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Important Current Affairs of 10th May

NATIONAL:

BharatPe launches UPI Bahi Khata for merchants for seamless networking and business expansion.

• India’s first Fintech (Financial technology) start-up enabling payments via interoperable UPI(Unified Payments Interface) QR (Quick Response) codes, BharatPe notified its venture into merchant services by launching a new app UPI Bahi Khata that allows merchants to keep a track of  their cash/credit (Udhar) sales customer wise, to request the accounts receivable from customers through SMS (Short Message Service) payment links or through WhatsApp and to record accounts that are payable to suppliers.

• The newly launched app also helps the merchants to network and collaborate with other BharatQR merchants near them to expand their businesses.

The major features on BharatPe app for merchants are: UPI Khata (Ledger), Managing Supplier Bills, Cashback, Settlements and Refer and Earn.

Water storage level of 91 major reservoirs of the country goes down by one percent.

• The water storage available in 91 major reservoirs of the country for the week ending on May 09, 2019 was 38.734 BCM, which is 24% of total storage capacity of these reservoirs. This percentage was at 25 for the week ending on May 02, 2019. The level of water storage in the week ending on May 09, 2019 was 116% of the storage of corresponding period of last year and 105% of storage of average of last ten years.

• The total storage capacity of these 91 reservoirs is 161.993 BCM which is about 63% of the total storage capacity of 257.812 BCM which is estimated to have been created in the country. 37 Reservoirs out of these 91 have hydropower benefit with installed capacity of more than 60 MW.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries in New Delhi.

• A WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries is being hosted by India in New Delhi on 13-14 May 2019.  Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC)(Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda)and DG, WTO are participating in the meeting.

• Ministers from Bangladesh, CAR and South Africa have confirmed their participation. Vice Ministers, senior officials and ambassadors willbe representing other countries.

India and China sign protocol for Export of Indian Chilli Meal.

• Commerce Secretary, Anup Wadhawan and Vice Minister, General Administration of Customs of China (GACC), Li Guo, held a meeting in New Delhi today to discuss trade related issues of pending Indian request for clearance of agricultural products.

• Both sides appreciated each other’s concerns and agreed to resolve market access issues expeditiously in order to achieve the vision of the leaders of both India and China by promoting a more balanced trade.

• At the end of the meeting a protocol was signed for export of chilli meal from India to China.

20th Conference of Regional Heads of Customs Administration (RHCA) of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) concludes in Kochi.

• The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) had organised a Conference of the Regional Heads of Customs Administration of Asia Pacific Region of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) in Kochi from 08th to 10th May, 2019. India hosted this Conference in its capacity as Vice-Chair of the Asia Pacific Region of WCO which it assumed on 1st July, 2018 for a two-year period.

• The Conference took stock of the progress made in carrying forward the programmes and initiatives of WCO to promote, facilitate and secure cross-border trade in the Region and the capacity building and technical assistance required by Member Administrations to achieve these goals.

WTO Ministerial Meeting of Developing Countries in New Delhi.

• A WTO Ministerial meeting of developing countries is being hosted by India in New Delhi on 13-14 May 2019.  Sixteen developing countries, Six Least Developed Countries (LDC)(Argentina, Bangladesh, Barbados, Benin, Brazil, Central African Republic (CAR), Chad, China, Egypt, Guatemala, Guyana, Indonesia, Jamaica, Kazakhstan, Malawi, Malaysia, Nigeria, Oman, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkey, Uganda)and DG, WTO are participating in the meeting.

• Ministers from Bangladesh, CAR and South Africa have confirmed their participation. Vice Ministers, senior officials and ambassadors willbe representing other countries.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Flipkart gives ₹700cr ESOPs to senior, mid-level staff: Report.

• Bengaluru-based e-commerce platform Flipkart has reportedly issued around $100 million (₹700 crore) worth of Employee Stock Ownership Plan (ESOP) to its senior and middle-level staff. Employees have been allotted these new shares at a price of $125-$130 per unit, the report claimed. The Walmart-owned company is also considering an Initial Public Offering (IPO) for 2021, the report further added.

Uber raises $8.1 billion in IPO, valued at $82 billion.

