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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2019

AWARDS AND HONORS:

President Kovind presents Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.

• President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said each region in the country has a distinct cultural identity but this does not divide but unites and harmonizes all of India.

• President made the statement after presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony here on Monday. He remarked that the award is a celebration of Indian tradition of culture.

• Remembering Rabindranath Tagore, President Kovind said, "Gurudev was a remarkable genius, who became the first Indian Nobel laureate. Gurudev Tagore is remembered every day as a poet who gave India its national anthem. He belongs to the entire world as he was a nationalist as well as an internationalist."

Sudanese refugee wins major human rights award.

• Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

• It is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”. Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s podcast “The Messenger”, created from more than 4,000 WhatsApp messages Muhamat sent from the detention center, had won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Sunil Chhetri receives 'Football Ratna' award.

•Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honor a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

• Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honored by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”

•“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football, and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

NATIONAL:

Infosys launches InfyTQ app for engineering students.

• Infosys has announced the launch of a digital platform offering learning and engagement experiences for engineering students.

•“InfyTQ is a free platform open to all engineering students in their third and fourth year. The platform encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready,” said a statement from Infosys.

• InfyTQ will be available on both mobile and desktop and is equipped with a plethora of content, courses and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification.

During his Jharkhand visit, PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate several development projects.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamau in Jharkhand on Sunday and inaugurate a host of development schemes during his visit to the state, an official statement said.

• The prime minister will lay the foundation stone online for four 500-bedded hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamau and Jamshedpur.

• This apart, he will lay foundation stone for Hazaribagh urban line water supply scheme and rural drinking water supply - four schemes for Hazaribagh and two for Ramgarh.

Banned Punjabi Poem On Jallianwala Massacre To Be Published In English After 99 Years.

• A poem on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920, has now been translated into English.

• Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time.

• The name of the poem is ‘Khooni Vaisakhi'

SPORTS:

Vidarbha won Irani Cup.

• Vidarbha defended its Irani Cup title on 16 Feb 2019 at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur.

• The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

National Championship: Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu to clinch second successive title.

• Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the second year running as she claimed the senior national title in women's singles once again with a 21-18, 21-15 win in Guwahati on Saturday.

• Saina had defeated Sindhu in the final in the previous edition of the nationals in November 2017 and the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist was at it again.

Qatar Open: Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win her biggest tour title.

• Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open.

• Mertens, 23, recovered from a set and a break down - losing 18 points in a row at one stage in the second set - to beat the world number three 3-6 6-4 6-3.

• World number 21 Mertens also overcame a lengthy medical time-out for a back issue in the first set.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS:

JP Morgan: first to create crypto currency.

• US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase became the first US bank to offer its own crypto currency.

• The crypto currency, called 'JPM Coin' will always have a value equivalent to one US dollar.

• It will be initially used internally between JPMorgan Chase's wholesale business clients.

RBI lifts cap on FPI investments.

• The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity

• It was stipulated in April 2018 that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.

•This has been done with a view to encourage more foreign investments.

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Important Current Affairs 1st February 2019

National News

Highlights of 2019 – 20 Interim Budget 
•    6,000 rupees yearly direct support to farmers through PM-KISAN Programme.
•    3,000 rupees pension for unorganised sector workers earning upto 15,000 rupees through a mega Pension Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Shram- Yogi Maandhan.
•    Direct tax system simplified; Returns to be processed in 24 hours with  immediate refunds.
•    Allocations to Health care, MGNREGA, SC/ST welfare programmes, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Development of infrastructure in North-East hiked substantially.
•    A separate Department of Fisheries.
•    Allocations to Defence budget crosses three lakh crore rupees for the first time.
•    10 point vision for 2030 to realize India’s social economic potential; 10 trillion dollars economy in 13 years.
•    An All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS for Haryana.
•    Single window clearance for shooting films to be made available to Indian film makers.
•    The fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 percent of GDP are the highlight of the Interim Budget for 2019-20.
Budget
1.    What is an interim budget?
An interim budget is the budget of a regime or administration that is going through a period of transition.
2.    When is an interim budget presented?
The government presents an interim budget if it does not have time to present a full Budget or if the general elections may be in the near future.
3.    Why do we need an interim budget?
The government needs Interim Budget to work during the time it takes for a new government to make its own fiscal plan. The budget for the year permitted by Parliament gives the government spending rights only till 31st March i.e. end of the financial year.

