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Important Current Affairs of 5th May

NATIONAL:

ISRO planning to send a probe to study sun early next year

• Indian Space Research Organizationis planning to send a probe to study the sun early next year.ISRO chairman Dr K Sivan currently scientists are exploring possibilities to study more about Sun and the probe named Aditya-L1 will be sent to observe the solar corona, the outer layers of the Sun.

• The satellite would be ed in a halo orbit around the L1 (Lagrangian point 1) of the Sun-Earth system so that it has the advantage of continuously viewing the Sun without any occultation or eclipses.

• The L1 is 1.5 million kms from t the mission to send Indian astronauts to space by 2022 is well on stream. The provided by ISRO, officials were able to forecast the landfall area and this helped in taking precautionary measures in advance.

NHA sets up unit to boost innovations

• The National Health Authority (NHA), the implementing body for the Ayushman Bharat-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojna (AB-PMJAY), has set up a unit to promote innovations that reduce dependence on imported technologies to make quality health care affordable.

• The NHA “innovation unit” comprises a four-member team that will sift through applications from start-ups, including organisations and individuals, offering technologies that lower cost. Ayushman Bharat is the Modi government’s flagship public health insurance scheme.

• “Lot of start-ups offer affordable health care by innovating on expensive technologies that exist. Many have approached us with proposals to develop cost-effective machines, gadgets, diagnostic kits, data privacy technology etc to bring down the cost significantly,” said Dinesh Arora, deputy CEO, Ayushman Bharat.

Odisha death toll in Cyclone Fani rises to 16; Puri without power, water

• A day after Cyclone Fani wreaked havoc at the pilgrim town of Puri with wind speed in excess of 220 km per hour, the district administration still grappling with the devastation which includes damage to parts of the Jagannath temple.

• So far 16 people across Odisha have been killed in the cyclone due to wall collapse, falling of trees and flying debris. But officials said the death toll may go up as rescuers are unable to reach several places of the coastal districts which are still inaccessible.

• “Till now we are unable to reach disconnected blocks like Krushnsprasad, Bramhagiri and Astaranga. Though we have managed to somehow clear the national highway connecting Bhubaneswar and the roads in the town, many interior roads are still inaccessible.

INTERNATIONAL:

Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin discuss new nuclear accord possibly including China

• U.S. President Donald Trump said he and Russian President Vladimir Putin discussed on Friday the possibility of a new accord limiting nuclear arms that could eventually include China in what would be a major deal between the globe’s top three atomic powers.

• Trump, speaking to reporters as he met in the Oval Office with Peter Pellegrini, prime minister of the Slovak Republic, also said he and Putin discussed efforts to persuade North Korea to give up nuclear weapons, the political discord in Venezuela, and Ukraine during a call that stretched over an hour.

• The 2011 New START treaty, the only U.S.-Russia arms control pact limiting deployed strategic nuclear weapons, expires in February 2021 but can be extended for five years if both sides agree. Without the agreement, it could be harder to gauge each other’s intentions, arms control advocates say.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Huawei overtook Apple to become Worlds 2nd largest smartphone maker

• The Chinese electronics giant Huawei has surpassed Apple to become the No. 2 smartphone vendor worldwide, according to statistics from the International Data Corp. (IDC).

• South Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung continues to top the list with 20.9% market share.

• Huawei was the only smartphone maker in the top three that saw an increase in shipments in the first quarter of 2019.The company saw year-over-year growth of 50.3% in the first quarter and claimed 19% of the worldwide market share.

Apple holds 11.7% of the worldwide market share as of the first quarter of 2019, while Huawei now claims 19%.

• Chinese smartphone maker Xiaomi sits on the fourth position in the list.

The fifth position is captured by another Chinese smartphone maker - Oppo.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Nileena M S won the ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism

• The article titled 'Coalgate 2.0'authored by Nileena M S and published in The Caravan magazinein March 2018 has won the ACJ Award for Investigative Journalism, 2018.

• The award, which comprises a trophy, a citation, and Rs. 2,00,000 cash prize. It was presented to the winner by John Micklethwait, Editor-in-Chief of Bloomberg News,who was the chief guest at the journalism school's annual convocation ceremony.

World Press Freedom Prize 2019 awarded to Myanmar Journalists

• The World Press Freedom Prize also known as UNESCO/Guillermo Cano World Press Freedom Prize 2019 is formally conferred every year by Director-General of UNESCO, on occasion of World Press Freedom Day observed on 3 May.

