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Important Current Affairs 30th April 2019

NATIONAL:

MakeMyTrip parent acquires majority stake in Quest2Travel.

• MakeMyTrip Ltd, which owns and operates MakeMyTrip, Goibibo and redBus, has acquired a majority stake in web-based corporate travel management company 'Quest2Travel'. Founded in 2000, Mumbai-based Quest2Travel counts Tata Motors among its customers. MakeMyTrip Group CEO Deep Kalra said, "With this investment we are making a decisive foray into providing travel solutions for corporate customers".

India beats China as Asia's top fintech funding hub in Q1: Report.

• India was the top Asian market for VC-backed fintech funding in Q1 of 2019 with $286 million in funding, beating China which recorded $192 million, as per CB Insights. Both countries recorded 29 deals, a decrease for China which recorded 76 deals three quarters ago. The report suggested tightened regulation around online lending in China may have caused the drop.

Kolkata's speech recognition platform Mihup raises ₹12.5 cr.

• Kolkata-based AI-enabled speech recognition platform for vernacular languages, Mihup, has raised ₹12.5 crore in Series A funding round from Accel Partners and Ideaspring Capital. In 2016, Mihup had secured over ₹45 crore seed funding from Accel Partners. Founded by Biplab Chakraborty, Sandipan Chattopadhyay, Sandipan Mandal, and Tapan Barman, Mihup offers services in Hindi, English, and Bengali.

NTPC to raise ₹3,000 crore via bonds on Friday.

• The proceeds will be utilised to meet capital expenditure requirements, working capital needs, existing loans refinancing and other general corporate requirements

• The bonds are proposed to be listed on both the National Stock Exchange and the BSE

Zomato to launch 20 Hyperpure warehouses in 18 cities by next year.

• For now, Zomato will scale the warehouses in the top metros before moving to smaller cities

• Zomato opened its second Hyperpure warehouse on Monday in New Delhi.

INTERNATIONAL:

Samsung posts 60% drop in profit, says S10 logged 'solid sales'.

• Samsung registered a 60% drop in Q1 profit compared to last year, making about $5.3 billion profit from January-March 2019. The South Korean company said the earnings were weighed down by memory chips and displays, although the new Galaxy S10 smartphone logged solid sales. Samsung added its Galaxy Fold launch could be delayed to the "second half of the year".

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Amazon targets $5 billion e-commerce exports from India by 2023.

• The programme started with just few hundred sellers in 2015 and has now crossed $1-billion export mark from India with 50,000 exporters

• Amazon in second edition of its annual 'Export Digest' said there has been a growth of 56% in the number of global sellers from India in 2018.

R-Cap looks to raise ₹10,000 cr through stake sale to pare debt.

• Company plans to divest stakes in NBFC, media and insurance units amid a string of rating downgrades

• The Anil Ambani group firm plans to sell up to a 51% stake each in its wholly owned non-banking financial companies.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

President Sirisena appointed General S.H.S Kottegoda as the Defence Secretary.

• President Maithripala Sirisena on 29th April appointed General S.H.S Kottegoda, a former Army commander, to the post of Defence Secretary. He replaces Hemasiri Fernando who resigned from the post after the Easter blasts that killed over 250 people.

• President Sirisena also named Deputy Inspector-General Chandana Wickramaratne as the acting policechief as the incumbent Pujith Jayasundara is currently on compulsory leave. President Sirisena squarely blamed the Defence Secretary and the IGP for failing to pass on the information to him.

• As per Sri Lankan law, the Inspector General of Police (IGP) can be removed from the post only with a parliamentary resolution backed by a majority and based on a subsequent inquiry by a committee.

DAYS:

Nation observes Ayushman Bharat Diwas on 30th April.

• As part of Gram Swaraj Abhiyan, Ayushman Bharat Diwas is celebrated across the country on April 30. For the first time, the day was observed on 30th April 2018. During the event, information regarding Ayushman Bharat Scheme was provided to people during health camps organised in rural areas.

On this day, gram sabhas were organized in different parts of the country to create awareness about the National Health Protection Mission and verify and update details in the Socio-Economic and Caste Census database.

AWARDS:

Alfred Brownell was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize.

• Alfred Brownell, an environmental lawyer, and activist was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize. He was awarded for exposing alleged abuse by the palm oil company Golden Veroleum Liberia and helping to prevent it from converting about 50 km2 of forest that is home to elephants, pygmy hippopotamuses, and chimpanzees.

• The company had been given a green light in 2010 by the government to expand in the country and was poised to turn more than 2,000 km2 of the lush forest into palm oil plantations. He won the Goldman prize along with five others for grassroots environmental activism.

Other Awardees:

• Linda Garcia of Vancouver, Washington, who rallied local communities to successfully prevent the construction of North America’s largest oil terminal.

• Ana Colovic Lesoska of North Macedonia, whose seven-year campaign helped stop hydroelectric projects from being built in the country’s largest national park.

• Bayarjargal Agvaantseren of Mongolia, who led the fight to create the Tost Tosonbumba Nature Reserve.

• Jacqueline Evans of the Cook Islands, whose work led to the conservation and sustainable management of all of the Cook Islands’ ocean territory and creation of 15 marine protected areas.

• Alberto Curamil of Chile, a jailed indigenous activist who had protested several hydroelectric projects in the country.

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Important Current Affairs of 29th April

National :

Cyclone Fani expected to intensify into very severe cyclonic storm

•  Cyclone Fani is expected to intensify into a very severe cyclonic storm and will continue to move North West and change its path to North East.

•  According to the MeT department, Cyclone Fani’s landfall over Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh is ruled out.

•  However, the possibility of landfall in Odisha is under continuous watch.

•  Prime Minister Narendra Modi directed officials to take preventive measures to deal with Cyclone Fani.

•  The National Disaster Response Force and Indian Coast Guard have been put on high and placed at the disposal of State Government Authorities.

Air India flights delayed due to software shutdown

•  Around 135 flights of Air India were delayed on April 28, 2019 due to the ripple effect of the shutdown of its software.

•  These flights were delayed by an average of 197 minutes.

•  The services of Air India flights normalised by April 29, 2019.

•  Thousands of passengers had a harrowing time at airports across the world.

3,000-kg garbage collected from Mt. Everest

•  A total of 3,000 kg of solid waste has been collected from Mt. Everest since the launch of an ambitious clean-up campaign in Nepal on April 14, 2019.

•  The campaign is aimed at bringing back tonnes of trash from the world’s highest peak Mt. Everest.

•  The ‘Everest Cleaning Campaign’, led by Solukhumbu district’s Khumbu Pasanglhamu Rural Municipality, aims to collect nearly 10000 kgs of garbage from Mt. Everest.

•  Of the 3,000 kg garbage collected, 2000 kg was sent to Okhaldhunga while the remaining 1000 kg were brought to Kathmandu using Nepali Army helicopters for disposal.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS:

2019 Global Food Policy report: Rural revitalisation key to eco growth

On 27th April 2019, according to the 2019 Global Food Policy Report (GFPR), rural areas continue to be in a state of crisis and threatening to slow the progress toward the Sustainable Development Goals, global climate targets, and improved food and nutrition security due to hunger, malnutrition, poverty, environmental degradation.

Key points:

i. The report was prepared by the Washington DC-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

ii. Rural transformation and revitalization have been pre-eminent goal of India’s development efforts since independence, according to the report.

iii. It also point out about the changing consumption patterns due to urbanization, increasing income, growing integration of food supply chains and food systems in India which offer new opportunities for entrepreneurship and employment in rural areas.

BANKING & FINANCE:

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has proposed strict rules on opening and running of current accounts of corporate borrowers in order to tackle fund diversion.

According to a report by The Economic Times, India’s Central Bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) would tighten rules on opening and operating current accounts of corporate borrowers to prevent the diversion of funds.

RBI had notified that the banks with collection accounts will have to transfer funds to the current account and  the current accounts could be opened only with the lead bank of a lending association.

