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Important Current Affairs 30th July 2020

National

HRD Ministry to be renamed as Ministry of Education

• The Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) has been renamed as Ministry of Education. The decision was taken during a cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister.

• The HRD Ministry is currently headed by Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. The name change was a key recommendation of the draft New Education Policy. The HRD ministry name was adopted in 1985.

Union Cabinet Approves National Education Policy 2020

• The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister has approved the National Education Policy 2020. The recently approved National Education Policy 2020 will replace the thirty-four year old National Policy on Education (NPE), 1986.

• The National Education Policy 2020 comprises major reforms in the higher education sector including a target of 50% gross enrollment ratio by 2035 and a provision for multiple entry and exit.

• It is aligned to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is based on the foundational pillars of Access, Equity, Quality, Affordability and Accountability.

• It seeks to transform India into a vibrant knowledge society and global knowledge superpower by making both school and college education more holistic, flexible & multidisciplinary, as per the requirements of 21st century.

Major Reforms

•  Enrollment: 50% gross enrollment ratio by 2035.

•  UGC-AICTE merged: The cabinet has approved merger of the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) and University Grants Commission.

•  Flexibility of Subjects: Holistic and Multidisciplinary Education

•  Multiple entry/ exit

- UG Programme- 3 or 4 years

- PG Programme- 1 or 2 years

- Integrated 5 year Bachelor's/Master's

- M Phil to be discontinued

• Credit Transfer and Academic Bank of Credits

• HEIs: Research Intensive/ Teaching Intensive Universities and Autonomous Degree Granting Colleges

• Model Multidisciplinary Education and Research University (MERU)

• Graded Autonomy-  Under this, graded academic, administrative and financial autonomy will be given to colleges, on the basis of the status of their accreditation. There are over 45,000 affiliated colleges in the country.

Five Rafale Fighter Jets land in India at Ambala air base

• A fleet of five French-manufactured Rafale multi-role combat jets arrived in India. Rafale Jets landed at the Ambala Air Force base after covering a distance of 7,000 km from the Merignac airbase in French port city of Bordeaux.

• The fleet, which comprises three single seater and two twin seater aircraft, would be inducted into the IAF as part of its Ambala-based No 17 Squadron, also known as the ‘Golden Arrows’. The addition of these fighter jets is expected to transform the capabilities of Air Force.

MoES-Knowledge Resource Centre Network launched

• Ministry of Earth Sciences has launched the “MoES-Knowledge Resource Centre Network (KRCNet)” under the Digital India initiative of Government of India. MoES has transformed the traditional libraries of the MoES system into a top-notch Knowledge Resource Centres (KRC). These KRCs will be linked with each other and integrated into the KRCNet portal. This portal would be a single point entry to the intellectual world of Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES).

Awards

Ministry of Earth Sciences announces National Awards for excellence in Earth System Science

• The Ministry of Earth Sciences (MoES) has announced the National Awards for excellence in Earth System Science for the year 2020.The Awards are given every year on the occasion of Earth Sciences Foundation Day of the Ministry for the outstanding contribution of each winner in their respective field.

• The award is presented annually in the following three categories:

•  Life Time Excellence Award in the sphere of Earth System Sciences

•  National Awards in the field of:

Ocean Science & Technology

Atmospheric Science & Technology

Geoscience & Technology

Polar Science & Cryosphere

•  Young Researcher/Achiever Award in the field of Earth System Science

Winners for 2020

•  Life Time Excellence Award – Professor Ashok Sahni for his significant contribution in the field of Geology, Vertebrate Paleontology and Biostratigraphy.

•  National Awards

•  Ocean Science and Technology – Dr. V. V. S. S. Sarma and Dr. M. Ravichandran

•  Atmospheric Science and Technology – Dr. S. Suresh Babu

•  Geoscience & Technology – Dr. N. V. Chalpathi Rao

•  Polar Science & Cryosphere – Dr. Atmanand

•  Young Researcher/Achiever Award – Dr. Indra Sekhar Sen and Dr. Arvind Singh

Sunil ydv SS Honored with Karamveer Chakra Award of United Nations and ICONGO

• Sunil ydv SS, founder & CEO Of SS Motivation, which is the most Subscribed Motivational Channel on Telegram, has  been honoured with “Karamveer Chakra Award” instituted by United Nations and International Confederation of NGO (iCONGO).

• He received the award for his relentless contribution to society through his Telegram channel “SS Motivation.”

Appointments and Resignations

Archana Soreng named by UN chief to new advisory group

• Indian climate activist, Archana Soreng has been named by UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to his new advisory group comprising young leaders who will provide perspectives and solutions to tackle the worsening climate crisis, as the global body mobilizes action as part of the C-19 recovery efforts.

