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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2019

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY


NASA: 2018 4th warmest year on record.
•    The global surface temperatures on the Earth in 2018 were the 4th warmest since 1880.
•    This was found in an independent analysis by NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
•    The global temperatures in 2018 were 0.83 degree Celsius
2018’s temperatures rank behind those of 2016, 2017 and 2015.
 

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY


IRDAI imposes fine on United India Insurance.
•    Imposed a fine of Rs 9 lakh on state-owned United India Insurance Co Ltd for violating certain procedures.
•    3 violations were found during the inspection, of which 2 attracted the fine.
•    UIIC is headquartered in Chennai, while IRDAI is in Hyderabad.

SBI fined by RBI.
•    RBI slapped Rs 1 crore penalty on SBI, country's largest lender on 7th Feb 2019 for violating norms.
•    RBI levied the penalty in the exercise of powers conferred under Section 47 A of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949.
•    SBI was charged for not monitoring the end use of funds in respect of one of its borrowers.


RBI Monetary Policy of February.
•    RBI cuts key lending rate (repo) by 0.25 pc to 6.25 pc
•    Reverse repo rate cut to 6pcs, bank rate to 6.5pc, CRR unchanged at 4pc
•    Headline inflation estimates revised down to 2.8 pc in Q1, 3.2-3.4 pc in first half of next fiscal
•    Projects GDP growth to accelerate to 7.4 pc next fiscal, from 7.2 pc in 2018-19
 

Suresh Prabhu addresses interactive session.
•    An interactive session on the Indo-Africa Strategic Economic Co-operation was held in New Delhi on 6th Feb 2019.
•    It was organised by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
•    The bilateral trade between Africa and India has increased from $7 billion in 2001 to $78 billion in 2014 and then $60 billion in 2017.
•    Suresh Prabhu is the Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation.
 

AWARDS AND HONORS


Yes Bank wins Data Science Innovation Award.
•    Yes, Bank was announced as the winner of the 9th edition of Aegis Graham Bell Award 2018 for its ‘Yes Engage Enrich Excel (EEE)’ project in data science.
•    Its EEE program is an industry-first analytics tool that aids the Bank’s relationship managers with top 3 talking points to engage with their customers.
•    Aegis Graham Bell Award promotes innovations and entrepreneurship in the ICT domain.

Sanjiv Chadha awarded in UK.
•    The State Bank of India’s UK Chief Mr Sanjiv Chadha has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of the City Of London’.
•    The award was given by the city of London Corporation in recognition of his contribution to promoting bilateral relations
•    The previous Indian recipient of the honour is Jawaharlal Nehru, the first PM of India. Other recipients include author J K Rowling and actor Dame Judi Dench.
 

APPOINTMENTS


Pradeep Singh became Civil Aviation Secretary.
•    The government appointed Air India Chief Managing Director and Chairperson Pradeep Singh Kharola as the secretary of the Ministry of Civil Aviation.
•    Kharola will take over from Rajiv Nayan Choubey.
•    He is an IAS officer of Karnataka cadre from the 1985 batch, who was named chairperson of Air India in November 2017.

NATIONAL


Nitin Gadkari laid foundation of NH project.
•    Union Minister of Road Transport and Highways, Nitin Gadkari, laid the foundation for 5 National Highway projects of length 632 km in Ayodhya on 8 Feb 2019
•    The estimated cost is Rs. 7195 crore and the project will establish direct connectivity from Ayodhya to Ambedkar Nagar and Chitrakoot.
•    He will also visit Prayagraj to inaugurate Phase 2 of River Information System on National Waterway-1.

Ujjwala Utsav observed by Oil industry.
•    Ujjwala Utsav was observed by the Oil industry in New Delhi on 7th Feb 2019
•    It was observed to celebrate the stellar role played by all stakeholders in making PMUY scheme a success.
•    PMUY anthem - 'Ujjwala Bharat Ujjwala' composed by Kailash Kher was also launched on the occasion.
 

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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2019

National News

22nd AIIMS to come up in Haryana
The 22nd AIIMS would come up in Haryana. The announcement was made regarding this at the Interim Budget 2019. The AIIMS would be established at Manethi village in Haryana’s Rewari district.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is the autonomous institutions set up under the act of parliament. The All India Institute Of Medical Sciences Act, 1956 provides for the establishment of AIIMS  as Institute of National Importance.

India’s Mithali Raj Becomes First Woman Cricketer to Play 200 ODIs 
India’s One-day International (ODI) captain Mithali Raj has become the first woman to play 200 ODI matches with her appearance in the match against New Zealand. The record for largest number of games played by a Woman Cricketer was already in the name of Mithali Raj. Mithali Raj had achieved the milestone when she played her 192 ODI of the career, going past Charlotte Edwards’ record of 191 appearances.
The 36-year-old Mithali Raj is playing the game at the international circuit for almost twenty years and she is also the fourth-highest among the cricketers as a whole, as Mithali is just behind Sachin Tendulkar (463), Sanath Jayasuriya (445) and Javed Miandad (233).