• Ride-hailing giant Uber priced its IPO shares at $45 apiece to raise $8.1 billion at a valuation of over $82 billion. Shares were priced close to the bottom of its targeted $44-50 range. Uber, which was earlier said to be seeking a valuation of $120 billion, has reportedly taken a conservative stance over its rival Lyft's post-IPO share falls.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Change of Command at Air Force Station Faridabad.

• Group Captain Chandra Shekhar Bhatt took over the command of Air Force Station Faridabad from Group Captain Kaushik Das. The change of command took place in a Ceremonial parade at Station Parade ground.

• Group Captain Bhatt was commissioned in the Logistics branch of IAF in 1990. During his career, the officer has held various appointments in Operational bases and Depots. For his distinguished service, the officer has been commended by Air Officer Commanding-in-Chief (AOC-in-C) and Chief of the Air Staff (CAS).

Ajoy Mehta appointed as Chief Secretary of Maharashtra.

• Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) commissioner Ajoy Mehta has been appointed as the new Chief Secretary of Maharashtra. He will succeed UPS Madan who has been named as the special advisor to Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. A 1984-batch IAS officer, Mehta holds.

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Important Current Affairs 19th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Norway topped and India ranked 140th in World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• Norway is ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th).

• India dropped two places to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the global press freedom index analysis.

• Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.

• At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.

Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last in the World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• The index is released by Reporters Without Borders.

Top 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

1st       Norway

2nd      Finland

3rd       Sweden

4th       Netherlands

5th       Denmark

Bottom 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

176th   Vietnam

177th   China

178th   Eritrea

179th   North Korea

180th   Turkmenistan

INTERNATIONAL:

Sri Lanka launched its first Satellite.

• Sri Lanka's first satellite Raavana l was launched into space from NASA's Flight Facility on Virginia's east shore. The satellite was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It will be shuttled to the International Space Station. The “Raavana 1” was launched into space with the assistance of the US rocket “Antares”.

• Raavana 1 weights around 1.05 kg and is 1000 cubic centimetres in size. The minimum lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years and it is expected to be active for five years. Raavana 1 satellite's camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The Raavana-l is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from the earth. The satellite will achieve an active attitude stabilization which ensures that the satellite's attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The launch of Raavana-l marks Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

Saudi Arabia to host G20 Summit in 2020, first in Arab world.

• Saudi Arabia will host the annual G20 leaders' summit on November 21-22, 2020, in its capital Riyadh.

• This will be the first G20 Summit to be hosted in the Arab world.

Japan will host this year's G20 summit in Osaka, which will be held June 28-29, as well as ministerial meetings in eight cities.

• In 2018, the conference was held in Buenos Aries, Argentina and focused on the global economy, the future of labour markets and gender equality.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Canara Bank became the first PSB to meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced that Canara Bank has successfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs, is the first public sector bank to shift to EMV chip and PIN for card present transactions across the country’s vast ATM network.

• What is EMV Chip?

• EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa, the three Organisations that developed and established EMV as the global standard for chip-based credit and debit transactions. The EMVstandard helps to maximise security and global interoperability so that Visa cards can continue to be accepted around the world.

IMF and World Bank Launched Learning Coin For In-House Purposes.

• International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have together launched a private blockchain with a pseudo-token.

The new token, called “Learning Coin” accessible within the IMF and World Bank the main purpose to teach relevant individuals within the organizations about block chain.

• Though the coin has no real value hence the description pseudo-token staff members who pass educational milestones will receive the tokens which can then be redeemed for certain rewards.

Canara Bank Becomes The First Public Sector Bank In India To Meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions Canara Banksuccessfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs

Bandhan Bank Gets CCI Nod For Merger With Gruh Finance.

• Bandhan Bankreceived approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed scheme of amalgamation of Gruh Finance with the bank.

• The approval has been made under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

• Bandhan Bank in January 2019, announced the merger of Gruh Finance with it.

DAYS:

International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April.

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April every year. In 1982, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. UNESCO approved it the following year during its 22nd General Conference. Since then, 18 April has been a day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are.

