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Important Current Affairs of 15th April

NATIONAL:

Rotary Club of Madras North initiated Project Kannamma.

• Project Kannamma is the initiative of the Rotary Club of Madras North to provide sanitary napkins to the students. 

• Project Kannamma: 

♦ It was started in August of 2018 by providing free, biodegradable sanitary napkins to 82 students at the Government High School in Uthandi of Tamil Nadu

♦ Under the Project Kannamma, sanitary napkins are provided to over 300 students from across Government Schools in and around Chennai today 

♦ The sanitary napkins are provided by the Irula Tribal Women's Welfare Society (ITWWS)

♦ The project is also supporting the livelihood of the Irula Tribal Women 

♦ If the group sells 15,000 pads per month, it can sustain the families of 12 tribal women.

INTERNATIONAL:

Bhutan Government to place bill for ratification of BBIN initiative at its upper senate

• Bhutan government will place the bill for ratification of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity at its upper senate.

• Briefing media on the occasion of Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering's visit to Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Shahidul Haq told reporters that BBIN is a big initiative in the region for improving rail and road connectivity in the region and he expressed the hope that the bill will be passed by the Bhutanese Parliament soon.

• The Motor Vehicle Agreement of BBIN countries was signed in 2015 by the four member countries.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI permitted Reinsurance Brokers to open Foreign Currency Accounts.

• Reinsurance brokers have been permitted to open non-interest bearing foreign currency accounts with banks for undertaking transactions.

•  Foreign currency account refers to a bank account held or maintained in currency other than the currency of India or Nepal or Bhutan.

• Earlier, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had issued notification and then RBI issued Foreign Exchange Management (Foreign Currency Accounts by a person resident in India) Regulations, 2015 - Opening of Foreign Currency Accounts by Re-insurance and Composite Insurance brokers.

RBI granted 12 years to LIC to bring down its stake in IDBI Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which classified IDBI as a private sector bank last month, has granted Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) with 12 years to cut its stake in the bank by 10 percent.

• RBI has stipulated that after 12 years LIC has to reduce stake in IDBI Bank by 10 per cent to 40 per cent.

• LIC is the major shareholder of IDBI Bank. It has a 51 per cent stake in the Bank. The government is the other major investor in IDBI Bank owning 46.46 per cent while the rest is with the public.

• As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI), LIC can hold up to 15 percent stake in any bank which can go up to 30 percent as per the board approval. But the insurance regulator has allowed LIC to invest up to 51 percent in IDBI Bank last year.

HDFC Bank tops Forbes' list of best Indian banks 2019.

• Forbes has compiled a first-ever list of the World's Best Bank 2019 in terms of customer services and technological advancements.

• The private lender, HDFC Bank, was ranked at the top of the ‘Forbes Best Indian Banks 2019’ list. HDFC Bank claims to provide the best of its technological features to its 43 million customers.

• Another private lender ICICI Bank took the second spot, while DBS was at the third rank in Forbes list of Indian banks. Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank had managed to gain the fourth and fifth spot respectively.

• Syndicate Bank, PNB, Allahabad Bank, Vijaya Bank and Axis Bank were ranked from sixth to tenth respectively.

• Forbes had partnered with Statista, a market research company, to measure the best banks in 23 countries.

• The survey compiled data from around 40,000 customers around the world for their opinions on their banking relationships.

• The banks were rated on the basis of 5 key attributes - trust, digital services, financial advice and fees.

Gargi Kaul appointed as Secretary of Defence Finance.

• The  Central government appointed Gargi Kaul as Secretary, Defence Finance.  She is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS). 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

New Palestinian government sworn in a second time after botched oath

• Palestine’s New Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayeh, a veteran peace negotiator and harsh critic of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and his 22-member cabinet took the oath of office a second time, on April 14, 2019. The ministers neglected to include a clause pledging faithfulness “to the people and its national heritage” during ceremony on April 13.

• The 18th Palestinian government since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 was sworn in according to a presidential decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas.

