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Important Current Affairs 6th June

NATIONAL:

Indian football team Baichung Bhutia congratulated Chhetri becoming India's most-capped Player.

• Former India skipper Bhaichung Bhutia congratulated Sunil Chhetri and became India's most capped international player with 108 appearances.

He overtook his mentor Bhutia's record of 107 matches and captained India in the King's Cup opener against Curacao.

He scored the goal for his side in the 31st minute from a spot kick for his 69th goal.

India ranked 101.

The 82nd ranked Caribbean island nation two players associated with English Premier League and some others in European leagues.

They scored three goals in the space of 18 minutes through Roly Bonevacia, Elson Hooi and Leandro Bacuna.

India will play with the losing team of the match between Thailand and Vietnam in the third-place play-off.

About Bhaichung Bhutia

Current team: East Bengal F.C. (Forward)

Awards: Padma Shri, Arjuna Award for Football

Govt. set up a 10 member Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development.

• The government set up a 10-member Cabinet Committee on Employment and Skill Development on 5 June. The committee is one of two Cabinet committees that are set up to rise the economic growth and tackle unemployment.

Members of the committee:

The Committee will be chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

The committee includes:

Home Minister Amit Shah

Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman

Railway Minister Piyush Goyal

Agriculture Minister Narendra Singh Tomar

Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’

Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan

Minister Skill and Entrepreneurship Mahendra Nath Pandey

Ministers of State Santosh Kumar Gangwar (Labour)

Ministers of State Hardeep Singh Puri (Housing and Urban Affairs

Reason for the formation of the committee:

The committee was set up because the Employment data for 2017-18 which was released on May 31 after the Lok Sabha elections reported that the country's unemployment rate has risen to 6.1% in the period. This is the highest in 45 years.

Fall in Gross Domestic Product (GDP):

• It is expected that the committee on economic growth will prepare a road map to bring the economy back on the growth trajectory as the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) fell to 5.8% in the last quarter of 2018-19. It is the lowest since 2014. The GDP growth for 2018-19 was 6.8%, against the target of 7.2%.

• The fall in growth is the result of the dip in the performance of the core sectors of the economy, as the eight core sectors recorded a growth of just 2.6 % in April, compared with 4.6% in the same month in 2018. According to the government's data, the country’s economic growth saw the third straight fall in January-March quarter in 2019.

Note:

•The eight core sectors are coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilizers, steel, cement, and electricity.

Pramila Jayapal as first Indian-American woman to preside over US House.

• Pramila Jayapal first Indian American woman to preside over US house.

She is the first elected to Congress in 2016 preside over the House and served the most diverse Congress in the nation's history.

• She presided over the House as a Temporary Speaker.

• The House Democrats rotate for the ceremonial position of presiding over the chamber.

She became the first South Asian American woman to preside over the US House of Representatives.

• A record number of 17 Asian Americans serve in Congress with 14 in the House and three in the Senate house.

About Pramila Jayapal

• Pramila Jayapal is an American politician and activist from the State of Washington

She serves as the U.S. Representative from Washington's 7th congressional district.

•It includes most of Seattle as well as suburban areas of King County.

Nirmala Sitharaman to attend G20 Finance Ministers Meeting in Japan.

• Finance Minister Shri Nirmala Sitharaman attend the two-day meeting of G-20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank governors in Japan on June 8 and 9

• It is the first overseas visit of Sitharaman as the Finance Minister.

• She took charge as full time finance minister last week.

• The main aim is to focus on the risks and challenges of overseas trade and investment in infrastructure which are faced by our country.

• Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) submit a report on taxation, urging greater cooperation among nations.

•India actively participating in the OECD-G20 efforts to create a global consensus on the taxation of the digital economy.

About G 20

Chairperson: Shinzō Abe

Founder: Group of Seven

Founded: 26 September 1999

Purpose  :  Bring together systemically important industrialized and developing economies to discuss key issues in the global economy.

INTERNATIONAL:

Report says sharp 10 percent decline in the approval rate of H 1B visa by the US.

