonging in Divyangjan to facilitate their integration in society. A governing body consisting of not exceeding 12 members would be set up for overall superintendence and supervision of the Centre with representation for experts from National Level Sports Federations apart from experts in para games.

Tamil Nadu's 16-year-old, P Iniyan, becomes India's 61st chess Grandmaster

• Iniyan Panneerselvam defeated Ukraine's 37-year-old Grandmaster Sergey Fedorchuk in Noisiel Open chess tournament in France to become India's 61st Grandmaster.

• Viswanathan Anand is India’s first Chess Grandmaster and he achieved the norm way back in 1987. He is also a five-time World Chess champion.

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Important Current Affairs of 8 March

NATIONAL:

PM STIAC identified 9 national missions for India’s sustainable development

•  The Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PM-STIAC) have identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges to ensure India's sustainable development. Through the nine missions, the PM STIAC aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems.

The identified Nine Missions are:

♦ Natural language Translation

♦ Quantum Frontier

♦ Artificial Intelligence

♦ National Biodiversity Mission

♦ Electric Vehicles

♦ BioScience for Human Health

♦ Waste to Wealth

♦ Deep Ocean Exploration

♦ Agnii

Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission for women in Indian Army

• The Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission will be granted for Women in all the 10 branches of Indian Army. The extension of Permanent Commission to Women will provide women with a career in the Army till their retirement. The Short Service Commission entails an opportunity to serve as a Commissioned Officer for 10/14 years. At the end of 10 yrs, 3 options will be provided, either elect for a Permanent Commission or opt out or have the option of 4 years extension.

• The Women Officers will now get a permanent commission in branches such as signals, engineers, army aviation, army air defence, electronics, and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordnance corps, and intelligence. The Defence Ministry had earlier approved permanent commission for women in all branches of Air Force including fighter pilots.

Delhi government launches app One Delhi to track bus, metro services

• A commute-planning app “ONE Delhi” was launched by Kailash Gahlot, Transport Minister of Delhi.

• The app offers facilities such as:

• Obtaining the estimated time of arrival for buses and metros.

• Tracking the real-time location of buses and metros.

• Providing information about their fares.

• Providing the best route and mode of travel between two places.

• List of tourist spots in Delhi.

MoEFCC amended rules to ban the import of solid plastic waste

• The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has amended the Hazardous and other Wastes (Management and Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 to completely ban the import of solid plastic waste.

• The amendment notified by the MoEFCC fixes a loophole which previously allowed the import of plastic waste into India for processing. The ban on the import of plastics is in lines with the principles of sustainable development. To ensure the ban doesn't adversely impact the ease of doing business, the amendment allows the reverse import of defective electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, within a year of export.

• India is exploring various options to discourage the use of single-use plastics and also is emphasizing recycling of the plastic waste to reduce the burden on the environment thereby providing benefits.

OECD has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for 2019 to 3.3 percent

• The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for the year 2019.  OECD has cut its 2019 forecast for global economic growth to 3.3% for the current year, down from 3.5% it predicted earlier.

• The report notes that trade tensions and political uncertainty, including Brexit and erosion of business and consumer confidence are weighing on the world's economy thereby contributing to the slowdown. The 19-nation eurozone was particularly hard to hit, with predicted growth dropping from 1.8% to 1% which was contributed to policy uncertainty including those over Brexit.

Government to issue Rs 20 coins for the first time

• The Finance Ministry has announced the rollout of a new Rs. 20 coin shaped like a "dodecagon", a 12-edged polygon.

• The new coin will be heavier than all the existing coins at 8.54 grams.

• The obverse side of the coin will bear Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar while the reverse will have the denominational value "20" with rupee symbol above.

• New series of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10 denomination coins will also be minted.

• As per Coinage Act, 1906, the Government of India has the sole right to mint coins and the responsibility for coinage vests with the Government.

