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Important Current Affairs of 15th March

NATIONAL:

Brookfield acquires RILs East West Pipeline

• India Infrastructure Trust, an infrastructure investment trust (InvIT), sponsored by Brookfield, will acquire the East West Pipeline for Rs. 3,000 crore.

• The pipeline is owned by Reliance Industries Ltd’s promoters’ family.  As a part of the transaction, the InvIT would acquire 100% equity interest in Pipeline Infrastructure Private Ltd. which currently owns and operates the pipeline.

• Following this acquisition by Brookfield, the existing pipeline usage agreement has been reworked.  Now, reserved capacity will be cut to 33 Million Metric Standard Cubic Meter Per Day (MMSCMD) against 56 MMSCMD and any unutilised capacity payment by RIL will be the difference between Rs.500 crore a quarter and actual revenue earned by PIPL.

DRDO successfully test fired Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile

• Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test-fired Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in the desert ranges of Rajasthan.

• The MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM) comes loaded with a high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead. It has a maximum engagement range of about 2.5 kilometers. The indigenously developed missile has features like a state-of-the-art imaging infrared radar seeker with integrated avionics.

Arecanut Gets Its First GI Tag For Sirsi Supari

• Registrar of Geographical Indications, Government of India, accorded a GI tag, ‘Sirsi Supari’, to arecanut grown in Sirsi, Siddpaur and Yellapur taluks of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka. The Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS) Ltd, a Sirsi-based agri cooperative, is the registered proprietor of the GI ‘Sirsi Supari’.

NTPC partners with Indian Railways for fly ash transportation

• State-run National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd. (NTPC) has teamed up with the Indian Railways for fly ash transportation. The partnership is to help enhance ash utilisation at Rihand and Vindhyachal Super Thermal Power plants.  NTPC had signed a memorandum of understanding with Hazipur-based East Central Railway Zone for transportation of fly ash under Indian Railways’ Special Freight Train Operator scheme.

IFFM to be from 29th March at Malappuram, Kerala

• The 77th International Film Festival of Malappuram (IFFM) organised by the Rasmi Film Society will be held at Malappuram, Kerala on March 29, 30 and 31. Actor Indrans will inaugurate the festival at the Municipal bus-stand auditorium, named after filmmaker Mrinal. Sen.V.C. Abhilash’s Aalorukkam will be the inaugural film. There will be 11 films in the World, Indian and Malayalam categories.

RInfra to sell Delhi-Agra Toll Road in Rs 3,600 crore deal

• Reliance Infrastructure (RInfra) has signed a "definitive binding agreement" with Singapore-based Cube Highways and Infrastructure for sale of its 100 per cent stake in Delhi-Agra (DA) Toll Road Pvt Ltd. The deal is valued over Rs 3,600 crore.

• In addition, NHAI claims of Rs 1,200 crore to be filed by DA Toll Road will flow directly to Reliance Infrastructure. DA Toll Road Pvt Ltd is the special purpose vehicle (SPV) of RInfra, which operates the 180 kilometre long six-lane road that connects the national capital with Agra on National Highway-2.

ECI to launch Observer App

• The Election Commission of India (ECI) is to launch the Observer App, a mobile application, that will help poll observers to submit reports.

•  The poll observers will get all the important notifications and alerts through the ‘Observer App’. It will also help them get their deployment status and download the ID card. As the observers will be involved in real-time disposal of cases of violation of the Model Code of Conduct and expenditure received through another mobile application ‘cVIGIL’, those details will also be available on the ‘Observer App’.

BANK AND ECONOMICS:

Russia releases coin commemorating annexation of Crimea.

• A new coin that features the Crimea or Kerch Strait Bridge released by Russia’s central bank, to mark Crimea’s reunification with Russia. Two million new five ruble (about $0.08, €0.07) coins were pressed which depict an outline of the peninsula which was annexed by Russia in 2014.

RBI categorises IDBI Bank as private sector lender

• IDBI Bank has been categorised as a private sector bank for regulatory purposes with effect from January 21, 2019.

• This follows  Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) acquiring 51 per cent of the total paid-up equity share capital of the bank. In April 2005, IDBI Bank was categorised under a new sub-group, ‘other public sector banks,’ by the RBI.

• The Bank has a high proportion of bad loans. In another release, the RBI announced that the State Bank of India, ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank will continue to be identified as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs). D-SIB means that a bank is 'too big to fail'.

DAY:

World Consumer Rights Day is observed on 15th March

• The consumer movement marks 15th March with World Consumer Rights Day every year, as a means of raising global awareness about consumer rights and needs. The theme for World Consumer Rights Day 2019 is ‘Trusted Smart Products’.

