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Important Current Affairs of 9th April

NATIONAL:

Around 5,000 Naga Konyak women dance set a Guinness World Record in Nagaland

• In an attempt to set a new Guinness World Records in the category of ‘largest traditional Konyak dance display,’ around 5,000 Konyak community women, all decked up in colorful traditional attire, danced to the tune of a ceremonial song at Nagaland, coinciding with the Aoleang festival.

• The theme of this year’s Aoleang, also called Mini Hornbill festival, was ‘Empowering women for cultural heritage.

INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations.

• The two ships are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

• INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy. INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship. Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

Adani Power receives LoI to acquire KWPCL.

• Adani Power received a letter of intent (LoI) to acquire debt-laden Korba West Power Company Ltd. (KWPCL). 

• The committee of creditors of KWPCL, a company undergoing insolvency resolution process under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016, has approved the resolution plan submitted by Adani Power.  KWPCL owns and operates a 600 megawatt thermal power plant in Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh.

Biannual Army Commanders Conference began in New Delhi.

• The biannual Army Commanders’ Conference began in New Delhi for the planning and execution process of the Indian Army.

• Some issues like the management of the extant security dynamics, mitigation of future security threats were discussed in this conference.

• Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman delivered her opening address at the conference and the Chief of the Army Staff chaired the conference. About Defence Ministry Formed: 1776; 243 years ago  Headquarters: Cabinet Secretariat Raisina Hill, New Delhi.

Guwahati Railway station first to get ISO certification in India.

• The Guwahati Railway Station has become the first ever railway station in the Indian Railways to get an ISO certification from the National Green Tribunal (NGT) for ‘providing passenger amenities in a clean and green environment.

• ’ ISO certification received by Guwahati Railway Station is ISO-14001, which is for Environment Management System as per international norms which were upgraded in 2015. Thus, the station’s certificate reads ISO 14001: 2015.

INTERNATIONAL:

Israel to go to polls to elect new parliament.

• Israel will go to polls to elect a new parliament. Fourteen main parties are competing for 120 seats in the Knesset or parliament. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is running for his fifth term in office. 

• His main challenger is Benny Gantz, a former chief of staff for Israeli military who is a newcomer to politics. The main Voters will cast their ballots for a party, not a candidate.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI issues norms for banks to set up currency chests.

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) rolled out with guidelines for banks to set up new currency chests, which include the minimum area of 1,500 square feet for the strong room. 

• The new chests should have a processing capacity of 6.6 lakh pieces of banknotes per day. It added that for those situated in the hilly/ inaccessible places, capacity should be 2.1 lakh pieces of banknotes per day.

HDFC Bank to rise up to Rs.50, 000 crore by issuing bonds.

• Private lender HDFC Bank said it is planning to raise up to Rs.50,000 crore this fiscal by issuing bonds on private placement basis.

•  It will raise funds by issuing perpetual debt instruments [part of additional tier I capital], tier II capital bonds and long-term bonds [financing of infrastructure and affordable housing] up to a total amount of Rs.50,000 crore in the period of next 12 months through private placement mode. The bank would consider the proposal on April 20.

World Bank estimates India’s GDP to expand 7.5 percent in FY20.

• The World Bank expects India's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) to accelerate to 7.5% in fiscal year 2019-20. This would be driven by continued investment strengthening, particularly private-improved export performance and resilient consumption. Industrial growth accelerated to 7.9 per cent, making up for a deceleration in services. Agriculture growth was robust at four per cent. The real GDP growth is estimated at 7.2 per cent in FY18/19.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Kirstjen Nielsen resigns as Homeland Security Secretary.

• Kirstjen Nielsen, Homeland Security Secretary, resigned her position on 7th April. Ms.Nielsen will, however, stay on until April 10.

• Kevin McAleenan, the current U.S. Customs, and Border Protection Commissioner will take charge as Acting Homeland Security Secretary.

•  Ms. Nielson, who has had a rocky working relationship with President Donald Trump, handed in her resignation at a time when there were growing signs of division within the administration over how to handle the swelling numbers at the U.S.-Mexico border.

AWARDS:

Presidents Certificate of Honor and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards Conferred

• Vice President Venkaiah Naidu conferred President’s Certificate of Honour and Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Awards at New Delhi. 

• The award of the Certificate of Honour was introduced in the year 1958 to honour the scholars of Sanskrit, Arabic and Persian Languages.

• Maharshi Badrayan Vyas Samman Distinction is conferred on persons in recognition of their substantial contribution in the field of Sanskrit, Persian, Arabic, Pali, Prakrit, Classical Odiya, Classical Kannada, Classical Telugu and Classical Malayalam.

SPORTS:

Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics.

• Indian swimmer Kushagra Rawat has been qualified for 2020 Olympics, Tokyo. It was after he achieved the B standard of the 800m freestyle event at the Speedo Thailand Age Group Championships in Bangkok.

Graham Reid appointed as chief coach of India men's hockey team.

• Reid was part of the silver-medal winning Australian team at the 1992 Barcelona Olympics. Reid's appointment till the end of 2020 was ratified after Hockey India received necessary clearance from the Sports Authority of India (SAI).

• India had been without a chief coach since Harendra Singh was sacked after last year's World Cup Reid will be in charge of the team during their next international assignment -- tour to Australia in May 2019.

Isaak Hayik, 73, set a new record as world’s oldest soccer player.

• A 73-year-old Israeli Isaak Hayik set a new world record as the world’s oldest person to play in a professional soccer match. The previous record holder was 53 years old Uruguayan Robert Carmona who was played a professional match in 2015.

Malaysia Open Badminton 2019: Lin Dan clinched title in Mens Single’s category.

• Chinese badminton ace Lin Dan clinched the Malaysia Open 2019 title against countryman Chen Long to claim his first major title in two years. The 2019 Malaysia Open, officially the CELCOM AXIATA Malaysia Open 2019, is a badminton tournament which takes place at Axiata Arena in Malaysia from 2 to 7 April 2019 and has a total purse of $700,000.

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Important Current Affairs 8th April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

NTPC signs with Canara Bank to raise Rs.2000 crore.

• National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), the State-run power giant, has signed a term-loan agreement with Canara Bank to raise Rs 2,000 crore. The agreement would be used to part finance its capital expenditure. The loan has a door to door tenure of 15 years and will be utilised to part finance the capital expenditure of the NTPC.

SEBI agrees to crore Airport Specific Fund worth Rs. 10,000 crore.

• SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) approved an ‘airport’ specific fund. The name of the fund is ‘Taking Off To the Future Airport Fund’.

• It can raise a capital amounting to 1.5$bn (Rs. 10,000 crores). The ‘Sponsor and Investment Manager’ of the fund is based in Chennai and is termed as ‘Taking Off To The Future Investment Management LLP’.

• Gigi George leads the management and operation of ‘Sponsor and Investment Manager’ A minimum capital contribution of Rs. 3500 crore and a maximum of Rs. 7000 crore is targeted by the fund. On SEBI: The regulator for the securities market in India is the Securities and Exchange Board of India(SEBI)(established in 1988).

• On 12th May 1992, it became it became an autonomous body by the Government of India. Through the SEBI Act, 1992, SEBI was given statutory powers on 30 January 1992. On 10th January 2017, Ajay Tyagi was appointed as the chairman of SEBI by replacing U.K. Sinha.

MOUS:

Indian Navy signs MoU with CSIR for advanced technologies.

• The Indian Navy signed MoU with the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) to undertake joint research and development of advanced technologies for the Indian Navy.

• This will be a collaborative arrangement between labs of CSIR, the Indian Navy and Indian industry. The MoU provides a formal framework for interaction between the Indian Navy and CSIR.

DAYS:

National Handloom Week observed from 7th April to 14th April.

• It is a celebration of the country’s 5,000-year old tradition of hand weaving cloths.

• On this occasion, a book named ‘The Indian textile Sourcebook’ authored by Avalon Fotheringham and published by Thames and Hudson will be launched on 9th April.

• In 2018, the National Handloom Week was observed during December month. The National Handloom Day is observed on 7th August every year across India. It was on this day that the Swadeshi Movement was launched in 1905.