• US authorities said that there was a sharp 10% decline in the approval of H-1B visas by the U.S. in 2018, which is popular among highly skilled Indian IT professionals. The experts attributed to the aggressive policies of the Trump administration to clamp down on the use of the work visa programme.

What is H-1b Visa?

• H-1B visa programme is the main vehicle through which US employers can sponsor skilled foreign workers for admission. It is a non-immigrant visa that allows U.S. companies to employ foreign workers in specialty occupations that require theoretical or technical expertise.

10% decline in approval rate:

• In 2018, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) approved 3,35,000 H-1B visas, both new and renewable. This was 10% less than the 3,73,400 visas approved in the previous fiscal year of 2017, according to the USCIS’ annual statistical report. The approval rate of H-1B declined from 93% in 2017 to 85% in 2018.

• For the first six months of the fiscal year 2019, the overall approval rate of the H-1B visa for new and continuing visas continued to stay to 79% by the end of March, down from 85% last year.

Buy American and Hire American:

• “Buy American and Hire American” executive order which was signed by Trump in April 2017, seeks to create higher wages and employment rates for U.S. workers. It also seeks to protect their economic interests by rigorously enforcing and administering our immigration laws. • It also directed to advance policies to help ensure H-1B visas are awarded to the most-skilled or highest-paid beneficiaries.

Forbes magazine named Rihanna as the worlds richest female musician.

• Forbes magazine has named Rihanna as the world’s richest female musician. Rihanna's Fenty Beauty brand business endeavors have officially made her the richest female musician in the world. Her worth is estimated at $600m (£472m) which includes revenues made from her fashion and beauty lines in addition to those from her music career.

• Forbes reported that the French luxury brand LVMH backs Rihanna’s lucrative cosmetics company, Fenty Beauty. Fenty beauty was launched in 2017. It is worth more than £3bn, from which Rihanna has earned $570m. 

• In 2012, Rihanna founded the Clara Lionel Foundation. The trust supports health and education efforts in impoverished communities around the world. Harvard University, in February 2017, she was named humanitarian of the year.

• Top 5 in Forbes’ list of richest female musicians:

• The other singers in Forbes’s list of the top five richest female musicians are:

• Madonna stands second place ($570m)

• Céline Dion stands third ($450m)

• Beyoncé and Barbra Streisand tied in fourth ($400m)

• Taylor Swift stands sixth ($360m).

• Forbes other rankings:

• Forbes has also name Kardashian scion Kylie Jenner as America’s youngest self-made billionaire.

• It has named Jay-Z as the world’s first billionaire rapper as his worth is estimated at $1bn.

China launched a space rocket from the sea for the first time on 5 June.

• China launched a space rocket from the sea for the first time on 5 June 2019.  With this China will be the third nation to successfully demonstrate the ability to launch satellites into orbit from a floating platform following the U.S. and Russia.

In the operation, March 11, a Long rocket was launched from a ship in the Yellow Sea.

Aim:

• The first ever seaborne launch technology aims to meet the growing launch demand of low inclination satellites. It is also expected to help China provide launch services for countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative

Payloads:

• The rocket carried two experimental satellites and five commercial satellites. The experimental satellites will monitor ocean winds to set up  all-weather monitoring of ocean wind fields and improve typhoon monitoring and accuracy of the weather forecast in China. It was built by the China Academy of Space Technology in Beijing.

Experimental satellites:

1. Bufeng-1A

2. Bufeng-1B

Commercial satellites:

1. Earth-imaging cubesat - 1

2. Tianqi-3, an experimental communications satellite

3,4. China's first Ka-band communications satellites- Two satellites

5. New satellite for China's Jilin-1 remote-sensing satellite constellation

The seaborne test along with its ambitious plans for missions to the moon and beyond has made China a major space power.

China's space exploration:

• China is the first nation to land a rover on the far side of the moon. It also plans to build a research base on the lunar surface. The country also plans to send a probe to Mars and build a space station in Earth orbit.

• In 2003, China became the third nation to have the capability of launching humans into space.

China is one of the leading country in launching a number of satellites from its launch stations on land.

