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Important Current Affairs of 18th April

NATIONAL:

Indian Navy-Vietnam People's Navy Bilateral Exercise Concludes.

• The Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX) at/ off Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

• The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries. About Indian Navy Founded: 1612 Country: India Type: Navy Colours: Navy blue, white.

Jet Airways sought Rs.400 crore infusion to avert shutdown.

• The Jet Airways board authorised its management, headed by chief executive officer Vinay Dube, to engage with lenders to secure at least a few hundred crore rupeesof interim funding to continue operations till a new owner comes on board. The board also authorised the CEO to take the final call on the airline’s operations.

• Armed with this, the CEO approached the lenders to releaseRs.400 crore for the sake of the employees and to prevent a shutdown. Jet requires at least Rs.1,000 crore to meet its immediate needs.

• In view of the critical liquidity position of the company, its operations have been severely impacted. It is awaiting emergency liquidity support from the consortium of domestic lenders led by the State Bank of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX to fly its DART planetary defence mission.

• NASA announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defencemission. The total launch cost for NASA is estimated to be about $69 million.

• DART - Double Asteroid Redirection Test 

• It is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defense purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission.

• The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered an Earth-sized planet, HD 21749b and a “sub-Neptune” world, revolving around the star, HD 21749. The star lies 53 light-years from Earth.

• The research study has been published on 15th April, 2019 in ‘The Astrophysical Journal Letters’.

• TESS was launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

• One tool termed as ‘Planet Finder Spectrograph’ (PFS) on the ‘Magellan II telescope’ in Chile helped to confirm the planetary nature of the TESS signal and measure the mass of HD 21749b.

• HD 21749b is about 23 times heavier and 2.7 times wider than Earth. It is gaseous, has a substantial atmosphere but not as puffy as Uranus and Neptune. HD 21749b has an orbital period of 36 Earth days.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

IDRBT set up 5G Lab for Banking, Financial Sector.

• Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) launched the 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector along with blockchain technology.

• IDRBT is an arm of Reserve Bank of India.

It also released a white paper on 5G applications for banking and financial sector in India.

• The use of 5G will change a range of technologies and applications, including point of sale (PoS) machines in the banking sector, which are currently using 2G and are in the process of being phased out.

Since India is now the biggest user of mobile data in the world and the rates of devices and services have been dropping aggressively, 5G holds immense potential for the country.

IDBI Bank launched paperless account opening facility for NRIs.

• IDBI Bank has launched the ‘NRI-Insta-Online’ account-opening process for NRIs residing in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member countries.

• The person will not be required to furnish physical documents and KYC proofs for opening an account with the IDBI bank.

• FATF- Financial Action Task Force

FATF is an inter-governmental body which devices policy and sets standards to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The body has 38 member countries, including the US, UK, India, Japan, China and France, among others.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

PwC India names Padmaja Alaganandan as chief people officer, Jagjit Singh steps down.

• PwC India announced the appointment of Padmaja Alaganandan as the firm’s new Chief People Officer (CPO).

• She takes over the role from Jagjit Singh.

Padmaja associated with PwC for the last eight years.

• She was the Technology sector lead for PwC’s Advisory Line of Service.

The leader of the firm’s People and Organisation Consulting practice.

• Before joining PwC in 2011, Padmaja worked in leadership roles in different organisations such as Mercer Consulting and AF Ferguson.

• She is a member of CII’s National HR Committee and the Committee on Skill Development.

RedBus appoints Mahendra Singh Dhoni as brand ambassador.

• Bus ticketing platform redBus has appointed cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.

• The cricketer will appear in a hockey player avatar in his first cameo for the brand, slated to be launched soon.

• Dhoni’s brand endorsement deals can be in the range of Rs. 3-10 crore.

At present, Dhoni is the brand ambassador of sports firm Dream11, Colgate, MasterCard, Orient Fans, BharatMatrimony, Indigo Paints, SRMB Steel, and health supplement brand Revital H.

• Recently, Fantasy sports platform HalaPlay Technologies has appointed cricketers Krunal and Hardik Pandya as its brand ambassadors.

Mithali Raj named goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup.

• Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj has been named the goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup (SCCWC).

• She, alongside Saurav Ganguly and Rajasthan Royals, joins in supporting the team as they gear up for the final match at Lords, just ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in May this year.

• India has over 20 lakh street connected children.

Ajay Kumar Dixit appointed as CEO of Cairn Oil.

• Cairn Oil & Gas, a division of Vedanta Ltd, has announced the appointment of Ajay Kumar Dixit as its Chief Executive Officer. Dixit succeeds Sudhir Mathur, who after seven successful years with the company, moves on to pursue personal endeavors.

• Dixit had joined Vedanta in 2015 from Siemens where he was CEO-Energy for South Asia. He is an alumni of Delhi College of Engineering and had served as the acting CEO of Vedanta’s Aluminium and Power business before being elevated to this new role.

• The company expects that his leadership will support Cairn’s vision to realize the full potential of Barmer block, grow the offshore business and appraisal of new blocks under OALP I and discovered small fields (DSF-II).

DAYS:

World Heritage Day observed on 18th April.

• World Heritage Day also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites is an annual event celebrated on 18 April every year.

In 2019, the theme is Rural Landscapes.

SPORTS:

FIFA ban former Brazilian football president Jose Maria Marin for life.

• Former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin has been banned for life from all football activities by FIFA.

• In August 2018, Marin who led Brazil’s organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, was sentenced to four years in prison for racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

• He became the first person to be imprisoned as the result of the US investigation into corruption at world football’s governing body.

Earlier Marin was arrested at a luxury Zurich hotel in May 2015. During US investigation, he was found to have taken bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various tournaments which also include the Copa America.

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Important Current Affairs of 17th April

NATIONAL:

Centre sets up an Indo Pacific division.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office. The Indo-pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to theIndo-Pacific policy. The policy was articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018. In India, the policy will be run by the MEA.

About Indo-Pacific Wing:

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is currently headed by joint secretary Vikram Doraiswami

• The Indo-Pacific Wing will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred policymaking

• The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific policy

• In its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy.

India turns to net steel importer in Fiscal year 2018-2019.

• India became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 that ended on 31 March for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US diverted supplementary supplies to India.

• India’s steel imports increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier.

• Exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

PSEs gets 12 months to monetise non-core assets.

• The Union Cabinet announced that the Public Sector companies will have 12 months to monetise (convert something into or express in the form of currency ) non-core assets identified by a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister. On failing, the finance ministry may restrict budgetary allocations to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) issued guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties.

The New guidelines:

• According to the guidelines, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) chaired by the secretary of DIPAM will identify the non-core assets of the CPSEs on its own, and also on the basis of recommendations of the Niti Aayog.

• Once the panel, comprising the finance minister, road transport minister and the minister of the administrative ministry concerned, approves the assets for monetisation, it should be completed within 12 months from the date of approval

• This will be the target to be achieved by the CPSEs as part of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)

• The Department of Expenditure and Department of Economic Affairs may consider any proposal from the CPSE/administrative ministry for budgetary support only after looking at the achievement of asset monetisation target by the CPSE

• Performance of contract management will be considered before sanctioning any government budgetary support.

ADB committed highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India.

• Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed a total of USD 3.88 billion, including sovereign loans and co-financing to India during the year ended December 2018.

• This is the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

• Private sector operations reached USD 3.14 billion, a 37 per cent increase from 2017, which is 14.5 per cent of ADB's overall commitment.

RBI puts into circulation Rs 50 banknotes signed by Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• Reserve Bank of India put into circulation 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• RBI in Mumbai approved the design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.

UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations.

• United Nations (UN) owes India USD 38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.

• In a report on improving the financial situation of the world body, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million.

• Of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million).

The arrears to troop- and police-contributing (TCCs/PCCs) countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 “in the worst-case scenario”.

• World body’s cash balance in negative:

UN had a positive cash balance of USD 412 million at the end of 2010 but finished 2018 with a negative cash balance of USD 323 million - a decrease of USD 735 million in an eight-year period.

• Regular budget assessments are issued at beginning of each year and member states are required to pay their contributions in full within 30 days.

