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National Salt Satyagraha Memorial Inaugurated At Dandi
i: In commemoration of the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi dedicated grand and iconic ‘National Salt Satyagraha Memorial’ constructed by the Central Public Works Department at Dandi, Gujarat to the Nation.
ii: This prestigious work entrusted to CPWD by the Ministry of Culture,Govt. of India has been completed by the dedicated team of CPWD in 20 months’ time well within the sanctioned amount of Rs. 72.23 crores.
UP Government Approves Construction Of Ganga Expressway
i: Uttar Pradesh state cabinet has approved construction of a four-lane Ganga Expressway connecting Prayagraj to Western Utter Pradeshwhich would cost about 36,000 crore rupees.
ii: Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath stated that this expressway will provide better connectivity to Prayagraj. Ganga Expressway will be 600kilometres long and can be expanded to six-lane in future. Chief Minister also stated that after completion it would be longest in the world.
RBI To Inject Rs 37,500 Crore Through OMO In February
i: The Reserve Bank of India has stated that it will inject Rs 37,500 croreinto the system through the purchase of government securities in February to increase liquidity.
ii: RBI stated that it has decided to conduct the purchase of government securities under Open Market Operations (OMOs) for an aggregate amount of Rs 375 billion in the month of February 2019.
- RBI 25th Governor: Shaktikant Das, Headquarters: Mumbai, Founded: 1 April 1935, Kolkata.
FDI Rose 18% In FY18 To Rs 28.25 Lakh Crore: RBI data
i: Reserve Bank of India has released a data on “Census on Foreign Liabilities and Assets of Indian Direct Investment Companies, 2017-18” which shows that the Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) has increased 18% to Rs. 28.25 lakh crore in FY18.
ii: FDI increased by Rs 4,33,300 crore, including revaluation of past investments, during 2017-18 to reach Rs 28,24,600 crore in March 2018 at market value. Overseas direct investment (ODI) by Indian companies increased by 5% to Rs 5.28 lakh crore.
Schemes and Committees
First Swadesh Darshan Project Inaugurated In Sikkim
i: K.J. Alphons, Union Minister for Tourism has inaugurated the first project under the Swadesh Darshan Project of the Union Ministry of Tourism at the Zero Point, Gangtok, Sikkim. This project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in June 2015 for Rs. 98.05 crores.
ii: Swadesh Darshan Scheme is one of the flagship scheme of Ministry of tourism for development of thematic circuits in the country in a planned manner.
- Sikkim Chief Minister: Pawan Kumar Chamling, Sikkim Governor: Ganga Prasad.
EPFO’s Central Board of Trustees Notifies 3 New Committees
i: Employees’ Provident Fund Organisation has notified three new committees on Finance, Investment and Audit Committee (FIAC), the Pension and EDLI Implementation Committee (PEIC) and the Exempted Establishments’ Committee (EEC).
ii: All the 3 committees will continue to have central government representatives as well as 2 representatives each of the employers and the employees and domain experts.
ICAR Launches National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP)
i: Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) has launched the National Agricultural Higher Education Project (NAHEP) to attract talent and strengthen higher agricultural education in the country.
ii: It is inaugurated at the fourth Convention of 2-day “Agrivision-2019”organized by Vidyarthi Kalyan Nyas in Pusa, New Delhi.
Dilip Sadarangani Appointed As Chairman Of Federal Bank
i: Kerala based private sector lender Federal Bank has appointed Dilip Sadarangani as the part-time chairman. The appointment of Sadarangani, who has been on the bank’s board since 2013, has been cleared by the Reserve Bank.
- Federal Bank Headquarter: Aluva, Kerala, MD & CEO: Shyam Srinivasan, Tagline: Your perfect banking partner.
Ranks & Reports
Dubai Airport Retains Top Position As World’s Busiest Airport
i: Dubai International Airport (DXB) retained its position as the world’s busiest airport for international customer numbers for the fifth consecutive year with annual traffic for 2018.
ii: It overtook the crown of the world’s busiest hub for international travel from London’s Heathrow in 2014.
India Ranks 54th In ‘Bloomberg Innovation Index’ Of 60 Economies
i: India has been ranked in Bloomberg’s 2019 list of most innovative countries in the world – 2019 Bloomberg Innovation Index – for the first time ever. India has grabbed the 54th spot with a score of 47.93 out of 100 in the Innovation Index of 60 economies.
ii: South Korea has topped the Index for the sixth time in a row with a total score of 87.38, followed by Germany and Finland.