Varun Sridhar appointed as CEO of Paytm Money

• The investment & wealth management subsidiary of Paytm- Paytm Money, has appointed Varun Sridhar as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company on 29 July 2020.

• Sridhar will replace former MD and CEO PravinJadhav who resigned from the startup due to differences with the management of Paytm.

Days

International Tigers day

• 29th of July observed as International Tiger Day.The Day is celebrated on every year across the globe to create awareness about tiger conservation.

• The day was created in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit to put in place a global system for protecting the natural habitats of tigers and raise public awareness and support for tiger conservation issues.

• The Slogan for 2020 International Tiger Day celebration is “Their survival is in our hands”.

Books and Authors

Former RBI Deputy Governor pens book ‘Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India’

• The former Deputy Governor of Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Viral Acharya has come up with a book titled “Quest for Restoring Financial Stability in India”, which is a collection of his comments, speeches, and research as a member of the RBI’s Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

• Through this book, Dr Acharya shares a feasible plan to address the recapitalization needs of public sector banks, offering solutions on how to improve credit allocation by credit intermediaries and establish viable and efficient capital markets.

• The book has been published by SAGE Publications India Pvt Ltd.

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Important Current Affairs 10th June 2020

National

Highest Allocation to MGNREGA Programme

• The Government of India has allocated Rs 1,01,500crores under the MGNREGA programme in the year 2020-21 so far. This is the highest provision of funds allocated for the scheme since its launch.

• The Government of India has already released Rs 31,493 crores. So far 6.69 crore persons have been offered work under the scheme. In May 2020, Rs 2.51crores was spent for the scheme per day. The GoI increased the wages under the scheme from Rs 182 to Rs 202 per day.

• Under the scheme, the focus is given to irrigation, water conservation, horticulture. The scheme also focuses on beneficiary works that promote livelihood.

World Bank lends Rs 1950 crore loans to West Bengal

• West Bengal government has received a loan amount of Rs 1950 crore from the World Bank. The loan amount has been lend to the West Bengal Government to tackle C-19 situation and developmental work in the state.

• Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee said that out of it, Rs. 1,100 crore will be spent for creating Industrial infrastructures and remaining Rs. 850 crore have been allocated for spending on various Social-Welfare schemes.

International

World Bank: India’s economy to contract by 3.2 per cent in fiscal year 2020/21

• According to World Bank, India’s economy will shrink by 3.2 per cent in the current fiscal.

• The Washington-based multilateral lender said that the C-19  and the multi-phased  imposed to curb its spread has resulted in a devastating blow to the Indian economy.

• In its latest edition of the Global Economic Prospect, the World Bank downgraded its projection of India by a massive negative nine per cent.

• In India, growth is estimated to have slowed to 4.2 per cent in the fiscal year 2019/20 (the year ending in March-2020) and output is projected to contract by 3.2 per cent in fiscal year 2020/21.

GoI facilitates filling of NIL GST Return through SMS

• The Government of India has allowed taxpayers to fill their NIL GST monthly reurn form through SMS. This will improve ease of GST compliance to more than 22 lakh taxpayers.

• The facility of filing the NIL form through SMS has been made available in GSTN portal. The portal also allows the users to track their returns.

• The GST is the single tax imposed on goods and services. The GST bill was first introduced in 2014 as the Constitution (122nd) Amendment bill.

Acquisitions and Mergers

RIL to sell 1.16% in Jio to Abu Dhabi Investment Authority for Rs 5,684 cr

• Jio Platforms has received investment of Rs 5683.50 crore from a wholly owned subsidiary of the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA). Hence, ADIA has bought 1.16% stake in Jio Platforms with its investment of Rs 5683.50 crore.

• The investment done by ADIA valued the Jio Platforms at an equity value of Rs 4.91 lakh crore and an enterprise value of Rs 5.16 lakh crore.

Obituary

Former union minister and Odisha MP Arjun Charan Sethi passes away

• Former Union Water Resources Minister Arjun Charan Sethi passed away. He was eight-time MP from Bhadrak, Odisha. He was Water Resources Minister in Atal Bihari Vajpayee Cabinet from 2000 to 2004.

•  The veteran politician was also elected to Odisha Assembly twice on Janata Dal ticket in 1991 and 1995 from Bhandaripokhari.

Days

World Accreditation Day 2020

• The World Accreditation Day (WAD) is celebrated globally on 9th June every year to highlight and promote the role of accreditation in trade & economy.