• The new Cabinet replaces a technocratic government formed by Rami Hamdallah in 2014 after an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has run the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah and evicting the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

• Ishtayeh faces challenges, with the Palestinian Authority in a deep financial crisis after U.S. sanctions and Israel's decision to withhold $138 million in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

AWARDS:

Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar received Best Digital Agency award

• Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar was honoured with the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nobel Award by International Human Rights Council at Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai.

•  Among the awardee, Digital Sukoon was the Best Digital Agency of the Year 2019 to receive the award.

• Yogesh Lakhani of Bright Outdoor Media, Actor Johnny Lever, Jasleen Matharu also received awards in various other categories.

Dr. A K Singh honoured with 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

• Dr. A K Singh, director at Life Sciences, DRDO has been honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 during 4th APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave at Chandigarh University, Mohali. 

• He has made notable contributions in Internal Decorporation of Fission Produced Radionuclides and Infection Imaging.

• He also discovered a Diagnobact Kit to detect the infectious lesion. He also introduced Pharmacosyntigraphy,  i.e. application of nuclear medicine imaging in drug research.

• 4th Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave: For Best Innovative Project Awards 2019, 965 innovative projects competed against each other. Pankaj Sharma bagged the first position and Best Innovation of the Year Award 2019, for Smart Trolley Bag project.  Pratul and Abhishek shared second place.

•  Pratul acquired award for Automatic Toilet Cleaner project. Abhishek won for prototype model for Accident Management System respectively.

• Third prize was jointly won by Vaibhav and Daniyal for treatment of textile affluent and plastic with bio-mass to help in controlling water and air pollution.

Telugu Poet K Siva Reddy Selected For Prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018

• Telugu poet K Siva Reddy selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018 for his collection of poetry titled Pakkaki Ottigilite. 

• The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque. About Saraswati Samman 2018 Awards The Saraswati Samman is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. 

• It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India. Currently held by Sitanshu Yashaschandra.

SPORTS:

Meena Kumari bagged gold at the 2019 Boxing World Cup.

• Meena Kumari Maisnam from Manipur claimed the Gold medal in the 54 kg category at the Boxing World Cup at Cologne in Germany. She defeated Thailand’s Machai Bunyanut in the final. Meena was the 2014 Asian Championships bronze medallist. India bagged a Gold, two Silver and two bronze medals at the Boxing World Cup. Sakshi won Silver in 57 kg Category and Pwilao Basumatary in 64 kg category. Pinki Rani won bronze in 51 kgs and Parveen won bronze in 60 kgs category.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mark Boucher inducted as MCC Honorary Life Members

• Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq and South African Mark Boucher were inducted as the Honorary Life Members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), in recognition to their outstanding achievements in the game of cricket.

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Important Current Affairs 14th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders.

• On World Parkinson’s Day,11th April, Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

•  It will offer medical and surgical treatment for patients affected by various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease.

• The centre would offer Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgeries and other services to treat a wide spectrum of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, dystonia, essential tremor, and intractable spasticity dyskinesia.

• Tremors, mainly on one side of the body, is the first manifestation of Parkinson’s disease.

• The initial management requires multidisciplinary care including physiotherapy, neurological support, psychiatric counselling, and nutrition. Surgery could be considered when the symptoms cannot be adequately controlled by medical management.

• The centre would offer DBS in which electrodes are implanted in the brain.

Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai.

• Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai, Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first-of-its-kind rainforest-themed park spread across 1.4 acres is home to over 500 exotic birds from more than 60 species.

• The main motive is to set up a bird park that meets international standards and let the city dwellers peep into the birds’ world. The park is carefully designed to ensure appropriate living conditions for the birds.

• It is meant not only for entertainment but also to spread awareness of different types of birds. 

• The park is equipped with small ponds for aquatic birds, dense cover of trees for birds to incubate their eggs and a water stream that offers drinking water to birds. It also houses a special bird’s kitchen and healthcare centre.

