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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 16th March

    NATIONAL:

    Kent RO receives the Best Domestic Water Purifier Award 2019.

    • Kent RO Systems Pvt. Ltd. has been bestowed with the Best Domestic Water Purifier Award 2018-19 for its RO (Reverse Osmosis)+ UV + UF (Ultra Filtration) technology at the Water Digest Water Awards organized at The Lalit, New Delhi. Water Digest Water Awards is backed by the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation and UNESCO.

    • Reverse Osmosis (RO) removes the all pollutants and contaminants from water, UV also known as Ultra Violet Radiation kills bacteria and virus and Ultra Filtration, an additional layer of security which works without electricity, filters remnants of microbial bodies. Thus, a combination of all three provides multistage purification which makes the water 100% safe and pure.

    Students of IIT Kharagpur developed app to detect Fake Notes.

    • The Students from IIT- Kharagpur has devised a code for a Smartphone application to address the problem of detecting fake Indian currency. Detecting Fake Currency Students of IIT- Kharagpur has developed an image processing application which can detect counterfeit currency.

    •  A user can upload a currency note image and the mobile app would verify its authenticity using 25 features extracted from the front and rear side of the currency note. If the app finds the discrepancies with the features it reports about the failure checkpoints.  Smart India Hackathon 2019 organised by Ministry of Human Resource and Development in association with AICTE, i4c and Persistent Systems. It provides an unique Open Innovation Model for identifying new and disruptive technology innovations to solve the challenges faced in the country.

    NGT suspended the expansion of Udupi thermal plant.

    • The Principal Bench of National Green Tribunal (NGT), New Delhi, has ordered the suspension of the Environmental Clearance of August 1, 2017, granted for the expansion of the thermal plant of Udupi Power Corporation Ltd. (UPCL) at Yellur in Udupi district by addition of 2 x 800 MW units to raise ultimate capacity to 2,800 MW.  The move is after the appeal of an NGO which opposed the thermal power plant at Yellur in Udupi district. The tribunal held that clearances granted for the setting up of the power plant were illegal. It directed the State government to conduct a study of carrying capacity of the area. It also ordered the company to pay Rs.1 lakh as cost to the petitioners.

    Karnataka government plans for cloud seeding project.

    • The government of Karnataka is planning for cloud seeding project due to drought and to influence the upcoming monsoon and capture as much water as possible from the rain clouds. The State government has called the tenders for cloud seeding operations to enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. The cost is expected to be Rs.50 crore per year.

    • Earlier Efforts of Karnataka Karnataka had undertaken a similar exercise through Project Varshadhare in 2017.  Cloud Seeding is a process of intervening chemically to induce precipitation rain or snow from clouds. Cloud seeding aims to facilitate and accelerate the process by making available chemical nuclei for condensation to take place.

    • The agents used as nuclei are iodides of silver or potassium, dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), or liquid propane.

    Joint exercises to be conducted by US army and NSG in Hyderabad.

    • The US military forces and the Indian National Security Guard (NSG) is conducting joint exercises in Hyderabad. This would be a part of the US-India security partnership. The aim of these exercises is to enhance preparedness and tackle any crisis that affects the public health and safety. The exercise is witnessing participation by the 1st Battalion and the 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne) stationed out of Okinawa, Japan. The exercise will be overseen from the US Embassy, New Delhi and US Special Operations Pacific Command at Camp HM Smith in Hawaii.

    President Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship in Gandhinagar.

    • President of India Ram Nath Kovind inaugurated the Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship (FINE) in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. 10th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation awards were also distributed by the President on the occasion.

    • The event will provide a platform to the innovators for building the linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve the prospects in the coming years for the betterment of the society. FINE is a unique initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognize, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem. President Kovind awards National Grassroots Innovators.

    • For innovations in new varieties of agriculture crops, Prakash Singh Raghuvanshi from Uttar Pradesh has been awarded lifetime achievement award.

    USFDA approved Glen marks generic version of acne treatment gel.

    • Glenmark Pharmaceuticals received its final approval from the United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA), the US health regulator, for its generic version of BenzaClin gel used in the treatment of acne.

    • The approval granted to Glenmark Pharmaceuticals Inc, USA (Glenmark) by the USFDA is for Clindamycin and Benzoyl Peroxide Gel, 1 per cent|5 per cent, a generic version of BenzaClin1 Gel, 1 per cent/ 5 per cent, of Valeant Bermuda. Citing IQVIATM sales data, Glenmark said BenzaClin Gel, 1 per cent/ 5 per cent had sales of $99.4 million in the 12-month period ended January 2019. Glenmark’s current portfolio consists of 151 products authorised for distribution in the US with 53 ANDAs (Abbreviated New Drug Applications) pending approval with the USFDA.

    SPORTS:

    India to host FIFA Under-17 Women's World Cup in 2020.

    • International Football Federation (FIFA) President Gianni Infantino announced that India will host the U-17 Women's World Cup in 2020. The tournament in India will be the seventh edition. By virtue of being the host country, India will take part in the tournament for the first time in its history. This will be the second FIFA tournament India will be hosting, after the U-17 Men's World Cup in 2017. The U-17 women's tournament began in 2008, when New Zealand hosted it. Spain are the current champions.

    ESPN World Fame 100 list: Virat Kohli the only Indian in Top 10.

    • This year’s ESPN World Fame 100 list, an annual list of the most famous athletes on the planet, placed the Portuguese footballer Cristiano Ronaldo at the top spot, followed by former Basketball player Lebron James and FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi. Indian skipper, Virat Kohli, stands on the seventh position and is the only Indian athlete in the top 10 club, whereas Dhoni is placed on the 13th position. There were only three women in the list- Serena Williams (17), Maria Sharapova (37) and Sania Mirza (93); making Sania Mirza the only Indian woman athlete to feature in the list.

    Karnataka defeated Maharashtra to win Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy.

    • Karnataka defeated Maharashtra to win their maiden Syed Mushtaq Ali Trophy at the Holkar Cricket Stadium in Indore. With the win, Karnataka set a record of most number of wins in a row by an Indian domestic team as they won 14 T20 matches to lift the coveted T20 trophy.

    Narasimha appointed as mediator to resolve disputes of cricket administration by SC.

    • Supreme Court appointed senior advocate P. S. Narasimha, as a mediator for resolving various disputes related to cricket administration in the country. A bench of Justices S. A. Bobde and A. M. Spare was informed by P. S. Narasimha that former apex court judge Justice (retd) D. K. Jain has assumed charge as the ombudsman of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI). The bench also asked P. S.

    Winners list of 2019 All England Open Badminton Championships.

    • All England Open Badminton Championships 2019 was held from 6 Mar 2019 to 10 Mar 2019 at Arena Birmingham, Birmingham, United Kingdom. The Winners in the various categories of the are: Men's Singles: Japan's Kento Momota Women's Singles: China's Chen Yufei Men's Doubles: Indonesia's Mohammad Ahsan & Hendra Setiawan Women's Doubles: China's Chen Qingchen & Jia Yifan Mixed Doubles: China's Zheng Siwei & Huang Yaqiong All England Open Badminton Championships All England Open Badminton Championships held annually in England is the world's oldest badminton tournament. The genesis of the tournament can be traced to open tournament held in the English town of Guildford in 1898, the success of this tournament paved the way for the All England's inaugural edition, which was held at London's Horticultural Halls in 1899.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    India gets first TIR shipment via Chabahar Port from Afghanistan.