Government Unveils vision for the Next Decade 
The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past.
The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-  
•    To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
•    Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
•    To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
•    Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
•    Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
•    Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India’s coastline and ocean waters will power development
•    Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
•    Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
•    A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
•    Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

PETROTECH-2019 
PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India. India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India.
Aim : The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.
About Conference: The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise, and experiences. Being held for the last over two decades with growing participation.


8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava 
An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
Guru Padmasambhava
•    Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and travelled all across Himalayan region in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.
•    Guru Padmasambhava is highly revered in Bhutan. There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
•    Guru Padmasambhava was also known as Guru Rinpoche is widely venerated as a “second Buddha” by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and elsewhere.


Human Space Flight Centre Inaugurated 
•    The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which would be the core of ISRO’s future manned missions was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre will implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan with the support of existing ISRO Centres.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre would be responsible for end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

New India by 2022
Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey takes Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC (Appointment)
•    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission today. The oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.
•    An officer of the 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Shri Choubey during his career spanning over more than 35 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
•    He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Development Commissioner 
(Handloom) in the Ministry of Textiles, Director General in the Directorate General of
Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power and prior to his joining the Commission, he was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, In the State also, he held various important positions in the Revenue, Rural Development, Transport, Finance, Industries, Telecommunications and Personnel & General Administration Department.

International news

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
Details of Sanctions
On 5 December 2013 the United Nations Security Council, concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic. This was followed on 28 January 2014 by a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with individuals who act to undermine the peace stability and security of CAR or who violate the arms embargo.
About Central African Republic (CAR)
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth 
•    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.
•    Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.
•    Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2019

National News

Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrate 47th Statehood Day 
The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya celebrated their 47th Statehood Day on 21st January. The states of Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya became full-fledged states on January 21, 1972.
State Reorganisation of North-East 
At the time of Independence, India’s North-East region composed of three kinds of entities mentioned below:
Assam Province of British India. 
Princely states of Manipur and Tripura.
North East Frontier Province (NEFA).


PM pays tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti 
The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has paid tributes to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti.
“I bow to Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose on his Jayanti. He was a stalwart who committed himself towards ensuring India is free and leads a life of dignity. We are committed to fulfilling his ideals and creating a strong India”, the Prime Minister said.


PM to inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort 
The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the Subhash Chandra Bose museum at Red Fort, New Delhi on 23 January 2019.  
The Museum on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose and Indian National Army provides a detailed account of Subhash Chandra Bose and the history of Indian National Army. It also showcases various artefacts related to Subhash Chandra Bose and INA. The artefacts include wooden chair and sword used by Netaji, medals, badges, uniforms and other artefacts related to INA.


The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) achieved best ever performance in the year 2018 
The Central Organisation for Modernisation of Workshops (COFMOW) is Indian Railways’ centre of excellence for procurement of modern and advanced machine tools, building ‘State of the Art’ rolling stock maintenance and manufacturing facilities for modernizing Indian Railway workshops.
Timely procurement of modern M&P and completion of works has been given a big boost during the last quarter which will significantly improve the outcome by use of technology. This will support Indian Railways drive for modernization of its rolling stock manufacturing and maintenance infrastructure, and soon, to come in terms of the National Policy for Advance Manufacturing (NPAM) and Industry 4.0.
 

Economy

IMF growth Prospects for India 
The World Economic Outlook of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) has given the following prospects about the growth trends for India:
•    IMF has retained its growth projection for the country at 7.5 per cent for 2019-20 and said it is likely to accelerate to 7.7 per cent in 2020-21. This brings cheers for India as the world growth rates have been revised downwards.
•    India will remain the fastest-growing economy in the world, at least for the next two years.
•    India’s growth rate is poised to pick up in 2019, benefiting from low oil prices and a slower pace of monetary tightening than previously expected as inflation pressures ease.
•    The projection by IMF is higher than the Central Statistics Office’s (CSO) estimate of 7.2 per cent and lower than the RBI’s estimate of 7.4 per cent. IMF’s estimates are in line with the World Bank’s estimate of 7.3 per cent.
 

