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Important Current Affairs 22nd January 2020

National 


Supreme Court forms committee to draft mediation law

•    The Supreme Court has set up a committee to firm up draft legislation to give legal sanctity to disputes settled through mediation. The panel, to be headed by mediator Niranjan Bhat.
•    The other members of the panel, appointed by the Mediation and Project Conciliation Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court, included Justice K Kanan, former ASGs AS Chandok and PS Narsimha, senior advocates Sriram Panchu and JP Singh, and senior mediators Susheela S, Sadhna Ramchandran, Laila Ollapally, and Anil Xavier.
•    Chief Justice of India: Sharad Arvind Bobde; Founded: 28th January 1950.

UP Govt launches Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana
•    Uttar Pradesh Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana. This scheme will provide financial assistance to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields.
•    government has also decided to implement Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana to boost tourism in state. under Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana one tourist point will be developed with a fund of 50 lakh rupees in each and every assembly segment of the state.


International


Greece elects Katerina Sakellaropoulou as first female President
•    
Katerina Sakellaropoulou has been elected as the first woman President of Greece. She received majority votes cutting across party lines. 
•    She will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos and will be the first President who does not belong to any party. 
•    She has also Greece’s traditional norm of men mostly taking senior government positions. 


World Economic Forum 2020: US joins One Trillion Trees initiative, Greta Thunberg says emissions have to stop
•    
US President Donald Trump affirmed during the first day of the 50th World Economic Forum that the United States harbours the cleanest air and drinking water on Earth.
•    He also announced that the US will be joining the One Billion Trees initiative and continue to work towards restoring and growing forests and trees. 


Banking and Economy

Telecom department approves FDI limit in Bharti Airtel to 100%

•    The Telecom department of India has approved the Bharti Airtel Ltd to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the company to 100%. 
•    The approval from the Telecom department will enable Singtel or Singapore Telecommunications Ltd to increase its stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd currently owns 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.
•    Bharti Telecom is the single-largest shareholder in Bharti Airtel with about a 41% stake while Singtel owns 48% in Bharti Telecom, which provides it a 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.

RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops
•    On January 15, 2020 India’s central bank i.e., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad after it purchased 25.2 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2019 according to World Gold Council(WGC) report titled “Outlook 2020: Global economic trends and their impact on gold”. 
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland have purchased more gold than India in 2019.

Sports

Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik inducted in AlCS

•    Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik are among the new inductees in the government's All India Council of Sports (AICS).
•    It is an advisory body to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which was formed in 2015 by the  then Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
•    Its term has also been extended by three years and it will continue to be led by veteran sports administrator V K Malhotra as President.
•    Some other renowned new entrants in the Council are former shooter Anjali Bhagwat, footballer Renedy Singh, and mountaineer Bachendri Pal. Senior India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also been inducted in the council. 


 

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Important Current Affairs 21st January 2020

National 


Brazil President Bolsonaro to be chief guest at 71st Republic Day

• Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro will be the Chief Guest at the 71st Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi on January 26, 2020. 
• President Bolsonaro will be on a four-day visit to India and will be leading a delegation of 7 Ministers and the Chairman of Brazil-India Friendship Group. 
• President Bolsonaro will also hold talks with President Ram Nath Kovind and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

50th Annual Meeting of WEF begins in Davos
•    The 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum begins in Davos, Switzerland. On the Indian side, Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal will lead the delegation to the WEF. 
•    This year programme will focus on achieving the maximum impact on the Forum’s platform for public-private cooperation. This year 50th Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum theme will be “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World”.

Madhya Pradesh to observe National Girl Child Day on January 24

• Madhya Pradesh will observe the National Girl Child Day on January 24, 2020 on the theme “Aware girl child-able Madhya Pradesh" under Beti Bachao-Beti Padhao scheme. 
• On the occasion, the state government will examine the health of girls and will create awareness about the rights of girls & daughters.


PM to chair 32nd PRAGATI meeting 

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will on January 22, 2020 chair the 32nd PRAGATI meeting. 
• PRAGATI is an ICT-based multi-modal platform for effective governance and timely implementation of projects.
• In previous 31 PRAGATI interactions, PM Modi has approved projects worth over Rs 12 lakh crore.


Banking and Economy


Rs 70,000 crore loan amount has been disbursed till Jan 13 under MSMEs scheme: Govt
•    The Finance Ministry has stated that a loan amount of nearly seventy thousand crore rupees has been disbursed till 13th of this month under the scheme of providing loan to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises – MSMEs within 59 minutes.
•    Out of the 2.73 lakh applications received, 2.19 lakh applications have been approved.
•    For  ease of access to credit for MSMEs, the government has introduced loan provision to MSMEs through a dedicated online portal- psbloansin59 minutes.com.
•    The portal acts as a single interface portal which facilitates in principal approval of bank loans to Micro Small and Medium Enterprises upto five crore rupees within 59 minutes.


BEL commissions real time train info system for Railways
•    Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL), the Bengaluru-based defence PSU, has commissioned Phase I of the Real Time Train Information System (RTIS) for the Railways.
•    RTIS provides real-time train information to the Railways thereby increasing its operational efficiency, in addition to enhancing passenger safety.
•    The system has been commissioned through the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS), under the technical guidance of Space Applications Centre (SAC), ISRO.

India among top 10 FDI recipients, attracts $49 billion inflows in 2019: UN report
•    India was among the top 10 recipients of Foreign Direct Investment in 2019, attracting $49 billion in inflows, a 16 per cent increase from the previous year, driving the FDI growth in South Asia, according to a UN report.
•    The Global Investment Trend Monitor report compiled by United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) states that the global foreign direct investment remained flat in 2019 at $1.39 trillion, a one per cent decline from a revised $1.41 trillion in
•    This is against the backdrop of weaker macroeconomic performance and policy uncertainty for investors, including trade tensions.


Sports

India wins Diplomat Cup Cricket Championship 2020

•    The team of the Indian Consulate has won the Diplomat Cup Cricket Championship of 2020 held in Sharjah. The team of the Indian Consulate defeated the Pakistan Consulate to win the trophy which was organized by Skyline University College in Sharjah. 
•    The Consulate team of 8 countries participated in the tournament. The participating Consulates were: India, Australia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh , Afghanistan, South Africa, Pakistan and the US.


ACQUISITION AND MERGERS


Zomato acquires UberEats India for nearly Rs 2,500 crore in all-stock deal
•    Zomato announced that it has acquired Uber’s Food Delivery Business in India in an all-stock deal and Uber will have 9.99 per cent stake in the Deepinder Goyal-led food delivery platform.
•    It is in the range of over USD 350 million or nearly Rs 2,500 crore. Uber Eats in India will discontinue operations and direct restaurants, delivery partners, and users of the Uber Eats apps to the Zomato platform.
•    We are proud to have pioneered restaurant discovery and to have created a leading food delivery business across more than 500 cities in India. This acquisition significantly strengthens our position in the category stated Goyal, Founder and CEO, Zomato.
 

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Important Current Affairs 20th January 2020

National 


Printing process for Union Budget 2020-21 begins

• The Printing process for the Union Budget 2020-21 began with the Halwa ceremony in North Block on January 20, 2020.
• The Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be presenting the Union Budget 2020-21 on February 1, 2020. 
• At present, all the officials involved in the preparation of Union Budget 2020 have been subject to “Lock-in” to avoid any prospective leak of information. 

PM Modi interacts with students at Pariksha Pe Charcha 2020

• The 3rd Edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha was held on January 20, 2020 at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi. 
• Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with over 2000 students who would appear for the Board Exams 2020. 
• PM Modi shared interesting tips for exam preparations and also talked about the ways to handle stress and anxiety.

First squadron of Sukhoi-30 aircraft inducted into Indian Air Force

• The first squadron of Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft was inducted into the Indian Air Force at its Thanjavur base, Tamil Nadu on January 20, 2020. 
• The Sukhoi-30 aircraft has been integrated with the supersonic BrahMos missiles.
• This 222-squadron known as the Tigersharks will serve as a platform for conducting aerial and maritime missions in the Indian Ocean Region.