Bharathi appointed as the MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
The government has appointed P.V.Bharathi as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Corporation Bank. Earlier she has served as the Executive Director of Canara Bank. Corporation Bank is public-sector banking The company headquartered in Mangaluru, India. She took charge on February 1, 2019. The bank has a pan-Indian presence.  The bank has a network of 2,600 fully automated CBS branches, 3,040 ATMs, and 4,724 branchless banking units across the country.

International News

5 countries elected as non-permanent members of UNSC
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC). They will have two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.
These five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern
•    Two seats for Group of African states and Group of Asia-Pacific states,
•    One for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states
•    Two seats for Western European and other states.


International World Cancer Day celebrated on 4th February 
The world celebrates the World Cancer Day on 4th February. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The aim is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The main goal is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.

Obituary

Padma Shri R.B.Patil passed away
Padma Shri R.B. Patil, 93-year-old, passed away in Hubballi. He established North Karnataka’s first comprehensive centre for cancer in 1977 from voluntary donations.  Dr.Patil completed his education in England and continued to see patients until recently before his health deteriorated. The mortal remains of the surgeon were kept at his nursing home in Vidyanagar, Hubballi, for people to pay tributes.

Award


P.S.Krishnan is to receive K.Veeramani Award
K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2018 will be conferred on P.S. Krishnan, former Secretary, Government of India. Dravidar Kazhagam leader Veeramani will felicitate the awardee at a function in New Delhi. About the award: Periyar International Inc., (USA) gives an annual award for outstanding contributions to Social Justice, which is named his honor.  Mr.V.P.Singh, former Prime Minister of India, was the first recipient of the award. K.Veeramani is an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2019

National News

NGMA to organize 1st edition of Night at the Museum 
•    National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi will today organize the first edition of Night at the Museum.
•    The event will be organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
•    NGMA will conduct guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery.
•    Highlight objects include works of art of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.


Four highway projects worth over Rs 3000 cr launched in Rajasthan
•    In Rajasthan, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of four National Highway projects worth over 3 thousand 237 Cr. rupees.
•    These include three projects in Bikaner and one in Nagaur District.
•    24 thousand Km Highways will be constructed in first phase of Bharatmala Project.
•    Foundation stone of two projects were laid down in the function, which include National Highway from Raisinghnagar to Poogal and Khajuwala to Poogal and Poogal to Naukha-Bap sections of NH-911.


All religion prayer organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat
•    Gujarat is paying rich tribute to its son of soil father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
•    All religion prayer has been organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram this morning. 
•    Several functions have been organized at Kirti Mandir in Porbandar- the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
•    People will also observe two minutes silence at 11 am in respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.


India improves its global corruption ranking in 2018: Study
•    India has improved its ranking on a global corruption index in 2018 by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41.
•    In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind at 87th and 117th position, respectively.
•    According to the rankings released by an anti-corruption watchdog, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.


Obituary

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away in New Delhi 
•    Former Defence Minister and Anti-Emergency Crusader George Fernandes passed away in New Delhi. He was 88.
•    One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party. 
•    He was elected to the Lok Sabha 9 times and once to the Rajya Sabha.
•    He also served as Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Industry. 
•    George Fernandes was also a trade unionist, agriculturist, and journalist. As President of the All India Railwaymen's Federation he led the Railway strike involving 1.5 million workers in 1974, resulting in thousands being sent to jail.


International News

UAE, Saudi central banks launch common digital currency called 'Aber' 
•    The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
•    It will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances.
•    Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.


Myanmar parliament approves step toward charter change
•    Myanmar's parliament has voted to create a committee to propose amendments to the country's military-enacted constitution, which grants the armed forces the power to block any change.
•    The proposal to form the committee was presented by a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016 after more than five decades of military or military-backed rule.
•    The 2008 constitution gives the military control of national security ministries and 25 per cent of legislative seats, enough to prevent any constitutional changes, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of lawmakers.


Awards

Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal among 24 honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award 
•    Renowned Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal, Dogri writer Inderjeet Kesar, Kannada writer KG Nagarajappa and Kashmiri story writer Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq were among 24 writers, who were honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2018.
•    President of the Sahitya Akademi Chandrasekhar Kambar presented these awards at a function in New Delhi.
•    The awards were given for 24 different languages. The award was given to Chitra Mudgal for her book 'post box no 203 Nalla Sopara', which was based on the life of a transgender.
•    Inderjeet Kesar got the award for his Dogri novel- Bhagirath based on challenges faced by human beings. 
•    K. G Nagarajappa bagged the award for Anushreni- Yajamanike which is a collection of Kannada essays. 
•    Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq received the award for his collection of 18 Kashmiri short stories - Aakh.
 

