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Important Current Affairs of 11th April

NATIONAL:

Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App.

• Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App, which is available free on Google Playstore, offering details of all candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The app is aimed at creating awareness among the people about the candidates in their constituencies.

• This is an effort to make people aware of the choices they have before they go to vote on April 18.

• This information is based on the declaration by the candidates in their affidavits. It is expected that all voters should use this app to know the details of candidates in their constituency.

• The details include educational background, profession, annual income in the last five years, asset, liabilities, and details of criminal cases pending against them.

• The app can be downloaded on any android mobile from the link http://bit.ly/KnowYourCandidates-Arappor in both English and Tamil. It has been presented in a simple app. It will soon be updated with information on the by elections for Assembly constituencies.

Government clears procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia.

• Amid increased tensions with Pakistan, the Central government has cleared the procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia in a deal worth over Rs 13,500 crore.

•  Under the new deal, the tanks would be provided to the Armoured Corps of the force which will use them for deployment along the border with Pakistan.

• The deal would increase the number of T-90s in the Army to close to 2,000 along with the remaining T-72 and T-55s. The Indian Army had first purchased T-90 tanks in 2001 when 310 units were ordered.

• The Indian Army is projected to have a force of over 1,600 T-90 tanks by 2020. The army is also looking to develop new tanks under the Futuristic Main Battle Tank project. The Army also operates two regiments of the Arjun Mark 1 tanks, which are mainly used in the desert terrain due to their weight.

Dost Education win the Next Billion Edtech Prize.

• India's education technology startup 'Dost Education' has bagged a $25,000 Next Billion Edtech Prize 2019.

• Two other startups, Ubongo (Tanzania) and PraxiLabs (Egypt), also won the award. Dost Education was awarded for its ability to empower parents to take charge of their child's early education by creating short, friendly audio content that is sent to them via their mobile phones.

• Because of this app low-income families need no longer send their children to primary school behind and without a chance to catch up.

President Ram Nath Kovind launched Veer Parivar App.

• On April 9th, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 54th Valour Day (Shaurya Diwas). On the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind launched 'Veer Parivar App', a mobile application for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty.

• About the Veer Parivar App:

♦ The App is an interface between the CRPF authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel. It will be installed securely on the phones of the slain personnel families and will not be available in the app stores.

♦ The app will provide assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pension benefits etc. The app will also provide all the necessary information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government.

♦ The App will provide assistance to the families on a real-time basis and the CRPF authorities will respond to the issues raised by the members of the families of the slain personnel. 54th Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas:

♦ The CRPF celebrates 9 April as Shaurya Diwas or Valour Day to commemorate the defence of the Sardar Post in the Rann of Kutch at the onset of the India-Pakistan War of 1965.

♦ In the intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, nearly 3500 men from the 51st Infantry of Pakistani Army invaded India at Sardar Post. The Pakistani Army comprised 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles, and 6 Baluch battalion. Their mission was to capture the Indian territory defended by Sardar Post.

♦ The post was guarded by two battalions of CRPF, roughly 150 soldiers. Compared to the Pakistani Army, the CRPF soldiers were no match in terms of an arsenal. Additionally, the terrain was disadvantageous for the defending forces.

♦ A fight ensued in which the Pakistani Army made three attempts to overrun the post. The battle lasted for 12 hours. In the end, the Pakistani Army fled the battleground leaving behind 34 of their men dead and CRPF lost six of its brave soldiers. Ever since the day has been celebrated by the CRPF as the Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas.

INTERNATIONAL:

British Governments white paper named online harms draws focus to users (mostly childrens) safety

• British government’s ‘white paper’ which is open for public consultation termed as ‘online harms’, focuses to make online social media platforms responsible to safeguard users, especially children.

• Since all of the social media platforms use strong algorithms leading to echo-chambers, where a user is bombarded with only blinkered content (according to the user’s web-browsing) instead of multi-directional content (i.e. seeing a variety of voices and opinions), all of which can affect children’s brain; the white paper proposes the compulsory ‘duty of care’ on various social media platforms for taking reasonable steps to protect users (focusing on children) from getting harmed.

SUMMITS:

Seventeenth MENA World Economic Forum Held In Jordan.

• World Economic Forum in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) took place at Jordan’s Dead Sea. 

• The forum assembled more than 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders from more than 50 countries.

• The forum was themed on three major visions:  Generating job opportunities, Empowering Arab women and promoting the most intriguing startups that have joined the region’s industry over the past years.

• About World Economic Forum Motto: Committed to improving the state of the world Formation: January 1971; 48 years ago (as European Management Forum) Founder: Klaus Schwab Type: Nonprofit organization.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Emirates Islamic became world's first Islamic bank to launch banking via WhatsApp.

• Dubai based Emirates Islamic has announced the launch of Chat Banking services for customers via WhatsApp, marking a global first in the Islamic banking sector.

• The Chat Banking solution allows customers to use features such as checking account balances and temporarily blocking or unblocking of an existing card.

•  All messages on Emirates Islamic’s verified WhatsApp Business account are encrypted, ensuring confidentiality and security.

HDFC AMC Ranks 1st In Terms Of Assets: AMFI Report.

• India’s asset management companies (AMCs) own assets under management (AUM) worth Rs24.46 trillion according to data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi). HDFC Asset Management Co.

•  Ltd claimed the top spot with an average AUM of Rs3.42 trillion, overtaking ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd with an average AUM of at Rs3.20 trillion.

Govt retains interest rate for General Provident Fund at 8%.

• Union government retained the interest rate for General Provident Fund (GPF), Contributory Provident Fund and other related schemes at 8 per cent for the first quarter of the current financial year 2019-2020.

• The interest rate on these funds was at 8 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2018-19 and government kept it unchanged for April to June for 2019-20. 

• The Department of Economic Affairs, in a notification, the mentioned interest rate will be applicable on provident funds of central government employees, railways and defence forces. 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SC Collegium recommends Justice Vikram Nath as First Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh HC.

• Supreme Court Collegium recommended that Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Vikram Nath appointed as the first Chief Justice of the recently constituted Andhra Pradesh High Court at Amaravati. The office of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice has been lying vacant since the day of its inception.

• Justice Vikram Nath obtained his law degree in 1986. Following his enrolment in 1987 and he practised in the Allahabad High Court. He was appointed an additional judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2004.

Algeria MPs elect Abdelkader Bensalah as first new president in 20 years

• Abdelkader Bensalah was appointed president for a three-month transitional period after weeks of mass protests led to the resignation of long-serving former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2.

• Algeria's newly appointed interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced the election would be held on July 4 to vote for a new president. However, the 77-year-old Bensalah is barred under the constitution from running in the upcoming election.