NDRF Celebrates its 15th Raising Day

•    The National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) celebrated its 15th Raising Day on 19th January. National Disaster Response Force (NDRF), a specialized multi-skilled, humanitarian force of the country, came into existence on January 19th, 2006 has been playing a vital role in Disaster Management and Community awareness for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) in the country.
•    The NDRF has earned good name and fame nationally and internationally with its selfless service and unmatched professionalism in disaster management. NDRF has saved more than One lakh lives in its 3100 operations and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters. A workshop was also be conducted on ‘Urban flooding & challenges’ and ‘Biological Emergencies & New Technology in Disaster Management’.

International

Coronavirus in China: 139 new cases reported so far

• The outbreak of deadly novel coronavirus has now spread to Beijing and Shenzhen cities of China.
• So far, the authorities have reported a total of 198 confirmed cases of coronavirus containment and death of 3 people.
• A few cases of coronavirus infection have been reported from Thailand and Japan as well. 

Awards

‘Castle of Dreams’ gets Best Film Award at DIFF
•    The Iranian film ‘Castle of Dreams’ directed by Reza Mirakarimi won the Best Film Award in Asian Competition section of the 18th Dhaka International Film Festival (DIFF). The film also won the Best Director Award.
•    Indian film ‘Finally Love’ directed by Anjan Dutt bagged Best Audience Award in Cinema of the World Category. Sri Lankan director Prasanna Vithanage’s film ‘Children of the Sun’ won Special Jury Award.

SAG Awards 2020 winners list


The winners of the 26th Screen Actors Guild Awards were awarded at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, the US on 19 January. The award honours the biggest achievements in TV and film for the year 2019.

Winners' List:
Television Awards:
Television Movie/Miniseries (Male): Sam Rockwell, Fosse/Verdon 
Television Movie/Miniseries (Female): Michelle Williams, Fosse/Verdon
Drama Series (Male): Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
Drama Series (Female): Jennifer Aniston, The Morning Show
Comedy Series (Male): Tony Shalhoub, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Comedy Series (Female): Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Fleabag
Ensemble in a Drama Series: The Crown
Ensemble in a Comedy Series: The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series: Game of Thrones

Motion Picture Awards:
Leading Role (Male): Joaquin Phoenix, Joker
Leading Role (Female): Renée Zellweger, Judy
Supporting Role(Male): Brad Pitt, Once Upon A Time In Hollywood
Supporting Role (Female): Laura Dern, Marriage Story
Cast in a Motion Picture: Parasite
Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture: Avengers: Endgame

Science & Technology

APEDA sets up 186 Agri products testing laboratories

•    20 January 2020 Current Affairs:Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) has added 135 laboratories to existing 51 recognized laboratories. With this addition of laboratories, APEDA recognition of laboratories has reached 186 laboratories in India. 
•    The move is significant as the Laboratory testing requirements are crucial in the Agri export supply chain. The number of laboratories added includes 35 in Maharashtra, 23 in Gujarat, 10 in Andhra Pradesh & Telangana, 23 in Tamil Nadu 17 in and Karnataka. 

•    APEDA introduced a policy decision for the simplification of APEDA recognition of laboratories to increase the laboratory network further. It has been decided that the laboratories which are National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories (NABL) accredited will be recognized by APEDA. These laboratories will be added in the network of APEDA recognition laboratories.

Appointment


Union Minister Arjun Munda was elected as the President of AAI

•    Union Minister Arjun Munda was elected as the President of the Archery Association of India (AAI) elections. Arjun Munda defeated his rival BVP Rao by a margin of 34-18 votes. 
•    Munda was elected for a full tenure of four years. The AAI elections were held according to the Delhi High Court order. 
•    The election was held in the presence of an observer each from World Archery (WA), Sports Ministry and Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

GoI appoints Nripendra Misra as chairman of NMML

•    Nripendra Misra has been appointed chairperson of the executive council of the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library (NMML). The Executive Council of the NMML has been reconstituted and it will be now chaired by Mr Misra. Dr A Surya Prakash, chairperson of the Prasar Bharati board, will be the council’s vice-chairperson.

•    The Nehru Memorial Museum & Library (NMML) established in the memory of Jawaharlal Nehru (1889 – 1964) is an autonomous institution under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India.

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Important Current Affairs 19th January 2020

National 


Piyush Goyal to lead Indian Delegation to World Economic Forum 2020
•    The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, will lead the Indian delegation to the 50th World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meeting at Davos from January 20 to 24, 2020.
•    The theme of the 2020 meeting is “Stakeholders for a Cohesive and Sustainable World“.

National Immunization Day 2020
In India, the National Immunization Day was observed on 19 January 2020.
•    As a part of the celebrations, Pulse Polio Immunization programme 2020 was launched where President Ram Nath Kovind administered Polio drops to children below five years at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
•    Under this programme, approximately 17.4 crore children of less than five years of age across the country will be administered polio drops as a part of the immunization drive of the Central Government to sustain polio eradication from the country.

International


New Disease Outbreak: Novel corona virus Grips China’s Wuhan City
•    The Wuhan City of China is in a grip of a new disease outbreak caused by new respiratory virus called Novel corona virus, codenamed as 2019-nCoV.
•    Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
•    2019-nCoV is a new strain that has not been previously identified in humans.
•    The outbreak has so far killed two people in China and sickened at least 45 persons including overseas cases with some new cases being detected in the city.
•    It is believed to have contracted through exposure to animals market that sells seafood and meat in Wuhan.


Banking and Economy


Mastercard to invest $1 bn in India over 5 years towards tech development
•    Global payments company Mastercard planned to invest nearly $1 billion in India over the next five years. The proposed investment will be made over five years in our India operations includes an R&D facility at Pune and another center at Vadodara.
•    The company is also working closely with technology and financial startups in the country by focusing on the innovation and digital payments matrices under its flagship Start Path program,

Half of World’s GDP Moderately or Highly Dependent on Nature: WEF study
•    The World Economic Forum released The New Nature Economy Report titled ‘Nature Risk Rising’ on 19 January 2020.
•    The report has been published by WEF in collaboration with PwC, UK.

RBI Ranks 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad in 2019: WGC Report
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) was the sixth largest gold buyer abroad in the year 2019, as per the World Gold Council (WGC) report titled, “World Gold Outlook 2020”.
•    The RBI currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold, which is 6.6 percent of its forex reserves.
•    RBI bought 7.5 tonnes of gold in October 2019, to increase its foreign exchange reserves to $450 billion.
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey, Poland bought more than India in 2019 respectively.

NPCI Launches Blockchain-based ‘Vajra Platform’ to Secure Online Payment
•    The National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) has launched a blockchain-technology based payment system ‘Vajra Platform’ for automating payment clearing and settlement processes.
•    Vajra platform is based on Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT), to provide highly secure and tamper-evident transactions stored in a distributed and immutable database.
•    Vajra is a permissioned network that will be set up so that only the parties who have been approved by the Network Administrator can be a part of the network.
•    The platform has three types of nodes: Clearing House node (CHN) for NPCI, UIDAI node for Aadhaar authentication, and Participant node (PN) for all banks/ASP/PPI/PSP

Ranking

Gujarat ranked top for water efficiency Delhi among worst performing states

•    Gujarat ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets in the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti.
•    Rajasthan is the third-best, and Delhi is among the worst-performing states, according to the ranking for 2019 circulated to different state governments recently. 
•    The seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India, got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission.


 

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Important Current Affairs 18th January 2020

National 


Conference on Census 2021 held in New Delhi
•    A Conference of the Chief Secretaries and Administrator State and Union Territories on Census 2021 and updating of National Population Register, NPR was held in New Delhi today.
•    Inaugurating it, Minister of State for Home Nityanand Rai laid emphasis on the need of conducting Census 2021 and the role of the States in doing the same.
•    He also said that the data collected in the Census helps us in framing policies for the welfare of the people of the country. Mr Rai also inaugurated the Official Mascot for Census 2021.