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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2019

Sports

Naomi Osaka wins Australian Open Grand Slam Singles title
•    Japan's Naomi Osaka won her maiden Australian Open Grand Slam Singles title at Melbourne.
•    In the Final, Osaka, seeded fourth, defeated eighth placed Czech Petra Kvitova, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4 to become the first Asian player to achieve the world number one ranking.
•    She will surpass Romania's Simona Halep at the top of the rankings on Monday and become the youngest number one since Caroline Wozniacki in 2010.
•    The Japanese also created history by becoming the first player since 2001 to win back-to-back Grand Slam titles. Osaka, who won the US Open last year, broke American Jennifer Capriati's 2001 record.
 

National News

Assam Rifles creates history by showcasing "Nari Shakti" at parade 
•    The all-women Assam Rifles contingent created history this year by participating for the first time in a Republic Day parade.
•    Contingents of the Navy, India Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals were all led by women officers.
•    Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals became the first woman to perform bike stunts, alongside her male teammates as part of daredevils.
•    For the first time, a lady officer, Lt. Bhavana Kasturi. led a contingent of the India Army Service Corps and Capt Bhavna Syal, a third-generation officer in the armed forces, led the transportable satellite terminal's contingent.


SC upholds constitutional validity of Insolvency laws 
•    The Supreme Court has upheld the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code, IBC's constitutional validity in its ‘entirety’ and rejected petitions challenging the bankruptcy laws. The decision is a setback to defaulting promoters hoping for a chance to remain in control of their firms.
•    A bench of Justices R F Nariman and Navin Sinha refused to tweak any of the provisions of the IBC, which was challenged in a batch of petitions filed by several companies.
•    Justice Nariman, who penned the verdict, said the experiment contained in the Code passes constitutional muster. Lauding the working of IBC, the court said the economy's rightful position has been regained and the defaulters' paradise is lost by the IBC.


PM Modi dedicates Kochi Refinery project to Nation 
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday dedicated to the nation the Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex of BPCL at Kochi in Kerala. 
•    Prime Minister also laid a foundation stone for Petrochemical Complex. 
•    PM also inaugurated Mounded Storage Vessel at IOCL LPG bottling plant, Kochi.
•    PM also laid the foundation stone for Skill Development Institute at Ettumanoor.
•    Integrated Refinery Expansion Complex will be a modern expansion complex and transform Kochi refinery into the largest PSU Refinery in India with world class standards. It will be equipped for the production of cleaner Fuels for India. It will double the production of LPG & diesel and commence production of feedstock for petrochemical projects in this plant.


Piyush Goyal named interim Finance & Corporate Affairs minister
•    Railway Minister Piyush Goyal has been given additional charge of Finance and Corporate Affairs ministry in view of indisposition of Arun Jaitley
•    President, as advised by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, directed that during the period of Jaitley's indisposition, the portfolios of the Minister of Finance and the Minister of Corporate Affairs
 

Awards

Pranab Mukherjee, Nanaji Deshmukh Bhupen Hazarika awarded Bharat Ratna 
•    Social activist Nanaji Deshmukh, Music maestro Bhupen Hazarika and former President Pranab Mukherjee have been awarded with country's highest civilian honour Bharat Ratna.
•    The President also approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards, including 4 Padma Vibhushan, 14 Padma Bhushan and 94 Padma Shri Awards. 
•    Folk artist Teejan Bai, President of Djibouti Ismail Omar Guelleh, Industralist Anil kumar Manibhai Naik and theatre actor Balwant Moreshwar Purandare will be honoured with Padma Vibhushan.
•    Former CAG V K Shunglu, Akali Dal leader Sukhdev Singh Dhindsa and Foreigner John Chambers are among those who will be given Padma Bhushan. Journalist Kuldip Nayar will be honoured with Padma Bhushan posthumously.
•    For Padma Shree, Actor Manoj Bajpayee, Prabhu Deva, cricketer Gautam Gambhir, footballer Sunil Chhetri, Archer Bombayla Devi Laishram, archaeologist K K Muhammed are among those chosen for the awards this year. Actor Kader Khan has been awarded Padma Shree posthumously.