Benjamin Netanyahu elected for 5th term as Israel's Prime Minister.

• Netanyahu defeated centrist ex-military chief Benny Gantz, whose nascent Blue and White party emerged as a viable alternative to Netanyahu's decade in power.

• With over 97% votes counted, Netanyahu's Likud party tied with the Blue and White party, winning 35 seats each in the 120-member Knesset.

• Netanyahu's victory came amid allegations of corruption against him and his wife. His campaign has focused heavily on his friendship with President Donald Trump and his success in cultivating new allies, such as China, India and Brazil.

Karnam Sekar to be appointed as MD, CEO of Indian Overseas Bank.

• The Central Government made important management appointments to several public sector banks. 

• According to the Department of Personnel and Training, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Karnam Sekar as MD and CEO in Indian Overseas Bank. Karnam Sekar is currently the CEO and MD of Dena bank. 

• The new designation will be effective from July 1, 2019.

DAYS:

National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated on April 11.

• National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD) is observed annually on 11 April to raise awareness about the proper healthcare of women and maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women. The theme of 2019 NSMD is "Midwives for Mothers".

• Last year’s NSMD theme was ‘Respectful Maternity Care’. This day also raise awareness for the prevention of child marriages that may be an indirect cause of maternal deaths. About National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD):

♦ this day is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) to provide women with various healthcare programs during pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal services.

♦ This day is first celebrated in 2003.

♦ 11 April is the anniversary day of Kasturba Gandhi's birth. Facts about Maternal Mortality according to WHO:

♦ Approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

♦ In developing countries 99% maternal deaths occurs.

SPORTS:

India bow out of 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament.

• The Indian women’s football team bowed out on an opportunity to qualify for the third round of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers. The Indian team win to top Group A but it lead twice to play out a 3-3 draw against Myanmar to bow out of the competition.

Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana named the Wisden's Leading Cricketers in the World

• In the 2019 (156th) edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack published recently, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and women's cricketer Smriti Mandhana were named the Leading Cricketers in the World.

• Kohli has won the honour for an unprecedented third year in a row while it’s the first time Smriti has won the honour.

• Kohli scored 2,735 runs across the three formats in 2018 while Smriti scored 669 and 682 runs in ODIs and T20s respectively. Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading T20 cricketer for the second year in a row.

• Wisden's Cricketers of the Year was also awarded to four other Cricketers namely English cricketers Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and Tammy Beaumont, for their performances in the 2018 English summer.

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Important Current Affairs of 10th April

NATIONAL:

Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. to acquire Usha Martin Ltd.

• Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. (TSIL), a Tata Steel subsidiary, has announced the completion of its acquisition of the steel business of Usha Martin Ltd. (UML). The acquisition also included UML’s steel business undertaking along with captive power plants. The acquisition also included a cash consideration of Rs.4,094 crore payable to UML (after adjustment for negative working capital and debt-like items). 

• TSIL is subject to further holdbacks of Rs.640 crore, pending transfer of some of the assets including mines and certain land parcels. Tata Steel had announced in a stock exchange disclosure on September 22, 2018, the signing of definitive agreements to buy UML’s steel business. The acquisition cost was then pegged at between Rs.4,300 and Rs.4,700 crore.

• The acquired business comprises a one million tonne per annum (mtpa) alloy-based long products making facility in Jamshedpur, an operational iron ore mine, a coal mine under development, and captive power plants. UML’s steel business has a rich mix of carbon steel and alloy steel, catering to the automotive sector as well as high-end wire-rod makers. 

• The TSIL board had already approved a plan to finance the buy through an issue of rights share up to Rs.1800 crore, external borrowings up to Rs.2500 crore and issue of non-convertible redeemable preference shares of Rs.1,000 crore. TSIL is debt-free with free cash reserves of about Rs.670 crore.

India becomes YouTube largest and fastest growing market.

• India has become YouTube’s largest and fastest growing market with 265 million Indians watching the video-sharing website every month. In the last year, YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% of the watch time coming from outside the six largest metros in India.

• Today, YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the million subscriber-milestones, compared to five years ago, when there were only two creators.

Indian Railways creates record; Free WiFi at 500 rail stations in 7 days.

• Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, RailTel, which is a mini ratna CPSU (Central Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways has provided free high-speed WiFi service to as many as 500 stations in a short period of seven days with ‘RailWire’. RailTel has also tied up with Tata Trust for providing free WiFi at 4,791 B, C, D and E category railway stations.

•  Recently, Northern Railways’ Sahibabad station has become the 1500th railway station in India to get the free Wi-Fi facility. The free Wi-Fi project was initiated from Mumbai Central railway station.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates Maldives President Solih for his partys landslide victory.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally called Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to congratulate him on his party’s exceptionally strong performance in the Maldives Majlis elections of 2019, in which the Maldives’ Democratic Party secured 65 of 87 seats, and won a landslide supermajority in parliament.

• He further conveyed his full confidence that the Maldives Government can deliver on their promises towards the Maldivian people in the upcoming five years, and that the Indian Government will always stand ready to be of assistance to the Maldives.

CBDT detects unaccounted cash collection racket of Rs 281 crore in Madhya Pradesh.

• Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) searches in Madhya Pradesh by Delhi Directorate of Income Tax have detected widespread and well-organised racket for the collection of unaccounted cash of about 281 crore rupees through various persons. 

• The department has also detected a trail of 20 crore rupees suspect cash allegedly being moved to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi from the house of an important person.

• The CBDT identified neither the political party nor the senior functionary. It added that records of collection and disbursement of cash in the form of handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets were found and seized and it corroborates the above findings.

• The several unaccounted and benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected.

Dream11 became Indias first billion-dollar gaming Startup.

• Mumbai-based Dream11 has become India's first gaming unicorn or billion-dollar startup with an investment from Steadview Capital. Apart from Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent investments collectively put Dream11’s total evaluation beyond $1 billion.

• The investment by Hong Kong and London-based Steadview Capital comes about eight months after Dream 11 sealed a $100 million equity financing round led by Tencent, which is world's fifth-largest internet company.

India’s gold reserves increased in February.

• The World Gold Council (WGC) said that India has marginally increased its gold holding to 1.7 tonnes in February while maintaining the tenth position among countries in terms of yellow metal reserves.

• India added 1.7 tonnes in February while most other countries, except Russia and China, had their reserves unchanged in the recent past.

• As per WGC, India had total gold reserves of 608.7 tonnes in February, marginally up from the previous month’s holding of 607 tonnes.

IIT Madras ties up with GE to set up Indias first Cold Spray SMART Lab.