International


Russia to deliver S-400 air defence systems to India by 2025
Russia started the production of S-400 long-range surface-to-air missile systems for India. The five units will be delivered to India by 2025.
S-400 air defence missile systems
•    The S-400 air defence missile systems are among the best in the world. This will significantly bolster India’s air defence mechanism. In October 2018, India signed a USD 5 billion deal to buy the air defence missile systems.
•    The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300 previously been available to the Russian defence forces. It is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007


Oleksiy Honcharuk Resigns as Prime Minister of Ukraine
•    The incumbent Prime Minister of Ukraine, Oleksiy Honcharuk submitted his resignation to President Volodymyr Zelenskiy .The resignation is however still to be confirmed by the President.
•    Oleksiy Honcharuk has been the Prime Minister of Ukraine since 29 August 2019 becoming the youngest-ever head of government at the age of 35.
•    Ukraine capital – Kyiv; Currency – Ukrainian hryvnia

Banking and Economy

UN slashes India's GDP growth forecast to grow at 5.7%

•    On January 16, 2020, According to the ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020’ report  released by the United Nations (UN), it has slashed India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for the year 2019-20 by 1.9% to 5.7%. Earlier in 2019,It had projected GDP growth rate of 7.6% for FY 2019-20.
•    It has lowered the India’s growth rate to be 6.6% in the next financial year-FY 2020-21 from 7.4 % earlier. It has also estimate a growth rate of 6.3 % for the fiscal beginning in 2021,while the growth rate was 6.8% in FY 2018-19.

3 major reasons for the reduction in GDP growth
Auto Industry: In 2019, this sector saw the slowdown., whereby the vehicle sales volume witnessed the fastest decline in 19 years. The auto industry records for 7% of the India’s GDP and 49% of the manufacturing GDP.
IIP(Index of Industrial Production):India’s industrial activity continuously at a sluggish manner due to the major steps like corporate tax cuts in September 2019. The IIP (Index of Industrial Production) rose by 1.8% in November 2019, after declining between August –October,2019.
NBFCs: One of the main reasons for the decline in GDP growth is the cash crisis of non-banking finance companies (NBFCs). The crisis came in September 2018 after the Indian infrastructure development and finance company,Infrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) defaulted in debt payments.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S


NITI Aayog and UT of Ladakh sign MoU to promote development in Ladakh
•    NITI Aayog and Union Territory of Ladakh sign MoU for Development of Infrastructure Projects in Ladakh.  It was signed between NITI Aayog Senior Adviser Dr Yogesh Suri and Adviser to the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Umang Narula. The agreement was executed in the presence of NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant.

•    Under this agreement, NITI Aayog will be supporting the UT’s administration through its key initiative ‘Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects (D3S-i)’. In an important initiative to promote the development of key infrastructure sectors in the newly constituted Union Territory of Ladakh.


Obituary


Former Indian legendary All-Rounder Bapu Nadkarni passed away
Former Test all-rounder Rameshchandra Gangaram 'Bapu' Nadkarni passed away on Friday (January 17) in Mumbai at the age of 86. Nadkarni, best known for bowling a record 21 consecutive maiden overs in a Test match.


Sports

The journey to ICC U19 Cricket World Cup 2020 set to begin
•    The ICC Under-19 World Cup Cricket 2020 begins in South Africa. Indian team played under the captaincy of Priyam Garg. 
•    The final of the tournament will be played on Feb 09 at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa. India is the most successful team in the tournament, having won four titles till date.
•    India is the defending champions in U19 World Cup 2018. Total 16 teams are participating in the tournament, split into four groups of four.

Sania Mirza and Nadiia Kichenok wins WTA doubles title 

•    Sania Mirza (India) and Nadiia Kichenok (Ukraine) have won the women's doubles title of the WTA International trophy at Hobart, Australia. 
•    They beat Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang from China 6-4,6-4. It's Sania's 42nd WTA doubles title and first since Brisbane International trophy in 2007 with American partner Bethanie Mattek-Sands.

Vinesh Phogat wins gold medal in UWW Rome Ranking Series 2020
•    The 2020 season’s first UWW Ranking Series was held from January 15 to 18 in the Italian Capital, Rome.
•    India’s wrestling champion Vinesh Phogat defeated Ecuador’s Luisa Elizabeth Melendres 4-0 in the final (53 kg) to win her first gold medal of the season at the UWW Rome Ranking Series.


 

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Important Current Affairs 17th January 2020

National 


Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis: Home Minister presides over signing of Historic Agreement to end the Bru-Reang Refugee Crisis

•    Union Home Minister Amit Shah recently signed a historic pact between Bru-Reang representatives, Central Government and Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and to end 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis. 

•    Under the agreement, each displaced family of Bru-Reang Tribals will be given 40x30 sq. ft. of residential plots along with Rs. 1.5 lakhs to build their houses, a fixed deposit of Rs. 4 lakhs, free ration for 2 years and Rs. 5000 cash every month for 2 years.

•    Bru -Reang are one of the 21 scheduled tribes. The Bru can be found Tripura ,Mizoram and Assam

1st edition of Krishi Manthan begins in Gujarat

The 1st edition of Krishi Manthan– the largest Food, Agri-business and Rural Development Summit of Asia begins in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. This summit is organized by Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad.

Defence Minister dedicates 51st K9 Vajra-T guns to nation

•    Defence Minister Rajnath Singh dedicates the 51st K9 Vajra-T guns to the nation. 
•    This gun is self-propelled Howitzer gun made by L&T’s Armoured System Complex at Hazira in Gujarat. 

‘K9 VAJRA-T’ Guns
•    The ‘K9 VAJRA-T’ Tracked, Self-Propelled Howitzer Guns are being manufactured by Larsen & Toubro under the contract awarded to the company by Ministry of Defence through global competitive bidding to deliver 100 such guns.
•    More than 75 percent of K9 Vajra has been manufactured in India.
•    The gun weighs 50 tonnes and can fire 47-kilogram bombs at targets up to a distance of 43 kilometres. It can also turn around at zero radius.

Arunachal Pradesh Becomes First State to ink Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with IUCN
•    Aunachal Pradesh has become the first State in India to sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).
•    As per the MoU, the state government will collaborate to prepare the IUCN’s Red List Assessment for all orchids in the State.
•    The Department of Environment and Forest is the nodal department for execution of the project.
•    IUCN Headquarters: Gland, Switzerland

International


Microsoft promises to be carbon negative by 2030

•    The US tech giant Microsoft has announced that it would become “carbon negative” by year 2030. The announcement has been made in the form of its increased efforts to combat the climate change.
•     The company announced that it vows to eliminate all the carbon emissions created by the company since its inception in 1975.

•    Microsoft has also announced its investment of $1 billion in a “climate innovation fund” for technology for carbon capture and removal.

•    Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft: Satya Nadella.
•    Founded: April 4, 1975; Headquarters: Washington, United States(US).


Banking and Economy


World Bank and GOI Inks USD 88 million loan agreement for the implementation of Assam Inland Water Transport Project
•    The Government of India, the Government of Assam and the World Bank has signed a loan agreement worth $88 million for the implementation of the Assam Inland Water Transport Project (AIWTP).
•    The loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) will help to
o    Modernize the passenger ferry infrastructure and its services
o    Strengthen the capacity of the institutions running the inland water transport
o    Make ferry services more sustainable with least disruption to nature, because of technically better designed terminals and energy-efficient vessels (both new and retrofitted).