Global Corruption Index Released, India Ranks 78
i: Transparency International has released the Global Corruption Index 2018. India rose by 3 points to 78 in the list of 180 countries in the world with a score of 41.
ii: China lagged far behind at 87 and Pakistan ranked 117.
Summits and Conferences
Ministry Of Textiles Launched ‘Artisan Speak’
i: Ministry of Textiles and Government of India launched Artisan Speakat Elephanta Caves (UNESCO heritage site) to strengthen the handlooms and textiles sector of India.
ii: The event has been held to showcase the GI Textiles of India, through a confluence of fashion, music, and dance.
73-yr-old Jean-Luc Wins Round-the-World Sailing Race
i: French sailor Jean-Luc Van Den Heede has won the round-the-world yacht race after 212 days alone at sea without modern instruments.
ii: The 73-year-old, who completed his sixth circumnavigation of the globe, became the oldest to complete the 30,000-mile Golden Globe race. Of the 19 sailors who started out in July 2018, only 5 were still in the race.
Civil Aviation Ministry Launched First GI Store In Goa
i: The Civil Aviation ministry launched the country’s first Geographical Indication (GI) store at Dabolim International Airport in Goa.
ii: Union Minister for Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu stated that the GI stores will promote local products made by the artisans and handicrafts at the airport.
- Goa Capital: Panaji, Chief minister: Manohar Parrikar.
Take quizzes and check your score instantly. Moreover, this quiz contains expected questions which match the Exam Pattern of most of the Competitive Exams. This will give you a fair idea about in which section you need to focus more on the upcoming competitive exams.
GST On Haj Reduced From 18% To 5%
i: Union Minister for Minority Affairs Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi stated that GST on Haj has been reduced from 18% to 5% and this will significantly lower the airfare thus saving Haj pilgrims’ 113 crore rupees this year.
ii: Mr. Naqvi also stated that for the first time since the independence 2,340 women from India will go on 2019 Haj without Mehram.
Odisha Announces Jiban Sampark Project
i: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has announced “Jiban Sampark” project in partnership with UNICEF India to generate awareness about the development and welfare initiatives of state government among the Particularly Vulnerable Tribal Groups of the state.
ii: The announcement was made after Patnaik inaugurated the annual tribal fair popularly known as “Adivasi Mela”.
- Odisha Governor: Ganeshi Lal.
Uttarakhand’s First Tulip Garden In Pithoragarh
i: Uttarakhand’s first tulip garden will come up over 50 hectares of forest land in Pithoragarh district at a cost of Rs 50 crore. The state government has obtained the Centre’s nod for development of the garden.
ii: To be developed by the ONGC, under its corporate social responsibility programme, the proposed tulip garden will be the country’s second after the one located in Srinagar (J&K).
- Uttarakhand State Governor– Baby Rani Maurya, CM-Trivendra Singh Rawat.
Cable-Stayed ‘Atal Setu’ Inaugurated In Goa
i: A 5.1-km long cable-stayed “Atal Setu” on the Mandovi river in Goa, a third such bridge to connect the state capital with North Goa, was opened to the public by Union Minister Nitin Gadkari.
ii: Ailing Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar, Union AYUSH Minister Shripad Naik also attended the event to inaugurate the four-lane bridgewhich at 2.5 lakh tonnes is equivalent to the weight of 570 Boeing aircraft.
Pakistan Appoints Its First Ever Female Hindu Civil Judge
i: Suman Kumari has become the first Hindu woman to have been appointed as a civil judge in Pakistan after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers.
ii: The first judge from the Hindu community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas, who served as the acting chief justice for brief periods between 2005 and 2007.
Poonam Khetrapal Singh Re-appointed Regional Director Of WHO South-East Asia
i: Poonam Khetrapal Singh has been appointed Regional Director for World Health Organization South-East Asia, for a second five-year term.
ii: The WHO Executive Board unanimously endorsed Dr. Khetrapal Singh, who was earlier also unanimously nominated by 11 Member countries of the Region for another five years.
- WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, Director general: Tedros Adhanom.
