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Important Current Affairs 17th March 2020

National

Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020 tabled in Lok Sabha

•           The Companies (Amendment) Bill 2020 was on March 17, 2020 tabled in the Lok Sabha. The new amendment bill decriminalises major offences mentioned in the Companies Act, 2013.

•  The Bill aims to boost ease of doing business in India by proposing 72 amendments in the existing Act. It proposes monetary penalties for violations committed by startups.

World’s First Flying Car Will Be Manufactured In Gujarat, India

• The world’s first commercial flying car named ‘PAL-V Liberty’ will be developed in Gujarat, India.

• Dutch company PAL-V (Personal Air and Land Vehicle) will develop this car.

• PAL-V has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Gujarat’s Industries Principal Secretary MK Das to set up a manufacturing facility in Gujarat.

International

Banking and Economy

EPFO cuts interest rate to 8.5 percent

• The Employees Provident Fund Organization (EPFO) reduced the interest rate on the Employees Provident Fund to 8.5 percent for 2019-20. The EPFO's Central Board of Trustees (CBT) has taken this decision for its six crore users.

• CBT is the apex decision-making body associated with EPFO. The interest rate on the provident fund for the financial year 2018-19 was 8.65 percent.

Sports

Indian Paddler Sharath Kamal Clinches 2020 Oman Open Table Tennis Tournament

• Ace Indian table tennis player Achanta Sharath Kamal has won the 2020 ITTF Challenge Series Plus Oman Open in Muscat on 15 March 2020.

• The 37-year-old Tamil Nadu veteran beat top-seeded Marcos Freitas of Portugal 4-2 in the final.

• The last time when Sharath bagged a title at ITTF event was in 2010 when he won Egypt Open.

Days

National Vaccination Day

•  In India, the National Vaccination Day (also known as National Immunisation Day (IMD)) is observed on 16 March ever year, to raise the awareness for the eradication of polio from the planet.

•  The day was first observed on 16 March, 1995 when the first dose of an oral vaccine against polio was given in India.

Books and Authors

An Extraordinary Life: A biography of Manohar Parrikar’ to be Released in April 2020

• A book on the life and times of bureaucrat-turned-politician and former Chief Minister of Goa, Manohar Parrikar, is set to hit stands in April 2020.

• The book titled “An Extraordinary Life: A biography of Manohar Parrikar” has been written by veteran journalists Sadguru Patil and Mayabhushan Nagvenkar.

• It is being published by publishing house Penguin Random House India.

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Important Current Affairs 16th March 2020

National

First-ever Indore - Kishangarh flight commenced under UDAN

• The Ministry of Civil Aviation flagged off first-ever flight between Indore to Kishangarh. This flight will connect Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan thrice in a week. This flight has been started under UDAN scheme.

• Now, 268 routes have been dedicated under UDAN scheme by the Ministry of Civil Aviation. Thousands of people will be benefitted as it will cover a distance of 550 kilometer.

International

Banking and Economy

GST Rate on Mobile Phones to be hiked from 12% to 18% w.e.f 01 April

• The 39th GST (Goods and Services Tax) Council meeting under the Chairmanship of Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was held in New Delhi on 14 March 2020.

• The Council has announced certain changes in the GST rates of the following items:

• Increase in GST rates on the Mobile phones from the present 12 percent to 18 percent.

• Slash the GST rate on Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul (MRO) services of aircraft from 18 percent to 5 percent

• Rationalise the GST rates on handmade and machine-made matchsticks to 12 percent. Earlier this rate was 5 percent for Hand-made matches and 18 percent for machine-made ones.

Appointments and Resignations

GoI nominated Debasish Panda as director on RBI central board

• The Central Government has nominated Debasish Panda as a Director on the Central Board of Reserve Bank of India. He is a Secretary, Department of Financial Services, Ministry of Finance, Government of India, New Delhi.

• The nomination of Debasish Panda is effective from March 11, 2020, and until further orders. There are two government nominated Directors on the board of RBI. The other one is  Atanu Chakraborty.

