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Important Current Affairs of 2nd April

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Eicher Motors Ltd. Vinod K.Dasari as the CEO of Royal Enfield.

• Eicher Motors Ltd. has appointed Vinod K. Dasari as the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Enfield. He will also join the board of Eicher Motors as executive director with immediate effect.

• He stepped down as MD and CEO of Ashok Leyland on March 31. He takes over from Siddhartha Lal, who will continue as the MD of Eicher Motors.  The company also plans to invest Rs.700 crore in capital expenditure for 2019-20. The planned expenditure will include completion of construction work of the Technology Centre, Phase-2 of the Vallam Vadagal plant in Tamil Nadu and towards the development of new platforms and products.

SPORTS:

Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held in New Delhi.

• The Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held at K. D. Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from 26 to 31 March 2019 and had a total purse of $350,000. Champions of Indian Open Badminton 2019:

♦ Men's Singles: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)

♦ Women's Singles: Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)

♦ Men's Doubles: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin (Chinese Taipei)

 ♦ Women's Doubles: Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (Indonesia)

♦ Mixed Doubles: Wang Yilü and Huang Dongping (China) India's Srikanth Kidambi lost to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 7-21, 20-22 in the men's singles summit clash.

India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

• Indian shooters claimed five gold medals on the final day of the Asian Airgun Championships to sign off with a total of 25 medals in Taoyuan, Taipei.  India finished with 16 gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

• The next assignment for Indian shooters is scheduled at Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates where the International Shooting Sport Federation Shotgun World Cup stage. India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

Manu Sawhney took over as ICC Chief Executive with immediate effect.

• India-born Manu Sawhney, the ex-CEO of Singapore Sports Hub and ex-Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports, has been working alongside the outgoing Chief Executive David Richardson for last six weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Richardson will remain with the International Cricket Council (ICC) until July to oversee the delivery of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019.

• Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 title  He defeated Valtteri Bottas of Finland who secured the second position.  Charles Leclerc was finished with the third position and becoming Ferrari’s youngest ever race winner at the age of 21. About Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 First race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 4 April 2004. Number of times held: 15 First held:2004 Most wins (drivers): Germany Sebastian Vettel  Most wins (constructors): Italy Ferrari

NATIONAL:

Hump-backed Mahseer, a large freshwater fish added in 'Critically Endangered' list.

• Hump-backed Mahseer, also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers) - is now “Critically Endangered”, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

• There are about 16 species of mahseer in India. Maximum length  of fish will be 150 cm and a weight of 90 kg. The fish is considered as one of the 229 species from recent Red List which updated in November 2018. The threat status of 12 other Indian species, including great hornbills, has increased.

Odisha celebrated 84th foundation day on April 1, 2019.

• The day is also known as ‘Utkal Divas.’ Odisha was the first State to be formed on linguistic basis in 1936. Earlier, Odisha was part of Bihar.

India’s defense satellite EMISAT successfully launched by ISRO.

• The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, launched India’s latest satellite EMISAT and 28 other smaller satellites of international customers this morning with textbook precision.

•  The ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru has assumed control of EMISAT satellite after its successful launch.

• The national space agency’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C45, carrying the payloads on board, lifted off from its spaceport, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 09:27 am. In a little over 17 minutes, the primary payload EMISAT was ed by the rocket at an altitude of 754 km, as planned.  In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

Centre to set up Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) in J&K.

• The Union Home Ministry has announced setting up of a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) to ensure synergised and concerted action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

• TMG will act against all registered cases related to terror, terror financing and terror-related activities and bring them to a logical conclusion. It will identify all key persons including leaders of the organisations who are involved in supporting terrorism in any form and take concerted action against them.

• It will investigate the networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take action to stop the flow of such funds.

• The seven-member TMG constitutes of members:

1. Headed by: Jammu and Kashmir additional director general of police (ADGP)

2. Intelligence Bureau (IB)

3. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

4. National Investigation Agency (NIA)

5. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

6. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)

7. Jammu and Kashmir police inspector-general

INTERNATIONALS:

China launched 2nd Generation data relay satellite, Tianlian II-01.

• The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province. This is the first of China's second-generation data-tracking and relay satellites, which will provide services like data relay, measurement and control, and transmission to manned spacecraft, satellites, carrier rockets and non-spacecraft users.

Japan names new imperial era, set to begin on May 1, as 'Reiwa'.

• 'Reiwa' will be the name for the new era when Prince Naruhito succeeds his father Emperor Akihito, whose abdication on April 30 will end the 31-year 'Heisei' era (Since 1989). While 'Rei' means "good" and "beautiful" as well as "order" or "command", 'Wa' means "peace" or "harmony".

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Reserve Bank of India to inject USD 5 billion more liquidity into banking system

• Reserve Bank of India injects long-term liquidity worth USD 5 billion into the banking system through a dollar-rupee buy-sell swap for a tenure of three years on April 23, the second such auction within a month.

•  Earlier on March 26, the central bank had bought USD 5 billion through similar swap auction in a bid to ease liquidity ahead of elections. "In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the RBI has decided to inject Rupee liquidity for a longer duration through long-term foreign exchange Buy/Sell swap in terms of its extant Liquidity Management Framework,"

Bank of Baroda becomes 2nd largest PSU, 3rd largest bank in India.

• Bank of Baroda (BoB) became the second largest public sector undertaking (PSU) bank after merging Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank into itself as part of the first three-way amalgamation. BoB is now the third-largest bank after State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank. Following the merger, the number of PSBs has come down to 18.

•  The consolidated bank will have over 9,500 branches, 13,400 ATMs, 85,000 employees to serve 12 crore customers. The bank will have a business mix of Rs 15 lakh crore of balance sheet, with deposits and advances of Rs 8.75 lakh crore and Rs 6.25 lakh crore, respectively. Post-amalgamation, the bank will have a 22 per cent market share in Gujarat and 8-10 per cent market share in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Reliance Mutual Fund partnering with Google becomes the first Indian company to launch voice-based financial transactions

• Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management (RNAM) joined hands with Google to enable the customers of Reliance Mutual Fund to carry out voice-based financial transactions. RNAM becomes the first company in India, to provide a conversational interface that would help customers regarding funds transactions.

About RNAM 

♦ It is a joint venture between Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital and Japan’s Nippon Life Insurance Co Ltd.

♦ CEO Sundeep Sikka

♦ Founded: 1995

DAYS:

World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2nd April.

• World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day observed on 2nd April every year. The aim is to encourage member states of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world.

• The theme for 2019 is "Assistive Technologies, Active Participation". It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). World Autism Awareness Day was passed in council on 1 November 2007 and adopted on 18 December 2007. It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.

• World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.

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Important Current Affairs 1st April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

KIIFB raised Rs.2,150 crore via masala bonds.

• Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a State government agency, said it has raised Rs.2,150 crore through its masala bond issue.

• This is not just the first-ever offshore capital market issuance from a State-level entity from India but also the largest dual currency issue by a sub-sovereign backed entity from emerging markets and Asia. The issue saw strong participation from investors.

RBI announced branches of Vijaya, Dena Bank to function as BoB outlets.

• Reserve Bank of India said that the branches of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will function as Bank of Baroda (BoB) outlets from April 1. This is after the amalgamation of the two lenders with Bank of Baroda (BoB).

•  The merger will be effective from April 1, 2019. Customers, including depositors of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, will be treated as customers of BoB with effect from April 1.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has opened a helicopter training centre in Venezuela.

• Rosoboron export, Russia’s arms export company, has opened a training Centre for military helicopter pilots in Venezuela after Moscow flew in troops and equipment. The export wing of Russia’s arms corporation said that the helicopter training centre opened with Russian and Venezuelan specialists participating.

• The Centre that trains pilots to fly Russian-built Mil helicopters was built on the basis of a contract between Rosoboronexport and state-run Venezuelan Military Industrial Company Cavim. The announcement came after two Russian military planes landed a week ago at the main airport outside Caracas and offloaded equipment and troops. The military specialists are apparently helping to fix a malfunctioning Russian S-300 ground-to-air missile system.

Tesla Builds Its Largest Energy Storage System In Asia.

• Tesla developed its ‘largest power storage system in Asia’ at Osaka train station in Japan to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan.  It was Launched in partnership with Kintetsu, a railway operator in Japan’s Osaka. About Tesla CEO: Elon Musk  Owner: Elon Musk Production output: 245,162 vehicles (2018) Founders: Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright 

GRSE becomes 'first' Indian shipyard to deliver 100 warships.

• Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) became the "first Indian shipyard" to build and deliver 100 warships. GRSE Chairman and Managing Director, Rear Admiral (Retd) V K Saxena, formally handed over the 100th warship -- 'IN LCU L-56' -- to the Indian Navy.

• In the last 59 years, the company has built around 780 platforms, including 100 warships to the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Mauritius Coast Guard. About GRSE: GRSE - Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd. It is one of India's leading shipyards. Located in: Kolkata, West Bengal. Founded: 1884.

NATIONAL:

Centre turned down Bengals request for paramilitary forces.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has turned down Mamata Banerjee government’s plea to retain 35 companies of Central forces, adding up to over 3,000 paramilitary personnel posted in areas that were earlier dominated by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

• The State government has since then written to the Ministry to reconsider the decision, noting that the move might re-ignite the Maoist problems in the region. In its reply, the Ministry had informed the State of its decision to pull out the 35 companies of Central forces and deploy them on election duty in other parts of West Bengal.