• In 2019 award would be shared by two jailed Myanmar journalists Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo who reported on alleged human rights violations in the state of Rakhine, Myanmar. The Reuters reporters are serving a seven-year prison sentence in Myanmar. They are charged with breaking the country's secrets law for their journalistic investigation on the military's brutal crackdown and killings of Rohingya Muslims in Rakhine state.

• Recognised for:

The award recognises their exceptional courage in reporting on alleged human rights violations in the Myanmar's state of Rakhine. Both Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo's documentary on the taboo topic regarding crimes committed against Rohingyas landed them behind the bars. The award paid a tribute to their courage, resistance and commitment to freedom of expression.

DAYS:

World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May of every year

• World Laughter Day is celebrated on the first Sunday of May of every year. The first celebration was on May 10, 1998, in Mumbai, India. The celebration of World Laughter Day was meant to be a positive manifestation for world peace and to build up a global consciousness of brotherhood and friendship through laughter and run-on sentences.

•  Its popularity has grown exponentially with that of the Laughter Yoga movement, which is now counting over 6000 Laughter Clubs worldwide on all 5 continents.

World Laughter Day was created in 1998 by Dr. Madan Kataria, founder of the worldwide Laughter Yoga movement.

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Important Current Affairs 25th April 2019

NATIONAL:

First Indian Platform for Wholesale Cryptocurrency Trading has introduced by BuyUcoin.

• BuyUcoin, second oldest Cryptocurrency Exchange Company in India introduced a new and unique platform for wholesale cryptocurrency trading.

• This platform works on ‘free trading model’ which means it charges zero free on any trade.

• This wholesale platform also known as OTC (Over-the-counter) Desk allows users to trade on a large scale with low price fluctuations.

• This new platform will help to improve the problem of liquidity of cryptocurrency in Indian market.

Kotak Mahindra Bank becomes the first Destination Bank to launch debit card based e-mandates On NPCIs E-Mandate API Platform.

• Kotak Mahindra Bank is the first debit card based authentication solution on NPCI’s (National Payments Corporation of India) e-Mandate (electronic mandate) API (Application Program Interface) platform first ever Destination Bank to go live with both Net Banking and Debit Card-based e-mandate authentication.

• The main objective of this initiative is to enable Kotak customers to create electronic mandates (similar to the former eNACH with Aadhaar + OTP) (eNACH- Electronic National Automated Clearing House; OTP- One Time Password) via both debit card and net banking provision.

• As API based e-mandates are customer-friendly, fast, frictionless and paperless, the initiative would help in making its customers’ lives hassle free for handling recurring payments.

India ranked 17th in the StartupBlink report.

• StartupBlink has ranked 100 countries for startup environment of countries globally. The rankings were based on the data from over 61,000 startups, more than 500 accelerators, and over 1,400 coworking spaces registered on its platform along with data gathered from its global partners including Crunchbase, SimilarWeb, etc. The rankings were based on the impact startups have been able to make in the country, how many startups and support organizations are there such as accelerators, coworking spaces, startup events along with technology infrastructure, red tape, bureaucracy, etc.

• StartupBlink Report:

India was ranked 17th in the rankings. India has climbed 20 spots, rank 37, from the previous ranking. The challenge before India is to improve the overall quality of startups and increase the number of unicorns than currently exist. The US ranked first. It is followed by the UK, Canada, Israel, and Australia. China was ranked 27th. Estonia ranked 13th, Ireland ranked 14th, and Germany ranked 9th and are ahead of India for their startup ecosystems.

In the ranking of cities, Bengaluru stood at 11, New Delhi at 18 and Mumbai at 29. San Francisco Bay, New York, London, Los Angeles, and Boston topped the ranking among the cities.

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has successfully tested Akademik Lomonosov.

• Russia has successfully tested the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (NPP), Akademik Lomonosov. Reactors of the floating atomic block were launched in November 2018.  The tests confirmed the operational stability of the main and auxiliary equipment for the plant will be the world’s first fully commercial operational floating nuclear power plant.  All automatic process and control systems were tested successfully.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

IndusInd Bank receives NCLT approval for merger with Bharat Financial Inclusion.

• National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) approved merger of private sector lender IndusInd Bank with Bharat Financial Inclusion (BFIL), a microfinance company.

Last year, IndusInd Bank received ‘No Objection’ from Reserve Bank of India, National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange

• As per the report, the merger is expected to complete within 2-4 weeks.

Bharat Financial will become a subsidiary of the private lender.

IndusInd Bank Ltd's share price is currently at Rs1,686.85, up by Rs32.25 or 1.95%, from its previous close of Rs1,654.60 on the BSE.

• The script opened at Rs 1,678 and has touched a high and low of Rs1,693.70 and Rs1,665, respectively.