    • he first shipment under the United Nations ‘Transports Internationaux Routiers’ (TIR) convention arrived in India from Afghanistan through Iran’s Chabahar Port. TIR allows goods to be sealed in compartments and requires no need for physical checking of the contents.

    • This enables shipments to pass through countries without being opened at borders. India joined the TIR Convention (the United Nations Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods under cover of TIR Carnets) on June 15, 2017. India took over the operations of a part of Shahid Beheshti Port, Chabahar in Iran in December 2018.

    Geographical Indication (GI) tag granted to Coorg Arabica Coffee and 4 other varieties of Coffee by the Geographical Indications Registry.

    • Geographical Indication (GI) tags have been granted to Coorg Arabica Coffee, Wayanad Robusta Coffee, Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee, Araku Valley Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee, by the Geographical Indications Registry on 1st March 2019. Coorg Arabica Coffee is grown in Kodagu, Karnataka. Wayanad Robusta Coffee is grown in Wayanad, Kerala. Chikmagalur Arabica Coffee and Bababudangiris Arabica Coffee are grown in Chikmagalur, Karnataka.

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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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    Important Current Affairs of 14th March

    NATIONAL:

    Chennai to get second Greenfield airport.

    • The Tamil Nadu government has finally taken the first step towards building the second Greenfield airport near Chennai. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) Limited has issued a Request for Proposal to appoint a consultant for preparing a draft report and identify potential sites near the city.

    •  Tidco was chosen as the nodal agency for selection of a consultant, officials said. No site has been identified yet. The consultant will identify and propose three potential sites near Chennai for the greenfield airport. The consultant will look at the air traffic projections and the demand and do a detailed master plan citing the necessary airside and land facilities and other infrastructure and industrial provisions the site will need.

    Over 12 Indian states banned e-cigarettes.

    • Following an advisory from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued in 2018, Twelve states across India have banned Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.

    • States of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Jharkhand have taken steps to ban the use of ENDS.

    • ENDS, more commonly known as e-cigarettes or “vapes" in India, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavored liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.

    Over 605 people have died of swine flu in 2019 so far: Health Ministry.

    • According to data from the Union Health Ministry, as many as 605 people have died due to swine flu this year, with 75 deaths being reported last week. Over 19,380 people have tested positive for the virus. Rajasthan reported the highest number of swine flu cases (4,551) and deaths (162) followed by Gujarat (118 deaths  and 3,969 cases). Delhi was third with 3,362 swine flu cases and seven deaths. Swine flu is the common name for the H1N1 influenza virus. H1N1 is a self-limiting viral, air-borne disease spread from person to person, through large droplets generated due to coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface and close contact, including handshaking, hugging and kissing.

    India extended USD 250 million to Nepal.

    • India has extended a grant assistance of up to USD 250 million to Nepal for the reconstruction of infrastructures in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage that was destroyed during the devastating April 2015 earthquake which saw the death of over 9,000 people.

    India ranks 16th in terms of highest number of impacted species in hotspots.

    • India was ranked 16th in the world in terms of highest number of impacted species in biodiversity-rich zones (also known as hotspots) due to human actions.

    • In India, 35 species affected on an average in biodiversity-rich zones. Malaysia ranks first among countries with highest number of impacted species (on an average 125 species). Southeast Asian tropical forests — including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species.

    India bans Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

    • Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft banned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the Indian airspace from 1600 hrs IST or 1030 UTC 13th March 2019. The airlines affected by this are SpiceJet which has 13 jets of the model 8 variant and Jet Airways which has 5 jets of this variant.

    Thirty four edition of Aahar International Food and Hospitality Fair begins in New Delhi.

    • 34th edition of Aahar- the International Food and Hospitality Fair which is organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) begins in New Delhi on 12th March 2019. Participants from China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA and UK are participating in the event.

    HGS and NASSCOM to launch centre of excellence for PwDs in Bangalore.

    • Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) partnered with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Foundation to launch a centre of excellence in Bengaluru for training differently-abled persons (PwDs) which will train a minimum of 100 PwDs making them industry-ready over the next 12 months with a goal to place at least 50% of them in companies already sensitised for hiring them.

    • The trainees will be skilled in a variety of job roles suitable for hospitality, IT or BPM and retail industries and will also be trained on soft skills, interview skills, communication skills, and English language.

    BANKS AND ECONOMY:

    HDFC Bank becomes third Indian firm to cross Rs 6 lakh crore in value.

    • HDFC Bank crossed the Rs. 6 lakh crore market capitalisation mark for the first time on March 13, becoming only the third Indian company to achieve the milestone.

    • Reliance Industries is the most valued Indian company with a market value of Rs.8.50 lakh crore, followed by TCS at Rs. 7.50 lakh crore.

    About HDFC bank:

    ♦ HDFC Bank is India’s largest private sector lender by assets.

    ♦ CEO: Aditya Puri

    ♦ Headquarters: Mumbai

    ♦ Founded: August 1994, India

    RBI to inject rupee liquidity through Forex swap.

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap, a first-of-its-kind instrument, used for liquidity management. The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26.

    •  The U.S. dollar amount mobilised through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities. This move of RBI can lower the dependence on open market operations (OMO) which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing as higher OMOs can distort the rates curve.

    AWARDS AND RESIGNATION:

    Rahul Bajaj resigns as chairman of Bajaj Finserv.

    • Rahul Bajaj will step down as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Financial services company ‘Bajaj Finserv’ on May 16. However, he will continue to serve the company as Chairman Emeritus. The 80-year-old has been at the helm of Bajaj Finserv since its inception in 2007 and the Bajaj Group for around five decades.

    Ved Rahi will be awarded with Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar.

    • Famous Novelist and Film Director, Ved Rahi will be awarded prestigious Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar which carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh, A memento and a citation. Ved Rahi was born in Jammu in 1933 and he had written seven novels in Dogri Language. He also wrote in Hindi and Urdu. He was given Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Novel “Aale” which was written in Dogri Language.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Japan announced Rs 22 lakh for Kolkata museum.

    • The Japanese government announced a donation of some Rs 22 lakh ($31,800) to the Rabindra Bharati Museum, Kolkata in a bid to strengthen historical and cultural ties with India. Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel Prize recipient, visited Japan in 1916, 1924 and 1929, renewing relations between the countries as India's leading cultural ambassador.

    About Japan:

    ♦ Capital: Tokyo

    ♦ Currency: Japanese yen

    ♦ Prime minister: Shinzo Abe

    UK issued a Black hole Coin to commemorate Stephen Hawking.

    • The United Kingdom has commemorated Professor Stephen Hawking in a new 50p coin. The coin has references to the late physicist's pioneering work on black holes.  Black Hole Coin  The commemorative coin aims to celebrate the life and "ground-breaking" achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018. It is a commemorative coin and not for circulation as currency.