• The International Accreditation Forum (IAF) and the International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) decided the theme for WAD 2020 as “Accreditation: Improving Food Safety”.

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Important Current Affairs 21st May 2020

National

Union HRD Ministry launches new mobile app “National Test Abhyas”

• The Ministry of Human Resources Development has launched a new mobile application called “National Test Abhyas”. The application was developed by the National Testing Agency.

• The application is powered by Artificial Intelligence and therefore the students will get instant results after taking the tests. The main aim of the application is to help students during the closure of educational institutions.

Cabinet approval proposal to launch Special Liquidity Scheme for NBFCs & HFCs

• Union Cabinet given approval to the proposal of the Ministry of Finance to launch a new Special Liquidity Scheme for Non-Banking Financial Companies, NBFCs and Housing Finance Companies, HFCs to improve liquidity position of the NBFCs or HFCs.

• The direct financial implication for the Government is five crore rupees, which may be the equity contribution to the Special Purpose Vehicle, SPV.

Banking and Economy

NABARD issues Rs. 20,500 crore to RRBs & co-operative banks

• The NABARD, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development, has issued funds amounting Rs. 20,500 crore for the RRBs (regional rural banks) and co-operative banks for helping the farmers.

• The funding was provided under Rs. 25,000 crore refinance facility that was provided by the Reserve Bank of India to NABARD.

RBI reiterates usage of digital modes for banking transactions

•  The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on May 20, 2020 reiterated the usage of digital modes for banking transactions.

•  The RBI stated that the use of digital payment modes has become more important with the ongoing nationwide.

•  The central bank stated that digital payment modes make it easier for people to do banking transactions while being safe at home and at any hour of the day.

Appointments and Resignations

Dilip Oommen is new President of Indian Steel Association

• Indian Steel Association (ISA) has appointed Dilip Oommen as its new President. He is presently the CEO of Arcelor Mittal Nippon Steel India. He was unanimously appointed as President for the next two years.

• He will replace Tata Steel CEO TV Narendran, who stepped down as President on May 1. Oommen is a veteran of the steel industry with more than 37 years of experience and an alumnus of Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (IIT-K).

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan to assume charge as Chairman of Executive Board of WHO

Health Minister Harsh Vardhan will on May 22, 2020 take charge as the Chairman of the Executive Board of World Health Organization (WHO), succeeding incumbent Japan’s Dr. Hiroki Nakatani, who is the current Chairman of the 34-member board.

Days

International Tea Day

• International Tea Day is observed globally May 21 on the recommendation of India. The purpose of International Tea Day is to try to improve the condition of tea producers and tea workers.

• Tea producing countries make a lot of profit but the condition of the labourers working in the tea plantations is very bad. Therefore, the purpose of International Tea Day is to encourage the status of tea workers, workers’ rights, daily wages, social security, employment security, and health.

World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development

• World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is observed globally on 21 May every year. The purpose of the day is to deepen the understanding of the values of cultural diversity and to advance the following goals of the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions:

a) Achieve a balanced flow of cultural goods and services and increase the mobility of artists and cultural professionals

b) Integrate culture in sustainable development frameworks

c) Promote human rights and fundamental freedoms

d) support sustainable systems of governance for culture.

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Important Current Affairs 20th May 2020

National

Government declares six cities as 5-star garbage-free cities

•  The central government has declared six cities- Ambikapur, Rajkot, Surat, Mysore, Indore and Navi Mumbai as five-star garbage-free cities.

•  The star rating of garbage-free cities was announced by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs on May 19, 2020. Overall, six cities were rated 5-star, 65 cities were rates 3-star and 70 cities were rated with one star.

•  The Housing and Urban Affairs Minister, Hardeep Singh Puri also launched the revised protocol for the star rating of garbage free cities. The Ministry has now brought importance of sanitation and effective solid waste management to the forefront due to the situation.

•  The star rating protocol was launched by the Ministry in January 2018 to institutionalize a mechanism for cities to achieve garbage free status and motivate other cities to achieve higher degrees of cleanliness.

SCR develops ‘Rail-Bot’ to provide better health care

• South Central Railway zone has developed a robotic device, “RAIL-BOT” (R-BOT) to assist in the functions of hospital management to provide better health care to the patients.

• The R-BOT can be operated by using Android mobile app and radio frequency (RF) remote control. R-BOT is being used to provide medicines, medical accessories, and to serve food to the patients, taking away the need for human contact in such activities.

International

Thomas Thabane resigns as Lesotho's prime minister

• Lesotho Prime Minister Thomas Thabane has formally resigned more than a week after his coalition government fell apart, in a move that could help end a long-running political crisis in the country.

