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Important Current Affairs 13th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Indian Railways unrolls new quota for foreigners and NRIs to book tickets.

• Indian Railways is one of the leading railway systems in the world. With new enthusiasm, Indian Railways introducing new schemes for the betterment of services and exciting plans.

• Indian Railways lifted restrictions so that now Foreigners and NRIs can book tickets in all classes. The foreign tourists who travel in Indian trains are allowed to book tickets in the first AC, second AC and executive classes through IRCTC website up to 365 days in advance.

• Under the FTQ category, the Railways has allocated four berths per coach in a sleeper and 3rd AC classes while seats have been parked per coach in chair car classes.

Nizamabad Lok Sabha Seat May Enter Guinness Book With Record EVMs.

• Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, which went to elections, may well get into the Guiness Book of World Record for the use of largest number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). 

• With a high number of 185 candidates, including 178 farmers, in the contest, the Election Commission (EC) used 12 EVMs in each booth in the constituency. In any constituency, usually one or maximum four EVMs are used with one control unit in each booth, but in Nizamabad, 12 EVMs were linked to one control unit and the constituency has 1,778 polling centres.

• The EC used M3 type EVMs which can support up to 24 BUs (ballot Units). Each BU will have 24 names. Besides, large number of BUs, the EC used 2,200 Control Units and about 2,600 VVPATs for Nizamabad Constituency.

• This new version of EVMs was developed by the Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX launched its first commercial mission.

• SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world, launched its first commercial mission from Florida in a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space Company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts.

• The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk’s cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Google partners with MMTC-PAMP India.

• Google has partnered with bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to allow Google Pay users to buy and sell gold through the app.

• Through this partnership with India’s only LBMA-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. This type of service is already offered by the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, and PhonePe.

AITA signs MoU with STF to train Indian junior players.

• The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serbian Tennis Federation (STF) to train Indian junior players under world-renowned Serbian coaches at the R.K. Khanna Stadium, New Delhi.

• The MoU was signed on 10th April by AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee and STF CEO Dusan Orlandic. Trainers and coaches from Serbia will come to India for a week/ two-week camp in the under-12, 14, 16 and 18 categories.

Tata Trust and Microsoft signed MoU to support handloom weaving community.

• Tata Trusts and Microsoft India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly rejuvenate the handloom clusters in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.

• Project ReWeave: Microsoft’s Project ReWeave will help preserve traditional weaving forms by upskilling workers, designing and marketing merchandise, and creating sustainable livelihood options.

• Microsoft will also enable digital training through Project Sangam, a Microsoft Azure-based Learning Management System, which provides necessary training and tools to weaving communities to help them realise their full potential. Antaran initiative: Tata Trusts’ initiative, Antaran, aims at rejuvenating ailing handloom clusters through an end-to-end programme.

•  Intensive work has been initiated in Odisha, Assam and Nagaland. The programme will benefit 3,000 artisans directly involved in pre-loom, on-loom and post loom processes, impacting the livelihood of weavers in six weaving clusters in these three States. Craft sector is the country’s largest source of employment after agriculture.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Hong Kong’s stock market overtakes Japan to become worlds 3rd largest.

• According to Bloomberg,  Hong Kong has overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest stock market – after the U.S. and mainland China.

• Hong Kong’s market cap was $5.78 trillion as of April 2nd week, compared with $5.76 trillion for Japan.

•  Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been the main driver with a 22 percent gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 17 per cent this year through Tuesday, when it closed at its highest since June 15. Japan’s Topix Index advanced 8.3 percent in that period.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Nitin Chugh likely to be appointed as MD & CEO of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.

• Nitin Chugh, digital banking head of private sector lender HDFC Bank, is likely to succeed Samit Ghosh, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. Mr.Ghosh, who is also the founder of Ujjivan SFB, will retire in November 2019.

• The Bengaluru-based small finance bank has already applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval to appoint Mr.Chugh as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Mr.Chugh has over 23 years of experience.

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Important Current Affairs of 12th April

NATIONAL:

India's population grew at 1.2 percent between 2010-19: UN report.

• According to United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFP) State of World Population 2019 report, India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China.

• India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969. China’s population grew at an average annual rate of 0.5% between 2010 and 2019.

• In comparison, China’s population stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969. In India, total fertility rate per woman was 5.6 in 1969, dropping to 2.3 in 2019. India also recorded an improvement in life expectancy at birth.

INTERNATIONAL:

Google unveiled new Cloud Platform, Anthos to manage apps from anywhere.

• Google has introduced a new open platform called Anthos to run and manage apps from anywhere.

• Based on the Cloud Services Platform that Google announced in 2018, Anthos lets users run applications on existing on-premise hardware investments or in the Public Cloud. Anthos will also let users manage workloads running on third-party clouds like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

• Anthos is a Kubernetes-powered technology to build and manage hybrid applications, for on-premises or cloud deployments. Google also announced Anthos Migrate in beta, which auto-migrates virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises, or other clouds, directly into containers in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) with minimal effort.

Pakistan country issues 2,200 visas for Sikh pilgrims.

• India-Pakistan Protocol visit to religious shrines of 1974.  In this perspective, Pakistan granted 2,200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in Baisakhi celebrations from April 12 to 21.

• The Sikh pilgrims would be visiting shrines like Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib. 

• The protocol between India and Pakistan enables a large number of pilgrims to visit the other country to observe various religious festivals or occasions every year. 

AGREEMENTS:

India, Sweden inked pact to collaborate on solutions for smart cities, clean tech.

• The India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme will work towards addressing a range of challenges around smart cities and clean technologies among others. The programme was co-funded by Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Swedish agency Vinnova. Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish participants up to 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs 1.87 crore) as grant.

• On the Indian side, conditional grant of up to 50 per cent (with a limit of Rs 1.5 crore) per project will be provided to the Indian partners. This Programme is technically and administratively managed by the Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA) on behalf of DST in India and Vinnova in Sweden.

• Government, Academia, and Industry or the ‘triple helix’ - is key to the Sweden-India partnership. About Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India: It was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of science & technology (S&T) and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

India and Netherlands vow to strengthen bilateral political & economic ties.

• India and the Netherlands have discussed ways to strengthen bilateral political and economic ties including boosting cooperation at the United Nations and other international fora. The two countries held Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi, with the Indian side led by A Gitesh Sarma, Secretary, West, Ministry of External Affairs, and Johanna Brandt, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, leading the Dutch delegation. Both countries used this opportunity to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political, economic, commercial, scientific and cultural cooperation.

PAISALO Digital Limited signed the first co-origination loan agreement SBI

• PAISALO Digital Limited signed the first co-origination loan agreement with State Bank of India (SBI). This is the first agreement of its kind in the country that State Bank of India has signed. The agreement was signed with a vision of empowering the AGRI, MSME segment and small businesses.  The loan ticket is designed at Rs.10,000 to 2 lakh. The company expects to disburse 200,000 loan applications in FY20.  PAISALO Digital Limited is a leading systemically important non-deposit taking NBFC. It is registered with the Reserve Bank of India, in operations since 1992.

• Co-origination loan agreement:

♦ This new framework seeks to bring the strengths of two sectors, that is, banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs)/non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) together

♦ Under this framework, both a bank and an MFI/NBFC will join at each underwriting and loan level and share the loan amount at an agreed percentage with all other structures put in place

♦ It is expected that such a blending would not only increase the flow of credit to MSMEs but also bring down the cost of credit for the sector substantially.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Shiv Das Meena to be designated as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

• He is appointed as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). He assumed office as Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NBCC.

Cairn India’s CEO and CFO resign.

• Cairn India CEO Sudhir Mathur and CFO Pankaj Kalra have resigned from the firm. Ajay Dixit, who was CEO of the Aluminum and Power divisions of Vedanta, will take over from Mr.Mathur in the interim, after his exit. Mr.Mathur is the fourth CEO to quit the firm after it was acquired by Vedanta in 2011.

AWARDS:

Varanasi ranked third on the WHOs list of 15 most polluted cities.

• According to the 'Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019' report, released by Climate Trends, the air quality in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 Lok Sabha constituency, is ranked third on the WHO's (World Health Organisation) list of 15 most polluted cities in the world.

• Fourteen of the 15 most polluted cities in the world, listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) are in India, of which four are in Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh is the most polluted city in the world and is ranked one on the list. Faridabad in Haryana has been ranked second.