In a first, Meghalaya polling booths to get ballot papers in braille.

• For the first time in Meghalaya, braille-enabled ballot papers will be made available at all polling booths.  The ballot paper pasted on the EVMs will have the names and symbol of candidates in braille alphabets. The move will facilitate more than 800 visually impaired electorates to vote by a secret ballot.

ISRO opens its 1st visitors gallery to watch rocket launches.

• In a first, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) opened a visitors' gallery with 5,000 capacity at Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota island. The gallery has a clear line of sight to two launch pads and large screens to explain launcher and satellite features. This comes as ISRO is launching defence satellite EMISAT along with 28 foreign satellites on April 1, 2019.

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

Dr Rajendra Joshi Conferred With Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

• NRI scientist Dr Rajendra Joshi conferred with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.  The Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Sibi George handed over the award citation signed by the President to Dr Joshi at his residence in Switzerland.

SPORTS:

Roger Federer won Miami Open 2019 title.

• Switzerland’s Roger Federer defeats USA’s John Isner in straight sets to lift his 101st career title at the Miami Open 2019. Federer is now behind only America’s Jimmy Connors with 109 career singles titles. 

• Roger Federer has lifted his fourth title at the Miami Open. It is Swiss player’s 28th Masters’ title and the 101st overall for a player who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

South Korea won Azlan Shah Cup by defeating India.

• India has lost to South Korea in the final of Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia. South Korea lifted the title, defeating India in a shoot out 4-2. Hosts Malaysia defeated Canada 4-2 and secured the 3rd place.

• Asian games Gold medalist Japan stood at 5th place, defeating Poland 6-1.

APPOINTMENTS:

ECI apppointed Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for AP.

• The Election Commission of India appointed Additional Director-General of Police Kumar Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for Andhra Pradesh. A 1994 batch IPS officer, Mr. Viswajeet, is presently Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Level Police Recruitment Board (APSLPRB).

• He will take charge immediately. The top post fell vacant with the Election Commission transferring former Intelligence DG, A.B. Venkateswara Rao. The Intelligence wing plays a key role in guiding the police and the election authorities on mobilisation of forces in critical and cut-off villages.

Mahesh Singh is appointed the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area.

• National Defence Academy, Rear Admiral Mahesh Singh takes charge as the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area. Mahesh Singh is a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College and he headed Navigation and Direction School at Kochi and the Maritime Warfare Centre at Vishakhapatnam. He was a commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 1987.

Air Marshal NS Dhillon to be designated as new Strategic Forces Command (SFC) Chief.

• Fighter pilot Air Marshal Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon has been appointed as the new Strategic Forces Command Chief.  He will succeed in Jasbir Walia. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 1981. He has experience as a Commanding officer in MiG-21 Sqn and as a Chief Operating Officer of a premier flying base.

Executive Director of ICICI, Vijay Chandok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities 4.

• Executive Director of ICICI Bank, Vijay Chandhok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities, a subsidiary of ICICI bank. He will succeed Shilpa Naval Kumar. He joined the ICICI Group in 1993. At present, he is on the boards of ICICI Bank UK PLC and ICICI Bank Canada and is the Chairman of ICICI Investment Management Company.

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Important Current Affairs of 29th March

INTERNATIONAL:

Boeing unveils changes to MCAS, anti stall system.

Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged to do all it can to prevent crashes like two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.  Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Boeing unveiled the software changes at the company’s massive factory in Renton, Washington, and offered reassurances.

NATIONAL:

Vijayawada Railway Station awarded the Gold Rating for being Clean & Eco-Friendly.

• Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in India, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for Green Measures. The IGBC-CII, with the support of the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways, developed the Green Railway Stations Rating System to facilitate adoption of green concepts, thereby reduce the adverse environmental impact due to station operation and maintenance and also enhance the overall commuter experience.

•  The Vijayawada station has installed 100 per cent LED lighting, the fans are five-star rated, and solar power is already being used for water heating systems.

Kolkata Dhaka ship to set sail for the first time ever.

• A regular river cruise will start between Kolkata, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh for the first time in the history of the two countries.

• The Indian ship, R V Bengal Ganga, will start its journey from a west Kolkata jetty. About 60 persons will be travelling

• The return journey will take nearly two weeks from Kolkata and the ship will pass through Sunderbans on both sides of the marine border.  Another ship will simultaneously start from Bangladesh, traverse the same route and reach Kolkata, taking approximately the same time. The border formalities will be completed at Sunderbans on the Indian side.

AWARDS:

Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen awarded with Oxford University's Bodley award.

• The 85-year-old winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, was awarded with the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour granted by the University of Oxford's world-famous Bodleian Libraries, for his contribution in literature, culture, science and communication.

Turing Award, the Nobel Prize of computing, won by 3 Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence.

• The 2018 Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize of computing,” has been given to Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun — sometimes called the ‘godfathers of AI’, for their work developing the AI subfield of deep learning.

• The trio believed in the potential of AI and brought to the world the innovations such as neural networks, self-driving cars, facial recognition, CNN and much more. About Turing Award: Initiated in 1966, this annual award is named after British mathematician Alan M.

• Turing, whose work laid the foundation for computer science and artificial intelligence. It honors the individual for contributing major technical importance in the computer field. First recipient – Alan Perlis

Delhi government school teacher Manu Gulati honoured with Martha Farrell Award 2019

• Delhi government school teacher, Manu Gulati honored with the Martha Farrell award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment 2019 in the Most Promising Individual category with prize money of INR 1,50,000 for promoting gender quality and women’s empowerment.

• She collaborates with America India Foundation’s “Market Aligned Skills Training Program”, through which she assists the training programs for beauticians, weavers, salesgirls, etc in Jalandhar in Punjab, Betul in Madhya Pradesh and Baramullah in Kashmir.

• The Awards were first awarded in 2017 in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell, a prominent activist for gender equality and women’s empowerment. About Delhi: Governor: Anil Baijal, Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal Deputy Chief Minister: Manish Sisodia Chief Secretary: Vijay Kumar Dev Commissioner of Police: Amulya Patnaik

Singapore airport named worlds best aviation hub for the seventh time.

• According to the Skytrax World Airport Awards, Singapore's Changi Airport has been crowned the world's best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row, while New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59.

• Singapore Changi Airport is known for its rooftop swimming pool, two 24-hour movie theaters and shopping spots

•  At number two on the list is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), up one place from 2018. This hub also won World's Best Domestic Airport and World's Cleanest Airport. Incheon International Airport secured 3rd position in the list. The other Indian aiports in the list were Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 64, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 66, and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport at 69.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM to be designated as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO)

• Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM NM has been appointed as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO). He will succeed Satish Namdeo Ghormade.  He was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 1st July 1985.

• he Flag Officer has experience as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) specialist officer at onboard INShips Himgiri, Agray,and Ganga. He has experience as a Commanding officer in INS Nashak (missile vessel), INS Magar {Landing Ship Tank (Large)} and INS Talwar (stealth Frigate), Second-in-Command of INS Khukri (Missile Corvette).

• He commanded the National Coast Guard, Mauritius for two years (2003 – 05) and served as Commanding Officer of INS Mandovi.

Manohar Ajgaonkar, Vijai Sardesai designated as Goas Deputy Chief Ministers.

• Goa’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. He switched to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, on March 27, 2019. At present he is the second deputy chief minister along with Goa Forward Party (GFP) leader and state minister Vijai Sardesai. Both will succeed Sudin Dhavalikar.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI to issue Regulatory sandbox.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to issue guidelines within two months for the fintech companies to test their new products on a small group of users before scaling up.  A Sandbox is a framework set up by a regulator that allows FinTech start-ups to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under supervision.

• Regulatory sandbox will provide a well-defined space for the companies to develop new products. It allows for experimenting with their products and fintech solutions. In case of failure, the consequences would be contained and the reasons will be analysed for betterment.

Deposits ordinance does not cover gold schemes.

• The Centre’s recent ordinance banning unregulated monthly deposit schemes will not affect the ongoing monthly schemes operated by jewellery and chit fund firms.

• Called the ‘Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Ordinance’, it was promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind during the last week of February 2019 to save gullible investors from losing money to Ponzi and fake deposit schemes.

•  The ordinance makes such unregulated deposit schemes punishable, among other things. Ordinance: Ordinances are laws that are promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. They can only be issued when Parliament is not in session.

• They enable the Indian government to take immediate legislative action. Ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament does not approve of them within six weeks of reassembly, or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.  It is also compulsory for a session of Parliament to be held within six months.

SPORTS:

Four sports including Breakdancing get provisional green light for Paris Olympics 2024

• Breakdancing was among four sports given a provisional green light for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The three other sports namely - Surfing, Skateboarding and sport climbing also got approval for provisional inclusion in Summer Olympics 2024 from IOC.

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Important Current Affairs of 28th March

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Demat share transfer to be effective from 1st April.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said that the transfer of shares of listed companies can be done only in dematerialised form from April 1 but investors are not barred from holding shares in the physical form.

•  In December 2018, the capital markets watchdog extended the deadline for transfer of shares of listed companies only in dematerialised (demat) form to April 1.

• Now, it has been decided not to extend the deadline.  The decision that the transfer of shares has to be compulsorily in demat form was taken way back in March 2018. SEBI also said that the measure would come into effect from April 1, 2019.

Bank of Baroda to launch Baroda Kisan.