President Ram Nath Kovind confers Ashoka Chakra on Nazir Wani 
•    Lance Naik Nazir Ahmad Wani, a militant-turned-soldier who laid down his life fighting a group of terrorists in Shopian in Kashmir in November, was awarded the Ashoka Chakra by President Ram Nath Kovind
•    The award — India’s highest peacetime gallantry honour — was received by Wani’s wife and mother at the Republic Day celebrations at Rajpath. Wani is the first Kashmiri to be conferred the Ashoka Chakra.
•    Lance Naik Wani joined the Army’s 162 Infantry Battalion (Territorial Army) Jammu and Kashmir Light Infantry in 2004.
•    Ashoka Chakra is the highest peacetime military decoration for valour, courageous action or self-sacrifice away from the battlefield.
 

Space

NASA's Opportunity rover completes 15 years on Mars 
•    The US space agency said it has travelled 45 kilometres and logged its 5,000th Martian day back in February 2018. John Callas, project manager for Opportunity, however, said that at present the agency does not know the rover's status.
•    The six-wheeler rover had landed in a region of Mars called Meridiani Planum on January 24, 2004. The solar-powered rover went silent since a global dust storm in June last year.
•    However, Opportunity's mission continues, in a phase where mission engineers at NASA laboratories are sending commands to as well as listening for signals from the rover.
 

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Important Current Affairs 22th January 2019

National News

Logo for Tripura tea unveiled 
The Chief Minister of Tripura Biplab Kumar Deb unveiled the official logo of Tripura Tea. The Tripura Tea logo features Neermahal, the iconic landmark of Tripura.
About Neermahal
Neermahal was built by then Tripura King Bir Bikram Kishore Debbarman Manikya in the middle of Rudrasagar Lake, as his summer residence. It is located in Melaghar, around 53 km west of Agartala.
This is the largest water palace in India and one of two water palaces in India. The other water palace of India is located at Jal Mahal in Rajasthan.

Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor Inaugurated
The Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor. During the inauguration, investments worth over Rs 3,038 crore in this defence corridor were announced. Lockheed Martin, a global security giant, also announced its intention to invest in the corridor.
About the Corridor
•    The important features about the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor are:
•    It is also called as Tamil Nadu Defence Production Quad as the nodal cities of Chennai, Hosur, Salem, Coimbatore and Tiruchirappalli form a quadrilateral with one of them at the centre.
•    The five nodal cities already have existing defence ecosystem in the form of ordnance factory boards, vendors working with defence PSUs, and other allied industries.
 

International news

Indians can visit Nepal and Bhutan producing Aadhaar as Id Proof 
The Union Home Ministry has tweaked the travel document norms for visiting Nepal and Bhutan. As per new norms, Indian can travel to Nepal and Bhutan by producing Aadhaar as Identity proof but this is only for those Indians aged under 15 and over 65 years.
Indians other than in those age brackets will not be able to use Aadhaar to travel for Nepal and Bhutan.


World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 on Homeopathy
Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, will inaugurate the 2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 on the ‘Regulation of Homeopathic Medical Products; Advancing global collaboration’ organised on 23-25 January 2019 at Goa.
Themes for the Forum 2019
The forum is organised by Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, under the Ministry of AYUSH. The themes of the forum are:
•    Regulatory collaborations.
•    Converging on minimum regulatory & legal standards.
•    Advancing safety and quality standards.
•    Regulatory trend towards standardization and minimizing complexity.
•    Recognizing homeopathy as a distinct holistic medical system and Veterinary homoeopathy.
 

Awards

Sheikh Saud International Prize for Materials Research awarded to C N R Rao 
The first Sheikh Saud International Prize for Materials Research has been awarded to C N R Rao. The award will be presented to Rao by Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi ruler of Ras Al Khaimah emirate during the International Workshop on Advanced Materials at Ras Al Khaimah on February 25.
C N R Rao
Chintamani Nagesa Ramachandra Rao popularly known as C N R Rao is an Indian scientist who has made significant contributions in material research.
He has authored over 1,600 research papers and 50 books. His areas of research include transition metal oxides and other extended inorganic solids, metal-insulator transitions, nano-materials including nanotubes and graphene, artificial photosynthesis and hydrogen generation by photocatalysis and thermal means.


Ranjani Murali won Womans Voice Award at AKLF 2019
US Based Indian poet Ranjani Murali was awarded the “Woman’s Voice Award” on the last day of Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF). The main Objective of the award is to recognize and encourage creative writing by women in India. The Award carried a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh along with a citation. Ranjani Murali’s second book “Clearly you are ESL” won the Great Indian Poetry Collectives (GIPCs) Editor’s Choice award.

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Important Current Affairs 21th January 2019

National News

Madhu Babu Pension Yojana

The government of Odisha announced a hike of Rs 200 per month in the social security pension under Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY).