Ranking

India ranked 12th globally in ‘Women On Board 2020’ study

• India has been ranked 12th in the world as per study titled ‘Women On Board 2020’. The list was topped by Norway with 40.72% women on board.

• A study on ‘Women On Board 2020’ has been done jointly by global recruitment tendering platforms MyHiringClub and Sarkari-Naukri.

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Important Current Affairs 15th March 2020

National

India’s 1st digital parcel locker service launched in West Bengal

• The Department of Posts, Kolkata (West Bengal circle), has launched free digital parcel locker service in 2 post offices Nabadiganta IT post office of Salt Lake City & post office in New Town’s Action Area.

• Under this service, customers will be able to collect their parcel from the post office according to their convenience.

• This facility is quite popular in European countries but is starting for the first time in India. This service has been done for such people of working-class, who do not have to receive any parcel at home. Such people can take their parcel and letters addressed to them from the kiosks at 24×7.

UP govt launches three schemes for skill development in the state

Uttar Pradesh government has launched three ambitious schemes for skill development and employment generation for youths in the state. The three schemes are Kaushal Satrang, Yuva Hub and apprenticeship scheme in Lucknow. UP government also announced to depute ”Arogya Mitras” at all primary health centres to inform people about govt health schemes.

Kaushal Satrang Scheme

• Kaushal Satrang scheme is a skill development scheme with 7 components to help provide job opportunities to the youth.Under this scheme, each district will organize Mega job fair.

Yuva Hub’ Scheme

Yuva Hub’ scheme was allocated Rs 1,200 crore in the state budget and it aims at providing employment to thousands of skilled youth by assisting in project concept and financial help for one year of operation. It will also facilitate setting up of 30,000 startups in the state. IIM (Indian Institutes of Management) Lucknow is the knowledge partner of this scheme.

CM apprenticeship scheme

CM apprenticeship scheme will provide a stipend of Rs 2500 to the youth of the state.

Banking and Economy

Lava launches World’s first ‘no internet’ payment service in India

• Smartphone manufacturer Lava, has launched a payment app named Lava Pay which doesn’t requires an active internet connection for fund transfer.

• Lava claims it to be the world’s first’no internet’ payment service. The app will help boost Digital India initiative of the Government as well as bringing financial inclusivity for a large population of the county.

Govt appoints new board of directors for Yes Bank

• The government of India has notified the reconstruction scheme for Yes Bank which has been placed under moratorium by Reserve Bank of India. The moratorium will be lifted on March 18.

• Under the scheme, Prashant Kumar has been appointed as MD and CEO of Yes Bank. He is a former chief financial officer at State Bank of India.Sunil Mehta has been appointed as the non-executive chairman of Yes Bank. He is the former non-executive chairman of state-owned Punjab National Bank.Mahesh Krishnamurthy and Atul Bheda will be the non-executive directors.

• Under the reconstruction scheme, SBI, will hold up to 49 per cent in Yes Bank. SBI has approved an investment of Rs 7,250 crore (725 crore shares at Rs 10 each).Apart from this, 4 private banks will also chip in money in Yes Bank. These are- HDFC- Rs 1,000 Crore; ICICI Bank- Rs 1,000 Crore; Axis Bank- Rs 600 Crore; Kotak Mahindra Bank- Rs 500 Crore.

RBI reduces Limits on exposure to group of borrowers for UCB to 25%

• The Reserve Bank of India has reduced the prudential exposure limits for Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) for group of connected borrowers/parties from 40% to 25%.

• Primary (Urban) Co-operative Banks (UCBs) were permitted to have exposures up to 15 per cent and 40 per cent of their capital funds to a single borrower and a group of borrowers, respectively.

Days

World Consumer Rights Day

• World Consumer Rights Day is celebrated globally on March 15 every year. It is a day marked to raise global awareness about consumer rights and needs.

• Celebrating World Consumer Rights Day is a chance to demand that the rights of all consumers are respected and protected, and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

• Consumer rights broadly mean that each consumer has the right to have information about the quality, potency, quantity, purity, price and standard of goods or services.

