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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2020

International

Bangladesh’s PM Sheikh Hasina inaugurates “Ekushey Book Fair”

• Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina inaugurated the annual Ekushey Book Fair in Dhaka on 1st February 2020.

• Ekushey Book Fair is a month-long biggest and longest book fair of Bangladesh organised every year by Bangla Academy from February 1 to 28.

• This event commemorates the martyrs, of the language movement, who laid down their lives on 21 February 1952 for establishing Bangla as the official language of the then East Pakistan.

Maldives rejoins Commonwealth

• The Maldives has once again joined the Commonwealth. The Maldives was officially inducted into the Commonwealth recently.

• Maldives separated from the Commonwealth about three years ago due to the issues of Human Rights.

Banking and Economy

Fitch Predicts India’s GDP Growth for FY20 at 4.6 pc and FY21 at 5.6 pc

• US-based rating agency Fitch Ratings Inc. has projected GDP growth of India for the next financial year 2020-21 at 5.6 percent.

• For the current fiscal 2019-20, GDP is projected at 4.6 percent.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India and Maldives sign four MoUs to establish Addu Tourism Zone

• India and Maldives signed 6 MoUs, which included 5 MoUs in the field of tourism and 1 MoU for setting up bottled water plant in Maldives.

• The MOUs were signed between the High Commissioner of India Sunjay Sudhir, Minister of Foreign Affairs Abdulla Shahid and Addu City Council.

• Under the Tourism sector, USD 2.49 million MoUs were signed for establishing the Addu Tourism zone in five islands of Addu atoll.

Awards

Madhya Pradesh wins award for implementation of PMMVY

• Madhya Pradesh has bagged the first position for the implementation of Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY).

• The Madhya Pradesh Minister for Women and Child Development Imarti Devi and Principal Secretary Anupam Rajan received the award from the Union Minister of Women and Child Development Smriti Irani on 3rd February 2020 in New Delhi.

• Also, Indore district of Madhya Pradesh has bagged the first place for better performance of the scheme.

Appointment

Pramod Agrawal Takes Charge as Chairman of Coal India Ltd.

• A 1991 batch IAS officer Pramod Agrawal assumed charge as the new Chairman and Managing Director of Coal India Ltd (CIL) on 1st February 2020.

• He succeeds A K Jha who on January 31, 2020.

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2020

National

India’s First Fruit Train Flagged Off From Andhra Pradesh to JNPT

• In another major milestone achievement for the Indian Railways, a first-of-its-kind ‘Fruit Train’ was flagged off from Tadipatri Railway Station in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh to the Jawaharlal Nehru Port in Mumbai, from where the consignment will be exported to Iran.

• This is the first time that an entire train carrying a load of 980 tonnes of locally grown bananas is being sent to the gateway port (JNPT) for export.

• These bananas will be exported under the brand name ‘Happy Bananas’.

Mumbai’s Iconic ‘Kala Ghoda Arts Festival’ Begins from 1st Feb

• The 21st edition of the 9-day Kala Ghoda Arts Festival (KGAF) 2020, one of the biggest open street arts and cultural festival of India, has begun in Mumbai from 1st February 2020.

• The Kala Ghoda Festival is one of the most-awaited art and cultural festivals which takes place in the Kala Ghoda area of South Mumbai since 1999 in early February and attracts a wide range of crowd from all across the world.

• The theme for 2020 KGAF is “PAST FORWARD.”

Union Govt plans to raise funds through LIC IPO

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that union government plans to sell a partial stake in LIC through IPO or an initial public offer.

• The union budget she proposed that the government will sell its stake in IDBI Bank to private investors and also amend the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen co-op banks.

• The finance minister that the deposit insurance coverage against bank failure will be increased to ₹5 lakh from ₹1 lakh.

Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden

• Indian Railways Demands Setting Up Pension Fund To Deal With Rs 50,000 Crore Burden Rs 50,000 crore outgo as pension to more than 15.5 lakh former railway employees, the railways asked the Finance Ministry to set up the pension fund.

• About 25 percent of the railway's earnings go into paying the pensions to the former railway employees.

• Last year, the operating rate for the railways was 97 percent, while this year it has gone up to 98.44 percent. The operating ratio is a measure of expenditure against revenue, and it shows how efficiently the national transporter.

Sports

Novak Djokovic and Sofia Kenin Clinches Australian Open 2020 Tennis Tournament

• The 2020 Australian Open was the 108th edition of the annual Australian Open tennis tournament and the first Grand Slam of the year. It was held from 20 January to 2 February 2020.

• The winners are as follows:

o Men’s Single: Novak Djokovic (Serbia) beat Dominic Thiem (Austria)

o Women’s Single: Sofia Kenin (US) beat Garbine Muguruza (Spain)

o Men’s Double: Rajeev Ram (US) / Joe Salisbury (UK)

o Women’s Double: Tímea Babos (Hungary) / Kristina Mladenovic (France)

o Mixed Double: Barbora Krejčiková (Czech Republic) / Nikola Mektić  (Croatia)

Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event

Olympian Ayonika Paul won the women's 10m Air Rifle T1 event Vijayveer Sidhu won the men's 25m Pistol T2 event in the National Shooting trials at Thiruvananthapuram.