India Bags The Award of Excellence for ‘Best in Show’ At NYTTS 2019
i: India received the Award of Excellence for ‘Best in Show’ at the New York Times Travel Show 2019, the largest travel show in North America. India was honoured during the Closing Bell Ceremony at the New York Stock Exchange.
ii: The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India participated as the ‘Presenting Partner’ in the New York Times Travel Show (NYTTS 2019)organised at Jacob K Javits Centre, New York.
India, China Sign Protocol For Exports Of Indian Tobacco Leaves To China
i: India and China have signed the protocol for exports of Indian tobacco leaves to China. The protocol was signed during the recent visit of Commerce Secretary, Dr. Anup Wadhawan to Beijing.
ii: Dr.Wadhawan also had the bilateral meeting with Vice Minister of General Administration of China Customs, Zhang Jiwen for examining market access and quarantine issues for India’s agriculture and allied products.
- China Capital: Beijing, Currency: Renminbi.
Kartik Sharma Wins New South Wales Men’s Amateur Golf Championship
i: India’s Kartik Sharma won the New South Wales men’s Amateur Golf Championship in Australia. Kartik notched up a magnificent win over Australia’s Nathan Barberie in the scheduled 36-hole final to emerge as champion.
Rohit Paudel of Nepal Youngest Batsman To Hit International Half-Century
i: Nepal batsman Rohit Paudel has become the youngest male cricketer to score an international fifty at the age of 16 years and 146 days, breaking Sachin Tendulkar’s previous mark.
ii: He is also the youngest man to score a one-day international half-century, beating Shahid Afridi, who smashed a 37-ball century in an incredible first inning against Sri Lanka aged 16 and 217 days. Indian legend Tendulkar scored his maiden Test fifty when 16 years and 213days old.
Ranks & Reports
India Replaces Japan To Become Second-Largest Crude Steel Producer
i: India has replaced Japan as the world’s 2nd largest steel producing country, while China is the largest producer of crude steel, accounting for more than 51% of production, according to the World Steel Association.
ii: China’s share increased from 50.3% in 2017 to 51.3% in 2018. India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, up 4.9% from 101.5 MT in 2017.
Data Protection Day: Jan 28
i: The Council of Europe had launched a Data Protection Day to be celebrated each year on 28 January, the date on which the Council of Europe’s data protection convention, known as “Convention 108”, was opened to the signature.
ii: Data Protection Day is now celebrated globally and is called Data Privacy Day outside Europe.
Former Defence Minister George Fernandes Passes Away
i: Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passed away in Delhi at the age of 88. Fernandes also served as the Railways Minister in former Prime Minister VP Singh’s government.
ii: His last stint as a parliamentarian was as a Rajya Sabha MP between August 2009 and July 2010.
Take quizzes and check your score instantly. Moreover, this quiz contains expected questions which match the Exam Pattern of most of the Competitive Exams. This will give you a fair idea about in which section you need to focus more on the upcoming competitive exams.
India’s Fastest Indigenous Train Renamed As Vande Bharat Express
i. India’s fastest indigenous train which will run from Delhi to Varanasihas been named as Vande Bharat Express. Its previous name was Train 18. The new name has been given after taking suggestions from the general public.
ii. It is a train built completely in India by Indian engineers in a span of 18 months and it is an example that it is possible to make world-class trains under Make in India.
- Piyush Goyal is the present Railways Minister of India.
- John Mathai was the 1st Railways Minister of Independent India.
- The 16-coach train has been built by the Integral Coach Factory, Chennai and cover the distance in 8 hours. It is the first locomotive-less train in the country.
Assam Rifles Creates History By Showcasing “Nari Shakti” At Parade
i. The all-women Assam Rifles contingent created history this year by participating for the first time in a Republic Day (26th January) parade. Contingents of the Navy, India Army Service Corps and a unit of Corps of Signals were all led by women officers.
ii. Capt Shikha Surabhi from the Corps of Signals became the first woman to perform bike stunts, alongside her male teammates as part of daredevils. Lt. Bhavana Kasturi, a lady officer, for the first time led a contingent of the India Army Service Corps and Capt Bhavna Syal, a third-generation officer in the armed forces, led the transportable satellite terminal’s contingent.
PM Modi Dedicates Kochi Refinery Project to Nation
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated Kochi Refinery project and IOCL LPG Bottling Plant to the Nation in Kochi, Kerala. Prime Minister also laid a foundation stone for Petrochemical Complex.
ii. PM also laid the foundation stone for Skill Development Institute at Ettumanoor. He laid the foundation stone of AIIMS in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai.