• The day demands that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights. World Consumer Rights Day was inspired by President John F Kennedy, who sent a special message to the US Congress on 15th March 1962, in which he formally addressed the issue of consumer rights. He was the first world leader to do so.

• This World Consumers Rights Day highlights what consumers want and need from a connected world. This year over 100 members in over 90 countries are coming together to mark World Consumer Rights Day.

AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS:

M.R.Kumar takes charge as Chairman of LIC

• M.R.Kumar, the newly-appointed chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), has taken charge on 14th March. Mr.Kumar took over from Hemant Bhargava who had been the acting chairman since January 2019. Mr.Kumar had joined LIC as a direct recruit officer in 1983.  The government had also named two MDs for LIC, Vipin Anand and T.C. Suseel Kumar.

Sweden's 16-year-old Greta Thunberg nominated for Nobel Peace Prize

• Greta Thunberg, the 16-year-old Swedish student and activist has been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for her efforts in climate activism and fighting global warming. She began her weekly protest in August 2018 by riding her bicycle to the Swedish Parliament with ''School strike for climate'' sign.

• The #FridaysForFuture movement went viral and spread over 80 countries. If she were to win, she would be the youngest recipient since Pakistan's Malala Yousafzai, who was 17 when she received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2014.

Padmanaban Gopalan bagged the Commonwealth Youth Award for the Asian region

• Social entrepreneur from Tamil Nadu, Padmanaban Gopalan, founder of No Food Waste named the winner of the Commonwealth Youth Award for the Asian region worth 3,000 Pounds at a ceremony at the Commonwealth Secretariat in London. He was given the honour for his work towards achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) of Zero Hunger with his innovative system of recovering excess food to distribute to those in need. 

Army Chief Bipin Rawat conferred PVSM by President Kovind

• Army Chief General Bipin Rawat was conferred with the Param Vishisht Seva Medal (PVSM), the highest military medal award in recognition of peace-time service not accounting to gallantry, by President Ram Nath Kovind. President also awarded three Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras to armed forces personnel for displaying gallantry.

• Two Kirti Chakras were posthumously awarded to Sepoy Vramha Pal Singh of the Rajput Regiment and Rajendra Kumar Nain, a constable with the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF). A Shaurya Chakra was also posthumously awarded to Ravindra Dhanawade by the President, who is the Supreme Commander of the armed forces.

Three Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras awarded by the President to Army Personnel

• President Ram Nath Kovind conferred 3 Kirti Chakras and 15 Shaurya Chakras to Armed Forces Personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at the Defence Investiture Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhavan, New Delhi.  2 Kirti Chakras and 1 Shaurya Chakra were given posthumously. 15 Param Vishisht Seva Medals, 1 Uttam Yudh Seva Medal and 25 Ati Vishisht Seva Medals were also conferred on senior officers of the Armed Forces for their distinguished service by the President.

INTERNATIONAL:

Special olympics World Game began in UAE

• Special Olympics World Games 2019 is held at Abu Dhabi, from March 14 to 21. The Games were declared open by Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi. There are 7,500 athletes from 190 countries taking part at the Games this year. Team India is the second largest contingent after the host UAE with 387 players, along with coaches and other staff. The Special Olympics takes place every two years and alternates between summer and winter.

UK removes cap on PhD level work visas

• U.K. announced in a Budget update, referred to as the annual Spring Statement, that from later this year all PhD-level highly-qualified roles will be exempt from any cap on the numbers that can apply and come to work in Britain.

• Indians are among the largest group of professionals set to benefit from a new U.K. government plan to remove any limit on the number of PhD-level work visas to be granted.  A key pillar of the plan is backing Britain to remain at the forefront of the technology revolution that is transforming the economy. In Order to support that ambition, the country completely exempt PhD-level roles from the visa caps.

Vienna topped the Most Liveable Cities index for the 10th year

• The Austrian capital Vienna has topped Mercer's index of most liveable cities for the 10th year in a row. Zurich in Switzerland, is placed second in the index, while Auckland, Munich and Vancouver came joint third. Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu is ranked at 105 in Mercer's Quality Of Living Index and is the number one city from India.

• Luxembourg was named the safest city in a separate personal safety league table. Global consulting firm Mercer surveyed in 231 cities across the globe and were ranked them based on factors such as healthcare, education, public services, recreation, crime, housing and personal freedom. The ranking was based on data analysed between September and November 2018.

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Important Current Affairs of 14th March

NATIONAL:

Chennai to get second Greenfield airport.

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

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

Over 12 Indian states banned e-cigarettes.

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

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

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

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

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

India extended USD 250 million to Nepal.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

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

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

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

About HDFC bank:

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

♦ CEO: Aditya Puri

♦ Headquarters: Mumbai

♦ Founded: August 1994, India

RBI to inject rupee liquidity through Forex swap.