• Lesotho’s Finance Minister MoeketsiMajoro has been named by parliament as the interim PM of the country.

Japan launches new unit to boost defense in space named Space Operations Squadron

• Japan launched a new space defense unit that will monitor and counter threats to the satellites of Japan.

• The unit is named Space Operations Squadron and is a part of Japan’s Air Self-Defense Force. It has started will 20 members and will become fully operational by the year 2023.

• The role of Space Operations Squadron is to monitor and protect Japanese satellites from enemy attacks or space debris.

Banking and Economy

Investment firm Bernstein projects India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -7%

• Bernstein, an investment management firm based in the United States, has projected India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -7.0%.

• This means India’s GDP will contract by 7% in FY21 as per Bernstein.

BSE, NSE cut annual listing fee for SMEs by 25%

• Stock exchanges BSE and NSE have announced to reduce the listing fee for their SME platforms by 25 per cent.

• BSE and NSE had launched their respective SME platforms in 2012 and since then have been facilitating SMEs for raising funds, listing and trading on the exchanges.

Goldman Sachs projects India’s GDP growth rate for FY21 at -5%

• The global investment banking group, Goldman Sachs has predicted India’s GDP growth for FY21 at -5.0%. Earlier it has predicted the same at -0.4%.

• It means as per Goldman Sachs the GDP of India will contract by 5.0% in FY21.

RBI extends KYC norms to Housing Finance Companies

• The Reserve Bank of India has announced that the Know Your Customer (KYC) guidelines/norms will now be applicable to Housing Finance Companies also.

• It must be noted that the Regulation of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) was transferred from the National Housing Bank to RBI in August 2019.

• And KYC norms are applicable to all Regulated Entities of the RBI and hence it has now been made applicable on Housing Finance Companies also.

Days

World Bee Day

• World Bee Day is observed globally on 20th May every year. On this date, 20 May, the pioneer of beekeeping Anton Janša was born in 1734 in Slovenia. The purpose of the bee day is to acknowledge the role of bees and other pollinators for the ecosystem.

• About 33% of the world’s food production depends on bees thus they are vital for the preservation of biodiversity, ecological balance in nature and helpful in reducing pollution.

Books and Authors

New book released to mark Ruskin Bond's 86th birthday

• Ruskin Bond’s new book titled ‘Hop On: My Adventures on Boats, Trains and Planes’ was released on his 86th Birthday in an e-book format. The book narrates some of his memorable travel adventures on boats, trains and planes from his childhood.

• The book presents its readers with a number of the author’s hilarious journeys and travel adventures. The illustrations for Ruskin Bond’s new book has been done by SamratHalder.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd April 2020

National

IIT-Mandi develops high-speed magnetic RAM

• Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mandi, Himachal Pradesh has developed a high-speed magnetic Random Access Memory (RAM).

• This Magnetic Random Access Memory (RAM), is faster, energy-efficient and stores more data in a smaller volume as compared to existing data storage technologies.

Guj Govt's Water Conservation Scheme Begins

• Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has given the green signal for the third edition of his government’s ‘Sujalam Sufalam Jal Sanchay Abhiyan’. It is a conservation plan to deepen water bodies in the state before the monsoon.

• The scheme will see the deepening of lakes, check dams and rivers by removing silt. This will be done till June 10, 2020 with people’s participation as well as under MNREGA.

International

US crude oil prices fall below $0 mark

• In a historic first, the US crude oil prices crashed below $0 mark on April 20, 2020. The price of best quality of crude oil West Texas Intermediate (WTI) turned negative to - USD 40.32 a barrel.

• This is the worst ever slash in crude oil prices in the history of mankind. The last such fall in oil prices was reported right after the World War II.

Acquisitions and Mergers

Facebook buys 9.99% stake in Reliance Jio platform

• Facebook has announced the investment of Rs. 43,474 crores in Reliance Jio for 9.99 per cent stake on April 22. It is the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in India’s tech sector.

• The announcement of signing a binding agreement for an investment of Rs. 43,474 crore was made by Jio Platform Ltd, Reliance Industries Ltd. and Facebook.

• As per a statement by Reliance Industries Ltd., the investment by Facebook translates into a 9.99% of the equity stake in Jio on a fully diluted basis. The declared investment now values Jio Platforms at Rs. 4.62 lakh crore pre-money enterprise value.

Appointments and Resignations

N Kamakodi to be reappointed as the MD & CEO of City Union Bank

• N Kamakodi will be reappointed as the MD&CEO of City Union Bank. He has been reappointed for a period of three years with effect from May 1, 2020.