•  Delhi is ranked sixth on the list. Gaya and Patna in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, Cities of Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur are also on the WHO list of most polluted cities. The air quality index (AQI) in Varanasi reached an alarming 490 in 2017 and 384 (very poor category)  in December 2018.

•  Air Quality Index (AQI) in India: As per pollution control authorities, An AQI between

♦ 0 and 50 is considered "good",

♦ 51 and 100 "satisfactory",

♦ 101 and 200 "moderate",

♦ 201 and 300 "poor",

♦ 301 and 400 "very poor", and

♦ 401 and 500 "severe".

Namami Gange got Public Water Agency of the Year award at Global Water Summit

• India's flagship programme, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) or Namami Gange  was felicitated with ‘Public Water Agency of the Year’ award by Global Water Intelligence at the Global Water Summit in London. Namami Gange Mission:

♦ The Namami Gange programme is an integrated mission for Ganga rejuvenation, and approved by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore.

SPORTS:

Eni Nuraeni named as Best athletic coach in Asia 2019 by AAA.

• Indonesian Eni Nuraeni was named by Asian Athletic Association (AAA) as the best athletic coach in Asia for the short-haul run category in 2019. It was announced by the Indonesian athletic sports association (PB PASI). Eni coaches young sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri to win the 100m gold medal in 10.20 seconds in the 2019 Grand Prix Malaysia Open athletics championships. Earlier, Zohri won the 100m in 10.18 in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland in 2018.

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Important Current Affairs of 11th April

NATIONAL:

Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App.

• Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App, which is available free on Google Playstore, offering details of all candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The app is aimed at creating awareness among the people about the candidates in their constituencies.

• This is an effort to make people aware of the choices they have before they go to vote on April 18.

• This information is based on the declaration by the candidates in their affidavits. It is expected that all voters should use this app to know the details of candidates in their constituency.

• The details include educational background, profession, annual income in the last five years, asset, liabilities, and details of criminal cases pending against them.

• The app can be downloaded on any android mobile from the link http://bit.ly/KnowYourCandidates-Arappor in both English and Tamil. It has been presented in a simple app. It will soon be updated with information on the by elections for Assembly constituencies.

Government clears procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia.

• Amid increased tensions with Pakistan, the Central government has cleared the procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia in a deal worth over Rs 13,500 crore.

•  Under the new deal, the tanks would be provided to the Armoured Corps of the force which will use them for deployment along the border with Pakistan.

• The deal would increase the number of T-90s in the Army to close to 2,000 along with the remaining T-72 and T-55s. The Indian Army had first purchased T-90 tanks in 2001 when 310 units were ordered.

• The Indian Army is projected to have a force of over 1,600 T-90 tanks by 2020. The army is also looking to develop new tanks under the Futuristic Main Battle Tank project. The Army also operates two regiments of the Arjun Mark 1 tanks, which are mainly used in the desert terrain due to their weight.

Dost Education win the Next Billion Edtech Prize.

• India's education technology startup 'Dost Education' has bagged a $25,000 Next Billion Edtech Prize 2019.

• Two other startups, Ubongo (Tanzania) and PraxiLabs (Egypt), also won the award. Dost Education was awarded for its ability to empower parents to take charge of their child's early education by creating short, friendly audio content that is sent to them via their mobile phones.

• Because of this app low-income families need no longer send their children to primary school behind and without a chance to catch up.

President Ram Nath Kovind launched Veer Parivar App.

• On April 9th, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 54th Valour Day (Shaurya Diwas). On the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind launched 'Veer Parivar App', a mobile application for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty.

• About the Veer Parivar App:

♦ The App is an interface between the CRPF authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel. It will be installed securely on the phones of the slain personnel families and will not be available in the app stores.

♦ The app will provide assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pension benefits etc. The app will also provide all the necessary information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government.

♦ The App will provide assistance to the families on a real-time basis and the CRPF authorities will respond to the issues raised by the members of the families of the slain personnel. 54th Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas:

♦ The CRPF celebrates 9 April as Shaurya Diwas or Valour Day to commemorate the defence of the Sardar Post in the Rann of Kutch at the onset of the India-Pakistan War of 1965.

♦ In the intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, nearly 3500 men from the 51st Infantry of Pakistani Army invaded India at Sardar Post. The Pakistani Army comprised 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles, and 6 Baluch battalion. Their mission was to capture the Indian territory defended by Sardar Post.

♦ The post was guarded by two battalions of CRPF, roughly 150 soldiers. Compared to the Pakistani Army, the CRPF soldiers were no match in terms of an arsenal. Additionally, the terrain was disadvantageous for the defending forces.

♦ A fight ensued in which the Pakistani Army made three attempts to overrun the post. The battle lasted for 12 hours. In the end, the Pakistani Army fled the battleground leaving behind 34 of their men dead and CRPF lost six of its brave soldiers. Ever since the day has been celebrated by the CRPF as the Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas.

INTERNATIONAL:

British Governments white paper named online harms draws focus to users (mostly childrens) safety

• British government’s ‘white paper’ which is open for public consultation termed as ‘online harms’, focuses to make online social media platforms responsible to safeguard users, especially children.

• Since all of the social media platforms use strong algorithms leading to echo-chambers, where a user is bombarded with only blinkered content (according to the user’s web-browsing) instead of multi-directional content (i.e. seeing a variety of voices and opinions), all of which can affect children’s brain; the white paper proposes the compulsory ‘duty of care’ on various social media platforms for taking reasonable steps to protect users (focusing on children) from getting harmed.

SUMMITS:

Seventeenth MENA World Economic Forum Held In Jordan.

• World Economic Forum in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) took place at Jordan’s Dead Sea. 

• The forum assembled more than 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders from more than 50 countries.

• The forum was themed on three major visions:  Generating job opportunities, Empowering Arab women and promoting the most intriguing startups that have joined the region’s industry over the past years.

• About World Economic Forum Motto: Committed to improving the state of the world Formation: January 1971; 48 years ago (as European Management Forum) Founder: Klaus Schwab Type: Nonprofit organization.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Emirates Islamic became world's first Islamic bank to launch banking via WhatsApp.

• Dubai based Emirates Islamic has announced the launch of Chat Banking services for customers via WhatsApp, marking a global first in the Islamic banking sector.

• The Chat Banking solution allows customers to use features such as checking account balances and temporarily blocking or unblocking of an existing card.

•  All messages on Emirates Islamic’s verified WhatsApp Business account are encrypted, ensuring confidentiality and security.

HDFC AMC Ranks 1st In Terms Of Assets: AMFI Report.

• India’s asset management companies (AMCs) own assets under management (AUM) worth Rs24.46 trillion according to data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi). HDFC Asset Management Co.

•  Ltd claimed the top spot with an average AUM of Rs3.42 trillion, overtaking ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd with an average AUM of at Rs3.20 trillion.

Govt retains interest rate for General Provident Fund at 8%.

• Union government retained the interest rate for General Provident Fund (GPF), Contributory Provident Fund and other related schemes at 8 per cent for the first quarter of the current financial year 2019-2020.

• The interest rate on these funds was at 8 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2018-19 and government kept it unchanged for April to June for 2019-20. 

• The Department of Economic Affairs, in a notification, the mentioned interest rate will be applicable on provident funds of central government employees, railways and defence forces. 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SC Collegium recommends Justice Vikram Nath as First Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh HC.

• Supreme Court Collegium recommended that Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Vikram Nath appointed as the first Chief Justice of the recently constituted Andhra Pradesh High Court at Amaravati. The office of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice has been lying vacant since the day of its inception.

• Justice Vikram Nath obtained his law degree in 1986. Following his enrolment in 1987 and he practised in the Allahabad High Court. He was appointed an additional judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2004.

Algeria MPs elect Abdelkader Bensalah as first new president in 20 years

• Abdelkader Bensalah was appointed president for a three-month transitional period after weeks of mass protests led to the resignation of long-serving former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2.

• Algeria's newly appointed interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced the election would be held on July 4 to vote for a new president. However, the 77-year-old Bensalah is barred under the constitution from running in the upcoming election.

Benjamin Netanyahu elected for 5th term as Israel's Prime Minister.

• Netanyahu defeated centrist ex-military chief Benny Gantz, whose nascent Blue and White party emerged as a viable alternative to Netanyahu's decade in power.