IMF cut India growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.3 per cent.

• According to the latest edition of World Economic Outlook (WEO), released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during 2019 Spring Meeting, India is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent in fiscal year 2019-20, as against China's 6.6 per cent.

• This is 20 basis points lower than January outlook and 10 basis points lower than October’s forecast.

• Though the growth is estimated to go up at 7.5% during 2020-21. India’s Current account deficit is seen at around 2.5% of GDP.

• Global growth fell to 3.6% in 2018 and is projected to decline further to 3.3% in 2019. China is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBL Bank tied up with CreditVidya for improving customer experience.

• Through this partnership, the private sector lender - RBL Bank will be able to gain significant insights into its customer base.

• RBL Bank will leverage CreditVidya's big data underwriting platform across its credit card and mobile banking apps.

• The bank had first partnered with CreditVidya in 2018 for instant and automated verification of employment details of salaried card applicants.

• Founded in 2012, CreditVidya helps lenders and wallets assess risk of customers.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Jamia Millia Islamia gets its First Woman Vice-Chancellor.

• The Ministry of Human Resources and Development issued a statement about appointing Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islam about Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) by the President of India.

• She is appointed for a period of five years. Professor Najma Akhtar will be the first woman to hold the post.

• Professor Najma Akhtar is a gold medallist from Aligarh Muslim University. She has a PhD in Education from Kurukshetra University.

• Professor Najma Akhtar a Commonwealth Fellow for University.

Murali Kartik named as the new brand ambassador of Fantasy 11.

• Funtasy11, a fantasy sports platform, has roped in former Indian cricketer Murali Kartik as its brand ambassador. Fantasy Gaming Space is rapidly growing and is expected to reach 100 million users by 2020.

• Karthik was the ‘Official Fan Management Partner’ for the recently conducted Premier Badminton league.

• Before Karthik, appointment of brand ambassadors made by famous online gaming industries are listed below:

♦ Dream 11 - MS Dhoni

♦ CricPlay - Gautam Gambhir

♦ HalaPlay - Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal

♦ Fantain  - Suresh Raina

♦ Fanmojo - Prithvi Shaw

Jean Michel Lapin elected as Haiti's new prime minister.

• Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise announced that Jean Michel Lapin, who once served as a courier in the public administration, to be the new prime minister of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

• He succeeds Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant. The former culture and communications minister, Lapin was named acting prime minister on March 21.

•  Lapin is the third head of government under President Moise, since he came to office in February 2017.

• The formation of a new government in Haiti is an International Monetary Fund (IMF) pre-requisite for the disbursement of the first tranche of a US$229 million loan to Haiti.

• In 2018, Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, had a record US$290 million deficit, while its national budget was estimated at US$1.8 billion.

AWARDS:

Two schemes of West Bengal won WSIS awards.

• Two schemes, Utkarsh Bangla and Sabooj Sathi, of the West Bengal government for skill development and distribution of bicycles to students have won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards of the United Nations. 

• The announcement was made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Utkarsh Bangla Scheme:

♦ The scheme is to give vocational training to school dropouts by providing training ranging from 400 to 1200 hours free of charge. 

♦ Under this scheme, beneficiaries will be trained in driving, tailoring, repairing television and other electronic equipment's, beautician courses, etc. 

Sabooj Sathi scheme:

♦ The objective of the scheme is to empower the students, especially the girls and reduce drop-outs in higher education. 

♦ Under the scheme, 34.94 lakh bicycles are already procured and distributed to target group students of class 9 to 12.

Alice G. Vaidyan awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

• Alice G. Vaidyan, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India, India’s reinsurance major awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK. Alice G.

• Vaidyan holds post graduate degree in English literature trained at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.

• She is a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India. Alice G. Vaidyan was the first lady officer to assume the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation of India.

• She was also the first lady chairman cum managing director of General Insurance Corporation of India. Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a City of London Corporation upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary.