Roshni, An Android App Developed To Help Visually Impaired Identify Notes
i. The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar, has developed an app Roshni that would help the Visually Impaired to recognise currency notes. The app can recognise both old and new notes and gives audio information as to which note you are holding in your hands.
ii. This app was launched in Chandigarh. Roshni is the first Android app, which recognise INR currency notes.
Ministry of Defence Launched ‘RDP INDIA 2019′ App
i. As a new initiative in sync with the Digital India campaign of the Government, Ministry of Defence had launched a mobile app ‘RDP India 2019’ on the Republic Day, with the intent of making available the highlights of the Republic Day event.
ii. This app contains information about the Parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, including Order of the March, details of the tableaux presented by different States and Ministries, children cultural performances, fly past and names of recipients of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019.
BFW, Universal Robots To Co-Create Robots For MSMEs
i. Bharat Fritz Werner Ltd (BFW), a Bengaluru-based machining solution provider, has partnered with Universal Robots, a Danish robot maker and a leader in collaborative robots, to co-create robots for MSME sector.
ii. BFW and Universal Robots plan to redefine the production processes by deploying the robotic arms through modular, flexible and user-friendly integration solution platform — Arjun.
Madya Pradesh Launched Employment Scheme “Yuva Swabhiman Yojana” For Urban Youth
i. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced the launch of the ‘Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ for youths from the economically weaker sections in urban areas.
ii. Under this scheme, 100 days of employment will be provided to youths from economically weaker sections in urban areas. They will also be given skill training.
- Anandiben Patel is the Present Governor of Madhya Pradesh.
Kerala To Launch ‘Pravasi Dividend Pension Scheme’
i. The Kerala government has floated a ‘Pravasi Dividend Pension Scheme’ to provide regular pension to Non-Resident Keralites on a one-time payment of Rs 5 lakh. Governor P. Sathasivam announced the scheme during his address to the state Assembly.
ii. There are 2.1 million migrants from Kerala across the world. A non-resident Keralite can invest an amount ranging from Rs 5 lakh to Rs 50 lakh, as a whole or as 6 installments paid within 3 years. Each beneficiary will be entitled to receive pensions ranging from Rs 5,000-50,000 every month, 3 years after the total amount is deposited, at a dividend rate of 12%.
Sugarcane Juice Declared As National Drink Of Pakistan
i. The Pakistan government declared sugarcane juice as the “national drink” of the country. They came at this decision after asking People’s opinion in twitter to choose one among orange, carrot and sugarcane.
ii. According to the poll, 7,616 people or 81% cast their votes favouring sugarcane juice, 15% voted for orange juice while 4% chose carrot.
Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards 2019 Announced: Complete List of Winners
i. “Black Panther” took home the top award for best performance by a cast in a motion picture at the 2019 Screen Actors Guild Awards. On the TV front, “This Is Us” nabbed the ensemble award for drama, while “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” won the comedy prize. The award ceremony was held at the Shrine Auditorium in LA.
ii. The 25th annual ceremony highlights performances across film and television. Among individual acting awards, Rami Malek was recognized for playing the iconic Queen frontman Freddie Mercury in “Bohemian Rhapsody” and Glenn Close won for “The Wife.”
D N Chakraborty Gets Assam Republic Day Journalism Award
i. Assam government has conferred the Republic Day Journalism Award 2019 to veteran journalist and former editor Dhirendra Nath Chakraborty. Chakraborty has been honored for his lifelong contribution to journalism in the state.
ii. The award comprises Rupees one lakh in cash, a citation, the Assamese ‘xoraai’ (the bell metal memento presented as an honour), ‘jaapi’ (headgear) and an angavastra.
Ranks and Reports
India 6th in GDPR Readiness Index: CISCO
i. Nearly 65% of Indian organizations are better prepared for the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), making the country the sixth leading nation globally in the GDPR readiness index, global networking leader, according to CISCO.
ii. The GDPR, which focused on increasing protection for EU residents’ privacy and personal data, came into force in May 2018 and organizations globally have been working steadily towards getting ready for it.
Indonesia Masters Title 2019: Complete List of Winners
i. The 2019 Indonesia Masters, officially the DAIHATSU Indonesia Masters 2019, is a badminton tournament that takes place at the Istora Gelora Bung Karno in Indonesia and has a total purse of $350,000.
ii. Anders Antonsen won the men’s singles title and Saina Nehwal won the women’s singles title.