• The First National handloom day was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on August 7, 2015 in Chennai.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Algerias Parliament to meet to name an interim successor.

• Algeria’s Parliament is set to meet on 9th April to name an interim successor to President Abdelaziz Bouteflika after mass protests pushed the ailing leader from power.

•  Algeria’s Constitution stipulates that the Speaker of the upper house of Parliament, currently Abdelkader Bensalah, 77, should take the presidential reins.

• He is to serve for up to 90 days, during which a presidential election must be organized.

Praful Patel becomes 1st Indian to be elected as member of FIFA Executive Council

• Praful Patel is the current president of All India Football Federation (AIFF). He got 38 out of 46 votes. His membership in the council will be for four years, from 2019 to 2023.

• Patel was accompanied by AIFF general secretary Kushal Das and senior vice-president Subrata Datta. FIFA Council member election was held during the 29th Asian Football Confederations (AFC) Congress in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

INTERNATIONAL:

USD 1.7 trillion needed per year to build disaster-resilient infrastructure in Asia: ADB report

• As per a recent ADB report titled 'Asian Development Outlook 2019: Strengthening Disaster Resilience’, Developing economies across Asia are among the most vulnerable to natural disasters and have suffered damages estimated at 644 billion dollars since 2000.

• Of these, weather-related hazards caused the greatest share at 507 billion dollars (or 79 per cent) while geophysical hazards accounted for the remaining 137 billion dollars (or 21 per cent).

• To build disaster-resilient infrastructure, investment needs in developing Asia are estimated at 26 trillion dollars from 2016 to 2030, or 1.7 trillion dollars per year, including necessary investments in climate-change mitigation and adaptation.

NATIONAL:

L&Ts Proposal to Acquire Majority Stake in Mindtree approved by Competition Commission of India.

• Larsen and Toubro (L&T) received the approval to acquire up to 66.15 per cent stake in the Bangalore-based IT services firm Mindtree from Competition Commission of India (CCI). Around Rs 10,800 crore was the estimated total deal value.

A new seller-funding programme named Amazon Wings was launched by Amazon India.

• A new seller-funding programme named ‘Amazon Wings’  launched by Amazon India to help the small businesses and entrepreneurs to raise funds through the crowd funding platform.

• Amazon India sellers can use the Ketto’s platform for a subsidized fee which is around 50 percent to initiate fundraisers. With this initiative, the small businesses and entrepreneurs of this platform can raise the funds for their business expansion, product development, and foster innovation or community development.

•  They launched a dedicated microsite to feature fundraisers initiated by sellers by which they can raise small ticket funds starting from as little as Rs 50,000 by means of crowd-funding through multiple individuals.

Chennai Central has been renamed as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr M G Ramachandran Chennai Central after Dr. MG Ramachandran.

• Chennai Central railway station renamed by the Tamil Nadu State Government as Puratchi Thalaivar Dr MG Ramachandran Central Railway Station after late Chief Minister Dr. MG Ramachandran.

• Neeraj Sharma, Railway Executive Board Director notified that the change of name would be possible provided there should not be any inaugural event as a result of the election code of conduct. About Dr. MG Ramachandran Dr. Marudur Gopalan Ramachandran (17 Jan 1917-24 Dec 1987) as MG Ramachandran or ‘Makkal Thilagam’ (since he was a popular figure) was a veteran filmmaker, actor and politician. 

• He served for 10 years as the Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu (1977-1987). MG Ramachandran’s autobiography was posthumously published in 2003 (in two volunes) under the title ‘Naan Yaen Piranthaen (Why I was Born)’. His policies focused on economic growth and social welfare.

•  He brought in many educational reforms, banned liquor, upgraded the mid-day meal scheme and worked for the preservation for the state’s cultural heritage. For his immense contribution to public service, M G Ramachandran was posthumously honoured with Bharat Ratna, the highest civilian award, by the Government of India in 1988.

AWARDS:

Tata Steel won 'Global Slag Company of the Year' award.

• The award has been presented to Tata Steel for its innovative practices in development of new applications for Steel by-products (Slag). The award was given at the 14th Global Slag Conference and Exhibition 2019, held recently in Aachen, Germany. The conference is one of the largest global annual slag event, attended by major steelmakers, steel mill service providers & associated companies.

AWARDS:

ESPN India Multi-Sport Awards 2018 announced, PV Sindhu and Neeraj conferred with Sportsperson of year award

• Olympic silver medallist P.V. Sindhu and star javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra were named as female and male sportsperson of the year in the ESPN India Multi-Sport Awards for their achievements in 2018. 2012 London Olympics bronze medallist shuttler Saina Nehwal won the award for the ‘Comeback of the Year’ after bagging the bronze at the 2018 Asian Games.

• ESPN Multi-Sport awards 2018 recognised achievements across 11 categories. Other Winners of the Award are:

♦ Coach of the Year - Jaspal Rana (shooting)

♦ Emerging Sportsperson of the Year - Saurabh Chaudhary (shooting)

♦ Team of the Year - Women’s team (table tennis)

♦ Match of the Year - Amit Panghal vs Hasanboy Dusmatov (boxing)

♦ Differently-abled athlete of the Year - Ekta Bhyan (para-athletics)

♦ Moment of the Year - Women’s 4x400m relay

♦ Lifetime Achievement Award - Pradip Kumar Banerjee (football).

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Important Current Affairs 7th April 2019

SUMMIT:

ICAT to organize NuGen Mobility Summit in November.

• The International Centre for Automotive Technology (ICAT) is to organize a NuGen Mobility Summit, 2019, at Manesar, NCR, from 27th to 29th November 2019.  The summit will help in building a platform for bringing together all stakeholders in the automotive industry to understand global advancements in technologies.

• The summit aims to bring together the automotive OEMs, professionals, researchers, academic experts, vehicle system suppliers, test equipment supplier, quality managers, product planners, component developers, SAE members and students from all over the world.

• Track demonstrations, drive-touch-feel activity and lab demonstrations on upcoming vehicle technologies like connected mobility, autonomous vehicles, electric mobility, alternate fuels, intelligent transportation system, hydrogen fuel cell, hydrogen IC engine, vehicle dynamics, advanced materials and lightweight, end of life vehicles and recycling are the uniqueness of this event.

CAMPAIGNS:

MRM launches campaign to garner Muslim support for strong & stable government.

• Muslim Rashtriya Manch (MRM), a social and educational reform movement working among the Muslims in India since 2002, undertaking the campaign to create awareness among the Muslim voters to cast their vote for a strong government at the Centre to ensure the all-round development of all the citizens.

• The MRM had done a similar exercise in 2014 to secure Muslim vote to its maximum all over the country. This time too, the MRM has decided to launch such a campaign especially when the Modi government had done so much for the Muslims of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

Pakistan opened a route for flights out of India.

• Pakistan has opened one route for west-bound flights from India more than a month after it shut its airspace for all civilian flights following the Indian Air Force’s strikes at Balakot. A decision on opening a passage for flights overflying Pakistan and entering India is yet to be taken.

• The route that has been opened passes from near Mumbai and enters southern Pakistan. This is only one of the 11 exit and entry points between India and Pakistan. Since the ban by Pakistan on the use of its airspace, several flights within Asia, between Asia and West Asia or Europe or the U.S. were forced to take a longer route, entailing an increase in flight duration and sometimes a halt for refuelling.

• This led to an increase in operational costs, forcing many airlines to cancel flights or hike fares.

SPORTS:

Virat Kohli becomes all-time leading IPL scorer during 49-ball 84.

• Virat Kohli hit his 35th fifty in the Indian Premier League as Royal Challengers Bangalore sought to bounce back following four successive defeats this season.

• Up against Kolkata Knight Riders, Kohli came out all guns blazing and became the 2nd fastest after Chris Gayle to reach 8000 T20 runs. RCB have struggled in the 2019 IPL and Virat Kohli had failed to lead from the front in the first four matches.

•  However, back in Bengaluru, Kohli hit top gear against a top bowling attack and blazed away to a 49-ball 84. This was Kohli's first fifty of the season. Virat Kohli had smashed 973 runs and 4 hundred as RCB came from nowhere to storm into the final against Sunrisers Hyderabad.