Russia honours PM Narendra Modi with its highest civilian award.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured with Russia’s highest state decoration, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle.

• The award has been given to PM Modi for “exceptional services in promoting a special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian peoples.

• This is the seventh award conferred on PM Modi by a foreign country.

• The award was established at the end of the 17th century by Tsar Peter I in honour of Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

• The award has been given to only 18 people, including weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov; writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II; doctors Valery Shumakov and Boris Petrovsky; singers Lyudmila Zykina and Irina Arkhipova; choreographer Yuri Grigorovich; and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

Deepa Malik honoured with New Zealand Prime Ministers Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019.

• Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was named as the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her “inspiring achievements“.

• She became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games when she bagged a silver in shot put F 53 at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, scoring her personal best of 4.61m.

• She will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand.

• The fellowship, awarded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, aims to strengthen the ties between India and New Zealand.

• Deepa Malik is the only Indian woman to have won medals in three consecutive Asian Para Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

•  Her tally of laurels stands at 58 national and 23 international medals.

• She is also the recipient of India’s civilian honour Padma Shri and the prestigious Arjuna Award for excellence in sports. Deepa has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times.

SPORTS:

Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament.

• Viswanathan Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament, Shamkir, Azerbaijan. He drew with Veselin Topalov in the ninth round to finish fourth with 4.5 points, the same as Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov.

• However, Anand was placed fifth in the rankings behind Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Sergey Karjakin, and Grischuk.

• The results (ninth round):

♦ Anand (4.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (4)

♦ David Navara (4) drew with Teimour Radjabov (4.5)

♦ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (5)

♦ Ding Liren (5) drew with Anish Giri (3)

♦ Magnus Carlsen (7) bt Alexander Grischuk (4.5).

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Important Current Affairs 13th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Indian Railways unrolls new quota for foreigners and NRIs to book tickets.

• Indian Railways is one of the leading railway systems in the world. With new enthusiasm, Indian Railways introducing new schemes for the betterment of services and exciting plans.

• Indian Railways lifted restrictions so that now Foreigners and NRIs can book tickets in all classes. The foreign tourists who travel in Indian trains are allowed to book tickets in the first AC, second AC and executive classes through IRCTC website up to 365 days in advance.

• Under the FTQ category, the Railways has allocated four berths per coach in a sleeper and 3rd AC classes while seats have been parked per coach in chair car classes.

Nizamabad Lok Sabha Seat May Enter Guinness Book With Record EVMs.

• Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, which went to elections, may well get into the Guiness Book of World Record for the use of largest number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). 

• With a high number of 185 candidates, including 178 farmers, in the contest, the Election Commission (EC) used 12 EVMs in each booth in the constituency. In any constituency, usually one or maximum four EVMs are used with one control unit in each booth, but in Nizamabad, 12 EVMs were linked to one control unit and the constituency has 1,778 polling centres.

• The EC used M3 type EVMs which can support up to 24 BUs (ballot Units). Each BU will have 24 names. Besides, large number of BUs, the EC used 2,200 Control Units and about 2,600 VVPATs for Nizamabad Constituency.

• This new version of EVMs was developed by the Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX launched its first commercial mission.

• SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world, launched its first commercial mission from Florida in a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space Company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts.

• The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk’s cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Google partners with MMTC-PAMP India.

• Google has partnered with bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to allow Google Pay users to buy and sell gold through the app.

• Through this partnership with India’s only LBMA-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. This type of service is already offered by the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, and PhonePe.

AITA signs MoU with STF to train Indian junior players.

• The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serbian Tennis Federation (STF) to train Indian junior players under world-renowned Serbian coaches at the R.K. Khanna Stadium, New Delhi.

• The MoU was signed on 10th April by AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee and STF CEO Dusan Orlandic. Trainers and coaches from Serbia will come to India for a week/ two-week camp in the under-12, 14, 16 and 18 categories.

Tata Trust and Microsoft signed MoU to support handloom weaving community.