• American conglomerate, General Electric in association with IIT-Madras, established India’s first ‘Cold Spray’ SMART (Surface Modification and Additive Research Technologies) Laboratory in the institution thereby IIT-M became the only academic institution with High-Pressure Cold Spray(HPCS) facility in India.

• The High-Pressure Cold Spray machinery carried from Plasma Giken, Japan. GE India Technology Centre CEO Alok Nanda and IIT Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi inaugurated the laboratory on 5th April 2019.

PFS in a joint venture with USICEF finances solar projects in India.

• PTC India Financial Services (PFS) an Infrastructure finance company partnered with (USICEF) the US-India Clean Energy Finance to leverage funds for solar projects in India. PFS Managing Director and CEO Pawan Singh stated that this innovative venture can contribute to achieve India’s distributed energy target of 40 GW (gigawatt) by 2022.

• Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) manages USICEF that was founded in partnership with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, OPIC(Overseas Private Investment Corporation), IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd.) and leading U.S. Foundations in 2017.

India-Singapore Joint Military Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 2019.

• Military forces of India and Singapore to participate in a joint exercise in Babina Cantonment in Jhansi.  The three-day exercise, ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’, conducted to develop military technology, boost maritime security and bolster the nations’ fight against terrorism.

• The two countries signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen the defence ties between Indian Military and Singapore Armed Forces in November. About Singapore  President: Halimah Yacob Prime Minister:

• Lee Hsien Loong Deputy Prime Ministers: Teo Chee Hean Tharman  Capital: Singapore  

INTERNATIONAL:

London becomes world's 1st city to launch 24x7 pollution charge zone.

• London became the first city in the world to implement a special Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that would charge an entry fee for older vehicles if they do not meet the emission standards.

• This move aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health. The ULEZ will be operational for 24 hours and seven days a week.

• Polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London's harmful Nitrogen Oxide air emissions. London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020.

Google launched its 1st drone delivery service in Australia.

• Wing, one of the many companies belonging to Alphabet (Google parent) made its first delivery in Canberra, Australia after getting approval from the Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

• The drones will deliver food and drinks as well as medication directly to clients' homes. Wing was testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014 and delivered medicines, chocolate to 3,000 homes in the last 18 months.

• Wing is now preparing to launch a trial service in Helsinki, Finland.

Sri Lanka new railway line inaugurated.

• Sri Lanka has opened a new railway line connecting its coastal city of Matara and Beliatta in Hambantota.

• It was built with China’s assistance. This move will boost passenger traffic into the island nation’s deep south. It is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948.  The new line was inaugurated on 8th April 2019 in the presence of Sri Lanka’s Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and other parliamentarians.

• About the railway line: The Matara-Beliatta railway extension is of 26.75-km length. The cost of the project was $278 million. The Matara-Beliatta railway extension includes the longest and second longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km, respectively.

• China's role: The railway extension was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and the contract was awarded to the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. China termed it as a major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been the major recipient of Chinese loans and investments in recent years, totalling over $8 billion. The heavy borrowing has raised concerns over Sri Lanka’s ability to repay after Colombo handed over the Hambantota port to Beijing for a 99-year lease in 2017 as a debt swap. China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): BRI is also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR). It was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt"; Whereas "road" refers to the sea routes or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The aim is to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62% of the population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves. 

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI cut interest rate on home loans up to Rs 30 lakh by 10 bps.

• India's largest lender, SBI has reduced the interest rate on housing loans of up to ₹30 lakh by 10 basis points to a range between 8.60% and 8.90% per annum, from existing rates of 8.70% to 9%.

• SBI also cut its benchmark lending rates by five basis points across all tenors. The one-year marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR) now stands at 8.50%, down from 8.55%. The move comes days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to 6%, in a move to boost the economy.

•  From May 1, the rates of large savings accounts (balances above ₹1 lakh) will get revised. Overdraft and other short-term loans will get cheaper.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SUN Group chairman Vikramjit Sahney elected as president of ICC India.

• SUN Group Chairman Vikramjit Singh Sahney elected as the new president of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) - India. He will succeed Jawahar Vadivelu.

DAYS:

April 10: World Homoeopathy Day.

• The World Homoeopathy Day 2019 is observed across the world on April 10, 2019 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

• The week following the birth date of Hahnemann, that is, 10 April - 16 April is observed as the World Homeopathic Awareness Week. This year it is 263rd birth anniversary of founder of Homoeopathy.

• About Samuel Hahnemann: Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, a great scholar, linguist and an acclaimed scientist, is known as the Father of Homeopathy, Father of Human Pharmacology, Father of Nano Medicine and the Father of Infinite Dilution concept in Chemistry.

• About CCRH: Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) in India organises the scientific convention on the World Homeopathy Day to pay tributes to Dr. Hahnemann on his birth anniversary. The council has so far accomplished over 168 clinical researches, 40 basic researches, standardization studies of 348 drugs, proving of 112 drugs and clinical verification of 106 drugs. On the occasion, the AYUSH Awards will be conferred for Life Time Achievement, Best Teacher, Young Scientist and Best Research paper with an aim to recognise exemplary work in the field of Homoeopathy. About Homeopathy: Homeopathy as system of medicine was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in 1796. It is a natural approach to the treatment of the sick. This medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations and labels them in Latin or faux-Latin vocabulary. It is world’s second most widely used system of treatment.

AWARDS:

AIMA Managing India Awards 2019 to Azim Premji, Mahendra Mohan Gupta and 9 others.

• The All India Management Association (AIMA) Managing India Awards 2019 was held on April 08, 2019 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Mahendra Mohan Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran, was awarded under Lifetime Contribution to Media category.

• Complete Winners List:

1. Lifetime Contribution Award: Azim H Premji (Chairman, Wipro Ltd)

2. Outstanding Institution Builder: Prathap C Reddy (Founder-Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group)

3. Corporate Citizen Award: Devi Prasad Shetty (Founder & Chairman Narayana Hrudalaya)

4. Entrepreneur of the year: Sanjiv Bajaj (Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv Ltd)

5. Business Leader of the Year: Sanjiv Mehta (Chairman & Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd)

6. Lifetime Contribution to Media: Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran)

7. Outstanding Contribution to Media: Uday Shankar (President, 21st Century Fox, Asia and Chairman and CEO, Star India)

8. Indian MNC of the Year: Pawan Goenka (Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Managing Director and Member of the Group Executive Board)

9. MNC in India of the Year: T Krishnakumar (Coca-Cola India, President  & CEO, India & Southwest Asia)

10. Outstanding PSU of the Year: Sanjiv Singh (Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd)

11. Director of the Year: Rajkumar Hirani (Director, Producer, Writer & Editor - Sanju Movie)

SPORTS:

Spain Garbine Muguruza claimed Monterrey Open title.