Science

Triple drug therapy 
Nagpur recently launched a pilot project to administer triple drug therapy with the long term aim of eradicating lymphatic filariasis.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is recommending three drug treatment to accelerate the global elimination of lymphatic filariasis.
The treatment, known as IDA, involves a combination of ivermectin, diethylcarbamazine citrate and albendazole. It is being recommended annually in settings where its use is expected to have the greatest impact.
Lymphatic filariasis - Caused by infection with parasitic worms living in the lymphatic system.
 

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Important Current Affairs 12th January 2019

Science

Earth’s north magnetic pole moving at alarming rate 
Rapid shifts in the Earth’s north magnetic pole are forcing researchers to make an unprecedented early update to a model that helps navigation by ships, planes and submarines in the Arctic.
Beggan said the moving pole affected navigation, mainly in the Arctic Ocean north of Canada. NATO and the U.S. and British militaries are among those using the magnetic model, as well as civilian navigation.
Beggan said the recent shifts in the north magnetic pole would be unnoticed by most people outside the Arctic, for instance using smartphones in New York, Beijing or London.
 

International news

Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza 
The Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian IT companies and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform. This is a partnership by National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian.
Indian IT enterprises are world renowned for their expertise in business transformation and operational optimization by using IT tools in complex business environments.
SIDCOP, which is a boundary-less marketplace offers this opportunity for Chinese enterprises in order to assist them in operational optimization and adopting industry best practices in business solutions.
 

National news

25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 
Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai. The two-day summit will provide a platform for discussions between Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India. It will also offer new partnerships and investment opportunities in sectors like Artificial Intelligence, big data, agri and food processing, defence and aeronautics, renewable energy and tourism.
The theme of the sessions will vary from reforms and deregulation to infrastructure development as a necessity for growth. With an aim to showcase a New India, the summit is being organised by Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Maharashtra Government and Confederation of Indian Industry.


Armed Forces Veterans Day 

The Armed Force are celebrating the Veterans Day on 14 Jan to honour the veterans of the Army, Navy and Air Force.  To mark the occasion, veteran rallies will be held country wide at Armed Forces stations.  The main celebration in Delhi will take place at the Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt.  Raksha Mantri and Raksha Rajya Mantri will grace the occasion amongst many other eminent officials associated with the Veterans affairs.

Indus Food 2019 
INDUS FOOD-II with the theme of ‘World Food Supermarket’ will be held on 14th and 15th January, 2019, at India Expo Mart, Greater Noida. The event is aimed at promoting India as a strong and reliable exporter of food and beverage products to the world. INDUS FOOD 2019 will promote value addition to India’s agriculture exports and integrate Indian farmers and agricultural products with global value chains.
With more than 700 buyers from 70 countries visiting INDUS FOOD-II and more than 500 food suppliers, the event will lead to greater interaction of Indian exporters with global customers leading to enhanced product development and better price realization in international markets. 

 
Army Tech Seminar (ARTECH 2019) 
In its quest for modernization through optimum use of emerging technologies, Indian Army organised the Army Technology Seminar-2019  (ARTECH 2019) on the theme “Disruptive Impact of Emerging Technologies on Land Warfare” at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt on 11 Jan 2019.  The seminar was aimed to bring together stakeholders in the military, academia and industry to provide perspective on the available and emerging technologies which could have an impact on warfighting. An exhibition showcasing military innovations developed by field Army, DRDO, Academia and industry was also organised during the seminar.


Sanskriti Kumbh, a 29 days Cultural extravaganza begins at Kumbh Mela Area, Prayagraj 
The biggest cultural festival named Sanskriti Kumbh is celebrating the conglomeration of Spiritual Consciousness and Cultural Heritage of India in the main premises of Kumbh Mela area in Prayagraj, Uttar Pradesh. The Ministry of Culture, Govt. of India is organizing Sanskriti Kumbh with intent to showcase the rich Cultural Heritage of India in all its rich and varied dimensions viz. Performing Arts- Folk, Tribal and Classical art forms, Handicrafts, Cuisines, Exhibitions etc. all in one place.
Kumbh Mela is one of the oldest and largest congregation in the world. Kumbh Mela is attended by millions of people irrespective of all caste, creed, sex and region. The significance of Kumbh Mela has been enhanced at the Global level as the UNESCO has inscribed Kumbh Mela on the list of Intangible Cultural heritage for humanity in 2017. This time Kumbh is being organized in the city of Prayagraj which is located at the confluence of the Ganges, the Yamuna and Mystic river of Saraswati in Uttar Pradesh.
 