Key points:

i. The rules would be applicable to corporates who have borrowed and used credit facilities of more than Rs 50 crore from the banking system.

ii. Customers using credit facility of Rs 5 to Rs 50 crore can also open current accounts with any bank, even if it is not the consortium’s leading bank (which is not a consortium leader). But only collection accounts can be run with non-lending banks.

iii. The debits into accounts will be restricted to transfers to the current account with the lead bank.

iv. The Reserve Bank of India notified that the existing current accounts with banks not leading a consortium must be converted into collection accounts. In case they are not converted, the accounts are closed within a 3-month notice period.

AWARDS & RECOGNITION:

Bajrang Punia became First Indian Wrestler to fight at New York’s Iconic Madison Square Garden

On 27th April 2019, 25 years old Indian wrestler Bajrang Punia became the first Indian wrestler to fight at New York’s iconic Madison Square Garden.

Bajrang PuniaKey Points:

i. He won the gold medal at the 65kg men’s freestyle wrestling at the recent Asian Championships.

ii. He is the first Indian wrestler to be invited by the American governing body and will take part in the “Grapple at the Garden — Beat the Streets” fight night, which will be held on 6th May 2019.

iii. He also won eight gold medals from his previous nine international tournaments including last year’s Commonwealth and Asian Games and presently holds World No.1 title in the 65-kg weight category.

GIA confers Gaganjeet Bhullar for ‘Outstanding Achievement as a player 2019’

On 26th April 2019, Indian Professional Golfer, Gaganjeet Bhullar has been awarded outstanding achievement as a player award at the 4th Edition of the annual India Golf Industry Association (GIA) award for the year 2019 at the Delhi Golf Club.The GIA awards were held along with 8th edition of South Asia’s largest trade show, India Golf & Turf Expo (IGTE).31 year old Bhullar was awarded Arjuna Award in 2013.

Gaganjeet BhullarKey Points:

i. Bhullar became the youngest golfer on the Asian Tour to achieve nine career victories on tour.He had won Fiji international in 2018.

ii. VijayDivech and former Arjuna Awardee NonitaLalQureshi  received for their contribution to Golf coaching.

iii. Naya Raipur Development Authority received ‘First 18 Holes International Standard Golf Course Development by a Smart City in India’ .

iv. Best New Nine-Hole Golf course’ awards, was given to Eco Park, Kolkata.

v. The Royal Calcutta Golf Club won ‘Best Member Engagement Programme’ award for its successful Royal Premier Golf League.

vi. Boulder Hills,Hyderabad won Best Restoration of a golf course award.

About India Golf & turf Expo (IGE):

This platform brings together experts from around the world and India’s golfing fraternity of India to share knowledge, experiences and chart the course for the future of golf in the country.

About Indian Golf Industry Association:

♦ President  :  Ms. Deepali Shah Gandhi

♦ Registered under : Society Act of India

Merger and Acquisition:

NCLT approved merger of IndusInd Bank and BFIL

•  The National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved the merger of IndusInd Bank with Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL).

•  The merger will be completed within 2-4 weeks.

•  Post-merger, the BFIL will become a subsidiary of the IndusInd Bank.

•  Bharat Financial Inclusion Limited is a Non-Banking Finance Company, licensed by the Reserve Bank of India.

SPORTS:

Former India footballer Kannan passes away

•  Former India footballer P. Kannan passed away at a city hospital following prolonged illness. He was 80 and is survived by his wife and two daughters.

•  Kannan, who was a forward and made 14 appearances for India, suffered a stroke earlier in the month.

•  Born in Vandavasi in Tamil Nadu, Kannan played in Bengaluru, Kolkata and Chennai.

•  He represented Universal RC for four years in the Chennai Football Association (CFA) senior division league.

Asian Wrestling Championship 2019

The Asian Wrestling Championship 2019 was held in Xi’an, China from April 23 to April 28, 2019. India won 16 medals which include 1 gold, 3 silver and 4 bronze by men’s freestyle wrestlers, 3 silver and 1 bronze by men’s Greco-Roman wrestlers and 4 bronze won by women’s freestyle wrestlers. India ranked 8th place in the tournament and the first three countries ranked in the tournament were Iran followed by China and Japan.

Top 5 Countries in Medal Tally

Rank   Nation                 Gold       Silver       Bronze            Total

1          Iran                        11            0                6                    17

2          China                      5             5                6                    16

3          Japan                      4             7                6                    17

4          Uzbekistan             2             3                 5                   10

5          Kazakhstan            2             2                12                  16

India’s Nitendra Singh Rawat finishes 27th in Virgin Money London Marathon 2019

Nitendra-Singh-RawatOn 28th April 2019, Indian marathon runner, Nitendra Singh Rawat finished 27th in 2 hours 15 minutes and 59 seconds in the men’s Elite race of prestigious Virgin Money London Marathon 2019 at London,UK which was won by  EliudKipchoge of Kenya for record fourth time.

i. This was the fourth fastest in his career and his second fastest time in this season.

ii. The 32-year-old Rawat has qualified for the World Championships to be held in Doha in September-October.

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Important Current Affairs of 28th April

NATIONAL:

Govt may ban Deloitte for 5 yrs over alleged IL&FS misconduct: Report.

• The government may reportedly invoke Section 140(5) of the Companies Act to ban Deloitte for five years over its alleged malpractice in the IL&FS audit.

• If this happens, it'd be the second such case after Price Waterhouse (PW) was banned in Satyam scam.

• In 2018, SEBI banned PW from auditing listed companies and market intermediaries for two years.

120 startups got patents since 2016 under expedited process: Govt.

• Up to 120 of 450 startups have been granted patents under the expedited examination facility since its introduction in 2016, PTI quoted a government official as saying.

• Under the facility, 1,021 applications were received and 351 patents were granted.

• The official added the time for first examination of trademarks' applications was reduced to about one month from 13 months, earlier.

With 1.5 mn orders a month on cycles, Swiggy pedals towards eco-friendly delivery.

• Swiggy has a fleet of over 1.7 lakh delivery partners in more than 120 cities

• With the future heading towards more eco-friendly modes of transport, cycle and EV logistics will be the next game changer, Srivats TS of Swiggy said

INTERNATIONAL:

Ukrainians will reject Putin's passport offer: President-elect.

• After Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was considering offering all Ukrainian citizens fast-tracked Russian passports, Ukraine's President-elect Volodymyr Zelenskiy said the citizens of his country will reject Putin's offer.

• "We'll provide Ukrainian citizenship [to people] who suffer from authoritarian regimes. In the first place, the Russians, who probably suffer most," he added.

SpaceX gets approval to fly internet satellites in low orbit.

• SpaceX has received approval from the US' Federal Communications Commission for its revised plan to launch over 1,500 Starlink internet-beaming satellites into a lower orbit at an altitude of 550 km.

• The Elon Musk-led venture plans to launch its first batch of satellites in May. "This approval underscores the FCC’s confidence in SpaceX’s plans", SpaceX President Gwynne Shotwell said.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Yes Bank names daughter of Founder who died in 26/11 as director.

• Yes Bank has appointed Shagun Gogia, the daughter of late Co-founder Ashok Kapur, as a director after she was jointly nominated by Co-founder Rana Kapoor and mother Madhu Kapur.

•  Ashok Kapur was killed by terrorists in Trident-Oberoi hotel in Mumbai during 26/11 attacks. Interestingly, in June 2013, Yes Bank's board turned down Gogia's application to be nominated as a director.

DAYS:

UN observes World Day for Safety and Health at Work day on 28th April.

• World Day for Safety and Health at Work is a UN international day that is celebrated every April 28. It is an annual international campaign to promote safe, healthy and decent work. It has been observed by the International Labour Organization (ILO) since 2003.