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Important Current Affairs 14th March 2020

National

Cabinet approves to release additional instalment of Dearness Allowance and Dearness Relief

 The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved to release an additional instalment of Dearness Allowance (DA) to Central Government employees and Dearness Relief (DR) to pensioners w.e.f. 01 January 2020.

 The Modi Government has approved 4 percent increase in DA/DR over the existing rate of 17 percent of the Basic Pay/Pension, to compensate for price rise.

 The new rate will become 21 percent of Basic Pay/Pension.The increase is based on the recommendations of the 7th Central Pay Commission.

Cabinet approved construction of 780 Km of green highways in four states

• Union Cabinet approved a proposal for the construction of 780 kilometer of green highways on 13 March 2020.It was announced by the Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

• The project aims to rehabilitate and upgrade various National Highways in four states, namely Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan, and Uttar Pradesh.

• A total sum of Rs.7,660 crore has been allotted for the purpose.

Banking and Economy

UBS predicts India’s GDP for FY20 at 4.8% and FY21 at 5.1%

 Swiss brokerage firm UBS has reduced the GDP rate prediction for India for FY20 and FY21.

 For FY20, UBS predicts India’s GDP growth at 4.8% and for FY21, the GDP growth rate for India is predicted at 5.1%.

The Census India 2021 has been decided to be conducted in two phases.

• The Census India 2021 will be conducted in two phases, namely house listing and House Census and Population Enumeration.

• The first phase will begin from 1 April 2020. Census will continue until 30 September 2020.

• The second phase is Population Enumeration, which will be conducted from 9 February to 28 February 2021 throughout the country simultaneously.

• Indian census is the largest single source of a range of statistical data on different characteristics of the people of the country.The reliable and time-tested exercise has resulted in the comprehensive collection of data that is related to the people of India every 10 years.

SBI Gets approval to invest Rs 7,250 crore in Crisis Hit Yes Bank

 India’s largest lender State Bank of India (SBI) has received the approval to buy Rs 7,250 crore worth of shares in crisis-hit Yes Bank.

 SBI’s executive committee of central board (ECCB) held a meeting on March 11 and approved to purchase 725 crore shares in Yes Bank at a price of Rs 10 per share subject to all regulatory approvals

 Also, the bank’s shareholding in Yes Bank will remain within 49 percent of the paid up capital of the private sector lender.

Appointments and Resignations

Bill Gates resigns from Microsoft’s board

• Microsoft founder Bill Gates stepping down from Microsoft’s board of directors.

• He wants to dedicate more time to his philanthropic priorities including global health, development, education, and his increasing engagement in tackling climate change.

• He also stepped down from the board of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc, where he had served since 2004.

Ranking

India’s 1st Living Culinary Arts Museum enters Limca Book of Records

• Welcomgroup Graduate School of Hotel Administration (WGSHA) of Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) entered the Limca Book of Records (LBR) for establishing “India’s First Living Culinary Arts Museum” at WGSHA, Manipal, Karnataka.

• The museum was opened in the year April 2018, spread approximately over 25,000 square feet & the structure of the museum is shaped in the form of a giant pot.

Island of Niue declared world’s first ‘Dark Sky nation’

 The island of Niue has become the world’s first whole country recognised as a ‘Dark Sky Place.

 The International Dark-Sky Association’s (IDA) has approved the island’s application for the protection of its sky, land and sea.

Days

International Pi Day

• International Pi (π) day is observed on 14 March.

• The day was chosen as 3, 1, and 4, which are the first three significant digits of π.

• Pi is one of the most well-known mathematical constants. It is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. It is represented by the lower-case Greek letter π.

International Day of Mathematics

• Every year, March 14 is celebrated as the International Day of Mathematics (IDM).

• The theme for 2020 IDM is “Mathematics is Everywhere“.

• The day was initiated by the International Mathematical Union (IMU) to celebrate the beauty and importance of mathematics and its essential role in everyone’s life.

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Important Current Affairs 13th March 2020

National

Facebook launches ‘Pragati’ to boost women entrepreneurship in India

• Facebook India has launched its CSR initiative, Facebook Pragati to promote women entrepreneurship in India.