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

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

AWARDS AND RESIGNATION:

Rahul Bajaj resigns as chairman of Bajaj Finserv.

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

Ved Rahi will be awarded with Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar.

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Japan announced Rs 22 lakh for Kolkata museum.

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

About Japan:

♦ Capital: Tokyo

♦ Currency: Japanese yen

♦ Prime minister: Shinzo Abe

UK issued a Black hole Coin to commemorate Stephen Hawking.

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

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

EU has added 10 countries in the Tax blacklist.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Japan plans to stun the world in 2020 Olympics.

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

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

NASA to send women to Mars.

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

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

DAY:

World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March.

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

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Important Current Affairs of 13th March

NATIONAL:

India-Bangladesh Jointly Inaugurated 4 Development Projects

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Bangladesh counterpart Sheikh Hasina, jointly unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladesh, through video conferencing.

• This was the sixth such video conference between PM Modi and Prime Minister Hasina.

E-plaques were unveiled for the following 4 development projects:

♦ Supply of buses and trucks,

♦ Inauguration of 36 community clinics,

♦ Inauguration of 11 water treatment plants, and

 ♦ Extension of National Knowledge Network to Bangladesh.

Facebook launched Facebook Hubs to aid start-ups.

• Facebook launched ‘Facebook Hubs’ at 20 locations in India to support the start-up ecosystem in the country.

• These hubs will help foster innovation and support for the community by hosting mentor hours and trainings, workshops, roundtable discussions.

• The company has partnered with co-working company 91springboard. These hubs will be part of a global network for training and mentoring facilities for start-ups, among others.

Six lakh employees to be trained to handle 96000 VVPAT Machines in Maharashtra.

• For the first time in Lok Sabha elections, VVPAT (Voter Verifiable Paper Audi Trail) machines are to be used all over the country. In Maharashtra, 96000 VVPAT machines will be used in 48 Lok Sabha constituencies and process for training 6 lakh employees to handle these machines has begun. They will be provided with training at three levels.

• VVPAT system is complimentary for electronic voting machines (EVMs) and receipt of voting will be given to the voters through these machines. Information regarding vote cast to a particular candidate by the voter can be available after pressing a button on VVPAT machine. A receipt will be given in seven seconds after voting to the voter.

ECI to launch cVIGIL on 18th March.

• Election Commission of India has developed cVIGIL, a mobile app, for the upcoming Lok Sabha election. ‘cVIGIL’ stands for 'Vigilant Citizen’.

•  It is expected to be launched on 18th March 2019. It will be available on Google Playstore. Complaints regarding the model code of conduct and violations can be lodged in during election time.

• To lodge a complaint, a voter should download the app from Google Play Store. Photos and two-minute video clippings regarding the violation including threatening of voters, causing enmity between voters on caste and religious lines, character assassination of candidates, can be uploaded via the app. Complainants also have the option to remain anonymous. Within 100 minutes of filing the complaint, the complainant will receive feedback on the action taken.

Vastradan Campaign has set the Guinness World Record.

• Vastradan Campaign initiated by the erstwhile royal family of Udaipur has set the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of clothes for donation.

• Through the Vastradan Campaign, over 3,29,250 pieces of clothing from over 76,000 donors were collected and distributed to the needy. The campaign reached out to over 120 schools, 15 colleges and around 30 NGOs.

• The certificate for the Guinness World Record was handed over to Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar, a descendant of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. The campaign highlighted the empathy of the citizen's especially young boys and girls.

WHO released the Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030.

• World Health Organization (WHO) released a Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza, one of the world’s greatest public health challenges. The aim of the strategy is to prevent seasonal influenza, control the spread of influenza from animals to humans, and prepare for the next influenza pandemic.

• Every year across the globe, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, of which 3 to 5 million are severe cases, resulting in 290000 to 650000 influenza-related respiratory deaths. WHO recommends annual influenza vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza, which is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications and for health care workers.

• The new strategy is the most comprehensive and far-reaching that WHO has ever developed for influenza and it outlines a path to protect populations every year and helps prepare for a pandemic through strengthening routine programmes. For more than 65 years, the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), comprised of WHO Collaborating Centres and national influenza centres, have worked together to monitor seasonal trends and potentially pandemic viruses and this system serves as the backbone of the global alert system for influenza. 

DRDO developed a range of Casualty Combat drugs.

• The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has developed a range of combat drugs that can extend the golden hour till the soldier or an armoured unit is shifted to hospital after an attack. This range of drugs can bring down the death toll.

• The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings, and glycerinated salines. It can save lives in the event of warfare in the jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks.