• With over 97% votes counted, Netanyahu's Likud party tied with the Blue and White party, winning 35 seats each in the 120-member Knesset.

• Netanyahu's victory came amid allegations of corruption against him and his wife. His campaign has focused heavily on his friendship with President Donald Trump and his success in cultivating new allies, such as China, India and Brazil.

Karnam Sekar to be appointed as MD, CEO of Indian Overseas Bank.

• The Central Government made important management appointments to several public sector banks. 

• According to the Department of Personnel and Training, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Karnam Sekar as MD and CEO in Indian Overseas Bank. Karnam Sekar is currently the CEO and MD of Dena bank. 

• The new designation will be effective from July 1, 2019.

DAYS:

National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated on April 11.

• National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD) is observed annually on 11 April to raise awareness about the proper healthcare of women and maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women. The theme of 2019 NSMD is "Midwives for Mothers".

• Last year’s NSMD theme was ‘Respectful Maternity Care’. This day also raise awareness for the prevention of child marriages that may be an indirect cause of maternal deaths. About National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD):

♦ this day is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) to provide women with various healthcare programs during pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal services.

♦ This day is first celebrated in 2003.

♦ 11 April is the anniversary day of Kasturba Gandhi's birth. Facts about Maternal Mortality according to WHO:

♦ Approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

♦ In developing countries 99% maternal deaths occurs.

SPORTS:

India bow out of 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament.

• The Indian women’s football team bowed out on an opportunity to qualify for the third round of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers. The Indian team win to top Group A but it lead twice to play out a 3-3 draw against Myanmar to bow out of the competition.

Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana named the Wisden's Leading Cricketers in the World

• In the 2019 (156th) edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack published recently, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and women's cricketer Smriti Mandhana were named the Leading Cricketers in the World.

• Kohli has won the honour for an unprecedented third year in a row while it’s the first time Smriti has won the honour.

• Kohli scored 2,735 runs across the three formats in 2018 while Smriti scored 669 and 682 runs in ODIs and T20s respectively. Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading T20 cricketer for the second year in a row.

• Wisden's Cricketers of the Year was also awarded to four other Cricketers namely English cricketers Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and Tammy Beaumont, for their performances in the 2018 English summer.

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Important Current Affairs of 10th April

NATIONAL:

Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. to acquire Usha Martin Ltd.

• Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. (TSIL), a Tata Steel subsidiary, has announced the completion of its acquisition of the steel business of Usha Martin Ltd. (UML). The acquisition also included UML’s steel business undertaking along with captive power plants. The acquisition also included a cash consideration of Rs.4,094 crore payable to UML (after adjustment for negative working capital and debt-like items). 

• TSIL is subject to further holdbacks of Rs.640 crore, pending transfer of some of the assets including mines and certain land parcels. Tata Steel had announced in a stock exchange disclosure on September 22, 2018, the signing of definitive agreements to buy UML’s steel business. The acquisition cost was then pegged at between Rs.4,300 and Rs.4,700 crore.

• The acquired business comprises a one million tonne per annum (mtpa) alloy-based long products making facility in Jamshedpur, an operational iron ore mine, a coal mine under development, and captive power plants. UML’s steel business has a rich mix of carbon steel and alloy steel, catering to the automotive sector as well as high-end wire-rod makers. 

• The TSIL board had already approved a plan to finance the buy through an issue of rights share up to Rs.1800 crore, external borrowings up to Rs.2500 crore and issue of non-convertible redeemable preference shares of Rs.1,000 crore. TSIL is debt-free with free cash reserves of about Rs.670 crore.

India becomes YouTube largest and fastest growing market.

• India has become YouTube’s largest and fastest growing market with 265 million Indians watching the video-sharing website every month. In the last year, YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% of the watch time coming from outside the six largest metros in India.

• Today, YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the million subscriber-milestones, compared to five years ago, when there were only two creators.

Indian Railways creates record; Free WiFi at 500 rail stations in 7 days.

• Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, RailTel, which is a mini ratna CPSU (Central Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways has provided free high-speed WiFi service to as many as 500 stations in a short period of seven days with ‘RailWire’. RailTel has also tied up with Tata Trust for providing free WiFi at 4,791 B, C, D and E category railway stations.

•  Recently, Northern Railways’ Sahibabad station has become the 1500th railway station in India to get the free Wi-Fi facility. The free Wi-Fi project was initiated from Mumbai Central railway station.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates Maldives President Solih for his partys landslide victory.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally called Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to congratulate him on his party’s exceptionally strong performance in the Maldives Majlis elections of 2019, in which the Maldives’ Democratic Party secured 65 of 87 seats, and won a landslide supermajority in parliament.

• He further conveyed his full confidence that the Maldives Government can deliver on their promises towards the Maldivian people in the upcoming five years, and that the Indian Government will always stand ready to be of assistance to the Maldives.

CBDT detects unaccounted cash collection racket of Rs 281 crore in Madhya Pradesh.

• Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) searches in Madhya Pradesh by Delhi Directorate of Income Tax have detected widespread and well-organised racket for the collection of unaccounted cash of about 281 crore rupees through various persons. 

• The department has also detected a trail of 20 crore rupees suspect cash allegedly being moved to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi from the house of an important person.

• The CBDT identified neither the political party nor the senior functionary. It added that records of collection and disbursement of cash in the form of handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets were found and seized and it corroborates the above findings.

• The several unaccounted and benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected.

Dream11 became Indias first billion-dollar gaming Startup.

• Mumbai-based Dream11 has become India's first gaming unicorn or billion-dollar startup with an investment from Steadview Capital. Apart from Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent investments collectively put Dream11’s total evaluation beyond $1 billion.

• The investment by Hong Kong and London-based Steadview Capital comes about eight months after Dream 11 sealed a $100 million equity financing round led by Tencent, which is world's fifth-largest internet company.

India’s gold reserves increased in February.

• The World Gold Council (WGC) said that India has marginally increased its gold holding to 1.7 tonnes in February while maintaining the tenth position among countries in terms of yellow metal reserves.

• India added 1.7 tonnes in February while most other countries, except Russia and China, had their reserves unchanged in the recent past.

• As per WGC, India had total gold reserves of 608.7 tonnes in February, marginally up from the previous month’s holding of 607 tonnes.

IIT Madras ties up with GE to set up Indias first Cold Spray SMART Lab.

• American conglomerate, General Electric in association with IIT-Madras, established India’s first ‘Cold Spray’ SMART (Surface Modification and Additive Research Technologies) Laboratory in the institution thereby IIT-M became the only academic institution with High-Pressure Cold Spray(HPCS) facility in India.

• The High-Pressure Cold Spray machinery carried from Plasma Giken, Japan. GE India Technology Centre CEO Alok Nanda and IIT Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi inaugurated the laboratory on 5th April 2019.

PFS in a joint venture with USICEF finances solar projects in India.

• PTC India Financial Services (PFS) an Infrastructure finance company partnered with (USICEF) the US-India Clean Energy Finance to leverage funds for solar projects in India. PFS Managing Director and CEO Pawan Singh stated that this innovative venture can contribute to achieve India’s distributed energy target of 40 GW (gigawatt) by 2022.

• Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) manages USICEF that was founded in partnership with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, OPIC(Overseas Private Investment Corporation), IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd.) and leading U.S. Foundations in 2017.

India-Singapore Joint Military Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 2019.

• Military forces of India and Singapore to participate in a joint exercise in Babina Cantonment in Jhansi.  The three-day exercise, ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’, conducted to develop military technology, boost maritime security and bolster the nations’ fight against terrorism.

• The two countries signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen the defence ties between Indian Military and Singapore Armed Forces in November. About Singapore  President: Halimah Yacob Prime Minister:

• Lee Hsien Loong Deputy Prime Ministers: Teo Chee Hean Tharman  Capital: Singapore  

INTERNATIONAL:

London becomes world's 1st city to launch 24x7 pollution charge zone.

• London became the first city in the world to implement a special Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that would charge an entry fee for older vehicles if they do not meet the emission standards.

• This move aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health. The ULEZ will be operational for 24 hours and seven days a week.

• Polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London's harmful Nitrogen Oxide air emissions. London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020.

Google launched its 1st drone delivery service in Australia.