Russia launched first Arctic train service.

• Russia launched its first ever tourist train traveling through Russia's Arctic region to Norway set off from Saint Petersburg station with 91 passengers aboard for the inaugural trial journey.

• The train named "Zarengold" ("The Tsars gold" in German) complete with two restaurant cars travel from Saint Petersburg through  Petrozavodsk, the historic town of Kem and Murmansk.

The duration of the trip will be 11 days

• The inaugural function consists of 91 tourists from seven countries including the US, Germany, Norway and Russia.

About Russia

Capital: Moscow

Currency: Russian ruble

President: Vladimir Putin

AGREEMENTS AND MOU's:

India and France to carry out Garuda, a two week long mega air exercise.

• Indian Air Force and French Air Force have planned to carry out Garuda, a two-week-long mega air exercise, beginning on July 1 in France. The aim is to boost the military-to-military ties between the two countries. A fleet of Sukhoi 30 fighter jets of the Indian Air Force will engage in dogfights with France’s Rafale multirole aircraft in simulated scenarios as part of the ‘Garuda’ exercise.

• Other assets include mid-air refueller will also be sent to France by the IAF. It will be one of the largest air exercises between the two strategic partners. The exercise will also provide an opportunity to a sizeable number of IAF pilots to have a close look at the Rafale jets being operated by the French Air Force.

• India had signed a government-to-government deal with France in 2016 to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets at a cost of about Rs.58,000-crore. The first Rafale jet is scheduled to be delivered in September.

Disability Summit, Argentina 2019 is being held Buenos Aires, Argentina.

• The 2nd Global Disability Summit being held in Buenos Aires, Argentina. 'Disability Summit, Argentina 2019', the three-day summit will be held from 6 June to 8 June 2019. India will be represented by the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment Thaawar Chand Gehlot.

Organized by:

• The Global Disability Summit is organized by International Alliance Disability (IDA), an umbrella organization focused on improving awareness and rights for individuals with disabilities around the globe which was established in 1999, and Latin American Network of Non-Governmental Organizations of Persons with Disabilities and their Families (RIADIS).

Objective:

• The summit will be focusing on deliberating issues across the world concerning empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. The summit will also include a discussion to work out a mechanism for enabling them to live an independent and dignified life.

• The Summit brings together governments, international organizations, organizations of people with disabilities, civil society organizations,  international cooperation agencies, academia, and the private sector, with the hope of achieving real change for people with disabilities.

1st Global Disability Summit:

• The 1st Global Disability Summit was held in London on 23-24 July 2018. The summit was hosted by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), along with the International Disability Alliance (IDA) and the Government of Kenya.

Aim:

• The 1st summit was in line with the principle of ‘nothing about us, without us’. 40 countries participated in the summit.

• All countries that participated in the summit signed the Charter for Change, the principal legacy document of the Global Disability Summit and committed to working in direction of economic empowerment of the persons with disabilities.

DAYS:

Maharana Pratap Jayanti observed on 6 June.

• Maharana Pratap Jayanti is observed on June 6. It is observed to commemorate the birth anniversary of the brave Rajput warrior Maharana Pratap.  It was his 479th birth anniversary.

Maharana Pratap:

• Maharana Pratap was the ruler of Mewar. He is the eldest son of Maharana Udai Singh and Maharani Jaiwanta Bai. Maharana Pratap is a symbol of Rajput valour, gallantry, and diligence. He fought against Mughal supremacy to free his homeland from their control.

• Mewar is a province in modern-day Rajasthan. The province includes Bhilwara, Chittorgarh, Rajsamand, Udaipur, Pirawa (Jhalawar), Neemuch and Mandsaur in Madhya Pradesh, and some parts of Gujarat.

Some amazing facts of Maharana Pratap:

• Maharana Pratap was one of the strongest warriors in India. He is of 7 feet 5 inches in height. He carried 360 kg of weight, which included a spear weighing 80 kg, two swords weighing 208 kg and his armour was around 72 kg heavy. His own weight was more than 110 kg.

He had 11 wives, 17 sons, and 5 daughters.