She came to a quality eight-woman field, which had the likes of Tokyo 2020 quota holders Apurvi Chandela and Anjum Moudgil among competitors.

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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2020

Union Budget 2020-21 is being presented by FM Nirmala Sitharaman

Union Budget 2020 presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to revive economic growth and boost people's income. The Budget is based on three themes :
Aspirational India
Economic development
Caring society

Union Budget 2020 was presented by Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharamanin, a bid to revive economic growth and boost people's income. The Budget is based on three themes - aspirational India, economic development for all, and caring society. The Finance Minister began her speech by saying that the Budget 2020-21 is for boosting income and improving the purchasing power of people. The fiscal deficit is estimated at 3.8 percent(revised estimate for 2019-20)of the gross domestic product in the current financial year, and the government aims to lower it to 3.5 percent (budget estimate for 2020-21) in the fiscal year ending March 2021. She proposed Rs 69,000 crore to the healthcare sector and Rs 12,300 crore to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's flagship cleanliness program Swachh Bharat Mission. Finance Minister earmarked another Rs 3.6 lakh crore towards the supply of piped water to households.

Highlights Of Union Budget 2020:
The income tax for those earning between Rs 5 lakh and Rs 7.5 lakh will be cut to 10 percent from 20 percent. The income tax for those earning between Rs 7.5 and Rs 10 lakh will be cut to 15 percent from 20 percent. The income tax for those earning between Rs 10 and Rs 12.5 lakh will be cut to 20 percent from 30 percent.The income tax for those earning between Rs 12.5 lakh and Rs 15 lakh will be cut to 25 percent from 30 percent. 30 percent tax rate will still be applicable for those earning above Rs 15 lakh. There will be no tax for those earning Rs 5 lakh and Rs 690 billion will be spent on healthcare spending.


Village Storage Scheme
•    Women, SHGs to regain their position as Dhaanya Lakshmi.NABARD to map and geo-tag agri-warehouses, cold storages, reefer van facilities, etc.
•    Warehousing in line with Warehouse Development and Regulatory Authority (WDRA) norms:
•    State governments who undertake the implementation of model laws (issued by the Central government) to be encouraged.
•    Livestock:
o    Doubling of milk processing capacity to 108 million MT from 53.5 million MT by 2025.
o    Artificial insemination to be increased to 70% from the present 30%.
o    MNREGS to be dovetailed to develop fodder farms.
o    Foot and Mouth Disease, Brucellosis in cattle and Peste Des Petits ruminants (PPR) in sheep and goat to be eliminated by 2025.


Deen Dayal Antyodaya Yojana 
Around 0.5 crore households mobilized with 58 lakh SHGs for poverty alleviation.

Education and Skills
•    New Education Policy to be announced soon.
•    National Police University and National Forensic Science University proposed for policing science, forensic science, and cyber-forensics.
•    Degree level full-fledged online education program by Top-100 institutions in the National Institutional Ranking Framework.
•    Up to 1-year internship to fresh engineers to be provided by Urban Local Bodies.
•    The budget proposes to attach a medical college to an existing district hospital in PPP mode.
•    Special bridge courses to be designed by the Ministries of Health, and Skill Development

TRANSPORT
•    100 more airports are planned by 2024
•    Over 6,000 km of highways in 12 lots will be monetized by 2024
•    One major airport will be privatized


16-POINT ACTION PLAN FOR FARMERS
The government is committed to doubling farmers' income by 2022 to allocate Rs 2.83 lakh crore for agriculture and rural sectors such as irrigation.
•    Schemes that encourage manufacturing of mobile phones, electronic equipment, and semiconductor packaging be introduced
•    Private sector to build Data Centre Parks throughout the country will be encouraged
•    80 billion rupees over five years to be provided for quantum technologies and applications
•    Milk processing capacity to be doubled by 2025.

National 

ISRO readying for low cost satellite launch vehicles

•    The Indian Space Research Organisation is readying low-cost satellite launch vehicles costing about Rs 30-35 crore each, which can put into orbit satellites weighing 500 kg.
•    The first such launch from the country is expected to take place in the next four months.
Flame-Throated Bulbul ‘Rubigula’ Unveiled as Official mascot for National Games 2020 in Goa
•    The 36th edition of the National Games of India will be held from 20 October to 4 November 2020 in Goa.
•    The official mascot for the Goa 2020 National Games was unveiled on 01 February 2020 by the Chief Minister of Goa Pramod Sawant in the presence of Union Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports Kiren Rijiju.
•    The Flame-Throated Bulbul under the name ‘Rubigula’ has been unveiled as the mascot for the event.
•    The Flame-Throated Bulbul is the state bird of Goa.