• Coins are minted at the four India Government Mints at Mumbai, Alipore (Kolkata), Saifabad (Hyderabad), Cherlapally (Hyderabad) and Noida (UP).

Odisha Government announces financial assistance for craftsmen

• Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Karigar Sahayata’ for financial assistance to craftsmen. The nodal department of the scheme is the Directorate of handicrafts.

• Craftsmen with 10 years of experience and having annual income below Rs.1 lakh are eligible to get assistance of Rs.800 per month.

• For craftsmen above 80 years of age would get Rs.1000 per month allowance for those has the same experience and annual income as above.

• Annual income certificate, residence proof, experience certificate and age proof are required to produce for availing the benefits of the scheme.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

SBI and Hitachi Payment Services launched SBI PSPL to establish digital payments platform in India

• State Bank of India (SBI) and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, launched their merchant-acquiring joint venture, SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL), for establishing a digital payments platform for India and other countries in the region, in Mumbai.

•  It will facilitate the expansion of the digital payments landscape in India via its digital payments platform and offer innovative products to suit the requirements of all segments of merchants by leveraging the brand value and vast distribution network of SBI, and bring Artificial Intelligence and other technological capabilities of Hitachi to SBI Payment Services.

National Housing Bank proposes stricter regulations for Housing Finance Companies

• National Housing Bank (NHB),a mortgage sector regulator and a fully owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose stricter regulations on the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to prevent them from falling prey to liquidity and credit risks.

• Following proposals have been put forward:

• Increasing the capital adequacy ratio (CAR)of these companies from 12%to 15%, in a phased manner by 31st March 2022. This will be accomplished by increasing the minimum CAR to 13% by 31st March 2020, 14 % by 31st March 2021 and 15 % by 2022.

• Bringing down the public borrowings to 12 times of the Net Owned Fund (NOF) from the existing 16 times, by March 2022.

•  Implementing graded reduction in the limit on the overall borrowings of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) from 16 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) to 14 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) by 31st March 2020, 13 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2021 and 12 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2022

World Bank to provide Rs 2,200 crores for a healthcare project to Andhra Pradesh.

• The World Bank decided to provide a loan of Rs. 2200 crores ($328-million) to Andhra Pradesh for implementation of the AP Health Systems Strengthening Project (APHSSP).

• The loan agreement was signed between the Government of India, government of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank

• The agreement was signed by Bandana Preyashi, director, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI), Poonam Malakondaiah, Special Chief Secretary (Medical and Health, AP government) and Mohini Kak and Kari L Hurt, representatives of World Bank in India.

• The project aims to improve the quality of healthcare, availability and accessibility of primary health services to the majority population of the state.

• The quality of healthcare delivery will be enhanced through National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) certifications for Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

BIAC India won the Women on a Mission award

• Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) India’s partner P. Doraswamy was conferred with ‘The Women on A Mission Award’. It was presented to him by philanthropist Sudha Narayana Murthy at the women’s summit organized under ‘he for she’ category in Bengaluru.

• The award was given to him for his contribution to the welfare of women workforce in Visakhapatnam by organizing free medical camps, cancer screening initiatives, distribution of free amenities.

DAY:

International Women's Day 2019

• International Women's Day is celebrated across the world on March 8.

• The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's Year, 1975.

• Official UN Theme of International Women's Day 2019: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.

• National Women's Day of India was observed on 13 February, on the date of birth of India’s first women governor Sarojini Naidu.

INTERNATIONAL:

Singapore government to invest Rs 5,000 crore in Bharti Airtel

• Singapore's government’s investment arm GIC Pvt Ltd will subscribe to shares worth Rs.5,000 crore as part of Airtel's plans to raise Rs.25,000 crore through rights issue.

• Singapore's Singtel also committed to buying Rs.3,750 crore worth Airtel stock.

Kaja Kallas elected as the first female Prime Minister of Estonia

• Kaja Kallas is the leader of country’s Reform Party.

• The Reform party beat the current Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’ lead Centre party, gaining 4 new seats in the parliament.