• Garbine Muguruza of Spain successfully claimed back-to-back Monterrey Open title 2019 as Victoria Azarenka succumbed to injury in the final.

•  Asia Muhammad & Maria Sanchez claimed women's doubles title in Monterrey Open. The Monterrey Open is a professional women's tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts.

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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 5th April 2019

NATIONAL:

IOCL introduced BS VI Fuel in New Delhi.

• The Indian Oil Corporation (IOCL) has stated that Supply of ultra-clean BS-VI grade petrol and diesel has begun in cities adjoining the national capital. The rest of the country will follow suit from April 2020.

• New Delhi is the first city in the country to leapfrog from BS-IV grade petrol and diesel to BS-VI fuels.

•  Bharat Stage norms are standards set by the government to regulate the emission of air pollutants from motor vehicles.

• The norms set the limit for the release of air pollutants such as nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, particulate matter (PM) and sulphur oxides from vehicles using internal combustion engines.

• The Bharat stage norms are based on Euro norms.  BS-IV fuels contain 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur whereas BS-VI grade fuel only has 10 ppm sulphur. BS-VI will bring PM in diesel cars down by 80% when compared to BS-IV. BS-VI will bring down nitrogen oxides from diesel cars by 70% and in petrol cars by 25%. 

GMR raised USD 300 mn bond for Hyderabad airport expansion.

• GMR Hyderabad International Airport Ltd. on 4th March announced that it has priced a $300 million bond in the international market.  It had entered into a purchase agreement to issue and allot $300 million senior secured notes of five-year tenure at a coupon rate of 5.375%. The proceeds would be used to fund the expansion of the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport Hyderabad.

Rupee plunged 76 paise to 69.17 against dollar.

• The rupee plunged 76 paise on 4th March to close at 69.17 against the U.S. dollar after the RBI cut the interest rate but kept its monetary policy stance ‘neutral’.

• In its first bi-monthly policy review for this financial year, the central bank slashed the policy rate by 25 basis points for the second time in a row, following which the rupee and sovereign bond prices tumbled.

• At the Interbank foreign exchange (forex) market, the rupee opened lower at 68.56 and fell further to touch the day’s low of 69.21. It finally settled at 69.17, down 76 paise over its previous close. The rupee had surged by 33 paise to 68.41 against the dollar on 3rd March.

India’s services sector output growth at six-month low in March.

• India’s services’ sector activity eased in March with the slowest pace of output growth in six-months due to slower expansion in new work, leading to the weakest rate of hiring since last September.

• The seasonally adjusted Nikkei India Services Business Activity Index fell to 52 in March from 52.5 in February, indicating the slowest expansion since last September.

• Despite the moderation, the services Purchasing Managers' Index (PMI) was in the expansion territory for the tenth straight month. In PMI parlance, a print above 50 means expansion, while a score below that denotes contraction.  Indian services sector growth weakened at the end of the fourth quarter of FY18, with activity expanding at the slowest rate since last September.

AFSPA removes its power partially in Arunachal Pradesh.

• The Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act (AFSPA) was partially removed from three of nine districts of Arunachal Pradesh but would remain in force in the areas bordering Myanmar.

• The State of Arunachal Pradesh had inherited AFSPA since 1987, the day of its formation.  AFSPA is enacted by Parliament in 1958 and was applied to the entire State of Assam and the Union Territory of Manipur. After Arunachal Pradesh, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland came into being, the Act was appropriately adapted to apply to these states as well. 

• Powers given to AFSPA: AFSPA empowers an authorised officer in a disturbed area with certain powers including an open fire at any individual even if it results in death if the individual violates laws. The authorized officer is also empowered to (a) arrest without a warrant; and (b) seize and search without any warrant any premise in order to make an arrest or recovery of hostages, arms and ammunition.

• AFSPA mentions that individuals who have been taken into custody have to be handed over to the nearest police station as soon as possible. There is no prescribed time limit for detention. 

India to set up IAIARD in Malawi.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has signed an MOU with National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development Consultancy Service (NABCONS) for setting up India-Africa Institute of Agriculture and Rural Development (IAIARD) in Malawi.

•  IAIARD would be a Pan-African Institute wherein trainees from Malawi and other African countries, will receive training to develop their human resources and build their capacity. IAIARD will impart training in the areas of micro-financing and agro-financing, among others.

• IAIARD is the first of its kind initiative undertaken in an African country by India. IAIARD will further strengthen the bilateral relations with Malawi and India's relations with the African Union. 

• NABARD Consultancy Services (NABCONS) is a fully owned subsidiary promoted by National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD). Nabcons is engaged in providing consultancy in all spheres of agriculture, rural development, and allied areas.

Russian delegation meets I&B Secretary in New Delhi.

• A Russian delegation led by the Russian Deputy Minister of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media,  Alexey Volin met Information and Broadcasting Secretary Amit Khare in New Delhi. 

•  During the meeting, it was mutually agreed that an annual Indo-Russian Forum for Media Cooperation is organized alternately in India and Russia to institutionalize the process of cooperation between the two countries in the media and entertainment sector. 

• Television, news agencies, digital distribution platforms, new media, news gathering, co-production of programmes, sharing of content and exchange of professionals were identified as possible areas of collaboration. The need to forge strong connections between the young journalists of the two countries was also highlighted in the meeting. On the occasion, 

• Amit Khare stated that the Golden Jubilee edition of the International Film Festival of India scheduled to be held later this year offers an opportunity to countries to showcase their creativity and cinematic excellence on a global platform. He extended an invitation to the Russian Delegation to participate in it.

Chatbot Making Startup Haptik was acquired by Reliance Jio Digital for Rs.700 Crore.

• Reliance Jio Digital, a subsidiary of Reliance Industries acquired a chatbot making startup firm Haptik worth for Rs.700 Crore. In this Rs.700 Crore deal,Rs.230 Crore will be used for business transaction and Rs.470 Crore will be used for business expansion. After this acquisition, Reliance Jio Digital will now hold 87% stake in Haptik, while Existing investor Times Internet which holds 70% stake will exit the company.

MEMORANDOM OF ASSOSIATION:

Moscow Exchange signs deals with BSE, India INX.

• Russia's Moscow Exchange (MOEX) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) and India International Exchange (India INX).

• This will be the very first time that Indian exchanges will enter into the MoU with Moscow exchange. The move aims to ease the access of Indian capital to the Russian market.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Former Bollywood Actress, Mayoori kango has appointed as the Industry Head of Google India

• She will lead Google engagement with Publicis (Parent Company of Performics) and DAN. Before joining Google India, Mayoori has worked as a Managing Director in Performics which is part of Publicis Groupe. She has been instrumental in engaging and retaining accounts of firms like Uber, Airtel and Nestle.