Appointment

M Ajit Kumar Appointed as New Chairman of CBIC
•    The Central government has appointed M Ajit Kumar as the Chairman of the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) on 31 January 2020. Mohammad Allawi Named as new PM of Iraq
•    The President of Iraq Barham Saleh has named former Communication Minister,

Mohammad Allawi as the country’s new Prime Minister on 1st February 2020.

Abidali Neemuchwala Steps Down as CEO and MD of Wipro
•    The chief executive officer (CEO) and managing director (MD) of Wipro, Abidali Z Neemuchwala has quit the post, giving “family commitments” as the reason behind the decision. Indian-origin Arvind Krishna to Succeed Ginni Rometty as IBM Chief

Indian-origin Arvind Krishna has been appointed as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of American multinational IT company International Business Machines Corporation (IBM).
•    The 57-year-old will succeed long time CEO Ginni Rometty.
 

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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2020

National 


Economic survey likely to peg India’s FY21 growth at 6-6.5%: Report
•    India’s economic survey is seen projecting growth of 6 to 6.5 per cent in the next year starting April 1, boosted by a series of fiscal measures to revive demand that the government is likely to announce in the budget.
•    India faces its worst economic slowdown in a decade. Growth slipped to 4.5 per cent in the July-September quarter, imperilling job prospects for millions of young people entering the workforce each year.
•    The government has estimated gross domestic product expansion at 5 per cent for the financial year ending on March 31, which would be the slowest pace since the global financial crisis of 2008/09.
•    An economic survey by chief economic adviser Krishnamurthy Subramanian will be officially announced later in the day and the government will present its budget

India-Bangladesh Joint Exercise ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ to Begin in Meghalaya from February 3
•    The ninth edition of the bilateral joint military training exercise between India-Bangladesh named SAMPRITI-IX will be held at Umroi, Meghalaya from February 3 to February 16, 2020.
•    The annual exercise is hosted alternately by both countries to get familiar with each other’s organizational structure and tactical drills, besides strengthening military trust and cooperation between two nations.

Govt aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under PMAY-G
•    Union Government aims to achieve objective of Housing for All by 2022 under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana-Grameen.
•    A total of over one crore 50 lakh rural houses have been completed in the last five years.
•    Ministry of Finance stated, the eligible beneficiaries will get one crore 95 lakh houses in the second phase of the scheme. Government has set a target of 60 lakh houses for the current financial year.

A special Supreme Court bench to frame issues about gender inequality at religious places

The apex court recently announced that a nine-judge bench will frame issues related to the discrimination against women in different religious places in India. The court will consider issues like restriction on Muslim women to enter into mosques. The court will also hear issues related to female genital mutilation in Dawoodi Bohra Muslim community.

Indian railways to equip over 3.5 lakh coaches with RFID tags

Indian Railways will make its coaches smarter and safer with radio-frequency identification (RFID) tags.

The ministry of Railway of India has recently announced that all freight and passenger coaches will be equipped with RFID tags. These RFID tags will help the ministry to locate and monitor coaches. At present, about 20,000 coaches have already equipped with RFID tags.

Banking and Economy


FICCI survey projects FY20 GDP growth at 5%, to improve to 5.5% in FY21
•    Industry body FICCI stated its Economic Outlook Survey has projected the country’s annual median GDP growth for 2019-20 at 5 per cent, in line with the projections made by the National Statistical Organisation (NSO).
•    The survey has put the median growth forecast for agriculture and allied activities at 2.6 per cent for 2019-20, the industry and services sector at 3.5 per cent and 7.2 per cent, respectively, during the current year.
•    Growth is likely to improve to 5 per cent in 2020-21 as per the projections, the survey stated.
About FICCI:
•    Headquarters location: New Delhi
•    Founded: 1927
•    President Sangita Reddy
•    Senior Vice-President : Uday Shankar
•    Vice President: Sanjiv Mehta

Obituary


Padma Shri awardee Tushar Kanjilal passes away
Famous social worker, environmentalist, educationist & writer Tushar Kanjilal passed away. The Government of India awarded Tushar Kanjilal the 4th highest civilian honour of Padma Shri in 1986.  


Sports


India hockey captain Rani Rampal named 2019 World Games Athlete of the Year
•    Rani Rampal wins the World Games Athlete of the Year 2019. The long wait is over! The Indian women's hockey team captain Rani Rampal has been voted as the 'World Games Athlete of the Year'. 
•    Toppling all the 25 athletes, the Indian skipper won with a massive 199,477 votes.

 
Ranking


ICICI Bank Launches a unique self-service delivery facility ‘iBox’ for customers
•    The private lender ICICI Bank has launched a first-of-its-kind, unique self-service delivery facility, called ‘iBox’, that will enable its customers to collect their deliverables such as debit card, credit card, cheque book and returned-cheques, in a hassle free manner, anytime any day.
•    This facility is especially useful for customers who are not available at home to receive their package during working hours.
•    The Bank has introduced the iBox facility at over 50 branches in 17 cities in the country.