Ace shuttler Saina Nehwal won her first Indonesia Masters title after three-time world champion Carolina Marin limped out of the final due to a leg injury.
Australian Open 2019 Concludes: Complete List of Winners
i. The Australian Open is a tennis tournament held annually in Melbourne Park, Australia. The 2018 Australian Open was the 107th edition of the tournament.
ii. Novak Djokovic from Serbia won the Men’s Singles event and Naomi Osaka of Japan won the Women’s singles event. Roger Federer was the defending champion.
Holder Becomes 1st Top-Ranked Windies Test All-Rounder After Sobers
i. West Indies captain Jason Holder has become the first player from the country in 45 years to top the list of all-rounders in the International Cricket Council Test Player Rankings after slamming an unbeaten double-century that helped script a memorable 381-run win over England in the first Test in Bridgetown.
ii. West Indies legend Gary Sobers was at the top last in March 1974 and Holder has now emulated him following his 202 not out off 229 balls in the second innings in Bridgetown, which is the third highest score by a number eight batsman in Test history after the Pakistan pair of Wasim Akram (257 not out) and Imtiaz Ahmed (209).
NIC Hosts conclave on New Technologies
On January 22,2019, Technical Advisory Group (TAG) of National Informatics Centre (NIC) inaugurated a two-day Technology Conclave in New Delhi.The conclave was inaugurated by Shri Ajay Sawhney, Secretary, Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology.The theme of the conclave was “Technologies for NextGen Governance”.It concluded on 23rd January,2019.
i. This Technology Conclave is considered to be the first move through a decade of digital technology and setting our path wide toward the New Digital India.
ii. The technologies covered during this conclave were Big Data and Advanced Analytics, Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, Deep Learning Methodologies, Cloud Native Scalable Applications, Micro-services, Software Defined Infrastructure and Cyber Security.
About New Delhi:
♦ Capital: New Delhi
♦ Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal
♦ Governor: Anil Baijal
Amul Launches Camel Milk With ‘Numerous Benefits’ In Select Markets
On January 24th,2019 Gujarat Co-operative Milk Marketing Federation Ltd, venture of diary brand Anand Milk Union Limited or Amul has launched the Camel milk first time in the brand name of ‘Amul Camel Milk’ in selective areas of Gujarat.
i. Initially ‘Amul Camel Milk’ will be launched in areas like Gandhinagar, Ahmedabad and the Kutch of Gujarat.Price of 500ml will be Rs.50 and it should be refrigerated with shelf life of three days.Amul has already introduced the Camel Milk Chocolate.
India, China sign protocol for export of Indian tobacco to Chinese market
On January 21, 2019 a protocol was signed between India’s Commerce Secretary Anup Wadhawan and Zhang Jiwen, Vice Minister of General Administration of China Customs (GACC) accountable for examining market access and quarantine issues for India’s agriculture and allied products. Mr. Wadhawan was on a two-day visit to Beijing, China where his efforts with Chinese officials facilitated for the tobacco export to China.
The revival of the pyto-sanitary protocol with China will turn economically better for the farmers and also ameliorate Indian tobacco exports as China is the largest consumer and producer of tobacco with over 350 million smokers (world’s highest).
Nepal and India partnered to set up a Energy banking mechanism
On January 25,2019 In Pokhara,India and Nepal agreed to set up energy banking mechanismto make use of the surplus electricity in a essential and a useful way.
i. Nepal’s demand for electricity increased during the summer months, whereas in India demand increases during the monsoon season and slumps during winter.
ii. This partnership will help the Nepal export its surplus electricity to neighbour India during the monsoon season and import power during winter season .
BANKING & FINANCE
IRDAI sets panel headed by Praveen Kutumbe to identify systematically important insurers
A panel is all set by Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India (IRDAI) headed by Praveen Kutumbe,to identify domestically systematically important insurers (SIIs) and an augmented regulatory framework is logically established in this regard.
i. The rationale behind the idea for SIIs as explained by IRDAI states that any fiasco in the system will defy the essential services they provide to policy holders overall economic activity can start dampening.
ii. In this regard, a committee headed by Praveen Kutumbe, Member- Finance and Investment, IRDAI, has been asked to submit report in six months.
iii. It is also perceived that SIIs is pivotal for the smooth and incessant functioning of insurance services to the real economy.