• It is concerned about safe work and awareness of the dimensions and consequences of work-related accidents and diseases; to place occupational safety and health (OSH) on the international and national agendas, and to provide support to the national efforts for the improvement of national OSH systems and programmes in line with relevant international labour standards.

• Inspired by the ILO centenary and discussions on the future of work, the world day this year attempts to take stock of a 100 years of work in improving occupational safety and health and looks to the future for continuing these efforts through major changes such as technology, demographics, sustainable development including climate change and changes in work organization.

• A national occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where governments, employers, and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the highest priority is accorded to the principle of prevention.

World Veterinary Day 2019 is observed on 28th April.

• The World Veterinary Day 2019 is observed on 28th April. It is an opportunity to celebrate the contributions of veterinarians to the health of animals and society. The theme for the day is the Value of Vaccination. The day is initiated by the World Veterinary Association.

• The World Veterinary Association (WVA) will co-host the 2019 World Veterinary Day Award with HealthforAnimals, the global animal medicines association. The value of the award has been increased to $2500. WVA and HealthforAnimals believe it is essential for the global veterinary profession to educate the public, particularly animal owners and producers, about the benefits of vaccination for animal, human, and public health.

• Why the theme?

Vaccination is an essential tool for preventive veterinary medicine, promotion of animal health and welfare, and reducing the risk of human exposure to many zoonotic pathogens. Historically, immunization practices and vaccination protocols have contributed to significantly reduce the prevalence of many life-threatening diseases.

The risks of not vaccinating can be significant to individual animals and populations and can have consequences on the livelihoods of rural livestock producers in economically developed and emerging regions. Effective vaccination programs, broadly implemented, are likely to reduce the need for antimicrobials, which in turn can help reduce the risk of emergent antimicrobial resistance.

AWARDS:

Healthtech startup Niramai wins top prize at Japan event.

• Bengaluru-based healthtech startup Niramai secured the top prize at the Hack Osaka event in Japan. Niramai was awarded for its "software to detect breast cancer with radiation-free, non-touch, not painful examination [which] works for women of all ages".

• The AI startup was founded in 2016 by former Hewlett-Packard and Xerox employees Geetha Manjunath and Nidhi Mathur.

SPORTS:

Gurpreet Singh settles for silver at Asian Wrestling C'ships.

• India's Gurpreet Singh settled for a silver medal in the Greco-Roman 77kg category event at the Asian Wrestling Championships in Xi'an on Saturday. Gurpreet had earlier beaten Bakhit Sharif K Badr of Qatar 10-0 in the quarterfinals.

• In the 87kg event, Sunil Kumar had to settle for a silver medal after losing in the final.

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Important Current Affairs 27th April 2019

NATIONAL:

About 200 US companies seeking to move manufacturing base from China to India: Report.

• US companies are planning to set up an alternative to China by investing in India, said USISPF

• USISPF’s recommendation to the new government would be to accelerate the reforms and bring transparency

Uber is set to hit the road for the year’s biggest IPO.

• Over the past decade, Uber Technologies Inc. proved itself to be one of the most prolific young fundraisers ever. It pulled together more than $20 billion from private investors. After burning through more than half that amount in just the last three years, Uber will soon see whether it can recreate that magic on the stock market.

India hikes wheat import duty to 40% to support local farmers.

• The government on Friday said it has raised import duty on wheat to 40% from 30% in a bid to support local farmers. Indian flour millers imported 1.65 million tonnes of wheat in 2017-18 fiscal year, down from 5.7 million tonnes the year before. India's wheat production is estimated to rise by 2% in 2018-19 to record 99.12 million tonnes.

INTERNATIONAL:

Chinese brands take 66% of Indian smartphone market: Report.

• Chinese smartphone brands captured a record two-thirds of the Indian smartphone market in the first quarter of 2019, Counterpoint's Market Monitor research said. China's Xiaomi was on the top with a 29% share while South Korea's Samsung dropped to 23% from 26% last year. Indian brands reached their lowest-ever share owing to lack of innovation and slow growth, Counterpoint said.

Donald Trump to withdraw US from Arms Trade Treaty.

• US President Donald Trump has said he will withdraw the US from the international Arms Trade Treaty. The agreement, signed by former US President Barack Obama in 2013, aims to regulate the sale of weapons between countries. White House said the treaty "fails to truly address the problem of irresponsible arms transfers" because other top arms exporters haven't signed it.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

China smartphone maker Leagoo enters India, to invest $200mn.

• Chinese smartphone maker Leagoo has entered the Indian market with the launch of three of its smartphone models. The mobile maker said it plans to invest around $200 million (about ₹1,397 crore) to set up a manufacturing unit in India. The company targets to generate a turnover of ₹200 crore by the financial year ending 2019.

DAYS:

World Immunization Week is observed from 24 to 30 April.

• World Immunization Week 2019 is being observed from 24-30 April. The 2019 theme is Protected Together: Vaccines Work. World Immunization Week aims to promote the use of vaccines to protect people of all ages against disease. Immunization saves millions of lives every year and is widely recognized as one of the worlds most successful and cost-effective health interventions.

World Immunisation Week 2019 celebrates Vaccine Heroes from around the world from parents and community members to health workers and innovators who help ensure that all are protected, at all ages, through the power of vaccines.

SPORTS:

Gaganjeet Bhullar wins 'Outstanding Achievement as a player' award.

• Indian golfer Gaganjeet Bhullar won the 'Outstanding Achievement as a player' award at the fourth edition of the annual India Golf Industry Association (GIA) awards. Bhullar won the 2018 Fiji International, a European Tour event, and also became the youngest golfer on the Asian Tour to achieve nine career victories on tour.

Abhishek Verma won gold in 10m Air Pistol at ISSF World Cup.

• Abhishek Verma won the 10m air pistol gold medal at the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF)World Cup at Beijing, China. He clinched the top spot with a total score of 242.7. Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver. His brilliant performance in the Shooting World Cup Final also secured a fifth Olympic quota for India.

OBITUARIES:

Terry Rawlings, the British film and sound editor has passed away.

• Terry Rawlings, a British film and sound editor has passed away. He was an Oscar nominee for his work on Best Picture winner “Chariots of Fire,”. He was born in 1933.  The 5-time BAFTA nominee also received a career achievement award from the American Cinema Editors society in 2006.

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Important Current Affairs of 26th April

NATIONAL:

Uber lowers valuation as rival Lyft shares fall after IPO: Reports.

• Uber is aiming for a valuation of $80-90 billion in its Initial Public Offering (IPO), less than its previous expectations of $90-100 billion, Bloomberg reported. This reportedly comes as Uber's US rival Lyft witnessed a "disappointing debut" and substantial fall in shares, the Wall Street Journal reported. Lyft was valued at $24.3 billion in first ride-hailing IPO in March.

India’s crude oil production falls for seventh straight year.

• India's domestic crude oil production plunged over 4% in 2018-19, registering its seventh consecutive yearly fall. India produced 34.2 million tonnes of crude oil in FY19, down from 35.7 million tonnes in the previous year, according to data released by the government. Fields of state-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Oil India missed production targets.

Hero MotoCorp Q4 net dips over 24% to ₹730 crore.

• The company sold 78,20,745 units in 2018-19 as compared with 75,87,154 units in 2017-18

• The company's board recommended a final dividend of ₹32 per equity share of ₹2 each (1,600%) for 2018-19

INTERNATIONAL:

Amazon posts $1 billion profit for each of first 3 months of 2019.

• World's richest person Jeff Bezos-led Amazon made profits of over $1 billion a month for the first three months with profits totalling $3.6 billion, the company announced. First quarter sales reached $59.7 billion, while profits were more than double compared to last year. Amazon cloud, which hosts data for Netflix, Airbnb, among others, continued growth with a 41% sales increase.

Naspers to exit MakeMyTrip as China’s Ctrip deepens its shareholding.