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2020

National

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Vanilla’

• Indian Navy recently sent INS Airavat to Madagascar as post-natural disaster relief. Indian Navy will provide basic help to the people of Madagascar like food, drinking water, shelter, medicines, sanitary pads, etc.

• The INS Airavat is capable to carry more than 500 troops and 10 battle tanks. It was commissioned in the Indian Navy on May 19, 2010.

Nepal creates Guinness World Record for highest altitude fashion show event

• Nepal has created a new Guinness World Record for organizing highest altitude Fashion Show on the earth.

• The Mount Everest Fashion Runway was held at 5340 meters (17515 feet) elevation at Kala Patthar, near Everest base camp.

• The Guinness world record registered the title and awarded a certificate to the organizers including Dr Pankaj Gupta from India and Ms Ramila Nemkul and Mr Riken Maharjan from Nepal.

• The main objective of the fashion show was to create awareness about climate change and also to give a message to the world that Nepal is the destination for all activities.

World’s largest meditation centre inaugurates in Telangana

• World’s largest meditation centre was inaugurated at Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, Telangana.

• This centre is built to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and Heartfulness Institute.

• The meditation centre with a central hall and eight peripheral halls to accommodate 1,00,000 people will offer meditation training free.

Yuva Swabhiman Yojana

• The MP government launched on January 31, 2019, guaranteeing 100 days of work and pay to unemployed youth who have registered themselves with the Madhya Pradesh government.

• The stipend has been hiked by Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month.

• On the lines of MNREGS, the government is ready to extend the guarantee of 100 workdays to 365 days of temporary employment a year .

16th Mumbai International Film Festival begins

• The 16th Mumbai International Film Festival-2020 for Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation films), inaugurated at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli, Mumbai.

• The oldest and largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia, which began in 1990 is organized by the Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

• The festival directorate has received 874 entries, with 144 entries from 24 countries in the International competition and 730 entries in the National competition.

Reliance Industries launching new project to use plastics in road construction

• Reliance Industries organization will try to work with India’s highway authority and individual states to possibly supply a plastics-implanted blend.

• India, which utilizes around 14 million tons of plastic every year, comes up short on a sorted out framework for the administration of plastic waste.

Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee conferred D.Lit degree by Calcutta University

Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee conferred the honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by Calcutta University at its annual convocation in Kolkata. The Vice-Chancellor of the University Ms Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee presented the Degree to him.

Banking and Economy

RBI appoints Executive Director Janak Raj as member of MPC

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appoints its Executive Director, Janak Raj, as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

• The Monetary Policy Committee takes decisions based on a majority vote. Raj replaces M D Patra recently promoted as Deputy Governor of the RBI.

• The decision to appoint Janak Raj taken at the 581st meeting of the central board held in Mumbai.

• The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das heads the MPC.

Google announces USD 1 million grant to promote news literacy in India

• Technology giant Google has announced USD 1 million grant to promote news literacy among Indians to avoid spreading of misinformation.

• The money will be given to Internes, a global non-profit organisation, which will select a team of 250 journalists, fact checkers, academics and NGO workers for the project.

• A curriculum will be developed by a team of global and local experts, who will roll out the project in seven Indian languages.

Sports

Esow Alben wins gold at Berlin cycling tournament

• Indian cyclist Esow Alben has bagged a gold in the men’s Keirin individual event of the Six-Day Berlin Tournament.

• Czech Republic’s Tomas Babek, who won a silver in the 2017 World Championship, came in second while Maximilian Lev of Germany took home the bronze.

Ranking

Bengaluru has the worst traffic in the world

• According to a report by TomTom, the Netherlands-based global provider of navigation, traffic, and map products, Bengaluru is the world’s most traffic-congested city.

• Manila in the Philippines took the second place.

• Mumbai, Pune, and New Delhi were the other Indian cities that also featured in the top 10, taking fourth, fifth, and eighth places, respectively.

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Important Current Affairs 29th January 2020

National 

Union Cabinet approves Medical Termination of Pregnancy Amendment Bill

The cabinet has approved new amendments to the Medical Termination of Pregnancy bill that will increase the upper gestation limit to 24 weeks for special categories of women, including vulnerable women such as rape survivors, minors and victims of incest.

BSE signs licensing agreement with ICE Futures Europe

•    The Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) has signed a licensing agreement with Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures Europe. 
•    Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) Futures Europe is an operator of global exchanges and clearinghouses.
•    This agreement will serve the needs and interests to the Indian energy commodities space and market participants to access Rupee-dominated Brent benchmark prices.

India's first underwater metro expected to be complete by March 2022

•    The country’s 1st underwater metro project is set to complete its East-West Project of Kolkata Metro Rail Corporation, which runs partly under the Hooghly river, West Bengal, by March 2022. 
•    74% of the East-West Metro project is owned by India’s Railway & remaining 26% by the nation’s Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs.