• Tata Trusts and Microsoft India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly rejuvenate the handloom clusters in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.

• Project ReWeave: Microsoft’s Project ReWeave will help preserve traditional weaving forms by upskilling workers, designing and marketing merchandise, and creating sustainable livelihood options.

• Microsoft will also enable digital training through Project Sangam, a Microsoft Azure-based Learning Management System, which provides necessary training and tools to weaving communities to help them realise their full potential. Antaran initiative: Tata Trusts’ initiative, Antaran, aims at rejuvenating ailing handloom clusters through an end-to-end programme.

•  Intensive work has been initiated in Odisha, Assam and Nagaland. The programme will benefit 3,000 artisans directly involved in pre-loom, on-loom and post loom processes, impacting the livelihood of weavers in six weaving clusters in these three States. Craft sector is the country’s largest source of employment after agriculture.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Hong Kong’s stock market overtakes Japan to become worlds 3rd largest.

• According to Bloomberg,  Hong Kong has overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest stock market – after the U.S. and mainland China.

• Hong Kong’s market cap was $5.78 trillion as of April 2nd week, compared with $5.76 trillion for Japan.

•  Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been the main driver with a 22 percent gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 17 per cent this year through Tuesday, when it closed at its highest since June 15. Japan’s Topix Index advanced 8.3 percent in that period.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Nitin Chugh likely to be appointed as MD & CEO of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.

• Nitin Chugh, digital banking head of private sector lender HDFC Bank, is likely to succeed Samit Ghosh, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. Mr.Ghosh, who is also the founder of Ujjivan SFB, will retire in November 2019.

• The Bengaluru-based small finance bank has already applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval to appoint Mr.Chugh as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Mr.Chugh has over 23 years of experience.

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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 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 of 28th March

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Demat share transfer to be effective from 1st April.

• Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) said that the transfer of shares of listed companies can be done only in dematerialised form from April 1 but investors are not barred from holding shares in the physical form.

•  In December 2018, the capital markets watchdog extended the deadline for transfer of shares of listed companies only in dematerialised (demat) form to April 1.

• Now, it has been decided not to extend the deadline.  The decision that the transfer of shares has to be compulsorily in demat form was taken way back in March 2018. SEBI also said that the measure would come into effect from April 1, 2019.

Bank of Baroda to launch Baroda Kisan.

• Public sector Bank, Bank of Baroda has made an announcement about developing an agri-digital platform called 'Baroda Kisan'. The platform is to provide solutions for all major agricultural requirements.  The project aims to provide a holistic approach towards solving agricultural plights by means of providing reliable and customised information, inputs for use, the convenience of renting farm equipment and market linkage for sale of agri-produces. Bank of Baroda has signed a memorandum of understanding (Mou) with Six companies viz.

• Skymet Weather Services, Weather Risk Management Services, BigHaat, Agrostar India, EM3 Agri Services and Poorti Agri Services for the project. The agri-digital platform will be executed by IT Centre of Excellence (ITCoE) of Bank of Baroda in partnership with IBM India. Baroda Kisan is aimed at digitization of digital services.

NATIONAL:

Assam launched initiatives to educate voter.

• Assam State government has launched initiatives to educate voters. Folk song competitions, quiz programmes and appeals by celebrities are some of the initiatives being undertaken by the election office in Assam for attracting women, first-time voters, people with physical disabilities and senior citizens to cast their votes.

• Sprinter Hima Das, Whitley Awardee and environmentalist Purnima Devi Barman, singer Tarali Sarma, body builder Golap Rabha and actor Kopil Bora have been roped in as State icons to create awareness about the election process.

• District election officers have been directed to reach out to the maximum number of voters in the constituencies under their jurisdiction. Polling stations with low female voter turn-out have been identified and ‘mahila voter rallies’ are being held.

Cabinet approved additional posts for NCLAT.