• The initiative will incubate and accelerate early-stage women-led non-profits that are working to drive women entrepreneurship and to spread awareness and adoption of technology among women in India.

Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 approved by Parliament

• Indian Parliament recently approved Mineral Laws (Amendment) Bill, 2020 with an aim to promote the Indian coal and mining sector along with the ease of doing business in this sector.

• With the increase in coal production, India’s dependence on imports will be reduced. Earlier, the Bill was passed by Rajya Sabha.

Parliament passes Vivad se Vishwas Bill 2020

• The Upper House of Indian Parliament, Rajya Sabha passed the Direct Tax Vivad Se Vishwas Bill, 2020 and sent it back to the Lok Sabha on March 13, 2020.

• The money bill seeks to resolve over 4 lakh direct tax cases pending in Indian courts. 

Government allows without referral treatment to CGHS beneficiaries over 75 years

• Union Health and Family Welfare Minister Harsh Vardhan has clarified that the CGHS beneficiaries aged 75 years and above can take the facility of treatment without a referral.

• He also said that only non-emergency situations will require approval for treatments and tests that are not listed.

Banking and Economy

SBI removes minimum balance charges from all savings bank accounts

• The State Bank of India has waived off the minimum balance charges on all savings bank accounts. SBI has waive charges for non-maintenance of Average Monthly Balance (AMB) for all 44.51 crore savings bank accounts.

• Earlier, SBI was levying a penalty of Rs 5 to Rs 15 along with taxes on non-maintenance of average monthly balance of Rs 3000, Rs 2000 and Rs 1000 in metro, semi urban and rural areas respectively

Acquisitions and Mergers

SpiceJet to set up warehousing & distribution facility at GAHSL

• An Indian low-cost airline, SpiceJet has signed a pact with GMR Hyderabad Aviation SEZ Limited (GHASL). According to the pact, SpiceJet will set up warehousing, distribution and trading facility in the aerospace and industrial park of GHASL.

• “Ready-to-Use” industrial infrastructure is offered by the park with the flexibility of choosing land within SEZ for business purposes.

Ranking

India Ranks World’s 2nd Biggest Arms Importer While Placed at 23rd in Exporters List: SIPRI Report

• The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) has released its annual “Trends in international arms transfers 2019” report to determine the International transfers of major arms during the five-year period 2015–19.

• As per the data, India was the second largest arms importer in the world during the period 2015-19. Russia was the largest supplier of arms to India.

• Saudi Arabia was the largest arms importer in the world during the same period.

India ranks second in Global Animal Protection Index 2020

• India gets the second rank in Global Animal Protection Index 2020. This Index was released by International animal welfare charity “World Animal Protection” released.

• The Animal Protection Index (API) aims to showcase where countries are doing well, and where they fall short on animal welfare policy and legislation.

• The index ranks countries from A (being the highest score) to G (being the weakest score) according to their policy and legislation. India has attained a C ranking in the index.

India ranks 46th in ‘Inclusive Internet Index 2020’

• India secured 46th rank in the Inclusive Internet Index 2020 released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). Pakistan got the 76th rank on the list.

• In this index, Sweden ranks first, New Zealand is second and America is third. The worst countries are Burundi (100), Liberia (99), Madagascar (98), Malawi (97) and Burkina Faso (96).

• India is at the top among South Asian countries followed by Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, and Pakistan. This list includes 100 countries of the world and ranks are scaled from 1 (best) to 100 (worst).

Days

National Crime Records Bureau celebrated its 35th Inception Day

• The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 35th Inception Day on 12th March 2020.

• On the occasion of inception day of NCRB, Union Minister of State for Home Shri Nityanand Rai launched Crime Multi Agency Centre (Cri-MAC) and National Cybercrime Training Centre (NCTC).

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Important Current Affairs 12th March 2020

Biennial Civil Aviation Business Exhibition ‘Wings India 2020’ Begins in Hyderabad:

• The four-day civil aviation business exhibition and air show titled ‘Wings India 2020’ kick-started on 12 March 2020 at Begumpet airport, Hyderabad. It will continue till March 15.