Economy news

Industrial production falls to 0.5% in November 

Industrial production in November grew at just 0.5 per cent compared to 8.1 percent in October, as per data released by the Central Statistics Office (CSO) Friday. Factory output had grown by 8.5 per cent in November 2017. The last low was in June 2017, when IIP growth contracted by 0.3 per cent. The October IIP was also revised to 8.4 per cent from 8.1 per cent earlier by the CSO.

The Index of Industrial Production (IIP) is an index which details out the growth of various sectors in an economy such as mineral mining, electricity and manufacturing. The all India IIP is a composite indicator that measures the short-term changes in the volume of production of a basket of industrial products during a given period with respect to that in a chosen base period.

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Important Current Affairs 9th January 2019

National News

Customers cannot be charged for availing tokenisation service: RBI 
•    The Reserve of India (RBI) has allowed all card payment networks to offer tokenisation service. However, the central bank has made it clear that no charges should be recovered from the customer for availing this service.
•    Tokenisation involves a process in which a unique token masks sensitive card details. The token is then used to perform card transactions in contact-less mode at Point Of Sale (POS) terminals, Quick Response (QR) code payments, etc.
•    The RBI has allowed card payment networks to offer card tokenisation services to any token requestor, that is, a third party app provider. A card holder can avail these services by registering the card on the token requestor’s app and after giving ‘explicit consent’.
 

Sports

Sharath-Manika duo shocks Manav-Archana, takes title 
•    Sharath Kamal, featuring in the mixed doubles event after 11 years, partnered Manika Batra to outclass the top-seeded pair of Manav Thakkar and Archana Kamath in an all-Petroleum Sports Promotion Board (PSPB) final and clinch the first individual title of the 11Sports 80th inter-State and National table tennis championship.
•    The tournament was held at J.N. Indoor Stadium of Cuttack


Egypt to host 2019 Africa Cup of Nations
•    Egypt will host the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations between 15th June and 13th July. Confederation of African Football (CAF) President Ahmad Ahmad made the announcement in Senegalese capital Dakar yesterday.
•    The CAF executive committee preferred Egypt to South Africa as replacement for original hosts Cameroon, who were dropped due to delays in preparations and concerns over security.
•    Egypt will stage the biennial showpiece of African football for the fifth time
 

Economy and Banking

Nandan Nilekani to head five-member RBI panel on digital payments 
•    The Reserve Bank of India has appointed a five-member panel headed by Nandan Nilekani to suggest ways to improve digital payments. 
•    The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.
•    Former Deputy Governor of RBI H.R. Khan, former Vijaya Bank MD and CEO Kishore Sansi, former Secretary of Information and Technology Aruna Sharma and Sanjay Jain, Chief Innovation Officer, Center for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship (CIIE), IIM Ahmedabad, are the other members of the panel.
•    The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments.


Raisina Dialogue begins in New Delhi
•    Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg has pitched for promoting Ocean economy and said that resources in the ocean should be used properly.
•    Delivering her inaugural address at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday evening in presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Ms. Solberg said, rapid climate changes in the Arctic area will have a far-reaching global impact and the world has a responsibility to protect the ocean.
•    Calling for promoting blue economy, Ms. Solberg said, ocean-based industries help provide jobs. She also said there is a need to improve the health of the oceans.
 

International Relations

EAM Sushma meets Australian, Spanish counterparts 
•    External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met her Australian and Spanish counterparts in New Delhi.
•    Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, who is on her maiden visit to India, will give the Ministerial Address on ‘The Arrival of Global Politics' at the Raisina Dialogue.
•    Mrs Swaraj also met Spanish Foreign Minister Josep Borrell Fontelles. The two leaders had a good discussion on various aspects of bilateral relations, including trade and investment, security and renewable energy.


India, Norway agree to combat international terrorism
•    India and Norway have agreed to closely collaborate on ocean economy and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals.
•    The two countries also decided to step up bilateral trade. Prime Minister Narendra Modi held delegation-level talks with his Norwegian counterpart Erna Solberg in New Delhi today.
•    They discussed ways to give new energy and direction to bilateral ties. The two countries also signed a MoU for holding an India-Norway Ocean Dialogue.
 