Science & Technology


ISRO's GSAT-30 satellite successfully launched aboard Ariane rocket

•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) on January 17, 2020 launched the first satellite of the year 2020 - ‘GSAT-30’ from French Guiana. GSAT-30 is a telecommunication satellite and has a mission life of around 15 years.
•    The GSAT 30 satellite was launched onboard Ariane 5 launch vehicle (VA 251) along with the European Space Company’s Eutelsat Konnect, a telecommunication satellite. It has been configured to give a boost to communication services such as television uplink, DTH,  digital satellite news and VSAT. It weighs approximately 3357 kg.
•    The satellite derives its heritage from ISRO's previous INSAT/GSAT satellite series. It will replace INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage.

Ranking


WEF Global Risks Report 2020: Climate action failure, biodiversity loss, extreme weather top global risks
•    WEF Global Risks Report 2020 was released by the World Economic Forum on January 15, 2020. The report is based on the Global Risks Perception Survey of the WEF that is conducted annually. 
•    The report categorized all Global Risks into five categories - Economic Risks, Environmental Risks, Geopolitical Risks, Societal Risks and Technological Risks.
•    The Global Risks Report 2020 comes at a time when the global economy is facing a synchronized slowdown, cyber-attacks are on a rise and climate change is becoming an increasingly concerning phenomenon with the past five years being the warmest on record.

Most Powerful Passports of 2020: India ranks 84th
•    The Henley Passport Index 2020 was released recently, revealing the most powerful passports of the year 2020. Japan’s passport was ranked as the Most Powerful Passport of 2020. 
•    Indian passport was ranked at 84th position in the index that listed passports of 199 countries and 227 tourist places. The index is prepared on the basis of data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
•    According to the Henley Passport Index, Japan has the most powerful passport in the world.
Japan’s passport holders can visit 191 countries without any visa.
•    Top 10 countries in the index are – Singapore, Germany, South Korea, Italy, Finland, Spain, Luxembourg, and Denmark.
•    Headquarters of Henley & Partners: London, United Kingdom; Founded: 1997.
•    Chairman of Henley & Partners: Christian Kalin.
•    Chief Executive Officer(CEO): Juerg Steffen.

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Important Current Affairs 12th January 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Govt launches mission to develop steel sector in eastern India 
•    The Union Steel Minister Dharmendra Pradhan ‘Mission Purvodaya’ during an event in Kolkata on 11 January 2020 to strengthen steel sector in the Eastern region.
•    Mission Purvodaya is aimed at accelerated development of eastern India through establishment of Integrated Steel Hub.
•    The proposed Integrated Steel Hub, encompassing Odisha, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Northern Andhra Pradesh, would help towards socio-economic growth of Eastern India.
•    The Minister informed that the eastern belt has the potential to add over 75 percent of the country’s incremental steel capacity envisioned by the National Steel Policy.
•    Out of the 300 Million Tonne capacity by 2030-31, over 200 Million Tonne can come from this region alone.
•    The Integrated Steel Hub would thus enable swift capacity addition, improve the overall competitiveness of steel producers both in terms of cost and quality, growth of steel industry along with employment opportunities across the entire value chain.

BANKING AND ECONOMICS


PM Modi launches projects worth 600 crore rupees on 150th year celebrations of Kolkata Port Trust
•    The Kolkata Port has been renamed as Syama Prasad Mukherjee Port on 12 January 2020, on the occasion of 150 years of operation of Kolkata Port.
•    This announcement was made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi during an event at the Netaji Indoor Stadium in Kolkata to celebrate 150th year of celebrations of the port.
•    PM Modi also launched several Port led development projects worth Rs 600 crore as a part of the celebrations.
•    Some of the projects launched include:
o    Upgraded Ship repair facility at Netaji Subhash Dry Dock
o    Upgraded railway infrastructure of Kolkata dock system of the Kolkata Port for smooth cargo movement and river front development scheme
o    Released a commemorative stamp on 150th years of the Kolkata Port Trust
o    Mechanization of Berth No. 3 at Haldia Dock
o    Inaugurated the Kaushal Vikas Kendra and Pritilata Chhatri Avas for 200 tribal girl students from Sundarbans.
o    Honored two oldest pensioners of the Port Smt. Nagina Bhagat (105 years) and Mr. Naresh Chandra Chakraborty (100 years)
o    Launched the Port Anthem
o    Handed over a cheque of Rs 501 crore to the chairman of LIC Mr. M.R. Kumar towards final installment to meet deficit of pension funds of the Kolkata Port Trust.

India aiming at USD 250 billion maritime economy by 2024: Defence Secretary 

•    India is aiming at a $250 billion maritime economy by 2024, which the Indian Coast Guard has the responsibility to safeguard.
•    With a target of becoming a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, we are looking at over USD 250 billion coming from the maritime zone. 
•    The maritime economy constitutes nearly five per cent of the world economy

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION 


Jasprit Bumrah to receive Polly Umrigar Award.
The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) Annual Awards for 2018-19 were presented on 12 January 2020 in Mumbai. Given below is the complete list of winners.
1.    CK Nayudu Lifetime Achievement Award: Krishnamachari Srikkanth
2.    BCCI Lifetime Achievement Award For Women: Anjum Chopra
3.    BCCI Special Award: Dilip Joshi
4.    Dilip Sardesai Award (Highest run getter in Tests): Cheteshwar Pujara
5.    Dilip Sardesai Award (Highest wicket taker in Tests): Jasprit Bumrah
6.    Highest run getter in women’s internationals: Smriti Mandhana
7.    Highest wicket taker in women’s internationals: Jhulan Goswami
8.    Polly Umrigar Award for Best International Cricketer (Men): Jasprit Bumrah
9.    Best International Cricketer (Women): Poonam Yadav
10.    Best International debut (Men): Mayank Agarwal
11.    Best International debut (Women): Shafali Verma
12.    Lala Amarnath Award for Best all-rounder in Ranji Trophy: Shivam Dube (Mumbai)
13.    Lala Amarnath Award for Best all-rounder in Domestic Limited Overs competition: Nitish Rana (Delhi)
14.    Madhavrao Scindia Award for highest run getter in Ranji Trophy: Milind Kumar (Sikkim)
15.    Madhavrao Scindia Award for highest wicket taker in Ranji Trophy: Ashutosh Aman (Bihar)
16.    MA Chidambaram Trophy for Highest Run Getter in CK Nayudu Trophy: Manan Hingrajia (Gujarat)
17.    MA Chidambaram Trophy for Highest Wicket Taker in CK Nayudu Trophy: Sidak Singh (Pondicherry)
18.    MA Chidambaram Trophy for Highest Run Getter in Cooch Behar Trophy: Vathsal Govind (Kerala)
19.    MA Chidambaram Trophy for Highest Wicket Taker in Cooch Behar Trophy: Apurva Anand (Bihar)
20.    Jagmohan Dalmiya Trophy for Highest Run Getter in Vijay Merchant Trophy: Aryan Hooda (Jharkhand)
21.    Jagmohan Dalmiya Trophy for Highest Wicket Taker in Vijay Merchant Trophy: Abhishek Yadav (Jharkhand)
22.    Jagmohan Dalmiya Trophy for Best Senior Women’s Cricketer in Domestic competition: Deepti Sharma (Bengal)
23.    Jagmohan Dalmiya Trophy for Best Junior Women’s Cricketer in Domestic competition: Shafali Verma (Haryana)
24.    Best Umpire: Virender Sharma
25.    Best Performance in Domestic Tournaments: Vidarbha

SPORTS


Badminton: Japan's Kento Momota easily wins Malaysia Masters.
•    World number one Kento Momota of Japan won the 2020 Malaysia Masters defeating Denmark’s Viktor Axelsen 24-22, 21-11 on 12 January 2020.
•    The 2020 Malaysia Masters was the first tournament of the 2020 BWF World Tour.
6.    Karolina Pliskova wins in Brisbane but 'starts from zero' heading into Australian Open.
•    Czech Republic’s Karolina Pliskova defeat Madison Keys of United States 6-4, 4-6, 7-5 to win 2020 Brisbane International Tennis Tournament held at Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.
•    This was Pliskova’s third Brisbane title in four years and her 16th on the WTA tour.
•    In doubles category, Hsieh Su-wei and Barbora Strýcova defeated Ashleigh Barty and Kiki Bertens.
•    Brisbane International is a WTA Premier tournament of the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) Tour.


APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS


Tsai Ing-wen wins second term as Taiwan president.
•    Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen has secured a landslide victory in 2020 presidential elections with 57 percent of the vote in favour to win second term as the President of the Republic of China (Taiwan).
•    63-year old Tsai was the first female leader of the country, when she assumed charge for first term in May 2016.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


Naval variant of LCA Tejas successfully lands on carrier
•    The naval version of the indigenously-built Tejas light combat aircraft (LCR) successfully undertook the maiden ski-jump take-off from the aircraft carrier INS Vikramadity on 12 January 2020.
•    Earlier on 11 January 2020, the aircraft made its first landing on the deck of INS Vikramaditya, which is currently deployed in the Arabian Sea.
•    The successful landing and take off by the aircraft on INS Vikramaditya is a “great event” in the history of Indian fighter aircraft development programme.
•    The achievement put India among a select group of nations having the capability to design such a jet which can operate from an aircraft carrier.
•    The naval variant of Tejas has been developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) along with Aeronautical Development Agency (ADA), Aircraft Research and Design Centre of Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd, Centre for Military Airworthiness and Certification (CEMILAC) and CSIR among others.

OBITUARY

Veteran PTI journalist Babul Baruahhas died of prolonged illness.

•    He was associated with the premier news agency for nearly 40 years.
•     He was 80.
    

DAYS


January 2020 Important Days
Date     Name of important Days
1 January    Global Family Day
8 January    African National Congress Foundation Day
9 January    NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Day or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
11 January    Death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri
12 January    National Youth Day
15 January

15 January    Indian Army Day
Makar Sankranti
23 January    Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti
24 January    National Girl Child Day
25 January    National Voters Day
25 January    National Tourism Day
26 January    Republic Day
26 January    International Customs Day
28 January    Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
30 January    Martyrs Day or Shaheed Diwas
30 January    World Leprosy Eradication Day

1 January – Global Family Day
It is celebrated as a day of peace and sharing. Its aim is to unite and spread message of peace by considering and promoting an idea that Earth is a one Global Family so as to make world a better place to live for everyone.

8 January - African National Congress Foundation Day
South African Native National Congress (SANNC) was founded in 8 January 1912 by John Langalibalele Dube in Bloemfontein. Behind this the primary motive was to give voting rights to black and mixed race Africans or to unite African people and spearhead the struggle for fundamental political, social and economic change.
9 January – NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Day or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
NRI or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas observed every year on 9 January to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India. This day also commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January, 1915.

10 January : World Hindi Day
The World Hindi Day is celebrated every year on 10 January since 2006 to create awareness for the promotion of Hindi in the world, to introduce Hindi as an international language among other things.Former Prime Minister of India Shri Manmohan Singh declared World Hindi Day to be observed on 10 January in the year 2006.Since then, the day is observed by Ministry of External Affairs and Indian Embassies abroad.

11 January – Death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri
He was the second Prime Minsiter of Independent India. He popularised the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' He actively participated in the India's freedom struggle. Due to cardiac arrest he died on 11 January, 1966.

12 January – National Youth Day
The birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda also called Swami Vivekananda Jayanti is celebrated every year on 12 January. He was born on 12 January, 1863. The government had decided to observe it as National Youth Day because the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth. He had given speech at the Parliament of the World's religions in Chicago and glorified India's name.
15 January – Indian Army Day
Every year 15 January is observed as Indian Army Day because on this day in 1949 field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief.

15 January -- Makara Sankranti 
Makara Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya. It is observed each year in January. It marks the first day of the sun's transit into Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. 
Observances: Kite flying.
Date: Wednesday, 15 January, 2020
Celebrations: Kite flying, bonfires, fairs, surya puja in river, feast, arts, dance, socialization
Featured in religions: Hinduism
Significance: Harvest festival
Also called: Magha, Môkôr Sôngkrānti, Mela, Maghi, Bhogi

23 January - Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was born on 23 January, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. He was one of the most prominent Indian freedom fighter. His army was known as Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj. He also led an Indian national force from abroad against the Western powers during World War II.

24 January- National Girl Child Day
On 24 January every year National Girl Child Day is celebrated to highlight the inequalities faced by a majority of the girls in India, importance of education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and safety of girl children etc.
25 January- National Voters Day
Every year on 25 January National Voter's Day or Rashtriya Matdata Diwas is celebrated to encourage young voters to take part in the political process. In 2011 first time this day was celebrated to mark Election Commission's Foundation Day.

25 January- National Tourism Day
Every year on 25 January National Tourism Day is celebrated in India to raise the awareness and educate people about the importance of tourism and the role it plays in the Indian economy.
26 January- Republic Day
On 26 November, 1949 Indian Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution the supreme law of the land and replaced the Government of India Act 1935. It came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system. This day marks with the largest parade took place at Rajpath, Delhi every year.

26 January – International Customs Day
International Customs Day (ICD) is celebrated every year on 26 January by Custom Organisation to recognise the role of custom officials and agencies in maintaining border security. It also focuses on the working conditions and challenges that custom officers face in their jobs.
28 January- Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
Lala Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January, 1865 in Punjab. He was a prominent nationalist leader who played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. He also earned the title of 'Punjab Kesari' or 'the Lion of the Punjab'. He initiated the foundation of Punjab National Bank. He died on 17 November, 1928, due to serious injuries. The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Hisar, Haryana is named after Lala Lajpat Rai.

30 January – Martyrs Day or Shaheed Diwas
30 January is celebrated as Martyr's Day or Shaeed Diwas every year in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and sacrifice of three revolutionaries of India. As, on 30 January, 1948, the 'Father of Nation' was assassinated. And on 23rd March 3 heroes namely Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar of the nation were hanged to death by British.

30 January – World Leprosy Eradication Day
World Leprosy Day is observed on 30 January every year to focus on the target of zero cases of leprosy-related disabilities in children. As, we know that disabilities do not occur overnight but happen after a prolonged period of undiagnosed disease.

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Important Current Affairs 9th January 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS 

3 of world’s 10 fastest-growing urban areas are in Kerala: Economist ranking

•    On January 08,2020 latest ranking based on fastest growing urban regions/ fastest growing cities in the world was released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).
•    As per the report 3 of the cities in Kerala were ranked in the top 10 places. Malappuram city of Kerala was ranked 1st in the list, while Kerala’s Kozhikode and Kollam cities were ranked in the 4th and 10th place respectively.
•    List preparation: The list was compiled on the basis of the data provided by the United Nations Population Division (UNPD).
•    Top rankers: Malappuram was followed by Can Tho region in Vietnam at 2nd spot and Suqian in China in the 3rd spot.
•    Other indian cities: Thrissur city of Kerala was ranked at the 13th spot with a growth rate of 30.2%. Surat (Gujarat) was ranked at 27th spot and Tiruppur (Tamil Nadu) at the 30th spot.
•    Growth rate: Malappuram grew 44% from 2015 to 2020. In the past 5 years, Kozhikode had a growth rate of 34.5%, while Kollam had 31.1%.
•    About the Economist Intelligence Unit:
Fact- EIU, is a part of the popular Economist Magazine, provides forecasting and advisory services through research and analysis.
Founded- 1946.
Headquarters- London, England.
Managing Director(MD)- Robin Bew.

World's most powerful passports in 2020: Indians don't need prior visa in 58 countries says Henley Passport Index released on 8th January 2020.