CM Uddhav Thackeray inaugurates Nagpur Metro's Aqua Line

•    The Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated 18.5 kilometre-long stretch of Nagpur Metro Aqua line of Maha Metro Rail Network. 
•    The newly inaugurated Nagpur Metro Aqua line passing over the Ambazari lake in the city will connect the east and west parts of the city. This Line will have six stations starting from Lokmanya Nagar to Sitabuldi Interchange Metro Station.

Indian Railways opens its 1st waste-to-energy plant; here’s why it’s a welcome move

Indian Railways has commissioned the country's first governmental waste to energy plant in Mancheswar Carriage Repair workshop at Bhubaneswar under the East Coast Railway zone.It has been built at a cost of Rs 1.79 crore and has the capacity to dispose of 500 kg waste, including plastic and e-waste.
This waste-to-energy plant uses a patented technology called ‘Polycrack’, which is the world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process to convert multiple feedstocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water. This process will produce energy in the form of light diesel oil which is used to light furnaces.


International

Qatar’s Emir appoints new Prime Minister

•    Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani has been appointed as the new Prime Minister of Qatar, succeeding Sheikh Abdullah who has resigned from the post. 
•    Sheikh Khalid is a close associate of Qatar’s Emir and has played an influential role in the royal court.

Awards

India’s Pavan Sukhdev wins 2020 Tyler Prize

Indian environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev has jointly won the 2020 Tyler Prize along with conservation biologist Gretchen C Daily. Sukhdev has been honoured with the award for his work towards enabling a green economy.

Science & Technology

ISRO launches Bhuvan Panchayat 3.0 to aid gram panchayat development

•    Union Minister of State for PMO Jitendra Singh launched the Bhuvan Panchayat V3 web Portal in Anthariksh Bhavan, ISRO Head Quarters in Bengaluru. 
•    This web Portal will enhance network application of gram panchayats. The Portal will function with the help of satellite technology developed by ISRO.

Obituary

Former women’s hockey team captain Sunita Chandra passes away

•    Former Indian women’s hockey team captain Sunita Chandra died here on Monday, her son said. Chandra, an Arjuna awardee, was 76 and is survived by her husband Yatish Chandra and two sons.
•    She had played for the Indian women’s hockey team between 1956 to 1966 and served as skipper from 1963 to 1966

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2020

National  


Bharat Parv 2020' begins at Red Fort to celebrate spirit of India 
 
●The ‘Bharat Parv 2020’ is being held at Red Fort ground in New Delhi from 26 to 31 January 2020 to celebrate the spirit of India. 
●The Bharat Parv festival is organised every year by the Government of India as a part of Republic Day celebrations, to encourage people to visit different tourism places of the country and to inculcate the spirit of ‘Dekho Apna Desh’ (See Your Country). 
●The theme of 2020 Bharat Parv is ‘Ek Bharat Shreshtha Bharat’ and ‘Celebrating 150 Years of Mahatma Gandhi. Samvidhaan’ Chosen as Oxford’s Hindi word of 2019 
●The word Samvidhaan’ (Constitution) has been chosen as the Oxford Hindi Word of 2019 by the Oxford University Press (OUP). 
●The Oxford Hindi Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of attention and reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past year. 
●‘Samvidhaan’ means a body of fundamental principles or  established precedents according to which a state or other organisation is acknowledged to be governed. 
  
Andhra Pradesh Assembly passes resolution to abolish Legislative Council 
 
●The Andhra Pradesh legislative assembly unanimously passed a resolution on January 27, 2020 to abolish the state legislative council.  

The state cabinet had approved the resolution earlier in the day. The proposal will now be sent to the centre for further action. 
  
●The one-line resolution to abolish the state council was passed in the assembly by Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jagan Mohan Reddy. The resolution was passed with 133 members voting in favour of it.  This was announced by assembly speaker Tammineni Seetharam. 
 
Maharashtra govt launches ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme 
 
●Maharashtra government launched ‘Shiv Bhojan’ scheme. The scheme aims to provide a meal to the poor for just 10 rupees, on the occasion of the 71st Republic Day.  
●Under the scheme, which has been launched on a pilot basis, thalis or lunch plates would be available to people at designated centres/ canteens during a stipulated time in all the districts. 
 
GRSE set to deliver anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kavaratti to Navy soon 

•Defence PSU Garden Reach Shipbuilders and Engineers (GRSE) is set to deliver anti-submarine warfare stealth corvette INS Kavaratti to the Indian Navy. INS Kavaratti is 104th warship constructed by GRSE.  
•INS Kavaratti can be used during nuclear, chemical and biological warfare conditions and its weapons and sensors suite is predominantly indigenous.

Banking and Economy 

Indian Bank Association (IBA) appoints Punjab National Bank's former MD and CEO Sunil Mehta as its chief executive. 
 