    • The coin features Hawkins's name in capital letters above a rippling drawing of concentric circles, intended to represent a black hole. The coin was designed by  British engraver and printmaker Edwina Ellis. The coin is available in gold, silver, and a double thickness silver version called a piedfort. The coin has been released by UK's Royal Mint.

    EU has added 10 countries in the Tax blacklist.

    • The European Union has expanded its tax haven blacklist by including 10 countries. The list now has 15 countries. The list was first drawn up by EU in 2017 in the wake of several scandals that pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

    • Seven countries Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu, and Dominica were moved from greylist to blacklist due to their inability towards reform commitments. Three other countries added into the list are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates, and the Marshall Islands.

    • Eu list of Tax Blacklist or Tax Havens: Tax Havens provide taxpayers with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serve to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. Features of these Tax Havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy.

    Krishna Kumari Kohli becomes the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Senate of Pakistan.

    • Krishna Kumari Kohli appointed as the first female senator of Pakistan from the Hindu Dalit community. She is also the first Thai Hindu woman to be elected to the Pakistan Senate. On 8th March 2019, which was celebrated as the International Women’s Day, she chaired the session of the Upper House of Parliament.

    Industrial production growth declined to 1.7% in January 2019 as per CSO report.

    • The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released the data for the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of January. The IIP data shows that: Industrial output growth stood at 1.7% in January against the 2.6% growth recorded in December 2018.  Eleven out of the twenty-three industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of January 2019 as compared to January 2018. The cumulative industrial production increased by 4% in April-January FY2019 compared with 4.1% growth in April-January FY2018.

    Japan plans to stun the world in 2020 Olympics.

    • Driverless cars, robot volunteers and ultra high-definition TV: Japan Inc. plans to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to show the world it has regained its touch for innovation and technology.  The last time Japan hosted the summer games, Tokyo 1964, it stunned the visitors with its shinkansen, the sleek high-speed bullet train that has since become a byword for cool and efficient transport.

    •  The country used the games as a springboard to dominate the tech world. From Sharp's LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens to the Sony Walkman, Japan enjoyed an unparalleled reputation in the vanguard of technological innovation. Japan’s vision for the 2020 Games includes an aspiration to make them the most innovative in history.

    NASA to send women to Mars.

    • NASA, the US Space agency, said that the first person to set foot on Mars is likely to be a woman. It said that women are at the forefront of the U.S. space agency’s upcoming plans.

    • NASA recently announced that it will have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. NASA has the first all-female spacewalk at the end of March, which is, of course, National Women’s Month. So NASA is committed to making sure that it has a diverse set of talent. It is also looking forward to the first woman on the Moon.

    DAY:

    World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March.

    • World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March. The theme of the World Kidney Day 2019 is Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere.  Second Thursday of March every year is observed as World Kidney Day every year as a global health awareness campaign focusing on the importance of the kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

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    Important Current Affairs 12th March 2019

    NATIONAL:

    Jet Airways sought Rs.750 crore from Etihad

    • Naresh Goyal, Jet Airways chairman, has sought urgent funding of Rs.750 crore from its equity partner Etihad, the reason cited was the very precarious position of the airline following the lingering cash flow issues which got amplified after the forced grounding of over 50 of its planes.

    • The airline had also secured the go-ahead from the Civil Aviation Ministry to pledge its shares in Jet Privilege for securing the interim funding. The airline holds 49.9% stake in the loyalty programme while the majority is with Etihad.

    PM inaugurated Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the new Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh. He also unveiled the statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus.  Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology is a state-of-the-art institution that comprises of an auditorium, an open-air theatre, and an Archaeological Museum

    • Institute of Archaeology is an academic wing of the Archeological Survey of India under the Ministry of Culture.  Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is the premier organization for the archaeological researches and protection of the cultural heritage in India.

    • It functions under the under the Ministry of Culture. ASI regulates all archaeological activities in the country as per the provisions of the Ancient Monuments and Archaeological Sites and Remains Act, 1958 and Antiquities and Art Treasure Act, 1972.

    PM attended 50th Raising Day celebrations of CISF.

    • Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 50th Raising Day celebrations of Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF), at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh. He suggested the idea of starting digital museums at airports and metros, showcasing the work of CISF.

    • Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF): Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) came into existence in 1969 with three battalions. It provides integrated security cover to the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) which occupied the commanding heights of the economy. Over the years CISF has grown several folds to reach 1,48,371 personnel.

    Surat Metro Project springs up expected to serve the masses by 2024.

    • The Government of India approved the Surat Metro Rail Project having two Metro Rail Corridors with a combined length of 40.35 km.

    • The project will be completed in 5 years at an estimated project cost of Rs. 12020.32 Crore This project will provide continuous availability of affordable, reliable, safe, secure and seamless transport system in the urban agglomeration of the city.

    • It will reduce the accidents, pollution, travel time, energy consumption, anti-social incidents as well as regulate urban expansion and land use for sustainable development.

    Jammu and Kashmir government to give monthly stipend and jobs for those who Shun militancy.

    • Draft on Reintegration proposes a monthly stipend and jobs for those who Shun militancy by the Jammu and Kashmir government. The move is to encourage the youths hailing from Jammu and Kashmir to Shun militancy.  The government proposes to offer them a monthly stipend of Rs. 6000 and jobs. The new Reintegration policy draft is under the consideration of Jammu and Kashmir administration headed by Governor Sathya Pal Malik

    • As per the government, the initiative will allow the militants who surrender ‘to encourage him to join the mainstream’. It gives importance to rehabilitation. Militants found to have been involved in heinous crimes won’t get the proposed benefits.

    About Jammu and Kashmir

    ♦ Capital – Srinagar (summer), Jammu (winter)

    ♦ Governor – Sathya Pal Malik

    Madhya Pradesh Government raises Reservation Quota of OBCs to 27 percent.

    • Madhya Pradesh Governor Anandiben Patel approved the ordinance to increase reservation for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) from 14 per cent to 27 per cent, making MP the only state in India to have 27 per cent quota for OBCs. At present, the state provides 20 per cent reservation to Scheduled Tribes, and 16 per cent to Scheduled Castes.

    • OBCs are estimate to constitute nearly 52 per cent of the state’s population, and OBC groups have often demanded an increase in reservation to reflect their strength in the state

    Centre amended the Enemy Property Order.

    • The central government has amended the guidelines for disposal of the Enemy Property Order, 2018, to facilitate usages of enemy property by the state government exclusively for public use.  Enemy properties are the properties of the people who migrated to Pakistan during partition and also to China after the Sino-India war in 1962. It is estimated that there are 9,280 such properties which were left behind by people who went to Pakistan and 126 such properties were left by the Chinese nationals.

    • The central government has amended the guidelines for disposal of the Enemy Property Order, 2018, to facilitate usages of enemy property by the state government exclusively for public use.  Enemy properties are the properties of the people who migrated to Pakistan during partition and also to China after the Sino-India war in 1962. It is estimated that there are 9,280 such properties which were left behind by people who went to Pakistan and 126 such properties were left by the Chinese nationals.