• So far, 21,19,368 (NSE+BSE) shares have been traded on the counter.

The current market cap of the company is Rs 99,750.17crores.

RBI sells entire stake in NABARD, NHB to govt for Rs 1,470 crore.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has exited the National Housing Bank (NHB) and the National Bank for Agriculture & Rural Development (NABARD), by selling its entire stakes to government for Rs 1,450 croreand Rs 20 crore, respectively, making them fully government-owned now.

• RBI has sold its stake in NHB on March 19, while it sold the stake in Nabard on February 26.

• With this, the government of India now holds 100% stake in both the financial institutions.

HDFC got RBI approval for holding up to 9.9 percent stake in Bandhan Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its in-principle approval to Housing Development Finance Corporation (HDFC) Ltd for acquiring 9.9 per cent stake in Bandhan Bank following the Gruh Finance deal.

• Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC Ltd, was taken over by Bandhan Bank in a share-swap deal in January.

• After the deal was announced, HDFC made an application to the RBI for holding shares in Bandhan Bank. Recently RBI gave its approval to HDFC to acquire the shareholding of up to 9.9 per cent of the paid-up capital of Bandhan Bank upon the effective date of the scheme of amalgamation.

• The amalgamation scheme is awaiting approvals from the National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT) and the respective shareholders of Gruh Finance and Bandhan Bank.

The Gruh Finance deal will reduce the stake of Bandhan Financial Holdings Ltd in Bandhan Bank to about 61% from the current 82%.

The share swap ratio for the merger will be 568 shares of Bandhan Bank for every 1,000 shares of Gruh Finance.

RBI became the first Asia-Pacific central bank to begin interest rate easing cycle.

• According to Fitch Ratings - APAC (Asia-Pacific) sovereign credit overview report, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the first central bank in the Asia Pacific region to begin an explicit interest rate easing cyclebuoyed by benign food inflation and easier global financial condition.

• The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, cut rates in February and April citing prospects of benign inflation. In the four months of 2019, the RBI has cut policy interest rates twice by 0.25 per cent each to one-year low of 6 per cent.

• This is the first back-to-back rate cut since the MPC was formed in late 2016.

Fitch has a 'BBB-', the lowest investment grade, rating on India, with a stable outlook.

Fitch estimates India to grow at 6.8 per cent in current fiscal 2019 and 7.1 per cent in 2020

Minimum subscription requirement for REITs and InvITs has reduced by SEBI.

• SEBI in his guidelines titled “Guidelines for Determination of Allotment and Trading Lot Size for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs)” has reduced the minimum subscription requirement as well as defined trading lots for REITs and InvITs.

• For determining the allotment in an initial offer and follow on public offers, REITs have to offer their units in lots worth at least Rs 50,000 and in case of InvITs, the minimum value of a single lot should be Rs 1 lakh. 

• The allotment to any investor shall be made in the multiples of a lot.

For initial listing in case of REITs and InvITs, a trading lot should be of 100 units and for follow on public offers, each lot shall consists of such number of units in its trading lot as it had at the time of initial offer.

• Moreover, SEBI has also increased the leverage limit for InvITs from 49 per cent to 70 per cent.

RBI asked Banks to disclose IL&FS NPA details in results.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has asked banks and financial institutions to disclose the non-performing assets (NPA) stemming from their exposure to troubled infrastructure conglomerateInfrastructure Leasing & Financial Services Limited (IL&FS) and its group entities in their upcoming results announcements.

• RBI said that the new directions are as per the order of the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT), which asked banks not to declare their loans to the company and group as NPAs. The banking regulator has, therefore, asked the lenders to disclose details such as the provisions required for such NPAs and also the actual provisions made, in their Notes to Accounts in the financial results. It has prescribed a disclosure format for this purpose.

• An account becomes non-performing if repayment is due for more than 90 days. Banks have to set aside capital as provisions for NPAs. Banks and financial institutions have to disclose the information in a particular format as prescribed by the banking regulator.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Karnam Sekar appointed as Indian Overseas Banks new MD & CEO.

• Karnam Sekar, Dena Bank’s former Managing Director appointed as the new Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Indian Overseas Bank.

• He would take up the position from July 1, 2019.

• He has been working as an officer on special duty and Whole Time Director in IOB (Indian Overseas Bank) from April 1 till the time of taking over charge from R Subramaniakumar who was the erstwhile CEO and MD.

• R Subramaniakumar had initiated measures to uplift IOB from loses due to high Non-Performing Assets.

DAYS:

World Malaria Day observed on April 25.