• These medicines ensure that soldiers do not suffer from unwanted blood loss while being taken to better healthcare from war zones. This range of casualty drugs is aimed at enhancing the chances of survival and minimum disability by providing effective first aid care within the golden hour.

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO):

♦ Formed on: 1958

♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

♦ Minister responsible: Nirmala Sitharaman

♦ Parent: Ministry of Defence

♦ It is charged with the military's research and development

Indias first LGBTQ Clinic and HIV treatment centre inaugurated by Humsafar Trust in Mumbai.

• The first HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) treatment centre and holistic clinic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) by Humsafar trust in Mumbai, Maharashtra.

• The founder of Humsafar Trust, Ashok Row Kavi announced that the center will be open for all and it will give provide counselling.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI to become World's 10th largest holder of gold.

• According to data provided by the World Gold Council (WGC), India has the 11th largest gold reserve and the current holding pegged at 607 tonnes. The Netherlands holds the 10th position with 612.5 tonnes, or just about 5.5 tonnes ahead of RBI.

• The top spot is occupied by US gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3,369.7 tonnes. International Monetary Fund (IMF) ranks third on the list with total gold reserves of 2,814 tonnes.

Bank of Baroda becomes one of the first PSBs to launch creche/day-care facility for employees children.

• Bank of Baroda become one of the first public sector banks to launch a crèche/child day-care facility for children of its employees.

• The day-care facility has been launched at its Mumbai corporate office in Bandra Kurla Complex and is being mulled further on being implemented at the head office in Vadodara, Gujarat.

• The bank will bear 60% of the cost incurred every month and rest 40% will be borne by the parents.

SEBI withdrew 20 percent on investments by FPI in corporate bonds.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), the markets regulator, withdrew the 20% limit on investments by Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) in corporate bonds of an entity. SEBI withdrew the restriction in accordance with a circular issued by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI).

• In 2018 June, the Securities and Exchange Board of India had mandated that no FPI shall have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate. However, in February RBI lifted the restriction in view of market feedback. To give effect to the directions of the RBI, SEBI said provisions of its June 2018 circulars with respect to exposure of more than 20% stands withdrawn with immediate effect.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI):

♦ Formed: April 12, 1988

 ♦ Acquired Statutory Status on: January 30, 1992

♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra

♦ Chairman: Ajay Tyagi

♦ SEBI is the regulator for the securities market in India

PNB Sanctions Loans worth Rs 689 cr to 1,600 MSMEs Via Online Portal.

• State-owned Punjab National Bank (PNB) sanctioned loans worth Rs 689 crore to over 1,600 Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) through the PSB loaning 59minutes.com portal as part of its effort to promote such industries. Under the Mudra Yojana, the bank has offered loan to over 2.69 lakh small entrepreneurs this fiscal  About Bank of Baroda Founder: Dyal Singh Majithia, Lala Lajpat Rai Headquarters: New Delhi

BoI raised Rs.660 crore by selling shares to employees

• State-owned Bank of India (BoI) raised Rs.660.80 crore by issuing shares to employees under Employee Share Purchase Scheme (ESPS).

• The bank issued 6,25,52,188 shares of Rs.10 each to eligible employees. The Bank offered a discount of 24.28% on the applicable price to the employees and about 94.70% of total employees participated.

AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS:

Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan received Yaswantrao Chavan National Award

• Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, for his contribution towards economic development, was awarded the ‘Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2018‘ on March 12, 2019, which was the 106th birth anniversary of late Yashwantrao Chavan, the first chief minister of Maharashtra. About Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor – Shaktikanta Das Headquarters – Mumbai.

Axis Bank names Rakesh Makhija as new Chairman.

• Axis Bank has appointed Rakesh Makhija as Non-Executive Chairman for a period of 3 years. He will take over from Sanjiv Misra when his term ends on July 17.

• Makhija is also the Chairman of the bank's Nomination and Remuneration Committee.

SPORTS:

India retain 2nd spot in ICC T20I rankings, Rahul moves up to 5th.

• The Indian cricket team retained its second spot in the T20I team rankings with 122 points, despite the recent series loss against Australia at home. Pakistan tops ICC T20I rankings with 135 points, with England remaining at third place with 121 points. In the T20I batsmen rankings, Indian batsman KL Rahul moved up to the fifth spot. In the T20I bowlers' list, Kuldeep Yadav, who was rested for two T20Is against Australia, dropped a place to the fifth rank. Pakistan’s Babar Azam and Afghanistan’s Rashid Khan remained in top positions in batsmen and bowlers’ list respectively. About ICC: ICC - International Cricket Council It was founded as the Imperial Cricket Conference in 1909 by representatives from Australia, England and South Africa. It was renamed as the International Cricket Council in 1989. Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates Current champion: India national cricket team Chairperson: Shashank Manohar

Dipa Karmakar selected as Barbie Role Model.