• Estonia also elected their first female president Kersti Kaljulaid in 2016.

• Estonia is a small country in the Baltic states that has been very active in the block chain field.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2019

AWARDS AND HONORS:

President Kovind presents Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.

• President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said each region in the country has a distinct cultural identity but this does not divide but unites and harmonizes all of India.

• President made the statement after presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony here on Monday. He remarked that the award is a celebration of Indian tradition of culture.

• Remembering Rabindranath Tagore, President Kovind said, "Gurudev was a remarkable genius, who became the first Indian Nobel laureate. Gurudev Tagore is remembered every day as a poet who gave India its national anthem. He belongs to the entire world as he was a nationalist as well as an internationalist."

Sudanese refugee wins major human rights award.

• Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

• It is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”. Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s podcast “The Messenger”, created from more than 4,000 WhatsApp messages Muhamat sent from the detention center, had won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Sunil Chhetri receives 'Football Ratna' award.

•Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honor a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

• Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honored by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”

•“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football, and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

NATIONAL:

Infosys launches InfyTQ app for engineering students.

• Infosys has announced the launch of a digital platform offering learning and engagement experiences for engineering students.

•“InfyTQ is a free platform open to all engineering students in their third and fourth year. The platform encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready,” said a statement from Infosys.

• InfyTQ will be available on both mobile and desktop and is equipped with a plethora of content, courses and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification.

During his Jharkhand visit, PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate several development projects.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamau in Jharkhand on Sunday and inaugurate a host of development schemes during his visit to the state, an official statement said.

• The prime minister will lay the foundation stone online for four 500-bedded hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamau and Jamshedpur.

• This apart, he will lay foundation stone for Hazaribagh urban line water supply scheme and rural drinking water supply - four schemes for Hazaribagh and two for Ramgarh.

Banned Punjabi Poem On Jallianwala Massacre To Be Published In English After 99 Years.

• A poem on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920, has now been translated into English.

• Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time.

• The name of the poem is ‘Khooni Vaisakhi'

SPORTS:

Vidarbha won Irani Cup.

• Vidarbha defended its Irani Cup title on 16 Feb 2019 at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur.

• The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

National Championship: Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu to clinch second successive title.

• Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the second year running as she claimed the senior national title in women's singles once again with a 21-18, 21-15 win in Guwahati on Saturday.

• Saina had defeated Sindhu in the final in the previous edition of the nationals in November 2017 and the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist was at it again.

Qatar Open: Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win her biggest tour title.

• Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open.

• Mertens, 23, recovered from a set and a break down - losing 18 points in a row at one stage in the second set - to beat the world number three 3-6 6-4 6-3.

• World number 21 Mertens also overcame a lengthy medical time-out for a back issue in the first set.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS:

JP Morgan: first to create crypto currency.

• US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase became the first US bank to offer its own crypto currency.

• The crypto currency, called 'JPM Coin' will always have a value equivalent to one US dollar.

• It will be initially used internally between JPMorgan Chase's wholesale business clients.

RBI lifts cap on FPI investments.

• The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity

• It was stipulated in April 2018 that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.

•This has been done with a view to encourage more foreign investments.

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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2019

National News

Highlights of 2019 – 20 Interim Budget 
•    6,000 rupees yearly direct support to farmers through PM-KISAN Programme.
•    3,000 rupees pension for unorganised sector workers earning upto 15,000 rupees through a mega Pension Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Shram- Yogi Maandhan.
•    Direct tax system simplified; Returns to be processed in 24 hours with  immediate refunds.
•    Allocations to Health care, MGNREGA, SC/ST welfare programmes, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Development of infrastructure in North-East hiked substantially.
•    A separate Department of Fisheries.
•    Allocations to Defence budget crosses three lakh crore rupees for the first time.
•    10 point vision for 2030 to realize India’s social economic potential; 10 trillion dollars economy in 13 years.
•    An All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS for Haryana.
•    Single window clearance for shooting films to be made available to Indian film makers.
•    The fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 percent of GDP are the highlight of the Interim Budget for 2019-20.
Budget
1.    What is an interim budget?
An interim budget is the budget of a regime or administration that is going through a period of transition.
2.    When is an interim budget presented?
The government presents an interim budget if it does not have time to present a full Budget or if the general elections may be in the near future.
3.    Why do we need an interim budget?
The government needs Interim Budget to work during the time it takes for a new government to make its own fiscal plan. The budget for the year permitted by Parliament gives the government spending rights only till 31st March i.e. end of the financial year.