• City Union Bank has received approval for this reappointment from the Reserve Bank of India.

David Li becomes new CEO of Huawei India

• David Li has been appointed as the Chief Executive Officer of Huawei Telecommunications India. He has replaced Jay Chen who has been promoted to handle Asia Pacific level business role.

Days

Earth Day

• On 22nd April 2020, World Earth Day will be celebrated across the globe via ‘digital means’.

• PM Narendra Modi expressed his gratitude towards Mother Earth for the abundant gifts given by her. 

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Important Current Affairs 27th February 2020

National New

Atal Innovation Mission, NITI Aayog partners with NASSCOM to roll out Artificial Intelligence Modules in Indian schools:

• NITI Aayog and Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) have collaborated with the National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) for the launch of an AI-based Module rolled out for students in Indian schools.

• The launch was done on February 27, 2020. The AI-Base Module has been introduced with an objective for students to leverage the full potential of AIM’s Atal Tinkering Lab (ATL).

• The module contains activities, videos and experiments that enable students to work through and learn the various concepts of AI.

Offshore Patrol Vessel-6 “VAJRA” launched at Chennai:

• The 6th Coast Guard Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV-6) ’VAJRA’ was launched in at Chennai on February 27, 2020. Shri Mansukh Mandaviya was the chief guest of the event.

• Mandaviya is the Minister of State for Shipping(I/C) and Chemicals & Fertilizers.

Government launches MIEWS Portal for Monitoring prices of TOP Crops

• Ministry of Food Processing Industries has launched the Market Intelligence and Early Warning System (MIEWS) Web Portal for ‘real time monitoring’ of prices of tomato, onion and potato (TOP) crops.

• Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal, Union Minister of Food Processing Industries launched the portal.

• MIEWS system is designed to provide advisories to farmers to avoid cyclical production as well as an early warning in situations of gluts and for simultaneously generating alerts for intervention under the terms of the Operation Greens(OG) scheme.

New Toll-Free Number of GST helpdesk:

• The Goods and Services Tax Network (GSTN) recently launched a new toll-free number for GST related problems. This number will work 365 days for answering queries about the GST.

• GSTN has introduced new features to improve taxpayers’ experience by giving them more power. A new toll-free number is - 1800 103 4786'. Anyone can call on this helpline from 9 am to 9 pm.

International News

Sri Lanka to construct first electric rail track in Kandy:

• The Government of Sri Lanka has decided to build its first electric railway track in Kandy. Sri Lanka government believes that it will ease transportation and provide better infrastructure to the country.

• The Government has planned to build construct a new electric rail track between Kandy to Rambankana, about 78 km from the capital Colombo via Katugastota.

Janez Jansa named as Prime Minister of Slovenia:

• The President of Slovenia recently nominated Janez Jansa as the new Prime Minister of the country. He has decided to form a government with three other political parties.

• He has also been the Prime Minister of Slovenia twice before. He was the Prime Minister of the country from 2004 to 2008 and from 2012 to 2013.

Banking and Economy

Analysts foresee 4.5 to 4.7 per cent GDP growth in 3rd quarter:

• India’s GDP growth in the October-December quarter of the financial year 2018-19 will likely print at 5-4.7 per cent, according to researchers.

• As per SBI Research’s composite leading indicator, which analyses inputs from 33 various indicators, growth will remain flat in Q3, at 4.5 per cent clocked in Q2; ICRA believes third-quarter GDP may settle at around 4.7 per cent led by a modest uptick in services, industry and agricultural growth.

Science and Technology

Incois launches three ocean-based services:

• The Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (Incois), Hyderabad, has launched three ocean-based specialised products/services — the Small Vessel Advisory and Forecast Services System (SVAS), the Swell Surge Forecast System (SSFS) and the Algal Bloom Information Service (ABIS).

• Incois, an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Earth Sciences, provides a number of free services for users in the marine realm, including fishermen.

Sports

Five-Time Grand Slam Champion Maria Sharapova Retires From Tennis At 32:

• Five-time Grand Slam winner Maria Sharapova, one of the world’s most recognisable and highest-paid sportswomen, announced her retirement at the age of 32.

• “Tennis – I’m saying goodbye,” Sharapova stated in an article for Vogue and Vanity Fair magazines.

• After 28 years and five Grand Slam titles, though, I’m ready to scale another mountain – to compete on a different type of terrain. Sharapova burst onto the scene as a supremely gifted teenager and won her Grand Slams before serving a 15-month ban for failing a drugs test at the 2016 Australian Open.