• Indian gymnast Dipa Karmakar was selected as Barbie role model & was presented with a one-of-a-kind doll by Barbie as the company celebrates its 60th anniversary. She was part of the ‘Shero’ program launched in 2015 by the company. Karmakar has won over 77 medals, including 67 gold ones at state, national and international levels.

• She also became India’s first gymnast to win a gold medal at an international event – the FIG Artistic Gymnastics World Challenge Cup at Mersin, Turkey. Mattel, the toy manufacturing company behind Barbie, on their 60th anniversary of Barbie, released a new range of barbies to honor female role models globally, spanning different career fields. Japan’s tennis star Naomi Osaka, Brazilian surfer Maya Gabiera and Canadian ice skater Tessa Virtue are other women athletes who have been honoured.

INTERNATIONAL:

Google celebrated 30 years of World Wide Web with doodle.

• Google on March 12 celebrated 30 years of the World Wide Web (WWW) with a doodle. On March 12, 1989, British scientist Sir Tim Berners-Lee while working at European Organisation for Nuclear Research in Switzerland, CERN, submitted a proposal for an information sharing system that would become the WWW. On April 30, 1993, CERN put WWW software in the public domain. Its popularity started spreading from November with the launch of Mosaic, the first search engine to accept pictures. That revolutionised the web, making it user friendly. Mosaic was later replaced by the likes of Internet Explorer, Google Chrome and Mozilla Firefox.

UK Parliament rejects Prime Minister's Brexit deal for a second time.

• UK Members of Parliament rejected Prime Minister Theresa May's Brexit deal, which sets out the terms of the UK's exit from the European Union (EU), for the second time. MPs voted by 391 to 242 to reject the deal. The UK is due to leave the EU on March 29. Brexit is an abbreviation for "British" and "exit" referring to the UK's decision in a June 23, 2016 referendum to leave the European Union (EU). The UK joined the European Communities (EC) in 1973 under the Conservative government of Edward Heath.

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Important Current Affairs 12th March 2019

NATIONAL:

Jet Airways sought Rs.750 crore from Etihad

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

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

PM inaugurated Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology.

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

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

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

PM attended 50th Raising Day celebrations of CISF.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

About Jammu and Kashmir

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

♦ Governor – Sathya Pal Malik

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

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

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

Centre amended the Enemy Property Order.

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

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

Venkaiah Naidu conferred Honorary Doctorate from the University of Peace.

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

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

Centre launched Pulse Polio Programme 2019 to eradicate Polio.

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

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

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

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

♦ It attacks the nervous system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Keralas Marayur jaggery finally gets Geographical Indication tag.

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

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

Pinaka guided rocket system successfully test fired.

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

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

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

BANKS:

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

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

♦ Also called  Export–Import Bank of Korea

♦ It is the official export credit agency of South Korea

♦ Founded: 1976

♦ Headquarters: Seoul, South Korea.

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

Saudi Arabia Foreign Minister meets PM Modi.

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

About Saudi Arabia:

♦ Capital: Riyadh

♦ Currency: Saudi riyal

♦ King: Mohammed bin Salman

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Important Current Affairs 11th March 2019

NATIONAL:

Karnataka sought Rs.2,064 crore for draught relief

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

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

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

Lok Sabha 2019 elections will start from 11th April

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

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

• Schedule of the seven phases of Lok Sabha polls:

♦ Phase one – 11th April 2019

♦ Phase two – 18th April 2019

♦ Phase three – 23rd April 2019

♦ Phase four – 29th April 2019

♦ Phase five – 06th May 2019

♦ Phase six – 12th May 2019

♦ Phase seven – 19th May 2019

Date of counting- 23rd May 2019

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

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

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

Ministry of power to give star rating for 2 electrical appliances

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

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

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

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

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

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

• Global E-commerce Sector topped by China.

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

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

BANKS:

SBI to link the interest rate to RBIs repo rate

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

• The following changes are announced by SBI:

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

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

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

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

AWARDS AND APPOINTMENTS:

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

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

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

ACKO General Insurance honoured with Golden Peacock Award 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Yogi of the Racetrack

The Reincarnation of Mr. and Mrs. Jones

Sanctuary in Paris

Maharani of Manhattan

The Masala Master Chef

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Japanese woman honoured by Guinness World Records

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

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

NASAs LRO spotted water molecules moving around the dayside of moon

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

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

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

Pulse polio programme launched in Nagaland

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

India launched its 3rd IT corridor in China

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

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 10th March

NATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Telangana govt forms SIT to probe data theft case

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

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

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

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

Centre to launch work from home jobs in the IT sector

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

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

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

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

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

AWARDS AND PRIZES:

Arata Isozaki won Pritzker Architecture Prize

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

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

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

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

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

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

RESIGNATION:

Kummanam Rajasekharan Resigns as Mizoram Governor

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

SPORTS:

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

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

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

EXTRAS:

HIV remission achieved via stem cell transplantation

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 8 March

NATIONAL:

PM STIAC identified 9 national missions for India’s sustainable development

•  The Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PM-STIAC) have identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges to ensure India's sustainable development. Through the nine missions, the PM STIAC aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems.