Government Unveils vision for the Next Decade 
The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past.
The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-  
•    To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
•    Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
•    To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
•    Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
•    Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
•    Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India’s coastline and ocean waters will power development
•    Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
•    Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
•    A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
•    Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

PETROTECH-2019 
PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India. India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India.
Aim : The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.
About Conference: The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise, and experiences. Being held for the last over two decades with growing participation.


8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava 
An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
Guru Padmasambhava
•    Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and travelled all across Himalayan region in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.
•    Guru Padmasambhava is highly revered in Bhutan. There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
•    Guru Padmasambhava was also known as Guru Rinpoche is widely venerated as a “second Buddha” by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and elsewhere.


Human Space Flight Centre Inaugurated 
•    The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which would be the core of ISRO’s future manned missions was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre will implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan with the support of existing ISRO Centres.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre would be responsible for end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

New India by 2022
Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey takes Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC (Appointment)
•    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission today. The oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.
•    An officer of the 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Shri Choubey during his career spanning over more than 35 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
•    He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Development Commissioner 
(Handloom) in the Ministry of Textiles, Director General in the Directorate General of
Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power and prior to his joining the Commission, he was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, In the State also, he held various important positions in the Revenue, Rural Development, Transport, Finance, Industries, Telecommunications and Personnel & General Administration Department.

International news

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
Details of Sanctions
On 5 December 2013 the United Nations Security Council, concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic. This was followed on 28 January 2014 by a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with individuals who act to undermine the peace stability and security of CAR or who violate the arms embargo.
About Central African Republic (CAR)
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth 
•    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.
•    Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.
•    Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2019

National News

Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrate 47th Statehood Day 
The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrated their 47th Statehood Day on 21st January. The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya became full-fledged states on January 21, 1972.
State Reorganisation of North-East 
At the time of Independence, India’s North-East region composed of three kinds of entities mentioned below:
Assam Province of British India. 
Princely states of Manipur and Tripura.
North East Frontier Province (NEFA).


PM pays tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti 
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti.
“I bow to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti. He was a stalwart who committed himself towards ensuring India is free and leads a life of dignity. We are committed to fulfilling his ideals and creating a strong India”, the Prime Minister said.


PM to inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort 
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort, New Delhi on 23 January 2019.  
The Museum on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army provides a detailed account of Subhash Chandra Bose and the history of Indian National Army. It also showcases various artefacts related to Subhash Chandra Bose and INA. The artefacts include wooden chair and sword used by Netaji, medals, badges, uniforms and other artefacts related to INA.


The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) achieved best ever performance in the year 2018 
The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) is Indian Railways’ centre of excellence for procurement of modern and advanced machine tools, building ‘State of the Art’ rolling stock maintenance and manufacturing facilities for modernizing Indian Railway workshops.
Timely procurement of modern M&P and completion of works has been given a big boost during the last quarter which will significantly improve the outcome by use of technology. This will support Indian Railways drive for modernization of its rolling stock manufacturing and maintenance infrastructure, and soon, to come in terms of the National Policy for Advance Manufacturing (NPAM) and Industry 4.0.
 