• He didn't surrender to Akbar while all the other Rajput rulers surrendered and became members of his council.

• Maharana Pratap bravely fought the Haldi Ghati Battle with an army of 22,000 against the Mughal army of 80,000. But he lost the war due to treachery by his brother.

• Chetak, Maharana Pratap’s horse, is known for his loyalty to his master. The horse is said to have a tinge of blue on his coat. Chetak lost his life while jumping across a 21-feet wide river to save his master’s life.

• Ramprasad, Maharana Pratap's elephant killed 2 war elephants of the Mughal army. Ramprasad was imprisoned by Akbar and refused to eat anything or drink and lost his life on the 18th day.

• He died of an injury from the hunting accident while tightening the string of a bow with an arrow.

Appointments and resignations:

Wipro Founder Premji to retire after 53 years, son to be Chairman.

• Wipro Founder Azim Premji will retire as Executive Chairman and Managing Director effective July 30 after having led the IT services company for 53 years. His son and Chief Strategy Officer Rishad Premji will take over as Executive Chairman while CEO Abidali Neemuchwala has been appointed as MD. Premji, however, will continue to serve as non-executive director and Founder Chairman.

About Wipro:

• Wipro Limited is an Indian multinational corporation that provides information technology, consulting and business process services. It is headquartered in Bengaluru, Karnataka, India. In 2013, Wipro separated its non-IT businesses into separate companies.

• Founder: M.H. Hasham Premji

• Founded: 29 December 1945, India

• Owner: Azim Premji

• Headquarters: Bengaluru

• Revenue: 847 crores USD (2019)

• Subsidiaries: Appirio, Topcoder, Designit, Yardley of London

About Azim Premji:

• Founder: M.H. Hasham Premji

• Founded: 29 December 1945, India

• Owner: Azim Premji

• Headquarters: Bengaluru

• Revenue: 847 crores USD (2019)

• Subsidiaries: Appirio, Topcoder, Designit, Yardley of London

AWARDS:

Google Sunder Pichai, Nasdaqs Friedman Receive 2019 Global Leadership Award.

• Google's Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Sundar Pichai and Nasdaq President Adena Friedman selected for Global Leadership Awards 2019 by business advocacy group USIBC.

They both are recognized for their companies contribution as the leading technology-driven platforms

• Washington-based US-India Business Council (USIBC) gives this award for achievements in over 30 categories for talented people who are recognized for their work by their companies.

The award will be given in 'India Ideas Summit' next week.

• Google and Nasdaq at the vanguard, bilateral trade in goods and services grew by nearly 150% over the past five years to touch $142.1 billion in 2018.

About Google

Founded: 4 September 1998

CEO: Sundar Pichai

Parent organization: Alphabet Inc.

Founders: Larry Page, Sergey Brin

About  Nasdaq

CEO: Adena Friedman

Headquarters: New York, United States

Market cap: $10 trillion.

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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 29th March

INTERNATIONAL:

Boeing unveils changes to MCAS, anti stall system.

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

NATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AWARDS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI to issue Regulatory sandbox.

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

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

Deposits ordinance does not cover gold schemes.

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

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

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 28th March

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Demat share transfer to be effective from 1st April.

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

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

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

Bank of Baroda to launch Baroda Kisan.

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

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

NATIONAL:

Assam launched initiatives to educate voter.

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

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

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

Cabinet approved additional posts for NCLAT.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MPI 2018 report says Indias povert rate has reduced drastically.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

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

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

Azali Assoumani re-elected as the President of Comoros.

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 27th March

NATIONAL:

CARE Hospitals has launched Ummeed, a Cancer screening programme.

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

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

IIT Delhi researchers developed AI based disease detector.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

GIZ Indo German Development Corporation to help in waste segregation.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LIMA 2019 Aero Expo held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

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

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

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

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

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

DAYS:

World Theatre Day celebrated on 27th March.

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

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

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

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

World Purple day Observed on March 26.

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Forex swap auction received USD 16.31 billion by RBI.

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

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

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

RBI fined Rs 2 Crore penalty on PNB.