The identified Nine Missions are:

♦ Natural language Translation

♦ Quantum Frontier

♦ Artificial Intelligence

♦ National Biodiversity Mission

♦ Electric Vehicles

♦ BioScience for Human Health

♦ Waste to Wealth

♦ Deep Ocean Exploration

♦ Agnii

Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission for women in Indian Army

• The Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission will be granted for Women in all the 10 branches of Indian Army. The extension of Permanent Commission to Women will provide women with a career in the Army till their retirement. The Short Service Commission entails an opportunity to serve as a Commissioned Officer for 10/14 years. At the end of 10 yrs, 3 options will be provided, either elect for a Permanent Commission or opt out or have the option of 4 years extension.

• The Women Officers will now get a permanent commission in branches such as signals, engineers, army aviation, army air defence, electronics, and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordnance corps, and intelligence. The Defence Ministry had earlier approved permanent commission for women in all branches of Air Force including fighter pilots.

Delhi government launches app One Delhi to track bus, metro services

• A commute-planning app “ONE Delhi” was launched by Kailash Gahlot, Transport Minister of Delhi.

• The app offers facilities such as:

• Obtaining the estimated time of arrival for buses and metros.

• Tracking the real-time location of buses and metros.

• Providing information about their fares.

• Providing the best route and mode of travel between two places.

• List of tourist spots in Delhi.

MoEFCC amended rules to ban the import of solid plastic waste

• The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has amended the Hazardous and other Wastes (Management and Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 to completely ban the import of solid plastic waste.

• The amendment notified by the MoEFCC fixes a loophole which previously allowed the import of plastic waste into India for processing. The ban on the import of plastics is in lines with the principles of sustainable development. To ensure the ban doesn't adversely impact the ease of doing business, the amendment allows the reverse import of defective electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, within a year of export.

• India is exploring various options to discourage the use of single-use plastics and also is emphasizing recycling of the plastic waste to reduce the burden on the environment thereby providing benefits.

OECD has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for 2019 to 3.3 percent

• The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for the year 2019.  OECD has cut its 2019 forecast for global economic growth to 3.3% for the current year, down from 3.5% it predicted earlier.

• The report notes that trade tensions and political uncertainty, including Brexit and erosion of business and consumer confidence are weighing on the world's economy thereby contributing to the slowdown. The 19-nation eurozone was particularly hard to hit, with predicted growth dropping from 1.8% to 1% which was contributed to policy uncertainty including those over Brexit.

Government to issue Rs 20 coins for the first time

• The Finance Ministry has announced the rollout of a new Rs. 20 coin shaped like a "dodecagon", a 12-edged polygon.

• The new coin will be heavier than all the existing coins at 8.54 grams.

• The obverse side of the coin will bear Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar while the reverse will have the denominational value "20" with rupee symbol above.

• New series of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10 denomination coins will also be minted.

• As per Coinage Act, 1906, the Government of India has the sole right to mint coins and the responsibility for coinage vests with the Government.

• Coins are minted at the four India Government Mints at Mumbai, Alipore (Kolkata), Saifabad (Hyderabad), Cherlapally (Hyderabad) and Noida (UP).

Odisha Government announces financial assistance for craftsmen

• Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Karigar Sahayata’ for financial assistance to craftsmen. The nodal department of the scheme is the Directorate of handicrafts.

• Craftsmen with 10 years of experience and having annual income below Rs.1 lakh are eligible to get assistance of Rs.800 per month.

• For craftsmen above 80 years of age would get Rs.1000 per month allowance for those has the same experience and annual income as above.

• Annual income certificate, residence proof, experience certificate and age proof are required to produce for availing the benefits of the scheme.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

SBI and Hitachi Payment Services launched SBI PSPL to establish digital payments platform in India

• State Bank of India (SBI) and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, launched their merchant-acquiring joint venture, SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL), for establishing a digital payments platform for India and other countries in the region, in Mumbai.