• World Malaria Day is an international event observed every year on 25 April, to spread awareness about malaria disease globally and to promote efforts to prevent malaria around the world.

• World Malaria Day 2019 Theme:

The theme of World Malaria Day 2019 is "Zero malaria starts with me."

• World Malaria Day - History:

World Malaria Day was developed from Africa Malaria Day which was first held in 2008. It is basically an event that had been observed since 2001 by African governments.

At the 60th session of the World Health Assembly, a meeting sponsored by the World Health Organisation (WHO) in 2007 proposed that Africa Malaria Day be changed to World Malaria Day to identify the existence of malaria in the countries worldwide and to bring awareness among people globally to fight against malaria disease.

• Facts about Malaria:

Malaria is mosquito-borne infectious disease and is caused by the Plasmodium parasite. The parasite can be spread to humans through the bites of infected female Anopheles mosquitoes called ‘malaria vectors’.

There are only five types of plasmodium causes malaria in humans namely - Plasmodium falciparum, Plasmodium vivax, P. ovale and Plasmodium malariae and Plasmodium Knowles.

Malaria is preventable and curable, and increased efforts are dramatically reducing the malaria burden in many places.

The estimated number of malaria deaths in 2017, at 4,35,000, remained virtually

unchanged over the previous year.

SPORTS:

PU Chitra gives 3rd gold for India in Asian Athletics Championships.

• PU Chitra won gold in women’s 1500m at the Asian Athletics Championships in Doha.

With the victory Chitra also qualified for the World Championships, which will be held later this year.

23-year-old Chitra clocked 4:14.56s to become the first Indian athlete to defend her Asian Athletics Championships in the 2019 meet. Chitra had won the gold medal in the women's 1500m race in the 2017 Asian Athletics Championships held in Bhubaneshwar.

• Dutee Chand clinched the bronze medal in 200-metre sprint after clocking 23.24 seconds.

• With her medal haul, India picked up four medals on the fourth and final day of the competitions, to end at fourth place in the medal tally.

India bagged 17 medals overall, including 3 gold, 7 silver and 7 bronze medals.

China tops the medal table of 2019 Asian Athletics Championships with 29 medals in total.

• Bahrain (22 medals) and Japan (18 medals) secured second and third place respectively in medal table.

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Important Current Affairs of 23th April

NATIONAL:

India Ranks 17th In Global Startup Ecosystem.

• According to data released by StartupBlink, India moved up to 17th position in 2018 from 37th spot last year in the Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019.

The top three spots remained unchanged with the United States, United Kingdom and Canada

• The cities with the most vibrant startup ecosystems in India are Bangalore, New Delhi and Mumbai.

• India ranks 17 globally among 100 countries, based on the strength of its startup ecosystem, according to StartupBlink, which tracks startup ecosystems on a number of parameters.

• It used data from startups, accelerators and co-working spaces registered on its platforms as well as data received from global partners such as Crunchbase and SimilarWeb.

India ranks 19th in Index of Cancer Preparedness.

• The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released the 2019 Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP) in which India's overall rank is 19th out of 28 countries, with a score of 64.9.

• Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP) 2019:

Australia tops the ICP, followed by the Netherlands and Germany.

Saudi Arabia, Romania, and Egypt are at the bottom in Index.

The ICP explores the issue of cancer preparedness through three broad domains:

• policy and planning;

• care delivery;

• health systems and governance.

• India and ICP:

India ranks 17th in cancer policy and planning, but it has a relatively high score of 80.8.

India ranked first for research and third for tobacco control in ICP.

In its delivery of cancer care, India ranks 20th with a score of 61.3.

With a score of 40.3, India’s healthcare system ranks 25th in the index, above only Saudi Arabia, Kenya, Egypt.

• Cancer is the second leading cause of death globally and is estimated to account for 9.6 million death in 2018.

World Cancer Day is observed on 4th February every year.

FAME II scheme has made compulsory for electric vehicles to feature 50% localisation for receiving subsidies.

• he government notified the second phase of the FAME India scheme with a Rs 10,000-crore outlay to encourage adoption of electric and hybrid vehicles.

• Under the second phase of the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) scheme, 10 lakh registered electric two-wheelers with a maximum ex-factory price will be eligible to avail incentive of Rs 20,000 each.

It will also support 5 lakh e-rickshaws having ex-factory price of up to Rs 5 lakh with an incentive of Rs 50,000 each.

• FAME-II will offer an incentive of Rs 1.5 lakh each to 35,000 electric four-wheelers with an ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh, and incentive of Rs 13,000 each to 20,000 strong hybrid four-wheelers with ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh.