    Venkaiah Naidu conferred Honorary Doctorate from the University of Peace.

    • Vice President Venkaiah Naidu was conferred Honorary Doctorate from the UN established the University of Peace. He is the first Indian to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Peace. The university has stated that the degree of "Doctor Honoris Causa" (Doctor of Philosophy) was conferred on the Indian Vice President recognising his contribution to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India.

    • The University of Peace was established in accordance with the Resolution 35/55 passed by the United Nations General Assembly in 1980. The main campus of the University of Peace is located in Costa Rica. It aims to be a forward-thinking, transformational and inspirational educational institution dedicated to the goals of quality teaching, research, and service for serving humanity in building a peaceful world.

    Centre launched Pulse Polio Programme 2019 to eradicate Polio.

    • The government has launched the Pulse Polio Programme 2019. Under the programme, polio drops would be administered to children less than five years of age. More than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be administered polio drops.

    • The pulse polio programme aims to protect children from the polio disease by conducting two nationwide mass polio vaccination campaigns and two to three sub-national campaigns each year.  India was declared Polio-free country in the year 2014.

    • India's last reported cases of wild polio were in West Bengal and Gujarat on 13 January 2011. 

    ♦ Polio also known as poliomyelitis is a highly contagious viral disease caused by Poliovirus

    ♦ It attacks the nervous system

    ♦ Children younger than 5 years old are more likely to contract the virus than any other group 

    ♦ Poliovirus spreads by food or water containing human faeces and less commonly from infected saliva

    Arcelor Mittal receives NCLT nod for taking over Essar Steel at Rs 42,000 Crore.

    • A resolution plan of Rs. 42,000 crores submitted by ArcelorMittal for the acquisition of Essar Steel Ltd. was approved by the Ahmedabad bench of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT). The approval has been granted 583 days after the beginning of insolvency proceedings, against the mandatory time period of 270 days.

    India stands world’s 2nd largest arms importer says SIPRI.

    • According to the latest report published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), India was the world’s second largest importer of major arms in 2014–18 and accounted for 9.5% of the global total. Saudi Arabia which holds the long-held tag as largest importer accounted for 12% of the total imports during the period.

    •  Russia accounted for 58% of Indian arms imports in 2014–18, compared with 76% in 2009-13. Israel, the U.S., and France all increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18. The Russian share in Indian imports is likely to sharply go up for the next five-year period as India signed several deals including S-400 air defence systems, four stealth frigates, AK-203 assault rifles, a second nuclear attack submarine on the lease, and deals for Kamov-226T utility helicopters, Mi-17 helicopters, and short-range air defence systems.

    Keralas Marayur jaggery finally gets Geographical Indication tag.

    • The Marayoor Jaggery, the traditional and handmade product from Idukki district of Kerala, received the Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Central Government. In Marayur and Kanthallur grama panchayats of Kerlala, jaggery is produced without adding any chemicals.

    • The distinct features of the Marayur Jaggery are high sweetness with less saltiness, high content of iron and less sodium. About Geographical Indication (GI): A Geographical Indication (GI) tag is a name or sign used on products which corresponds to a specific geographical location or origin. It can be a town, a region, or a country. It plays a very important role to increase the realm of the market.

    Pinaka guided rocket system successfully test fired.

    • Defence Research and Development organisation, DRDO successfully test fired the PINAKA guided WEAPON rocket system from Pokhran range in Rajasthan. This indigenously developed Guided PINAKA by DRDO will significantly boost the capability of the artillery to make precision hits. Pinaka is a multiple rocket launcher produced in India for the Indian Army. Pinaka saw service during the Kargil War, where it was successful in neutralising enemy positions on the mountain tops.

    Hardeep Puri launched the Indian Urban Observatory and Video wall at New DelhI.

    • Minister of State (I/C) for Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep S Puri, inaugurated the state-of-the-art India Urban Observatory and Video Wall at New Delhi. The India Urban Observatory will plug into the sources of data from cities, both from real-time and archival sources. It will help in getting up-to-date information on a meaningful set of indicators over various domains such as transport, health, environment, water, finance and so on, which will further assist in developing best practices, future

    BANKS:

    Korea Exim Bank to give Rs 4,100 crore loan for Vizag Metro.

    • Korea Exim Bank has come forward to extend a Rs 4,100 crore loan for Visakhapatnam Metro Rail project. The three-corridor Vizag Metro would be built over a stretch of 42.55 km at a cost of Rs 8,300 crore. About Korea Eximbank:

    ♦ Also called  Export–Import Bank of Korea

    ♦ It is the official export credit agency of South Korea

    ♦ Founded: 1976

    ♦ Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly to discuss curbing of plastic waste.

    • The fourth session of the UN Environment Assembly has gathered in Nairobi, Kenya from 11 - 15 March 2019.  In the five-day UN Environment Assembly, Countries from around the world has set their sights on a pivotal deal to curb plastic waste, a source of long-term pollution and worsening contamination of the ocean’s food chain

    • The UN wants individual countries to sign up to significantly reduce plastic production, including a phasing out of single-use plastics by 2030, a goal inspired by the 2015 Paris Agreement on voluntary reductions of carbon emissions.

    • The world currently produces more than 300 million tonnes of plastics annually, and there are at least five trillion plastic pieces floating in our oceans. Microplastics have been found in the deepest sea trenches and high up the earth’s tallest peaks, and plastic consumption is growing year-on-year. The One Planet Summit on 14th March will bring together heads of State to lend political clout to the process.

    Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister meets PM Modi.

    • Saudi Arabia's state minister for Foreign Affairs Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir met PM Narendra Modi in Delhi. Jubeir's visit to India comes days after his trip to Pakistan's Islamabad. Saudi minister's visit comes after Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's stand-alone visits to India and Pakistan soon after the Pulwama terror attack.

    About Saudi Arabia:

    ♦ Capital: Riyadh

    ♦ Currency: Saudi riyal

    ♦ King: Mohammed bin Salman

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    Important Current Affairs 11th March 2019

    NATIONAL:

    Karnataka sought Rs.2,064 crore for draught relief

    • Karnataka Chief Minister H D Kumaraswamy sought early release of Rs.2,064.30 crore funds to provide relief to drought-hit farmers in the ongoing rabi season. In addition to floods, Karnataka reeled under severe drought both during Kharif (summer) and rabi (winter) seasons of the 2018-19 crop year (July-June).

    • The state government has submitted a memorandum seeking Rs.2,064.30 crore drought relief fund for the ongoing rabi season as crop loss is estimated to be Rs.11,384.7 crore. The state has declared drought in156 out of 176 talukas.

    • The state has released Rs.386 crore from the State Disaster Response Fund (SDRF) and given priority to ensure drinking water and fodder, besides creating 1.19 crore man-days jobs under the MGNREGA scheme

    Lok Sabha 2019 elections will start from 11th April

    • Election Commission of India announced that the Lok Sabha 2019 elections will start from April 11, in seven phases. Code of Conduct for parties kicks in from 10th March and there are close to 90 crore eligible voters. Date of counting will be on the 23rd of May 2019.