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

AWARDS:

ADNOC Awards Onshore Block To Indian Consortium.

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

President Kovind honoured with highest civilian order in Croatia.

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

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

APPOINTMENTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 25th March 2019

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

• The bonds were subscribed on 22nd March.

NATIONAL:

CBSE plan to add AI and yoga as new subjects.

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Jimmy Carter becomes longest living chief executive in American history.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

• 7 names from India: 

♦ Piyush Goyal- Minister of Railways and Coal

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

♦ Mukta Tilak- Mayor of Pune

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

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

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

♦ Upendra Tripathy- Director general of the International Solar Alliance

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

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

AWARDS:

India clinched SAFF Womens Championship For 5th Time.

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

APPOINTMENTS:

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

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

Tata Coffee Appoints Chacko Purackal Thomas as MD And CEO.

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

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Important Current Affairs of 24th March

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

State Bank of India Signed MoU with Bank of China For Business Opportunities.

• State Bank of India has signed a pact with the Bank of China to boost business opportunities. SBI signed an MoU to enhance business synergies between both the banks. Through this pact, both SBI and BoC will gain direct access to their respective markets of operation. Both banks’ clients will be able to use the vast combined network to expand their businesses abroad.

Exim Bank gives USD 83 million line of credit to Congo to finance 3 solar power projects.

• Export-Import Bank of India (Exim Bank) signed a loan agreement on behalf of the government of USD 83.11 million to Congo for financing three solar power projects in the central African country. It aims to provide support for financing three solar photovoltaic power projects with a total capacity of 35 megawatts in the three provinces — Karawa, Mbandaka, and Lusambo.

RBI Governor called for permanent status to Finance Commission.

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) governor Shaktikanta Das called for permanent status to Finance Commission. RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das is also the member of the fifteenth finance commission.  The permanent status will ensure consistencies between finance commissions so that there is some certainty in the flow of funds to states.

• The permanent status will also provide for continuity between the successive finance commissions. The establishment of the finance commission through permanent status will also enable it to address issues arising from the implementation of the recommendations of the finance commission during the intervening period.

• The RBI governor also called on for a robust expenditure planning without compromising on fiscal consolidation as fiscal federalism gathers momentum in the era of uniform goods and services tax (GST). The planning is to address the socio-economic challenges without diluting the goals of fiscal consolidation.

INTERNATIONAL:

Operation Sunrise: India and Myanmar jointly destroy insurgent’s camps.

• The Indian and Myanmar’s armies have, in a coordinated operation, destroyed at least 10 camps belonging to an insurgent group in Myanmar, which had become a threat to India’s mega Kaladan Project in the neighbouring country. The military action carried out was codenamed Operation Sunrise.

Threats to Bumphead Parrot Fish in Andaman.

• Bumphead parrotfish, Bolbometopon muricatum, is an important component of coral reef ecosystem, but is highly endangered globally. It is categorized as ‘vulnerable’ in the Red List of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). A group of researchers recently studied the distribution, abundance and dangers to this species in the waters of Andaman and Nicobar islands.

British PM welcomes EU decision to postpone Brexit beyond 29 March.

• British Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed the EU decision to postpone Brexit beyond 29th March.  The UK will be offered a delay until 22nd May, if MPs approve the withdrawal deal negotiated with the EU next week.  In a press conference along with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, European Council President Donald Tusk said that British Prime Minister Theresa May has accepted the offer from EU

WHO panel calls for registry of all human gene editing research.

• World Health Organization experts said it would be irresponsible for any scientist to conduct human gene-editing studies in people, and a central registry of research plans should be set up to ensure transparency.

• After its first two-day meeting in Geneva, the WHO panel of gene editing experts, which was established in December after a Chinese scientist said he had edited the genes of twin babies, said it had agreed a framework for setting future standards

Pakistan to receive over 2 billion US Dollars loan from China.

• Cash-strapped Pakistan will receive over 2 billion US Dollars loan from China to provide a boost to its ailing economy. Pakistan's Finance Ministry has announced that all procedural formalities for the transfer of the  2.1 billion US Dollars loan being provided by the Chinese government have been completed, and the funds will be deposited in the State Bank of Pakistan's account by Monday.