• In 2017 and 2018, 73 member states had paid their contributions in full by the end of the first quarter, compared with 62 in 2016 and 67 in 2015. So far, 74 member states have paid in full in 2019

• US is responsible for 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion regular budget for 2018 and 2019 and more than 28 per cent of the USD 6.7 billion peacekeeping budget for the year to June 30.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Rajesh Yaduvanshi is appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank.

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) appointed Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi as the Executive Director of the bank.

• Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi joined PNB as a management trainee in 1985.

He is equipped with an experience of 34 years in the banking career and is a certified associate member of Indian Institute of Bankers.

• In the past, he had worked with Dena Bank in the capacity of the Executive Director.

• He holds a doctorate in science from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, (IARI) New Delhi.

DAYS:

World Haemophilia Day observed on April 17.

• World Haemophilia Day was started in 1989 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) which chose to bring the community together on April 17 in honour of WFH founder Frank Schnabel’s birthday.

April 17, 2019, marks the 30th World Hemophilia Day.

AWARDS:

Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award.

• Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB)honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’.

• The award recognizes LAP (Loans against Property) D.Lite, which is a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.

• The Award was announced on its 12th anniversary in 2019 and was organized by Celent in New York.

LAP D.Lite is one of the 22 initiatives from all over the world to receive this award, which featured 140 nominations from 80 institutions from 30 countries.

• The other banks to receive the award in other categories were Bank of America, CIBC, Fidor Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, and Santander.

The award is for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

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Important Current Affairs of 11th April

NATIONAL:

Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dost Education win the Next Billion Edtech Prize.

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

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

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

President Ram Nath Kovind launched Veer Parivar App.

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

• About the Veer Parivar App:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

SUMMITS:

Seventeenth MENA World Economic Forum Held In Jordan.

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

DAYS:

National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated on April 11.

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

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

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

♦ This day is first celebrated in 2003.

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

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

♦ In developing countries 99% maternal deaths occurs.

SPORTS:

India bow out of 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 10th April

NATIONAL:

Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. to acquire Usha Martin Ltd.

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

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

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

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

India becomes YouTube largest and fastest growing market.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dream11 became Indias first billion-dollar gaming Startup.

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

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

India’s gold reserves increased in February.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India-Singapore Joint Military Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 2019.

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

Google launched its 1st drone delivery service in Australia.

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

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

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

Sri Lanka new railway line inaugurated.

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

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

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

DAYS:

April 10: World Homoeopathy Day.

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

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

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

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

AWARDS:

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

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

• Complete Winners List:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS:

Spain Garbine Muguruza claimed Monterrey Open title.

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 7th April 2019

SUMMIT:

ICAT to organize NuGen Mobility Summit in November.

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

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

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

CAMPAIGNS:

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Pakistan opened a route for flights out of India.

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

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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

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

DAYS:

World Health Day observed on 7th April.

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

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

NATIONAL:

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

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

BSNL announced a slew of tariff plans for Ugadi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Karnataka Bank signed MoU with Bharti AXA for Insurance Products.

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

MOUS:

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 5th April 2019

NATIONAL:

IOCL introduced BS VI Fuel in New Delhi.

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

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

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

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

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

GMR raised USD 300 mn bond for Hyderabad airport expansion.

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

Rupee plunged 76 paise to 69.17 against dollar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AFSPA removes its power partially in Arunachal Pradesh.

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

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

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

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

India to set up IAIARD in Malawi.

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

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

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

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

Russian delegation meets I&B Secretary in New Delhi.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MEMORANDOM OF ASSOSIATION:

Moscow Exchange signs deals with BSE, India INX.

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

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

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

Vipin Anand assumed charge as new Managing Director of LIC.

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

• Saudi foreign minister since 1990.

South Korea Launches Worlds First National 5G Networks.

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

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

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

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

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

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

DAYS:

National Maritime Day is celebrated on April 5 in India.

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 4th April

INTERNATIONAL:

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique.

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

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

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

Brunei passed harsh new sharia laws.

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Chicago elected Lori a black woman as its Mayor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL:

Two new birds spotted in Kerala Aralam sanctuary.