• Wing, one of the many companies belonging to Alphabet (Google parent) made its first delivery in Canberra, Australia after getting approval from the Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

• The drones will deliver food and drinks as well as medication directly to clients' homes. Wing was testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014 and delivered medicines, chocolate to 3,000 homes in the last 18 months.

• Wing is now preparing to launch a trial service in Helsinki, Finland.

Sri Lanka new railway line inaugurated.

• Sri Lanka has opened a new railway line connecting its coastal city of Matara and Beliatta in Hambantota.

• It was built with China’s assistance. This move will boost passenger traffic into the island nation’s deep south. It is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948.  The new line was inaugurated on 8th April 2019 in the presence of Sri Lanka’s Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and other parliamentarians.

• About the railway line: The Matara-Beliatta railway extension is of 26.75-km length. The cost of the project was $278 million. The Matara-Beliatta railway extension includes the longest and second longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km, respectively.

• China's role: The railway extension was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and the contract was awarded to the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. China termed it as a major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been the major recipient of Chinese loans and investments in recent years, totalling over $8 billion. The heavy borrowing has raised concerns over Sri Lanka’s ability to repay after Colombo handed over the Hambantota port to Beijing for a 99-year lease in 2017 as a debt swap. China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): BRI is also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR). It was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt"; Whereas "road" refers to the sea routes or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The aim is to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62% of the population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves. 

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI cut interest rate on home loans up to Rs 30 lakh by 10 bps.

• India's largest lender, SBI has reduced the interest rate on housing loans of up to ₹30 lakh by 10 basis points to a range between 8.60% and 8.90% per annum, from existing rates of 8.70% to 9%.

• SBI also cut its benchmark lending rates by five basis points across all tenors. The one-year marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR) now stands at 8.50%, down from 8.55%. The move comes days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to 6%, in a move to boost the economy.

•  From May 1, the rates of large savings accounts (balances above ₹1 lakh) will get revised. Overdraft and other short-term loans will get cheaper.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SUN Group chairman Vikramjit Sahney elected as president of ICC India.

• SUN Group Chairman Vikramjit Singh Sahney elected as the new president of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) - India. He will succeed Jawahar Vadivelu.

DAYS:

April 10: World Homoeopathy Day.

• The World Homoeopathy Day 2019 is observed across the world on April 10, 2019 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

• The week following the birth date of Hahnemann, that is, 10 April - 16 April is observed as the World Homeopathic Awareness Week. This year it is 263rd birth anniversary of founder of Homoeopathy.

• About Samuel Hahnemann: Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, a great scholar, linguist and an acclaimed scientist, is known as the Father of Homeopathy, Father of Human Pharmacology, Father of Nano Medicine and the Father of Infinite Dilution concept in Chemistry.

• About CCRH: Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) in India organises the scientific convention on the World Homeopathy Day to pay tributes to Dr. Hahnemann on his birth anniversary. The council has so far accomplished over 168 clinical researches, 40 basic researches, standardization studies of 348 drugs, proving of 112 drugs and clinical verification of 106 drugs. On the occasion, the AYUSH Awards will be conferred for Life Time Achievement, Best Teacher, Young Scientist and Best Research paper with an aim to recognise exemplary work in the field of Homoeopathy. About Homeopathy: Homeopathy as system of medicine was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in 1796. It is a natural approach to the treatment of the sick. This medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations and labels them in Latin or faux-Latin vocabulary. It is world’s second most widely used system of treatment.

AWARDS:

AIMA Managing India Awards 2019 to Azim Premji, Mahendra Mohan Gupta and 9 others.

• The All India Management Association (AIMA) Managing India Awards 2019 was held on April 08, 2019 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Mahendra Mohan Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran, was awarded under Lifetime Contribution to Media category.

• Complete Winners List:

1. Lifetime Contribution Award: Azim H Premji (Chairman, Wipro Ltd)

2. Outstanding Institution Builder: Prathap C Reddy (Founder-Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group)

3. Corporate Citizen Award: Devi Prasad Shetty (Founder & Chairman Narayana Hrudalaya)

4. Entrepreneur of the year: Sanjiv Bajaj (Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv Ltd)

5. Business Leader of the Year: Sanjiv Mehta (Chairman & Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd)

6. Lifetime Contribution to Media: Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran)

7. Outstanding Contribution to Media: Uday Shankar (President, 21st Century Fox, Asia and Chairman and CEO, Star India)

8. Indian MNC of the Year: Pawan Goenka (Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Managing Director and Member of the Group Executive Board)

9. MNC in India of the Year: T Krishnakumar (Coca-Cola India, President  & CEO, India & Southwest Asia)

10. Outstanding PSU of the Year: Sanjiv Singh (Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd)

11. Director of the Year: Rajkumar Hirani (Director, Producer, Writer & Editor - Sanju Movie)

SPORTS:

Spain Garbine Muguruza claimed Monterrey Open title.

• Garbine Muguruza of Spain successfully claimed back-to-back Monterrey Open title 2019 as Victoria Azarenka succumbed to injury in the final.

•  Asia Muhammad & Maria Sanchez claimed women's doubles title in Monterrey Open. The Monterrey Open is a professional women's tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts.

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Important Current Affairs of 9th April

NATIONAL:

Around 5,000 Naga Konyak women dance set a Guinness World Record in Nagaland

• In an attempt to set a new Guinness World Records in the category of ‘largest traditional Konyak dance display,’ around 5,000 Konyak community women, all decked up in colorful traditional attire, danced to the tune of a ceremonial song at Nagaland, coinciding with the Aoleang festival.

• The theme of this year’s Aoleang, also called Mini Hornbill festival, was ‘Empowering women for cultural heritage.

INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations.

• The two ships are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

• INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship. Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

Adani Power receives LoI to acquire KWPCL.

• Adani Power received a letter of intent (LoI) to acquire debt-laden Korba West Power Company Ltd. (KWPCL). 

• The committee of creditors of KWPCL, a company undergoing insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has approved the resolution plan submitted by Adani Power.  KWPCL owns and operates a 600 megawatt thermal power plant in Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh.

Biannual Army Commanders Conference began in New Delhi.

• The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference began in New Delhi for the planning and execution process of the Indian Army.

• Some issues like the management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats were discussed in this conference.

• Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her opening address at the conference and the Chief of the Army Staff chaired the conference. About Defence Ministry Formed: 1776; 243 years ago  Headquarters: Cabinet Secretariat Raisina Hill, New Delhi.

Guwahati Railway station first to get ISO certification in India.

• The Guwahati Railway Station has become the first ever railway station in the Indian Railways to get an ISO certification from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for ‘providing passenger amenities in a clean and green environment.

• ’ ISO certification received by Guwahati Railway Station is ISO-14001, which is for Environment Management System as per international norms which were upgraded in 2015. Thus, the station’s certificate reads ISO 14001: 2015.

INTERNATIONAL:

Israel to go to polls to elect new parliament.

• Israel will go to polls to elect a new parliament. Fourteen main parties are competing for 120 seats in the Knesset or parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running for his fifth term in office. 

• His main challenger is Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff for Israeli military who is a newcomer to politics. The main Voters will cast their ballots for a party, not a candidate.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI issues norms for banks to set up currency chests.

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rolled out with guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests, which include the minimum area of 1,500 square feet for the strong room. 

• The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. It added that for those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, capacity should be 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.

HDFC Bank to rise up to Rs.50, 000 crore by issuing bonds.

• Private lender HDFC Bank said it is planning to raise up to Rs.50,000 crore this fiscal by issuing bonds on private placement basis.

•  It will raise funds by issuing perpetual debt instruments [part of additional tier I capital], tier II capital bonds and long-term bonds [financing of infrastructure and affordable housing] up to a total amount of Rs.50,000 crore in the period of next 12 months through private placement mode. The bank would consider the proposal on April 20.

World Bank estimates India’s GDP to expand 7.5 percent in FY20.

• The World Bank expects India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to accelerate to 7.5% in fiscal year 2019-20. This would be driven by continued investment strengthening, particularly private-improved export performance and resilient consumption. Industrial growth accelerated to 7.9 per cent, making up for a deceleration in services. Agriculture growth was robust at four per cent. The real GDP growth is estimated at 7.2 per cent in FY18/19.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Kirstjen Nielsen resigns as Homeland Security Secretary.

• Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, resigned her position on 7th April. Ms.Nielsen will, however, stay on until April 10.

• Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs, and Border Protection Commissioner will take charge as Acting Homeland Security Secretary.

•  Ms. Nielson, who has had a rocky working relationship with President Donald Trump, handed in her resignation at a time when there were growing signs of division within the administration over how to handle the swelling numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

AWARDS:

Presidents Certificate of Honor and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards Conferred

• Vice President Venkaiah Naidu conferred President’s Certificate of Honour and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards at New Delhi. 

• The award of the Certificate of Honour was introduced in the year 1958 to honour the scholars of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian Languages.

• Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Distinction is conferred on persons in recognition of their substantial contribution in the field of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Odiya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam.

SPORTS:

Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics.

• Indian swimmer Kushagra Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics, Tokyo. It was after he achieved the B standard of the 800m freestyle event at the Speedo Thailand Age Group Championships in Bangkok.

Graham Reid appointed as chief coach of India men's hockey team.

• Reid was part of the silver-medal winning Australian team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Reid's appointment till the end of 2020 was ratified after Hockey India received necessary clearance from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

• India had been without a chief coach since Harendra Singh was sacked after last year's World Cup Reid will be in charge of the team during their next international assignment -- tour to Australia in May 2019.

Isaak Hayik, 73, set a new record as world’s oldest soccer player.

• A 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik set a new world record as the world’s oldest person to play in a professional soccer match. The previous record holder was 53 years old Uruguayan Robert Carmona who was played a professional match in 2015.

Malaysia Open Badminton 2019: Lin Dan clinched title in Mens Single’s category.

• Chinese badminton ace Lin Dan clinched the Malaysia Open 2019 title against countryman Chen Long to claim his first major title in two years. The 2019 Malaysia Open, officially the CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open 2019, is a badminton tournament which takes place at Axiata Arena in Malaysia from 2 to 7 April 2019 and has a total purse of $700,000.

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Important Current Affairs 8th April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

NTPC signs with Canara Bank to raise Rs.2000 crore.

• National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the State-run power giant, has signed a term-loan agreement with Canara Bank to raise Rs 2,000 crore. The agreement would be used to part finance its capital expenditure. The loan has a door to door tenure of 15 years and will be utilised to part finance the capital expenditure of the NTPC.

SEBI agrees to crore Airport Specific Fund worth Rs. 10,000 crore.

• SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) approved an ‘airport’ specific fund. The name of the fund is ‘Taking Off To the Future Airport Fund’.

• It can raise a capital amounting to 1.5$bn (Rs. 10,000 crores). The ‘Sponsor and Investment Manager’ of the fund is based in Chennai and is termed as ‘Taking Off To The Future Investment Management LLP’.

• Gigi George leads the management and operation of ‘Sponsor and Investment Manager’ A minimum capital contribution of Rs. 3500 crore and a maximum of Rs. 7000 crore is targeted by the fund. On SEBI: The regulator for the securities market in India is the Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI)(established in 1988).

• On 12th May 1992, it became it became an autonomous body by the Government of India. Through the SEBI Act, 1992, SEBI was given statutory powers on 30 January 1992. On 10th January 2017, Ajay Tyagi was appointed as the chairman of SEBI by replacing U.K. Sinha.

MOUS:

Indian Navy signs MoU with CSIR for advanced technologies.

• The Indian Navy signed MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to undertake joint research and development of advanced technologies for the Indian Navy.

• This will be a collaborative arrangement between labs of CSIR, the Indian Navy and Indian industry. The MoU provides a formal framework for interaction between the Indian Navy and CSIR.

DAYS:

National Handloom Week observed from 7th April to 14th April.

• It is a celebration of the country’s 5,000-year old tradition of hand weaving cloths.

• On this occasion, a book named ‘The Indian textile Sourcebook’ authored by Avalon Fotheringham and published by Thames and Hudson will be launched on 9th April.

• In 2018, the National Handloom Week was observed during December month. The National Handloom Day is observed on 7th August every year across India. It was on this day that the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905.

• The First National handloom day was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on August 7, 2015 in Chennai.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Algerias Parliament to meet to name an interim successor.

• Algeria’s Parliament is set to meet on 9th April to name an interim successor to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after mass protests pushed the ailing leader from power.

•  Algeria’s Constitution stipulates that the Speaker of the upper house of Parliament, currently Abdelkader Bensalah, 77, should take the presidential reins.

• He is to serve for up to 90 days, during which a presidential election must be organized.

Praful Patel becomes 1st Indian to be elected as member of FIFA Executive Council

• Praful Patel is the current president of All India Football Federation (AIFF). He got 38 out of 46 votes. His membership in the council will be for four years, from 2019 to 2023.

• Patel was accompanied by AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and senior vice-president Subrata Datta. FIFA Council member election was held during the 29th Asian Football Confederations (AFC) Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

INTERNATIONAL:

USD 1.7 trillion needed per year to build disaster-resilient infrastructure in Asia: ADB report

• As per a recent ADB report titled 'Asian Development Outlook 2019: Strengthening Disaster Resilience’, Developing economies across Asia are among the most vulnerable to natural disasters and have suffered damages estimated at 644 billion dollars since 2000.

• Of these, weather-related hazards caused the greatest share at 507 billion dollars (or 79 per cent) while geophysical hazards accounted for the remaining 137 billion dollars (or 21 per cent).

• To build disaster-resilient infrastructure, investment needs in developing Asia are estimated at 26 trillion dollars from 2016 to 2030, or 1.7 trillion dollars per year, including necessary investments in climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

NATIONAL:

L&Ts Proposal to Acquire Majority Stake in Mindtree approved by Competition Commission of India.

• Larsen and Toubro (L&T) received the approval to acquire up to 66.15 per cent stake in the Bangalore-based IT services firm Mindtree from Competition Commission of India (CCI). Around Rs 10,800 crore was the estimated total deal value.

A new seller-funding programme named Amazon Wings was launched by Amazon India.

• A new seller-funding programme named ‘Amazon Wings’  launched by Amazon India to help the small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise funds through the crowd funding platform.

• Amazon India sellers can use the Ketto’s platform for a subsidized fee which is around 50 percent to initiate fundraisers. With this initiative, the small businesses and entrepreneurs of this platform can raise the funds for their business expansion, product development, and foster innovation or community development.

•  They launched a dedicated microsite to feature fundraisers initiated by sellers by which they can raise small ticket funds starting from as little as Rs 50,000 by means of crowd-funding through multiple individuals.

Chennai Central has been renamed as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr M G Ramachandran Chennai Central after Dr. MG Ramachandran.

• Chennai Central railway station renamed by the Tamil Nadu State Government as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station after late Chief Minister Dr. MG Ramachandran.

• Neeraj Sharma, Railway Executive Board Director notified that the change of name would be possible provided there should not be any inaugural event as a result of the election code of conduct. About Dr. MG Ramachandran Dr. Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (17 Jan 1917-24 Dec 1987) as MG Ramachandran or ‘Makkal Thilagam’ (since he was a popular figure) was a veteran filmmaker, actor and politician. 

• He served for 10 years as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (1977-1987). MG Ramachandran’s autobiography was posthumously published in 2003 (in two volunes) under the title ‘Naan Yaen Piranthaen (Why I was Born)’. His policies focused on economic growth and social welfare.

•  He brought in many educational reforms, banned liquor, upgraded the mid-day meal scheme and worked for the preservation for the state’s cultural heritage. For his immense contribution to public service, M G Ramachandran was posthumously honoured with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 1988.

AWARDS:

Tata Steel won 'Global Slag Company of the Year' award.

• The award has been presented to Tata Steel for its innovative practices in development of new applications for Steel by-products (Slag). The award was given at the 14th Global Slag Conference and Exhibition 2019, held recently in Aachen, Germany. The conference is one of the largest global annual slag event, attended by major steelmakers, steel mill service providers & associated companies.

AWARDS:

ESPN India Multi-Sport Awards 2018 announced, PV Sindhu and Neeraj conferred with Sportsperson of year award

• Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu and star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra were named as female and male sportsperson of the year in the ESPN India Multi-Sport Awards for their achievements in 2018. 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal won the award for the ‘Comeback of the Year’ after bagging the bronze at the 2018 Asian Games.