The Madhu Babu Pension Yojana (MBPY) is a pension scheme under the Department of Social Security and Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities for the disabled, old age persons in the state of Odisha. The Scheme was instituted by merging the two pension schemes i.e. namely, Revised Old Age Pension Rules, 1989 and Disability Pension Rules, 1985.

Beneficiaries of the Scheme

The Beneficiaries of the Madhu Babu Pension Yojana are:

• Person of 60 years of age and above.

• A widow (irrespective of age).

• A leprosy patient with visible signs of deformity (irrespective of age).

National Museum of Indian Cinema Inaugurated (national news)

The Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) at Films Division of India premises in Mumbai.

National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC)

The National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) aims to conserve the film heritage of India. The important aspects of NMIC are:

• NMIC is housed in two buildings, the New Museum Building and the 19th-century historic palace Gulshan Mahal – in the Films Division campus in Mumbai.

• The museum provides a glimpse of the evolution of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artifacts, interactive exhibits, and multimedia expositions.

• Posters have been on display at NMIC to map the journey of Indian cinema over the last century.

RailTel project turning railway stations into digital hubs (National News)

The Indian Railways (IR) has one of the world’s largest public WiFi networks in RailWire WiFi.  As a measure to PM’s Digital India initiative, across 746 railway stations in India RailWire WiFi has been set up with around 2.6 crore users logins in a month, and over 9,491 Tetra Byte (TB) of aggregated data consumption under RailTel project.  The network, provided by RailTel, a ‘Mini Ratna’ central PSU (Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways, is not only one of the largest but also one of the fastest public WiFi networks. RailTel has provided high-speed WiFi at 414 A, A1 and C category railway stations across the country, in association with Google as the technology partner. Free WiFi services to commuters are being provided under ‘RailWire’, RailTel’s retail Broadband initiative.

Prime Minister to inaugurate 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention in Varanasi on 22 January, 2019

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh tomorrow on 22 January, 2019.

For the first time, the three day long convention is being organized in Varanasi from 21-23 January, 2019. The theme of PBD Convention 2019 is "Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India".

In reverence to the sentiments of the larger diaspora to participate in Kumbh Mela and Republic Day celebrations, the 15th PBD Convention is being organised from 21 to 23 January 2019 instead of 9th January. After the Convention, participants will visit Prayagraj for Kumbh Mela on 24th January. They will then proceed to Delhi on 25th January and witness the Republic Day Parade at New Delhi on 26th January 2019.

About Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas: 

The 1st PBD was celebrated on 9th January, 2003 in New Delhi. January 9 was chosen as the day to celebrate PBD as it was on this day in 1915 that Mahatma Gandhi, had returned to India from South Africa.

PBD now celebrated once in every two years, provides a platform to the overseas Indian community to engage with the government and reconnect with their roots.  During the Convention, Pravasi Bharatiya Samman is conferred on the selected overseas Indians for their significant contributions to various fields both in India and abroad.

India’s richest 1% get richer by 39% in 2018; just 3% rise for bottom-half: Oxfam

Indian billionaires saw their fortunes swell by 2,200 crore a day last year, with the top 1 per cent of the countries richest getting richer by 39 per cent as against just 3 per cent increase in wealth for the bottom-half of the population, an Oxfam study said on Monday.

Globally, billionaires’ fortunes rose by 12 per cent or $ 2.5 billion a day in 2018, whereas the poorest half of the world’s population saw their wealth decline by 11 per cent, the international rights group said. Between 2018 and 2022, India is estimated to produce 70 new dollar millionaires every day, Oxfam said. “It (the survey) reveals how governments are exacerbating inequality by underfunding public services, such as healthcare and education, on the one hand, while under taxing corporations and the wealthy, and failing to clamp down on tax dodging on the other,” Oxfam India CEO Amitabh Behar said.

India to soon have own standard of apparel size: Smriti Irani 

Union minister Smriti Irani on January 20 said Indian textiles and garments industry would soon get its own country-specific apparel size.

“In the apparel export segment, one of the biggest challenge is that the UK has its size, the US has its size, and Europe has its size of measurement. But, India does not have it , she said. Irani said the central government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has alloted over Rs 1,800 crore in the last 4.5 years to Gujarat for upgradation of technology in the textile sector.

Awards News

Indian-American Gurinder Singh Khalsa,presented with the prestigious Rosa Park Trailblazer award

Indian-American philanthropist and entrepreneur, Gurinder Singh Khalsa(45), has been presented with the prestigious Rosa Park Trailblazer award for his campaign that forced US authorities change their policy towards headgear of the Sikh community.

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Important Current Affairs 17th January 2019

Awards

WCD shortlists 26 children for National Award this year 
•    The Women and Child Development Ministry have shortlisted 26 children for the national award this year for their bravery, social service and exceptional achievement in the fields of innovation, sports and arts.
•    The National Selection Committee, under the Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi, finalised the names of awardees for Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019.
•    The Committee also finalised the names of two individuals and three institutions for Bal Kalyan Puraskar.