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

Tata Projects bagged USD321 mn worth project from NPCIL.

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

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

IFINs GNPAs touched 90 percent says IL&FS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

RBI sets limits for Ways and Means Advances.

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

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

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

♦ The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days

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

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

 ♦ Bank Rate: 6.50%

♦ Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Reverse Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

♦ Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.25%

DAYS:

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

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

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

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

♦ save lives

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

♦ protect civilians

♦ support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees

♦ enable humanitarian and recovery activities.  

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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 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 of 23th March

NATIONAL:

Uttarakhand plans to introduce caravans in major spots to boost tourism.

• The government of Uttarakhand in a bid to promote tourism will be introducing mobile caravans or motor homes equipped with every facility you can expect to find in a regular house. The portable homes will enable you to access remote locations. The plan also includes the development of parks for the caravans to be stationed.

• These complexes will provide water, electricity and waste disposal facilities. This way, coupled with the government’s endeavour to build homestays in and around popular tourist spots, soon most Himalaya vistas will be enjoyable from your windowsill. We are working on a plan to introduce fleets of mobile caravans equipped with all facilities available in homes, which will be introduced soon.

Corporate Affairs Ministry releases national guidelines on responsible business conduct

• Union Ministry of Corporate Affairs released the National Guidelines on responsible business conduct and revised the National Voluntary Guidelines on social, environmental and economic responsibilities of business, 2011.

• These guidelines on responsible business conduct aim to urge businesses to actualise the following principles in letter and spirit:

•  Businesses should conduct and govern themselves with integrity in a manner that is ethical, transparent and accountable.

• Businesses should provide goods and services in a manner that is sustainable and safe.

•   Businesses should respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains.

•  Businesses should respect the interests of and be responsive to all their stakeholders.

•  Businesses should respect and promote human rights.

•  Businesses should respect and make efforts to protect and restore the environment.

CSK to donate IPL opener proceeds to families of Pulwama attack.

• The cricket extravaganza Indian Premier League begins on Saturday with its 12th edition. Defending champions Chennai Super Kings will take on Royal Challengers, Bangalore at Chennai in the opening game.  According to the CSK director, the entire ticket proceeds of this match will be given to the families of CRPF personnel killed in the February 14 terror attack in Pulwama. Another IPL team, Kings XI Punjab, recently donated five lakh rupees each to families of five CRPF soldiers killed in the Pulwama attack.

India Post released stamp cover on Ice Stupa in Leh.

• India Post released a special stamp cover on Ice Stupa in Leh at an event in the presence of Himalayan Institute of Alternatives Ladakh founder Sonam Wangchuk who spearheaded the Ice Stupa initiative.  Ice Stupas refer to artificial glaciers. The water from these artificial glaciers melt in the springtime, just when the fields need Leh lies in the cold desert region and most villages in the region face acute water shortage in the streams whereas in June there is an excess of water and even flash flooding due to the fast melting of the snow and glaciers in the mountains. By September all farming activities end and yet a smaller stream flow throughout the winter steadily but wastefully going into the Indus river without being of use to anybody.

• Ice Stupas are aimed at reducing water crisis in the region and also to convey a message to the world that how the Mountain people are forced to do such innovative ideas to solve the water crises, Ice Stupas also sends a message to all the people who live in big cities to not use resources in such a way that it creates problem for mountain people.

INTERNATIONAL:

New Zealand Bans Assault Weapons.

• New Zealand imposed an immediate ban on assault weapons following the Christchurch massacre that claimed the lives of 50 mosque-goers. Prime Minister of New Zealand Jacinda Ardern announced assault rifles and military-style semi-automatic weapons would be banned with immediate effect, making a pledge to ensure that nothing like Christchurch massacre ever occurs in the Pacific nation again. About New Zealand Capital: Wellington Currency: New Zealand dollar.

SPORTS:

BWF badminton rankings 2019: Lakshya, Riya break into top 100.

• Young Indian shuttlers Lakshya Sen and Riya Mookerjee broke into the top-100 among Men’s and Women’s singles players in the latest World Badminton Rankings. Making a massive jump of 28 places, Lakshya Sen is placed 76th. Riya Mookerjee climbed up 19 spots to be placed 94th. In the women's singles rankings, P V Sindhu and Saina Nehwal are static with Sindhu at sixth and Saina at ninth position.