• However, the programme will be formally inaugurated on 13 March 2020 by the Minister for Civil Aviation Hardeep Singh Puri.

• The theme of the biennial event is ‘flying for all’.

• The event has been organized by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) along with Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports Authority of India (AAI).

Maharashtra Assembly approves caste validity certificate bill:

• The Maharashtra State Assembly recently approved a bill exempting gram panchayat members of the state from submitting caste validity certificates while filing the nominations.

• The contesting candidates will now be allowed to submit the caste validity certificate within one year of winning the elections. The caste validity certificate is proof of an individual’s caste.

Infosys, Qualcomm tie-up to provide Smart City Solutions in India:

Infosys and Qualcomm have come together to provide smart city solutions in India. In this regard, both the companies signed an agreement wherein facilities like Smart Venues, Smart Stadiums and Smart Event Management will be offered to Indian Smart Cities.

Leh to host International Yoga Day 2020; PM Modi to lead main event:

• Ladakh’s capital Leh will host the main national event of the International Yoga Day 2020. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be attending the event on June 21, 2020.

• Over 15000 people are expected to attend the event and perform Yoga in such a high altitude location.

Govt sets up development council for pulp, paper and allied industries:

• Central Government has formed a 25-member development council for pulp, paper and allied industries with an objective to increase the growth of this sector.

• A S Mehta is the chairman of the council. He is the President of J K Paper Ltd.

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US Supreme Court allows controversial 'Remain in Mexico' asylum policy to stay:

• The Supreme Court of the United States directed on March 11, 2020 that the controversial "Remain in Mexico" asylum policy can continue to stay in effect till a proper legal resolution is reached. 

• The order is a victory for the Trump administration, which has been pushing for the controversial policy to continue. The administration had warned that there would be a rush to the border if the policy was blocked by the courts.

• The “Remain in Mexico” asylum policy mandates the non-Mexican asylum seekers to return to Mexico as they await hearings in the United States.

SUMMIT AND MOU

Centre, Himachal Pradesh, World Bank sign $80 million loan agreement to boost agricultural productivity:

• The union government, state government of Himachal Pradesh and the World Bank signed an $80 million loan agreement on March 11, 2020 to boost agricultural productivity and improve water management practices in select gram panchayats.

• The integrated project will be implemented in 428-gram panchayats in 10 districts of Himachal Pradesh. The project is expected to benefit over 400,000 small farmers and pastoral communities.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Tiger Woods to be inducted in World Golf Hall of Fame:

• Tiger Woods will be inducted in the World Golf Hall of Fame. According to the announcement made by the PGA tour, he will be part of Class 2021.

• Only those players get this honor who have secured at least 15 wins on approved PGA tours. However, there is an age restriction for induction. Earlier, it was 50 but recently it has been reduced to 45 years.

 ACQUISITIONS AND MERGERS

Japanese company Hakuhodo acquires AdGlobal360:

• Indian MarTech Company, AdGlobal360 has been acquired by Japanese company Hakuhodo Inc for an undisclosed sum. Adglobal360 is India’s fastest growing MarTech Company headquartered in Gurugram, Haryana. The MarTech Company facilitates its customers with end to end digital solutions.

• Hakuhodo Inc is Japan’s second largest advertising company which was founded in 1895. It is an integrated advertising and communication agency which has international presence in 17 countries and regions.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Kidney Day 2020: 12 March 2020:

• The World Kidney Day (WKD) is observed annually on the Second Thursday in March.

• In 2020, the World Kidney Day is being celebrated on 12 March 2020.

• The theme of WKD 2020 is ‘Kidney health for everyone everywhere – from prevention to detection and equitable access to care’.

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Important Current Affairs 11th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

“COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund launched:

• A new fund named as “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” has been launched by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome and Mastercard. The $125 Million fund has been launched to accelerate technologies to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic.