DAYS:

World Health Day observed on 7th April.

• World Health Assembly decided to celebrate 7 April of each year as the World Health Day, with effect from 1950.

•  World Health Day is one of eight official global health campaigns marked by WHO, along with World Tuberculosis Day, World Immunization Week, World Malaria Day, World No Tobacco Day, World AIDS Day, World Blood Donor Day, and World Hepatitis Day. The theme of World Health Day 2019 is Universal health coverage: everyone, everywhere.

NATIONAL:

Micromax Co-founder unveils Indias first AI-enabled e-motorcycle brand.

• Rahul Sharma, cofounder of Indian phone maker Micromax, has forayed into the electric vehicle space. He has started a new enterprise called Revolt Intellicorp Pvt. Ltd, with plans to launch an artificial intelligence (AI) based motorcycle. He has invested between INR 400 Cr - INR 500 Cr in this new venture. The proposed AI-enabled motorcycle will have a range of 156.8 km and a top speed of 85km/hr. The commercial launch of the motorcycle is scheduled in June this year.

BSNL announced a slew of tariff plans for Ugadi.

• Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited (BSNL) announced a slew of tariff plans as part of its Ugadi offering in Hyderabad.

• It also announced three new pre-paid plans to meet the demand of consumers who want voice-focussed plans rather than data-heavy ones. 

• BSNL has seen its rise in market share from 10.8% to 11.58%. Its consumers are using 8 TB data everyday and 42,600 existing users have shifted to 4G SIM showing the quality of our network and service.

•  Incidentally, BSNL Telangana Circle’s 4G roll-out plan has eluded Hyderabad so far.

Government sells Rs 1,150 crore worth 'enemy shares' in Wipro.

• A total of 44.4 million shares, which were held by the Custodian of Enemy Property for India, were sold at Rs 259 apiece on the Bombay Stock Exchange.

•  The buyers were state-owned Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), New India Assurance and General Insurance Corporation.

• LIC alone picked up shares worth Rs 1,000 crore. Enemy shares are called so as they were originally held by people who migrated to Pakistan or China and are not Indian citizens any longer.

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

Dr. Sohini Sastri honoured with D. Litt by National American University.

• Indian Astrologer Dr Sohini Sastri has been honoured with 'D. Litt in Astrology' by National American University, USA.

•  Dr Sohini Sastri is one of the most trusted names in Astrology and is known for her services over the years. She is also a receipt of 'Champions of Change Award' which was given to her by Honourable Vice-President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu at Vigyan Bhawan, Delhi recently.

• Other prominent personalities who were also awarded Doctorates at the same event includes Bollywood singer Mohit Chauhan and choreographer Terence Lewis.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Karnataka Bank signed MoU with Bharti AXA for Insurance Products.

• Karnataka Bank has entered into a memorandum of understanding with Bharti AXA Life Insurance Company to distribute the latter’s life insurance products. This is the third similar tie-up by the Bank after with PNB Metlife India Insurance Company Ltd and LIC, both of whom continue to provide insurance solutions to the customers of Karnataka Bank.

MOUS:

BIS signed MoU with IIT-D on standardisation and conformity assessment.

• The Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) has signed MoU with the Indian Institute of Technology, Delhi (IIT-D) to collaborate in the field of standardisation and conformity assessment. The MoU was signed by IIT Delhi Director Professor V Ramgopal Rao and Director General of BIS Surina Rajan.  According to the MoU, IIT Delhi will provide infrastructure support for research and development projects of relevance to standardisation and BIS will provide financial support to IIT Delhi for projects.

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Important Current Affairs of 6th April

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Lakshmi Vilas Bank approves merger with India bulls Housing.

• The board of Lakshmi Vilas Bank approved a share swap acquisition by housing finance firm Indiabulls Housing Finance.

• The merged entity, Indiabulls Lakshmi Vilas Bank, will be among the top eight private banks by size and profitability. The merger will need the approval of the Reserve Bank of India and other regulators.

• As per the share swap ratio for the merger, for every 100 shares of Lakshmi Vilas Bank shareholders will get 14 shares of Indiabulls Housing Finance.

SPORTS:

Belgium retained top spot in the latest FIFA world football rankings.

• Belgium continues to dominate the charts with 1737 points. The top three positions are unchanged with World Cup winner France in second spot ahead of Brazil, in third. England rose above Croatia, to reach No 4 this month. Indian football team gained two places to rise to 101 in the FIFA rankings.

Indian women's Football team faces Nepal in Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match.

• In Football, Indian women's team faces Nepal in their Olympic Qualifiers Round 2 match in Mandalay, Myanmar today. The match will begin at 2 PM Indian time. The two teams will be up against each other for the third time since February.

INTERNATIONAL:

Panel to be set up to oversee Essar Steels operations.

• Essar Steel's Committee of Creditors (COC) has set up a monitoring committee to oversee the operations of the steel firm and ensure a smooth transition to ArcelorMittal, the successful resolution applicant. 

• The monitoring committee is headed by resolution professional Satish Gupta and has four members from the lenders and three from ArcelorMittal. The lenders, SBI, IDBI Bank, ICICI and Edelweiss Asset Reconstruction Company, have their representatives as members of the monitoring committee.

•  The development comes after the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT) asked the COC to set up a monitoring committee to oversee the operations of the steel firm and smooth transition to ArcelorMittal.

NATIONAL:

Phayeng Village of Manipur becomes India’s first carbon-positive settlement

• A village is given the Carbon-Positive Tag if it sequesters more carbon than it emits, slowing the accumulation of greenhouse gases and mitigating the effects of climate change.

• As part of the carbon-positive village project, Phayeng will receive a grant of Rs10 crore in phases to facilitate afforestation in the catchment of river Maklang that flows along the village.

• Phayeng is a scheduled caste village of the Chakpa community in Imphal West district and its conservation efforts are mainly linked to the belief that the forest is a sacred grove. It is surrounded by three densely forested hillocks with fruit trees at center and a stream flowing through it.

NIIF and Roadis to set up platform for up to USD 2 billion in road projects.

• The National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) and global transport infrastructure operator Roadis are to jointly set up a platform to invest up to $2 billion of equity in road projects in India. The platform would target toll-operate-transfer models and acquisitions of existing road concessions.  Roadis is a fully owned subsidiary of the Public Sector Pension Investment Board which is one of Canada's largest pension funds.

Indian Navy to acquire 6 lethal submarines under Project-75 India at Rs 50,000 crore.

• Under Project 75-India, the Navy wants to build six conventional diesel-electric submarines which would be almost 50 per cent bigger than the under-construction Scorpene class submarines being built at the Mazagon Dockyards Limited in Mumbai. The submarines should have the ability to carry and launch 18 heavyweight torpedoes in the sea.

• For the Indian Navy, the Project 75I-class submarine is follow-on of the Project 75 Kalvari-class submarines. The submarines will be equipped with heavy-duty firepower as it wants the boats to have at least 12 Land Attack Cruise Missiles (LACM) along with Anti-Ship cruise missiles (ASCM).

Paytm Money Receives SEBI Approval To Start Stock Broking Services.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) given approval to Paytm Money the investment and wealth management platform of the mobile payments company to start offering booking services. It had applied for the licence in October 2018. Paytm Money also received membership of NSE and BSE.

APPOINTMENTS:

Vikram Kirloskar appointed as CIIs president.

• Vikram Kirloskar, CMD of Kirloskar Systems Ltd., and vice-chairman of Toyota Kirloskar Motor has assumed office as President of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) for 2019-20.

• He takes over from Rakesh Bharti Mittal, vice-chairman, Bharti Enterprises.  Uday Kotak, founder and MD & CEO of Kotak Mahindra Bank, is the president-designate of CII for 2019-20. T.V. Narendran, CEO  & MD of Tata Steel Limited, takes over as CII vice-president for 2019-20.

Nasscom appoints Keshav Murugesh as CEO.

• IT industry body Nasscom has appointed WNS Global Services Group CEO Keshav Murugesh as its chairman for 2019-20. He takes over from his previous role as vice-chairman of Nasscom. He succeeds Rishad Premji (Wipro chief strategy officer and board member). Nasscom has appointed Infosys COO U.B. Pravin Rao as its vice-chairman for 2019-20.