International News

Gautemala to withdraw from UN-backed anti-corruption commission 
•    Guatemala has said it is withdrawing from a UN-backed anti-corruption commission. It has given the UN body's staff 24 hours to leave the country. 
•    President Jimmy Morales accused the International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala, commonly known as CICIG, of polarising the country and putting its security at risk.
•    The CICIG was formed in 2006 upon the request of the Guatemalan government to combat high rates of impunity for crimes.
 

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Important Current Affairs 7th January 2019

Sports

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

Awards

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

National news

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

Economy and banking

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

International news

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

International relations

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


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


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

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Important Current Affairs 28th December 2018

National News

Lok Sabha passes Triple Talaq 
•    The Lok Sabha on Thursday passed The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, 2018, after a heated debate.
•    The Bill to make the practice of triple talaq among Muslims a penal offence was introduced in the Lok Sabha on December 17 to replace an ordinance issued in September.
•    Under the proposed law, giving instant triple talaq will be illegal and void, and will attract a jail term of three years for the husband. The fresh bill is proposed to supersede an earlier bill passed in the Lok Sabha and pending in the Rajya Sabha


Centre extends deadline to update NRC
•    The Centre has given an extension of six months to complete the ongoing exercise for updating the National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam by June 30.
•    In a notification, the Registrar General of India Sailesh said the decision was taken as the exercise to enumerate citizens in the NRC, a list of Assam’s residents, could not be completed within the specified date of December 31, 2018.
•    On December 6, 2013, the government issued the first notification setting a deadline of three years for completion of the entire NRC process. Since then, five extensions have been given by the government. 
•    The draft NRC was published on July 30 and included the names of 2.9 crore people of the total 3.29 crore applicants.


Nitin Gadkari lays foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna rejuvenation
•    Union Minister Nitin Gadkari laid the foundation stone of 11 projects for Yamuna Rejuvenation under Namami Gange Programme in New Delhi.
•    Most of the projects are for the sewerage infrastructure and are at various stages of implementation.
•    These projects under Yamuna Action Plan III are located in three drainage zones namely Kondli, Rithala and Okhla in Delhi.


Niti Aayog releases second Delta Ranking of Aspirational districts
•    Niti Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant today released the Second Delta Ranking of the Aspirational Districts Programme. The ranking details the incremental progress achieved by the districts during June to October this year across six key development sectors.
•    Virudhunagar district in Tamil Nadu has shown the most improvement overall, followed by Nuapada district in Odisha, Siddarthnagar in Uttar Pradesh, Bihar's Aurangabad and Koraput in Odisha. These districts have championed the development narrative in fundamental parameters of social progress.
•    Nagaland's Kiphire district, Jharkhand's Giridih, Chatra in Jharkhand, Hailakandi in Assam, and Pakur in Jharkhand have shown least improvement.
•    The districts have been ranked in a transparent basis on parameters across various performance indicators like Health and Nutrition, Education, Skill Development and Basic Infrastructure among others.
•    The rankings are based on the data that is publicly available through the Champions of Change Dashboard, which includes data entered on a real-time basis at the district level. 
•    The Aspirational District Programme was launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in January this year with the aim to rapidly transform the districts that have shown relatively lesser progress in key social areas.

Economy and Banking

Bimal Jalan to head six-member panel on RBI’s economic capital framework
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), in consultation with the government, has set up a six-member committee to review the economic capital framework of the central bank.
•    Former RBI Governor Bimal Jalan will be the committee’s chairman and former Deputy Governor Rakesh Mohan deputy chairman.
•    The other members are Economic Affairs Secretary Subash Chandra Garg, RBI Deputy Governor N.S. Vishwanathan and two board members of the RBI — Bharat Doshi and Sudhir Mankad.
•    Dr. Jalan was the Governor of the RBI between November 1997 and September 2003.
•    The committee would submit its report within 90 days from the date of its first meeting, the RBI said in a statement on Wednesday.
•    The terms of reference of the committee would be to review status, need and justification of various provisions, reserves and buffers presently provided for by the RBI, keeping in mind ‘public policy mandate of the RBI, including financial stability considerations.’
•    The committee will also review best practices followed by the central banks globally in making assessment and provisions for risks, to which central bank balance sheets are subjected.