    • The election in 22 States and Union Territories will be conducted in a single phase. Two-phase elections are in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Manipur, and Tripura, while Assam and Chhattisgarh will have three phases. Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, and Odisha will be covered in four phases, Jammu and Kashmir in five, and Bihar, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal in seven phases. In Anantnag, the election will be held in three rounds.

    • Schedule of the seven phases of Lok Sabha polls:

    ♦ Phase one – 11th April 2019

    ♦ Phase two – 18th April 2019

    ♦ Phase three – 23rd April 2019

    ♦ Phase four – 29th April 2019

    ♦ Phase five – 06th May 2019

    ♦ Phase six – 12th May 2019

    ♦ Phase seven – 19th May 2019

    Date of counting- 23rd May 2019

    NPPA reduced MRP of 390 non-scheduled cancer medicines up to 87 percent

    • The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has reduced the MRP of 390 non-scheduled cancer medicines have been reduced by up to 87%.NPPA has asked the manufacturers and hospitals to revise the prices based on the trade margin formula. According to the price regulator, five brands will see a price reduction of about 70%, while 12 others will see a 50-70% price cut. MRPs of 45 cancer medicines will reduce by 25%.

    • This price reduction is expected to result in annual savings of around Rs.800 crore for patients. The price reduction is expected to benefit about 22 lakh cancer patients in India.

    Ministry of power to give star rating for 2 electrical appliances

    • The Ministry of Power has announced that two more electrical appliances microwave ovens and washing machines will now be assigned star ratings based on their energy efficiency metrics.

    • The rating of appliances in India is undertaken by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency. Bureau of Energy Efficiency is a statutory body set up under the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.

    • The program to rate microwave ovens and washing machines will be implemented on a voluntary basis and will be valid up to December 31, 2020. Star Rating of Appliances provides a basic sense of how energy efficient each product is. Higher the rating, higher is the efficiency of the appliance.

    India, ASEAN clock fastest growth for e-commerce, digital trade sectors: FICCI KPMG

    • According to India and ASEAN: Co-creating the Future’ report by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and consulting major KPMG, India and 10 member ASEAN are among the fastest growing economies in the world.

    • India and ASEAN show a faster growth rate even for e-commerce and digital trade sectors.

    • Global E-commerce Sector topped by China.

    • Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach 4.5 trillion dollars from 1.3 trillion dollars by 2021.

    • By 2025, the e-commerce market in India is expected to reach a volume of 90 billion dollars as per the report.

    BANKS:

    SBI to link the interest rate to RBIs repo rate

    • State Bank of India is to link the interest rate it offers on savings account deposits to the Reserve Bank of India’s repo rate, an external benchmark. SBI has become the first domestic bank to do such linking. By doing so, the bank will effectively link all loan rates to an external benchmark either directly or indirectly, thereby attempting tospeed up the transmission of any changes in the benchmark monetary policy rate to depositors and borrowers.

    • The following changes are announced by SBI:

    ♦ Savings accounts with deposits above Rs.1 lakh would be priced at 2.75% below the prevailing repo rate of 6.25%

    ♦ Cash credit accounts and overdraft facilities over Rs.1 lakh would be priced at 2.25% over the repo rate

    ♦ For all other floating rate products, including retail and corporate loans, the impact of SBI’s decision to link savings account deposit rates to the repo rate will be felt indirectly

    ♦ For savings account holders with balances up to Rs.1 lakh and borrowers with cash credit and overdraft limits up to Rs.1 lakh, interest rates will remain fixed

    AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS:

    Maneka Gandhi felicitated the 30 winners of the Web Wonder Women contest

    • Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, felicitated the 30 winners of the ‘Web Wonder Women’ contest organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in New Delhi.

    • The women were selected from over 240 nominations received under the categories media, awareness, legal, health, governmental, food, environment, development, business and art.

    ACKO General Insurance honoured with Golden Peacock Award 2019

    • he new-age digital insurance company, ACKO General Insurance was awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovative Product Award – 2019, for their contextual micro insurance product -“Ola Ride Insurance“.

    • The award was presented to Biresh Giri, Appointed Actuary & CRO, Acko at an event in Dubai.

    • Launched in March 2018, Ola Ride Insurance is a first of its kind insurance in the Indian market where Acko partnered with the leading ride-sharing company, Ola.

    India claims the First Prize at The International Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019 in the category of TV Cinema Spot at ITB, Berlin

    • The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India was awarded the First Prize in the category- TV Cinema Spot at the International Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019 held at Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB), Berlin.

    • The awards were received by Shri Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Tourism.

    • The awards were given for the following promotional films and TV commercials produced under the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign:

    Yogi of the Racetrack

    The Reincarnation of Mr. and Mrs. Jones

    Sanctuary in Paris

    Maharani of Manhattan

    The Masala Master Chef

    S. Mubarak appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of El Salvador

    • Shri B. S. Mubarak, the Indian Foreign Service officer of 2001 batch, is presently the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Guatemala.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Japanese woman honoured by Guinness World Records

    • A 116-year-old Japanese woman who loves playing the board game Othello is being honored as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.

    • Tanaka was born January 2, 1903, the seventh among eight children. The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117.

    NASAs LRO spotted water molecules moving around the dayside of moon

    • NASA Scientists have observed water molecules moving around the dayside of the moon using NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter (LRO). It is an advance that could help us learn about the accessibility of water that can be used by humans in future missions.

    • Measurements from the Lyman Alpha Mapping Project (LAMP) instrument aboard the LRO of the sparse layer of molecules temporarily stuck to the surface helped characterize lunar hydration changes over the course of a day.

    • Lunar water can potentially be used by humans to make fuel or to use for radiation shielding or thermal management. Water molecules remain tightly bound to the regolith until surface temperatures peak near lunar noon.

    Pulse polio programme launched in Nagaland

    • The Nagaland Health and Family Welfare Department launched the first round of 'Intensive Pulse Polio Immunization' programme. I.Himato Zhimomi, Principal Secretary of Health and Family Welfare, administered the first two polio drops to an infant at Naga Hospital, Kohima marking the launch of the three-day programme.

    India launched its 3rd IT corridor in China

    • National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) entered into a partnership with China's Xuzhou city from Jiangsu Province in China to help develop the IT corridor. This is India's third IT corridor in China. The corridor will facilitate partnerships between Indian and Chinese companies.

    • The partnership will enable Indian software and service industry associations to enter the Chinese market and seize the development opportunities in China. The earlier two corridors launched at Dalian and Guiyang cities has brought to fore opportunities with over 300 companies where more than 10 Indian SME companies have signed deals worth 31 Million RMB (USD 4.5 million).

    • The first two corridors had enabled cooperation in co-create mode in emerging technologies such as A1, IOT, and Analytics in the Chinese market. IT corridor project between India and China strengthens India-China Digital Cooperation

    SPORTS:

    Bisht won gold at the 38th GeeBee Boxing Tournament, Finland

    • Kavinder Singh Bisht in the 56kg-category struck gold at the 38th GeeBee Boxing Tournament in Helsinki, Finland. Bisht defeated Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Hussamuddin in the 56kg summit clash.