• ESPN Multi-Sport awards 2018 recognised achievements across 11 categories. Other Winners of the Award are:

♦ Coach of the Year - Jaspal Rana (shooting)

♦ Emerging Sportsperson of the Year - Saurabh Chaudhary (shooting)

♦ Team of the Year - Women’s team (table tennis)

♦ Match of the Year - Amit Panghal vs Hasanboy Dusmatov (boxing)

♦ Differently-abled athlete of the Year - Ekta Bhyan (para-athletics)

♦ Moment of the Year - Women’s 4x400m relay

♦ Lifetime Achievement Award - Pradip Kumar Banerjee (football).

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Important Current Affairs 7th April 2019

SUMMIT:

ICAT to organize NuGen Mobility Summit in November.

• The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is to organize a NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019, at Manesar, NCR, from 27th to 29th November 2019.  The summit will help in building a platform for bringing together all stakeholders in the automotive industry to understand global advancements in technologies.

• The summit aims to bring together the automotive OEMs, professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment supplier, quality managers, product planners, component developers, SAE members and students from all over the world.

• Track demonstrations, drive-touch-feel activity and lab demonstrations on upcoming vehicle technologies like connected mobility, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, alternate fuels, intelligent transportation system, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen IC engine, vehicle dynamics, advanced materials and lightweight, end of life vehicles and recycling are the uniqueness of this event.

CAMPAIGNS:

MRM launches campaign to garner Muslim support for strong & stable government.

• Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), a social and educational reform movement working among the Muslims in India since 2002, undertaking the campaign to create awareness among the Muslim voters to cast their vote for a strong government at the Centre to ensure the all-round development of all the citizens.

• The MRM had done a similar exercise in 2014 to secure Muslim vote to its maximum all over the country. This time too, the MRM has decided to launch such a campaign especially when the Modi government had done so much for the Muslims of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

Pakistan opened a route for flights out of India.

• Pakistan has opened one route for west-bound flights from India more than a month after it shut its airspace for all civilian flights following the Indian Air Force’s strikes at Balakot. A decision on opening a passage for flights overflying Pakistan and entering India is yet to be taken.

• The route that has been opened passes from near Mumbai and enters southern Pakistan. This is only one of the 11 exit and entry points between India and Pakistan. Since the ban by Pakistan on the use of its airspace, several flights within Asia, between Asia and West Asia or Europe or the U.S. were forced to take a longer route, entailing an increase in flight duration and sometimes a halt for refuelling.

• This led to an increase in operational costs, forcing many airlines to cancel flights or hike fares.

SPORTS:

Virat Kohli becomes all-time leading IPL scorer during 49-ball 84.

• Virat Kohli hit his 35th fifty in the Indian Premier League as Royal Challengers Bangalore sought to bounce back following four successive defeats this season.

• Up against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kohli came out all guns blazing and became the 2nd fastest after Chris Gayle to reach 8000 T20 runs. RCB have struggled in the 2019 IPL and Virat Kohli had failed to lead from the front in the first four matches.

•  However, back in Bengaluru, Kohli hit top gear against a top bowling attack and blazed away to a 49-ball 84. This was Kohli's first fifty of the season. Virat Kohli had smashed 973 runs and 4 hundred as RCB came from nowhere to storm into the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

DAYS:

World Health Day observed on 7th April.

• World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year as the World Health Day, with effect from 1950.

•  World Health Day is one of eight official global health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, and World Hepatitis Day. The theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.

NATIONAL:

Micromax Co-founder unveils Indias first AI-enabled e-motorcycle brand.

• Rahul Sharma, cofounder of Indian phone maker Micromax, has forayed into the electric vehicle space. He has started a new enterprise called Revolt Intellicorp Pvt. Ltd, with plans to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) based motorcycle. He has invested between INR 400 Cr - INR 500 Cr in this new venture. The proposed AI-enabled motorcycle will have a range of 156.8 km and a top speed of 85km/hr. The commercial launch of the motorcycle is scheduled in June this year.

BSNL announced a slew of tariff plans for Ugadi.

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) announced a slew of tariff plans as part of its Ugadi offering in Hyderabad.

• It also announced three new pre-paid plans to meet the demand of consumers who want voice-focussed plans rather than data-heavy ones. 

• BSNL has seen its rise in market share from 10.8% to 11.58%. Its consumers are using 8 TB data everyday and 42,600 existing users have shifted to 4G SIM showing the quality of our network and service.

•  Incidentally, BSNL Telangana Circle’s 4G roll-out plan has eluded Hyderabad so far.

Government sells Rs 1,150 crore worth 'enemy shares' in Wipro.

• A total of 44.4 million shares, which were held by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, were sold at Rs 259 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

•  The buyers were state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation.

• LIC alone picked up shares worth Rs 1,000 crore. Enemy shares are called so as they were originally held by people who migrated to Pakistan or China and are not Indian citizens any longer.

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

Dr. Sohini Sastri honoured with D. Litt by National American University.

• Indian Astrologer Dr Sohini Sastri has been honoured with 'D. Litt in Astrology' by National American University, USA.

•  Dr Sohini Sastri is one of the most trusted names in Astrology and is known for her services over the years. She is also a receipt of 'Champions of Change Award' which was given to her by Honourable Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi recently.

• Other prominent personalities who were also awarded Doctorates at the same event includes Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan and choreographer Terence Lewis.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Karnataka Bank signed MoU with Bharti AXA for Insurance Products.

• Karnataka Bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company to distribute the latter’s life insurance products. This is the third similar tie-up by the Bank after with PNB Metlife India Insurance Company Ltd and LIC, both of whom continue to provide insurance solutions to the customers of Karnataka Bank.

MOUS:

BIS signed MoU with IIT-D on standardisation and conformity assessment.

• The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has signed MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) to collaborate in the field of standardisation and conformity assessment. The MoU was signed by IIT Delhi Director Professor V Ramgopal Rao and Director General of BIS Surina Rajan.  According to the MoU, IIT Delhi will provide infrastructure support for research and development projects of relevance to standardisation and BIS will provide financial support to IIT Delhi for projects.

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Important Current Affairs of 6th April

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Lakshmi Vilas Bank approves merger with India bulls Housing.

• The board of Lakshmi Vilas Bank approved a share swap acquisition by housing finance firm Indiabulls Housing Finance.

• The merged entity, Indiabulls Lakshmi Vilas Bank, will be among the top eight private banks by size and profitability. The merger will need the approval of the Reserve Bank of India and other regulators.

• As per the share swap ratio for the merger, for every 100 shares of Lakshmi Vilas Bank shareholders will get 14 shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance.

SPORTS:

Belgium retained top spot in the latest FIFA world football rankings.

• Belgium continues to dominate the charts with 1737 points. The top three positions are unchanged with World Cup winner France in second spot ahead of Brazil, in third. England rose above Croatia, to reach No 4 this month. Indian football team gained two places to rise to 101 in the FIFA rankings.

Indian women's Football team faces Nepal in Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match.

• In Football, Indian women's team faces Nepal in their Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match in Mandalay, Myanmar today. The match will begin at 2 PM Indian time. The two teams will be up against each other for the third time since February.

INTERNATIONAL:

Panel to be set up to oversee Essar Steels operations.

• Essar Steel's Committee of Creditors (COC) has set up a monitoring committee to oversee the operations of the steel firm and ensure a smooth transition to ArcelorMittal, the successful resolution applicant. 

• The monitoring committee is headed by resolution professional Satish Gupta and has four members from the lenders and three from ArcelorMittal. The lenders, SBI, IDBI Bank, ICICI and Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company, have their representatives as members of the monitoring committee.

•  The development comes after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) asked the COC to set up a monitoring committee to oversee the operations of the steel firm and smooth transition to ArcelorMittal.

NATIONAL:

Phayeng Village of Manipur becomes India’s first carbon-positive settlement

• A village is given the Carbon-Positive Tag if it sequesters more carbon than it emits, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases and mitigating the effects of climate change.

• As part of the carbon-positive village project, Phayeng will receive a grant of Rs10 crore in phases to facilitate afforestation in the catchment of river Maklang that flows along the village.

• Phayeng is a scheduled caste village of the Chakpa community in Imphal West district and its conservation efforts are mainly linked to the belief that the forest is a sacred grove. It is surrounded by three densely forested hillocks with fruit trees at center and a stream flowing through it.