Economy

IMF growth Prospects for India 
The World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the following prospects about the growth trends for India:
•    IMF has retained its growth projection for the country at 7.5 per cent for 2019-20 and said it is likely to accelerate to 7.7 per cent in 2020-21. This brings cheers for India as the world growth rates have been revised downwards.
•    India will remain the fastest-growing economy in the world, at least for the next two years.
•    India’s growth rate is poised to pick up in 2019, benefiting from low oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening than previously expected as inflation pressures ease.
•    The projection by IMF is higher than the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) estimate of 7.2 per cent and lower than the RBI’s estimate of 7.4 per cent. IMF’s estimates are in line with the World Bank’s estimate of 7.3 per cent.
 

Science

Triple drug therapy 
Nagpur recently launched a pilot project to administer triple drug therapy with the long term aim of eradicating lymphatic filariasis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending three drug treatment to accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
The treatment, known as IDA, involves a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate and albendazole. It is being recommended annually in settings where its use is expected to have the greatest impact.
Lymphatic filariasis - Caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system.
 

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Important Current Affairs 12th January 2019

Science

Earth’s north magnetic pole moving at alarming rate 
Rapid shifts in the Earth’s north magnetic pole are forcing researchers to make an unprecedented early update to a model that helps navigation by ships, planes and submarines in the Arctic.
Beggan said the moving pole affected navigation, mainly in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. NATO and the U.S. and British militaries are among those using the magnetic model, as well as civilian navigation.
Beggan said the recent shifts in the north magnetic pole would be unnoticed by most people outside the Arctic, for instance using smartphones in New York, Beijing or London.
 

International news

Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza 
The Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform. This is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian.
Indian IT enterprises are world renowned for their expertise in business transformation and operational optimization by using IT tools in complex business environments.
SIDCOP, which is a boundary-less marketplace offers this opportunity for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions.
 

National news

25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 
Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai. The two-day summit will provide a platform for discussions between Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India. It will also offer new partnerships and investment opportunities in sectors like Artificial Intelligence, big data, agri and food processing, defence and aeronautics, renewable energy and tourism.
The theme of the sessions will vary from reforms and deregulation to infrastructure development as a necessity for growth. With an aim to showcase a New India, the summit is being organised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Maharashtra Government and Confederation of Indian Industry.


Armed Forces Veterans Day 

The Armed Force are celebrating the Veterans Day on 14 Jan to honour the veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  To mark the occasion, veteran rallies will be held country wide at Armed Forces stations.  The main celebration in Delhi will take place at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt.  Raksha Mantri and Raksha Rajya Mantri will grace the occasion amongst many other eminent officials associated with the Veterans affairs.

Indus Food 2019 
INDUS FOOD-II with the theme of ‘World Food Supermarket’ will be held on 14th and 15th January, 2019, at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. The event is aimed at promoting India as a strong and reliable exporter of food and beverage products to the world. INDUS FOOD 2019 will promote value addition to India’s agriculture exports and integrate Indian farmers and agricultural products with global value chains.
With more than 700 buyers from 70 countries visiting INDUS FOOD-II and more than 500 food suppliers, the event will lead to greater interaction of Indian exporters with global customers leading to enhanced product development and better price realization in international markets. 

 
Army Tech Seminar (ARTECH 2019) 
In its quest for modernization through optimum use of emerging technologies, Indian Army organised the Army Technology Seminar-2019  (ARTECH 2019) on the theme “Disruptive Impact of Emerging Technologies on Land Warfare” at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on 11 Jan 2019.  The seminar was aimed to bring together stakeholders in the military, academia and industry to provide perspective on the available and emerging technologies which could have an impact on warfighting. An exhibition showcasing military innovations developed by field Army, DRDO, Academia and industry was also organised during the seminar.