• “COVID-19 Therapeutics Accelerator” fund has been designed to identify, assess, develop and scale treatments to the COVID-19 disease outbreak.

 Govt to launch Mahua-based alcoholic drink:

•Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India (TRIFED) and National Research Development Corporation (NRDC) recently signed a memorandum for manufacturing of Mahua Nutribeverage.

• Mahua Nutribeverage will have high nutritional values with low alcohol (about 5 percent). It will be developed by Delhi-IIT and TRIFED. According to the reports, it will be available within next few months in various flavours.

• TRIFED and NRDC will manufacture mahua-based alcoholic beverage ‘Mahua Nutribeverage’ in the market within next months. According to the media reports, this beverage will be available in six fruit-based flavours. It will be available at price of Rs. 700 for a 750 ml. It is for the first time when Tribal Affairs Ministry is going to manufacture alcoholic beverages.

Odisha Government to Launch Separate dept for SHGs “Mission Shakti” dedicated to women:

• The government of Odisha under Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced that the state will launch an exclusive department for Self Help Group (SHGs) called “Mission Shakti” which will be dedicated to all women of the state.

• This will make Odisha, first state of the country to have a separate department dedicated to SHGs.

New Delhi to host an exhibition titled “Jallianwala Bagh”:

An exhibition titled “Jallianwala Bagh” is scheduled to be held in New Delhi. “Jallianwala Bagh” exhibition will be inaugurated by Culture Minister Prahlad Singh Patel on the occasion of 130th Foundation Day of National Archives of India (NAI).

National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs held in New Delhi:

• Union Minister for Women and Child Development Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the “National Conference on Women in Police and CAPFs (Central Armed Police Forces)” in New Delhi.

• The Conference was organized by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR & D). Smriti Irani also released a hand-out- ‘BPR & D Mirror- Gender Bender’ and also the book titled “To Greater Heights”.

GoI constitutes committee to decide modalities of Kisan Rail:

• The Union Government of India has constituted a committee to decide modalities of Kisan Rail. This committee has been formed under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare along with representatives of the Indian Railways.

• “Kisan Rail” is planned to be set up through the public-private-partnership (PPP) mode and will facilitate a cold supply chain to transport the perishable goods.

• Initiative of “Kisan Rail” was proposed by Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman during her budget speech of 2020-21 to set up a seamless National Cold Supply Chain for perishables like fish, milk and meat.

AWARDS AND RECONGNITION

Nupur Kulshrestha becomes 1st woman DIG of Indian Coast Guard:

• Nupur Kulshrestha becomes the first woman to be promoted as Deputy Inspector General (DIG) of Indian Coast Guard. She joined Indian Coast Guard in 1999.

• The Indian Coast Guard is a multi-mission organization, conducting round-the-year real-life operations at sea.

• The Indian Coast Guard was formally established on 18 August 1978 by the Coast Guard Act, 1978 of the Parliament of India as an independent Armed force of India.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Bi-luminescent security ink to curb fake printing of currency notes:

• A team of Indian scientists recently developed a Bi-luminescent security ink to help curb the printing of fake currency notes, passports and even packing of fake medicines.

• The ink has been developed by scientists of National Physical Laboratory (NPL), CSIR and the Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research.

RANKING

Mukesh Ambani losses as Asia's richest person to Jack Ma:

• RIL Chairman Mukesh Ambani lost to Ali Baba’s founder Jack Ma as the richest person of Asia.

• Jack Ma is Asia’s richest man with a total worth of USD 44.5 billion; while Ambani comes to the second position with a net worth of USD 41.8 billion.

BOOKS AND AUTHORS

Naveen Patnaik released book “The Adventures of the Daredevil Democrat”:

• The chief minister of Odisha Naveen Patnaik released a comic book titled “The Adventures of the Daredevil Democrat’.

• This book is released on the occasion of the 104th birth anniversary of former Odisha CM Late Biju Patnaik in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. The book deals about the life and works of legendary leader and Naveen Patnaik’s father Biju Patnaik.