NIIF and Roadis to set up platform for up to USD 2 billion in road projects.

• The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and global transport infrastructure operator Roadis are to jointly set up a platform to invest up to $2 billion of equity in road projects in India. The platform would target toll-operate-transfer models and acquisitions of existing road concessions.  Roadis is a fully owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board which is one of Canada's largest pension funds.

Indian Navy to acquire 6 lethal submarines under Project-75 India at Rs 50,000 crore.

• Under Project 75-India, the Navy wants to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines which would be almost 50 per cent bigger than the under-construction Scorpene class submarines being built at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai. The submarines should have the ability to carry and launch 18 heavyweight torpedoes in the sea.

• For the Indian Navy, the Project 75I-class submarine is follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarines. The submarines will be equipped with heavy-duty firepower as it wants the boats to have at least 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) along with Anti-Ship cruise missiles (ASCM).

Paytm Money Receives SEBI Approval To Start Stock Broking Services.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) given approval to Paytm Money the investment and wealth management platform of the mobile payments company to start offering booking services. It had applied for the licence in October 2018. Paytm Money also received membership of NSE and BSE.

APPOINTMENTS:

Vikram Kirloskar appointed as CIIs president.

• Vikram Kirloskar, CMD of Kirloskar Systems Ltd., and vice-chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor has assumed office as President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for 2019-20.

• He takes over from Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman, Bharti Enterprises.  Uday Kotak, founder and MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is the president-designate of CII for 2019-20. T.V. Narendran, CEO  & MD of Tata Steel Limited, takes over as CII vice-president for 2019-20.

Nasscom appoints Keshav Murugesh as CEO.

• IT industry body Nasscom has appointed WNS Global Services Group CEO Keshav Murugesh as its chairman for 2019-20. He takes over from his previous role as vice-chairman of Nasscom. He succeeds Rishad Premji (Wipro chief strategy officer and board member). Nasscom has appointed Infosys COO U.B. Pravin Rao as its vice-chairman for 2019-20.

Amal Clooney is appointed as the U.K.s special envoy on media freedom

• Amal Clooney has been appointed as the U.K.’s special envoy on media freedom. The appointment comes as the U.K.

• Prepares to host an international conference this July in the wake of attacks on journalists across the world.  Ms.Clooney will chair a panel of legal experts who will work to support countries to repeal outdated and draconian laws and strengthen legal mechanisms to protect journalists.

•  Among the steps that could be taken by the panel include making proposals to countries around national laws that don’t comply with international standards, particularly around issues such as blasphemy and stringent anti-defamation rules. 

• The panel will also prepare mechanisms that could be used internationally to raise the cost of non-compliance with international standards, such as advising on sanctions regime that could be put in place relating to regimes that abused journalists.

American David Malpass selected as the new President of the World Bank

• David Malpass is currently US Treasury Department's Under Secretary for International Affairs. He was a senior economic adviser to US President Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign. The 63-year-old, nominated by Trump, was the only candidate for the job. Malpass succeeds Jim Yong-kim, who stepped down on February 1 to join an investment firm. Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the bank, has been acting as the interim President.

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Important Current Affairs 5th April 2019

NATIONAL:

IOCL introduced BS VI Fuel in New Delhi.

• The Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) has stated that Supply of ultra-clean BS-VI grade petrol and diesel has begun in cities adjoining the national capital. The rest of the country will follow suit from April 2020.

• New Delhi is the first city in the country to leapfrog from BS-IV grade petrol and diesel to BS-VI fuels.

•  Bharat Stage norms are standards set by the government to regulate the emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles.

• The norms set the limit for the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles using internal combustion engines.

• The Bharat stage norms are based on Euro norms.  BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur whereas BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur. BS-VI will bring PM in diesel cars down by 80% when compared to BS-IV. BS-VI will bring down nitrogen oxides from diesel cars by 70% and in petrol cars by 25%. 

GMR raised USD 300 mn bond for Hyderabad airport expansion.

• GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. on 4th March announced that it has priced a $300 million bond in the international market.  It had entered into a purchase agreement to issue and allot $300 million senior secured notes of five-year tenure at a coupon rate of 5.375%. The proceeds would be used to fund the expansion of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad.

Rupee plunged 76 paise to 69.17 against dollar.

• The rupee plunged 76 paise on 4th March to close at 69.17 against the U.S. dollar after the RBI cut the interest rate but kept its monetary policy stance ‘neutral’.

• In its first bi-monthly policy review for this financial year, the central bank slashed the policy rate by 25 basis points for the second time in a row, following which the rupee and sovereign bond prices tumbled.

• At the Interbank foreign exchange (forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 68.56 and fell further to touch the day’s low of 69.21. It finally settled at 69.17, down 76 paise over its previous close. The rupee had surged by 33 paise to 68.41 against the dollar on 3rd March.

India’s services sector output growth at six-month low in March.

• India’s services’ sector activity eased in March with the slowest pace of output growth in six-months due to slower expansion in new work, leading to the weakest rate of hiring since last September.

• The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index fell to 52 in March from 52.5 in February, indicating the slowest expansion since last September.

• Despite the moderation, the services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was in the expansion territory for the tenth straight month. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.  Indian services sector growth weakened at the end of the fourth quarter of FY18, with activity expanding at the slowest rate since last September.

AFSPA removes its power partially in Arunachal Pradesh.

• The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.

• The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since 1987, the day of its formation.  AFSPA is enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well. 

• Powers given to AFSPA: AFSPA empowers an authorised officer in a disturbed area with certain powers including an open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws. The authorized officer is also empowered to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition.

• AFSPA mentions that individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible. There is no prescribed time limit for detention. 

India to set up IAIARD in Malawi.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has signed an MOU with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (NABCONS) for setting up India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD) in Malawi.

•  IAIARD would be a Pan-African Institute wherein trainees from Malawi and other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity. IAIARD will impart training in the areas of micro-financing and agro-financing, among others.

• IAIARD is the first of its kind initiative undertaken in an African country by India. IAIARD will further strengthen the bilateral relations with Malawi and India's relations with the African Union. 

• NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS) is a fully owned subsidiary promoted by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Nabcons is engaged in providing consultancy in all spheres of agriculture, rural development, and allied areas.

Russian delegation meets I&B Secretary in New Delhi.

• A Russian delegation led by the Russian Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media,  Alexey Volin met Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare in New Delhi. 

•  During the meeting, it was mutually agreed that an annual Indo-Russian Forum for Media Cooperation is organized alternately in India and Russia to institutionalize the process of cooperation between the two countries in the media and entertainment sector. 

• Television, news agencies, digital distribution platforms, new media, news gathering, co-production of programmes, sharing of content and exchange of professionals were identified as possible areas of collaboration. The need to forge strong connections between the young journalists of the two countries was also highlighted in the meeting. On the occasion, 

• Amit Khare stated that the Golden Jubilee edition of the International Film Festival of India scheduled to be held later this year offers an opportunity to countries to showcase their creativity and cinematic excellence on a global platform. He extended an invitation to the Russian Delegation to participate in it.

Chatbot Making Startup Haptik was acquired by Reliance Jio Digital for Rs.700 Crore.

• Reliance Jio Digital, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries acquired a chatbot making startup firm Haptik worth for Rs.700 Crore. In this Rs.700 Crore deal,Rs.230 Crore will be used for business transaction and Rs.470 Crore will be used for business expansion. After this acquisition, Reliance Jio Digital will now hold 87% stake in Haptik, while Existing investor Times Internet which holds 70% stake will exit the company.

MEMORANDOM OF ASSOSIATION:

Moscow Exchange signs deals with BSE, India INX.

• Russia's Moscow Exchange (MOEX) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and India International Exchange (India INX).

• This will be the very first time that Indian exchanges will enter into the MoU with Moscow exchange. The move aims to ease the access of Indian capital to the Russian market.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Former Bollywood Actress, Mayoori kango has appointed as the Industry Head of Google India

• She will lead Google engagement with Publicis (Parent Company of Performics) and DAN. Before joining Google India, Mayoori has worked as a Managing Director in Performics which is part of Publicis Groupe. She has been instrumental in engaging and retaining accounts of firms like Uber, Airtel and Nestle.

Vipin Anand assumed charge as new Managing Director of LIC.