Appointments and Resignations

Mastercard names product chief Michael Miebach as CEO, Ajay Banga moves to executive chairman:

• Mastercard’s chief executive officer of 10 years, Ajay Banga, will step down at the start of the next year and be replaced by Chief Product Officer Michael Miebach.

• India-born Banga will take on the role of executive chairman, while Miebach will become the company’s president on March 1.

• Miebach served as managing director at Barclays Bank and general manager at Citibank.

Ranking

Mukesh Ambani Top Indian in Hurun Global Rich List 2020; Jeff Bezos retains No 1 spot:

• The Hurun Global Rich List 2020 was released on 26 February 2020 to rank the top billionaires in the world.

• The ninth edition of the ranking list has 2,817 billionaires from 71 countries and 2,183 companies.

• The list has been topped by Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos for the third time, with an estimated net worth of $140 billion.

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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2020

National

India’s biggest rural technical festival ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ held in Telangana

• Collector of Nirmal inaugurated National Level India’s Biggest Rural Technical Festival titled Antahpragnya 2020 in the state of Telangana at Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies-Basar (RGUKT-Basar).

• Rural areas cannot afford to miss the development bus. Most of the developments in the two lakh years have taken place in the last century.

• The fest showcases 300 prototypes, working models, exhibits and technologies such as automatic switch for water, homemade electricity, smoke absorber, automatic street lighting system, smart dustbins, zero budget farming, automatic irrigation and others.

India hosts Defence dialogue between India and South Korea

• Ministerial-level Defence dialogue between India and South Korea was held in New Delhi today. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of National Defence of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo held the meeting.

• The theme of DefExpo-2020 in Lucknow is ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’ and India and South Korea recognize the influence of Artificial Intelligence and digital technology in defence sector.

Indian Government unveils new vaccine to control classical swine fever

• The government of India unveiled a new indigenously developed vaccine for controlling classical swine fever (CSF). CSF is a highly contagious fatal pig disease.

• The new vaccine, developed by Uttar Pradesh-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), will be much cheaper than the existing one.

 Banking and Economy

Union Cabinet Approves Amendments to Banking Regulation Act to regulate co-operative banks

• The Union Cabinet has given its approval to bring cooperative banks under the regulatory mechanism of Reserve Bank of India.

• The cabinet approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act on February 5, 2020, thus allowing multi-state cooperative banks to come under the regulation of the RBI.

• The announcement was made by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadkar after a cabinet meeting.

• The 1,540 cooperative banks with 8.6 crore depositors’ money, with around Rs. 5 lakh crore deposits in the country and the proposed amendment will protect the depositors.

• a. The Banking Regulation Act, 1949 is legislation in India that regulates all banking firms.

b. Shaktikanta Das is the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Union Govt plans to raise funds through LIC IPO

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that union government plans to sell a partial stake in LIC through IPO or an initial public offer.

• The union budget she proposed that the government will sell its stake in IDBI Bank to private investors and also amend the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen co-op banks.

• The finance minister that the deposit insurance coverage against bank failure will be increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.

• She proposed to expand exchange-traded funds by floating a Debt ETF, consisting primarily of government securities.

LIC: Life Insurance Corporation of India is an Indian state-owned insurance group and investment corporation owned by the Government of India. The Life Insurance Corporation of India was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the insurance industry in India.

Headquarters: Mumbai

Owner: Government of India (100%)

Founder: Government of India

Founded: 1 September 1956

Awards

Vinod Shukla bags first Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award

• Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla has bagged the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award for his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue“.

• The stories in “Blue Is Like Blue”, translated into English by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai, deal with common people and their daily struggles.

Obituary

Veteran Odia poet Rabi Singh passes away

• Renowned Odia poet Rabi Singh passed away. He was 89.

• The revolutionary poet had received many awards for his contribution to Odia literature.

• He received Atibadi Jagannath Das Samman in the year 2017.

Sports

Sourav Ganguly will be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

• The recently appointed BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly has been invited by the Indian Olympic Association to be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.

•  Sourav Ganguly, known in his hometown as the Prince of Calcutta is one of the most respected sports icons in the entire country

Appointment

Amitabh Bhatt the New CEO (Bangalore Complex) at HAL

• Amitabh Bhatt has taken over as Chief Executive Officer of Bengaluru-headquartered safeguard PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Bangalore Complex.

• Prior, he was serving as Executive Director of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) venture in HAL.

• Bhatt is a Post Graduate in Management and earlier served in SKF India Limited for a long time before joining Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2020

National

India’s First Fruit Train Flagged Off From Andhra Pradesh to JNPT

• In another major milestone achievement for the Indian Railways, a first-of-its-kind ‘Fruit Train’ was flagged off from Tadipatri Railway Station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, from where the consignment will be exported to Iran.