♦ IRDAI (Insurance Regulatory Development Authority of India) was established in 1999, regulates and promotes the insurance and re-insurance business in India.
♦ Chairperson- Subhash Chandra Khuntia
♦ Headquarters- Hyderabad.
SBI Card & Etihad Guest tie-up to launch premium card for international travel
On 24th January 2019,SBI Card, the country’s second largest credit card issuer and Etihad Guest, the loyalty programme of Etihad Airways have weld their hand together for a specific visa credit card to come into play for members and Indian travellers.
i .The card will prove handy in two forms:-
- Etihad Guest SBI Card
- Etihad Guest SBI Premier Card
ii. It has been launched in order to confront the constraints of international travel. It is a promise to backtrack the lifestyles of affluent and urban Indians to complement their travel experience. Besides that, it is anticipated that the Indians will boost their travelling frequency which in turn leads to global exposure substantially.
iii. It is an appealing programme through which its clients can start collecting reward points instantly.
About SBI Card:
♦ SBI Card Director & CEO- Hardayal Prasad.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
NCDEX, IRMA sign MoU to handhold farmer producer organisations
On January 24 2019, A MoU has been signed between The National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Ltd (NCDEX) and Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) to guide farmer producer organizations(FPOs) and allied institutions.
i. They provide their support through training sessions, handholding, and leadership development.
ii. IRMA’s students able to learn about commodity markets and also could provide training to agro sourcing professionals, skill upgrades of government officials, supportive awareness programmes and research.
National Commodity & Derivatives Exchange Limited (NCDEX)
♦ It is an online commodity exchange based in India.
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
♦ MD & CEO – Vijay Kumar
Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA)
♦ It is an autonomous institution located in Anand in Gujarat, India with the mandate of contributing to the professional management of rural organisations.
♦ Founder – Verghese Kurien
BSNL, French firm join hands to offer data services through SMS
On January 24 2019, Indian state-owned telecommunications BSNL and French company Be-Bound had signed an agreement to become partners to provide data connectivity through SMS in areas where there is no Internet connectivity or signal breaks.
i. BSNL Chairman and Managing Director Anupam Shrivastava informed that Be-Bound has been given patent and already developed this technology which will be embedded in mobile apps. This app used to send command to Be-Bound server if it does not get data connectivity for SMS-based connectivity.
ii. Be-Bound server will facilitate SMS connectivity after getting command from the app. The app will also send SMS from user’s account because for connectivity .The limit of 100 SMS per day per subscriber which is sufficient for this service.
About Be-Bound, Inc.
♦ Be-Bound optimizes existing networks to bring constant connectivity to all Android smartphones and IoT devices, enabling coverage for 95% of the world’s population without the need for any additional infrastructure investment. This technology is made for corporations, governments, mobile network operators, and developers to connect the unconnected, immediately.
♦ Founder : Yazid Chir
♦ Founded : 2011
♦ Parent organization : Altheia Group
Saab, AAI sign MoU over air traffic management solutions
On January 23, 2019, Swedish aerospace and defence company signed a memorandum of understanding with the Airports Authority of India (AAI) to improve air traffic management(ATM) solutions in airports
About the MoU
i. The MoU was signed by Vineet Gulati, Member (ANS) from AAI and Peter Engberg, Head of Traffic Management, Saab Business Area Industrial Products and Services.
ii. Saab and the AAI will jointly explore potential avenues for co-operation for automation system solutions in India
iii. Saab has ability to create Advanced-Surface Movement Guidance & Control System (A-SMGCS) and Surface Movement Radar (SR- 3), to Remote Towers which can be fitted at all types of airports.
iv. Saab’s ATM solutions are now deployed in Ahmedabad, Amritsar, Guwahati, Jaipur, Lucknow, Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai, New Delhi, Cochin and Bhubaneshwar.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Overview Of Padma Awards-2019
- On January 25,2019 President of India Ram Nath Kovind announced Padma Awards,which is the highest civilian Awards in the country.The Padma Awards are conferred under 3 categorized viz- Padma Vibhushan, Padma Bhushan and Padma Shri.
- President Ram Nath Kovind has approved conferment of 112 Padma Awards including one duo which is considered to be one award.The Padma Awards consist of 4 Padma Vibhushan award,14 Padma Bhushan Award and 94 Padma Shri awards.