• Following this, Ctrip’s stake in MakeMyTrip will be approximately 49% along with 4% of total voting rights

• Ctrip and Naspers invested $330 million into MakeMyTrip around two years ago

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

India may extend deadline for imposing retaliatory tariff on 29 US items by 14 days.

• The commerce ministry is expected to recommend to the revenue department, under the finance ministry, to extend the deadline for imposing higher tariffs

• If accepted by the finance ministry, the revenue department would issue a notification to that effect

India, China step on the gas on oil sourcing plan.

• The two are in talks to form a consumers’ collective for joint sourcing of oil

• The coming together of China and India may change global energy equations

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Yes Bank reports its first ever quarterly loss of ₹1507 crore.

• Provisions during the quarter increased more than 9 folds to ₹3661.7 crore as against ₹399.64 crore in the year-ago quarter.

• The bank posted a net loss of ₹1506.64 crore for the three months ended 31 March compared to a profit of ₹1179.44 crore in the year-ago period

Finance ministry approves EPF interest rate hike.

• The finance ministry has ratified the hike of the Employees Provident Fund (EPF) interest rate to 8.65% as approved by retirement fundmanager EPFO. ... This was a 10 basis point increase from the 8.55% EPF interest rate announced by the retirement fund for 2017-18.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Sri Lanka police chief resigns over serial bomb blasts.

• Sri Lanka's Inspector General of Police Pujith Jayasundara has resigned over failures that led to the serial bomb blasts that killed around 250, the country's President Maithripala Sirisena said on Friday. "He has sent his resignation to the acting defence secretary. I'll nominate a new IGP soon," Sirisena added. Earlier, Sri Lanka's defence secretary Hemasiri Fernando resigned over the blasts.

DAYS:

World Intellectual Property Day – April 26, 2019,Reach for 

• Every April 26, we celebrate World Intellectual Property Day to learn about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity.

• Faster, stronger, higher! The drive to test our abilities, the thrill of competition, and the awe we experience in watching ordinary people achieving extraordinary feats, have fueled our fascination with sports for thousands of years.

SPORTS:

Panghal wins India's 1st gold at Asian Boxing C'ships.

• Amit Panghal claimed India's first gold medal at the ongoing Asian Boxing Championships on Friday after defeating South Korea's Kim Inkyu in a unanimous decision in the 52kg category. Deepak Singh and Kavinder Singh Bisht had to settle for silver medals after losing their finals in the 49kg and 56kg categories respectively.

Wrestlers Divya Kakran, Manju win bronze at Asian C'ships.

• Indian wrestlers Divya Kakran and Manju Kumari won bronze medals at Asian Wrestling Championships on Thursday. The 21-year-old Divya defeated Mongolian wrestler Battsetseg Soronzonbold in 68-kg category while Manju secured bronze by beating Vietnam’s Thi Huong Dao in 59-kg category. Bajrang Punia on Tuesday won India's maiden gold medal at the tournament.

17-yr-old wins WC silver, secures Olympic quota for India.

• Seventeen-year-old Divyansh Singh Panwar secured an Olympic quota after he added to India's medal tally by finishing second in the men's 10m air rifle event at the ongoing ISSF World Cup in Beijing, China. The 17-year-old shooter had earlier won India a gold medal in the mixed team event along with Anjum Moudgil.

OBITURIES:

Lt Commander dies while fighting fire on board INS Vikramaditya.

• Lieutenant Commander DS Chauhan died after leading the firefighting efforts on board INS Vikramaditya near Karwar, Karnataka. The aircraft carrier caught fire while entering the harbour this morning, however, it was brought under control without affecting the ship's combat capability. The officer suffered loss of consciousness and was taken to the Naval hospital at Karwar but couldn't be revived.

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Important Current Affairs 25th April 2019

NATIONAL:

First Indian Platform for Wholesale Cryptocurrency Trading has introduced by BuyUcoin.

• BuyUcoin, second oldest Cryptocurrency Exchange Company in India introduced a new and unique platform for wholesale cryptocurrency trading.

• This platform works on ‘free trading model’ which means it charges zero free on any trade.

• This wholesale platform also known as OTC (Over-the-counter) Desk allows users to trade on a large scale with low price fluctuations.

• This new platform will help to improve the problem of liquidity of cryptocurrency in Indian market.

Kotak Mahindra Bank becomes the first Destination Bank to launch debit card based e-mandates On NPCIs E-Mandate API Platform.

• Kotak Mahindra Bank is the first debit card based authentication solution on NPCI’s (National Payments Corporation of India) e-Mandate (electronic mandate) API (Application Program Interface) platform first ever Destination Bank to go live with both Net Banking and Debit Card-based e-mandate authentication.

• The main objective of this initiative is to enable Kotak customers to create electronic mandates (similar to the former eNACH with Aadhaar + OTP) (eNACH- Electronic National Automated Clearing House; OTP- One Time Password) via both debit card and net banking provision.

• As API based e-mandates are customer-friendly, fast, frictionless and paperless, the initiative would help in making its customers’ lives hassle free for handling recurring payments.

India ranked 17th in the StartupBlink report.

• StartupBlink has ranked 100 countries for startup environment of countries globally. The rankings were based on the data from over 61,000 startups, more than 500 accelerators, and over 1,400 coworking spaces registered on its platform along with data gathered from its global partners including Crunchbase, SimilarWeb, etc. The rankings were based on the impact startups have been able to make in the country, how many startups and support organizations are there such as accelerators, coworking spaces, startup events along with technology infrastructure, red tape, bureaucracy, etc.

• StartupBlink Report:

India was ranked 17th in the rankings. India has climbed 20 spots, rank 37, from the previous ranking. The challenge before India is to improve the overall quality of startups and increase the number of unicorns than currently exist. The US ranked first. It is followed by the UK, Canada, Israel, and Australia. China was ranked 27th. Estonia ranked 13th, Ireland ranked 14th, and Germany ranked 9th and are ahead of India for their startup ecosystems.

In the ranking of cities, Bengaluru stood at 11, New Delhi at 18 and Mumbai at 29. San Francisco Bay, New York, London, Los Angeles, and Boston topped the ranking among the cities.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has successfully tested Akademik Lomonosov.

• Russia has successfully tested the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (NPP), Akademik Lomonosov. Reactors of the floating atomic block were launched in November 2018.  The tests confirmed the operational stability of the main and auxiliary equipment for the plant will be the world’s first fully commercial operational floating nuclear power plant.  All automatic process and control systems were tested successfully.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

IndusInd Bank receives NCLT approval for merger with Bharat Financial Inclusion.

• National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved merger of private sector lender IndusInd Bank with Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL), a microfinance company.

Last year, IndusInd Bank received ‘No Objection’ from Reserve Bank of India, National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange

• As per the report, the merger is expected to complete within 2-4 weeks.

Bharat Financial will become a subsidiary of the private lender.

IndusInd Bank Ltd's share price is currently at Rs1,686.85, up by Rs32.25 or 1.95%, from its previous close of Rs1,654.60 on the BSE.

• The script opened at Rs 1,678 and has touched a high and low of Rs1,693.70 and Rs1,665, respectively.

• So far, 21,19,368 (NSE+BSE) shares have been traded on the counter.

The current market cap of the company is Rs 99,750.17crores.

RBI sells entire stake in NABARD, NHB to govt for Rs 1,470 crore.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has exited the National Housing Bank (NHB) and the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), by selling its entire stakes to government for Rs 1,450 croreand Rs 20 crore, respectively, making them fully government-owned now.

• RBI has sold its stake in NHB on March 19, while it sold the stake in Nabard on February 26.

• With this, the government of India now holds 100% stake in both the financial institutions.

HDFC got RBI approval for holding up to 9.9 percent stake in Bandhan Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its in-principle approval to Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Ltd for acquiring 9.9 per cent stake in Bandhan Bank following the Gruh Finance deal.

• Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC Ltd, was taken over by Bandhan Bank in a share-swap deal in January.