Amal Clooney is appointed as the U.K.s special envoy on media freedom

• Amal Clooney has been appointed as the U.K.’s special envoy on media freedom. The appointment comes as the U.K.

• Prepares to host an international conference this July in the wake of attacks on journalists across the world.  Ms.Clooney will chair a panel of legal experts who will work to support countries to repeal outdated and draconian laws and strengthen legal mechanisms to protect journalists.

•  Among the steps that could be taken by the panel include making proposals to countries around national laws that don’t comply with international standards, particularly around issues such as blasphemy and stringent anti-defamation rules. 

• The panel will also prepare mechanisms that could be used internationally to raise the cost of non-compliance with international standards, such as advising on sanctions regime that could be put in place relating to regimes that abused journalists.

American David Malpass selected as the new President of the World Bank

• David Malpass is currently US Treasury Department's Under Secretary for International Affairs. He was a senior economic adviser to US President Donald Trump during his 2016 election campaign. The 63-year-old, nominated by Trump, was the only candidate for the job. Malpass succeeds Jim Yong-kim, who stepped down on February 1 to join an investment firm. Kristalina Georgieva, chief executive officer of the bank, has been acting as the interim President.

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Important Current Affairs of 4th April

INTERNATIONAL:

Cholera vaccinations launched in post-cyclone Mozambique.

• In Mozambique, a vaccination campaign launched after Cyclone Idai battered the nation and unleashed an outbreak of cholera.

• International relief agencies and the Health Ministry are aiming to immunise nearly 9,00,000 people against the water-borne intestinal disease, which has already killed two people and infected more than 1,400.

• The vaccinations will be administered at health centres, shelters for the displaced, and at schools and markets. Cyclone Idai smashed into the coast of central Mozambique last month, unleashing hurricane-force winds and rains that flooded the hinterland and drenched eastern Zimbabwe.

Brunei passed harsh new sharia laws.

• Brunei introduced harsh new sharia laws, including death by stoning for adultery and gay sex.

• The law was passed despite a storm of global criticism from politicians, celebrities and rights groups.

• The tough penal code in the country fully came into force following years of delays. The laws make Brunei the first place in East or Southeast Asia to have a sharia penal code at the national level, joining several mostly West Asian countries such as Saudi Arabia.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Chicago elected Lori a black woman as its Mayor.

• Chicago elected Ms.Lori Lightfoot, 56, a black woman as its Mayor. The voters have put their faith in an openly-gay political novice to tackle difficult problems of economic inequality and gun violence.

• Since 1837, Chicago voters have elected only one black Mayor and one woman Mayor. Ms. Lightfoot will become Chicago’s first openly gay Mayor as well as the first African-American woman to hold the post.

• Lori Lightfoot a former federal prosecutor and practicing lawyer beat out Toni Preckwinkle, a career politician who is also black, by a wide margin of 74% to 26% with most ballots counted. She has promised to clean up city government and reduce economic inequality.

Algeria's president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigns after 20 years in power.

• Algeria‘s long-serving president Abdelaziz Bouteflika announced his resignation, after mass protests demanding an end to his rule, and after a call from the army for him to be declared unfit to hold office. Bouteflika came to the presidency after its darkest period, the 1990s Islamic insurgency.

• . After taking power in 1999, he managed to bring back stability to a country devastated by killings and distrust. Mr Bouteflika has not publicly spoken and has been wheelchair-bound since a stroke in 2013. Bouteflika is accused of failing to create an economy that could offer enough jobs, despite the nation's vast oil and gas wealth. Abdelkader Bensalah took charge as interim leader for a maximum of 90 days as elections are organised.

NATIONAL:

Two new birds spotted in Kerala Aralam sanctuary.

• The 19th edition of the bird survey in Aralam Wildlife Sanctuary spotted two new species of birds - Woolly-necked Stork (Karuvarakkuru) and White-bellied Drongo (Kakkarajan) - both dry land species. A total of 152 species were spotted in the three-day survey.

Tata Projects bagged USD321 mn worth project from NPCIL.

• Tata Projects has received an order from the Nuclear Power Corporation of India (NPCIL) for the construction of 2 x 700 MW power plant. The estimated cost is about $321 million.

• This is the firm’s third contract in the nuclear power sector.  This project will provide the much needed power supply to the region and ensure developmental initiatives receive an impetus. The scope of work involves the construction of main plant buildings, structures and other works of Gorakhpur Haryana Anu Vidyut Pariyojana - 1&2.

IFINs GNPAs touched 90 percent says IL&FS.

• IL&FS Financial Services Ltd. (IFIN), the non-banking finance arm of infrastructure conglomerate IL&FS, reported an increased gross non-performing asset (NPA) ratio of 90% as at end December 2018 against the gross NPAs of 5% in March 2018. The new management completed six months.

•  It is unusual for any lender to report 90% gross NPAs and it is probably for the first time, in recent times, that a lender had reported such delinquency. IFIN’s total exposure as on March 31, 2019 was Rs.18,805 crore, of which external exposure was Rs.10,656 crore and exposure to the group, Rs. 6,949 crore. About Rs.1,300 crore is categorised as other assets.

US approved to sell 24 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India for USD 2.4 billion

• The US has approved the sale of 24 multi-role MH-60 'Romeo' Seahawk helicopters to India at an estimated cost of $2.6 billion. The Lockheed Martin-built helicopters are designed for hunting submarines, targeting ships, and conducting search-and-rescue operations at sea. It is considered the world's most advanced maritime helicopter.

• The helicopters are currently deployed with the US Navy. These helicopters would replenish India's aging fleet of British-made Sea King helicopters.

Indian Army builds longest suspension bridge 'Maitri on Indus in record 40 days

• Indian Army's Combat Engineers of 'Sahas aur Yogyata' Regiment of 'Fire and Fury Corps' have built the longest cable suspension bridge named 'Maitri’ over Indus river in Leh in a record 40 days. The 260-foot-long bridge is dedicated to Indians to commemorate 20th year of Kargil Vijay Diwas.

• The central government had emphasised on building an all-weather road connectivity in the region. An all-weather road was built from Manali to Ladakh via Zanskar in Kargil last year. Similarly, the work for the Zojila tunnel, which is Asia's longest, has also been started. These projects were part of the Rs 25,000 crore projects allocated by the Centre for the state of Jammu and Kashmir.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI reduced repo rate for second consecutive time by 25 bps to 6 percent.

• The RBI cut its repo rate by 25 basis points to 6% in its first bi-monthly policy review of 2019-20. The decision comes a week before the election starts on April 11. The central bank had reduced the benchmark lending rate by 25 basis points in February after an 18-month gap.

• The reverse repo rate, too, was lowered from 6% to 5.75%. The bank rate was fixed at 6.25%. What is Repo rate? Repo rate refers to the rate at which commercial banks borrow money from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in case of shortage of funds.

• Repo rate is short form of Repurchase Rate. What is reverse repo rate? The reverse repo rate is the rate at which the central bank borrows money from commercial banks, to control the money supply in the country.

One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money Gets SEBI Approval for Stock Broking.

• One97 Communications-owned Paytm Money, the wealth management arm of Paytm got approval from the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) to start offering a stock broking service such as the ability to trade in equities and cash segments, derivatives, and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) among other exchange-traded products.

RBI sets limits for Ways and Means Advances.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in consultation with the government of India has set the limits for Ways and Means Advances (WMA) for the first half of the financial year 2019-20 (April 2019 to September 2019) at Rs.75000 crore.  Ways and Means Advances (WMA)

♦ WMA is the temporary loan facility provided by the RBI to the Centre and State governments

♦ The WMA scheme was introduced in 1997 to meet any temporary mismatches in the receipts and payments of the government

♦ The WMA needs to be vacated after 90 days

♦ The interest rate for WMA is currently charged at the repo rate that is, 6.25%

♦ The limits for WMA are decided by the RBI and in consultation with the Government of India RBI's Policy rates and Reserve ratios:

 ♦ Bank Rate: 6.50%

♦ Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Reverse Repo Rate: 6.00%

♦ Cash Reserve Ratio: 4%

♦ Statutory Liquidity Ratio: 19.25%

DAYS:

UN observes International Day for Mine Awareness on 4th April.