• Vipin Anand was appointed as the Managing Director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), by the government last month. He was instrumental in setting up LIC's operations in Singapore and Bangladesh. He served more than 35 years in LIC. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) executive board comprises of one chairman and four managing directors (MDs).

• The government appointed MR Kumar as the Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and TC Suseel Kumar as the managing director (MD) on March 13.

Rakesh became next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon

• Shri Rakesh Malhotra, Who was a Consul General, Consulate General of India, Melbourne appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon.

INTERNATIONAL:

Saudi Arabia pledged USD 1 billion for Iraq at start of economic visit.

• Saudi Arabia has reopened a consulate in Baghdad for the first time in nearly 30 years and announced a one billion dollars aid package for Iraq.

• Saudi Arabia would also provide Iraq with $500m to boost exports and a gift of a 100,000-seat sports stadium to be built on Baghdad's outskirts.

• Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iraq when the latter invaded Kuwait in 1990.

• Diplomatic relations resumed in 2015 when Riyadh sent an ambassador to Baghdad, and improved with the then-Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir's visit in 2017, the first by a

• Saudi foreign minister since 1990.

South Korea Launches Worlds First National 5G Networks.

• South Korea launches the world’s first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks.  The system will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity 20 times faster than the existing 4G allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second. About South Korea Capital- Seoul,  Currency- South Korean won President: Moon Jae-in Prime Minister:Lee Nak-yeon.

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

PM Modi awarded UAE's highest civilian honor Zayed medal.

• President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the prestigious Zayed Medal for boosting relations between the Emirates and India. The 'Order of Zayed' is the highest civil decoration instituted by the UAE.

• It consists of a collar cantered by a medallion bearing the name 'Zayed' - the founding father of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

• In the past, this award has been conferred to Russian President Vladimir Putin, then US President George W Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and the UK's Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited UAE twice in three years. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also visited India in 2017.

DAYS:

National Maritime Day is celebrated on April 5 in India.

• National Maritime Day in India is celebrated on April 5 every year. The day is being observed since 1964.

• Hundred years ago, on this day in 1919, navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd travelled to the United Kingdom from Mumbai.

•  It was a crucial step for India shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British. It marked a red letter day in the maritime history of India. 

• This day is celebrated to spread awareness in supporting intercontinental commerce and the global economy. The theme of the 56th edition of the National Maritime Day is “Indian Ocean-An Ocean of opportunity”.

• National Maritime Day 2019 awards, the Varuna Award, will also be given for outstanding contribution to Indian Maritime Sector.

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Important Current Affairs of 4th April

INTERNATIONAL:

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique.

• In Mozambique, a vaccination campaign launched after Cyclone Idai battered the nation and unleashed an outbreak of cholera.

• International relief agencies and the Health Ministry are aiming to immunise nearly 9,00,000 people against the water-borne intestinal disease, which has already killed two people and infected more than 1,400.

• The vaccinations will be administered at health centres, shelters for the displaced, and at schools and markets. Cyclone Idai smashed into the coast of central Mozambique last month, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rains that flooded the hinterland and drenched eastern Zimbabwe.

Brunei passed harsh new sharia laws.

• Brunei introduced harsh new sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.

• The law was passed despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

• The tough penal code in the country fully came into force following years of delays. The laws make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Chicago elected Lori a black woman as its Mayor.

• Chicago elected Ms.Lori Lightfoot, 56, a black woman as its Mayor. The voters have put their faith in an openly-gay political novice to tackle difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence.

• Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black Mayor and one woman Mayor. Ms. Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first openly gay Mayor as well as the first African-American woman to hold the post.

• Lori Lightfoot a former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer beat out Toni Preckwinkle, a career politician who is also black, by a wide margin of 74% to 26% with most ballots counted. She has promised to clean up city government and reduce economic inequality.

Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns after 20 years in power.

• Algeria‘s long-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation, after mass protests demanding an end to his rule, and after a call from the army for him to be declared unfit to hold office. Bouteflika came to the presidency after its darkest period, the 1990s Islamic insurgency.

• . After taking power in 1999, he managed to bring back stability to a country devastated by killings and distrust. Mr Bouteflika has not publicly spoken and has been wheelchair-bound since a stroke in 2013. Bouteflika is accused of failing to create an economy that could offer enough jobs, despite the nation's vast oil and gas wealth. Abdelkader Bensalah took charge as interim leader for a maximum of 90 days as elections are organised.

NATIONAL:

Two new birds spotted in Kerala Aralam sanctuary.

• The 19th edition of the bird survey in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary spotted two new species of birds - Woolly-necked Stork (Karuvarakkuru) and White-bellied Drongo (Kakkarajan) - both dry land species. A total of 152 species were spotted in the three-day survey.

Tata Projects bagged USD321 mn worth project from NPCIL.

• Tata Projects has received an order from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the construction of 2 x 700 MW power plant. The estimated cost is about $321 million.

• This is the firm’s third contract in the nuclear power sector.  This project will provide the much needed power supply to the region and ensure developmental initiatives receive an impetus. The scope of work involves the construction of main plant buildings, structures and other works of Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana - 1&2.

IFINs GNPAs touched 90 percent says IL&FS.

• IL&FS Financial Services Ltd. (IFIN), the non-banking finance arm of infrastructure conglomerate IL&FS, reported an increased gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of 90% as at end December 2018 against the gross NPAs of 5% in March 2018. The new management completed six months.

•  It is unusual for any lender to report 90% gross NPAs and it is probably for the first time, in recent times, that a lender had reported such delinquency. IFIN’s total exposure as on March 31, 2019 was Rs.18,805 crore, of which external exposure was Rs.10,656 crore and exposure to the group, Rs. 6,949 crore. About Rs.1,300 crore is categorised as other assets.

US approved to sell 24 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India for USD 2.4 billion

• The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are designed for hunting submarines, targeting ships, and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea. It is considered the world's most advanced maritime helicopter.

• The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy. These helicopters would replenish India's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.

Indian Army builds longest suspension bridge 'Maitri on Indus in record 40 days

• Indian Army's Combat Engineers of 'Sahas aur Yogyata' Regiment of 'Fire and Fury Corps' have built the longest cable suspension bridge named 'Maitri’ over Indus river in Leh in a record 40 days. The 260-foot-long bridge is dedicated to Indians to commemorate 20th year of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

• The central government had emphasised on building an all-weather road connectivity in the region. An all-weather road was built from Manali to Ladakh via Zanskar in Kargil last year. Similarly, the work for the Zojila tunnel, which is Asia's longest, has also been started. These projects were part of the Rs 25,000 crore projects allocated by the Centre for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI reduced repo rate for second consecutive time by 25 bps to 6 percent.

• The RBI cut its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in its first bi-monthly policy review of 2019-20. The decision comes a week before the election starts on April 11. The central bank had reduced the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points in February after an 18-month gap.

• The reverse repo rate, too, was lowered from 6% to 5.75%. The bank rate was fixed at 6.25%. What is Repo rate? Repo rate refers to the rate at which commercial banks borrow money from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in case of shortage of funds.

• Repo rate is short form of Repurchase Rate. What is reverse repo rate? The reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks, to control the money supply in the country.

One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money Gets SEBI Approval for Stock Broking.

• One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money, the wealth management arm of Paytm got approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to start offering a stock broking service such as the ability to trade in equities and cash segments, derivatives, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) among other exchange-traded products.

RBI sets limits for Ways and Means Advances.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consultation with the government of India has set the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019) at Rs.75000 crore.  Ways and Means Advances (WMA)

♦ WMA is the temporary loan facility provided by the RBI to the Centre and State governments

♦ The WMA scheme was introduced in 1997 to meet any temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government

♦ The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days

♦ The interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate that is, 6.25%

♦ The limits for WMA are decided by the RBI and in consultation with the Government of India RBI's Policy rates and Reserve ratios:

 ♦ Bank Rate: 6.50%

♦ Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Reverse Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

♦ Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.25%

DAYS:

UN observes International Day for Mine Awareness on 4th April.

• On 8 December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

• The theme for 2019 is "United Nations Promotes SDGs – Safe Ground – Safe Home". United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been working to:

♦ meet the needs of the affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarians

♦ save lives

♦ facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance

♦ protect civilians

♦ support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees

♦ enable humanitarian and recovery activities.  

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