• After the deal was announced, HDFC made an application to the RBI for holding shares in Bandhan Bank. Recently RBI gave its approval to HDFC to acquire the shareholding of up to 9.9 per cent of the paid-up capital of Bandhan Bank upon the effective date of the scheme of amalgamation.

• The amalgamation scheme is awaiting approvals from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the respective shareholders of Gruh Finance and Bandhan Bank.

The Gruh Finance deal will reduce the stake of Bandhan Financial Holdings Ltd in Bandhan Bank to about 61% from the current 82%.

The share swap ratio for the merger will be 568 shares of Bandhan Bank for every 1,000 shares of Gruh Finance.

RBI became the first Asia-Pacific central bank to begin interest rate easing cycle.

• According to Fitch Ratings - APAC (Asia-Pacific) sovereign credit overview report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the first central bank in the Asia Pacific region to begin an explicit interest rate easing cyclebuoyed by benign food inflation and easier global financial condition.

• The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, cut rates in February and April citing prospects of benign inflation. In the four months of 2019, the RBI has cut policy interest rates twice by 0.25 per cent each to one-year low of 6 per cent.

• This is the first back-to-back rate cut since the MPC was formed in late 2016.

Fitch has a 'BBB-', the lowest investment grade, rating on India, with a stable outlook.

Fitch estimates India to grow at 6.8 per cent in current fiscal 2019 and 7.1 per cent in 2020

Minimum subscription requirement for REITs and InvITs has reduced by SEBI.

• SEBI in his guidelines titled “Guidelines for Determination of Allotment and Trading Lot Size for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)” has reduced the minimum subscription requirement as well as defined trading lots for REITs and InvITs.

• For determining the allotment in an initial offer and follow on public offers, REITs have to offer their units in lots worth at least Rs 50,000 and in case of InvITs, the minimum value of a single lot should be Rs 1 lakh. 

• The allotment to any investor shall be made in the multiples of a lot.

For initial listing in case of REITs and InvITs, a trading lot should be of 100 units and for follow on public offers, each lot shall consists of such number of units in its trading lot as it had at the time of initial offer.

• Moreover, SEBI has also increased the leverage limit for InvITs from 49 per cent to 70 per cent.

RBI asked Banks to disclose IL&FS NPA details in results.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks and financial institutions to disclose the non-performing assets (NPA) stemming from their exposure to troubled infrastructure conglomerateInfrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) and its group entities in their upcoming results announcements.

• RBI said that the new directions are as per the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which asked banks not to declare their loans to the company and group as NPAs. The banking regulator has, therefore, asked the lenders to disclose details such as the provisions required for such NPAs and also the actual provisions made, in their Notes to Accounts in the financial results. It has prescribed a disclosure format for this purpose.

• An account becomes non-performing if repayment is due for more than 90 days. Banks have to set aside capital as provisions for NPAs. Banks and financial institutions have to disclose the information in a particular format as prescribed by the banking regulator.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Karnam Sekar appointed as Indian Overseas Banks new MD & CEO.

• Karnam Sekar, Dena Bank’s former Managing Director appointed as the new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank.

• He would take up the position from July 1, 2019.

• He has been working as an officer on special duty and Whole Time Director in IOB (Indian Overseas Bank) from April 1 till the time of taking over charge from R Subramaniakumar who was the erstwhile CEO and MD.

• R Subramaniakumar had initiated measures to uplift IOB from loses due to high Non-Performing Assets.

DAYS:

World Malaria Day observed on April 25.

• World Malaria Day is an international event observed every year on 25 April, to spread awareness about malaria disease globally and to promote efforts to prevent malaria around the world.

• World Malaria Day 2019 Theme:

The theme of World Malaria Day 2019 is "Zero malaria starts with me."

• World Malaria Day - History:

World Malaria Day was developed from Africa Malaria Day which was first held in 2008. It is basically an event that had been observed since 2001 by African governments.

At the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, a meeting sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007 proposed that Africa Malaria Day be changed to World Malaria Day to identify the existence of malaria in the countries worldwide and to bring awareness among people globally to fight against malaria disease.

• Facts about Malaria:

Malaria is mosquito-borne infectious disease and is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes called ‘malaria vectors’.

There are only five types of plasmodium causes malaria in humans namely - Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale and Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium Knowles.

Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.

The estimated number of malaria deaths in 2017, at 4,35,000, remained virtually

unchanged over the previous year.

SPORTS:

PU Chitra gives 3rd gold for India in Asian Athletics Championships.

• PU Chitra won gold in women’s 1500m at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

With the victory Chitra also qualified for the World Championships, which will be held later this year.

23-year-old Chitra clocked 4:14.56s to become the first Indian athlete to defend her Asian Athletics Championships in the 2019 meet. Chitra had won the gold medal in the women's 1500m race in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships held in Bhubaneshwar.

• Dutee Chand clinched the bronze medal in 200-metre sprint after clocking 23.24 seconds.

• With her medal haul, India picked up four medals on the fourth and final day of the competitions, to end at fourth place in the medal tally.

India bagged 17 medals overall, including 3 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze medals.

China tops the medal table of 2019 Asian Athletics Championships with 29 medals in total.

• Bahrain (22 medals) and Japan (18 medals) secured second and third place respectively in medal table.

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Important Current Affairs of 24th April

NATIONAL:

Money Loji launches App that offers loans for salaried professionals.

• A modern money lending platform named Money Loji launched an application which offers loan to salaried professionals within 5 minutes with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days.

• It follows a three-step process which are an application, approval, and disbursement and the app requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 months bank statement alongside the salary slips.

• The eligibility criteria to avail this benefit are the minimum in-hand salary of Rs 20,000 per month and a minimum age of 23 years.

• It not only ensures security but also reduces the chances of data misuse backed by world-class security protocols to encrypt all the data.

INTERNATIONAL:

Arab League pledged USD 100 million per month to Palestinian Authority.

• The Arab League has pledged $100 million per month to the Palestinian Authority (PA) to make up for funds withheld by Israel because of payments made to the families of Palestinian attackers and prisoners.

• Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas addressed the Arab League in Cairo, as part of a diplomatic effort to rebuff the Trump administration’s Middle East peace plan.

Israel collects taxes on behalf of the PA but withheld $138m in transfers in February over Palestinian payments to political prisoners jailed for attacks against Israelis.

In 1967, Israel illegally occupied the eastern half of Jerusalem, as well as the West Bank and the Gaza Strip - and in 1980, passed a law declaring Jerusalem as the eternal and undivided capital of Israel. The Palestinians seek those territories for a future state.

New community in Golan heights to be named after President Trump.

• Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he would name a new community in theGolan Heights after US President Donald Trump. President Trump has officially recognised the disputed area as Israeli territory.

Israel has also stated that in appreciation of the U.S. president, it intends to name a proposed train station near Jerusalem’s Western Wall after him. Israel captured the Golan from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it, in a move not recognized internationally.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

FIEO joins hands with Welingkar Institute of Management to support startups in exports.

• Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) inked an agreement with Mumbai-based Prin. L N Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in order to support startups engaged in the export sector.

Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), FIEO launched a post graduate programme in foreign trade management (PGP-FTM) at Mumbai.

• The main aim of this industry-academia partnership is to attract new entrepreneurs in exports to bridge the gap of availability of qualified skilled manpower in Exim trade.

The programme consist of general management principles, export-import procedures, and international marketing concepts and the duration of the programme will be 11 months.

• The programme will be offered in 2 batches.

Ministry of AYUSH signs MoU with CSIR for research and modern science.