• On 8 December 2005, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) declared that 4 April of each year shall be observed as the International Day for Mine Awareness and Assistance in Mine Action.

• The theme for 2019 is "United Nations Promotes SDGs – Safe Ground – Safe Home". United Nations Mine Action Service (UNMAS) has been working to:

♦ meet the needs of the affected people and tailored to the threat of explosive hazards faced by civilians, peacekeepers, and humanitarians

♦ save lives

♦ facilitate deployment of UN missions and the delivery of humanitarian assistance

♦ protect civilians

♦ support the voluntary return of the internally displaced and refugees

♦ enable humanitarian and recovery activities.  

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Important Current Affairs of 3rd April

NATIONAL:

Tata Power, Indraprastha Gas To Offer Integrated Services.

• Tata Power and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up integrated customer services and optimize value for customers.

• The pact will also cover common safeguard activities of underground assets (pipes and cables) including the right of way for activities like maintenance and lying of pipes and cables, routine patrolling of under and above ground assets.

Garuda Prakashan launched Modi Again and Saffron Swords.

• The Indian Publishing company, Garuda Prakashan Private Limited, launched its two books “#Modi Again” and “Saffron Swords – Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders”.

• #Modi Again: Why Modi is right for India, An Ex-Communist’s Manifesto” authored by Aabhas Maldahiyar, states the reasons about how Narendra Modi is right for India. “Saffron Swords: Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders” written by Manoshi Sinha Rawal is a book on 52 unsung warriors of India from last 1300 years.

BESCOM plans to use Solar energy to power electric vehicles.

• Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is looking to utilise solar energy to power electric vehicle charging stations.

•  The aim is to ensure that clean transport is driven by clean energy.  Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL): 

♦ KPTCL is the sole electricity transmission and distribution company in the state of Karnataka

HCL Completes Acquisition Of Strong-Bridge Envision.

• IT major HCL Technologies stated that its acquisition of US-based Strong-Bridge Envision has been completed.  HCL recently agreed to acquire the Seattle-based company to enhance its digital transformation consulting capabilities. According to reports, the deal was worth 45 million dollars.

GST collections set new record in the month of March.

• The Finance Ministry said that GST collections have scaled to a record high of Rs.1,06,577 crore in March 2019. The revenue collection was Rs.97,247 crore in the month of February.

• The record revenue collection was attributed to increased compliance and an increase in the number of returns filed. Total gross GST revenue collected in March 2019 stood at Rs.1,06,577 crore of which Central GST is Rs.20,353 crore, State GST is Rs 27,520 crore, Integrated GST is Rs.50,418 crore and cess is Rs.8,286 crore.

• The number of summary sales returns GSTR-3B filed for the month of February up to March 31 stood at 7.59 million. The monthly average of GST revenue during 2018-19 stood at Rs.98,114 crore which is 9.2% higher than the previous fiscal. GST collections for 2018-19

COMCASA: First secure link between India, US navies set up.

• India and the US have set up the first ever secure communication link between the Indian Navy & US Central as well as Pacific Naval Commands under the COMCASA pact at New Delhi, India.

• As a result of the implementation of the COMCASA, US has also activated the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module GPS system in some of C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft. About COMCASA: COMCASA - COMmunications, Compatibility And Security Agreement.

•  It is the Indo-US military-information sharing pact and was signed at the 2+2 bilateral summit on 6th September, 2018. COMCASA is one of the three foundation agreements that need to be signed by a country with the United States to share high-end encrypted communication and satellite data.

INTERNATIONAL:

European Union launched WTO cases against India, Turkey.

• The European Union has launched two World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes against India over import duties on IT products and against Turkey over measures affecting pharmaceutical producers. In the case against India, the EU is challenging the introduction of import duties of between 7.5 and 20 percent for a wide range of IT products, such as mobile phones and components, as well as integrated circuits. In the case against Turkey, the EU is challenging measures that force foreign pharmaceutical producers to move their production to Turkey.

Bolivia joins International Solar Alliance.

• During the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia, Bolivia has signed the framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance.

• So far, 73 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was unveiled by Prime Minister of India and French President at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015.

• The idea was to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach. India, with a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal. ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.

Indonesia seeks to increase import from India.

• Indonesia is looking at increasing sugar, rice and bovine imports from India. Consul General of Indonesia, Ade Sukendar said that India exported about 50,000 tonnes of rice in 2018.

• It is looking at importing more non-basmati rice also from India. There was potential to import over one lakh tonnes a year. Negotiations are ON between the two countries to increase imports. Total exports from Indonesia to India in 2018 were to the tune of $13.72 billion and exports from India were to the tune of $5.01 billion.

AGREEMENTS:

India and Bolivia signed for the development and industrial use of lithium.

• India and Bolivia have signed an agreement for the development and industrial use of lithium during the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia.

• Lithium is a prime component used to power electric vehicles and cell phones.

• India and Bolivia agreed to forge a mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium Carbonate to India. The countries also plan to foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.  This agreement will make Bolivia one of the major provider of metal for India's e- mobility and e-storage needs. Bolivia is known to have one-fourth of the world's lithium reserves.

•  The agreement facilitates mechanisms for the commercialization of Lithium Carbonate and Potassium Chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporation (YLB Corporation).

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares in SBI Life Insurance for 2,889 crore

• The foreign partner of SBI Life Insurance, BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares of the company for Rs 2,889 crore to increase its public shareholding to 25% of its paid-up equity share capital on or before October 2, 2020.

• This sale has not undertaken as per the methods prescribed by SEBI for achieving the minimum public shareholding (MPS) Threshold. The average price of equity share during the sale was Rs 577.93 per equity share. On the other hand, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has bought 2 crore shares at an average price of Rs 577.50 per shares.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Becomes First Lender To Charge For UPI Use.

• Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) stated that it will charge customers for UPI transactions starting 1st of May 2019.  For each Kotak Bank account, the first 30 UPI fund transfers will be free, after which a charge will be levied on all fund transfers from the bank account. This will be applicable across all platforms, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay or Truecaller Pay among others.  

AWARDS:

Vikram Patel receives John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist and professor of global health at Harvard Medical School, has won the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Mr.Patel has led research generating knowledge on the burden and determinants of mental health problems in low and middle-income countries and pioneered approaches which utilise community resources for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in India with global impact.

• Laureates received a $100,000 cash honorarium and will be formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019, at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.

• Canada Gairdner Global Health Award: The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes the world’s top scientists who have made outstanding achievements in Global Health Research.

SPORTS:

Saurav Ghosal becomes first Indian to enter top-10 in men's PSA rankings.

• Saurav Ghosal became the first Indian male squash player to enter the top 10 in the PSA (Professional Squash Association) world rankings. He has moved up two places to a career-high ranking of tenth and is currently the only Asian in the top-10.

• Ghosal made it to the quarter-finals of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships in Chicago, USA for the first time in his career.

• He was also a quarter-finalist at the prestigious Grasshopper Cup in Zurich, Switzerland. In the women's rankings, Joshna Chinappa continued to be the best-ranked Indian, moving up to the 15th position. Earlier, Dipika Pallikal had broken into the top-10 in 2012 and once again in 2014.

RESIGNATIONS:

Google India head Rajan Anandan resigns after 8 years.

• Rajan Anandan, vice president for Google India and South East Asia, is leaving the company after an eight-year stint and will be joining Silicon Valley’s marquee venture fund Sequoia Capital. He will stay until the end of this month. Rajan Anandan had joined Google in 2011. His responsibility will be taken over by Country Director Sales Vikas Agnihotri in the interim.

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Important Current Affairs of 2nd April

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Eicher Motors Ltd. Vinod K.Dasari as the CEO of Royal Enfield.

• Eicher Motors Ltd. has appointed Vinod K. Dasari as the Chief Executive Officer of Royal Enfield. He will also join the board of Eicher Motors as executive director with immediate effect.