    • Three-time Asian medallist Shiva Thapa, Govind Sahani, Commonwealth Games bronze-medallist Mohammed Hussamuddin and Dinesh Dagar won silver medals at the Finland Boxing tournament.

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    Important Current Affairs of 10th March

    NATIONAL:

    Google launches 'Bolo' app to help children read in Hindi, English

    • Google has launched a new app called Bolo, which aims to help students with their reading and comprehension skills and will help them read out aloud in English and in Hindi.

    • The app features an animated character 'Diya', who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word.

    • Bolo will also be a free app and relies on Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.

    Southern Railway gets a boost; Kerala to get a new coaching terminal in Nemom

    • Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal laid the foundation stone for New Coaching Terminal at Nemom and unveiled WAP-7HS passenger locomotive through video conferencing here today. Shri Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction), Railway Board, Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, Shri Vishwesh Chaubey, Member (Engineering), Railway Board and other Senior Railway Officers were present on this occasion.

    • Shri Piyush Goyal said that the present Government has consistently focused on development for all areas in the country

    • The main focus has been on large scale infrastructure creation both physical and social.

    Telangana govt forms SIT to probe data theft case

    • The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

    • The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

    • The SIT will have three IPS officers, two DSPs and a few instants A YSR Congress leader had lodged a complaint with the Cyberattack.

    • YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy alleged that the TDP president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

    Centre to launch work from home jobs in the IT sector

    • The government is working on a scheme to push work-from-home jobs in the IT sector by offering financial incentives to both employees and employers. Incentivising work-from-home jobs through policy-level initiatives can help in creating jobs in the ITES domain while increasing the available talent pool for the sector.

    • This will create employment opportunities in the IT/ITES industry, especially for women and differently-abled persons. Currently, the scheme is proposed for a three-year period till March 31, 2022, with an outlay of about Rs.270 crore to create about 50,000 work-from-home jobs.

    • The initiative is likely to be launched as phase II of the IT Ministry’s India BPO Promotion Scheme that incentivises firms to set up operations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the country. The scheme, launched in 2016, had an outlay of about Rs. 500 crore with an objective to create about 1.45 lakh jobs.

    BANKS AND ECONOMY:

    DBS plans to triple balance sheet size in 5 years as a WoS

    • Singapore’s DBS Bank plans to grow its balance sheet size threefold in five years. DBS recently started operations in India as a wholly owned subsidiary (WoS). The bank is expected to close the financial year with a balance sheet size of Rs.50,000 crore.

    • In 2018, the bank infused Rs.1,800 crore capital while transforming itself into a WoS. The total capital of the bank now stands at Rs.7,700 crore, with a capital adequacy ratio of more than 19%. The loan book, which is about Rs. 20,000 crore, is predominantly made up of corporate loans while the share of retail is less than 10%. The deposit base of the bank is about Rs. 30,000 crore.

    • DBS aims to grow the retail so that it contributes 30% of the income and profitability over the next few years.

    AWARDS AND PRIZES:

    Arata Isozaki won Pritzker Architecture Prize

    • Arata Isozaki, a prominent Japanese architect renowned for his versatility and transnational approach to design, has won his field's highest accolade, the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

    • He is the 46th person and eighth Japanese architect to receive the Pritzker Prize.

    President Ram Nath Kovind to give Nari Shakti awards on International Womens Day

    • International Women’s Day is being observed on 08th March. Governments, NGOs and other organisations across the world observe the day on the 8th of March every year to highlight the achievements of women.

    • The theme for this year’s women’s day is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’.

    • The purpose of the theme is to achieve gender equality by putting innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts.

    RESIGNATION:

    Kummanam Rajasekharan Resigns as Mizoram Governor

    • Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan stepped down from his post. Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, has been given temporary charge of the Aizawl Raj Bhavan.

    • Mr. Rajasekharan, who was former State president of the BJP in Kerala, sworn in as Governor of Mizoram in May 2018.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    China hikes defence budget to USD 177.61 billion, turns second highest spender

    • China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per cent for this year, hiking it to USD 177.61 billion from last year's USD 175 billion.

    • It is over three times India's defence budget.

    • With this increase, China becomes the highest defence spender on defence after the United States.

    • India's defence budget this year was increased by 6.87 per cent to Rs 3.18 lakh crore against last year's allocation of Rs 2.98 lakh crore.

    France reiterates support for India’s permanent seat in reformed UNSC

    • France, which assumed the March Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), has reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN organ. It said that the UNSC’s enlargement is the first crucial part towards its reform.

    • India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany, and Japan for long, emphasizing that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.

    • It also stressed that the UN cannot be recognised as a centre of gravity for multilateralism throughout the world unless it can step up partnerships and focus should also be made on openness to civil society, business world, NGOs and trade unions, which are all stakeholders that breathe life into the UN.

    SPORTS:

    Yomif Kejelcha sets world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec

    • Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha smashed the world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec at the Bruce Lehane Invitational in Boston. The 21-year-old broke a record of a mark of 3:48.45 set by Morocco's Hicham El Gerrouj on February 12, 1997.

    • It was third time lucky for Kejelcha, who narrowly missed out on breaking world indoor records in his two previous races. He finished just 0.01 outside the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games with a time of 3:48.46, and was then beaten to the world indoor 1,500m record in Birmingham one week later when compatriot Samuel Tefera won in 3:31.04.

    EXTRAS:

    HIV remission achieved via stem cell transplantation

    • In a significant development, a person with HIV infection has been reported to be experiencing remission for the last 18 months after antiretroviral therapy (ART) was stopped following stem-cell transplantation in London. Remission is when HIV RNA (ribonucleic acid) is undetectable in blood. ART is used for treating HIV.

    • The person with HIV was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 2012. To treat cancer, stem cells which give rise to blood cells were transplanted from a donor who had two mutant copies of a co-receptor for HIV infection. This exercise was carried out in London.  The co-receptor (CCR5) is used by the HIV virus to gain entry into host cells in humans. But a mutant does not allow the virus to enter the host cells and hence makes the person resistant to HIV infection.

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    Important Current Affairs 6th March 2019

    NATIONAL:

    TVS Motor Company won the Green Era Award for Sustainability

    • TVS Motor Company won the International Sustainability award Green Era Award for Sustainability in Lisbon, Portugal. Tata Motors also won the Quality and Business Excellence Award in acknowledgment of its endeavor to create new benchmarks in product quality.

    Rajnath to inaugurate an electronic surveillance project in Assam

    • Home Minister Rajnath Singh is to inaugurate an electronic surveillance project in Dhubri district of Assam, a riverine and highly porous stretch along the Bangladesh border.

    • The Home Ministry announced that the smart fencing will be operationalized in the 61 km riverine section of the international border in Dhubri district of Assam, where the Brahmaputra river enters into Bangladesh, in a bid to check illegal immigration and smuggling of arms, ammunition, drugs, and cattle.