• The Ministry of AYUSH signed MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for cooperation in research and education in areas of traditional systems of medicine and its integration with modern science. The aim is to bring both Ministry of Ayush and CSIR together to pursue focused R&D efforts in the domain. Under the MoU, both organizations shall jointly endeavor to pursue:

• R&D covering Fundamental research

• AYUSH specific diagnostic tools, linking microbiome, gene expression and Prakriti, multi- ingredient herbal formulations, including their standardization

• Exploring modern scientific methods for integration with traditional Indian Systems of Medicine (ISM)

• Linking disease signatures

• Furthering the collaboration in preserving and protecting traditional knowledge related to the Indian systems of healthcare, through the existing TKDL platform

• Development of international standardized terminologies (disease-morbidity codes) in Ayurveda, Siddha and Unani (ASU), Database on Medicinal plants, Foods, etc.

• Enhancing the collaboration through joint R&D efforts ranging from fundamental science to validation and thereafter product development, will significantly help in the growth of the Indian contributions to the traditional medicines sector, not only nationally but internationally as well. The MOU also includes the pursuit of Data mining & analytics and Artificial Intelligence to enable and facilitate concepts such as Traditional knowledge inspired drug discovery and development and Food as Medicine.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

BofAML in report notifies that RBI has Rs.3 lakh crore (43$ million) in excess reserves.

• Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML), the excess reserves that RBI holds could be up to Rs.3 lakh crore ($43 billion) or 1.5% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

This also includes the excess capital in contingency reserves and revaluation reserves.

• The Bimal Jalan committee on the appropriate capital reserves for RBI was likely to identify this excess buffer. The committee was set up in December-end with a 6-member panel headed by former RBI governor Jalan.

Indranil Sen Gupta, chief India economist at BofAML notified that RBI maintains higher contingency reserves as a percentage of its total book compared to its peers in Brazil, Russia and South Africa, thus a lower cap will bring in more funds.

The BofAML report stated that capping overall reserves at 20% from 25.5% will release Rs. 1.96 lakh crore and there is no specific hindrance which would deter RBI from transferring the money to government.

• As of September 2018, the excess capital with RBI was Rs.9.6 lakh crore. If the cap is halved to 3.25% from the present 6.5%, it will release Rs. 1.282( around Rs. 1.3 lakh crore) lakh crore.

• Along with revaluation gains ranging from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 1.8 lakh crore, RBI would be able to transfer the excess reserves to the government which can be used to recapitalize the country’s struggling state-run banks.

Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore mark.

• The total balance in the Jan Dhan accounts, which has been steadily rising, was at Rs 97,665.66 crore as on April 3, as per the latest government data.

The total number of Jan Dhan accounts have crossed 35.39 crore.

The deposits stood at Rs 96,107.35 crore on March 27 and Rs 95,382.14 crore in the week before.

• More than 27.89 crore account holders have been issued the Rupay debit cards.

Govt. increased the authorised capital of Allahabad Bank.

• The government has increased the authorized capital for the State-owned Allahabad Bank stated by Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore. The central government after consultation with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) increased the authorized capital of the bank.

• The increase in authorized capital will help enable the bank to raise further fund up to a maximum ceiling of Rs 8,000 crore.

• What is an Authorized Capital?

• It is the maximum amount of share that a company is authorized to have by its constitutional documents to issue to the shareholders. It is not necessary to issue the whole amount of the authorized capital, part of it can remain unissued. The amount of share that is issued to the shareholder is called the issued share capital of the company. To put in other words, authorized capital is the one which is the maximum amount of value of securities that a company can legally issue to the shareholders. The Authorized capital needs to be specified in the Memorandum of Association(MOA).

• Authorized capital is broadly divided into the:

• Issued capital

• Paid up capital

• Uncalled capital

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna named brand ambassador of Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC).

• Vikas Khanna, Michelin-star chef named as brand ambassador of Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), a leading cultural organisation which will organise the annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) that would showcase the chef’s film ‘The Last Color‘ and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer ‘Photograph’.

• The New York Indian Film Festival is North America’s longest-running and most prestigious Indian film festival that would be organised from May 7 to 12, 2019.

The festival will showcase 30 feature-length films, including 3 documentaries, 30 shorts and 19 regional films.

Uday Kumar Varma resigns from Assocham Secretary General post.

• Uday Kumar Varma, a former bureaucrat retired from the post of Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, resigned from the post of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) Secretary-General. Currently, Assocham’s Deputy Secretary-General Saurabh Sanyal is discharging the duties of secretary general.

Twitter appoints Manish Maheshwari as new India MD.

• Manish Maheshwari, who previously served as the CEO of Network18 Digital, takes over the new role from April 29.

Prior to Network18, Maheshwari has worked with Flipkart, txtWeb, Intuit, McKinsey and P&G.

• Manish will be responsible for driving an integrated business strategy to accelerate Twitter’s audience and revenue growth in the country, overseeing Twitter India’s teams in Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru.

• He will be based in Delhi.

• Manish will report to Maya Hari, Twitter’s vice president and managing director of Asia Pacific.

• The appointment comes amid growing concerns over spread of misinformation on social media platforms across the world, including India.

India is among one of the biggest markets for internet companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter, given the large base of young population.

Twitter, which has over 30 million users in India (according to statista.com), had

• appointed Krish as an interim country head.

DAYS:

India observes National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April.

• The National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated every year in India on 24th April. The Constitution of India recognizes Panchayats as 'Institutions of self-government'. This day marks the passing of Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993. The Amendment Act permits states to take steps to organize village panchayats and provide them with necessary powers and authority necessary to facilitate them to function as units of self-government.

• National Panchayati Raj Day:

The first National Panchayati Raj Day was celebrated in 2010. The enactment of the 73rd Amendment Act had led a defining moment in the history of India which helped in the decentralization of political power to the grassroots level. In turn, it had led to the institutionalization of Panchayati Raj (PR) through the village, Intermediate and District level Panchayats.

• Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992:

The Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992 came into force with effect from 24th April, 1993. It has vested constitutional status on Panchayati Raj institutions. It marks a defining moment in the history of decentralization of political power to the grassroots level. The 73rd Amendment 1992 added a new Part IX to the constitution titled The Panchayats covering provisions from Article 243 to 243(O). A new Eleventh Schedule covering 29 subjects within the functions of the Panchayats. It implemented article 40 of DPSP which says that State shall take steps to organize village panchayats and endow them with such powers and authority as may be necessary to enable them to function as units of self-government.

AWARDS:

Swacchta Pakhwada Awards 2019 awarded to All India Radio.

• All India Radio, Publication Division and Children’s Film Society of India were given Swacchta Pakhwada Awards-2019 in New Delhi.

Secretary in the Information and Broadcasting Ministry Amit Khare gave away the awards.

• Director General of All India Radio F. Sheheryar and Director General (News) Ms. Ira Joshi received the Award for All India Radio.

Press Council of India, Press Information Bureau and BECIL were also mentioned during the award ceremony for their efforts during the Swacchta Pakhwada.

Benny Antony won National Intellectual Property Award.

• Benny Antony, Joint Managing Director, the Kochi-based Arjuna Natural Ltd, has been conferred with the National Intellectual Property Award for 2019 in the category of Top Individual for Patents and Commercialization.

He is the inventor of BCM-95, the world’s leading patented turmeric extract formulation, with over 80 international patents to his credit.

Antony was also conferred with the ‘WIPO Medal for Inventors’ jointly by Intellectual Property Office India and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO).

SPORTS:

Bajrang Punia won gold at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2019.

• World No.1 Bajrang Punia won India’s first gold medal in the 65 kg category at the Asian Wrestling Championships 2019 in Xi’an, China.

Bajrang defeated Sayatbek Okassov of Kazakhstan 12-7 in the final to bag the medal.

• Meanwhile, Praveen Rana settled for silver and Satyavrat Kadian won bronze in 97 kg category.

• Apart from these two, in the women’s event, India’s top wrestlers Vinesh Phogat, Sakshi Malik, Pooja Dhanda and Divya Kakran are also in contention.

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Important Current Affairs of 23th April

NATIONAL:

India Ranks 17th In Global Startup Ecosystem.

• According to data released by StartupBlink, India moved up to 17th position in 2018 from 37th spot last year in the Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019.