WHO Goodwill ambassador Yohei Sasakawa to get Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018
•    Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Elimination.
•    The award will be given to Mr Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards the eradication of the disease in India and across the world.
•    Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for the year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.
 

Space News

ISRO schedules its first launch this year on Thursday next week
•    National space agency ISRO has scheduled its first launch this year on Thursday next week. PSLV C-44 will lift off from the spaceport Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota, carrying a student satellite called Kalamsat and an imaging satellite known as Microsat-R.
•    One of the specialities of the mission this time would be the configuration of the rocket. 
•    It will carry only two strap-on motors by the sides of the first fuel stage at the bottom.
•    This is the first time the launch vehicle is built in this configuration, known as PSLV-DL. 
•    Furthermore, after parking the satellites in the intended orbits, the fourth stage of the rocket will be taken to a circular orbit in space for carrying out certain experiments by the scientists.
 

National News

Government to set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country 
•    The government will soon set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country.
•    The government is spending about 25 thousand crore rupees on these schools.
•    Eklavya Model Residential Schools have expanded into a major education system in the country after Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.


15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas to be held in Varanasi from January 21-23 
•    The 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas will be organised in Varanasi from January 21-23, 2019.
•    This year, the participants will also have the opportunity to participate in Kumbh Mela at Prayagraj and Republic Day celebrations at New Delhi. Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, will be the Chief Guest of the Convention.


Magnitude 6 quake jolts Nicobar Islands region 
•    A strong earthquake of magnitude 6 hit the seismologically prone Andaman and Nicobar Islands on January 17
•    There was no tsunami alert issued as sea levels around the Andaman Nicobar archipelago showed no major rise
•    The earthquake hit the region at 8.43 am and its epicentre was Nicobar Islands region.


SBI, other banks agree to finance Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor
•    A consortium of banks led by StateBank of India has agreed to provide finance for Nagpur-Mumbai 'SamruddhiCorridor' expressway project.
•    SBI has agreed to lend the highest amount, 8,500 crore rupees.
•    Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank ofMaharashtra as well as the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.
•    The estimated cost of the project, being constructed by the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, is around 50,000 crores, of which around26,000 crores are required for the construction of the expressway. 
•    The corridor will have 25 toll plazas, and the toll will be collected for 40 years.
 

Sports

India’s Satyarup becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to climb 7 peaks, 7 volcano summits
•    Mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta today conquered Antartica's highest point, Mount Sidley. 
•    With this feat, he became the first Indian and youngest man to climb the seven highest peaks and volcanic summits across all continents.
•    According to the in-Reach Satellite, Communicator Satyarup was carrying, he summited Mount Sidley at 6. 28 in the morning Indian Standard Time at a temperature of minus 40-degree Celsius.
•    He achieved the feat at the age of 35 years and 262 days. Australia's Daniel Bull had done it at the age of 36 years 157 days.
 

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Important Current Affairs 14th January 2019

International Relations

India, 5 Central Asian nations back inclusive peace process in Afghanistan 
•    India and the five Central Asia nations have backed an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led. The understanding was reached at the first ever India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan capital Samarkand yesterday.
•    The Dialogue was chaired by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Uzbek counterpart Abdulaziz Kamilov. It was attended by the Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan and the First Deputy Foreign Minister of Kazakhstan.
•    Ms Swaraj reiterated India's commitment to the economic reconstruction of war-torn Afghanistan.
 

National News

Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWS
•    Gujarat Government has announced that the benefits of 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker sections of general category in educational institutions and government jobs will be applicable from midnight tonight.
•    However, it is pertinent to mention here that the benefits of the fresh quota will not be applicable for which the process had begun before January 14, 2019, like for which the process of written, oral, computer proficiency or preliminary tests have already been conducted.


Puducherry To Ban Single-Use Plastic From March 1
•    Puducherry government has decided to ban the production, sale and use of single-use plastic products in the Union Territory from March 1
•    Neighbouring Tamil Nadu government had announced in June, 2018 that it would ban the use of plastic items including non-biodegradable carry bags from January 1, 2019
 

Appointments

Jaideep Govind appointed Secretary General, NHRC 
•    Senior IAS officer Jaideep Govind has been appointed the Secretary General of National Human Rights Commission.
•    He was posted as Special Secretary and Financial Adviser in the Ministries of Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation.
•    He has held various important posts in the Government of India, including the charge of Human Rights Division in the Home Ministry.
 