•    Report on India:
India ranks at 84th place which is tagged along with Mauritania and Tajikistan, which is a drop by 2 places as it ranked 82nd in 2019
India provides visa free access to 58 countries.
Visa free visits: Some of the countries where Indian passport holders can visit without a prior visa include Bhutan, Cambodia, Indonesia, Macao, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Kenya, Mauritius, Seychelles, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Iran and Qatar tc
•    General Report:
Mobility scores: The index measures the strength of all the passports around the world, based on mobility scores which denotes the number of destinations that could be accessed by the passport-holders of a specific country, without a pre-departure visa. 
IATA covers 199 passports and 227 travel destinations.
Japan tops the list, provides visa-free access to 191 countries.
o    Top 10 countries: The countries in the top 10 list and no of destinations that could be visited without a prior visa is listed below in brackets:
    Singapore ranks 2nd (190);Germany and South Korea at 3rd (189); Finland & Italy at 4th (188);
    Denmark, Luxembourg and Spain at 5th (187); France and Sweden at 6th (186);
    Austria, Ireland, the Netherlands, Portugal and Switzerland at 7th (185); Belgium, Greece, Norway, United Kingdom(UK) and the United States of America (USA) at 8th (184);
    Australia, Canada, Czech Republic, Malta, New Zealand at 9th (183); Hungary, Lithuania, Slovakia ranked at 10th place (181).
o    Worst passport: Afghanistan’s passport is the world’s worst passport with mobility score 26 while India’s neighbouring country Pakistan’s is the fourth worst with mobility score 32. Afghanistan was followed by Iraq (mobility score-28) and Syria (mobility score- 29) having World’s worst passport.


NATIONAL NEWS

MILAN 2020: Visakhapatnam gears up to host International Naval event.
•    The City of Destiny, Visakhapatnam, is set to host the International Naval event ‘MILAN’ in March 2020.
•    MILAN 2020 is a multilateral naval exercise to enhance professional interaction between participating foreign navies and learn from each other’s strengths and best practices in the maritime domain.
•    The theme of the exercise is ‘Synergy Across the Seas’.
•    Of the 41 navies invited, confirmations from over 30 navies have been received towards their participation in MILAN 2020

MHA issues revised norms for mutual legal assistance treaties.
•    On 8th January 2020, The Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has issued revised guidelines to expedite the delivery of mutual legal assistance and justice in criminal matters with other countries under the government’s policy of zero tolerance for crime at all.
•    In this regard, India has signed Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT) with 42 countries in November 2019 for cooperation in criminal matters & the MHA is also designated ‘Central Authority of India’ for it.
•    The guidelines, issued in December 2019,are steps to speed up the delivery of justice. The revised guidelines will provide investigative agencies with step-by-step guidelines on drafting and moving request letters ,mutual legal aid requests or Letters Rogatory (LR) and summon requests, notices and other judicial documents
•    Aim: By incorporating various legal and technological developments in recent years, its goal is to make documentation more concise, focused and suited to international needs in this regard. Concerns raised by various courts have also been taken into consideration for fast and timely receipt of documents of people living abroad.
•    India is also the signatory of various international conventions like the United Nations Convention against Corruption (UNCAC), and the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (UNTOC).
•    Mutual Legal Assistance:
It  is a mechanism whereby countries cooperate with each another with the aim to provide and obtain formal assistance in prevention, investigation and prosecution of crime to ensure that the criminals do not escape for want of evidence available in various countries.

 Over eight crore farmer families benefitted under Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN) Scheme, with more than Rs 48 thousand 937 crore released under the scheme till date
 

Crime in India increased by 1.3% in 2018: NCRB
•    On January 09, 2020 National Crime Record Bureau’s (NCRB) report on Crime in India for the year 2018 was released. The report finds that over 50 lakh crimes have been registered in 2018 which is 1.3% more than that of 2017.
•     The report findings in detail are as follows:
•    The report stated that Uttar Pradesh (UP) accounted for the maximum number of economic offences in 2018 with 22,822 cases recorded. It was followed by Rajasthan (21,309 cases), Maharashtra (14,854 cases), Telangana (10,390 cases) and Bihar (9,209 cases) in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th rank respectively.
•    Crimes in 2018: Totally 50,74,634 cognizable crimes were committed in 2018. It included 31,32,954 Indian Penal Code (IPC) crimes and 19,41,680 Special and Local Laws (SLL) crimes.
•    IPC crimes: crimes under IPC have increased by 2.3% and stood at 61.7% in 2018.
•    SLL crimes: Crimes under SLL have declined by 0.1% compared to 2017 and stood at 38.3% in 2018
About National Crime Record Bureau(NCRB):
Founded- 11 March 1986.
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Motto- Empowering Indian Police with Information Technology
Director- Ramphal Pawar, IPS (Indian Police Service).

BANKING AND ECONOMICS


 Indian economy likely to grow to USD 7 tln by 2030 : Deutsche Bank
•    Deutsche Bank has predicted India’s economy to grow to $7 trillion by 2030, which is two and half times more from about $3 trillion now, making India the world’s third largest economy.
•    In its research report titled, Imagine 2030, it said that the nominal GDP growth is likely to average just over 10% through the next decade.
•    Deutsche Bank Headquarter: Frankfurt, Germany.

SBI lowers GDP estimates for FY20 to 4.6% from 5%.
•    The state-run largest lender, State Bank of India (SBI) has lowered its GDP growth forecast of India for FY20 to 4.6 percent from the previous estimate of 5 percent.
•    According to the latest SBI Ecowrap report, the growth rate is predicted to remain below 6 percent for the two years in a row.
9.    CCI report on 'Market Study on E-commerce in India' released.
The Competition Commission of India (CCI)  released a report titled “Market Study on E-commerce in India:Key Findings and Observations” after it was initiated by CCI in April 2019 for better understanding a functioning of e-commerce in India. The study was also launched to identify impediments (obstructions) to competition.
Findings:
o    Revenue sector:  Revenue from the e-commerce sector is expected to increase from $39 billion in 2017 to $120 billion in 2020,  growing at an annual rate of 51%, the highest in the world.
o    Internet sector:  The no.of internet users have increased from 445.96 million in 2017 to 665.31 million in 2019 and is also expected to increase to 829 million in 2021.
o    Goods sector:  E-commerce in the goods category in India has grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 57% in the last 7 years, and is expected to grow by 18.6% till 2022
o    Food sector: The food tech industry in India is estimated to grow at a CAGR (Compounded Annual Growth Rate) of more than 12% between 2016 and 2021.
83% of the respondent restaurants reported to have an online presence. Their online sales accounted for on an average nearly 29% of the respondent restaurants’ revenue.
Market Study on E-commerce in India:
o    The study is a combination of secondary research, questionnaire survey, group discussions, one-on-one meetings etc covered in 3 categories of e-commerce in consumer goods, accommodation services and food services.
o    Participation: 16 online platforms, 164 business entities and 7 payment system providers participated in the study. 11 industry associations, representing different stakeholder groups, also participated in the study.
o    Key issues discussed in the study: Issues that directly or indirectly have a bearing on competition were discussed. These include issues of lack of platform neutrality, unfair platform -to-business contract terms, exclusive contracts between online marketplace platforms and sellers/service providers, platform price parity restrictions and deep discounts.
o    Transparency measures for e-commerce platforms: The transparency measures include
    Search ranking- General description of the search ranking parameters should be drafted in plain and intelligible language with up to date prescriptions.
    Collection, use and sharing of data-  A policy on the data should be set.
    User review and rating mechanism-  This has to be done to ensure information symmetry, which is a prerequisite for fair competition.
    Revision in contract terms- The contract should be revised in a timely manner and revision should not be implemented before expiry of a notice period.
    Discount policy-  A clear and transparent policy on discounts should be brought up. 
About Competition Commission of India(CCI):
Founded- 14 October 2003.
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Chairperson- Ashok Kumar Gupta.
First executive- Dhanendra Kumar.