• Pakistan has received 1 billion US dollars each from Saudi Arabia and the UAE, as part of the bailout packages by the two Gulf nations to help shore up Islamabad's dwindling foreign currency reserves. Islamabad is also in talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a bailout package. Earlier, Pakistan officials said that Islamabad would seek around   8 billion US dollars from the IMF which would be the biggest package by the Fund for Islamabad.

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

Leeladhar Jagudi will be honoured with the Vyas Samman 2018.

• Hindi writer Leeladhar Jagudi honoured with Vyas Samman 2018 for his collection of poems ‘Jitne Log Utne Prem’. He was awarded Padma Shri in 2004 apart from other awards, including Sahitya Akademi Award, Akashvani National Award and Uttarakhand Gaurav Samman. Vyas Samman: The award is given annually to outstanding literary work in Hindi authored by Indian citizen which has been published in the last decade. It was started in 1991 by the KK Birla Foundation. It carries monetary amount of Rs. 4 lakh.

Indian American Neomi Rao sworn in as judge of District of Columbia Court.

• Neomi Jehangir Rao, a prominent Indian-American lawyer, has been sworn in as U.S. Circuit Judge for the District of Columbia Circuit Court of Appeals. She has become the second from the community to be a part of the powerful court considered next only to the U.S. Supreme Court.

NATIONAL:

Delhi police get hi-tech bus worth Rs 3.7 crore for emergency situations.

• In a first-of-its-kind bus, the Delhi police inducted a Mobile Command and Control Vehicles (MCCV) with all modern equipment into service. The bus, built by Bengaluru-based firm Mistral at the cost of ₹3.7 crore, is fitted with latest equipment including Integrated Communication System (ICS), voice logger and CCTV surveillance among others.

EV charging stations to be established in Bengaluru.

• In order to reduce the burden for the electric vehicle users who hunt for charging stations in the city Electric Vehicles charging Stations has been planned to be established in Bengaluru, Andhra Pradesh. The 112 EV charging stations that have been proposed to provide the infrastructure needed to encourage the use of EVs will be readied by August-end.

Daiki Aluminium Industry to set up plant in Sri City Andhra Pradesh.

• Japan-based Daiki Aluminium Industry Co. Ltd., through its Indian subsidiary, is to set up an aluminium alloy plant at Sri City in Andhra Pradesh. Daiki Aluminium Industry India Pvt. Ltd. would make an initial investment of Rs.250 crore.

•  To be built on a 20-acre plot in the domestic tariff zone, the plant is expected to go on stream by February 2020.

• The plant will produce aluminium alloy ingots. It will have an annual capacity of 84,000 tonnes. The products will be exported to automobile companies in ASEAN and Japan.

• The plant is expected to generate direct employment for about 600 people with 80% of them being women. Daiki plans to capture the demand requirements of aluminium alloy in the country and expand the market in stages. 

SPORTS:

Neeraj Chopra to lead Indian athletics team in Asian Championships.

• Star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra was named to lead a 39-member Indian athletics team for next month's Asian Championships in Doha, with sprint sensation Hima Das also making the cut in 400m despite her recent below-par show.  National record holders, Mohd Anas (400m), Jinson Johnson (800m and 1500m), Dharun Ayyasamy (400m hurdles), Avinash Sable (3000m steeplechase), Tajinder Pal Singh Toor (shot put) and Annu Rani (javelin throw) as well as Dutte Chand (200m) were also among those named in the team.

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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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Important Current Affairs of 18th March

NATIONAL:

New hydro policy will help to meet renewables target.

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

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

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

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

Second Scorpene submarine Khanderi ready for induction.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Climate Vulnerability Index Highest For Assam And Mizoram.

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

ANNOUNCEMENTS AND LAUNCHES:

Aviva Life Insurance launches Special Mentorship Programme Wings.

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

BCCI announced Dream11 as official partner of VIVO IPL.