• The theme for International Day for Monuments and Sites 2019 is Rural Landscapes, which is linked to the theme of the 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on Rural heritage to take place in October in Marrakesh, Morocco. The day offers the opportunity for National and International Scientific Committees to raise awareness about the relevance of rural landscapes, the challenges that encompass their conservation, the benefits that these efforts provide, and how rural landscapes are intrinsically related with sustainable development.

• Some of the main features that define rural landscapes are its fragility and use. While any changes in the conditions that sustain the living and evolving landscape might involve a dramatic transformation, or even a complete abandon or loss of a landscape, it is the conservation of its use which enables its tangible and intangible heritage to survive.

April 19 is observed as World Liver Day.

• The World Liver Day (WLD) is observed every year on April 19 to build awareness and understanding importance of liver in human body and how liver ailments are treated.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are 10th most

• common cause of death in India.

AWARDS:

UN honoured Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan.

• United Nations honoured 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. UNMISS is working to deter violence against civilians by providing a safe and secure environment for South Sudanese people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at Protection of Civilian sites across the country. It aims to provide a safe and supported environment so that these people can return to their former homes and communities to live safely and with dignity.

• UNMISS peacekeepers are also working to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, shelter and healthcare, to the millions of displaced people. It also protects, monitors, investigates, and reports on human rights violations and abuses with a strong focus on the most vulnerable, such as women and children and those who are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

• UNMISS is committed to helping build durable peace in South Sudan. It is working as a partner at a national and sub-national level with political, religious, traditional and community leaders as well as at grassroots with communities and individuals across the country to advance reconciliation efforts, to strengthen conflict resolution mechanisms and build national cohesion as well as to engage in regional and international peace initiatives.

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Important Current Affairs of 9th April

NATIONAL:

Around 5,000 Naga Konyak women dance set a Guinness World Record in Nagaland

• In an attempt to set a new Guinness World Records in the category of ‘largest traditional Konyak dance display,’ around 5,000 Konyak community women, all decked up in colorful traditional attire, danced to the tune of a ceremonial song at Nagaland, coinciding with the Aoleang festival.

• The theme of this year’s Aoleang, also called Mini Hornbill festival, was ‘Empowering women for cultural heritage.

INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations.

• The two ships are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

• INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship. Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

Adani Power receives LoI to acquire KWPCL.

• Adani Power received a letter of intent (LoI) to acquire debt-laden Korba West Power Company Ltd. (KWPCL). 

• The committee of creditors of KWPCL, a company undergoing insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has approved the resolution plan submitted by Adani Power.  KWPCL owns and operates a 600 megawatt thermal power plant in Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh.

Biannual Army Commanders Conference began in New Delhi.

• The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference began in New Delhi for the planning and execution process of the Indian Army.

• Some issues like the management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats were discussed in this conference.

• Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her opening address at the conference and the Chief of the Army Staff chaired the conference. About Defence Ministry Formed: 1776; 243 years ago  Headquarters: Cabinet Secretariat Raisina Hill, New Delhi.

Guwahati Railway station first to get ISO certification in India.

• The Guwahati Railway Station has become the first ever railway station in the Indian Railways to get an ISO certification from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for ‘providing passenger amenities in a clean and green environment.

• ’ ISO certification received by Guwahati Railway Station is ISO-14001, which is for Environment Management System as per international norms which were upgraded in 2015. Thus, the station’s certificate reads ISO 14001: 2015.

INTERNATIONAL:

Israel to go to polls to elect new parliament.

• Israel will go to polls to elect a new parliament. Fourteen main parties are competing for 120 seats in the Knesset or parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running for his fifth term in office. 

• His main challenger is Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff for Israeli military who is a newcomer to politics. The main Voters will cast their ballots for a party, not a candidate.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI issues norms for banks to set up currency chests.

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rolled out with guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests, which include the minimum area of 1,500 square feet for the strong room. 

• The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. It added that for those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, capacity should be 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.

HDFC Bank to rise up to Rs.50, 000 crore by issuing bonds.

• Private lender HDFC Bank said it is planning to raise up to Rs.50,000 crore this fiscal by issuing bonds on private placement basis.