• He stepped down as MD and CEO of Ashok Leyland on March 31. He takes over from Siddhartha Lal, who will continue as the MD of Eicher Motors.  The company also plans to invest Rs.700 crore in capital expenditure for 2019-20. The planned expenditure will include completion of construction work of the Technology Centre, Phase-2 of the Vallam Vadagal plant in Tamil Nadu and towards the development of new platforms and products.

SPORTS:

Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held in New Delhi.

• The Indian Badminton Tournament 2019 was held at K. D. Jadhav Indoor Hall in New Delhi from 26 to 31 March 2019 and had a total purse of $350,000. Champions of Indian Open Badminton 2019:

♦ Men's Singles: Viktor Axelsen (Denmark)

♦ Women's Singles: Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)

♦ Men's Doubles: Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin (Chinese Taipei)

 ♦ Women's Doubles: Greysia Polii and Apriyani Rahayu (Indonesia)

♦ Mixed Doubles: Wang Yilü and Huang Dongping (China) India's Srikanth Kidambi lost to Viktor Axelsen of Denmark 7-21, 20-22 in the men's singles summit clash.

India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

• Indian shooters claimed five gold medals on the final day of the Asian Airgun Championships to sign off with a total of 25 medals in Taoyuan, Taipei.  India finished with 16 gold, five silver and four bronze medals.

• The next assignment for Indian shooters is scheduled at Al Ain, the United Arab Emirates where the International Shooting Sport Federation Shotgun World Cup stage. India finish with 16 gold medals at Asian Airgun Championships.

Manu Sawhney took over as ICC Chief Executive with immediate effect.

• India-born Manu Sawhney, the ex-CEO of Singapore Sports Hub and ex-Managing Director of ESPN Star Sports, has been working alongside the outgoing Chief Executive David Richardson for last six weeks to ensure a smooth transition. Richardson will remain with the International Cricket Council (ICC) until July to oversee the delivery of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.

Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019.

• Lewis Hamilton won Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 title  He defeated Valtteri Bottas of Finland who secured the second position.  Charles Leclerc was finished with the third position and becoming Ferrari’s youngest ever race winner at the age of 21. About Bahrain Grand Prix 2019 First race took place at the Bahrain International Circuit on 4 April 2004. Number of times held: 15 First held:2004 Most wins (drivers): Germany Sebastian Vettel  Most wins (constructors): Italy Ferrari

NATIONAL:

Hump-backed Mahseer, a large freshwater fish added in 'Critically Endangered' list.

• Hump-backed Mahseer, also called the tiger of the water and found only in the Cauvery river basin (including Kerala’s Pambar, Kabini and Bhavani rivers) - is now “Critically Endangered”, as per the International Union for Conservation of Nature’s (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species.

• There are about 16 species of mahseer in India. Maximum length  of fish will be 150 cm and a weight of 90 kg. The fish is considered as one of the 229 species from recent Red List which updated in November 2018. The threat status of 12 other Indian species, including great hornbills, has increased.

Odisha celebrated 84th foundation day on April 1, 2019.

• The day is also known as ‘Utkal Divas.’ Odisha was the first State to be formed on linguistic basis in 1936. Earlier, Odisha was part of Bihar.

India’s defense satellite EMISAT successfully launched by ISRO.

• The Indian Space Research Organization, ISRO, launched India’s latest satellite EMISAT and 28 other smaller satellites of international customers this morning with textbook precision.

•  The ISRO Telemetry Tracking and Command Network at Bengaluru has assumed control of EMISAT satellite after its successful launch.

• The national space agency’s workhorse launch vehicle PSLV-C45, carrying the payloads on board, lifted off from its spaceport, Satish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota at 09:27 am. In a little over 17 minutes, the primary payload EMISAT was ed by the rocket at an altitude of 754 km, as planned.  In the coming days, the satellite will be brought to its final operational configuration.

Centre to set up Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) in J&K.

• The Union Home Ministry has announced setting up of a Terror Monitoring Group (TMG) to ensure synergised and concerted action against terror financing and terror-related activities in Jammu and Kashmir.

• TMG will act against all registered cases related to terror, terror financing and terror-related activities and bring them to a logical conclusion. It will identify all key persons including leaders of the organisations who are involved in supporting terrorism in any form and take concerted action against them.

• It will investigate the networks of various channels being used to fund terror and terror-related activities and take action to stop the flow of such funds.

• The seven-member TMG constitutes of members:

1. Headed by: Jammu and Kashmir additional director general of police (ADGP)

2. Intelligence Bureau (IB)

3. Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)

4. National Investigation Agency (NIA)

5. Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT)

6. Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC)

7. Jammu and Kashmir police inspector-general

INTERNATIONALS:

China launched 2nd Generation data relay satellite, Tianlian II-01.

• The Tianlian II-01 satellite was launched by a Long March-3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Satellite Launch Centre in southwest China's Sichuan Province. This is the first of China's second-generation data-tracking and relay satellites, which will provide services like data relay, measurement and control, and transmission to manned spacecraft, satellites, carrier rockets and non-spacecraft users.

Japan names new imperial era, set to begin on May 1, as 'Reiwa'.

• 'Reiwa' will be the name for the new era when Prince Naruhito succeeds his father Emperor Akihito, whose abdication on April 30 will end the 31-year 'Heisei' era (Since 1989). While 'Rei' means "good" and "beautiful" as well as "order" or "command", 'Wa' means "peace" or "harmony".

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Reserve Bank of India to inject USD 5 billion more liquidity into banking system

• Reserve Bank of India injects long-term liquidity worth USD 5 billion into the banking system through a dollar-rupee buy-sell swap for a tenure of three years on April 23, the second such auction within a month.

•  Earlier on March 26, the central bank had bought USD 5 billion through similar swap auction in a bid to ease liquidity ahead of elections. "In order to meet the durable liquidity needs of the system, the RBI has decided to inject Rupee liquidity for a longer duration through long-term foreign exchange Buy/Sell swap in terms of its extant Liquidity Management Framework,"

Bank of Baroda becomes 2nd largest PSU, 3rd largest bank in India.

• Bank of Baroda (BoB) became the second largest public sector undertaking (PSU) bank after merging Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank into itself as part of the first three-way amalgamation. BoB is now the third-largest bank after State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC Bank. Following the merger, the number of PSBs has come down to 18.

•  The consolidated bank will have over 9,500 branches, 13,400 ATMs, 85,000 employees to serve 12 crore customers. The bank will have a business mix of Rs 15 lakh crore of balance sheet, with deposits and advances of Rs 8.75 lakh crore and Rs 6.25 lakh crore, respectively. Post-amalgamation, the bank will have a 22 per cent market share in Gujarat and 8-10 per cent market share in Maharashtra, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Reliance Mutual Fund partnering with Google becomes the first Indian company to launch voice-based financial transactions

• Reliance Nippon Life Asset Management (RNAM) joined hands with Google to enable the customers of Reliance Mutual Fund to carry out voice-based financial transactions. RNAM becomes the first company in India, to provide a conversational interface that would help customers regarding funds transactions.

About RNAM 

♦ It is a joint venture between Anil Ambani-led Reliance Capital and Japan’s Nippon Life Insurance Co Ltd.

♦ CEO Sundeep Sikka

♦ Founded: 1995

DAYS:

World Autism Awareness Day is observed on 2nd April.

• World Autism Awareness Day is an internationally recognized day observed on 2nd April every year. The aim is to encourage member states of the United Nations to take measures to raise awareness about people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) throughout the world.

• The theme for 2019 is "Assistive Technologies, Active Participation". It was designated by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). World Autism Awareness Day was passed in council on 1 November 2007 and adopted on 18 December 2007. It was proposed by the United Nations representative from Qatar, Her Highness Sheikha Mozah Bint Nasser Al-Missned, Consort of His Highness Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Emir of the State of Qatar, and supported by all member states.

• World Autism Day is one of only seven official health-specific UN Days. The day itself brings individual autism organizations together all around the world to aid in things like research, diagnoses, treatment, and overall acceptance for those affected by this developmental disorder.

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Important Current Affairs 1st April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

KIIFB raised Rs.2,150 crore via masala bonds.

• Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board (KIIFB), a State government agency, said it has raised Rs.2,150 crore through its masala bond issue.