RBI launches survey to capture retail payment habits in 6 cities 
•    The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will capture payment habits of individuals in six cities, including four metropolitan towns. For the purpose, the central bank has launched a 'Survey on Retail Payment Habits of Individuals (SRPHi)'.
•    the survey will cover a sample of 6,000 individuals from various socio-economic backgrounds across six cities including Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Chennai, Bengaluru and Guwahati. 
•    The survey seeks qualitative responses from individuals on their payment habits. The findings may provide some idea about awareness and usage habits of digital payment products.
•    The central bank further said that Sigma Research & Consulting Pvt Ltd has been engaged to conduct the fieldwork of the survey on behalf of the RBI.

International News

UAE resumes Damascus embassy in Syria after 6 years of suspension 
•    United Arab Emirates has resumed its diplomatic service at Damascus in Syria after six years of suspension signaling a thaw in the relations between the two countries, as also with the Arab world.
•    The Charge d'Affaires of the UAE Embassy began discharging his duty yesterday.
•    This move will also prevent the dangers of regional interference in Syrian affairs.
•    UAE had closed its Embassy in the early years of the Syrian conflict.

Sports


Former Australia captain Ponting inducted into ICC Hall of Fame
•    Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting was formally inducted into the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame
•    To mark the occasion, Ponting received his commemorative cap from compatriot ICC Cricket Hall of Famer, Glenn McGrath, during the tea break on the opening day of the third Test against India at the MCG.
•    Ponting was named in the ICC Cricket Hall of Fame along with former India captain Rahul Dravid and England woman wicketkeeper-batter Claire Taylor during the ICC Annual Conference in Dublin in July.

Persons


Colin O’Brady - first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica
•    An American adventurer has become the first person to complete a solo trek across Antarctica without assistance of any kind.
•    Colin O’Brady, 33, took 54 days to complete the nearly 1,600 km journey, crossing the frozen continent from coast to coast.
•    Mr. O’Brady and an Englishman, Louis Rudd, 49, set off individually on November 3 from Union Glacier in a bid to be the first to complete a solo, unassisted crossing of Antarctica.
•    His voyage was tracked by GPS, and live updates of the trip were provided daily on his website colinobrady.com
•    In 1996-97, a Norwegian polar explorer, Borge Ousland, made the first solo crossing of Antarctica but he was wind-aided by kites on his voyage.

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Important Current Affairs 13th December 2018

Economic news

RBI slaps 1 crore fine on Indian Bank for violating cyber security norms
The contravention is with regard to RBI’s directions on Frauds- Classification and Reporting by Commercial Banks.
This action is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers
About Indian Bank
Indian Bank is an Indian state-owned financial services company established in 1907 and headquartered in Chennai, India.

Defence news


Indian Navy inducts its first Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle
The Indian Navy on Wednesday inducted its first Deep Submergence Rescue Vehicle (DSRV) System at the Naval Dockyard in Mumbai.
DSRV is used to rescue crew members stranded in submarines that get disabled. The Indian Navy joins a select group of naval forces in the world that boasts of this niche capability.
The DSRV can be operated at a depth of 650 meters and can hold around 15 people. The Indian Navy in March 2016 had commissioned two DSRVs, the second will deployed at the Eastern Naval Command in Visakhapatnam.

Sports news


ITTF award for Manika
India’s star paddler Manika Batra was bestowed with the International Table Tennis Fedreation’s (ITTF) Breakthrough star award 2018. 
In 2018, Manika won 4 medals in commonwealth games. These are women’s singles gold,women’s doubles silver and mixed doubles bronze.
She also begged bronze in mixed doubles in the Asian Games 2018.

National news


Zoramthanga as the new CM of Mizoram
Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan on Wednesday afternoon invited Mizo National Front (MNF) president Zoramthanga to form the government.
Outgoing Congress Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla had submitted his resignation an hour before Mr Zoramthanga had staked the claim. The current term of the Assembly expires on Friday.