Winners of Padma Vibhushan 2019:
|Ms. Teejan Bai||Art-Vocals-Folk||Chhattisgarh|
|Shri Ismail Omar Guelleh (Foreigner)||Public Affairs||Djibouti|
|Shri Anilkumar Manibhai Naik||Trade & Industry-Infrastructure||Maharashtra|
|Shri Balwant Moreshwar Purandare||Art-Acting-Theatre||Maharashtra|
Bharat Ratna Award 2019
On January 26, 2019,President Ram Nath Kovind announced the recipients of Bharat Ratna,the country’s highest civilian award,they are former president Pranab Mukherjee, social activist Nanaji Deshmukh (posthumously) and musician Dr Bhupen Hazarika (posthumously) in New Delhi
Details about the three recipients:
i. Pranab Mukherjee also known as Pranab Da , was the 13th President of India and served from 2012 until 2017.
ii. Nanaji Deshmukh, who died at the age of 94 in 2012, was a member of the Lok Sabha and represented the Balrampur in Uttar Pradesh. He also served as a nominated member of the Rajya Sabha from 1999 to 2005
iii. Bhupen Hazarika, legendary singer-composer from Assam, was awarded (posthumously) with this award. He was a recipient of Sangeet Natak Akademi Award, Padmashri and Padmabhushan. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the country’s second-highest civilian honour, in 2012. He died in November 2011 at the age of 85.
Tetra Pak wins ICC ‘Social Impact Award’ for Environment Sustainability
On 25th January 2019, ‘Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) awarded social impact award to Tetra Pak India, the world’s leading packaging and processing solutions provider under the category ‘Sustainable Environment category’.
i.The award recognizes Tetra Pak’s leading efforts in setting up a sustainable ecosystem.
ii.Tetra Pak in partnership with RUR conducted Go Green with Tetra Pak, Greenlife and Sahakari Bhandar ‘Alag Karo’ in 2010 to create awareness to the consumers about their role in waste management
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
GSKCH India gets CCI approval for merger deal with HUL
On January 25,2019 Competition Commission of India (CCI), fair trade regulator has approved the merger deal between GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH India) and Hindustan Unilever Limited (HUL) via an all-equity deal.
i. CCI also approved the merging of schemes between the two companies and the total business has been valued at Rs 31,700 crore.
ii. The scheme remains subject to the receipt of other necessary statutory and regulatory approvals under applicable laws, including by the NSE, SSE, SEBI, NCLT and the respective shareholders and creditors of HUL and the company.
iii. GSK CH India is familiar in the health food drinks with popular brands such as Horlicks and Boost. Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant Unilever had announced already in Dec 2018 about the acquirement brands Horlicks and Boost from GlaxoSmithKline in India.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Roshni, an Android app developed by IIT Ropar helps the visually impaired to recognise Indian currency notes
On January 24,2019, The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Ropar, has developed an app Roshni that would help the Visually Impaired to recognise currency notes. The app can recognise both old and new notes and gives audio information as to which note you are holding in your hands.This app was launched in Chandigarh. Roshni is the first Android app,which recognise INR currency notes.
About Roshni App:
i. The user have to bring the currency note in front of phone camera and the App would give a audio intimation about the currency note denomination
ii. This app is now formed enough to recognise Indian money of any denominations, whereas we can expect its upgrade version in further even to identify the Indian coins as well as foreign currency notes.
iii. This app is bug free and is available in beta version of the play store
BFW, Universal Robots to co-create robots for MSMEs
On 25th January 2019, Bharat Fritz Werner Ltd (BFW), Bengaluru-based machining solution provider has entered into Partnership with Universal Robots, a Danish robot maker and a leader in collaborative robots, to co-create Robots for Micro Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs).
i. By using a modular, flexible and user-friendly integration solution ‘Arjun’,BFW and Universal Robots had planned to redefine production processes for MSMEs.
ii. The Partnership between the two companies will dramatically improve productivity, quality and working conditions in the MSME segment as they will automate and streamline repetitive industrial processes.
Government to launch Technology Mission Centre on Solar Energy & Water Treatment in Chennai
on 25th January 2019 Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan launched three important centres at IIT Madras in Chennai.