Vipin Anand assumed charge as new Managing Director of LIC.

• Vipin Anand was appointed as the Managing Director of the Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), by the government last month. He was instrumental in setting up LIC's operations in Singapore and Bangladesh. He served more than 35 years in LIC. Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) executive board comprises of one chairman and four managing directors (MDs).

• The government appointed MR Kumar as the Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and TC Suseel Kumar as the managing director (MD) on March 13.

Rakesh became next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon

• Shri Rakesh Malhotra, Who was a Consul General, Consulate General of India, Melbourne appointed as the High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Cameroon.

INTERNATIONAL:

Saudi Arabia pledged USD 1 billion for Iraq at start of economic visit.

• Saudi Arabia has reopened a consulate in Baghdad for the first time in nearly 30 years and announced a one billion dollars aid package for Iraq.

• Saudi Arabia would also provide Iraq with $500m to boost exports and a gift of a 100,000-seat sports stadium to be built on Baghdad's outskirts.

• Saudi Arabia cut ties with Iraq when the latter invaded Kuwait in 1990.

• Diplomatic relations resumed in 2015 when Riyadh sent an ambassador to Baghdad, and improved with the then-Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir's visit in 2017, the first by a

• Saudi foreign minister since 1990.

South Korea Launches Worlds First National 5G Networks.

• South Korea launches the world’s first fully-fledged 5G mobile networks.  The system will bring smartphones near-instantaneous connectivity 20 times faster than the existing 4G allowing users to download entire movies in less than a second. About South Korea Capital- Seoul,  Currency- South Korean won President: Moon Jae-in Prime Minister:Lee Nak-yeon.

AWARDS AND HONOURS:

PM Modi awarded UAE's highest civilian honor Zayed medal.

• President of the UAE Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan honoured Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the prestigious Zayed Medal for boosting relations between the Emirates and India. The 'Order of Zayed' is the highest civil decoration instituted by the UAE.

• It consists of a collar cantered by a medallion bearing the name 'Zayed' - the founding father of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

• In the past, this award has been conferred to Russian President Vladimir Putin, then US President George W Bush, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Chinese President Xi Jinping and the UK's Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has visited UAE twice in three years. The Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi also visited India in 2017.

DAYS:

National Maritime Day is celebrated on April 5 in India.

• National Maritime Day in India is celebrated on April 5 every year. The day is being observed since 1964.

• Hundred years ago, on this day in 1919, navigation history was created when SS Loyalty, the first ship of The Scindia Steam Navigation Company Ltd travelled to the United Kingdom from Mumbai.

•  It was a crucial step for India shipping history when sea routes were controlled by the British. It marked a red letter day in the maritime history of India. 

• This day is celebrated to spread awareness in supporting intercontinental commerce and the global economy. The theme of the 56th edition of the National Maritime Day is “Indian Ocean-An Ocean of opportunity”.

• National Maritime Day 2019 awards, the Varuna Award, will also be given for outstanding contribution to Indian Maritime Sector.

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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 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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Important Current Affairs of 29th March

INTERNATIONAL:

Boeing unveils changes to MCAS, anti stall system.

Embattled aviation giant Boeing pledged to do all it can to prevent crashes like two that killed nearly 350 people in recent months, as it unveiled a fix to the flight software of its grounded 737 MAX aircraft.  Boeing gathered hundreds of pilots and reporters to unveil the changes to the Manoeuvring Characteristics Augmentation System (MCAS). Boeing unveiled the software changes at the company’s massive factory in Renton, Washington, and offered reassurances.

NATIONAL:

Vijayawada Railway Station awarded the Gold Rating for being Clean & Eco-Friendly.

• Vijayawada railway station, one of the busiest railway junctions in India, has received Gold Rating by the Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) for Green Measures. The IGBC-CII, with the support of the Environment Directorate of Indian Railways, developed the Green Railway Stations Rating System to facilitate adoption of green concepts, thereby reduce the adverse environmental impact due to station operation and maintenance and also enhance the overall commuter experience.

•  The Vijayawada station has installed 100 per cent LED lighting, the fans are five-star rated, and solar power is already being used for water heating systems.

Kolkata Dhaka ship to set sail for the first time ever.

• A regular river cruise will start between Kolkata, India and Dhaka, Bangladesh for the first time in the history of the two countries.

• The Indian ship, R V Bengal Ganga, will start its journey from a west Kolkata jetty. About 60 persons will be travelling

• The return journey will take nearly two weeks from Kolkata and the ship will pass through Sunderbans on both sides of the marine border.  Another ship will simultaneously start from Bangladesh, traverse the same route and reach Kolkata, taking approximately the same time. The border formalities will be completed at Sunderbans on the Indian side.

AWARDS:

Nobel Prize recipient Amartya Sen awarded with Oxford University's Bodley award.

• The 85-year-old winner of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, was awarded with the prestigious Bodley Medal, the highest honour granted by the University of Oxford's world-famous Bodleian Libraries, for his contribution in literature, culture, science and communication.

Turing Award, the Nobel Prize of computing, won by 3 Pioneers in Artificial Intelligence.

• The 2018 Turing Award, known as the “Nobel Prize of computing,” has been given to Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun — sometimes called the ‘godfathers of AI’, for their work developing the AI subfield of deep learning.

• The trio believed in the potential of AI and brought to the world the innovations such as neural networks, self-driving cars, facial recognition, CNN and much more. About Turing Award: Initiated in 1966, this annual award is named after British mathematician Alan M.

• Turing, whose work laid the foundation for computer science and artificial intelligence. It honors the individual for contributing major technical importance in the computer field. First recipient – Alan Perlis

Delhi government school teacher Manu Gulati honoured with Martha Farrell Award 2019

• Delhi government school teacher, Manu Gulati honored with the Martha Farrell award for Excellence in Women’s Empowerment 2019 in the Most Promising Individual category with prize money of INR 1,50,000 for promoting gender quality and women’s empowerment.

• She collaborates with America India Foundation’s “Market Aligned Skills Training Program”, through which she assists the training programs for beauticians, weavers, salesgirls, etc in Jalandhar in Punjab, Betul in Madhya Pradesh and Baramullah in Kashmir.

• The Awards were first awarded in 2017 in the memory of Dr. Martha Farrell, a prominent activist for gender equality and women’s empowerment. About Delhi: Governor: Anil Baijal, Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal Deputy Chief Minister: Manish Sisodia Chief Secretary: Vijay Kumar Dev Commissioner of Police: Amulya Patnaik

Singapore airport named worlds best aviation hub for the seventh time.

• According to the Skytrax World Airport Awards, Singapore's Changi Airport has been crowned the world's best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row, while New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59.