The top three spots remained unchanged with the United States, United Kingdom and Canada

• The cities with the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India are Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

• India ranks 17 globally among 100 countries, based on the strength of its startup ecosystem, according to StartupBlink, which tracks startup ecosystems on a number of parameters.

• It used data from startups, accelerators and co-working spaces registered on its platforms as well as data received from global partners such as Crunchbase and SimilarWeb.

India ranks 19th in Index of Cancer Preparedness.

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the 2019 Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP) in which India's overall rank is 19th out of 28 countries, with a score of 64.9.

• Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP) 2019:

Australia tops the ICP, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

Saudi Arabia, Romania, and Egypt are at the bottom in Index.

The ICP explores the issue of cancer preparedness through three broad domains:

• policy and planning;

• care delivery;

• health systems and governance.

• India and ICP:

India ranks 17th in cancer policy and planning, but it has a relatively high score of 80.8.

India ranked first for research and third for tobacco control in ICP.

In its delivery of cancer care, India ranks 20th with a score of 61.3.

With a score of 40.3, India’s healthcare system ranks 25th in the index, above only Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Egypt.

• Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is estimated to account for 9.6 million death in 2018.

World Cancer Day is observed on 4th February every year.

FAME II scheme has made compulsory for electric vehicles to feature 50% localisation for receiving subsidies.

• he government notified the second phase of the FAME India scheme with a Rs 10,000-crore outlay to encourage adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles.

• Under the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme, 10 lakh registered electric two-wheelers with a maximum ex-factory price will be eligible to avail incentive of Rs 20,000 each.

It will also support 5 lakh e-rickshaws having ex-factory price of up to Rs 5 lakh with an incentive of Rs 50,000 each.

• FAME-II will offer an incentive of Rs 1.5 lakh each to 35,000 electric four-wheelers with an ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh, and incentive of Rs 13,000 each to 20,000 strong hybrid four-wheelers with ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh.

It will support 7,090 e-buses with an incentive of up to Rs 50 lakh each having an ex-factory price of up to Rs 2 crore.

INTERNATIONAL:

Iranian President Rouhani declared joint border reaction force with Pakistan.

• Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran and Pakistan to create a joint ‘reaction force’ on the border between the two countries, for combatting terrorism.

The announcement came during a two-day visit to Iran by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first of his tenure.

• Iran and Pakistan share a 959 km land border.

• Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan's largest and poorest province, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.

Tehran (in Iran) has been complaining for years about recurring attacks by Pakistani militants on Iranian security forces.

• Pakistan is a close ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia, both of which have ratcheted up pressure on Iran over its alleged meddling in regional affairs.

Pakistan and Iran are also members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Amartya Sen Chairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for research on inequality.

• The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) announced the creation of the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies, named in honour of the India-born economist, philosopher and Nobel laureate, who was Professor of Economics at LSE from 1971-82.

• The public announcement of the chair was made during LSE’s biannual Amartya Sen Lecture.

• The lecture, 'Foundations of State Effectiveness', was delivered by Professor Sir Tim Besley with Professor Sen serving as discussant and LSE Director Minouche Shafik chairing.

• The inauguration of the Amartya Sen Chair marks a further milestone for the International Inequalities Institute (III), following the 2016 launch of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, backed by a historic 64 million pounds, 20-year gift by The Atlantic Philanthropies, the School’s largest to date.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Ministry of Ayush inked MoU with CSIR to cooperate in the field of research and education.

• Ayush Ministry signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi for cooperation in the field of research and education of traditional medicines how to integrate traditional medicines with modern science.

• CSIR and Ayush Ministry jointly developed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which prevents bio-piracy and misappropriation of traditional knowledge.

TCS signed a deal with India Post to transform country's mail delivery system.

• India's largest IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has partnered with the Department of Posts in a bid to transform it into a multi-service digital hub, modernise the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.

In 2013, TCS had announced receiving an over Rs 1,100 crore multi-year contract from the Department of Posts (DoP) for an end-to-end IT modernisation programme.

• Core System Integration (CSI) program designed and implemented by TCS, involved deploying an integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution that caters to mail operations, finance and accounting, and HR functions, and connects its vast network of more than 150,000 post offices, making this the largest distributed ePostal network in the world.

TCS is the same company that, along with the Ministry of External Affairs, revamped India’s passport services through the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) initiative and ‘Student Connect’.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI General Insurance launched cyber defence insurance.

• SBI General Insurance launched its new product – cyber defence insurance to protect businesses from financial and reputational losses due to cyber attacks.

The main focus on SMEs and mid-market businesses to larger businesses.

This offers protection against the growing threat of cyber breaches like hacking attacks, identity theft, disclosure of sensitive information and business interruption. It provides IT forensic investigations, legal advice, reputational and PR management.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance in a partnership with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance launched their 1st product: Total Health Secure Goal.

• Bajaj Allianz General Insurance collaborated with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance to launch their 1st product titled ‘Total Health Secure Goal’.

• The product is a combination of 2 existing plans, namely, Health Guard policy by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and iSecure policy by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.

This combined plan offers customers 5% extra discount on the total premium and also provides flexibility of availing service or communication on the product.

The product provides an overall  insurance solution and ensures that health and security needs of the customer are taken care of without compromising on their savings.

• Under Health Guard policy, a customer can choose the option between a Silver or a Gold Plan with an insured sum ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 50 Lakh.

This sum is inclusive of the hospitalisation expenses incurred by the customer.

DAYS:

World Book Day 2019: Theme, what is the purpose and who started it.

• World Book Day is celebrated by UNESCO and other related organisations every year on the 23rd of April. Also called the World Book and Copyright Day, it is an occasion to promote the joy of books and the art of reading. 23rd April was selected by UNESCO to pay tribute to great literary figures including William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who died on this day. This date was finalised in the year 1995 in the UNESCO General Conference, held in Paris, to honour authors and books worldwide.

AWARDS:

KAU IPR Cell Won The National IP Award 2019.

• Intellectual Property Rights Cell (IPR Cell) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU)

The award comprises of INR 1 lakh, citation and memento.

SPORTS:

Services lifted Santosh Trophy Football; beat Punjab in final.

• Services won their sixth Santosh Trophy title with a 1-0 victory over Punjab, at Ludhiana.

• In the semi-finals earlier, eight-time champions Punjab had defeated five-time winners Goa 2-1 to enter their 15th final.

• Services beat Karnataka 4-3 in the semis via a penalty shootout to book a place in the title clash for the 11th time.

• The 2018–19 Santosh Trophy was the 73rd edition.

India won 5 medals on opening day of Asian Athletics Championships 2019.

• Javelin thrower Annu Rani and 3000-meter steeple chaser Avinash Sable won the silver medals.

• Quartermiler M P Poovamma, 5000-meter runner Parul Choudhary and 10000-meter runner Gavit Murali Kumar bagged a bronze each.

• With five medals to their name, India were fifth in the medals tally. Bahrain lead the table (7 medals), China second (5 medals), Iran third (2 medals) and Philippines fourth (1 medal).

Fabio Fognini became the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title.

• He achieved this feat at the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.

• Fognini will rise to a career-high ranking of 12.

• Fognini had beaten Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.

• Fognini earns 1000 ATP Rankings points and receives €958,055 in prize money. Lajovic gains 600 points and €484,950 for his run to the championship match.

Last time an Italian player Nicola Pietrangeli won the trophy in 1968. This event held every year at Monte Carlo Country Club.

• Fognini is the eighth player to win his first Masters 1000 title over the past 17 events at the elite level. In the 92 ATP Masters 1000 events prior to 2017 Rome, only eight players won their first Masters 1000 crown.

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Important Current Affairs of 21th April

NATIONAL:

Top IT firms under threat of cyberattack

• India’s leading tech players may be under serious threat from cybercriminals according to cybersecurity investigation website KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The website is run by former Washington Post staffer and cybersecurity writer, Brian Krebs.