• Cabinet approved a proposal of six additional posts of judicial and technical members in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT). The tribunal hears appeals against rulings of the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT).  The Cabinet cleared a proposal for the creation of three additional posts each for judicial members and technical members in the NCLAT. The new posts would ensure meeting the mandate provided to NCLAT by the Finance Act, 2017, the Companies Act, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and the time frame provided for disposal of cases.

Gujarat ATS and Indian Coast Guard capture 9 international smugglers with heroin worth Rs 500 crore

• The Gujarat Anti-Terrorist Squad and the Indian Coast Guard captured nine international drug smugglers. The smugglers were reportedly carrying 100 kgs of contraband worth Rs 500 crore in the boat, which they had destroyed after they were trapped by the agencies.   As per the press statement, the Gujarat ATS had received a tip-off that an illegal consignment of narcotic drugs, Heroin, is going to be smuggled in Gujarat through Coast.

Delhi International Airport is to be transformed with world-class amenities.

• Delhi world’s 12th busiest hub, the Indira Gandhi International Airport, transiting between the various terminals of IGI Airport, will become a breeze in a few years’ time, with the airport operator finalizing the route of an “air train” connecting the terminals as well as Aerocity, the hotel center.

• It connects the Aerocity’s Airport Metro Express station to all the major Hotels and Offices with Aerocity's Hospitality District through an experiential walkway. It not only connects all the buildings but also provides a well-designed public space for everyone to enjoy. It promotes an active lifestyle and enables access to open spaces, shaded areas for casual breakouts and many other amenities.

MPI 2018 report says Indias povert rate has reduced drastically.

• According to the Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report, the four poorest states namely Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh, and Madhya Pradesh were still home to 196 million MPI poor people, which was over half of all the MPI poor people in India.

• The Multi-dimensional Poverty Index 2018 report prepared by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative makes the following observations about India:

• India has reduced its poverty rate drastically from 55% to 28% in 10 years, with 271 million people moving out of poverty between 2005-06 and 2015-16. Jharkhand had shown the greatest improvement, followed by Arunachal Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, and Nagaland. Kerala, one of the least poor regions in 2006, reduced its MPI by around 92%.

At 15,256ft, Himachal's Tashigang is world's highest polling station.

• The Tashigang polling station in Himachal Pradesh falls in Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti, one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the second largest constituency in India.

• Situated at about 29 km from the India-China border, the polling station covers two villages— Tashigang and Gete.

• As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women. Earlier the tiny settlement of Hikkim in the same district located at an altitude of about 14,400 feet was the highest polling station in the country.

Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin.

• Anil Agarwal-led Vedanta Limited has discovered oil in the Krishna Godavari basin on India’s east coast. The company has notified the management committee, Directorate General of Hydrocarbons and Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas of an oil discovery in the second exploratory well H2, located in block KG-OSN-2009/3, Krishna-Godavari Basin, east coast of India.

• Vedanta Limited holds 100% participating interest in the block. The first exploration well, A3-2, drilled in the block was a gas discovery

Adani becomes first Indian port operator to record 200 million tonnes cargo movement in 2018-19

• Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) has claimed that its portfolio of nine ports and terminals handled 200 million metric tonnes (MMT) of cargo in 2018-19, becoming the first Indian port operator to achieve the milestone. The Gautam Adani-led company doubled its cargo handling from 100 MMT reached in 2013-14

India becomes the 4th country to test Anti-satellite missile system, codenamed Mission Shakti successfully.

• India successfully completed 'Mission Shakti' operation where it destroyed a live satellite on a low earth orbit (LEO) using an Anti-Satellite (ASAT) missile in three minutes. India has become the 4th country after the US, Russia and China in the world to achieve this historic feat.

• Anti Satellite weapons also called the ASAT are developed to destroy satellites. Mission Shakti is a joint programme of DRDO and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). Mission Shakti will help the country in standing strong and secure. It will further protect the nation from disharmony and bring peace.

INTERNATIONAL:

India, US Ink Pact To Check Tax Evasion By MNCs.