• This is the first time that an entire train carrying a load of 980 tonnes of locally grown bananas is being sent to the gateway port (JNPT) for export.

• These bananas will be exported under the brand name ‘Happy Bananas’.

Mumbai’s Iconic ‘Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’ Begins from 1st Feb

• The 21st edition of the 9-day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) 2020, one of the biggest open street arts and cultural festival of India, has begun in Mumbai from 1st February 2020.

• The Kala Ghoda Festival is one of the most-awaited art and cultural festivals which takes place in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai since 1999 in early February and attracts a wide range of crowd from all across the world.

• The theme for 2020 KGAF is “PAST FORWARD.”

Union Govt plans to raise funds through LIC IPO

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that union government plans to sell a partial stake in LIC through IPO or an initial public offer.

• The union budget she proposed that the government will sell its stake in IDBI Bank to private investors and also amend the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen co-op banks.

• The finance minister that the deposit insurance coverage against bank failure will be increased to ₹5 lakh from ₹1 lakh.

Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden

• Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden Rs 50,000 crore outgo as pension to more than 15.5 lakh former railway employees, the railways asked the Finance Ministry to set up the pension fund.

• About 25 percent of the railway's earnings go into paying the pensions to the former railway employees.

• Last year, the operating rate for the railways was 97 percent, while this year it has gone up to 98.44 percent. The operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against revenue, and it shows how efficiently the national transporter.

Sports

Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin Clinches Australian Open 2020 Tennis Tournament

• The 2020 Australian Open was the 108th edition of the annual Australian Open tennis tournament and the first Grand Slam of the year. It was held from 20 January to 2 February 2020.

• The winners are as follows:

o Men’s Single: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Dominic Thiem (Austria)

o Women’s Single: Sofia Kenin (US) beat Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

o Men’s Double: Rajeev Ram (US) / Joe Salisbury (UK)

o Women’s Double: Tímea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France)

o Mixed Double: Barbora Krejčiková (Czech Republic) / Nikola Mektić  (Croatia)

Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event

Olympian Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event Vijayveer Sidhu won the men's 25m Pistol T2 event in the National Shooting trials at Thiruvananthapuram.

She came to a quality eight-woman field, which had the likes of Tokyo 2020 quota holders Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil among competitors.

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2020

National 


Economic survey likely to peg India’s FY21 growth at 6-6.5%: Report
•    India’s economic survey is seen projecting growth of 6 to 6.5 per cent in the next year starting April 1, boosted by a series of fiscal measures to revive demand that the government is likely to announce in the budget.
•    India faces its worst economic slowdown in a decade. Growth slipped to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter, imperilling job prospects for millions of young people entering the workforce each year.
•    The government has estimated gross domestic product expansion at 5 per cent for the financial year ending on March 31, which would be the slowest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008/09.
•    An economic survey by chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian will be officially announced later in the day and the government will present its budget

India-Bangladesh Joint Exercise ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ to Begin in Meghalaya from February 3
•    The ninth edition of the bilateral joint military training exercise between India-Bangladesh named SAMPRITI-IX will be held at Umroi, Meghalaya from February 3 to February 16, 2020.
•    The annual exercise is hosted alternately by both countries to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure and tactical drills, besides strengthening military trust and cooperation between two nations.

Govt aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under PMAY-G
•    Union Government aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen.
•    A total of over one crore 50 lakh rural houses have been completed in the last five years.
•    Ministry of Finance stated, the eligible beneficiaries will get one crore 95 lakh houses in the second phase of the scheme. Government has set a target of 60 lakh houses for the current financial year.

A special Supreme Court bench to frame issues about gender inequality at religious places

The apex court recently announced that a nine-judge bench will frame issues related to the discrimination against women in different religious places in India. The court will consider issues like restriction on Muslim women to enter into mosques. The court will also hear issues related to female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.

Indian railways to equip over 3.5 lakh coaches with RFID tags

Indian Railways will make its coaches smarter and safer with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

The ministry of Railway of India has recently announced that all freight and passenger coaches will be equipped with RFID tags. These RFID tags will help the ministry to locate and monitor coaches. At present, about 20,000 coaches have already equipped with RFID tags.