Sanskriti Kumbh, a 29 days Cultural extravaganza begins at Kumbh Mela Area, Prayagraj 
The biggest cultural festival named Sanskriti Kumbh is celebrating the conglomeration of Spiritual Consciousness and Cultural Heritage of India in the main premises of Kumbh Mela area in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India is organizing Sanskriti Kumbh with intent to showcase the rich Cultural Heritage of India in all its rich and varied dimensions viz. Performing Arts- Folk, Tribal and Classical art forms, Handicrafts, Cuisines, Exhibitions etc. all in one place.
Kumbh Mela is one of the oldest and largest congregation in the world. Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people irrespective of all caste, creed, sex and region. The significance of Kumbh Mela has been enhanced at the Global level as the UNESCO has inscribed Kumbh Mela on the list of Intangible Cultural heritage for humanity in 2017. This time Kumbh is being organized in the city of Prayagraj which is located at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and Mystic river of Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh.
 

Economy news

Industrial production falls to 0.5% in November 

Industrial production in November grew at just 0.5 per cent compared to 8.1 percent in October, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Friday. Factory output had grown by 8.5 per cent in November 2017. The last low was in June 2017, when IIP growth contracted by 0.3 per cent. The October IIP was also revised to 8.4 per cent from 8.1 per cent earlier by the CSO.

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.

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Important Current Affairs 9th January 2019

National News

Customers cannot be charged for availing tokenisation service: RBI 
•    The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service. However, the central bank has made it clear that no charges should be recovered from the customer for availing this service.
•    Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
•    The RBI has allowed card payment networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, that is, a third party app provider. A card holder can avail these services by registering the card on the token requestor’s app and after giving ‘explicit consent’.
 

Sports

Sharath-Manika duo shocks Manav-Archana, takes title 
•    Sharath Kamal, featuring in the mixed doubles event after 11 years, partnered Manika Batra to outclass the top-seeded pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath in an all-Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) final and clinch the first individual title of the 11Sports 80th inter-State and National table tennis championship.
•    The tournament was held at J.N. Indoor Stadium of Cuttack


Egypt to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
•    Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations between 15th June and 13th July. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement in Senegalese capital Dakar yesterday.
•    The CAF executive committee preferred Egypt to South Africa as replacement for original hosts Cameroon, who were dropped due to delays in preparations and concerns over security.
•    Egypt will stage the biennial showpiece of African football for the fifth time
 

Economy and Banking

Nandan Nilekani to head five-member RBI panel on digital payments 
•    The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a five-member panel headed by Nandan Nilekani to suggest ways to improve digital payments. 
•    The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.
•    Former Deputy Governor of RBI H.R. Khan, former Vijaya Bank MD and CEO Kishore Sansi, former Secretary of Information and Technology Aruna Sharma and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad, are the other members of the panel.
•    The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.


Raisina Dialogue begins in New Delhi
•    Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg has pitched for promoting Ocean economy and said that resources in the ocean should be used properly.
•    Delivering her inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday evening in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ms. Solberg said, rapid climate changes in the Arctic area will have a far-reaching global impact and the world has a responsibility to protect the ocean.
•    Calling for promoting blue economy, Ms. Solberg said, ocean-based industries help provide jobs. She also said there is a need to improve the health of the oceans.
 

International Relations

EAM Sushma meets Australian, Spanish counterparts 
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Australian and Spanish counterparts in New Delhi.
•    Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who is on her maiden visit to India, will give the Ministerial Address on ‘The Arrival of Global Politics' at the Raisina Dialogue.
•    Mrs Swaraj also met Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles. The two leaders had a good discussion on various aspects of bilateral relations, including trade and investment, security and renewable energy.


India, Norway agree to combat international terrorism
•    India and Norway have agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
•    The two countries also decided to step up bilateral trade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg in New Delhi today.
•    They discussed ways to give new energy and direction to bilateral ties. The two countries also signed a MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
 

International News

Gautemala to withdraw from UN-backed anti-corruption commission 
•    Guatemala has said it is withdrawing from a UN-backed anti-corruption commission. It has given the UN body's staff 24 hours to leave the country. 
•    President Jimmy Morales accused the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, commonly known as CICIG, of polarising the country and putting its security at risk.
•    The CICIG was formed in 2006 upon the request of the Guatemalan government to combat high rates of impunity for crimes.
 

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