• Japan's Kento Momota is leading the men's chart while Chinese Taipei's Tai Tzu Ying is topping the women's singles list. Among men, B Sai Praneeth also moved up three places to 19th. Kidambi Srikanth remains static and is the best placed Indian in the men's rankings at seventh. He is followed by Sameer Verma (14th), H S Prannoy (24th), Subhankar Dey (43rd), Parupalli Kashyap (48th), Ajay Jayram (52nd) and Sourav Verma (53rd).

India to face Nepal for title clash at SAFF Women's Championship.

• In football, India clinched the SAFF Women's Championship for the fifth time in a row, defeating hosts Nepal 3-1 in the final at Biratnagar. In the first half, Dalmia Chhibber of India scored the first goal of the match which was equalled by Nepal's Sabitra Bhandari at the 33rd minute. In the second half, Grace Dengmei scored the second goal at 63rd minute and Anju Tamang scored third and decisive goal in the 76th minute.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

Fitch Cuts India GDP Growth Forecast For FY20 To 6.8%.

• Fitch Ratings cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8% from its previous estimate of 7%, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy. The rating agency also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7% from 7.3% and 7.1% from 7.3%, respectively.

Defence Ministry clears proposal to buy 10 lakh 'Made in India' hand grenades for Army.

• The Rs 500 crore proposal comes shortly after the Defence Ministry cleared the acquisition of assault rifles and signed a joint venture with Russia to manufacture AK-203 rifles for the infantry units of the Indian Army. The new hand grenades will replace the existing inventory, HE-36 grenades manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board.

• The multi-mode grenades have been developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). Recently, the government also signed a contract worth Rs 700 crore for procurement of 70,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles with a US manufacturer.

RBI denies IDBI Banks proposal to name change.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has turned down IDBI Bank’s proposal to change its name following the transfer of a controlling 51% stake to LIC, insurance behemoth, from the government of India.  The board of IDBI Bank had, last month, sought the RBI’s approval for a change in the name of the lender to either LIC IDBI Bank or LIC Bank following the takeover by Life Insurance Corporation (LIC). However, RBI did not elaborate on the reasons for denial by the regulator for changing the name.

PFC to buy 52.63 percent govt shares in REC for Rs 14,500 crore by March-end.

• State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) will acquire the entire 52.63 per cent shares of the government in REC for Rs 14,500 crore by the month-end, a move that will help the centre to meet its disinvestment target.

• REC Limited is a public Infrastructure Finance Company in India’s power sector. The company is a Public Sector Undertaking and finances and promotes rural electrification projects across India. The government proposes to raise Rs 80,000 crore from disinvestment during the fiscal ending March 19 and has so far raised Rs 56,473.32 crore. With completion of PFC-REC deal, the amount will increase to over Rs 70,000 crore.

AWARDS:

Brazilian astronomer Marcelo Gleiser wins 2019 Templeton Prize.

• Brazilian physicist and astronomer Marcelo Gleiser (60) was awarded 2019 Templeton Prize worth $1.4 million for his work on blending science and spirituality. It makes him first Latin American to win this award. Templeton Prize is awarded annually on person for outstanding his/her contributions in affirming life's spiritual dimension, whether through insight, discovery, or practical works. Mother Teresa was the first winner in 1973. Some of its other recipients include Dr Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan (1975), Dalai Lama (2012) etc. In 2018, it was awarded to King Abdullah II of Jordan.

OBITUARIES:

India-Pakistan war hero, Captain M.N. Samant died aged 89 years.

• Captain Mohan Narayan Rao Samant of the Indian Navy, a 1971 India-Pakistan war hero, who was honoured by Bangladesh as a ‘Friend of Liberation War’, has passed away at the age of 89. The Maha Vir Chakra awardee was instrumental in India waging a covert maritime war against shipping in the then East Pakistan. He had trained over 400 Bengali college students as maritime commandos for carrying out mass raids and inflicting damages to Pakistani shipping vessels in the run up to the 1971 war.

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