• Public sector Bank, Bank of Baroda has made an announcement about developing an agri-digital platform called 'Baroda Kisan'. The platform is to provide solutions for all major agricultural requirements.  The project aims to provide a holistic approach towards solving agricultural plights by means of providing reliable and customised information, inputs for use, the convenience of renting farm equipment and market linkage for sale of agri-produces. Bank of Baroda has signed a memorandum of understanding (Mou) with Six companies viz.

• Skymet Weather Services, Weather Risk Management Services, BigHaat, Agrostar India, EM3 Agri Services and Poorti Agri Services for the project. The agri-digital platform will be executed by IT Centre of Excellence (ITCoE) of Bank of Baroda in partnership with IBM India. Baroda Kisan is aimed at digitization of digital services.

NATIONAL:

Assam launched initiatives to educate voter.

• Assam State government has launched initiatives to educate voters. Folk song competitions, quiz programmes and appeals by celebrities are some of the initiatives being undertaken by the election office in Assam for attracting women, first-time voters, people with physical disabilities and senior citizens to cast their votes.

• Sprinter Hima Das, Whitley Awardee and environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman, singer Tarali Sarma, body builder Golap Rabha and actor Kopil Bora have been roped in as State icons to create awareness about the election process.

• District election officers have been directed to reach out to the maximum number of voters in the constituencies under their jurisdiction. Polling stations with low female voter turn-out have been identified and ‘mahila voter rallies’ are being held.

Cabinet approved additional posts for NCLAT.

• Cabinet approved a proposal of six additional posts of judicial and technical members in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). The tribunal hears appeals against rulings of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).  The Cabinet cleared a proposal for the creation of three additional posts each for judicial members and technical members in the NCLAT. The new posts would ensure meeting the mandate provided to NCLAT by the Finance Act, 2017, the Companies Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the time frame provided for disposal of cases.

Gujarat ATS and Indian Coast Guard capture 9 international smugglers with heroin worth Rs 500 crore

• The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad and the Indian Coast Guard captured nine international drug smugglers. The smugglers were reportedly carrying 100 kgs of contraband worth Rs 500 crore in the boat, which they had destroyed after they were trapped by the agencies.   As per the press statement, the Gujarat ATS had received a tip-off that an illegal consignment of narcotic drugs, Heroin, is going to be smuggled in Gujarat through Coast.

Delhi International Airport is to be transformed with world-class amenities.

• Delhi world’s 12th busiest hub, the Indira Gandhi International Airport, transiting between the various terminals of IGI Airport, will become a breeze in a few years’ time, with the airport operator finalizing the route of an “air train” connecting the terminals as well as Aerocity, the hotel center.

• It connects the Aerocity’s Airport Metro Express station to all the major Hotels and Offices with Aerocity's Hospitality District through an experiential walkway. It not only connects all the buildings but also provides a well-designed public space for everyone to enjoy. It promotes an active lifestyle and enables access to open spaces, shaded areas for casual breakouts and many other amenities.

MPI 2018 report says Indias povert rate has reduced drastically.

• According to the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report, the four poorest states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were still home to 196 million MPI poor people, which was over half of all the MPI poor people in India.

• The Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative makes the following observations about India:

• India has reduced its poverty rate drastically from 55% to 28% in 10 years, with 271 million people moving out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16. Jharkhand had shown the greatest improvement, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland. Kerala, one of the least poor regions in 2006, reduced its MPI by around 92%.

At 15,256ft, Himachal's Tashigang is world's highest polling station.

• The Tashigang polling station in Himachal Pradesh falls in Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti, one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the second largest constituency in India.

• Situated at about 29 km from the India-China border, the polling station covers two villages— Tashigang and Gete.

• As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women. Earlier the tiny settlement of Hikkim in the same district located at an altitude of about 14,400 feet was the highest polling station in the country.

Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin.

• Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin on India’s east coast. The company has notified the management committee, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2, located in block KG-OSN-2009/3, Krishna-Godavari Basin, east coast of India.

• Vedanta Limited holds 100% participating interest in the block. The first exploration well, A3-2, drilled in the block was a gas discovery

Adani becomes first Indian port operator to record 200 million tonnes cargo movement in 2018-19

• Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has claimed that its portfolio of nine ports and terminals handled 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo in 2018-19, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. The Gautam Adani-led company doubled its cargo handling from 100 MMT reached in 2013-14

India becomes the 4th country to test Anti-satellite missile system, codenamed Mission Shakti successfully.

• India successfully completed 'Mission Shakti' operation where it destroyed a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO) using an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile in three minutes. India has become the 4th country after the US, Russia and China in the world to achieve this historic feat.

• Anti Satellite weapons also called the ASAT are developed to destroy satellites. Mission Shakti is a joint programme of DRDO and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Mission Shakti will help the country in standing strong and secure. It will further protect the nation from disharmony and bring peace.

INTERNATIONAL:

India, US Ink Pact To Check Tax Evasion By MNCs.

• India and the US signed an agreement for the exchange of country-by-country (CBC) report. The move will give huge relief to subsidiaries of US-headquartered companies in the taxation-related matter. The agreement was signed by PC Mody, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Kenneth I Juster, US Ambassador to India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Maruti Suzuki board re-appointed Kenichi Ayukawa as MD and CEO for 3 years.

• This would be Kenichi Ayukawa's third three-year term as MD and CEO of Maruti. He first took over as MD and CEO of the company in March 2013 as Shinzo Nakanishi had attained the age of retirement. He played a major role in expanding the company's market share beyond 50 per cent.

Azali Assoumani re-elected as the President of Comoros.

• Azali Assoumani was re-elected as the President of Comoros after defeating his closest rival, Mahamadou Ahamada in the election held by the electoral commission of the Indian Ocean Archipelago. 66 years old, Azali Assoumani who first took office in 2016, was credited with 60.77 percent votes whereas Mahamadou Ahamada got only 14.62 percent votes.

SPORTS:

Manu and Saurabh won gold in 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei.

• Indian shooting stars Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary smashed the qualification world record before clinching the 10m air pistol mixed team gold in the 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei. The Indians then went on to win the five-team final with a score of 484.8.

• Hwang Seongeun and Kim Mose of Korea won the silver with a score of 481.1 while Wu Chia Ying and Kou Kuan-Ting claimed the bronze for the host country with a score of 413.3.  This win comes a month after they won the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup stage gold in the same event in Delhi.

• Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary broke the record set by Russians Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov at the European Championships held recently.

Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros to provide digital solution for French Open tennis tournament.

• IT company Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros with a three-year partnership agreement to provide a digital solution for French Open tennis tournament, also called Roland-Garros. This agreement will enhance the game by providing fans, players and coaches with a new experience in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, mobility, virtual and augmented reality.

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Important Current Affairs of 27th March

NATIONAL:

CARE Hospitals has launched Ummeed, a Cancer screening programme.

• CARE Hospitals in association with Piramal Swasthya has launched a cancer screening programme called ‘Ummeed’ in Hyderabad, Telangana. The initiative that will help in early detection of oral, breast and cervical cancer, will be introduced in Rangareddy in the next 45 days, where in screening will be conducted free of cost.

• A fully-equipped van will be used to screen people and an all-woman team will educate the rural population about the importance of early detection of cancer.

IIT Delhi researchers developed AI based disease detector.

• Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi have created a low-power electronic hardware system, based on artificial intelligence (AI), which is capable of detecting malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite and cervical cancer within a few milliseconds.

•  The researchers aim to build a neuromorphic system exclusively for the healthcare sector, in places where there are limited resources and paucity of specialists. AI-based software do exist for apps used for diagnosis.

•  However, this is the first time that a portable, low-power and cost-effective hardware has been developed to make AI-based systems available in areas with resource constraints.

AUSINDEX to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16th.

• Third Installment of the Joint Naval Exercise of India and Australia AUSINDEX is to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16.

• The joint exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare, as part of efforts to ramp up bilateral naval cooperation in the strategic Indian Ocean region.

• AUSINDEX 2019 From the Australian side, HMAS Canberra (landing helicopter dock), Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel, two frigates, HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Parramatta and P81 and P8 maritime patrol aircraft, will be involved in the exercise.

• A Kilo-class submarine, land-based Hawk aircraft that will provide the air attack element for the exercise, a Kamorta class anti-submarine vessel, besides a stealth destroyer will lead the Indian deployment for the exercise.

• The exercise will feature the deployment of Australian personnel on Indian ships and vice versa. The area of the exercise will be within 200 miles of Vishakhapatnam.  Over 1000 Australian defence personnel will take part. Australia has also proposed logistics sharing pact with India.

ISRO to launch 29 satellites including EMISAT on April 1, 2019.

• India on April 1 will launch an electronic intelligence satellite 'Emisat' for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites. ISRO, for the first time, will also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

• PSLV-C45 will take off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tentatively at 9:30 AM carrying the satellites onboard.

• EMISAT, weighing 436 kg, is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement. The 28 international customer satellites are from four countries, viz. Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and USA. All these satellites are being launched under commercial arrangements.

INTERNATIONAL:

GIZ Indo German Development Corporation to help in waste segregation.

• The Indo-German Development Corporation, GIZ, has been tied to help the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to carry out waste segregation activities. The tie-up, which has been facilitated through the Swachh Bharath Mission, is for a five-year period during which time the development corporation will provide technical assistance such as training

• In order to ensure implementation of the solid waste management bylaws in the North Corporation, ward level committees were being formed, involving Resident Welfare Associations, market associations, NGOs and Ragpickers organisations to look into specific local requirements. In addition, three ‘model wards’ have been selected where waste segregation will be ensured within six months.