• This is not just the first-ever offshore capital market issuance from a State-level entity from India but also the largest dual currency issue by a sub-sovereign backed entity from emerging markets and Asia. The issue saw strong participation from investors.

RBI announced branches of Vijaya, Dena Bank to function as BoB outlets.

• Reserve Bank of India said that the branches of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank will function as Bank of Baroda (BoB) outlets from April 1. This is after the amalgamation of the two lenders with Bank of Baroda (BoB).

•  The merger will be effective from April 1, 2019. Customers, including depositors of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, will be treated as customers of BoB with effect from April 1.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has opened a helicopter training centre in Venezuela.

• Rosoboron export, Russia’s arms export company, has opened a training Centre for military helicopter pilots in Venezuela after Moscow flew in troops and equipment. The export wing of Russia’s arms corporation said that the helicopter training centre opened with Russian and Venezuelan specialists participating.

• The Centre that trains pilots to fly Russian-built Mil helicopters was built on the basis of a contract between Rosoboronexport and state-run Venezuelan Military Industrial Company Cavim. The announcement came after two Russian military planes landed a week ago at the main airport outside Caracas and offloaded equipment and troops. The military specialists are apparently helping to fix a malfunctioning Russian S-300 ground-to-air missile system.

Tesla Builds Its Largest Energy Storage System In Asia.

• Tesla developed its ‘largest power storage system in Asia’ at Osaka train station in Japan to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan.  It was Launched in partnership with Kintetsu, a railway operator in Japan’s Osaka. About Tesla CEO: Elon Musk  Owner: Elon Musk Production output: 245,162 vehicles (2018) Founders: Elon Musk, Martin Eberhard, JB Straubel, Marc Tarpenning, Ian Wright 

GRSE becomes 'first' Indian shipyard to deliver 100 warships.

• Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd (GRSE) became the "first Indian shipyard" to build and deliver 100 warships. GRSE Chairman and Managing Director, Rear Admiral (Retd) V K Saxena, formally handed over the 100th warship -- 'IN LCU L-56' -- to the Indian Navy.

• In the last 59 years, the company has built around 780 platforms, including 100 warships to the Indian Navy, the Coast Guard, and the Mauritius Coast Guard. About GRSE: GRSE - Garden Reach Ship Builders and Engineers Ltd. It is one of India's leading shipyards. Located in: Kolkata, West Bengal. Founded: 1884.

NATIONAL:

Centre turned down Bengals request for paramilitary forces.

• The Ministry of Home Affairs has turned down Mamata Banerjee government’s plea to retain 35 companies of Central forces, adding up to over 3,000 paramilitary personnel posted in areas that were earlier dominated by the outlawed Communist Party of India-Maoist.

• The State government has since then written to the Ministry to reconsider the decision, noting that the move might re-ignite the Maoist problems in the region. In its reply, the Ministry had informed the State of its decision to pull out the 35 companies of Central forces and deploy them on election duty in other parts of West Bengal.

In a first, Meghalaya polling booths to get ballot papers in braille.

• For the first time in Meghalaya, braille-enabled ballot papers will be made available at all polling booths.  The ballot paper pasted on the EVMs will have the names and symbol of candidates in braille alphabets. The move will facilitate more than 800 visually impaired electorates to vote by a secret ballot.

ISRO opens its 1st visitors gallery to watch rocket launches.

• In a first, The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) opened a visitors' gallery with 5,000 capacity at Andhra Pradesh's Sriharikota island. The gallery has a clear line of sight to two launch pads and large screens to explain launcher and satellite features. This comes as ISRO is launching defence satellite EMISAT along with 28 foreign satellites on April 1, 2019.

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

Dr Rajendra Joshi Conferred With Pravasi Bharatiya Samman.

• NRI scientist Dr Rajendra Joshi conferred with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind.  The Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Sibi George handed over the award citation signed by the President to Dr Joshi at his residence in Switzerland.

SPORTS:

Roger Federer won Miami Open 2019 title.

• Switzerland’s Roger Federer defeats USA’s John Isner in straight sets to lift his 101st career title at the Miami Open 2019. Federer is now behind only America’s Jimmy Connors with 109 career singles titles. 

• Roger Federer has lifted his fourth title at the Miami Open. It is Swiss player’s 28th Masters’ title and the 101st overall for a player who has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles.

South Korea won Azlan Shah Cup by defeating India.

• India has lost to South Korea in the final of Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia. South Korea lifted the title, defeating India in a shoot out 4-2. Hosts Malaysia defeated Canada 4-2 and secured the 3rd place.

• Asian games Gold medalist Japan stood at 5th place, defeating Poland 6-1.

APPOINTMENTS:

ECI apppointed Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for AP.

• The Election Commission of India appointed Additional Director-General of Police Kumar Viswajeet as Intelligence Chief for Andhra Pradesh. A 1994 batch IPS officer, Mr. Viswajeet, is presently Chairman of the Andhra Pradesh State Level Police Recruitment Board (APSLPRB).

• He will take charge immediately. The top post fell vacant with the Election Commission transferring former Intelligence DG, A.B. Venkateswara Rao. The Intelligence wing plays a key role in guiding the police and the election authorities on mobilisation of forces in critical and cut-off villages.

Mahesh Singh is appointed the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area.

• National Defence Academy, Rear Admiral Mahesh Singh takes charge as the Flag Officer Commanding Karnataka Naval Area. Mahesh Singh is a post graduate from Defence Services Staff College and he headed Navigation and Direction School at Kochi and the Maritime Warfare Centre at Vishakhapatnam. He was a commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 1987.

Air Marshal NS Dhillon to be designated as new Strategic Forces Command (SFC) Chief.

• Fighter pilot Air Marshal Navkaranjit Singh Dhillon has been appointed as the new Strategic Forces Command Chief.  He will succeed in Jasbir Walia. He was commissioned as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force on December 1981. He has experience as a Commanding officer in MiG-21 Sqn and as a Chief Operating Officer of a premier flying base.

Executive Director of ICICI, Vijay Chandok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities 4.

• Executive Director of ICICI Bank, Vijay Chandhok appointed as MD and CEO of ICICI Securities, a subsidiary of ICICI bank. He will succeed Shilpa Naval Kumar. He joined the ICICI Group in 1993. At present, he is on the boards of ICICI Bank UK PLC and ICICI Bank Canada and is the Chairman of ICICI Investment Management Company.

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Important Current Affairs 31st March 2019

INTERNATIONAL:

Red Cross to aid Venezuela in two weeks.

• The Red Cross announced that it is to aid Venezuela in two weeks. It also said it would not allow any political “interference” in the operation.

• Francesco Rocca, head of the International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent said that the organisation would begin distributing aid that President Nicolás Maduro has to date refused to allow into the country, leaving it stockpiled since mid-February on the borders with Colombia and Brazil.

European Parliament bans single use plastic products.

• The European Parliament approved ban on single-use plastic products such as the straws, cutlery and cotton buds that are clogging the world's oceans.

• The law on single-use plastic ban sets a target to gather 90% of plastic for recycling by 2029 and mandates the production of plastic bottles with 25% recycled material by 2025 and 30% by 2030.

• The law also insists on polluters pay principle insisting polluters to pay the costs of a clean-up.  Single-use plastics, or disposable plastics, are used only once before they are thrown away or recycled.

• They are not usually biodegradable and goes into a landfill where it is buried or it gets into the water and finds its way into the ocean. They degrade into tiny particles after many years.

•  In this process of degradation, they release toxic chemicals which make their way into our food and water supply.

NATIONAL:

IAE report says rate of emission of CO2 increased in India.

• The International Energy Agency (IEA) report on Carbon dioxide emissions said that India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018. The rate of growth of carbon dioxide emission in India was higher than that of the United States and China which are the two biggest emitters in the world.

• India's emissions carbon dioxide witnessed an increase of 4.8% rise from 2018. This increase in the emission of carbon dioxide was attributed to coal consumption.  China, the United States, and India accounted for nearly 70% of the rise in energy demand. India's per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden whereas the largest emitter the United States was responsible for 14%.

• India has pledged to reduce the emissions intensity of its economy by 2030. But India's energy intensity improvement declined 3% from last year even as its renewable energy installations increased 10.6% from last year. As per estimates, India requires at least $2.5 trillion (Rs 150 trillion approx.) to implement its climate pledge which is around 71% of the combined required spending for all developing countries pledges.