 Sunteck Realty jumps 6% on tie-up with SBI
•    On January 08, 2020 the State Bank of India(SBI) has announced a new scheme named Residential Builder Finance with Buyer Guarantee (RBBG). 
•    This new scheme’s purpose is to safeguard home buyers financially by issuing guarantee for completion of projects to customers availing SBI Home Loans. 
•    The ongoing home projects of SBI customers will be financed by the bank itself.
•    Home price range:  Housing segment with home price of up to Rs. 2.50 crores in 10 cities will be focused in the RBBG scheme initially.
•    Residential builder finance with buyer guarantee:
a.    Builders loan availability: Under the scheme, all reputed builders fulfilling the bank criteria can avail loan ranging between Rs 50 crores and Rs 400 crores. The criteria also include star rating and CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited) score.
b.    RERA act: The buyer guarantee will be available for RERA (Real Estate Regulatory Act, 2016) registered projects and a project will be considered stuck after it crosses the RERA deadline.    
c.    Amount refund: The lender would refund the entire principal amount in case the developer fails to deliver the project within the assured deadline. The refund scheme will be valid till the occupation certificate is procured by the builder.

Zero-Budget Natural Farming: AP govt inks Rs 711 cr loan pact with German bank
•    On January 8, 2020 Andhra Pradesh government signs a loan pact for Rs.711 crore with Kfw, Germany Development bank for expanding the climate-resilient Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF) in the state for the next five years.
•    Key Points:
a.    To take up the insurance scheme Andhra Pradesh government will spend Rs 304 crore in addition to encourage 2.39 lakh farmers in 591 village panchayats.
b.    ZBNF already covers about 1.28 lakh hectares in 3,011 villages of Andhra Pradesh and the financial assistance from German bank helps to cover about 2 lakh hectares in the addition.
c.    The helpline number “1800 599 3366” was also launched for enquiries related to the insurance scheme.
d.    The state government under takes ZBNF along with the Rastriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVV) and Paramparagat Krishi Vikas Yojana’s (PKVY) of the Centre government and technical supported by Azim Premji Philanthropic Initiatives.
•    About Zero-Budget Natural Farming (ZBNF):
ZBNF is a method of Chemical-free agriculture practice which aims to bring down the cost of production to zero and doubles the farmer’s income. ZBNF was also highlighted in budget 2019 for doubling farmer’s income by 2022
•    About Kfw:
Founded- 1948
Headquarters- Frankfurt, Germany
•    About Andhra Pradesh:
Chief Minister- Jagan Mohan Reddy
Governor- Biswabhushan Harichandan
Capital City- Amaravati
State Tree- Neem tree
State Flower- Water lilies
State Animal- Blackbuck
State Bird- Indian roller

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION


Indian-origin author's debut novel wins book award in UK
•    India-born author Jasbinder Bilan has bagged the coveted UK Costa Book Award 2019 in children’s book category for her debut novel ‘Asha and the Spirit Bird’.
•    Jasbinder now lives near Bath, largest city in the county of Somerset, England, with her husband and her two sons.
•    The Costa Book Awards are a set of annual literary awards recognising English-language books by writers based in Britain and Ireland.
•    The award is presented across five categories namely First Novel, Novel, Biography, Poetry and Children’s Book.


APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS


 State-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has appointed M Nagaraj as CMD.

•    On January 8,2020 State-owned Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) has appointed M Nagaraj as company’s Chairman and Managing Director(CMD) for a period of 3 months.
•    M.Ravi kanth was the former Chairman and Managing Director of HUDCO.
•    Nagaraj is also Director(Corporate Planning) of the company.
•    The shares of Hudco were trading at Rs.37.40 a piece on BSE(Bombay Stock Exchange).
•    HUDCO provides loans for housing and urban infrastructure projects.
•    Static about HUDCO:
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Founded- 25 April 1970.

 Former Allahabad HC chief justice Dilip B Bhosale quits as Lokpal member.

•    On January 9, 2020 Lokpal Member and the Former Chief Justice of the Allahabad High Court, Justice Dilip Babasaheb Bhosale has resigned from his post due to some personal reasons. 
•    He was appointed by Lokpal Chairman Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose on March 27, 2019. 
•    63-years-old Bhosale was the acting Chief Justice of the High Court of Judicature at Hyderabad for the states of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana from 2015-2016 .
•    He also served as a judge of the high courts of Bombay and Karnataka.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

New data relay satellites to keep Gaganyaan crew in touch with Earth 
•    The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has planned to launch its own satellite communication system called Indian Data Relay Satellite System (IDRSS) for tracking and communication of its space assets.
•    The IDRSS will have a constellation of two geo satellites, which will be deployed in phases.
•    The first satellites will be launched into low-Earth orbit by the end of 2020, ahead of the unmanned Gaganyaan test flight, while the second satellite will be launched in 2021, before the manned mission is embarked in 2022.
•    IDRSS will help ISRO’s ground control room to uniformly monitor India’s spaceflights and communicate with them at any given point of time, and can be used in both low orbit missions and farther missions such as those to the moon, Mars and beyond.
•    The first beneficiary of IDRSS would be the prospective crew members of the Gaganyaan mission of 2022 who can be fully and continuously in touch with mission control throughout their travel.

Railway stations to have smart cameras for facial recognition
•    On January 8, 2020 Face recognition technology developed using Artificial Intelligence (IP) has been installed in Bengaluru, Manmad and Bhusawal stations as test cases. 
•     The objective of the Railway Protection Force (RPF) is to link the facial recognition system with existing databases and identify the criminals. 
•    Indian Railways is also in the process of installing Internet Protocol (IP) based Video Surveillance System (VSS) at railway stations.
•    Key Points:
o    In the last budget Rs 250 crore was allocated to Indian Railways from Nirbhaya funds for installation of VSS in 983 railway stations.
o    RailTel, a miniratna PSU under Ministry of Railways are working for install Internet Protocol (IP)-based VSS and facial recognition system in the railway stations.
o    In the first phase of installation VSS is being installed at 200 stations and as on date work has been completed at 81 stations across India.
o    Under VSS, four types of  full HD cameras namely Dome type, Bullet type, Pan Tilt zoom type and Ultra 4k-HD cameras will be installed. Each HD camera at the station consumes approximately 1TB of data and 4k camera consumes 4 TB data per month.
o    South Western Railway (SWR) has recently installed Video Surveillance system at 6 major stations namely Ballari, Belagavi, Vasco-Da Gama , Bengaluru, Bangarpet and Hassan. Thus SWR completes the work at the end of the year 2020 in 20 stations.
o    Western Railways has installed in 10 stations namely  Bhavnagar Terminus, Udhna, Valsad, Veraval, Nagda, Navsari, Vapi, Viragam, Rajkot and Gandhidham,
•    About Indian Railways:
    Founded- April 16, 1853
    Headquarters- New Delhi
    Ministry of Railway- Piyush Goyal
    Chairman of Railway Board- Vinod Kumar Yadav
17.    China : Long March 3B launches TJSW -4
•    China has successfully launched a new communication technology experiment satellite, Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing -5 (TJSW-5) by its Long March-3B (also known as CZ [Chang Zheng]-3B) carrier rocket.
•    The mission lifted off from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan Province, a southwestern Chinese province.
•    It was the 324th mission for the Long March series of carrier rockets.
o    Key Points:
i.The satellite ,entered into space, will be used in communication, radio, television and data transmission, as well as high throughput technology test.
ii.Earlier in December 2019, China launched its heaviest and most advanced communications satellite, Shijian-20 with its largest new carrier rocket Long March-5 (also known as CZ-5) from Wenchang Space Launch Center (WSLC) in south China’s Hainan Province.
•    About TJSW (Tongxin Jishu Shiyan Weixing):
It is a series of satellites are officially Communications Engineering Test Satellites, built by Shanghai Academy of Spaceflight Technology(SAST) and the China Academy of Launch Vehicle Technology (CALT), under the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC).
•    About Long March-3B carrier:
It has the capacity to launch 11,200 kg satellite to a low Earth orbit or a 5,100 kg cargo to a geosynchronous transfer orbit (GTO).