•  It will facilitate the expansion of the digital payments landscape in India via its digital payments platform and offer innovative products to suit the requirements of all segments of merchants by leveraging the brand value and vast distribution network of SBI, and bring Artificial Intelligence and other technological capabilities of Hitachi to SBI Payment Services.

National Housing Bank proposes stricter regulations for Housing Finance Companies

• National Housing Bank (NHB),a mortgage sector regulator and a fully owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose stricter regulations on the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to prevent them from falling prey to liquidity and credit risks.

• Following proposals have been put forward:

• Increasing the capital adequacy ratio (CAR)of these companies from 12%to 15%, in a phased manner by 31st March 2022. This will be accomplished by increasing the minimum CAR to 13% by 31st March 2020, 14 % by 31st March 2021 and 15 % by 2022.

• Bringing down the public borrowings to 12 times of the Net Owned Fund (NOF) from the existing 16 times, by March 2022.

•  Implementing graded reduction in the limit on the overall borrowings of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) from 16 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) to 14 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) by 31st March 2020, 13 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2021 and 12 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2022

World Bank to provide Rs 2,200 crores for a healthcare project to Andhra Pradesh.

• The World Bank decided to provide a loan of Rs. 2200 crores ($328-million) to Andhra Pradesh for implementation of the AP Health Systems Strengthening Project (APHSSP).

• The loan agreement was signed between the Government of India, government of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank

• The agreement was signed by Bandana Preyashi, director, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI), Poonam Malakondaiah, Special Chief Secretary (Medical and Health, AP government) and Mohini Kak and Kari L Hurt, representatives of World Bank in India.

• The project aims to improve the quality of healthcare, availability and accessibility of primary health services to the majority population of the state.

• The quality of healthcare delivery will be enhanced through National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) certifications for Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

BIAC India won the Women on a Mission award

• Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) India’s partner P. Doraswamy was conferred with ‘The Women on A Mission Award’. It was presented to him by philanthropist Sudha Narayana Murthy at the women’s summit organized under ‘he for she’ category in Bengaluru.

• The award was given to him for his contribution to the welfare of women workforce in Visakhapatnam by organizing free medical camps, cancer screening initiatives, distribution of free amenities.

DAY:

International Women's Day 2019

• International Women's Day is celebrated across the world on March 8.

• The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's Year, 1975.

• Official UN Theme of International Women's Day 2019: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.

• National Women's Day of India was observed on 13 February, on the date of birth of India’s first women governor Sarojini Naidu.

INTERNATIONAL:

Singapore government to invest Rs 5,000 crore in Bharti Airtel

• Singapore's government’s investment arm GIC Pvt Ltd will subscribe to shares worth Rs.5,000 crore as part of Airtel's plans to raise Rs.25,000 crore through rights issue.

• Singapore's Singtel also committed to buying Rs.3,750 crore worth Airtel stock.

Kaja Kallas elected as the first female Prime Minister of Estonia

• Kaja Kallas is the leader of country’s Reform Party.

• The Reform party beat the current Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’ lead Centre party, gaining 4 new seats in the parliament.

• Estonia also elected their first female president Kersti Kaljulaid in 2016.

• Estonia is a small country in the Baltic states that has been very active in the block chain field.

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Important Current Affairs of 7th March

National :

Cabinet approves promulgation of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019

• Union Cabinet approved the proposal for promulgation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019. 

• The Ordinance will ensure that the Constitutional provisions of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes in the faculty recruitment will be protected.

• This will ensure that the process of recruitment of faculty is resumed and the vacancies are filled up.

• The decision will allow filling up of more than five thousand vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers cadre. 

CCEA approves construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal and Bhadrak in Odisha of 155 kilometres length. 

• The total estimated cost of this project is over Rs 1866 crore and will be completed by 2023-24. 

• This will also help in generating direct employment for about 37 lakh man-days.

Poorest of poor and uneducated women left behind in Integrated Child Development Scheme: Report

• As per a paper published in WHO bulletin recently, the poorest of the poor and uneducated women are not being covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

• The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of services at anganwadi or child-care centres to young children and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

• These services include supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education.

• The study also said that mothers without any schooling were the lowest beneficiaries.

PM-STIAC: Nine Science and Technology Missions and other Projects

• The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Prof. K. Vijay Raghvan shared details of the nine national missions guided by the Prime Minister Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

• The PM-STIAC aims to facilitate the process of collaboration and focus needed to solve complex problems in a reasonable time-frame.

• The Union Government is catalysing collaborations across scientific ministries, research institutions and industry partners, through the PM-STIAC, to leverage cutting edge scientific research for societal benefit.

• 4 meetings of the PM-STIAC have been held since October 2018 and key national missions emerged from the discussions. Each mission is being led by a lead Ministry and will engage international and national institutional partners, young scientists and industry.