IOC and BPRL has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi.

• Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (BPRL), a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), acting jointly as a consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi, where the two will invest $170 million.

• The consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. have been awarded 100% stake in the Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1 Concession.

• The concession has been awarded by the Supreme Petroleum Council, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. The concession award is for 35 years. This Onshore Block 1 is located in the A1 Dhafra region around Ruwais City and the refining complex, including the coastal region to the west.

China infused USD 2.2 billion in Pakistan's forex reserves.

• China infused around $2.2 billion in Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves for imports and external debt repayments. Pakistan has so far received a total of $9.1 billion in financial assistance from friendly countries during the current fiscal year. Pakistan has got $4.1 billion from China, $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and $2 billion from United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.84 billion as on March 15.

LIMA 2019 Aero Expo held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

• Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA-2019) is held in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26 March 2019 to 30 March 2019. The event, that takes place once every two years, is one of the largest maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific.

• It is established in 1991. Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in the Maritime Aero Expo for the first time, during which it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft, Tejas.

• The anti submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt also participate in LIMA 2019

World's largest e-waste recycling hub opened in Dubai.

• Located at the Dubai Industrial Park, the 2,80,000 square feet plant will process Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), IT asset disposition (ITAD), refrigerant gas and specialised waste. It is established by ‘Enviroserve’ company with a total cost of $5 million. It has a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes of total integrated waste per year, of which 39,000 tonnes is e-waste.

DAYS:

World Theatre Day celebrated on 27th March.

• World Theatre Day celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community.

• It was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI).   On this day several national and international theatre events are organised.

•  A celebrated figure of the theatre is also invited by ITI who speaks and motivates people about the theme of Theatre, a culture of peace and circulate the message in the whole world. 

• This year that is in 2019 Carlos CELDRAN from Cuba, is an award -winning and highly esteemed theatre director, playwright, academic and professor, living and working in Havana, Cuba and present his work all over the world has been selected for the message 2019.

World Purple day Observed on March 26.

• Epilepsy Awareness Day which is commonly known as World Purple Day is observed on March 26 in order to encourage the people to wear the colour to increase the awareness of Epilepsy. Nearly 50 million people in the world are having Epilepsy as per the World Health Organization (WHO) which does not have a known cause.

• The day was first observed in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada to encourage awareness and cast away the myths on the general public about the decease. The mission of the day is to share stories and start conversations about epilepsy and to raise funds.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Forex swap auction received USD 16.31 billion by RBI.

• The first Forex swap auction by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, received $16.31 billion bidding by banks. In turn, RBI infused Rs.34,561 crore rupee liquidity.

• There is the expectation that RBI would conduct more such auctions as there is an appetite in the market, and reduce dependence on open market purchases of bonds.

• RBI has infused a significant amount of liquidity in the current fiscal through open market operations (OMOs). 

RBI fined Rs 2 Crore penalty on PNB.

• The Reserve Bank of India has fined a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.  SWIFT (Society For Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities.

AWARDS:

ADNOC Awards Onshore Block To Indian Consortium.

• A consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited awarded as the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1.  The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, Monday signed agreements awarding the exploration rights. The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. 

President Kovind honoured with highest civilian order in Croatia.

• President Ram Nath Kovind was honoured with Croatia's highest civilian award -- the Grand Order of the King of Tomislav, by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. He was awarded for his "exceptional contribution to the advancement of relations and development of mutual cooperation between Croatia and India.

• “President Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Croatia. Kovind is in the European country as part of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the three countries.

APPOINTMENTS:

Election Commission appoints K K Sharma as a Spl. Central Police Observer for LS polls in West Bengal, Jharkhand

• Election Commission of India appointed former Director General of Border Security Force K K Sharma as a Special Central Police Observer for Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and Jharkhand.  Mr Sharma will oversee the deployment and other security-related issues in these States.

Shambhu S Kumaran appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Morocco

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco.

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to Kingdom of Morocco.

•  He will succeed Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya. About Kingdom of Morocco Capital: Rabat Currency: Moroccan dirham Points of interest: Majorelle Garden, Bahia Palace Spoken languages‎: ‎Moroccan Arabic; ‎Berber‎; ... Official languages‎: ‎Arabic; ‎Berber     Foreign Languages‎: ‎French; English; Spanish.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2019

National:

Goldman Sachs report says that in FY20 food inflation likely to go up to 2 percent.

• Goldman Sachs report said that food inflation in the country is likely to go up to 2% in the fiscal year 2019-20 from the 0.7% estimated for FY19.

• It can be noted that low food prices had been one of the prime factors which had aided the RBI to be more accommodative in its rate-setting recently. It also attributed that the low food prices in the last few months to the prices of cereals and vegetables which had remained low for some time. Deregulation of markets, which saw delisting of vegetables from the Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee Act in 14 States, had helped keep vegetable prices low.

Delhi Development Authority launched the housing scheme.

• The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) launched the housing scheme for 2019, under which it will offer 18,000 flats spread across Narela and Vasant Kunj. With the online portal now open, interested buyers can get registered, following which a draw will be conducted to allot flats. The portal for online registration will be available until May 10.

•  All the flats on offer under this scheme are newly constructed. Approximately 450 HIG [high-income group] flats and 1,550 MIG [middle-income group] are being offered. Additionally, 8,300 LIG [low-income group] and 7,700 EWS [economically weaker section] flats are being offered under the scheme. Those registering for the housing scheme will have to deposit an application fee ranging from Rs. 25,000 for EWS category to Rs. 2 lakh for three bedroom flats.

Chandrayaan 2 to carry NASAs laser retro reflector arrays.

• India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 will carry NASA’s laser instruments. The U.S. space agency said that the laser instrument will help scientists to make precise measurements of the distance to the Moon. Chandrayaan 2 is scheduled to be launched in the month of April. NASA has confirmed that Chandrayaan 2 and Israeli lander Beresheet, due to touch down on April 11, will each carry NASA-owned laser retroreflector arrays.

HAL rolled out 16th Tejas fighter for IAF fleet.

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).  The State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has rolled out its 16th Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration to be inducted into the fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India extends Rs. 35.5 million financial grant to Nepal.

• India has extended a financial grant of 35.5 million Nepalese rupees for the construction of an educational campus in Nepal under the Development Partnership Programme. The building was constructed at Siddheshwar Education Public Campus in Ramechhap district. It consists of 12 class rooms, meeting hall, laboratory room and a library.

• It will enhance the poor, needy and the marginalized students’ access to education in the district and the nearby areas. Development Partnership Programme is administered by the Development Administration Partnership division of the Ministry of External Affair.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal resigned his position.

• Jet Airways Founders Naresh Goyal and wife Anita Goyal have stepped down from the board of the cash-strapped airline. With this, Naresh Goyal ceases to be Chairman. Director Kevin Knight has also resigned. The board has accepted their resignations. The board also approved the issue of 11.4 crore equity shares to the lenders upon conversion of Re 1 of the outstanding debt. Lenders will infuse up to Rs 1,500 crore via debt instruments.

AIBA President Gafur Rahimov resigns.

• he Amateur International Boxing Federation (AIBA) President Gafur Rahimov announced his resignation. He cited the reason as the political based discussions were harming the organizations progress. Rahimov will be replaced by an interim president.  Rahimov was elected in November 2018 despite being on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list “for providing material support” to a criminal organization.

SPORTS:

Paralympics high jumper Girish Gowda named as Ambassador of Karnataka LS Elections.

• Silver Medalist in Paralympic high jump, Girish Gowda has been appointed as the ambassador of Karnataka Lok Sabha Elections 2019. He represented India in men’s high jump F-42 category during 2012 Summer Paralympics games held in London, where he clinched the silver medal. With this, he became the first Indian to win medal in this category

Govindaraj re-elected as BFI President.

• K. Govindaraj has been unanimously re-elected as president of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) at its annual general body meeting. Govindaraj announced that a new six-team women’s league will be held in the next three months.

INTERNATIONAL:

Pentagon approves USD 1 billion to build 92 km of Trump's border wall.

• Acting US defence (Pentagon) secretary Patrick Shanahan authorised $1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. The amount will go towards building 92 km of 18-foot fencing, improving roads and other measures along the border.

•  Earlier, Trump had declared national emergency over the border wall demand. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for the wall. He believes the wall will help curb crime and drug trade in the US. The wall was one of the main promises of the Trump election campaign in 2016.

IAF formally inducted four heavy-lift Chinook helicopters.

• On the lines of Indo-US deal inked in September 2015 for the purchase of 15 Chinooks by India, the first four heavy lift CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters were inducted in the Indian Air Force, at Air Force Station, Chandigarh, in Squadron No 126 Helicopter Flight.

• These multi-role helicopters will act as life-saver during HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) missions. Regarded as one of the most modern heavy lift chopper, the payload capacity of Chinook is about 10 tonne, as it is able to lift artillery, vehicles, road construction and engineer equipment as well as troops and supplies to mountainous sectors.

• It can also lift M-777 ultra-light howitzers of the Indian armed forces. India has purchased 15 Chinooks for $1.5 billion. The delivery of remaining helicopters is expected to be completed by 2023.