 India's first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant likely to be commissioned by early 2021.
•    On January 8,2020 The manufacturing of the country’s first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant is likely to be commissioned by early 2021. 
•    Vikrant is currently under phase three of construction which involves setting to work of machinery and other equipment like power generation, propulsion and machinery.
o    Key Points:
i.This carrier is being built at the Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL) Kochi, Kerala.
ii.The third phase of construction will go till acceptance of harbour, sea trials and aviation trial will also take a year and it will be fully operated by 2022.
iii.The first indigenous aircraft carrier Vikrant complemented with Mikoyan MiG-29k aircraft will be showcased as part of the Navy’s tableau during the ceremonial parade on Rajpath, New Delhi on the Republic day.
o    About Cochin Shipyard Limited (CSL):
Founded- 1972.
Headquarters- Kochi, Kerala
Chairman and Managing Director(MD)– Shri Madhu S Nair.
o    About Indian Navy :
Chief of the Naval Staff- General Admiral Karambir Singh.
Founded- 5th September 1612.
Navy Day- December 4.


BOOKS AND AUTHORS


Amit Shah releases a book 'Karmayoddha Granth'
•    Union Home Minister Amit Shah released a book titled ‘Karmayoddha Granth’ which depicts the life of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
•    ‘Karmayoddha’ means a man with a beating heart for people, a statesman, a hard taskmaster, an able administrator and an ideal leader who leads by example.


SUMMITS AND MOU’S


The MoU on electoral cooperation between Election Commission of India and Electoral Commission of Mauritius renewed

•    On January 08, 2020 the Election Commission of India(ECI) has renewed its Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) on cooperation in the field of electoral management with the electoral commission of Mauritius. 
•    The renewal was done at Port Louis of Mauritius and was signed by India’s Chief Election Commissioner(CEC) Sunil Arora and Mohammed Irfan Abdool Rahman, Electoral Commissioner of Mauritius.
•    The MoU was previously in existence from April 2013-April 2018.
•    About Mauritius:
Capital- Port Louis.
Currency- Mauritian rupee.
Prime minister- Pravind Jugnauth.

SBI and Sunteck Realty Limited (SRL) signed MoU:

•    On January 08,2020 SBI and real estate development company Sunteck Realty Limited (SRL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to boost the residential housing sector under the public sector lender’s RBBG scheme with tagine “Sapna Aapka – Bharosa SBI Ka” to the home buyers. 
•    Under this MoU three projects will be constructed in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region of Maharashtra.
•    Home buyers can choose their dream homes from SBI approved projects in 10 cities enhancing trust and transparency.
•    About State Bank of India(SBI):
Formation- 1 July 1955.
Chairperson- Rajnish Kumar.
Headquarters- Mumbai.
Tagline- The banker to every Indian; With you- all the way; A bank of the common man; Pure banking, nothing else.

DAYS


January 2020 Important Days
Date     Name of important Days
1 January    Global Family Day
8 January    African National Congress Foundation Day
9 January    NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Day or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
11 January    Death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri
12 January    National Youth Day
15 January

15 January    Indian Army Day
Makar Sankranti
23 January    Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti
24 January    National Girl Child Day
25 January    National Voters Day
25 January    National Tourism Day
26 January    Republic Day
26 January    International Customs Day
28 January    Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
30 January    Martyrs Day or Shaheed Diwas
30 January    World Leprosy Eradication Day

1 January – Global Family Day
It is celebrated as a day of peace and sharing. Its aim is to unite and spread message of peace by considering and promoting an idea that Earth is a one Global Family so as to make world a better place to live for everyone.
8 January - African National Congress Foundation Day
South African Native National Congress (SANNC) was founded in 8 January 1912 by John Langalibalele Dube in Bloemfontein. Behind this the primary motive was to give voting rights to black and mixed race Africans or to unite African people and spearhead the struggle for fundamental political, social and economic change.
9 January – NRI (Non-Resident Indian) Day or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas
NRI or Pravasi Bharatiya Divas observed every year on 9 January to mark the contribution of the overseas Indian community towards the development of India. This day also commemorates the return of Mahatma Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January, 1915.
11 January – Death anniversary of Lal Bahadur Shastri
He was the second Prime Minsiter of Independent India. He popularised the slogan 'Jai Jawan Jai Kisan' He actively participated in the India's freedom struggle. Due to cardiac arrest he died on 11 January, 1966.
12 January – National Youth Day
The birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda also called Swami Vivekananda Jayanti is celebrated every year on 12 January. He was born on 12 January, 1863. The government had decided to observe it as National Youth Day because the philosophy of Swamiji and the ideals for which he lived and worked could be a great source of inspiration for the Indian Youth. He had given speech at the Parliament of the World's religions in Chicago and glorified India's name.
15 January – Indian Army Day
Every year 15 January is observed as Indian Army Day because on this day in 1949 field Marshal Kodandera M Cariappa took over as the first Commander-in-Chief of the Indian Army from General Sir Francis Butcher, the last British Commander-in-Chief.
15 January -- Makara Sankranti 
Makara Sankranti or Maghi, is a festival day in the Hindu calendar, dedicated to the deity Surya. It is observed each year in January. It marks the first day of the sun's transit into Makara, marking the end of the month with the winter solstice and the start of longer days. 
Observances: Kite flying.
Date: Wednesday, 15 January, 2020
Celebrations: Kite flying, bonfires, fairs, surya puja in river, feast, arts, dance, socialization
Featured in religions: Hinduism
Significance: Harvest festival
Also called: Magha, Môkôr Sôngkrānti, Mela, Maghi, Bhogi
 

23 January - Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose Jayanti
Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose was born on 23 January, 1897 in Cuttack, Orissa. He was one of the most prominent Indian freedom fighter. His army was known as Indian National Army (INA) or Azad Hind Fauj. He also led an Indian national force from abroad against the Western powers during World War II.
24 January- National Girl Child Day
On 24 January every year National Girl Child Day is celebrated to highlight the inequalities faced by a majority of the girls in India, importance of education, nutrition, legal rights, medical care and safety of girl children etc.
25 January- National Voters Day
Every year on 25 January National Voter's Day or Rashtriya Matdata Diwas is celebrated to encourage young voters to take part in the political process. In 2011 first time this day was celebrated to mark Election Commission's Foundation Day.
25 January- National Tourism Day
Every year on 25 January National Tourism Day is celebrated in India to raise the awareness and educate people about the importance of tourism and the role it plays in the Indian economy.
26 January- Republic Day
On 26 November, 1949 Indian Constituent Assembly adopted the Constitution the supreme law of the land and replaced the Government of India Act 1935. It came into effect on 26 January 1950 with a democratic government system. This day marks with the largest parade took place at Rajpath, Delhi every year.

26 January – International Customs Day
International Customs Day (ICD) is celebrated every year on 26 January by Custom Organisation to recognise the role of custom officials and agencies in maintaining border security. It also focuses on the working conditions and challenges that custom officers face in their jobs.
28 January- Birth Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
Lala Lajpat Rai was born on 28 January, 1865 in Punjab. He was a prominent nationalist leader who played an important role in India’s struggle for freedom. He also earned the title of 'Punjab Kesari' or 'the Lion of the Punjab'. He initiated the foundation of Punjab National Bank. He died on 17 November, 1928, due to serious injuries. The University of Veterinary and Animal Sciences in Hisar, Haryana is named after Lala Lajpat Rai.
30 January – Martyrs Day or Shaheed Diwas
30 January is celebrated as Martyr's Day or Shaeed Diwas every year in the memory of Mahatma Gandhi and sacrifice of three revolutionaries of India. As, on 30 January, 1948, the 'Father of Nation' was assassinated. And on 23rd March 3 heroes namely Bhagat Singh, Shivaram Rajguru and Sukhdev Thapar of the nation were hanged to death by British.
30 January – World Leprosy Eradication Day
World Leprosy Day is observed on 30 January every year to focus on the target of zero cases of leprosy-related disabilities in children. As, we know that disabilities 

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