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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2020

National News

Union Cabinet approves Pesticide Management Bill 2020

•   Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020. Briefing reporters in New Delhi , Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar stated, the legislation will promote organic pesticides in the country.

•  Major Ports Authority Bill to enhance overall efficiencies of the ports was cleared by the Cabinet.Cabinet has also approved changes in the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020.

Supreme Court orders parties to publish criminal records of all candidates

•   The Supreme Court recently directed all the political parties to publish the criminal records of all the candidates, if any, within the next 48 hours.

•  These records need to be published on the official websites of these political parties as well as on their social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter.

•  The apex court also asked the parties the reason behind allotting the election tickets to candidates with a criminal record.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 amended to make arbitration process user friendly

•  The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators

•  The Amendment Act seeks to a new Part to the Act of 1996 for the establishment and incorporation of an independent body namely, the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the purpose of grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of arbitrators, etc.

• As per the Act, ACI will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, to be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Banking and Economy

Nasscom’s IT revenue grows at 7.7 per cent in FY20

•  The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) projected the Indian IT sector to grow 7 per cent to reach $191 billion in FY20, with exports reaching $147 billion, and headcount addition accelerating from the previous year.

•   This is a marginal improvement over its prediction of 2018,  when it said that the IT sector will only grow by 6.1 per cent but the sector is still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about FY21, the industry body pointed out.

•  While the global economy has been moving at a sluggish pace, Indian economy only grew at 8 per cent and exports stood at $644 billion.

Awards

President Kovind presents President’s "Colour" to INS Shivaji

•    President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

•   The Presentation of Colour or Standards by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is an acknowledgement of the unit’s meritorious service.

Appointments and Resignations

G Narayanan appointed as head of New Space India Ltd

• ISRO’s senior space scientist G Narayanan has been appointed as the chairman of the commercial entity of ISRO New Space India Limited (NSIL).

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) named him for this post because he earlier worked as deputy director at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO.

• New Space India Limited (NSIL) was established in March 2019 to meet the demands of ISRO’s various space programs. The NSIL will manufacture small and lightweight satellites.

Days

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on 13 February World Radio Day 2020 celebrates the radio as a method for teaching individuals, giving data, and promoting the opportunity of expression across cultures.

The theme of World Radio Day 2020 is “Radio and Diversity”.

Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary observed as National Women's Day

India on February 13, 2020 observed Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary as National Women's Day 2020. Naidu was the first woman governor of India’s United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh).

 She was popularly known as 'Nightingale of India' for her collection of poems. She was also actively involved in the Indian National Movement

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Important Current Affairs 24th January 2020

National


National Girl Child Day 2020

•    India observed the National Girl Child Day 2020 on January 24, 2020 with an aim to raise awareness about the importance of girl child and create facilities for them. 
•    The Day is utilised as a platform to share about the atrocities and inequalities faced by girls in their lives.

India's first e-waste clinic opens in Bhopal

• The first e-waste clinic of the country has been recently opened in Bhopal. This clinic will segregate and process e-waste from household and commercial units.
• The clinic will process all types of e-Waste materials like computers, mobile, chargers, etc. The clinic will run a campaign ‘junk to jugaad’ for those e-waste materials which will not be possible to process.
• The e-waste clinic has been prepared in a junk low floor bus. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and Bhopal Municipal Corporation (BMC) are providing technical support to this clinic.

India, Bangladesh signed agreement to upgrade a road into 4-lane highway

• India and Bangladesh have signed an agreement to upgrade Ashuganj-Akhaura road (50.58-kilometer) into a four-lane highway.
• A stretch of 39 kilometers between Ashuganj river port to Dharhar area will be developed by Indian Company, Afcons Infrastructure Limited and Roads and Highways Department (RHD) of Bangladesh.
• This road up-gradation project is a part of two billion second line credit extended by India to Bangladesh. Apart from that, 46 other projects have been identified in Bangladesh that would improve connectivity within and outside of Bangladesh.

International


US amends visa rules to restrict 'birth tourism'

•    The United States recently announced new visa rules to restrict ‘birth tourism’ wherein no temporary visitor visas (B-1/B-2) will be issued to foreigners seeking birth tourism.
•    As per the US White House, the move is aimed at boosting national security and public safety on the whole

International day of education 2020 observed
•    
• International Education Day is observed every year on January 24. The United Nations passed a resolution on December 3, 2018, and decided to declare January 24 as International Education Day.
• Its purpose is to underline the role of education in peace and development. The proposal for International Education Day was prepared by 58 countries including Nigeria. 
•  In India, National Education Day is observed on November 11 every year. It is the second year of the International Day of Education.

Banking and Economy


RBI cancels certificate of authorisation of Vodafone m-pesa
•    The Reserve Bank of India on Tuesday said it has cancelled the Certificate of Authorisation (CoA) of Vodafone m-pesa on account of voluntary surrender of authorisation.
•    Following the cancellation of the CoA, the company cannot transact the business of issuance and operation of prepaid payment instruments, the central bank said.
•    Vodafone m-pesa was one of the 11 firms that was given payments bank licence by the RBI in 2015.

Investment limit for FPIs in government & corporate bonds increased to 30%

•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in government and corporate bonds have been raised by the Reserve Bank of India. The decision aims to bring in more foreign funds into the market. 
•    The investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) have been raised from 20% to 30% in government & corporate bonds.
•    Along with increase in the investment limit for Foreign Portfolio Investors, the RBI has also announced relaxations in the voluntary retention route (VRR) for FPI investments in debt. 
•    According to the RBI circular, the investment cap through VRR has been increased to Rs 1.5 lakh crore from Rs 0.75 lakh crore. The central bank has also permitted the FPIs to invest in exchange-traded funds that invest only in debt instruments.
Awards

Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020 winners announced

•    The Union Home Ministry on January 23, 2020 announced the Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar 2020. 
•    The Ministry will confer the award upon Kumar Munnan Singh in Individual Category and  Disaster Mitigation & Management Centre, Uttarakhand in Institution Category. 
•    The award is announced on the occasion of the Birth Anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.


Sports

India successfully chased the biggest T20 target abroad

• Team India has completed its biggest run chase overseas by achieving a target of 204 against New Zealand in the first T20I in Auckland on January 24, 2020. 
• India completed its last biggest run chase abroad on July 8, 2018, by achieving the target of 199 runs given by England in Bristol. 
• In this match, Shreyas Iyer (58) and KL Rahul (56) smashed rapid 50s whit captain Virat Kohli scored 45 runs.

Ranking


Corruption Perception Index 2019: India slips two positions to 80th rank

•    The Transparency International on January 23, 2020 launched the Corruption Perception Index 2019 during the ongoing World Economic Forum 2020 in Davos. India’s rank slipped to 80th place on the index from 78th position in the year 2018. 
•    Denmark and New Zealand have been ranked as the most honest countries on the index.

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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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