AWARDS:

Peter Tabichi won Global Teacher Prize 2019.

• Peter Tabichi, a science teacher from rural Kenya, who gives away most of his salary to support poorer pupils, has won a $1m prize (£760,000) for the world's best teacher. The award, in a competition run by the Varkey Foundation, has seen him beating 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries. Last year's winner was an art teacher from north London, Andria Zafirakou.

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Important Current Affairs 25th March 2019

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

President Administers Oath Of Office to Justice PC Ghose As Lokpal Chief.

• President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the country’s first Lokpal. The oath was administered at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Justice Ghose, a former Supreme Court judge, was named the country’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman.

Archana Kamath clinched a silver medal at Oman Open table tennis.

• Indian paddler Archana Kamath clinched a silver medal in the under-21 women’s singles section of the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus 2019 Oman Open table tennis tournament, at Muscat. Ninth-seed Archana reached her first under-21 international final, where she lost to Japan’s top-seed Satsuki Odo of Japan 11-7, 11-8, 11-6. Archana caused a couple of upsets en route to the summit clash, taking out second-seed Valerie Shcherbatykh of Russia 12-10, 11-7, 11-9 in the round-of-16, and fourth-seed Mariia Tailakova of Russia 6-11, 5-11, 11-2, 11-6, 11-9 in the semifinal.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI raised Rs.1, 251 crore via tier I bonds.

• State Bank of India (SBI) announced it had raised Rs.1,251.30 crore by issuing Basel III-compliant bonds. The Committee of Directors for Capital Raising, at its meeting on 22 March 2019, deliberated and accorded approval to allot 12,513 non-convertible, taxable, perpetual, subordinated, unsecured Basel III-compliant additional tier-I bonds, for inclusion in additional tier-I capital of the bank aggregating to Rs.1,251.30 crore. The bonds with a face value of Rs.10 lakh each bears a coupon rate of 9.45% per annum payable annually with a call option after 5 years or any anniversary date thereafter.

• The bonds were subscribed on 22nd March.

NATIONAL:

CBSE plan to add AI and yoga as new subjects.

• The CBSE will introduce artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga as new subjects in school curriculums from the upcoming academic session. The CBSE is to introduce AI and yoga as an optional 6th subject at Class IX from the session 2019-2020 onwards. This move aims to enhance the multidisciplinary approach in teaching learning and also to sensitise the new generation, it was decided that schools may start AI “inspire module” of 12 hours in Class VIII itself.

AIIMS launched mobile methadone vans to provide treatment to opioid addicts.

• In a first-of-its-kind initiative, the All India Institutes of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) launched mobile methadone vans to provide treatment to opioid addicts in inner-city neighbourhoods in New Delhi. As a pilot project, the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) of AIIMS has initiated the new service of delivering methadone through a mobile van in East Delhi.

• Opioid addiction: Opioid addiction is a long-lasting (chronic) disease that can cause major health, social, and economic problems. Opioids are a class of drugs that act in the nervous system to produce feelings of pleasure and pain relief.  Some opioids are legally prescribed by healthcare providers to manage severe and chronic pain. Some other opioids, such as heroin, are illegal drugs of abuse. Opioid addiction is characterized by a powerful, compulsive urge to use opioid drugs, even when they are no longer required medically.

INTERNATIONAL:

Jimmy Carter becomes longest living chief executive in American history.

• Former US president Jimmy Carter has reached a milestone. He was elected as the 39th President, Carter is now the longest living chief executive in American history. Today is the 172nd day beyond Carter's 94th birthday. It exceeds by one day the lifespan of former President George H.W. Bush, who died last November at the age of 94 years, 171 days.

Italy’s Earth-Watching PRISMA Satellite launched by Vega Rocket.

• A European Vega rocket carried a new Earth-observation satellite into orbit for the Italian Space Agency lighting up the nighttime sky over its French Guiana launch site.   The PRISMA Earth observation satellite lifted off at 9:50 p.m. EDT (0150  March 22 GMT) from the South America's Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana.

• The satellite will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit, meaning that it circles the Earth in such a way that the sun is always in the same position as the satellite takes pictures of the planet below. PRISMA (an Italian acronym for Hyperspectral Precursor of the Application Mission) is designed to provide information about environmental monitoring, resources management, pollution and crop health.

Norway to put world's 1st wireless e-cab charging stations.

• Norway's capital Oslo will become the world's first city to install wireless induction-based fast-charging systems for electric taxis, The Charging plates will be installed in the ground where taxis are parked, which will connect with receivers in taxis and allow them to charge for up to 75 kilowatts. Finland's Fortum is working on the project with America's Momentum Dynamics. The project aims to install wireless charging using induction technology. Charging plates are installed in the ground where the taxi is parked and a receiver is installed in the taxi. This allows for charging up to 75 kilowatts.

Indonesia launched its first mass rapid transit (MRT) system.

• Indonesian President Joko Widodo inaugurated the country's first mass rapid transit (MRT) system on 24th March. The aim is to ease the traffic congestion in the capital Jakarta. He also presided over a groundbreaking ceremony to mark the beginning of the second phase which is planned for completion by 2024. Passengers can ride for free until the end of the month. Jakarta is one of the top three traffic-congested cities in the world, according to a traffic index developed by the navigation systems company TomTom.

Seven Indian names in the 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy list.

• The “100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy” list is comprised of seven Indian names who took important measures to combat climate change. The list is prepared by Apolitical, a peer to peer learning platform for governments. The list has been topped by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (Congresswoman, US Congress). 7 names from India:

• 7 names from India: 

♦ Piyush Goyal- Minister of Railways and Coal

♦ Dr.Harsh Vardhan- Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change

♦ Mukta Tilak- Mayor of Pune

♦ Jyoti Kirit Parikh- Executive director of Integrated Research and Action for Development

♦ Sunita Narain- Director of the Centre for Science and the Environment

♦ Vandana Shiva- Founder of the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Natural Resource Policy

♦ Upendra Tripathy- Director general of the International Solar Alliance

Thailand held its first general election after 5 years of military rule.

• Thailand held its first general election after five years of military rule. The military ousted an elected government in a coup in 2014. About 51.4 million people voted in the election. It will appoint 500 members to the House of Representatives, the lower house of the Parliament. Voters in Thailand have voted to choose their next government 24th March 2019, after five years of living under military rule. The March 24 vote comes after the ruling junta repeatedly postponed general elections after it overthrew an elected government in 2014.

AWARDS:

India clinched SAFF Womens Championship For 5th Time.

• India lifted South Asian Football Federation SAFF Women’s Championship fifth time in a row. Keeping its winning streak India defeated host Nepal in the final by 3-1 in Biratnagar, Nepal.  India’s Dalmia Chhibber scored first goal of the match in 26th minute. India’s Indumathi Kathiresan and Sabitra Tamang of Nepal remained top scorer of the tournament, both scored four-goal each.

APPOINTMENTS:

Vice Admiral Karambir Singh is the next Chief of Indian Navy.

• The government of India appointed Vice-Admiral Karambir Singh, presently Flag Officer Commander-in-Chief (FOC-in-C) Eastern Naval Command as next Chief of the Naval Staff with effect from May 31, 2019. The present Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba retires on the same day. Born on November 03, 1959, Vice Admiral Karambir Singh was commissioned on July 01, 1980 into the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh is a graduate of the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington.

Tata Coffee Appoints Chacko Purackal Thomas as MD And CEO.

• Tata Coffee announced the appointment of Chacko Purackal Thomas as the managing director and chief executive officer. He will replace Sanjiv Sarin. He will assume the charge from April 1, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs of 21 March

INTERNATIONAL:

India attacks UNSC for Progressively Undermining UN General Assembly in finding solutions for global challenges.

• India and UN General Assembly must take lead in finding solutions to the challenges faced by the world, slamming the Security Council for "progressively undermining" the authority of the 193-member global body. India's deputy permanent representative K Nagaraj Naidu said on Monday the growing number of complex challenges facing the world, like those related to peace and security, climate change and sustainable development that cut across boundaries and regions can be addressed only through a genuine multilateral and participative process.

• The prerogatives and authority of the General Assembly have been progressively undermined by the Security Council through its frequent attempts to redefine its scope of competence through wider and permissive interpretations of what constitutes a threat to international peace and security and by engaging in discussions on issues that clearly fall within the purview of the General Assembly.

Cyclothon held on the occasion of World Sparrow Day.

• A colourful cyclothon was organised in Berhampur on the occasion of World Sparrow Day, March 20th, to mark the progress of making Ganjam the first sparrow-friendly district of Odisha. The event aimed at spreading awareness about the rising number of vehicles causing air pollution, which, in turn, affects the avian population.

• A large number of cyclists donning sparrow masks along with a sparrow mascot took part in this cycle rally organised by youth environmental organisation Anchalika Vikash Parishad (AVP) and the Forest Department.

Nirav Modi was denied bail in London.

• ndian businessman Nirav Modi who was accused in the Rs.13,000 crore Punjab National Bank fraud case was denied bail in London, despite offering the court assurances including £500,000 as security.  Mr.Modi is now due to appear before Emma Arbuthnot, the Chief Magistrate of Westminster Magistrates Court, who ordered Vijay Mallya’s extradition on March 29.  The hearing before District Judge Marie Mallon took place a day after Mr. Modi was arrested at a bank branch in London by the Metropolitan Police.