• Singapore Changi Airport is known for its rooftop swimming pool, two 24-hour movie theaters and shopping spots

•  At number two on the list is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), up one place from 2018. This hub also won World's Best Domestic Airport and World's Cleanest Airport. Incheon International Airport secured 3rd position in the list. The other Indian aiports in the list were Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport at 64, the Rajiv Gandhi Hyderabad International Airport at 66, and Bengaluru’s Kempegowda International Airport at 69.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM, NM to be designated as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO)

• Vice Admiral MA Hampiholi, AVSM NM has been appointed as Director General Naval Operations (DGNO). He will succeed Satish Namdeo Ghormade.  He was commissioned in the Executive Branch of the Indian Navy on 1st July 1985.

• he Flag Officer has experience as Anti-Submarine Warfare (ASW) specialist officer at onboard INShips Himgiri, Agray,and Ganga. He has experience as a Commanding officer in INS Nashak (missile vessel), INS Magar {Landing Ship Tank (Large)} and INS Talwar (stealth Frigate), Second-in-Command of INS Khukri (Missile Corvette).

• He commanded the National Coast Guard, Mauritius for two years (2003 – 05) and served as Commanding Officer of INS Mandovi.

Manohar Ajgaonkar, Vijai Sardesai designated as Goas Deputy Chief Ministers.

• Goa’s Tourism Minister Manohar Ajgaonkar has been appointed as the Deputy Chief Minister of Goa. He switched to Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Maharashtrawadi Gomantak Party, on March 27, 2019. At present he is the second deputy chief minister along with Goa Forward Party (GFP) leader and state minister Vijai Sardesai. Both will succeed Sudin Dhavalikar.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI to issue Regulatory sandbox.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is set to issue guidelines within two months for the fintech companies to test their new products on a small group of users before scaling up.  A Sandbox is a framework set up by a regulator that allows FinTech start-ups to conduct live experiments in a controlled environment under supervision.

• Regulatory sandbox will provide a well-defined space for the companies to develop new products. It allows for experimenting with their products and fintech solutions. In case of failure, the consequences would be contained and the reasons will be analysed for betterment.

Deposits ordinance does not cover gold schemes.

• The Centre’s recent ordinance banning unregulated monthly deposit schemes will not affect the ongoing monthly schemes operated by jewellery and chit fund firms.

• Called the ‘Banning of Unregulated Deposit Scheme Ordinance’, it was promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind during the last week of February 2019 to save gullible investors from losing money to Ponzi and fake deposit schemes.

•  The ordinance makes such unregulated deposit schemes punishable, among other things. Ordinance: Ordinances are laws that are promulgated by the President of India on the recommendation of the Union Cabinet. They can only be issued when Parliament is not in session.

• They enable the Indian government to take immediate legislative action. Ordinances cease to operate either if Parliament does not approve of them within six weeks of reassembly, or if disapproving resolutions are passed by both Houses.  It is also compulsory for a session of Parliament to be held within six months.

SPORTS:

Four sports including Breakdancing get provisional green light for Paris Olympics 2024

• Breakdancing was among four sports given a provisional green light for inclusion in the Paris 2024 Games by the International Olympic Committee (IOC). The three other sports namely - Surfing, Skateboarding and sport climbing also got approval for provisional inclusion in Summer Olympics 2024 from IOC.

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Important Current Affairs of 27th March

NATIONAL:

CARE Hospitals has launched Ummeed, a Cancer screening programme.

• CARE Hospitals in association with Piramal Swasthya has launched a cancer screening programme called ‘Ummeed’ in Hyderabad, Telangana. The initiative that will help in early detection of oral, breast and cervical cancer, will be introduced in Rangareddy in the next 45 days, where in screening will be conducted free of cost.

• A fully-equipped van will be used to screen people and an all-woman team will educate the rural population about the importance of early detection of cancer.

IIT Delhi researchers developed AI based disease detector.

• Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Delhi have created a low-power electronic hardware system, based on artificial intelligence (AI), which is capable of detecting malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite and cervical cancer within a few milliseconds.

•  The researchers aim to build a neuromorphic system exclusively for the healthcare sector, in places where there are limited resources and paucity of specialists. AI-based software do exist for apps used for diagnosis.

•  However, this is the first time that a portable, low-power and cost-effective hardware has been developed to make AI-based systems available in areas with resource constraints.

AUSINDEX to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16th.

• Third Installment of the Joint Naval Exercise of India and Australia AUSINDEX is to be held off the coast of Vishakhapatnam from April 2 to 16.

• The joint exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare, as part of efforts to ramp up bilateral naval cooperation in the strategic Indian Ocean region.

• AUSINDEX 2019 From the Australian side, HMAS Canberra (landing helicopter dock), Auxiliary Oiler Replenishment vessel, two frigates, HMAS Newcastle and HMAS Parramatta and P81 and P8 maritime patrol aircraft, will be involved in the exercise.

• A Kilo-class submarine, land-based Hawk aircraft that will provide the air attack element for the exercise, a Kamorta class anti-submarine vessel, besides a stealth destroyer will lead the Indian deployment for the exercise.

• The exercise will feature the deployment of Australian personnel on Indian ships and vice versa. The area of the exercise will be within 200 miles of Vishakhapatnam.  Over 1000 Australian defence personnel will take part. Australia has also proposed logistics sharing pact with India.

ISRO to launch 29 satellites including EMISAT on April 1, 2019.

• India on April 1 will launch an electronic intelligence satellite 'Emisat' for the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) along with 28 third party satellites. ISRO, for the first time, will also demonstrate its new technologies like three different orbits with a new variant of the Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV) rocket.

• PSLV-C45 will take off from Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota tentatively at 9:30 AM carrying the satellites onboard.

• EMISAT, weighing 436 kg, is intended for electromagnetic spectrum measurement. The 28 international customer satellites are from four countries, viz. Lithuania, Spain, Switzerland and USA. All these satellites are being launched under commercial arrangements.

INTERNATIONAL:

GIZ Indo German Development Corporation to help in waste segregation.

• The Indo-German Development Corporation, GIZ, has been tied to help the North Delhi Municipal Corporation to carry out waste segregation activities. The tie-up, which has been facilitated through the Swachh Bharath Mission, is for a five-year period during which time the development corporation will provide technical assistance such as training

• In order to ensure implementation of the solid waste management bylaws in the North Corporation, ward level committees were being formed, involving Resident Welfare Associations, market associations, NGOs and Ragpickers organisations to look into specific local requirements. In addition, three ‘model wards’ have been selected where waste segregation will be ensured within six months.

IOC and BPRL has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi.

• Indian Oil Corporation (IOC), Bharat PetroResources Ltd. (BPRL), a subsidiary of Bharat Petroleum Corporation Ltd. (BPCL), acting jointly as a consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. has acquired an oil block in Abu Dhabi, where the two will invest $170 million.