●Sunil Mehta took over as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Indian Banks’ Association (IBA). He will replace VG Kannan, who resigned from office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.  
●The term of the CEO of IBA is for 3 years. At present, the managing committee of IBA has SBI chief Rajnish Kumar as Chairman for the year 2019-20 along with 3 deputy chairmen and honorary secretary. 


 
Awards 


Assam tableau wins first prize at 71st Republic Day parade 
 
●Assam tableau wins first prize at 71st Republic Day parade.  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today gave away Best Tableaux  awards for Republic Day Parade, 2020 in New Delhi. 
●The tableaux of National Disaster Relief Force and Jal Shakti  Mission were chosen as the best among the Ministries and  Departments. 


Appointment 


 Taranjit Singh Sandhu appointed India’s Ambassador to US 
●Taranjit Singh Sandhu takes charge as the new Indian Ambassador to the United States. Sandhu, a 1988-batch Indian Foreign Service officer, is  currently posted as High Commissioner of India in Sri Lanka.  
●He replaces Harsh Vardhan Shringla as India's envoy in Washington. Shringla named as India's next foreign secretary. 
 
 
 
  
 

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Important Current Affairs 27th January 2020

National 


GeM Signs MoU with Uttar Pradesh to Set Up Project Management Unit
•    The Uttar Pradesh government has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Government eMarketplace (GeM), under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce & Industry,to set up a GeM Organizational Transformation Team (GOTT) Project Management Unit (PMU) in the state.
•    Uttar Pradesh government is the second state after Punjab to establish a GOTT-PMU for inclusive, efficient and transparent procurement system.


Government of India to sell 100% stake in Air India
•    The government of India announced a sale of 100% stake in debt-laden Air India. As part of the strategic disinvestment and has set March 17, as the deadline for submitting an expression of interest (EoI). 
•    Air India would also sell 100% stake in low-cost airline Air India Express and 50 per cent shareholding in joint venture AISATS.
•    The financial position of Air India is very fragile and the Government has limited resources. Air India is under a debt trap and the private sector can bring required capital to the Airline. 
•    Air India staff will be offered three per cent of the airline’s total shares in the government’s disinvestment process.

Indian Railway’s First Waste-To-Energy Plant Commissioned In Bhubaneswar
•    The first waste-to-energy plant of the Indian Railways, has been commissioned at Carriage Repair Workshop, Mancheswar, in Bhubaneswar by the East Coast Railway (ECoR) zone.
•    The plant is the first Government of India initiative in waste to energy plant and fourth such plant in the country.
•    It has been built at a cost of Rs 1.79 crore and has the capacity to dispose 500 kg waste, including plastic and e-waste.
•    This waste-to-energy plant uses a patented technology called ‘Polycrack’, which is world’s first patented heterogeneous catalytic process to convert multiple feed stocks into hydrocarbon liquid fuels, gas, carbon and water.
•    This process will produce energy in the form of light diesel oil which is used to light furnaces.

Kerala Partners MIT To Unveil India’s First ‘Super Fab Lab’ in Kochi
•    Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated India’s first Super Fab Lab at the Integrated Startup Complex of the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) in Kochi on 25 January 2020, that will give India’s hardware industry a huge leap.

•    Fab Labs are fabrication laboratories offering digital fabrication and computation.A Fab Lab lets you make almost anything; make the products you can consume.

•    A Super Lab lets you make a Fab Lab. It is an amazing facility that has the tools not just to make anything, but make the tools that make things.


Govt signs ‘Historic’ Bodo Accord 2020

•    The central government on January 27, 2020 signed the historic Bodo Accord 2020 with the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) and All Bodo Students Union (ABSU). The NDFB is one of the dangerous militant groups of Assam and the ABSU is the influential student union of Assam. 
•    The peace agreement provides political as well as economic benefits to the tribal areas of Assam without a separate Bodoland.

Andhra Pradesh Cabinet passes resolution to abolish State Legislative Council


•    The Andhra Pradesh Cabinet on January 27, 2020 passed a resolution to abolish the Legislative Council. The ruling Jagan Mohan Reddy-led YSR Congress in the state has a minority representation in the Legislative Council. Out of total 58 members, the YSR Congress has only 9 members.

International


International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust
•    International Holocaust Remembrance Day is held on 27 January to commemorate the tragedy of the Holocaust that occurred during the Second World War due to the genocide that resulted in the deaths of 6 million Jews and 11 million others, by the Nazi regime and its collaborators
•    Theme 2020: “75 years after Auschwitz – Holocaust Education and Remembrance for Global Justice”

Awards


Padma Awards 2020: Arun Jaitley, Kangana Ranaut among 118 Padma Awardees


•    Padma Awards — one of the highest civilian Awards of the country, are conferred in three categories, namely, Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri. The Awards are given in various disciplines/ fields of activities, viz. art, social work, public affairs, science and engineering, trade and industry, medicine, literature and education, sports, civil service, etc.
•    ‘Padma Vibhushan’ is awarded for exceptional and distinguished service; ‘Padma Bhushan’ for distinguished service of high order and ‘Padma Shri’ for distinguished service in any field. The awards are announced on the occasion of Republic Day every year.
•    This year the President has approved conferment of 141 Padma Awards including 4 duo cases (in a duo case, the award is counted as one) as per list below. The list comprises 7 Padma Vibhushan, 16 Padma Bhushan and 118 Padma Shri Awards.
•    33 of the awardees are women and the list also includes 18 persons from the category of Foreigners/NRI/PIO/OCI and 12 Posthumous awardees.