Prime Minister launches key development projects at Kalaburagi and Kancheepuram

• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched key development projects at Kalaburagi in Karnataka and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.

• At Kalaburagi in Karnataka, the Prime Minister dedicated the ESIC Hospital and Medical College, Bengaluru to the nation.

• He also inaugurated the Super Specialty Block of KIMS in Hubali, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal building in Bangalore and the Women’s Hostel for Students from North Eastern Region at Bangalore University.

• At Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister launched various National Highway projects, including the foundation stone for the four laning of NH-45C from Vikravandi to Thanjavur and the six laning of Karaipettai – Walajapet section of NH-4.

• He dedicated the 5 MMTPA capacity Ennore LNG Terminal to the nation.

• The Prime Minister also unveiled the statue of Dr MG Ramachandran at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai.

Uttar Pradesh gets highways projects worth over Rs 1 Lakh Crore

• Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated National Highways projects worth Rs 1, 10, 154 crore in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

• He inaugurated foundation stone for several works under Namami Gange programme worth over Rs 1969.57 crore.

• The National Highways include four-laning of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on NH-56, four-laning of Kursi Road–Ayodhya Road section of Lucknow ring road, four-laning of Ghaghra Bridge to Budhanpur section on NH-233, widening of Sonoli-Gorakhpur section on NH-29E, widening of Barabanki-Jarwal Road Junction on NH-28C, etc.

• The foundation stone for construction of Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway was also laid.

• Several projects under Namami Gange programme were launched including laying of sewerage network of 214.88 km in Prayagraj at a cost of Rs 260.86 crore, laying of sewerage network of 69 km including 2 STPs of 9MLD capacity in Garh Mukteshwar, etc.

Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research sign MoU

• A Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Shri Vishwakarma Skill University (SVSU) and National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research (NITTTR) was signed.

• The MoU will be in force for a period of three years. 

• The collaboration targets to ensure purposeful engagement of Faculty, Experts and Industry Partners for various academic activities.

• The collaboration seeks to support Vision and Mission of both Institutions related to Technical and Vocational Education, Training and Research.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project.

• The 300-crore rupees ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years.

• It will be one of the world's longest ropeways, and will shorten the one-hour zigzag drive to just 15 minutes from Purkul village the base camp at Dehradun to Mussoorie.

• Poma, a French company which manufactures cable-driven projects, will provide the technical support to the ropeway which will be built on the PPP mode

Madhya Pradesh: Ancient tribal language Gondi to be taught in tribal districts

• In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts.

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state's tribal-dominated districts.

• The rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue is a matter of concern. Hence, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to save it.

Justice SA Bobde nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA

• President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

• The post is currently headed by Justice AK Sikri who retired on March 6, 2019.

• The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.

• NALSA fulfils the provisions under the Article 39A of the constitution which provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society.

International:

ISRO, French space agency CNES sign agreement on maritime security

• National space agency ISRO and its French counterpart CNES signed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.

• The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally and in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.

• They will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them.

• The agreement comes a year after the two governments initiated broad collaboration plan during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in March 2018.

• The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered as models.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

• Malaysia ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

• Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it.

• The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.

• After the election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy.

• The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

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Important Current Affairs 6th March 2019

NATIONAL:

TVS Motor Company won the Green Era Award for Sustainability

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

Rajnath to inaugurate an electronic surveillance project in Assam

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

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

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

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

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

Geological Survey of India sets up 22 GPS stations across country

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

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

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

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

Azaadi ke Diwane Museum inaugurated at Red Fort

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

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

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

♦ the Yaad-e-Jallian museum,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Notun Disha Initiated By Tripura Government.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI fined 7 banks for delayed SWIFT implementation

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

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

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

POLICY:

Haryana Cabinet approved the 2019-20 excise policy

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

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

Maharashtra CM Fadnavis unveils states new 5-year industrial policy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RE-ELCETIVES:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 5th March 2019

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

Indian Railways celebrate Golden Jubilee of first Rajdhani Express

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

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

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

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

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

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

Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurates BOLD-QIT project in Assam

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

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

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

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

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

Sanjeev Ranjan to be designated as Secretary at MoRTH

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

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

Global Consumer Confidence Survey topped by India

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records

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

(i) Largest traffic and crowd management plan

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

(iii) Biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism

ISRO launches 'Yuva Vigyani Karyakram' for school children.

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

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

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

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

• It has launched the YUVA programme.

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

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

SPORTS:

Punia won a gold medal in International wrestling tournament in Bulgaria

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

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

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

Cricket to be included in 2022 Asian Games

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

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

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

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

Roger Federer wins his 100th career title in Dubai

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

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

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