It will support 7,090 e-buses with an incentive of up to Rs 50 lakh each having an ex-factory price of up to Rs 2 crore.

INTERNATIONAL:

Iranian President Rouhani declared joint border reaction force with Pakistan.

• Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani announced that Iran and Pakistan to create a joint ‘reaction force’ on the border between the two countries, for combatting terrorism.

The announcement came during a two-day visit to Iran by Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, the first of his tenure.

• Iran and Pakistan share a 959 km land border.

• Balochistan, which borders Afghanistan and Iran, is Pakistan's largest and poorest province, rife with ethnic, sectarian and separatist insurgencies.

Tehran (in Iran) has been complaining for years about recurring attacks by Pakistani militants on Iranian security forces.

• Pakistan is a close ally of the United States and Saudi Arabia, both of which have ratcheted up pressure on Iran over its alleged meddling in regional affairs.

Pakistan and Iran are also members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).

Amartya Sen Chairs at the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) for research on inequality.

• The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) announced the creation of the Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies, named in honour of the India-born economist, philosopher and Nobel laureate, who was Professor of Economics at LSE from 1971-82.

• The public announcement of the chair was made during LSE’s biannual Amartya Sen Lecture.

• The lecture, 'Foundations of State Effectiveness', was delivered by Professor Sir Tim Besley with Professor Sen serving as discussant and LSE Director Minouche Shafik chairing.

• The inauguration of the Amartya Sen Chair marks a further milestone for the International Inequalities Institute (III), following the 2016 launch of the Atlantic Fellows for Social and Economic Equity programme, backed by a historic 64 million pounds, 20-year gift by The Atlantic Philanthropies, the School’s largest to date.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Ministry of Ayush inked MoU with CSIR to cooperate in the field of research and education.

• Ayush Ministry signed Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), New Delhi for cooperation in the field of research and education of traditional medicines how to integrate traditional medicines with modern science.

• CSIR and Ayush Ministry jointly developed the Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL) which prevents bio-piracy and misappropriation of traditional knowledge.

TCS signed a deal with India Post to transform country's mail delivery system.

• India's largest IT services company, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), has partnered with the Department of Posts in a bid to transform it into a multi-service digital hub, modernise the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.

In 2013, TCS had announced receiving an over Rs 1,100 crore multi-year contract from the Department of Posts (DoP) for an end-to-end IT modernisation programme.

• Core System Integration (CSI) program designed and implemented by TCS, involved deploying an integrated ERP (enterprise resource planning) solution that caters to mail operations, finance and accounting, and HR functions, and connects its vast network of more than 150,000 post offices, making this the largest distributed ePostal network in the world.

TCS is the same company that, along with the Ministry of External Affairs, revamped India’s passport services through the Passport Seva Kendra (PSK) initiative and ‘Student Connect’.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI General Insurance launched cyber defence insurance.

• SBI General Insurance launched its new product – cyber defence insurance to protect businesses from financial and reputational losses due to cyber attacks.

The main focus on SMEs and mid-market businesses to larger businesses.

This offers protection against the growing threat of cyber breaches like hacking attacks, identity theft, disclosure of sensitive information and business interruption. It provides IT forensic investigations, legal advice, reputational and PR management.

Bajaj Allianz General Insurance in a partnership with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance launched their 1st product: Total Health Secure Goal.

• Bajaj Allianz General Insurance collaborated with Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance to launch their 1st product titled ‘Total Health Secure Goal’.

• The product is a combination of 2 existing plans, namely, Health Guard policy by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and iSecure policy by Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.

This combined plan offers customers 5% extra discount on the total premium and also provides flexibility of availing service or communication on the product.

The product provides an overall  insurance solution and ensures that health and security needs of the customer are taken care of without compromising on their savings.

• Under Health Guard policy, a customer can choose the option between a Silver or a Gold Plan with an insured sum ranging from Rs 1.5 lakh to Rs 50 Lakh.

This sum is inclusive of the hospitalisation expenses incurred by the customer.

DAYS:

World Book Day 2019: Theme, what is the purpose and who started it.

• World Book Day is celebrated by UNESCO and other related organisations every year on the 23rd of April. Also called the World Book and Copyright Day, it is an occasion to promote the joy of books and the art of reading. 23rd April was selected by UNESCO to pay tribute to great literary figures including William Shakespeare, Miguel Cervantes and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega who died on this day. This date was finalised in the year 1995 in the UNESCO General Conference, held in Paris, to honour authors and books worldwide.

AWARDS:

KAU IPR Cell Won The National IP Award 2019.