SAIL launched Smart Garbage Bins.

• Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has launched smart garbage bins made of stainless steel which integrates technology for smart waste management. Smart Garbage Bins The IOT (Internet of Things) enabled Gazelle sensors Smart Garbage Bins will send signals to the garbage collection vehicle about the 'fill-up' position of the bin. This provides for better cleaning and lower human intervention.

• These Smart Garbage Bins made up of SAIL SALEM stainless steel will be installed in underground Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) pits at the Smart Garbage Station. This will help prevent the spread of stink and diseases. There will be separate bins for recyclable and non-recyclable wastes.  Initially, these Smart Garbage Bins will be placed at one each at Kamala Nagar in North and BhikajiCama Place in South Delhi.

Kazakhstan renames capital Astana as 'Nursultan' after ex-President.

• Kazakhstan's Parliament has voted to rename the country's capital Astana as 'Nursultan', in honour of former President Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan's new President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev had proposed the move to rename the capital in honour of Nazarbayev, who announced his resignation on March 19 after 30 years in power. Nazarbayev's daughter, Dariga, was elected speaker of the Senate.

Google unveiled video game streaming service Stadia.

• Google unveiled its on-demand video-game streaming service Stadia, built for Chrome, Android and TVs, at the 2019 Game Developers Conference in San Francisco, California. Stadia's 'Crowd Play' feature will let people, watching a YouTube live stream, to actually join the streamer's game. The service will initially be launched this year in the US, Canada, the UK and Europe.

Italy to join China's Belt and Road Initiative.

• Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte pledged to make Italy the first Group of Seven nation to join China's ambitious Belt and Road initiative (BRI). This move will help rebalance Italy's trade with the Asian nation. Four Italian ports could reportedly be opened to Chinese investments for BRI. The US has warned Italy against joining the Chinese initiative.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

South Indian Bank to issue Basel III compliant bonds.

• South Indian Bank plans to raise up to Rs.250 crore by issuing Basel III compliant bonds. The Committee approved the information memorandum for issuance of rated, unsecured, redeemable, non-convertible, Basel III compliant, lower tier 2 bonds up to Rs.150 crore with an option to retain an over-subscription aggregating up to Rs.100 crore, aggregating to total issue size of Rs.250 crore.

Vodafone Idea approves terms for Rs. 25,000 Crore worth Rights Issue at 60 percent discount.

• India's largest telecom firm Vodafone Idea announced its board has approved ₹25,000 crore rights issue at a discount of around 60% to the current share prices. Vodafone Group and the Aditya Birla Group would contribute ₹11,000 crore and ₹7,250 crore, respectively. The issue will increase the number of Vodafone Idea shares by 229%. Vodafone Idea stock fell as much as 7.6 per cent to Rs. 29.60, its steepest intraday fall in almost two months.

Mizoram Assembly passed Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019 to detect illegal foreigners

• Mizoram Assembly passed a new bill named Mizoram Maintenance of Household Registers Bill, 2019 with an objective to detect foreigners illegally residing in Mizoram,who takes away the benefits of the citizen of Mizoram. As per the Bill, the Assembly will create the 2 registers namely one for the citizen residents and another for non-citizen residents of a village/area/town. This register comprises the name, details and passport size photographs of every individual in the state.

NATIONAL:

Social Media platforms to prevent violation of Code of Ethics during polls.

• Social Media platforms and internet mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have adopted a Voluntary Code of Ethics for the forthcoming general elections. According to the code submitted to the election Committee, IAMAI and Social Media platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Google, will create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism and appoint dedicated teams during the polls for taking expeditious action on any reported violations

• No political campaign will be allowed to run on major social media platforms in the last 48 hours before polling ends. It has also been agreed to provide a mechanism for political advertisers to submit pre-certified advertisements issued by the Media Certification and Monitoring Committee. 

• The code also promises to facilitate transparency in paid political advertisements. The social media companies will take action on content reported by the nodal officer, expeditiously, in accordance with the law. IAMAI will act as the liaison between social media firms and the poll panel. Our correspondent reports that the code, which comes into operation with immediate effect, has been developed to ensure free, fair and ethical use of social media platforms to maintain the integrity of the electoral process. 

Shark-faced plane lands at Delhi airport for the first time.

• A shark-themed plane, an Embraer E190-E2 commercial jet, landed at the Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport for the first time. Last year, the shark-themed aircraft landed at Lhasa's Gonggar Airport (Tibet), one of the world's highest airports at 11,713 feet. E190-E2 is manufactured by Brazilian aircraft manufacturer Embraer.

IND INDO CORPAT 2019 was inaugurated at Port Blair.

• The 33rd edition of India-Indonesia coordinated patrol (IND-INDO CORPAT) was inaugurated at Port Blair, Andaman & Nicobar Islands. The IND-INDO CORPAT 2019 is held from 19 Mar to 04Apr 2019.  Navies of both countries have been carrying out coordinated patrolling twice a year since 2002 in an effort to keep the Indian Ocean region (IOR) safe and secure for commercial shipping and international trade.  It also enhances mutual understanding and interoperability between the two navies.

•  IND-INDO CORPAT 2019  From the Indonesian Side Naval Ship, KRI Sultan Thaha Syaifuddin and Maritime Patrol Aircraft CN-235 are taking part. Commodore Ashutosh Ridhorkar, Naval Component Commander, Andaman and Nicobar Command is leading the Indian side. During the exercise ships and aircraft from both the countries would undertake the patrolling on the respective sides of 236 nautical miles long International Maritime Boundary line.

SpiceJet becomes first Indian low-cost airline to join IATA as a member.

• Budget carrier SpiceJet has joined global airlines' grouping International Air Transport Association (IATA), becoming the first Indian low-cost carrier to get the membership. The membership would help SpiceJet, which has ambitious expansion plans, to have codeshares and agreements with other carriers. IATA has over 290 airlines as members. Other Indian members of the IATA include Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara.

Indian-Omani group signs USD 3.8 billion deal to build Sri Lanka refinery.

• India's Accord Group and Oman's oil ministry have signed a $3.85 billion deal to build an oil refinery in Sri Lanka. This is the biggest single pledge of FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) ever made in the country. The project will be located near the southern Sri Lankan port of Hambantota, which was handed over on a 99-year lease to a state-owned Chinese company. Privately-owned Accord Group will control 70 per cent of the joint venture and the Sultanate of Oman's Ministry of Oil and Gas the rest. The refinery is expected to produce 9 million metric tonnes of refined products a year for export from the Hambantota port, which serves the busiest East-West shipping route.

India ranked 140th in the happiest country in the world 2019 list.

• Finland has been ranked as the happiest country in the world 2019 for the second year in succession. The report was released by the Sustainable Development Solutions Network for the United Nations on March 20. India secured 140th place, seven spots down from last year, on UN World Happiness Report- 2019. Indians are not as happy in 2019 as they were in 2018 and the country figures at 140th place, seven spots down from last year, on UN World Happiness Report- 2019

•  The UN’s seventh annual World Happiness Report, which ranks the world’s 156 countries on “how happy their citizens perceive themselves to be”, also noted that there has been an increase in negative emotions, including worry, sadness, and anger. Pakistan is ranked 67th, Bangladesh 125th and China is placed at 93rd position, according to the report. People in war-torn South Sudan are the most unhappy, ranked 156th, with their lives.

Mumbai social worker Gauri Sawant designated as first transgender election ambassador

• A 38-year-old transgender activist Shree Gauri Sawant from Mumbai appointed as first transgender election ambassador by The Election Commission of India. There was no separate classification of transgenders as voters till 2014 but after that transgenders were first enrolled as voters along with males and females. Automotive Tyre Manufacturers’ Association (ATMA) appointed as Mr. K M Mammen as Chairman. Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA) appointed as Chairman & Managing Director of MRF Ltd Mr. K M Mammen as their chairman.

SPORTS:

Tokyo 2020 Olympics torch unveiled.

• Tokyo 2020 Olympics unveiled a cherry-blossom shaped torch for the Games as the city prepares for the famed flower season to begin in coming days. The top part of the torch is shaped in the traditional emblem of the sakura, or cherry blossom using the same cutting-edge technology as in the production of Japan's bullet trains, the organisers said.

• The shiny rose-gold torch, which is 71 centimetres (28 inches) long and weighs 1.2 kilograms (2 pounds 10 ounces), uses aluminium construction waste from temporary housing built for victims of the 2011 quake and tsunami. Fukushima was chosen as the starting point for the Olympic torch relay.  Japan has dubbed the 2020 Games the "Reconstruction Olympics" and wants to showcase recovery in regions devastated by the disaster.

India bags over 350 medals at Special Olympics World Games.

• India got more over than 350 medals at the Special Olympics World Games 2019 at Abu Dhabi in UAE, making the history for the country. The current medal tally stands at 85 Gold, 153 Silver and 124  Bronze totalling 362 medals. Some of the biggest names in world music will perform at the spectacular Closing Ceremony at Zayed Sports City.

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Important Current Affairs of 19th March

NATIONAL:

NCLT approved ArcelorMittal to buy Essar Steel.

• The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLT) gave a conditional nod to a Rs.42,000-crore offer by world’s largest steelmaker ArcelorMittal to buy Essar Steel. NCLT said that the acceptance of the resolution plan submitted by ArcelorMittal and partner Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Metal Corp. would be subject to its final order in the appeal filed by the promoters of debt-laden Essar Steel against the move.