• The book aims to inspire and encourage young minds to serve the motherland. The comic book, prepared by Kalinga Foundation Trust

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Important Current Affairs 10th March 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Ashraf Ghani Takes Oath as President of Afghanistan for Second Term:

• Afghanistan’s incumbent President Ashraf Ghani took oath of the post for a second term on 9 March 2020.

• He was elected for the first term on 21 September 2014.

• Capital of Afghanistan- Kabul, Currency- Afghan afghani

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

V Praveen Rao wins MS Swaminathan Award:

• Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University Vice-Chancellor V Praveen Rao has won the 7th Dr MS Swaminathan Award for the period 2017-2019.

• The Selection Committee has decided to select Praveen Rao for the award recognising his contributions in the fields of agricultural research, teaching, extension and administration.

• The award will be conferred on him in June 2020. Praveen Rao handled 13 research & 6 consultancy projects on micro-irrigation in India, Israel and South Africa.

SCIENCE AMD TECHNOLOGY

NASA named Mars 2020 rover as “Perseverance”:

• NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) announced the name of the 5th Mars (red planet) rover as Perseverance. Previously the rover was known by its codename as Mars 2020.

• The name was suggested by Alexander Mather, 7th standard student and was announced by Nasa’s director of science, Thomas Zurbuchen at an event in Lake Braddock Secondary School in Burke, Virginia.

RANKING

Gujarat ranks 1st in domestic solar rooftop installations:

• Gujarat ranks first in the list for domestic solar rooftop installations with 64% of domestic solar installations. Nearly 50,915 systems being fixed on domestic rooftops in the State as on March 2, 2020.

• The State government of Gujarat has adopted a solar rooftop scheme “Surya Gujarat” to cover about eight lakh domestic electricity consumers under the scheme by 2022.

• Maharashtra ranks second in the list with 5,513 installations as on the same date. About 79,950 systems have been installed throughout the country has a capacity of 322 MW.

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Important Current Affairs 9th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Sanitary pad disposal bags to be made mandatory from Jan 2021:

• The Government has made it mandatory for the sanitary napkin makers to supply biodegradable bags with the pads from January 2021.

• This is due to the possible risk of infection due to the handling of the used sanitary napkins thrown in the garbage.

Government proposes to create 75 lakh Self Help Groups by 2022:

• The Union Government has proposed to create a total of 75 lakh Self Help Groups by 2022 to enable more women to get a livelihood.

• This was announced by the Rural Development Minister, Narendra Singh Tomar while addressing a programme on Women's Empowerment to mark International Women's Day in New Delhi on March 8, 2020.

• The Minister said that the women’s Self Help Groups are the backbone of poverty alleviation programmes. There are over 60 lakh SHGs across the country, mobilizing more than 6 crore 73 lakh women.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITIONS

India Gets Observer Status in Indian Ocean Commission:

• India has been admitted to the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) as an observer state on 6th March, 2020.

• This makes India, the fifth nation to receive Observer status in IOC.

• The other four observers are China, Malta, European Union and International Organisation of La Francophonie (OIF).

• The COI is composed of five African Indian Ocean nations namely-   Comoros, Madagascar, Mauritius, Réunion (an overseas region of France), and Seychelles.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Chandrayaan-3 to be launched in the first half of 2021: Jitendra Singh:

• Chandrayaan-3’s tentative launch schedule is expected to be in the first half of 2021. This was revealed by Union Minister Jitendra Singh in a written response to a question in Lok Sabha. This means that there could be a slight delay in the launch of the third moon mission.

• The Minister said that the Chandrayaan–III mission has been configured based on the lessons learnt from Chadrayaan – II. The revised configuration is expected to take care of the robustness in design and capacity enhancement for mission flexibility.

• Chandrayaan-II lander –Vikram had hard-landed on the lunar surface in September 2019. The Indian Space Research Organisation had then taken a resolve to launch the project again.

OBITUARY

Former Union Minister Hans Raj Bhardwaj Passes Away:

• Former Union Law Minister and Congress veteran Hans Raj Bhardwaj died after a cardiac arrest. Hans Raj Bhardwaj was 83. Hans Raj Bhardwaj was born in Garhi Sampla village in Rohtak district of Haryana.