Shri Nitin Gadkari flags off first container mainline vessel at Tuticorin
Shri Nitin Gadkari, Union Minister for Shipping and Road Transport & Highways and Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation flagged off the first container mainline vessel from VoC Port (Tuticorin Port).
At present containers from Tuticorin to Far East countries viz Malaysia, Singapore, China and Hong Kong are transited by the feeder vessels to Colombo where they are further connected to the mother vessel .
In the last four years, Tuticorin Port has made investments to the tune of Rs 1,500 crore towards improvement of infrastructure.

SWIFT India
SWIFT India has appointed ex-SBI chief Arundhati Bhattacharya as the new chairman of its board.
SWIFT India is a joint venture of top Indian public and private sector banks and SWIFT (Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication). 

International News


Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of Auditors
Comptroller and Auditor General Rajiv Mehrishi has become the Vice-Chair of the UN Panel of Auditors. The United Nations Panel of Auditors consists of External Auditors of the United Nations and its agencies.
The United Nations General Assembly in 1959 established the Panel of External Auditors. Presently, the panel consists of 11 countries.


Adoption of global compact on migration in Marrakech hailed a victory
UN members states adopted the Global Compact on Migration in Marrakech.
The adoption is a victory for a progressive new framework of how the world views migrants and agrees to protect their basic human rights.
The GCM creates a non-legally binding and co-operative framework that builds on the commitments agreed upon by member states in the New York Declaration for refugees and migrants of December 2016. 

UAE's Federal National Council to be 50 per cent women
President Sheikh Khalifa has called for Emirati women to occupy 50 per cent of the country's Federal National Council after next year's elections.
 Currently, there are eight women members — representing 20 per cent of the 40 available seats. Dr Al Qubaisi was also the first woman elected to the FNC in 2006.

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Important Current Affairs 10th December 2018 English

(Obituary)

Mushirul Hasan passes away

  • Historian Mushirul Hasan, passed away .
  • Mr. Hasan was the Vice-Chancellor of the Jamia Millia Islamia University. He has also served as the Director-General of the National Archives of India, and the President of the Indian History Congress.
  • Contribution :
  1. extensively written on India's Partition(India Partition: The Other Face of Freedom)
  2. documented Islam and Muslims of South Asia.
  3. He documents how Jawaharlal Nehru decided to guide India on to the world stage as a modern nation, contrary to Mahatma Gandhi's imagination of Hind Swaraj.

(National news)

Swaraj India launches iCan19
Swaraj India, has launched a new platform to encourage ordinary citizens to intervene in electoral politics, set an agenda and select independent candidates who will speak on behalf of farmers and youth.

Centre Amends Rules For 3 Nations Minorities
•    Union Home Ministry has notified amendments to the Citizenship Rules, 2009.
•    Amendment:  to include a separate column in the citizenship form for applicants belonging to six minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh.
•    Citizenship to six persecuted minorities who came to India before 2014.

Shi Yomi becomes 23rd district of Arunachal Pradesh
Arunachal Pradesh got its 23rd district with the formal inauguration of Shi Yomi, carved out of the West Siang district.
The Arunachal Pradesh Assembly had on August 29 passed a bill for the creation of three new districts -- Pakke-Kesang, Lepa Rada and Shi Yomi.
 

(Economy news)

Urjit Patel steps down as RBI Governor
Dr. Urjit Patel announced that he was stepping down from his position as the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor.
He was appointed the Governor of the RBI in 2016. He was previously the Deputy Governor of the central bank.
 

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Important Current Affairs 9th December 2018

National News

Kerala becomes first Indian state to have four international airports

Kerala has become the first state in the country to have four international airports with the inauguration of the Kannur airport. 

Thiruvananthapuram, Kochi and Kozhikode being the other three.

The Kannur airport, built on a public-private partnership (PPP) model, will become a new benchmark of how airports will be constructed in the country. 

Economy news

India in top position in remittances : World Bank 

India is followed by China (USD 67 billion), Mexico and the Philippines (USD 34 billion each) and Egypt (USD 26 billion), according to the global lender.

Global remittances, which include flows to high-income countries, are projected to grow by 10.3 per cent to USD 689 billion.

Defence news

INDRA NAVY 2018

Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) Ships Varyag,  Admiral Panteleyev and Boris Butoma arrived Visakhapatnam to participate in INDRA NAVY, the bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Federation Navy exercise. 

Initiated in 2003, INDRA NAVY exercise has matured over the years with increase in scope, complexity and level of participation.

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