• India and the US signed an agreement for the exchange of country-by-country (CBC) report. The move will give huge relief to subsidiaries of US-headquartered companies in the taxation-related matter. The agreement was signed by PC Mody, Chairman, Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT), and Kenneth I Juster, US Ambassador to India.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Maruti Suzuki board re-appointed Kenichi Ayukawa as MD and CEO for 3 years.

• This would be Kenichi Ayukawa's third three-year term as MD and CEO of Maruti. He first took over as MD and CEO of the company in March 2013 as Shinzo Nakanishi had attained the age of retirement. He played a major role in expanding the company's market share beyond 50 per cent.

Azali Assoumani re-elected as the President of Comoros.

• Azali Assoumani was re-elected as the President of Comoros after defeating his closest rival, Mahamadou Ahamada in the election held by the electoral commission of the Indian Ocean Archipelago. 66 years old, Azali Assoumani who first took office in 2016, was credited with 60.77 percent votes whereas Mahamadou Ahamada got only 14.62 percent votes.

SPORTS:

Manu and Saurabh won gold in 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei.

• Indian shooting stars Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary smashed the qualification world record before clinching the 10m air pistol mixed team gold in the 12th Asian Airgun Championship in Taoyuan, Taipei. The Indians then went on to win the five-team final with a score of 484.8.

• Hwang Seongeun and Kim Mose of Korea won the silver with a score of 481.1 while Wu Chia Ying and Kou Kuan-Ting claimed the bronze for the host country with a score of 413.3.  This win comes a month after they won the International Shooting Sport Federation (ISSF) World Cup stage gold in the same event in Delhi.

• Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary broke the record set by Russians Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov at the European Championships held recently.

Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros to provide digital solution for French Open tennis tournament.

• IT company Infosys joined hands with Roland-Garros with a three-year partnership agreement to provide a digital solution for French Open tennis tournament, also called Roland-Garros. This agreement will enhance the game by providing fans, players and coaches with a new experience in digital technologies such as artificial intelligence, big data and analytics, mobility, virtual and augmented reality.

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Important Current Affairs 26th March 2019

National:

Goldman Sachs report says that in FY20 food inflation likely to go up to 2 percent.

• Goldman Sachs report said that food inflation in the country is likely to go up to 2% in the fiscal year 2019-20 from the 0.7% estimated for FY19.

• It can be noted that low food prices had been one of the prime factors which had aided the RBI to be more accommodative in its rate-setting recently. It also attributed that the low food prices in the last few months to the prices of cereals and vegetables which had remained low for some time. Deregulation of markets, which saw delisting of vegetables from the Agriculture Produce and Marketing Committee Act in 14 States, had helped keep vegetable prices low.

Delhi Development Authority launched the housing scheme.

• The Delhi Development Authority (DDA) launched the housing scheme for 2019, under which it will offer 18,000 flats spread across Narela and Vasant Kunj. With the online portal now open, interested buyers can get registered, following which a draw will be conducted to allot flats. The portal for online registration will be available until May 10.

•  All the flats on offer under this scheme are newly constructed. Approximately 450 HIG [high-income group] flats and 1,550 MIG [middle-income group] are being offered. Additionally, 8,300 LIG [low-income group] and 7,700 EWS [economically weaker section] flats are being offered under the scheme. Those registering for the housing scheme will have to deposit an application fee ranging from Rs. 25,000 for EWS category to Rs. 2 lakh for three bedroom flats.

Chandrayaan 2 to carry NASAs laser retro reflector arrays.

• India’s lunar mission Chandrayaan 2 will carry NASA’s laser instruments. The U.S. space agency said that the laser instrument will help scientists to make precise measurements of the distance to the Moon. Chandrayaan 2 is scheduled to be launched in the month of April. NASA has confirmed that Chandrayaan 2 and Israeli lander Beresheet, due to touch down on April 11, will each carry NASA-owned laser retroreflector arrays.

HAL rolled out 16th Tejas fighter for IAF fleet.