International News

UN experts urge Pakistan not to execute mentally ill prisoner
•    UN experts have urged Pakistan not to carry out arbitrary execution of mental illness prisoners. 
•    The execution of Khizar Hayat, sentenced to death in 2003 for killing a colleague, was suspended by Pakistan's Supreme Court on Saturday, just three days before the 55-year-old was due to be hanged.
•    The UN experts said, Hayat, who has spent more than 15 years in custody, has been kept in solitary confinement since 2012, urging the government to halt the execution and questioning the veracity of his conviction.
 

Sports

Bengaluru Raptors win Premier Badminton League title
•    Bengaluru Raptors have won their first ever Premier Badminton League title. 
•    In the title clash played at Bengaluru last night, Bengaluru edged out Mumbai Rockets, with a 4-3 win.
•    Star player Kidambi Srikanth, Vu Ji Trang and the Men's Doubles pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Satiawan won their matches for Bengaluru guiding them to victory.


Abhinav Shaw becomes youngest gold medallist in shooting 
•    At the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune today, ten year old Abhinav Shaw became the youngest gold medallist in shooting.
•    He teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air rifle mixed team event. Delhi's Devanshi Rana bagged gold in Under-21 girls 25m pistol event.
•    Maharashtra once again dominated the gymnastics arena at the Games to wrap up the Under-21 category with a whopping nine medals on the last day of gymnastics events.
 

Awards

First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award presented to PM 
•    The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, today received the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award, at 7 Lok Kalyan Marg, in New Delhi.
•    The Award focuses on the triple bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet. It will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation.


Namita Gokhale wins Sushila Devi Literature Award 
•    Writer Namita Gokhale has won the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel "Things to Leave Behind".
•    She was awarded in the 'Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman Author' category at the inaugural edition of Bhopal Literature and Art Festival (BLF)
 

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Important Current Affairs 7th January 2019

Sports

Scripting history, India scores maiden series win in Australia 
•    India scripted history winning the first ever series on Australian soil beating the home team 2-1 after the fourth and final Test ended in a tame draw due to inclement weather.
•    It is a rare first Down Under for India since Lala Amarnath's side visited the country back in 1947-48 months after independence to face Sir Don Bradman's 'Invincibles'
•    India has also become the first ever Asian team to win a Test series in Australia.
 

Awards

'Bohemian Rhapsody' wins best film
The Golden Globes 2019 was held at the The Beverly Hilton, Beverly Hills, California, United States
Complete list of winners
Film
•    Drama- “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Actress, Drama- Glenn Close, “The Wife”
•    Actor, Drama- Rami Malek, “Bohemian Rhapsody”
•    Comedy or Musical- “Green Book”
•    Actor, Comedy or Musical- Christian Bale, “Vice”
•    Actress, Comedy or Musical- Olivia Colman, “The Favourite”
•    Actress-Supporting Role- Regina King, “If Beale Street Could Talk”
•    Actor-Supporting Role- Mahershala Ali, “Green Book”
•    Foreign Language Film- “Roma”
•    Best Director- Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”
•    Screenplay- Nick Vallelonga, Brian Currie, Peter Farrelly, “Green Book”
•    Animated- “Spider-Man- Into the Spider-Verse”
•    Original Score- Justin Hurwitz, “First Man”
•    Original Song- “Shallow,” “A Star Is Born”
Television
•    Drama- “The Americans”
•    Actress, Drama- Sandra Oh, “Killing Eve”
•    Actor, Drama- Richard Madden, “Bodyguard”
•    Musical or Comedy- “The Kominsky Method”
•    Actress, Musical or Comedy- Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”
•    Actor, Musical or Comedy- Michael Douglas, “The Kominsky Method”
•    Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Arquette, “Escape at Dannemora”
•    Actor, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Darren Criss, “The Assassination of Gianni Versace- American Crime Story”
•    Actress, Supporting Role, Limited Series or Movie Made for Television- Patricia Clarkson, “Sharp Objects”
 

National news

Polavaram project enters Guinness Book of World Record for concrete pouring 
•    The Polavaram project in Andhra Pradesh on Monday entered the Guinness Book of World by pouring 32,100 cubic metres of concrete in 24 hours. 
•    The concrete work to make the spillway began at 8 am on Sunday and concluded at 8 am this morning. 
•    The project beat the existing record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib, RALS Contracting LLC and Alfa Eng. Consultant (all UAE), in Dubai between May 18 and 20 in 2017.
 

Economy and banking

Banks get a breather on bad loans 
•    For the first time since the bad loan saga began to play out six years ago, Indian banks have reported a decline in the proportion of loans gone bad for the half-year ended September 2018.
•    Their aggregate Gross Non-Performing Asset (GNPA) ratio dipped from 11.5% in March 2018 to 10.8% in September 2018. The GNPA ratio captures the proportion of loans in a bank’s books on which borrowers haven’t repaid dues for more than 90 days.
 