Laurus Labs Limited partners with Global Funds.

• Laurus Labs Limited, Hyderabad-based pharma, has entered into a strategic partnership agreement with Global Fund for a period of 3.5 years.

• The agreement gives Laurus Labs volume commitments for drugs from the Global Fund for the treatment of HIV/AIDS.

• Global Fund has been created to fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria. It was created in 2002 to raise, manage and invest the world's money to respond to three of the deadliest infectious diseases the world has ever known. The aim of Global Fund is to defeat AIDS, TB and malaria which are all preventable and treatable.

Indian Army inducted 4 indigenous Dhanush Howitzer guns.

• Indian Army inducted 4 indigenous Dhanush Howitzer guns. The induction of Dhanush Howitzer guns gives major fire-power boost to the Indian Armed Forces. Dhanush Howitzers Long Range Artillery Guns are the first ever indigenous 155 mm x 45 calibre long-range artillery guns.

• Dhanush Long Range Artillery Guns are equipped with inertial navigation-based sighting system, auto-laying facility, on-board ballistic computation and an advanced day and night direct firing system. The self-propulsion unit on Dhanush allows the gun to negotiate and deploy itself in mountainous terrains with ease. Dhanush is also electronically upgraded to enhance firing accuracies, laying speeds of the existing gun and to provide compatibility with various kinds of ammunition as well.

Ministry for Health added new ruled to the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules

• The Union Ministry for Health and Family Welfare have added new ruled to the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with an aim to promote clinical research in the country. The new rules reduce the time for approving applications to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country

•  The new rules state that in case of no communication from Drug Controller General of India (DCGI), the application will be deemed to have been approved. The new rules will ensure patient safety, as they would be enlisted for trials with informed consent and the ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.

• The rules also waive off the requirement of a local clinical trial if the drug is approved and marketed in countries specified by the DCGI with the approval of government from time to time and certain other conditions.  The new rules aim to promote clinical research in India by providing for a predictable, transparent and effective regulation for clinical trials and by ensuring faster accessibility of new drugs to the Indian population.

Centre leaves interest rate on Small Saving Schemes unchanged.

• The Ministry of Finance has announced that it will keep the interest rate unchanged on small savings schemes for the three-month period beginning April 1.

• The announcement covers small-saving schemes such as:

 ♦ Post Office Saving Accounts 

♦ Post Office Time Deposits 

♦ National Saving Certificates (NSC)

♦ Public Provident Fund (PPF)

♦ Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP)

♦ Sukanya Samriddhi The unchanged interest rate means the NSC (5 years) and the PPF (15 years) will fetch 8% interest, while money deposited in KVP will double in little over nine years. At the same time, if one is parking money in a fixed deposit with a maturity of five years with the State Bank of India, he/she will get 6.85%. Senior citizens will get half a percent more: 7.35%.

GAIL and BHEL signed to development of Solar Power Projects.

• State-owned gas utility GAIL India Ltd has signed MoU with Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd (BHEL) for cooperation in the development of solar power projects.

• It aims at building a closer strategic partnership between the two Maharashtra PSUs for jointly pursuing commercial solar power projects through participation in tariff / Viability Gap Funding (VGF) based competitive bidding process.

SPORTS:

Justice D.K. Jain to be the Ethics Officer of the Indian cricket board.

• Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman Justice D.K.Jain (retd) has been appointed to serve as the Ethics Officer of the Indian cricket board on an ad-hoc basis. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), provisions in its constitution require an Ethics Officer to be appointed to determine and decide issues related to conflict of interest.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Centre to infuse Rs.5,042 crore into BoB.

• The Finance Ministry has decided to infuse Rs.5,042 crore into state-owned Bank of Baroda (BoB) ahead of the merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with BoB. The merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda would be effective from April 1.

PNB sells 13.01 percent stake in Housing Finance Arm for Rs.1851.60 crore

• State-owned lender Punjab National Bank (PNB) had sold stake in its housing finance arm, PNB Housing Finance (PNBHF) to General Atlantic Group and VardePartners for Rs 1,851 crore at Rs.850 per share.

• Both VardePartners and General Atlantic Group will buy 1.089 crore shares each at Rs 850 per share in the housing finance company from Punjab National Bank. After the transaction, Punjab National Bank will continue to hold a strategic stake of 19.78% in the housing finance company and will remain the promoter and strategic shareholder of the company.

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Important Current Affairs of 30th March

INTERNATIONAL:

New method to purify water used in oil refinement.

• Scientists, including one of Indian origin, have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water -- a byproduct from the oil refinery and extraction process. About 2.5 billion gallons of produced water is generated each day in the US.

• Handling that water is a major challenge in the oil refinery industry, particularly because it is deemed unusable for household and commercial use because of remaining contaminants. Researchers at Purdue University in the US have developed a process to remove nearly all traces of oil in produced water.

MOUS AND MEMORANDOM:

India & Bolivia Sign 8 MoUs In Various Fields Including Culture, Mining, Space.

• President Ram Nath Kovind conferred with the highest State honour of Bolivia, “Condor de Los Andes en el Grado de Gran Collar” during his visit to Bolivia. President of Bolivia Evo Morales awarded him the Honour at a function held in Santa Cruz.

• On the second day of President’s three-day visit to Bolivia, India and Bolivia signed eight MoUs in the fields of culture, Visa waiver arrangement for diplomats, exchange between diplomatic academies, mining, space, traditional medicine, establishment of Centre of Excellence in IT and Bi-Oceanic Railway project.

• India offered a 100 million US Dollar Line of Credit to Bolivia for financing development projects. Both countries also agreed on the need for reform of the UN Security Council to make it reflective of contemporary realities. President is in Bolivia on the 2nd leg of his 3 nation tour.

NATIONAL:

Adani Becomes 1st Indian Port Operator To Record 200 MMT Cargo Movement:

• Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) that it has recorded cargo movement of more than 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) at nine ports along the east and west coasts, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. "Our projections were to reach this milestone by 2020 but we could achieve it ahead of schedule, courtesy the tech-driven operational efficiency and enhanced asset utilisation.

IIT Kharagpur, Wipro Partner For Research In 5G and AI.

• Wipro Limited (Bengaluru Based), a leading global information technology, consulting and business process services company and Indian Institute of Technology Kharagpur (IIT Kharagpur), signed an MoU to collaborate on high-impact, industry-focused applied research in the areas of 5G and AI. Research outcomes from this partnership will be leveraged by Wipro to develop solutions for its customers, across industry verticals.

ECI appoints Special Central Police Observer for Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

• Election Commission of India has appointed Shree K K Sharma (IPS 1982 Retd DG Border Security Force) as the Central Police Observer for the States of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called the Enajori in Guwahati

• Chief Electoral Officer of Assam Mukesh Sahu launched a new initiative called ‘the Enajori’ at Janata Bhawan, Dispur in Guwahati for persons with disabilities with an aim that ‘No Voter to be Left behind’. The initiative to make Lok Sabha Elections accessible to Persons with Disability (PwD) voters is a joint initiative of Assam CEO and Social Welfare Department.

Hyper local connectivity app Bhonga initiated in Mumbai.

• A hyper-local connectivity app called “Bhonga” developed by Mumbai-based Company Linkus Infratech, to connect users to their neighborhood people in the city even without an Internet connection. “Bhonga” is a Marathi word which means megaphone or loudspeaker.

• This app automatically provides the lists the user living within the radius of one kilometre. The app supports voice notes as well as photos. Anyone can open their phone and send a message that is delivered to other users in the neighborhood, wherever they are.

PFC has been named as the Indias second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after SBI

• After acquiring a majority stake in REC Ltd (formerly Rural Electrification Corporation Limited), center backed Power Finance Corporation (PFC) become India’s second largest Govt-owned Financial Firm after State Bank of India (SBI), based on market capitalization. PFC has bought the 52.63% controlling stake in REC through Rs 14,500 crore deal with Union government.

• The REC’ shares were acquired at Rs139.50 per equity share price. 70% of the deal was financed through cash inflows and the balance through debt

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