    Mukesh Ambani secured 13th place in the Forbes list of the ultra-wealthy

    •  In the release of the latest Forbes list of the ultra-wealthy, Mukesh Ambani, chairman of Reliance Industries, secured 13th place.

    • Jeff Bezos remains the world’s richest person with a wealth of $131 billion. Secondly, Bill Gates ranks second with wealth worth $96.5 billion and Warren Buffett in 3rd position.

    Geological Survey of India sets up 22 GPS stations across country

    • The Geological Survey of India (GSI) launched 22 permanent global positioning system (GPS) stations across India to identify seismically hazardous zones and encourage mapping activities.

    • The 22 GPS-Geodetic (pertaining to Geodesy, the science of earth measurement) observatories are located in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar Vishakhapatnam, Agartala, Itanagar, Mangan, Jammu, Lucknow, Nagpur, Shillong and Little Andaman.

    • Another 13 GPS permanent stations will be operational by March 2020.

    • The organization has launched a platform called "Bhuvisamvad" under the Ministry of Mines to facilitate interaction between geo-scientists and university and college students.

    Azaadi ke Diwane Museum inaugurated at Red Fort

    • Azaadi Ke Diwane’ museum is dedicated to the unsung heroes of the country’s freedom struggle.

    • Built by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI), the museum is the fifth in a series of recently inaugurated ones - the others being:

    ♦ the Subhash Chandra Bose and  Indian National Army (INA) museum,

    ♦ the Yaad-e-Jallian museum,

    ♦ the Museum on 1857 (on the country’s first war of Independence)

    ♦ the Drishyakala (a museum on Indian Art) — on the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters.

    Coal minister Goyal dedicates 1,000 MW NTPL power project to nation

    • The 1,000-MW coal-fired thermal power project of NTPL (Neyveli Tamil Nadu Power Ltd) is a joint venture between NLCIL and TANGEDCO with an equity participation of 89:11.

    • Piyush Goyal also dedicated 150-MW solar power projects of NLC India Ltd (NLCIL) in Tamil Nadu.

    • Tamil Nadu is the sole beneficiary of the 150 MW renewable power plants of Virudhunagar and Ramanathapuram districts commissioned and dedicated to the nation.

    RInfra wins Rs 648 crore contract from AAI to build new airport at Gujarat.

    • Reliance Infrastructure (RInra) has bagged a Rs 648 crore contract from the Airport Authority of India (AAI) to build a new greenfield airport at Hirasar, in Rajkotdistrict of Gujarat.

    • The new airport is being constructed near National Highway-8B connecting Ahmedabad and Rajkot, nearly 36 km from the existing Rajkot Airport.

    • The government recently approved development of the airport at an estimated cost of 1,405 crore.

    • The airport must be completed within 30 months from the date of issue of the contract.

    Over 93% of rural Indians have toilet access: Govt Survey

    • The National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey 2018-19, commissioned by the government has found that nearly 93% of rural India households have access to toilets and of these, 96.5% uses them.

    • The survey also re-confirmed the Open Defecation Free (ODF) status of 90.7% villages.

    • Since the launch of Swachh Bharat Mission (SBM) in October 2014, 50 crore people have stopped defecating in the open.

    • Swachh Bharat Abhiyan aims to completely eliminate open defecation in the country by October 2, 2019.

    Notun Disha Initiated By Tripura Government.

    • The government of Tripura announced ‘Notun Disha’ (New Direction) for assessing the academic level of students in classes III-VIII and then improving their current level.

    • It was launched by state Education Minister Ratan Lal Nath.

    • Training will be provided by NGOs and educational institutions to 800 teachers.

    World Bank to provide 250 Million dollar for NRETP to boost Rural incomes in India

    •  The Agreement was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India, in New Delhi.

    • The main aim is to promote women-owned and women-led farm and non-farm enterprises across value chains; enable them to build businesses that help them access finance, markets and networks; and generate employment.

    • The $250 million loan has a 5-year grace period, and a final maturity of 20 years.

    • The National Rural Livelihoods Mission (NRLM) which is currently being implemented across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks, has so far mobilised more than 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 7.5 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).

    BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

    RBI fined 7 banks for delayed SWIFT implementation

    • The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a penalty on 7 Banks for delayed implementation of SWIFT-related operational controls. It fined Rs.4 crore onKarnataka Bank, Rs.3 crore on City Union Bank, Rs.2 crore on DCB Bank and Rs.1 crore on Karur Vysya Bank Ltd., Rs. 4 crore on Indian Bank, Rs.3 crore on IOB and Rs.3 crore onUnited Bank of India for the same violations.

    • SWIFT is the global messaging software used for transactions by financial entities. SWIFT stands for Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication.

    • RBI had directed banks on time-bound implementation and strengthening of SWIFT-related operational controls after the Rs.14, 000 crore fraud in Punjab National Bank.

    POLICY:

    Haryana Cabinet approved the 2019-20 excise policy

    • The Haryana Cabinet approved the excise policy for 2019-20, with a revenue target of Rs.7,500 crore. The decision was taken at a meeting under the chairmanship of CM Manohar Lal Khattar.

    • The Excise policy emphasizes the launch of Ease of Doing Business (EODB) initiatives involving Application and Grant of Licenses online through the Department's Portal www.haryanatax.gov.in. The Policy also enables liquor manufacturers to market Indian-made foreign liquor (IMFL) in Tetra Packs (biodegradable) of 180 ML, technically called Nips.

    Maharashtra CM Fadnavis unveils states new 5-year industrial policy

    • Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unveiled the state’s new 5-year industrial policy emphasising on high-technology and employment generating businesses.

    • The policy which will be effective from 1st of April this year aims to attract investments worth 10 lakh crore rupees.

    • The rate of conversion of Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) into actual investments was far higher in Maharashtra than the national average.

    • The national average of converting Memorandums of Understanding into actual investments, after a period of one year from the agreements being inked, could be pegged at 30-35 per cent

    • Maharashtra's average is more than 45 per cent and Magnetic Maharashtra and Make in India in the industrial sector; it has been more than 70 per cent.

    • Mr Fadnavis Maharashtra has always been a leader in the industry sector adding that in the last 4-4.5 years, the state has regained its numero uno position.

    • Minister for Industries and Mining Subhash Desai said new Industrial Policy aims create nearly 40 lakh jobs by 2023-24.

    APPOINTMENTS AND RE-ELCETIVES:

    Vedanta has appointed Ajay Kapur as the CEO of its aluminium and power business

    • Vedanta has appointed Ajay Kapur as the Chief Executive Officer of its aluminium and power business. He joins Vedanta from Ambuja Cements where he was the MD and CEO for its India business.

    • Mr. Kapur brings with him an experience of 31 years across business verticals. He would drive key priorities for the aluminium business, which include a strong focus on volume and cost and improving efficiencies, among others.

    Sheikh Ahmad re-elected as President of Olympic Council of Asia

    • Sheikh Ahmad Al-Fahad Al-Sabah was officially re-elected for an eighth term as President of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA).

    • He won a new five-year term until 2024.