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) ordered 40 Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter from the Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd. (HAL).  The State-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) has rolled out its 16th Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas fighter in the initial operational clearance (IOC) configuration to be inducted into the fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF).

India extends Rs. 35.5 million financial grant to Nepal.

• India has extended a financial grant of 35.5 million Nepalese rupees for the construction of an educational campus in Nepal under the Development Partnership Programme. The building was constructed at Siddheshwar Education Public Campus in Ramechhap district. It consists of 12 class rooms, meeting hall, laboratory room and a library.

• It will enhance the poor, needy and the marginalized students’ access to education in the district and the nearby areas. Development Partnership Programme is administered by the Development Administration Partnership division of the Ministry of External Affair.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Jet Airways founder Naresh Goyal resigned his position.

• Jet Airways Founders Naresh Goyal and wife Anita Goyal have stepped down from the board of the cash-strapped airline. With this, Naresh Goyal ceases to be Chairman. Director Kevin Knight has also resigned. The board has accepted their resignations. The board also approved the issue of 11.4 crore equity shares to the lenders upon conversion of Re 1 of the outstanding debt. Lenders will infuse up to Rs 1,500 crore via debt instruments.

AIBA President Gafur Rahimov resigns.

• he Amateur International Boxing Federation (AIBA) President Gafur Rahimov announced his resignation. He cited the reason as the political based discussions were harming the organizations progress. Rahimov will be replaced by an interim president.  Rahimov was elected in November 2018 despite being on the U.S. Treasury Department’s sanctions list “for providing material support” to a criminal organization.

SPORTS:

Paralympics high jumper Girish Gowda named as Ambassador of Karnataka LS Elections.

• Silver Medalist in Paralympic high jump, Girish Gowda has been appointed as the ambassador of Karnataka Lok Sabha Elections 2019. He represented India in men’s high jump F-42 category during 2012 Summer Paralympics games held in London, where he clinched the silver medal. With this, he became the first Indian to win medal in this category

Govindaraj re-elected as BFI President.

• K. Govindaraj has been unanimously re-elected as president of the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) at its annual general body meeting. Govindaraj announced that a new six-team women’s league will be held in the next three months.

INTERNATIONAL:

Pentagon approves USD 1 billion to build 92 km of Trump's border wall.

• Acting US defence (Pentagon) secretary Patrick Shanahan authorised $1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. The amount will go towards building 92 km of 18-foot fencing, improving roads and other measures along the border.

•  Earlier, Trump had declared national emergency over the border wall demand. Trump had sought $5.7 billion for the wall. He believes the wall will help curb crime and drug trade in the US. The wall was one of the main promises of the Trump election campaign in 2016.

IAF formally inducted four heavy-lift Chinook helicopters.

• On the lines of Indo-US deal inked in September 2015 for the purchase of 15 Chinooks by India, the first four heavy lift CH-47F (I) Chinook helicopters were inducted in the Indian Air Force, at Air Force Station, Chandigarh, in Squadron No 126 Helicopter Flight.

• These multi-role helicopters will act as life-saver during HADR (humanitarian assistance and disaster relief) missions. Regarded as one of the most modern heavy lift chopper, the payload capacity of Chinook is about 10 tonne, as it is able to lift artillery, vehicles, road construction and engineer equipment as well as troops and supplies to mountainous sectors.

• It can also lift M-777 ultra-light howitzers of the Indian armed forces. India has purchased 15 Chinooks for $1.5 billion. The delivery of remaining helicopters is expected to be completed by 2023.

AWARDS:

Peter Tabichi won Global Teacher Prize 2019.

• Peter Tabichi, a science teacher from rural Kenya, who gives away most of his salary to support poorer pupils, has won a $1m prize (£760,000) for the world's best teacher. The award, in a competition run by the Varkey Foundation, has seen him beating 10,000 other nominations from 179 countries. Last year's winner was an art teacher from north London, Andria Zafirakou.

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