Indian Navy stand behind the cyclone hit Mozambique.

• India decides to divert three Indian naval ships to the port city of Beira in Mozambique to provide humanitarian assistance to the people affected by tropical cyclone ‘#IDAI’. The coastal city of Beira on Friday, 15 March.

• The city's power grid has currently crashed, the airport has been shut and most roads are inaccessible. The Indian Navy diverted ships to the African country for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief (HADR) work. The Navy Spokesperson tweeted about the mission and on being the first-respondents for disaster relief.

Assam gets digital awareness, launches i-help initiative to promote electoral literacy.

• Assam launched an initiative ‘i-help’ to promote digital electoral literacy in the state launched in view of the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls. The 'i-help' is a joint initiative of the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) and Common Service Centres (CSC) in Assam.

• The CSCs are internet-enabled access points spread throughout the country delivering various government and non- government digital services to the citizens and is uniquely positioned in rural areas to significantly extend the awareness and outreach activities of CEO, Assam.

• The CSC has a presence in all the 2,528-gram panchayats in the state and there are 4,587 functional centres at present.

Microsoft Launched Project Sangam To Boost Indias Swachh Bharat Mission.

• Microsoft announced that it has partnered with The Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA) to promote its Project ‘Sangam’ which is developed to accelerate Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in India. It is one of the world’s largest Cleanliness Programme. About Microsoft Industry: Computer software Headquarters: Hyderabad, India Key people: Bhaskar Pramanik (Chairman)

NGT questioned MoEF for not furnishing proper data.

• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) questioned the Union Environment Ministry for not furnishing proper data on monitoring mechanism for compliance of conditions of environment clearance granted by the Ministry.  The observations came following submissions by the Ministry that a mechanism existed to periodically monitor the compliance of environmental clearance conditions which was being strengthened.

• The tribunal had in January directed the MoEF to furnish data on the same following which it submitted that a total of 6,779 projects were monitored between 2013-2014 and 2018-19. The Ministry informed the Bench that while in 2013-14, 843 projects were monitored, in 2018-19, it was 1,002.  A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel instructed Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) to appear before the tribunal on April 29.

INTERNATIONAL:

Vijit becomes the first Indian Coast Guard ship to visit Indonesia.

• This visit of the coast guard ship follows from the first-ever-visit of Naval Ship INS Sumitra to Sabang in July 2018

• Vijit's visit to Sabang, Indonesia, also highlights strengthening cooperation in the area of maritime security and safety between New Delhi and Jakarta. ICGS Vijit is the 2nd in the series of 90 meter Offshore Patrol Vessels and was commissioned at Goa on 11 Dec 2010.

• 'Vijit' meaning "Winner or Victorious" is the testimony of India's shipbuilding capabilities and the resolve of Govt of India to safeguard country's maritime interests.

UNEA has adopted two resolutions piloted by India.

• The United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) has adopted two resolutions piloted by India on single-use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management. The resolutions were passed at the fourth session of the United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) which was held in Nairobi. The theme of the fourth session of UNEA was Innovative Solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable production and consumption. 

Joint military exercise, Sary Arka Antiterror 2019, to be held in Uzbekistan.

• The decision to hold Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019, the first joint military exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) was announced at the during the 34th meeting of the RATS council held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan. The exercise is to be held Sary Arka, Kazakhstan.

Astronomers discover 83 supermassive black holes 13 billion light-years away from Earth

• Astronomers have discovered 83 quasars powered by supermassive black holes 13 billion light-years away from the Earth, from a time when the universe was less than 10 per cent of its present age. A professor at Princeton University in the US, Michael Strauss said, it is remarkable that such massive dense objects were able to form so soon after the Big Bang.

•  A statement that the understanding of how black holes can form in the early universe, and just how common they are, is a challenge for the cosmological models. This finding, published in the Astrophysical Journal, increases the number of black holes known at that epoch considerably, and reveals, for the first time, how common they are early in the universe's history.

•  In addition, it provides new insight into the effect of black holes on the physical state of gas in the early universe in its first billion years. The Supermassive black holes, found at the centres of galaxies can be millions or even billions of times more massive than the Sun. A supermassive black hole becomes visible when gas accretes onto it, causing it to shine as a quasar.

Cyclone Idai affected over 1.5 million people in Mozambique, Malawi, and Zimbabwe.

• Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi have been hit by a vicious cyclone that has killed nearly 150 people, left hundreds more missing and stranded tens of thousands. According to the UN and government officials, Cyclone Idai has affected more than 1.5 million people in the three southern African countries. The port city of Beira in Mozambique was hit the hardest. The deaths are mainly in Zimbabwe's Chimanimani, a mountainous area along the eastern border with Mozambique that is popular with tourists.

Soyuz successfully placed astronauts in ISS.

• Russian Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA Astronaut Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and Cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin successfully docked International Space Station (ISS).  Soyuz Spacecraft is a Russian Spacecraft carries people and supplies to and from the space station. Soyuz Spacecraft also function as lifeboats and one Soyuz spacecraft is always docked to the space station, so that in case of emergency the crew can return to earth through the spacecraft.

• After the retirement of the space shuttle in 2011, the Soyuz spacecraft has become the sole means of transportation for crew members going to or returning from the orbiting laboratory.  The International Space Station is a habitable artificial satellite in low Earth orbit. The ISS programme is a joint project between five participating space agencies: NASA (United States), Roscosmos (Russia), JAXA (Japan), ESA (Europe), and CSA (Canada). The ISS serves as a microgravity and space environment research laboratory.

AWARDS:

Indian writer Raghu Karnad won Windham Campbell Prize.

• Indian Writer Raghu Karnad has won the Windham-Campbell Prize $165,000 under the non-fiction category for his debut book, The Farthest Field: An Indian Story Of The Second World War. Raghu Karnad is the second Indian to receive the award. Earlier in 2016, Jerry Pinto had won the award for his novel, Em And The Big Hoom.

•  Karnad is one of the eight winners chosen across four categories: fiction, non-fiction, drama, and poetry. The other awardee in the non-fiction category was American writer Rebecca Solnit for the diverse body of work she has produced over her career.  The Windham-Campbell Prize is administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in the US.

•  It was established in 2013. The award was constituted with the generous gift from writer Donald Windham in memory of his partner Sandy Campbell. The jury selects two winners each for each of the category.

MOUS AND POLICY:

India & Afghanistan Signed an MOU On Digital Education Initiatives.

• The Ministry of Human Resource Development has signed a memorandum of understanding(MoU) with the Afghanistan government to work on digital education initiatives, which include many prominent programs developed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs).  The MoU was signed at IIT-Madras. 

About Afghanistan

• President: Ashraf Ghani

• 1st Vice President: Abdul Rashid Dostum

• 2nd Vice President: Sarwar Danish

• Chief Executive Officer : Abdullah Abdullah

New hydro policy will help to meet renewables target.

• The Union Cabinet approval to the new hydroelectricity policy that, among other things, included large hydro projects within the ambit of renewable energy. Prior to the policy, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy.

•  Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy.  India’s renewable energy sector had an installed capacity of 75,055.92 MW as of February 2019, according to data with the Central Electricity Authority. This made up about 21.4% of the overall energy mix, with the rest coming from thermal, nuclear and large hydro sources.

•  With the inclusion of large hydro in renewable energy, the energy mix changes drastically. Renewable energy capacity would now be 1,20,455.14 MW or 34.4% of the overall energy mix.

APPOINTMENT:

Goa Speaker Pramod Sawant sworn-in as new Chief Minister of Goa.

• Pramod Sawant (45), former Speaker of Goa legislative Assembly and MLA from Sankhelim in North Goa was sworn-in as 13th Chief Minister of Goa, succeeding Manohar Parrikar, who died on March 17 after a prolonged battle with advanced pancreatic cancer. Sudin alias Ramkrishna Dhavlikar of Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party (MGP) and Vijai Sardesai of Goa Forward Party were sworn in as Deputy Chief Ministers. Nine other leaders also took oaths as cabinet ministers.

SPORTS:

For the first time ever Bengaluru FC crowned ISL Champions.

• Bengaluru FC clinched their maiden Indian Super League title as Rahul Bheke found a championship-winning header in the dying minutes of the final against FC Goa, in Mumbai. The two teams were locked 0-0 after 90 minutes. Even the first extra time saw no goals but Bengaluru got better of a 10-men Goan team 1-0, four minutes from the end of the second extra half.

India finished second in medal tally at Asian Youth Championships.

• Indian youth team finish second in the overall medals tally with a total of 26 medals including eight gold, nine silver and nine bronze medals. China topped the overall medals tally with 31 medals that included 12 gold, 11 silver and eight bronze medals. Japan finished third with 20 medals that included 6 Gold, 8 Silver and 6 bronze. Asian Youth Athletics Championships 2019 was held in Hong Kong.

Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth finished runner-up at Swiss Open.

• Indian shuttler Sai Praneeth won the silver medal at the Swiss Open after losing the men's singles final to world number two and top-seeded Chinese shuttler Shi Yuqi in Basel, Switzerland. About 2019 Swiss Open: The 2019 Swiss Open, officially the YONEX Swiss Open 2019, was a badminton tournament which took place at St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland and had a total purse of $150,000.

Valtteri Bottas Won Australian F1 Grand Prix 2019

• Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas beat his world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton to clinch the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix. Bottas, who claimed his first race win since Abu Dhabi in 2017claimed the extra point for the fastest lap in the race.