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

APPOINTMENTS:

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

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

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

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

Pinaki Chandra Ghose named as Indias first Lokpal.

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

OCA reinstated Chess in Asian Games 2022.

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

AWARDS:

Former ISRO scientist Nambi Narayanan received Padma Bhushan from President.

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 15th March

NATIONAL:

Brookfield acquires RILs East West Pipeline

• India Infrastructure Trust, an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), sponsored by Brookfield, will acquire the East West Pipeline for Rs. 3,000 crore.

• The pipeline is owned by Reliance Industries Ltd’s promoters’ family.  As a part of the transaction, the InvIT would acquire 100% equity interest in Pipeline Infrastructure Private Ltd. which currently owns and operates the pipeline.

• Following this acquisition by Brookfield, the existing pipeline usage agreement has been reworked.  Now, reserved capacity will be cut to 33 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meter Per Day (MMSCMD) against 56 MMSCMD and any unutilised capacity payment by RIL will be the difference between Rs.500 crore a quarter and actual revenue earned by PIPL.

DRDO successfully test fired Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in the desert ranges of Rajasthan.

• The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) comes loaded with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. It has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers. The indigenously developed missile has features like a state-of-the-art imaging infrared radar seeker with integrated avionics.

Arecanut Gets Its First GI Tag For Sirsi Supari

• Registrar of Geographical Indications, Government of India, accorded a GI tag, ‘Sirsi Supari’, to arecanut grown in Sirsi, Siddpaur and Yellapur taluks of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. The Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS) Ltd, a Sirsi-based agri cooperative, is the registered proprietor of the GI ‘Sirsi Supari’.

NTPC partners with Indian Railways for fly ash transportation

• State-run National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. (NTPC) has teamed up with the Indian Railways for fly ash transportation. The partnership is to help enhance ash utilisation at Rihand and Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power plants.  NTPC had signed a memorandum of understanding with Hazipur-based East Central Railway Zone for transportation of fly ash under Indian Railways’ Special Freight Train Operator scheme.

IFFM to be from 29th March at Malappuram, Kerala

• The 77th International Film Festival of Malappuram (IFFM) organised by the Rasmi Film Society will be held at Malappuram, Kerala on March 29, 30 and 31. Actor Indrans will inaugurate the festival at the Municipal bus-stand auditorium, named after filmmaker Mrinal. Sen.V.C. Abhilash’s Aalorukkam will be the inaugural film. There will be 11 films in the World, Indian and Malayalam categories.

RInfra to sell Delhi-Agra Toll Road in Rs 3,600 crore deal

• Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has signed a "definitive binding agreement" with Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure for sale of its 100 per cent stake in Delhi-Agra (DA) Toll Road Pvt Ltd. The deal is valued over Rs 3,600 crore.

• In addition, NHAI claims of Rs 1,200 crore to be filed by DA Toll Road will flow directly to Reliance Infrastructure. DA Toll Road Pvt Ltd is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) of RInfra, which operates the 180 kilometre long six-lane road that connects the national capital with Agra on National Highway-2.

ECI to launch Observer App

• The Election Commission of India (ECI) is to launch the Observer App, a mobile application, that will help poll observers to submit reports.

•  The poll observers will get all the important notifications and alerts through the ‘Observer App’. It will also help them get their deployment status and download the ID card. As the observers will be involved in real-time disposal of cases of violation of the Model Code of Conduct and expenditure received through another mobile application ‘cVIGIL’, those details will also be available on the ‘Observer App’.

BANK AND ECONOMICS:

Russia releases coin commemorating annexation of Crimea.

• A new coin that features the Crimea or Kerch Strait Bridge released by Russia’s central bank, to mark Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Two million new five ruble (about $0.08, €0.07) coins were pressed which depict an outline of the peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

RBI categorises IDBI Bank as private sector lender

• IDBI Bank has been categorised as a private sector bank for regulatory purposes with effect from January 21, 2019.

• This follows  Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) acquiring 51 per cent of the total paid-up equity share capital of the bank. In April 2005, IDBI Bank was categorised under a new sub-group, ‘other public sector banks,’ by the RBI.