• Intellectual Property Rights Cell (IPR Cell) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU)

The award comprises of INR 1 lakh, citation and memento.

SPORTS:

Services lifted Santosh Trophy Football; beat Punjab in final.

• Services won their sixth Santosh Trophy title with a 1-0 victory over Punjab, at Ludhiana.

• In the semi-finals earlier, eight-time champions Punjab had defeated five-time winners Goa 2-1 to enter their 15th final.

• Services beat Karnataka 4-3 in the semis via a penalty shootout to book a place in the title clash for the 11th time.

• The 2018–19 Santosh Trophy was the 73rd edition.

India won 5 medals on opening day of Asian Athletics Championships 2019.

• Javelin thrower Annu Rani and 3000-meter steeple chaser Avinash Sable won the silver medals.

• Quartermiler M P Poovamma, 5000-meter runner Parul Choudhary and 10000-meter runner Gavit Murali Kumar bagged a bronze each.

• With five medals to their name, India were fifth in the medals tally. Bahrain lead the table (7 medals), China second (5 medals), Iran third (2 medals) and Philippines fourth (1 medal).

Fabio Fognini became the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title.

• He achieved this feat at the Monte Carlo Masters by defeating Dusan Lajovic 6-3, 6-4 in one hour and 38 minutes.

• Fognini will rise to a career-high ranking of 12.

• Fognini had beaten Rafael Nadal in the semi-final.

• Fognini earns 1000 ATP Rankings points and receives €958,055 in prize money. Lajovic gains 600 points and €484,950 for his run to the championship match.

Last time an Italian player Nicola Pietrangeli won the trophy in 1968. This event held every year at Monte Carlo Country Club.

• Fognini is the eighth player to win his first Masters 1000 title over the past 17 events at the elite level. In the 92 ATP Masters 1000 events prior to 2017 Rome, only eight players won their first Masters 1000 crown.

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Important Current Affairs 8th April 2019

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MOUS:

Indian Navy signs MoU with CSIR for advanced technologies.

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

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

DAYS:

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Algerias Parliament to meet to name an interim successor.

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

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

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

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

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

NATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AWARDS:

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

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

AWARDS:

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

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

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

♦ Coach of the Year - Jaspal Rana (shooting)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs 21th February 2019

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Joint Statement between India and Namibia during President's visit to Namibia.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the proposal for a MoU between India and the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP) on cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

•  MoU contains standard articles/clauses which broadly express promotion of cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration including promotion of exchange of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development of electoral process; support in exchanging information, institutional strengthening and capacity building, training of personnel, holding regular consultations etc.

• The MOU would promote bilateral cooperation, aimed at building technical assistance/ capacity support for the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and with Electoral Tribunal of Panama (ETP). It envisages cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration and providing a leg-up to it in conducting elections in their respective countries. This would also result in bolstering India's international relations.

India-OECD pact approved.

• The Union Cabinet approved the agreement between India and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

• It has been done for participating in the Programme for International Students Assessment (PISA).

• PISA will be conducted by the OECD in 2021. The agreement was signed on January 28, 2019.

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

Greenpeace welcomes Centre's approval to launch rural solar scheme, KUSUM.

• The Centre's decision to allocate Rs 46,000 crores towards the rural solar scheme KUSUM, aimed to provide farmers with advanced technology to generate power, has been welcomed by environment experts who said it was essential to achieve the country's 100 GW solar target by 2022.

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs on Tuesday approved Rs 46,000 crore for KUSUM and rooftop solar schemes to promote adoption of solar power among farmers and residential sector.

• While KUSUM scheme for farmers has been allocated Rs 34,422 crore, rooftop solar program would get Rs 11,814 crore.

NATIONAL:

Union Cabinet Approves Implementation Of New Rural Livelihood Scheme.

• The Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. on Tuesday approved the implementation of the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP).

• This project under the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana - National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM) will be through loan assistance from the World Bank.

• The technical assistance provided by NRETP and the higher level interventions facilitated by the project will enhance the livelihoods promotion, access to finance and scale-up initiatives on digital finance and livelihood interventions.

Dearness Allowance (DA) For Government Employees, Pensioners Increased By 3%.

• The cabinet on Tuesday announced that it had approved a 3 per cent hike in Dearness Allowance or DA, a move that will benefit more than one crore central government employees and pensioners from January 1, 2019.

• The decision will cost the exchequer over Rs. 9,000 crore.

• Dearness allowance is a component of salary paid to employees to counter the effect of inflation.

• The 3 per cent increase will take the DA and Dearness Rate (DR) for pensioners to 12 per cent.