•  It will raise funds by issuing perpetual debt instruments [part of additional tier I capital], tier II capital bonds and long-term bonds [financing of infrastructure and affordable housing] up to a total amount of Rs.50,000 crore in the period of next 12 months through private placement mode. The bank would consider the proposal on April 20.

World Bank estimates India’s GDP to expand 7.5 percent in FY20.

• The World Bank expects India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to accelerate to 7.5% in fiscal year 2019-20. This would be driven by continued investment strengthening, particularly private-improved export performance and resilient consumption. Industrial growth accelerated to 7.9 per cent, making up for a deceleration in services. Agriculture growth was robust at four per cent. The real GDP growth is estimated at 7.2 per cent in FY18/19.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Kirstjen Nielsen resigns as Homeland Security Secretary.

• Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, resigned her position on 7th April. Ms.Nielsen will, however, stay on until April 10.

• Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs, and Border Protection Commissioner will take charge as Acting Homeland Security Secretary.

•  Ms. Nielson, who has had a rocky working relationship with President Donald Trump, handed in her resignation at a time when there were growing signs of division within the administration over how to handle the swelling numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

AWARDS:

Presidents Certificate of Honor and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards Conferred

• Vice President Venkaiah Naidu conferred President’s Certificate of Honour and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards at New Delhi. 

• The award of the Certificate of Honour was introduced in the year 1958 to honour the scholars of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian Languages.

• Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Distinction is conferred on persons in recognition of their substantial contribution in the field of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Odiya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam.

SPORTS:

Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics.

• Indian swimmer Kushagra Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics, Tokyo. It was after he achieved the B standard of the 800m freestyle event at the Speedo Thailand Age Group Championships in Bangkok.

Graham Reid appointed as chief coach of India men's hockey team.

• Reid was part of the silver-medal winning Australian team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Reid's appointment till the end of 2020 was ratified after Hockey India received necessary clearance from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

• India had been without a chief coach since Harendra Singh was sacked after last year's World Cup Reid will be in charge of the team during their next international assignment -- tour to Australia in May 2019.

Isaak Hayik, 73, set a new record as world’s oldest soccer player.

• A 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik set a new world record as the world’s oldest person to play in a professional soccer match. The previous record holder was 53 years old Uruguayan Robert Carmona who was played a professional match in 2015.

Malaysia Open Badminton 2019: Lin Dan clinched title in Mens Single’s category.

• Chinese badminton ace Lin Dan clinched the Malaysia Open 2019 title against countryman Chen Long to claim his first major title in two years. The 2019 Malaysia Open, officially the CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open 2019, is a badminton tournament which takes place at Axiata Arena in Malaysia from 2 to 7 April 2019 and has a total purse of $700,000.

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India inks open skies pact with Greece

India on 7 September 2016 signed the bilateral Air Services Agreement with Greece to allow unlimited points of call for domestic airlines in Greece.
•    Both the countries have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) in this regard under the Open Sky Policy.
•    It will be the first such ASA with Greece, a country known for its tourist spots and scenic beauty.
•    Indian Government Signed the MoU with Greece under the provisions of the new Civil Aviation Policy with an aim to improve international air connectivity for Indian carriers. 
•    As per the policy, the government will enter into an Open Sky Air Services Agreement on a reciprocal basis with SAARC nations as well as countries with territory located entirely beyond a 5000 kilometre radius from New Delhi.
 

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BSNL, Microsoft sign MoU to offer IT Solutions


BSNL and Microsoft India have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to offer telecom and IT solutions for big businesses to meet the demand for IT and cloud services. 
•    This will help audio and video needs of BSNL's enterprise customers, including government organizations. 
•    Notably, BSNL has large shares in landline network, including leased line connectivity to various enterprises.
•    BSNL and Microsoft India have announced the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding to offer telecom and IT solutions for big businesses to meet the demand for IT and cloud services. 
•    It was incorporated on 15 September 2000.
•    It is the largest provider of fixed telephony and broadband services with more than 60% market share and sixth largest mobile telephony provider in India
•    However, in recent years the company's revenues and market share have plummeted into heavy losses due to intense competition in the Indian telecommunications sector

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