• The Bank has a high proportion of bad loans. In another release, the RBI announced that the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank will continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). D-SIB means that a bank is 'too big to fail'.

DAY:

World Consumer Rights Day is observed on 15th March

• The consumer movement marks 15th March with World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019 is ‘Trusted Smart Products’.

• The day demands that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights. World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by President John F Kennedy, who sent a special message to the US Congress on 15th March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so.

• This World Consumers Rights Day highlights what consumers want and need from a connected world. This year over 100 members in over 90 countries are coming together to mark World Consumer Rights Day.

AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS:

M.R.Kumar takes charge as Chairman of LIC

• M.R.Kumar, the newly-appointed chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), has taken charge on 14th March. Mr.Kumar took over from Hemant Bhargava who had been the acting chairman since January 2019. Mr.Kumar had joined LIC as a direct recruit officer in 1983.  The government had also named two MDs for LIC, Vipin Anand and T.C. Suseel Kumar.

Sweden's 16-year-old Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

• Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student and activist has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in climate activism and fighting global warming. She began her weekly protest in August 2018 by riding her bicycle to the Swedish Parliament with ''School strike for climate'' sign.

• The #FridaysForFuture movement went viral and spread over 80 countries. If she were to win, she would be the youngest recipient since Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Padmanaban Gopalan bagged the Commonwealth Youth Award for the Asian region

• Social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, Padmanaban Gopalan, founder of No Food Waste named the winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award for the Asian region worth 3,000 Pounds at a ceremony at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. He was given the honour for his work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Zero Hunger with his innovative system of recovering excess food to distribute to those in need. 

Army Chief Bipin Rawat conferred PVSM by President Kovind

• Army Chief General Bipin Rawat was conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), the highest military medal award in recognition of peace-time service not accounting to gallantry, by President Ram Nath Kovind. President also awarded three Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras to armed forces personnel for displaying gallantry.

• Two Kirti Chakras were posthumously awarded to Sepoy Vramha Pal Singh of the Rajput Regiment and Rajendra Kumar Nain, a constable with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). A Shaurya Chakra was also posthumously awarded to Ravindra Dhanawade by the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.

Three Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras awarded by the President to Army Personnel

• President Ram Nath Kovind conferred 3 Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras to Armed Forces Personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at the Defence Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.  2 Kirti Chakras and 1 Shaurya Chakra were given posthumously. 15 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 1 Uttam Yudh Seva Medal and 25 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals were also conferred on senior officers of the Armed Forces for their distinguished service by the President.

INTERNATIONAL:

Special olympics World Game began in UAE

• Special Olympics World Games 2019 is held at Abu Dhabi, from March 14 to 21. The Games were declared open by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. There are 7,500 athletes from 190 countries taking part at the Games this year. Team India is the second largest contingent after the host UAE with 387 players, along with coaches and other staff. The Special Olympics takes place every two years and alternates between summer and winter.

UK removes cap on PhD level work visas

• U.K. announced in a Budget update, referred to as the annual Spring Statement, that from later this year all PhD-level highly-qualified roles will be exempt from any cap on the numbers that can apply and come to work in Britain.

• Indians are among the largest group of professionals set to benefit from a new U.K. government plan to remove any limit on the number of PhD-level work visas to be granted.  A key pillar of the plan is backing Britain to remain at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming the economy. In Order to support that ambition, the country completely exempt PhD-level roles from the visa caps.

Vienna topped the Most Liveable Cities index for the 10th year

• The Austrian capital Vienna has topped Mercer's index of most liveable cities for the 10th year in a row. Zurich in Switzerland, is placed second in the index, while Auckland, Munich and Vancouver came joint third. Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu is ranked at 105 in Mercer's Quality Of Living Index and is the number one city from India.

• Luxembourg was named the safest city in a separate personal safety league table. Global consulting firm Mercer surveyed in 231 cities across the globe and were ranked them based on factors such as healthcare, education, public services, recreation, crime, housing and personal freedom. The ranking was based on data analysed between September and November 2018.

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