Grammy 2020 winners: List of Winners

The 62nd Annual Grammy Awards announced on January 26, 2020. The Awards ceremony was held at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. The show was hosted by Singer-songwriter Alicia Keys. It recognized the best recordings, compositions, and artists of the eligibility year, running from October 1, 2018, to August 31, 2019.
Here is the complete list of winners of Grammy Awards 2020: 

Sl. No.

Category

Winner

1.

Album Of The Year

When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? (Billie Eilish)

2.

Record Of The Year

Bad Guy (Billie Eilish)

3.

Best New Artist

Billie Eilish

4.

Best Rap Album

Igor (Tyler, The Creator)

5.

Best R&B Album Winner

Ventura (Anderson .Paak)

6.

Best Rap Song

A Lot 

7.

Best Country Album

While I’m Livin’ (Tanya Tucker)

8.

Song Of The Year

Bad Guy ( Billie Eilish O’Connell & Finneas O’Connell)

9.

Best Rock Album

Social Cues (Cage The Elephant)

10.

Best Rock Song

This Land (Gary Clark Jr.)

11.

Best Dance/Electronic Album

No Geography (The Chemical Brothers)

12.

Producer Of The Year, Classical

Blanton Alspaugh

13.

Best Music Video

Old Town Road

14.

Best Country Song

Bring My Flowers Now

15.

Best Folk Album

Patty Griffin

16.

Best Comedy Album

Sticks & Stones (Dave Chappelle)

Obituary


NBA legend Kobe Bryant passes away
•    Veteran American professional basketball player Kobe Bean Bryant, has passed away in a helicopter crash on 26 January 2020. He was 41.
•    The National Basketball Association (NBA) legend died when a helicopter he was riding in crashed and burst into flames in thick fog, killing all nine people on board including his 13-year-old daughter Gianna.
•    Bryant was a five-time NBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medallist

Appointment


Sunil Mehta Sworn in as IBA Chief Executive
•    Former MD & CEO of Punjab National Bank, Sunil Mehta, has taken charge as the chief executive of the Indian Bank’s Association (IBA) from 27 January 2020.
•    He succeeds VG Kannan, who demitted office as chief executive of IBA on December 31, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2020

National

Republic Day 2020: India celebrates its 71st Republic Day – 

• This year's Republic Day was unique for India in many different ways as compared to the previous years. Starting from the military might that was displayed through indigenously developed artillery gun system 'Dhanush' or with first woman parade adjutant for the Republic Day with Captain Tania Shergill leading the parade; there were many ‘firsts’ that marked India’s 71st Republic Day Celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at India's 71st Republic Day Parade on January 26.

• At the 71st Republic Parade, for the first time, newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat attended the Republic Day parade. General Rawat welcomed PM Modi for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National War Memorial along with the service chiefs for all the three armed forces i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force.

• Continuing the theme of women power, the day also saw an all-woman biker contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) make its debut as a part of the 71st Republic Day Parade. The contingent was commanded by Inspector Seema Nag, who is posted with the Rapid Action Force (RAF).

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) also participated in the Republic Day Parade with its tableau showcasing scaled system of the five-fighter system. The models on display during Parade included Rafale Fighter Jet and Tejas Aircraft.

Nitin Gadkari Launches Web Portal “GATI” to Monitor Road & Highways Projects

• The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari has launched an online Web Portal ‘GATI’ on the pattern of ‘PRAGATI’, the portal used by the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) for monitoring projects.

• The GATI portal has been created by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and can be accessed from NHAI Website.

• The portal was launched by the minister during the two-days long review meeting of NHAI-Ministry projects in Haryana’s Manesar on 23 & 24 January 2020.

• A total of 500 projects (including delayed ones) costing around Rs 3 lakh crore were taken up for review during the meeting.

Inaugural Ganga-Volga Dialogue of Civilizations between India and Russia held in New Delhi

• The maiden Ganga Volga Dialogue of Civilization took place in New Delhi on 22 January 2020, to provide a platform for enhancing the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.

• The idea of the Dialogue was conceptualized during the October 2018 India-Russia Summit between President Putin and Prime Minister Modi.

• The event was inaugurated by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan.

• The Dialogue was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

International

Global Unemployment to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020: ILO Report

• The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released a report titled “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020” which predicts that unemployment is likelt to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020.