India bags 188 medals at Special Olympics World Games.

• India won a total of 188 medals at the Special Olympics World Games in Abu Dhabi. The medals include 50 gold, 63 silver and 75 bronze medals. In table tennis India won four gold and one silver medal. In Judo, Sonu Kumar from Rohtak, Haryana won the gold medal by winning all three bouts. Muskan bagged a silver.

• Four Silver medals were bagged by Santoshi Vijay Kauthankar from Goa in the female category. India sent a 378-strong contingent that is participating in the 15th edition of the Games. The closing ceremony of Special Olympics World Games is scheduled for March 21. 

Mukesh Ambani Tops Forbes List of Worlds Richest Sports Team Owners.

• The chairman and managing director of Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), Mukesh Ambani tops with a net worth of around $50 billion. Ambani bought the Indian Premier League (IPL) team Mumbai Indians for over $100 million through RIL's 100 percent subsidiary IndiaWin Sports. The team had won the IPL crown in 2013, 2015 and 2017.

• Former Microsoft CEO, Steve Ballmer who own the Los Angeles Clippers team placed at the second spot in the list. He purchased the basketball team for about $2 billion after he retired from Microsoft. Red Bull energy drink company founder Dietrich Mateschitz followed at number three spot. He owns Red Bull Toro Rosso Honda, Formula One team Red Bull Racing and MLS club New York Red Bulls.

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Important Current Affairs of 18th March

NATIONAL:

New hydro policy will help to meet renewables target.

• The Union Cabinet approval to the new hydroelectricity policy that, among other things, included large hydro projects within the ambit of renewable energy. Prior to the policy, only small hydro projects of a capacity of less than 25 MW were treated as renewable energy. Large hydro projects were treated as a separate source of energy.

•  India’s renewable energy sector had an installed capacity of 75,055.92 MW as of February 2019, according to data with the Central Electricity Authority. This made up about 21.4% of the overall energy mix, with the rest coming from thermal, nuclear and large hydro sources.  With the inclusion of large hydro in renewable energy, the energy mix changes drastically. Renewable energy capacity would now be 1,20,455.14 MW or 34.4% of the overall energy mix.

NGT directed 6 states to submit action plans for bringing air quality standards.

• The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed six States to submit by April 30 action plans for bringing air quality standards within the prescribed norms, failing which they would be liable to pay environment compensation of Rs.1 crore each.  A Bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel ordered the Chief Secretaries of Assam, Jharkhand, Maharashtra, Punjab, Uttarakhand and Nagaland governments to submit their plan within the stipulated time

Second Scorpene submarine Khanderi ready for induction.

• The Navy is set to induct the second Scorpene submarine Khanderi by early May. The remaining submarines in the series are in advanced stages of manufacturing and trials. Khanderi was launched into the water in January 2017 and has since been undergoing a series of trials.

• Also, the fourth submarine Vela is ready to be launched into the water for trials around the same time depending on the ocean tide.  Mazagon Dock Limited (MDL), Mumbai, is manufacturing six Scorpene submarines under technology transfer from Naval Group of France under a 2005 contract worth $3.75 bn.

• After a series of delays in the project, the first submarine of the class Kalvari joined service in December 2017. The entire project is expected to be completed by 2020.

India and Maldives agreed to cooperate on defence, development, health.

• India and the Maldives discussed measures to strengthen ties and agreed to collaborate in the fields of defence, development cooperation, capacity building and health as External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj held talks with the country’s top leadership, including her Maldivian counterpart Abdulla Shahid.

• Ms. Swaraj and Maldivian Foreign Minister Shahid reviewed progress on important bilateral issues, including implementation of agreed outcomes of President Solih’s visit to India during 2018. She unveiled a plaque dedicating the renovated IGM Hospital to the people of Maldives in the city of Male. IGMH is the first and largest government health-care facility in the Maldives, built with Indian assistance.

Nara Lokesh, Poonam Mahajan among Indians in Young Global Leaders list.

• Andhra Pradesh IT minister Nara Lokesh, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan and Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain are among the Indians featuring in the list of Young Global Leaders, according to the World Economic Forum (WEF). Telangana government's Chief Innovation Officer Phanindra Sama, SaveLife Foundation's Piyush Tewari and Kaleidofin's co-Founder Sucharita Mukherjee are also in the list. The list has 127 of the world's "most promising social activists, business leaders, public servants, artists and technologists under the age of 40".

Climate Vulnerability Index Highest For Assam And Mizoram.

• Indian scientists have developed a common framework for the assessment of climate change vulnerability in all the states in the Himalayan region. The assessment shows that the vulnerability index is the highest for Assam (0.72) and Mizoram (0.71). Sikkim is the least vulnerable state with the index being 0.42. Assam is highly vulnerable to climate change because of factors like low per capita income, deforestation, large number of marginal farmers, least area under irrigation, lack of alternative sources of income and high rates of poverty.

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND LAUNCHES:

Aviva Life Insurance launches Special Mentorship Programme Wings.

• Aviva Life Insurance announced the launch of ‘Wings’, a specially designed mentorship program to empower the female workforce. Wings program is an initiative of the SHE division of Aviva Life Insurance for mentoring all the women employees in Aviva.

BCCI announced Dream11 as official partner of VIVO IPL.

• The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), announced Dream11, India’s Biggest Sports Game, as the Official Partner for the VIVO Indian Premier League (IPL). This 4-year exclusive partnership will begin with the upcoming IPL 2019 season. Additionally, the ‘Official Fantasy Game’ of IPL will also be powered by Dream11.

APPOINTMENTS:

Santosh Jha appointed as The Next Ambassador Of India to the Republic Of Uzbekistan.

• Santosh Jha presently Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Uzbekistan. Presently, Mr Jha working as Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington DC USA.

Kotak Mahindra Bank has appointed KVS Manian, Gaurang Shah as board directors.

• KVS Manian and Gaurang Shah appointed as Kotak Mahindra Bank ’s whole-time directors for a three-year term effective from the date of approval from the Reserve Bank of India. He is currently working as the president – corporate, an investment bank and Gaurang Shah is the president- group chief risk officer of the bank

Pinaki Chandra Ghose named as Indias first Lokpal.

• Pinaki Chandra Ghose is likely to be India’s first anti-corruption ombudsman or Lokpal. He is the former Supreme Court judge and current member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). The decision was made by the PM-led high-level selection committee.  Mr.Ghose was appointed as judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1997 and went on to become Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh before his elevation to the Supreme Court in 2013. The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement.

• The act provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States to probe corruption complaints against top functionaries and public servants. A Lokpal is an anti-corruption authority or ombudsman who represents the public interest. The Lokpal has jurisdiction over all Members of Parliament, central government employees, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers in cases of corruption.

SPORTS:

Diksha, 18-yr-old becomes 2nd Indian golfer to win on Ladies European Tour.

• Diksha Dagar became the second Indian woman golfer to win an event on Ladies European Tour after clinching South African Women's Open in Cape Town. Aditi Ashok was the first Indian to win on the Ladies European Tour after clinching Hero Women's Indian Open in Gurugram in 2016.

OCA reinstated Chess in Asian Games 2022.

• Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) decided to reinstate the Chess game to the Asian Games fold for the 2022 edition in Hangzhou. The top players welcomed the return of Chess.

• The OCA General Assembly met in Bangkok on March 3 and its president Sheikh Ahmad al-Fahad Al-Sabah officially confirmed the development to World Chess Federation (WCF) president Arkady Dvorkovich.

• Chess was a part of the Asian Games programme at the 2006 edition in Doha and 2010 in Guangzhou. India won two gold medals at Doha, and two bronze in the 2010 edition at Guangzhou.

T. Irfan became first Indian athlete to qualify for Tokyo Olympics.

• A 29-year-old Indian athlete from Kerala, K.T. Irfan qualified for the Tokyo Olympics as he finished fourth in the men’s 20 kilometre category at the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan. He got qualified for next year's Tokyo Olympics.

• He made the cut after finishing fourth at the Asian Race Walking Championship at Nomi in Japan.  The fourth-place finishes also ensured a berth in the upcoming International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) World Championship in Doha that begins in September. The Two other Indian race walkers, who qualified for the World Championship are Devinder and Ganapati.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI allows HDFC Bank to hold only 9.9 percent in Bandhan Bank.

• HDFC, India’s largest mortgage lender, which has agreed to merge its low-cost arm Gruh Finance Pvt. Ltd. with Bandhan Bank, can hold 9.9 percent in the bank, according to its exchange filing. That’s the maximum a non-banking finance company can own in a private bank. HDFC had sought approval for 14.96 percent.

AWARDS:

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan received Padma Bhushan from President.

• President Kovind presented Padma Bhushan to Shri Sankaralingam Nambi Narayanan for Science & Engineering. Shri Narayanan is an accomplished scientist with more than three decades of experience in Indian Space Research Organisation. The scientist was instrumental in developing the Vikas engine that would be used for the first PSLV that India launched.

• But, Nambi Narayanan, who was falsely implicated in the ISRO spy case, was accused of selling state secrets comprising confidential test data from rocket and satellite launches. In 1994, Narayanan was arrested by Kerala police over espionage charges, which were dismissed by CBI in 1996. The Supreme Court declared him not guilty in 1998 and ordered Kerala to pay ₹50-lakh compensation over "mental torture" in 2018

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