    • Tsunekazu Takeda, President of the Japanese Olympic Committee, also retained his position as a vice-president.

    INTERNATIONAL:

    India to collaborate with 4 countries to increase 3 species of Asian rhinos

    •  India is to collaborate with Bhutan, Nepal, Indonesia, and Malaysia to increase the population of three species of Asian rhinos, including the Greater one-horned rhinoceros found in the Indian sub-continent. The five rhino range nations signed a declaration ‘The New Delhi Declaration on Asian Rhinos 2019’ for the conservation and protection of the species at the recently held Second Asian Rhino Range Countries meeting in New Delhi, India.

    • The declaration was signed to conserve and review the population of the Greater one-horned, Javan and Sumatran rhinos every four years to reassess the need for joint actions to secure their future.

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    Important Current Affairs 5th March 2019

    INTERNATIONAL:

    Sampriti 2019, joint military exercise between India and Bangladesh, began on 3rd March

    • Sampriti 2019, the eight edition of India Bangladesh joint military exercise began on 3rd March 2019. The joint exercise is aimed to increase mutual cooperation between the armies of India and Bangladesh.

    Indian Railways celebrate Golden Jubilee of first Rajdhani Express

    • The first Rajdhani Express of the Indian Railways network has completed 50 years on March 3, 2019.

    • Kolkata’s Howrah Rajdhani Express was the first Rajdhani Express train and the very first fully air-conditioned train introduced by the Indian Railways.

    • The Kolkata-New Delhi Rajdhani Express embarked on its maiden journey on March 3, 1969 from Howrah, making it the country's first fully-air conditioned, high-speed train that covered the 1,450 km stretch in 17 hours and 20 minutes.

    PM launched 'One Nation One Card' for all modes of travel

    • PM Narendra Modi launched the indigenously-developed National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) while inaugurating the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro train service in Ahmedabad.

    • Dubbed as 'One Nation One Card' can be used to pay for travelling on any mode of transportation and can also be used to withdraw money and to shop across the country.

    Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates BOLD-QIT project in Assam

    •  Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the project BOLD-QIT (Border Electronically Dominated QRT Interception Technique) on India-Bangladesh border in Dhubri District of Assam

    • Border Security Force, BSF is responsible for the safeguarding of over four thousand kilometres long International Border with Bangladesh.

    • At various places, it is not possible to erect Border Fence due to the geographical barriers.

    • The 61 kilometres of the Border area in Dhubri District, where River Brahmaputra enters into Bangladesh is consisting of vast char lands and innumerable river channels thus making border guarding in this area, a daunting task especially during rainy season.

    • To overcome this problem, in the year 2017, the Ministry of Home Affairs decided to go for a technological solution besides the physical presence of manpower of BSF.

    Sanjeev Ranjan to be designated as Secretary at MoRTH

    • As a part of a top-level bureaucratic reshuffle affected by the central government according to a Personnel Ministry order, Senior IAS officer Sanjeev Ranjan has been designated as secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH).

    • Nagendra Nath Sinha, who is a managing director in National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation will replace Sanjeev Ranjan as the new NHAI chief.

    Global Consumer Confidence Survey topped by India

    • India ranked first in the Confidence Board Global Consumer Confidence Survey which was conducted in collaboration with a global performance management company Nielsen Holdings.

    • India maintained its 1st position from 3rd quarter and in the 4th quarter of 2018 India’s Consumer Confidence Index (CCI) score is 133.

    • South Korea has the most pessimistic consumer who are worried about rising inflation, lower wage growth, unemployment, a weak stock market and global trade uncertainties in the world.

    • CCI Confidence Board measured optimism towards job prospects, the health of personal finances and spending intentions in the next 12 months for the survey.

    President gave assent to Ordinance for voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for bank account and SIM

    • President Ram Nath Kovind has given his approval for an Ordinance which allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for opening bank accounts and obtaining mobile SIM.

    • Rajya Sabha could not approve the Bill even though Lok Sabha has given its assent. In such a situation an ordinance is necessary as per the law.

    • The cabinet has approved it with effect to an Ordinance to give changes proposed in Aadhaar and two other legislation.

    • The amendment includes stiff penalties for violation of norms which are set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy.

    • The amendment also stated that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service.

    Abhinandan Varthaman is to be awarded the first Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar

    • Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been chosen for the first Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar constituted by the Akhil Bharatiya Digambar Jain Mahasamiti. The award carries a cash prize of Rs.2.51 lakh, a memento, and a citation.

    • It will be presented to Abhinandan Varthaman onApril 17 the Mahavir Jayanti.

    • Abhinandan Varthaman, a wing-commander in the Indian Air Force shot into limelight in the ongoing bilateral tensions between Indian and Pakistan aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack. In the dogfight that followed,  he crossed into Pakistan territory wherein he was struck by missiles. He was captured by the Pakistan Military and was later handed over to India as a peace gesture.’

    Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records

    • The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records in the following three sectors:

    (i) Largest traffic and crowd management plan

    (ii) Biggest painting exercise of public sites under paint my city scheme

    (iii) Biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism

    ISRO launches 'Yuva Vigyani Karyakram' for school children.

    • Indian Space Research Organisation launched “Yuva VIgyani Karyakram”, a “Young Scientist Programme” for the School Children to be studying in the ninth standard.

    • ISRO Scientists will impart basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the young ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.

    •  “Catch them young” residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays with a proposal to select 3 students from each State and Union Territory, covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus.

    • Government asked scientific institutions in the country to mentor young minds in the area of basic science.

    • It has launched the YUVA programme.

    Centre banned Jamaat e lslami of Jammu and Kashmir for 5 years

    • The Ministry of Home Affairs has banned the Jamaat-e-lslami of Jammu and Kashmir for a period of 5 years under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act. The Organisation has been indulging in activities, which are prejudicial to internal security and public order and have the potential of disrupting the unity and integrity of the Country. The decision of banning the outfit was taken to avoid escalation of the secessionist movement in J&K.

    SPORTS:

    Punia won a gold medal in International wrestling tournament in Bulgaria

    • India’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia won a gold medal in the 65kg freestyle final at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov International wrestling tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria. Bajrang Punia defeated Jordan Olivier of USA. In the last six international tournaments, this is his 5th win.

    • He was ranked the world No.1 wrestler in 65kg category by United World Wrestling (UWW) in November 2018.

    • After the win, Bajrang dedicated his gold to Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman.

    Cricket to be included in 2022 Asian Games

    • Cricket is included in the sports programme for the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China.

    • The decision was reportedly taken at the Olympic Council of Asia's (OCA) General Assembly.

    • Cricket was omitted from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia after featuring in 2010 and 2014.

    • In India’s absence, Sri Lanka - among men - and Pakistan — among women - had clinched the gold in 2014. In 2010, Bangladesh clinched the men’s title, and Pakistan the women’s title.

    Roger Federer wins his 100th career title in Dubai

    • Roger Federer is the second man to achieve the feat after America’s Jimmy Connors who ended his career with 109 titles.

    • Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships to win his 100th career singles' title.

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