PM visits BHU in Varanasi; inaugurates Pandit Madan Mohan Malviya Cancer Hospital.

• The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, visited BHU in Varanasi today. 

• He inaugurated Pandit Madan Mohan Malaviya Cancer Hospital and Homi Bhabha Cancer Hospital, Lahartara. These Hospitals will provide comprehensive treatment to the patients from UP, and nearby states of MP, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, and Bihar.

• Governor of UP Shri Ram Naik, CM of UP Shri Yogi Adityanath, and other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Odisha CM Launches KALIA Scholarship for Farmers’ Children.

• Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik today unveiled KALIA Scholarship (KALIA Chhatra Brutti) at the Secretariat here for the children of the KALIA Scheme beneficiaries, who are studying and aspiring for technical and professional education.

• After taking the historic step towards transforming the economic standards of the farmers of Odisha through Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA), the State Government has come up with KALIA Scholarship in order to ensure human resource development among the farming families across the State.

• KALIA Scheme is first of its kind assistance mechanism for farmers in India and has been followed by others as well for its noble means, ideation and inclusiveness.

OBITUARIES:

Acclaimed Hindi Author Namvar Singh Dies At 92.

• Celebrated Hindi author and literary critic Namvar Singh died in the national capital late on Tuesday night. He was 92.

• Mr. Singh breathed his last at 11.51 pm at the All India Institute of Medical Science's Trauma Centre, family sources said.

• Hindi writer, senior journalist, editor and critic Om Thanvi posted about the author's demise on Facebook and said the cremation ceremony of Namvar Singh would take place at the Lodi crematorium on Wednesday afternoon.

DAY AND EVENT:

World Day of Social Justice 20 February.

• Social justice is an underlying principle for peaceful and prosperous coexistence within and among nations. We uphold the principles of social justice when we promote gender equality or the rights of indigenous peoples and migrants.

• We advance social justice when we remove barriers that people face because of gender, age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture or disability.

• For the United Nations, the pursuit of social justice for all is at the core of our global mission to promote development and human dignity. The adoption by the International Labor Organization of the Declaration on Social Justice for a Fair Globalization is just one recent example of the UN system’s commitment to social justice.

APPOINTMENTS:

Anupama elected Astronomical Society of India president, first.

• Dr.G C Anupama has been elected president of the Astronomical Society of India (ASI), becoming the first woman to head the prime association of professional astronomers in the country.

• She was elected to the post in the ASI Executive Council elections for triennium 2019-22 held last week, according to the Society website.

• Presently the Dean and Senior Professor at the Bengaluru based Indian Institute of Astrophysics (IIA), Anupama is in the Indian core team which is part of the international team engaged in establishing the thirty meter telescope (TMT) at cost of over USD 1 billion in USA (Hawaii).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

NGO Yuwa won Laureus Sport.

• Yuwa, a Jharkhand-based NGO won the Laureus Sport for Good award.

• The NGO works for the girl empowerment.

• The NGO, founded by Americans Franz Gastler and Rose Thomson Gastler in 2009, runs a football program in rural Jharkhand covering 450 girls.

EXTRAS:

• A.K. Sharma has been re-appointed as the Director (Finance) of Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) for a period of 3 months.

• Saudi Arabia became the 73rd nation to sign the International Solar Alliance. ISA was unveiled by PM Narendra Modi and former French President Francois Hollande in 2015.

• Nikhat Zareen and Meena Kumari Devi became the first Indian women boxers to win gold medals at the Strandja Memorial Tournament in Sofia, Bulgaria.

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India hosts World Robot Olympiad for the first time

The 13th edition of the World Robot Olympiad, which is being held in India for the first time, aims to find innovative solutions using robotics technology to reduce, manage and recycle waste. 
●    Organised by National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) in collaboration with the India STEM Foundation (ISF), the three-day international championship that begins today, will see participation by over 2000 students from 54 countries.
●    Students in the age group of 9 to 25 years, will be participating in four categories – regular category, WRO football, open category and advanced robotics challenge.
●    According to organisers, the theme ‘Rap the Scrap’ is in line with Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Mission.
●    A science, technology, and education event, the Olympiad brings together young minds from across the world to develop their creativity and problem solving skills through challenging and educational robotics competition.
●    About 245 teams from India qualified for the National Championship held at Netaji Indoor Stadium, Kolkata and 27 teams qualified for WRO International Championship in different categories.
 