• He was a Rajya Sabha member for five terms from April 1982 to June 2009.

APPOINTMENT AND RESIGNATION

Daren Tang of Singapore elected as Director General of WIPO:

• The Coordination Committee of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) has nominated Mr. Daren Tang from Singapore for the post of Director General.

• The WIPO General Assembly will meet in an extraordinary session on May 7-8, 2020, to confirm the Coordination Committee’s nomination.

• The term of the current Director General, Mr. Francis Gurry will end on September 30, 2020.

• WIPO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.

RANKING

BRAC tops 500 Global NGOs List for 5th Straight Year:

• The Bangladesh based international development organization, BRAC, has topped the list of top 500 Global Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) for the 5th consecutive year.

• The list of the top 500 global NGOs of year 2020 was released by Geneva-based organization NGO Adviser.

• The rankings of the top 500 global NGOs is released every year by NGO Adviser based on various aspects such as the impact, innovation, governance and sustainability of the NGO.

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Important Current Affairs 8th March 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

2nd anniversary of Poshan Abhiyaan ‘Poshan Pakhwada’ being celebrated:

• The second anniversary of the Poshan Abhiyaan  Poshan Pakhwada is being celebrated on 8th

• The focus area of the two-week-long Poshan Pakhwada 2020 will be – Men for Nutrition – increasing male engagement in Poshan Abhiyaan – to improve Nutritional Indicators.

Paytm & Hyderabad Metro tie up for QR-based tickets:

• Hyderabad Metro Rail Ltd in partnership with Paytm has launched a QR-code-based metro ticketing system at Rasoolpura metro station Hyderabad, Telangana.

• The new service will enable commuters to travel seamlessly and avoid queues to buy tokens at the metro stations. They can now simply purchase a QR ticket on their Paytm app, which can be displayed at the Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) gates to proceed for the journey.

Third all-Women Post Office opens in New Delhi:

• Department of Posts, Delhi Circle has opened the third all-Women Post Office in the national capital.

• The post office was inaugurated under New Delhi South West Division to commemorate the International Women’s Day celebrations.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Times of India Sports Awards 2019 announced:

• The 4th edition of TOISA (Times of India Sports Awards) awards honoured the best Indian in 2019 sports in New Delhi, India. The event was powered by BHIM-UPI (Bharat Interface for Money- Unified Payments Interface).

• Rohit Sharma was named as the Cricketer of the year and PV Sindhu was named as the Sportsperson of the year as she won gold at the World Championships in Basel, Switzerland.

SPORTS

Australia wins Women’s T20 World Cup title:

• Defending champions Australia wins Women’s T20 World Cup 2020. Australia bowled India out for 99 runs to clinch the final by 85 runs for a record-extending fifth Women’s T20 World Cup title at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG), Australia.

• Beth Mooney has been adjudged Player of the Tournament & Alyssa Healy has been adjudged the Player of the Match.

• The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup 2020 was the seventh edition of the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup tournament.

RANKING

Tamil Nadu tops in Poshan Abhiyan’s participants list:

• The Central Government is implementing the flagship programme Poshan Abhiyan for improving the nutritional status of Indian citizens. This programme helps children, adolescents, pregnant women, and lactating mothers by leveraging technology.

• The importance of being given to the programme is evident from the fact that as many as 14 Central Departments and all the State Governments are being involved in the programme. Tamil Nadu tops the list of the states in terms of the number of participants in the programme. The Integrated Child Development Scheme has been in force for long in the southern state that has got rejuvenated with the Centre’s Poshan Abhiyaan mission.

• The programme is revitalizing India by reaching out to the children and mothers across the nation.

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Women’s Day:

• This day is observed globally every year on 8 March to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.

• It is a focal point in the movement for women’s rights.

• The theme for IWD 2020 is each for Equal, recognising all of the actions we can take as individuals to challenge stereotypes, fight prejudice and celebrate women’s the year 2020 is an important one for gender equality.

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