Banking and Economy


FICCI survey projects FY20 GDP growth at 5%, to improve to 5.5% in FY21
•    Industry body FICCI stated its Economic Outlook Survey has projected the country’s annual median GDP growth for 2019-20 at 5 per cent, in line with the projections made by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO).
•    The survey has put the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities at 2.6 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector at 3.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, during the current year.
•    Growth is likely to improve to 5 per cent in 2020-21 as per the projections, the survey stated.
About FICCI:
•    Headquarters location: New Delhi
•    Founded: 1927
•    President Sangita Reddy
•    Senior Vice-President : Uday Shankar
•    Vice President: Sanjiv Mehta

Obituary


Padma Shri awardee Tushar Kanjilal passes away
Famous social worker, environmentalist, educationist & writer Tushar Kanjilal passed away. The Government of India awarded Tushar Kanjilal the 4th highest civilian honour of Padma Shri in 1986.  


Sports


India hockey captain Rani Rampal named 2019 World Games Athlete of the Year
•    Rani Rampal wins the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019. The long wait is over! The Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal has been voted as the 'World Games Athlete of the Year'. 
•    Toppling all the 25 athletes, the Indian skipper won with a massive 199,477 votes.

 
Ranking


ICICI Bank Launches a unique self-service delivery facility ‘iBox’ for customers
•    The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a first-of-its-kind, unique self-service delivery facility, called ‘iBox’, that will enable its customers to collect their deliverables such as debit card, credit card, cheque book and returned-cheques, in a hassle free manner, anytime any day.
•    This facility is especially useful for customers who are not available at home to receive their package during working hours.
•    The Bank has introduced the iBox facility at over 50 branches in 17 cities in the country.

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2020

National  


Bharat Parv 2020' begins at Red Fort to celebrate spirit of India 
 
●The ‘Bharat Parv 2020’ is being held at Red Fort ground in New Delhi from 26 to 31 January 2020 to celebrate the spirit of India. 
●The Bharat Parv festival is organised every year by the Government of India as a part of Republic Day celebrations, to encourage people to visit different tourism places of the country and to inculcate the spirit of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ (See Your Country). 
●The theme of 2020 Bharat Parv is ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ and ‘Celebrating 150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi. Samvidhaan’ Chosen as Oxford’s Hindi word of 2019 
●The word Samvidhaan’ (Constitution) has been chosen as the Oxford Hindi Word of 2019 by the Oxford University Press (OUP). 
●The Oxford Hindi Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of attention and reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past year. 
●‘Samvidhaan’ means a body of fundamental principles or  established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed. 
  
Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes resolution to abolish Legislative Council 
 
●The Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly unanimously passed a resolution on January 27, 2020 to abolish the state legislative council.  

The state cabinet had approved the resolution earlier in the day. The proposal will now be sent to the centre for further action. 
  
●The one-line resolution to abolish the state council was passed in the assembly by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. The resolution was passed with 133 members voting in favour of it.  This was announced by assembly speaker Tammineni Seetharam. 
 
Maharashtra govt launches ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme 
 
●Maharashtra government launched ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme. The scheme aims to provide a meal to the poor for just 10 rupees, on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day.  
●Under the scheme, which has been launched on a pilot basis, thalis or lunch plates would be available to people at designated centres/ canteens during a stipulated time in all the districts. 
 
GRSE set to deliver anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kavaratti to Navy soon 

•Defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) is set to deliver anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette INS Kavaratti to the Indian Navy. INS Kavaratti is 104th warship constructed by GRSE.  
•INS Kavaratti can be used during nuclear, chemical and biological warfare conditions and its weapons and sensors suite is predominantly indigenous.

Banking and Economy 

Indian Bank Association (IBA) appoints Punjab National Bank's former MD and CEO Sunil Mehta as its chief executive. 
 
●Sunil Mehta took over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). He will replace VG Kannan, who resigned from office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.  
●The term of the CEO of IBA is for 3 years. At present, the managing committee of IBA has SBI chief Rajnish Kumar as Chairman for the year 2019-20 along with 3 deputy chairmen and honorary secretary. 


 
Awards 


Assam tableau wins first prize at 71st Republic Day parade 
 
●Assam tableau wins first prize at 71st Republic Day parade.  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today gave away Best Tableaux  awards for Republic Day Parade, 2020 in New Delhi. 
●The tableaux of National Disaster Relief Force and Jal Shakti  Mission were chosen as the best among the Ministries and  Departments. 


Appointment 


 Taranjit Singh Sandhu appointed India’s Ambassador to US 
●Taranjit Singh Sandhu takes charge as the new Indian Ambassador to the United States. Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is  currently posted as High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka.  
●He replaces Harsh Vardhan Shringla as India's envoy in Washington. Shringla named as India's next foreign secretary. 
 
 
 
  
 

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