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First ICANN meet after transition of control from the US at Hyderabad

As India prepares to host a meeting of 3,000 internet stakeholders, the top gun of the organisation managing it all says his job would be "to make sure that the train leaves the station on time." 
●    Göran Marby, chief of ICANN, said the meeting will be "historic".
●    It will give way to a new method of doing things as multiple stakeholders decide issues of accountability, and new processes are put in place. 
●    Given the large number of internet users in India, the country is very important.
●    ICANN, which matches domain names with appropriate IP address numbers, is hosting its 57th meeting in Hyderabad from November 3-7. 
●    The meeting is important because this is the first time the global community will come together post the US Department of Commerce giving up oversight of the internet. 
●    The internet will now operate in a multi-stakeholder model, which India also agreed to support last year. 

 
 

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New Delhi Declaration of AMCDRR 2016

The three-day Asian Ministerial Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) 2016 came to an end with the adoption of the ‘New Delhi Declaration’ and the ‘Asian Regional Plan for Implementation of the Sendai Framework’. 
●    The Closing ceremony was presided over by Union Home Minister ShriRajnath Singh.
●    This was the first Asian Ministerial Conference for Disaster Risk Reduction (AMCDRR) after the advent of the Sendai Framework for DRR (SFDRR).
●    The SFDRR (2015-2030) was adopted by at the Third World Conference on DRR at Sendai in Japan in March, 2015. 
●    The ‘New Delhi Declaration’ is a political statement spelling out the commitment of participating governments towards preventing and reducing disaster risk, and strengthening the resilience of communities, nations and the Asian region. 
●    Recognising the need to accelerate the implementation of global frameworks, it commits to a people-centred and whole-of-society approach towards DRR. 


 

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Asia's Largest Oil & Gas Event Petrotech begins


Stage is set for showcasing India's hydrocarbon strength and opportunities in this low oil price regime. 
●    The event will be organized under the aegis of Ministry of the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas. 
●    The biennial event is being supported by the Indian Oil and Gas industry.
●    The theme for this year is "Hydrocarbons to fuel the future: Choices and Challenges"
●    It aims to explore areas of growth in petroleum technology, exploration, drilling, production and processing, refining and other related issues.
●    The conference would be a platform for national and international experts from oil and gas industry to exchange views, share knowledge, expertise and experience across various segments.
 

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4th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meet at Jaipur

India will host the 8th BRICS Summit, in Goa on 15-16 October 2016 during its Chairmanship of BRICS, which it assumed on 15 February 2016.
●    As the precursor the same, the 4th BRICS Science, Technology and Innovation Ministerial Meeting was convened on 8 October, 2016 at Jaipur to further strengthen the collaboration amongst the BRICS countries in the areas of Science, Technology and Innovation (STI).
●    The meeting was chaired by the Minister for Science & Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan. The Vice Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation of Brazil, Mr. Álvaro Toubes Prata; Deputy Minister of Federation of Russia, Mr. Alexey Lopatia; Vice Minister of S&T of Peoples Republic of China, H.E.Mr. Jiang Hua; Minister of Science and Technology of South Africa H.E. Madam Naledi Pandor led their respective country delegations.
●    While welcoming the BRICS country Ministerial delegates, Dr Harshvardhan elucidated; “During our Chairmanship we are adopting a five-pronged approach, viz. Institution Building, Implementation, Integration, Innovation and Continuity. Our emphasis is on institution building, implementation of previous commitments, tapping synergies of the existing BRICS cooperation mechanisms, exploring some new areas of cooperation and maintaining continuity in the existing areas.”
●    In alignment with the theme of India’s Chairmanship - Building, Responsive Inclusive and Collective Solutions, the Jaipur Declaration was unanimously adopted by all the BRICS countries. The member countries resolved to intensify, diversify and institutionalize STI cooperation through the BRICS research & innovation initiative.
●    During India’s Chairmanship, significant progress have been achieved in joint knowledge creation in the areas of Photonics; Material Science & Nanotechnology; Biotechnology & Biomedical Sciences; Energy; Geospatial Technology; Astronomy; Prevention & Mitigation of Natural Disaster, Water and Solid State Lighting.
●    In fulfillment of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi’s special attention on engagement of youth, who comprises 65% of workforce of BRICS countries together, India hosted the 1st BRICS Young Scientists Conclave at Bengaluru and Hampi last week. More than 40 young scientists from BRICS countries participated in the event and discussed some exciting ideas in the field of affordable healthcare, energy solutions and computational intelligence. In order to stimulate and encourage young minds, BRICS Innovative Idea Prize for Young Scientists has been instituted.
●    In order to harness the innovativeness of the youth, India’s proposal to establish a BRICS Science and Technology driven Entrepreneurship and Innovation Partnership Programme was agreed by all the member countries.


 

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