• A fresh post on the website on Friday said the criminals responsible for launching phishing campaigns that netted dozens of employees and more than 100 computer systems last month at Wipro,

• India's third-largest IT outsourcing firm, also appear to have targeted a number of other competing providers including Infosys and Cognizant, as per new evidence available with the website.

Cipla chairman Hamied receives UK Royal Society honour

• Prominent scientist and businessman Yusuf Hamied is among a host of Indian-origin experts honoured in the 2019 list of new fellows of the UK's Royal Society.

• He is known for his effort to produce low-cost drugs to treat diabetes, cancer and other diseases.

• The Royal Society is an independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

His honorary fellowship of the world's oldest scientific academy came alongside 51 new fellows and 10 new foreign members as part of the 2019 cohort.

INTERNATIONAL:

US won WTO ruling against China grain import quotas

• The US has won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against China's use of tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) for rice, wheat and corn.

• The case, lodged by the Obama administration in late 2016, marks the second U.S. victory in as many months in the country’s ongoing trade spat with China.

• TRQs are two-level tariffs, with limited imports allowed at the lower 'in-quota' tariff and subsequent imports charged an 'out-of-quota' tariff, which is generally much higher.

Singapore Changi airport got world's tallest 131-ft indoor waterfall

• The world's tallest indoor waterfall, 131-foot-tall, opened for the general public at Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport.

• The waterfall is housed inside a dome-shaped complex which has gardens growing over four storeys, more than 280 retail and food outlets, a hotel and a movie theatre.

• The structure also has a botanical garden with 120 species of plants.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

ETMONEY becomes Indias first comprehensive financial services app to integrate UPI

• India’s largest app for financial services, ETMONEY has integrated Unified Payment Interface (UPI) as a payment method on its platform as it looks to double its monthly user base by the end of the year.

• The integration of UPI will simplify the mutual fund paymentexperience for millions of ETMONEY users as the company continues its journey to simplify the financial lives of new age Indians.

• In addition to this new payment feature, the platform will continue to support payments through Netbanking and Debit Card.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Malis Prime Minister Maiga resigned over Ogossagou massacre

• Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote over his government’s failure to tackle a deadly rise in attacks from Islamist militants and clashes between ethnic communities.

• Mali has been struggling to restore stability since Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the country's vast desert north in early 2012.

Last month, gunmen killed at least 157 people on Ogossagou, a village in central Mali populated by rival Fulani herders, in one of the deadliest attacks the country has experienced in years.

Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigns

• 21 April 2019 Current Affairs: Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigned from the cabinet before securing a multi-billion dollar International Monetary Fund bailout package for the cash-strapped country.

• Umar recently returned after visiting the US in which the details of Pakistan's next IMF bailout were discussed.

• Pakistan is seeking USD 8 billion funding from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country's economy.

SPORTS:

Rathi lifts Maharashtra junior boys golf title in Pune

• 21 April 2019 Current Affairs: Gurgaon boy Saurav Rathi hit an impressive 5 under 66 on Day 4 of the IGU Maharashtra junior boys golf championship 2019 held at the Poona Golf Course in Yerwada to lift the category A (16 to18 years) and category B (13 to 15 years) titles with a four-day score of 3 under 281.

• The leader Aryan Roopa Anand, a phenomenal return on the front 9 saw him close the deficit before carrying his momentum on the back 9 to ensure he had his hands on the title at the end.

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Important Current Affairs 19th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Norway topped and India ranked 140th in World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• Norway is ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th).

• India dropped two places to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the global press freedom index analysis.

• Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.

• At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.

Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last in the World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• The index is released by Reporters Without Borders.

Top 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

1st       Norway

2nd      Finland

3rd       Sweden

4th       Netherlands

5th       Denmark

Bottom 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

176th   Vietnam

177th   China

178th   Eritrea

179th   North Korea

180th   Turkmenistan

INTERNATIONAL:

Sri Lanka launched its first Satellite.

• Sri Lanka's first satellite Raavana l was launched into space from NASA's Flight Facility on Virginia's east shore. The satellite was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It will be shuttled to the International Space Station. The “Raavana 1” was launched into space with the assistance of the US rocket “Antares”.

• Raavana 1 weights around 1.05 kg and is 1000 cubic centimetres in size. The minimum lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years and it is expected to be active for five years. Raavana 1 satellite's camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The Raavana-l is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from the earth. The satellite will achieve an active attitude stabilization which ensures that the satellite's attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The launch of Raavana-l marks Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

Saudi Arabia to host G20 Summit in 2020, first in Arab world.

• Saudi Arabia will host the annual G20 leaders' summit on November 21-22, 2020, in its capital Riyadh.

• This will be the first G20 Summit to be hosted in the Arab world.

Japan will host this year's G20 summit in Osaka, which will be held June 28-29, as well as ministerial meetings in eight cities.

• In 2018, the conference was held in Buenos Aries, Argentina and focused on the global economy, the future of labour markets and gender equality.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Canara Bank became the first PSB to meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced that Canara Bank has successfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs, is the first public sector bank to shift to EMV chip and PIN for card present transactions across the country’s vast ATM network.

• What is EMV Chip?

• EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa, the three Organisations that developed and established EMV as the global standard for chip-based credit and debit transactions. The EMVstandard helps to maximise security and global interoperability so that Visa cards can continue to be accepted around the world.

IMF and World Bank Launched Learning Coin For In-House Purposes.

• International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have together launched a private blockchain with a pseudo-token.

The new token, called “Learning Coin” accessible within the IMF and World Bank the main purpose to teach relevant individuals within the organizations about block chain.

• Though the coin has no real value hence the description pseudo-token staff members who pass educational milestones will receive the tokens which can then be redeemed for certain rewards.

Canara Bank Becomes The First Public Sector Bank In India To Meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions Canara Banksuccessfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs

Bandhan Bank Gets CCI Nod For Merger With Gruh Finance.

• Bandhan Bankreceived approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed scheme of amalgamation of Gruh Finance with the bank.

• The approval has been made under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

• Bandhan Bank in January 2019, announced the merger of Gruh Finance with it.

DAYS:

International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April.

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April every year. In 1982, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. UNESCO approved it the following year during its 22nd General Conference. Since then, 18 April has been a day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are.

• The theme for International Day for Monuments and Sites 2019 is Rural Landscapes, which is linked to the theme of the 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on Rural heritage to take place in October in Marrakesh, Morocco. The day offers the opportunity for National and International Scientific Committees to raise awareness about the relevance of rural landscapes, the challenges that encompass their conservation, the benefits that these efforts provide, and how rural landscapes are intrinsically related with sustainable development.

• Some of the main features that define rural landscapes are its fragility and use. While any changes in the conditions that sustain the living and evolving landscape might involve a dramatic transformation, or even a complete abandon or loss of a landscape, it is the conservation of its use which enables its tangible and intangible heritage to survive.

April 19 is observed as World Liver Day.

• The World Liver Day (WLD) is observed every year on April 19 to build awareness and understanding importance of liver in human body and how liver ailments are treated.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are 10th most

• common cause of death in India.

AWARDS:

UN honoured Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan.

• United Nations honoured 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. UNMISS is working to deter violence against civilians by providing a safe and secure environment for South Sudanese people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at Protection of Civilian sites across the country. It aims to provide a safe and supported environment so that these people can return to their former homes and communities to live safely and with dignity.

• UNMISS peacekeepers are also working to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, shelter and healthcare, to the millions of displaced people. It also protects, monitors, investigates, and reports on human rights violations and abuses with a strong focus on the most vulnerable, such as women and children and those who are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

• UNMISS is committed to helping build durable peace in South Sudan. It is working as a partner at a national and sub-national level with political, religious, traditional and community leaders as well as at grassroots with communities and individuals across the country to advance reconciliation efforts, to strengthen conflict resolution mechanisms and build national cohesion as well as to engage in regional and international peace initiatives.

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