• However, the report also revealed that after nine years in decline, the rate of global unemployment remained unchanged in 2019, at 5.4%, and is expected to stay the same for the next two years, due to fluctuations in the population seeking work.

Researchers discovered a new species of Allosaurus in Utah

• Paleontologists have unveiled a remarkable new species of the meat-eating dinosaur at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

• It is suspected that the species must have evolved at least 5 million years earlier than fragilis.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to grow at 5.0% in FY20 & 5.5% in FY21: India Ratings

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected India’s GDP growth rate for fiscal 2019-2020 at 5 percent, which is a multi-year low.

• Ind-Ra expects gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 5.5 percent in FY21.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India signs 15 MoU with Brazil including Cyber Security

• India and Brazil on Saturday signed 15 MoUs in various fields including cybersecurity, bioenergy and health and medicine among others, following the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

• An MoU on bioenergy cooperation, investment cooperation and facilitation treaty, agreement on cooperation in the field of health and medicine, cultural exchange programme for the period 2020-2024 were exchanged between the two sides.

Appointment

EU Appoints Joao Vale De Almeida As First Ambassador To Post-brexit UK

EU named Joao Vale de Almeida its first ambassador to the post-Brexit United Kingdom after PM Boris Johnson on Friday signed the agreement to leave the bloc.

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Important Current Affairs 25th January 2020

National

India’s First War Memorial for Service Animals to come up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

•The Government of India has planned to set up a first-of-its-kind war memorial for service animals in Meerut city of Uttar Pradesh.

•The memorial will be set up at the army’s specialized breeding, rearing and training centre for animals: the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and College in Meerut.

•It will be similar to the National War Memorial in Delhi, but on smaller scale.

•India’s first war memorial for animals including dogs, horses and mules will be dedicated to the contributions and heroics of animals who lost their lives in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and in the battlefield during the Kargil War, while helping the Army.

India & Brazil Signs 15 Pacts to Boost Strategic Ties

• President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro arrived in New Delhi on 24 January 2020 on four-day state visit to India.

• He is also the chief guest at the 2020 Republic Day of India celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked 15 agreements on 25 January to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two countries.

• List of MoUs Signed Include:

1) MoU on Bioenergy Cooperation

2) MoU for Cooperation in the field of Oil and Natural Gas

3) Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty 

4) Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

5) MoU in the field of Early Childhood

6) MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

7) MoU in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.

8) Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2020-2024

9) Agreement on Social Security

10) MoU on Cooperation between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) of India and the General Coordination of Network Incident Treatment Centre, Department of Information Security, Institutional Security, Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil (CGCTIR/DSI/GSI) on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security

11) Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation for implementing the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation for the period 2020-2023

12) MoU on Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources

13) MoU between Invest India and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency

14) Joint Declaration of Intent (DoI) for Cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry and Dairying

15) MoU for establishing a nodal institution in India to carry out research on Bioenergy

CJI S.A. Bobde Inaugurates All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi

• The Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde, inaugurated the All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in New Delhi on 24 January 2020.

• The two day event was held as a part of the 79th Foundation Day Celebrations of ITAT.

• India’s Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) was set up on 25 January 1941.

• ITAT functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Banking and Economy

World Bank Approves USD 210 Million Loan for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project

• The Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra has signed a USD 210 million loan agreement with the World Bank. The loan agreement has been signed for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.

• The USD 210 million loan will be funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), having a 6-year grace period with a maturity period of 13.5 years.

Switzerland Mints World’s Smallest Gold Coin; Features Albert Einstein

• In Switzerland, State-owned Swissmint has minted world’s smallest gold coin measuring 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).

• The coin features the image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.

• Swissmint has minted just 999 such coins.

• The size of the coin is 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).It weighs 0.063 grams (1/500th of an ounce).

• The coin has a nominal value of 1/4 Swiss francs (USD 0.26).

• It will be sold for 199 francs, along with a special magnifying glass so that owners can see the famous physicist on its face.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Election Commission of India to sign MoU with EC of Tunisia and Papua New Guinea

• The Election Commission of India has received the approval from the Union Cabinet to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission and Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia. The MoU aims to enhance the cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also approved the agreements in the field of mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, cooperation in the field of early childhood care, oil and natural gas, and Geology and Mineral Resources between India and Brazil.

Ranking

India celebrates National Voters’ Day on 25th January

• In India, the National Voters’ Day is celebrated on 25 January every year in a bid to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process.

• The day is being observed since 2011 to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India (ECI), formed on 25 January 1950, to overlook the smooth running of elections in India

• The theme of National Voters’ Day 2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for a Stronger Democracy.’

National Tourism Day: 25 January

• The National Tourism Day is celebrated on 25th January in India every year to raise awareness about the importance of tourism for the country’s economy.

• The Indian government established the National Tourism Day to cultivate awareness among the global community on the importance of tourism and to demonstrate how it affects social, political, financial, cultural worth and economic values worldwide.

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