International news

Malaysia’s king abdicates in historic first 
•    Malaysia’s king has abdicated in a historic first for the country that ended weeks of speculation about his future after he took medical leave.
•    Sultan Muhammad V’s decision marks the first time a king has abdicated in the country since it gained independence from Britain in 1957.
•    Malaysia is a constitutional monarchy, with a unique arrangement where the throne changes hands every five years between rulers of the nine Malaysian States headed by centuries-old royalty. The rotating monarchy system has been in place since independence from Britain in 1957, and Sultan Muhammad V is the first monarch to have renounced the throne.
 

International relations

U.S., China hold crucial talks to ease trade war 
•    Delegates from the US and China on Monday began the crucial face-to-face negotiations here to ease a bitter trade war between the world’s two largest economies amid growing concerns about China’s slowing economy and its impact on American businesses.
•    The US and China have been locked in an escalating trade spat since early 2018, raising import tariffs on each other’s goods.


OVL makes oil discovery in Colombia 
•    ONGC Videsh Ltd., the overseas arm of State-owned Oil and Natural Gas Corp. (ONGC) has made a second oil discovery in Colombia that has increased prospects of its onland block in the South American nation.
•    OVL is the operator of the block with 70% stake while Petrodorado South America S A Sucursal (PDSA) of Colombia holds the remaining 30%.
•    The well was spudded on November 7, 2018, and the company completed drilling on December 15, 2018.


Norwegian PM arrives in New Delhi 
•    Prime Minister of Norway Erna Solberg has arrived in New Delhi on a three-day state visit to India. 
•    She was accompanied by senior officials from her government and a large business delegation. 
•    She will participate in the Indo-Norwegian Business Conference.
•    She will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will call on the visiting dignitary.
•    The Norwegian Prime Minister will deliver the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue.
 

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Important Current Affairs 6th January 2019

National News

Govt allocates Rs 10,900 cr for development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in next 4-years
•    Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) Chairman Dr K Sivan has said that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years.
•    Pointing out that the Centenary year celebrations of ISRO founder Dr Vikram Sarabhai will be held next year, Dr Sivan said that ISRO will rededicate itself to become a world class organization, capable of addressing the varied socio economic challenges of the nation.


9-day long International Kite Festival kicks off in Ahmedabad 
•    In Gujarat, the nine-day long international kite festival kicked off at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad
•    About 500 kite fliers 13 different states of the country and 19 cities of Gujarat are also taking part.
•    The festival is also planned at Vadodara, Kevadiya, Dwaraka, Surat, Rajkot, Jetpur, Songadh, Saputara and Dhordo in the coming days.


Govt notifies High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause VI of Assam Accord 
•    The government has notified a High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause six of the Assam Accord.
•    The clause envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.
•    The nine-member committee, comprising of eminent Assamese persons from different fields, is headed by former bureaucrat MP Bezbarauah. 
•    The committee will examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord.


Cabinet approves 10% job quota for ‘economically weaker’ upper castes 
•    The Union Cabinet Monday approved a 10 per cent reservation for ‘economically backward’ upper castes in government jobs. 
•    Ahead of the General Elections this year, the government has announced reservation in jobs for those belonging to the upper castes and earning less than Rs 8 lakh per year.
•    A bill to amend Article 15 and 16 of the constitution will be moved in Parliament to this effect.
•    The Supreme Court has capped the quota for caste-based reservation for government jobs at 50%.
 

International News

Egypt opens West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital 
•    Egypt has opened West Asia's largest cathedral in its New Administrative Capital, 45 kilometres east of Cairo. 
•    President Abdul Fattah al-Sisi inaugurated the newly-built Cathedral of Nativity and also a mosque yesterday on the eve of Coptic Christmas.
•    The ceremony was attended by Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas and a host of Arab dignitaries. 
•    It included recorded video messages of support from the region's top Christian clerics as well as Pope Francis.
 

Sports News

Head Constable Rani wins gold medal in Senior National's Judo C'Ship 
•    Lady head constable Rani of 5th Indian Reserve Battalion of Himachal Pradesh Police won a Gold medal in the Senior National Women's Judo Championship at Visakhapatnam
•    She claimed top honours in the 78 kg category. 
•    Rani was also declared the best Judoka at the Championship.

Awards News

WCD minister Maneka Gandhi confers National Anganwadi Awards 
•    Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi today conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi workers for their exceptional achievements for the year 2017-18 in New Delhi.
•    The award is given to motivate the Anganwadi workers and recognize their exemplary services in the field of child development and related areas under the Integrated Child Development Services Scheme.
 

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