• The consortium through Urja Bharat Pte Ltd. have been awarded 100% stake in the Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1 Concession.

• The concession has been awarded by the Supreme Petroleum Council, on behalf of the Abu Dhabi government. The concession award is for 35 years. This Onshore Block 1 is located in the A1 Dhafra region around Ruwais City and the refining complex, including the coastal region to the west.

China infused USD 2.2 billion in Pakistan's forex reserves.

• China infused around $2.2 billion in Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves for imports and external debt repayments. Pakistan has so far received a total of $9.1 billion in financial assistance from friendly countries during the current fiscal year. Pakistan has got $4.1 billion from China, $3 billion from Saudi Arabia and $2 billion from United Arab Emirates (UAE). Pakistan's foreign exchange reserves stood at $8.84 billion as on March 15.

LIMA 2019 Aero Expo held in Langkawi, Malaysia.

• Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA-2019) is held in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26 March 2019 to 30 March 2019. The event, that takes place once every two years, is one of the largest maritime and aerospace exhibitions in the Asia-Pacific.

• It is established in 1991. Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in the Maritime Aero Expo for the first time, during which it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft, Tejas.

• The anti submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt also participate in LIMA 2019

World's largest e-waste recycling hub opened in Dubai.

• Located at the Dubai Industrial Park, the 2,80,000 square feet plant will process Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), IT asset disposition (ITAD), refrigerant gas and specialised waste. It is established by ‘Enviroserve’ company with a total cost of $5 million. It has a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes of total integrated waste per year, of which 39,000 tonnes is e-waste.

DAYS:

World Theatre Day celebrated on 27th March.

• World Theatre Day celebrated annually on the 27th March by ITI Centres and the international theatre community.

• It was initiated in 1961 by the International Theatre Institute (ITI).   On this day several national and international theatre events are organised.

•  A celebrated figure of the theatre is also invited by ITI who speaks and motivates people about the theme of Theatre, a culture of peace and circulate the message in the whole world. 

• This year that is in 2019 Carlos CELDRAN from Cuba, is an award -winning and highly esteemed theatre director, playwright, academic and professor, living and working in Havana, Cuba and present his work all over the world has been selected for the message 2019.

World Purple day Observed on March 26.

• Epilepsy Awareness Day which is commonly known as World Purple Day is observed on March 26 in order to encourage the people to wear the colour to increase the awareness of Epilepsy. Nearly 50 million people in the world are having Epilepsy as per the World Health Organization (WHO) which does not have a known cause.

• The day was first observed in 2008 in Nova Scotia, Canada to encourage awareness and cast away the myths on the general public about the decease. The mission of the day is to share stories and start conversations about epilepsy and to raise funds.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Forex swap auction received USD 16.31 billion by RBI.

• The first Forex swap auction by Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which was aimed at infusing primary liquidity, received $16.31 billion bidding by banks. In turn, RBI infused Rs.34,561 crore rupee liquidity.

• There is the expectation that RBI would conduct more such auctions as there is an appetite in the market, and reduce dependence on open market purchases of bonds.

• RBI has infused a significant amount of liquidity in the current fiscal through open market operations (OMOs). 

RBI fined Rs 2 Crore penalty on PNB.

• The Reserve Bank of India has fined a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.  SWIFT (Society For Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities.

AWARDS:

ADNOC Awards Onshore Block To Indian Consortium.

• A consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited awarded as the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1.  The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company, ADNOC, Monday signed agreements awarding the exploration rights. The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. 

President Kovind honoured with highest civilian order in Croatia.

• President Ram Nath Kovind was honoured with Croatia's highest civilian award -- the Grand Order of the King of Tomislav, by President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović. He was awarded for his "exceptional contribution to the advancement of relations and development of mutual cooperation between Croatia and India.

• “President Kovind is the first Indian President to visit Croatia. Kovind is in the European country as part of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the three countries.

APPOINTMENTS:

Election Commission appoints K K Sharma as a Spl. Central Police Observer for LS polls in West Bengal, Jharkhand

• Election Commission of India appointed former Director General of Border Security Force K K Sharma as a Special Central Police Observer for Lok Sabha polls in West Bengal and Jharkhand.  Mr Sharma will oversee the deployment and other security-related issues in these States.

Shambhu S Kumaran appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Morocco

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Morocco.

• Shambhu S Kumaran a 1995 batch of Indian Foreign Service officer appointed as next India’s Ambassador to Kingdom of Morocco.

•  He will succeed Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya. About Kingdom of Morocco Capital: Rabat Currency: Moroccan dirham Points of interest: Majorelle Garden, Bahia Palace Spoken languages‎: ‎Moroccan Arabic; ‎Berber‎; ... Official languages‎: ‎Arabic; ‎Berber     Foreign Languages‎: ‎French; English; Spanish.

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Important Current Affairs of 22th March

NATIONAL:

Lok Sabha passed the Indian Forest Amendment Bill, 2017.

• The Lok Sabha passed the Indian Forest (Amendment) Bill, 2017. The bill replaces Indian Forest (Amendment) Ordinance, 2017 promulgated by President Ram Nath Kovind in November 2017 and amends Indian Forest Act, 1927.

• Though bamboo was taxonomically a grass, it was earlier defined as a tree under the Indian Forest Act, 1927 and its felling and transit required permission. It was a major impediment for bamboo cultivation by farmers on non-forest land.

• The bill omits bamboo grown in non-forest areas from the definition of trees. The omission thereby exempts it from requiring permits for felling or transportation of bamboo grown in non-forest areas. With this, bamboo grown in non-forest areas ceases to be a tree.

• It will encourage bamboo plantation by farmers, which will contribute to doubling farmers income by 2022.  The Indian Forest Act, 1927 consolidates laws relating to forests, the transit of forest-produce and duty to be levied on them. Under it, the definition of the tree includes palms, stumps, bamboos, brush-wood, and canes.

Indias to fight hypothermia, Bracelets from Bengaluru saving babies in Papua New Guinea

• Bempu is made in India Hypothermia alert device and the Bempu was invented in 2016 by Bengaluru-based Ratul Narain, who is an alumnus of Stanford University. Currently, the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) is using the device extensively in PNG, in southwestern Pacific to save newborns from extreme cold and sudden drop in temperature.

•  The facility has so far been used largely in Henganofi district, Eastern Highlands province of the country. It was used for children with less than 2.5kg birth weight. Eastern Highlands province was chosen for the pilot as it’s one of the coldest terrains in PNG.

CBSE launches app Shiksha Vani.

• Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) launched its podcast app, 'Shiksha Vani'. It will be used to send out major announcements made by the board and is expected to be the quickest way to information. The first official circular on the app confirmed the beginning of the evaluation process of the 2019 Board Examinations.

ADB to invest USD 50 million in Avaada Energy for expansion of solar projects in India.

• The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will invest $50 million in Indian renewable energy independent power producer Avaada Energy Private Limited, to expand its solar energy generation capacity in India. Avaada is a developer of utility-scale, rooftop, and off-grid solar projects. According to the ADB, this investment will contribute to the Indian government’s goal to increase the share of renewable energy generation capacity from about 20% in 2018 to 40% by 2030. It will also help to reduce India's emission intensity of its gross domestic product by 33-35 per cent by 2030. The company has secured power purchase agreements of about 1,700 megawatts.

India's deepest shaft cave discovered in Meghalaya.

• India's deepest shaft cave Krem Um Ladaw has been discovered in Meghalaya's East Khasi Hills district during the annual 'Caving in the Abode of the Clouds Expedition'. The cave has a 105 m deep shaft entrance passage.

• This comes a year after the world's longest sandstone cave Krem Puri was discovered in Meghalaya. With all these discoveries, Meghalaya has become on of the top caving regions of the world. Meghalaya has 1,700 caves and cave locations of which over 1000 have been explored or partially explored.

INTERNATIONAL:

FAO expressed its concerns over armyworms.

• The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has expressed concerns over the increasing menace of Crop-damaging armyworms in Asia. Farming in several Asian countries is under threat from Armyworms, a type of crop-damaging insects that have munched their way from America and across Africa.  These flying insects arrived in India in July and have since spread to Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and China's Yunnan province.

• These insects feed mostly on maize and can feed on several species of crops, including rice and sugarcane. Armyworms which are native to the Americas have been moving eastwards since 2016 sweeping across Africa where they caused $1-3 billion in damage, before arriving in Asia. 

• The FAO had convened a meeting of officials from affected countries and experts for discussing ways to limit armyworm infestations amid a "growing sense of alarm". FAO called on the nations to work together since pest has no respect for international boundaries and it threatens food security, economy, domestic and international trade

India signals to boycott China's Belt and Road Forum for second time.

• China's second Belt and Road Forum for a second time, saying no country can participate in an initiative that ignores its core concerns on sovereignty and territorial integrity. India boycotted the first Belt and Road Forum (BRF) in 2017 after protesting to Beijing over the controversial China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) which is being laid through the Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) overriding New Delhi's sovereignty concerns.

• Foreign Minister Wang Yi recently said that next month China plans to hold a much bigger, second BRF which will also be attended by Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan. Speculation is rife whether India would attend the second BRF as China has deepened its commitment to expand the USD 60 billion CPEC, which aims to connect China's Xinjiang province with Pakistan's Gwadar port with a host of road, rail, gas and oil pipelines. China has also undertaken a host of energy projects under the aegis of the CPEC.

India and Sri Lanka to conduct joint military exercise Mitra Shakti VI.

• India and Sri Lanka is to conduct joint military exercise Mitra Shakti VI from 26 March to 8 April at Sri Lanka.  At the Military Exercise Mitra Shakti VI India would be represented by the Bihar Regiment. Gemunu Watch Battalion of Sri Lankan Army will be representing the Sri Lankan side. The exercise aims to build and promote close relations between armies of both the countries and to enhance the ability of joint exercise commander to take military contingents of both nations under command.

Jagmeet Singh made history in the House of Commons.

• Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh made history in the House of Commons, a component of Canada’s Parliament, as the first non-white leader of a major opposition party in the country. Singh, 40, the leader of the New Democratic Party, was elected in federal by-elections held on February 25. Singh’s first words as an elected lawmaker were about last week’s terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.

First ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) held in Jakarta, Indonesia.

• The Government of Indonesia hosted the first ever High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) in its capital city Jakarta.

• The theme of the HLD was “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region”.

• It was inaugurated by Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla.

• The representatives from India, Australia, US, Brunei Darussalam, Japan, South Korea, Russia, New Zealand and China apart from 10 member ASEAN countries.

• The main objective behind this meet was to urge all participating governments to talk openly about their plans for increasing cooperation and for building trust in the Pacific Ocean and Indian Ocean region.

SPORTS:

Former hockey Captain Sardar Singh appointed in Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) standing committee.

• A total of 13 Indian Olympic Association members, including former India hockey captain Sardar Singh, have been named in various Standing Committees of the Olympic Council of Asia at its 38th General Assembly in Bangkok.

• Singh has been elected in the athletes standing committee, while IOA secretary general Rajeev Mehta was named in the culture standing committee. Hockey India secretary general Mohd. Mustaque Ahmad is in the media standing committee, while Athletics Federation of India president Adille Sumariwala and Lalit Bhanot have been elected in the sports for environment and sports standing committees respectively. All the members have been elected for a four-year term from 2019 to 2023.

Abu Dhabi signed to host T10 League for next five years.

• Zayed Cricket Stadium, Abu Dhabi, will be the new home of T10 cricket for the next five years, starting with the 2019 season. The first match of the T10 League 2019 will be held on October 23. In Cricket, there are two short formats so far, that is, ODI and T-20. Now, brace for T-10. T10 was first introduced to the UAE in 2017. With eight squads vying for victory in games with an explosive pace, players featured have included Chris Gayle, Shoaib Malik, Shane Watson and Pakistan captain Sarfraz Ahmed.

DAYS:

World Down Syndrome Day observed on March 21.

• Recognizing the need to support people suffering from Down Syndrome, the WHO (world Health Organization) on 20th December 2007, recognized March 21st as ‘World Down Syndrome Day’. Following the decision of WHO, the United Nations General Assembly also designated the same date as “World Down Syndrome Day” on 19th December 2011.

• Since 2012 “World Down Syndrome Day” has been observed annually on 21st March. World Down Syndrome Day 2019 theme is “Leave no one behind”. Down Syndrome is a genetic disorder causing a delayed physical and mental growth in individuals.

• Children or adults suffering from Down Syndrome have lower IQ and learning ability along with characteristic facial features. A young adult with Down Syndrome has an average IQ of 50; equivalent to that of a normal 9 years old child.

World Water Day is celebrated on 22nd March.

• The World Water Day designated by the United Nations is celebrated on 22nd March every year. The first World Water Day was commemorated in 1993. The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’. This is an adaptation of the central promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development: as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit. Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) aims to ensure availability and sustainable management of water for all by 2030.  To ‘leave no one behind’ focus on taking efforts towards people including those who have been marginalized or ignored.  Regulatory and legal frameworks must recognise the right to water for all people, and sufficient funding must be fairly and effectively targeted at those who need it most.

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