Implementation during the launch:
i. The first centre was DST –IITM Solar Energy Harnessing Centre which would focus on a wide range of research activities such as silicon solar cells that would provide high efficiency in India.
ii. Next on count was the DST-IITM Water –IC for SUTRAM of EASY WATER (DST- IITM Water Innovation Centre for Sustainable Treatment, Reuse and Management for Efficient, Affordable and Synergistic Solutions) established with an aim to undertake training programs on wastewater management, water treatment, sensor development, storm water management and distribution and collection systems.
iii. The third on count was the Test bed on Solar thermal desalination solutions which was established by IIT Madras and Empereal KGDS as a preventive measure in Naripaaiyur, Ramanathapuram District, Tamil Nadu with the aim to deliver customized technological solutions to prevalent water challenges in the arid coastal village located on the shores of the Bay of Bengal.
♦ Union Minister for Science & Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment, Forests & Climate Change- Dr. Harsh Vardhan
♦ Consituency: Chandni Chowk in Delhi
Important facts about chennai:
♦ Capital: Chennai
♦ Chief minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
♦ Districts: 33
French Oscar-winning composer Michel Legrand passed away aged 86 in Paris
On 26th January 2019, French music composer Michel Legrand died at the age of 86 in Paris.
i. Legrand won Oscar award three times.In 1969,he won the first award for the song “The Windmills of Your Mind” from the film “The Thomas Crown Affair”. In 1972,he won for the song “Summer of ’42” and “Yentl” in the year 1984.
ii. He also won five Grammys awards.
India poised to become world’s 5th largest economy: Modi
India is on the way to becoming the fifth largest economy in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said recently. He was addressing the India-South Africa Business Forumorganised jointly by Indian Industry Chambers CII, FICCI and Assocham in the presence of visiting South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.
- According to the projections released earlier this week by British consultancy multinational PwC, India is likely to surpass the UK in the 2019 rankings of world’s largest economies, knocking the latter from fifth to seventh place in the global table.
Health research money increased by Rs 147 crore in India
Public funding in India in the field of research and development for neglected diseases has increased significantly by Rs 135 crore since 2009, says a new report. The report conducted by G-Finder a project that tracks and reports on global investments into research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases suggested that funding from Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) increased by Rs 147 crore.
- Globally, the money invested in research and development has reached USD 3.5 billion, an increase by 7 per cent from the previous year. The largest funder, as per the report is the US government, which through its National Institutes of Health provided 39 per cent of the total.
WHO lists 10 threats to global health in 2019
The World Health Organization (WHO) has listed out 10 global health threats for 2019, adding that millions of lives will be at risk if these threats are not addressed. According to the WHO, the plan focuses on a triple billion target that includes ensuring 1 billion more people benefiting from access to universal health coverage, 1 billion more people being protected from health emergencies and 1 billion more people enjoying better health and well-being.
- Air pollution and climate change, Non-communicable diseases, Global influenza pandemic, Fragile and vulnerable settings, Antimicrobial resistance, Ebola and other high-threat pathogens, Weak primary health care, Vaccine hesitancy, Dengue & HIV are the health issues which need urgent attention.
MP announces employment scheme for urban poor youth
On the occasion of Republic Day, Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath announced the launch of the ‘Yuva Swabhiman Yojana’ for youths from the economically weaker sections in urban areas.
- Under this scheme, 100 days of employment will be provided to youths from economically weaker sections in urban areas. They will also be given skill training. While those in rural areas get employment under the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA), the urban poor youth are left out. This scheme will effectively cover them.
‘Nari Shakti’ announced as Oxford Dictionaries’ Hindi Word of the Year
Oxford Dictionaries announced that ‘Nari Shakti’ as its Hindi Word of the Year for 2018 at the ongoing Jaipur Literature Festival. The Hindi Word of the Year is a word or expression that has attracted a great deal of attention and reflects the ethos, mood or preoccupations of the past year.
- Derived from Sanskrit, Nari means ‘woman’ and Shakti means ‘power’. Today the term is used to symbolise women taking charge of their own lives.
China to become world’s biggest retail market in 2019: Research firms eMarket
China is poised to become the world’s top retail market in 2019, displacing the US. China’s retail sales this year will surpass that of the US by more than $100 billion, according to eMarketer’s latest worldwide retail and ecommerce forecast.
- This year, China’s total retail sales will grow 7.5% to reach $5.636 trillion. For comparison, US retail sales will grow 3.3% to reach $5.529 trillion. Growth rates are slowing for both countries, but China’s growth rate will exceed that of the US through 2022.
Parthasarathi Mukherjee to head Lakshmi Vilas Bank for another two years
Private sector Lakshmi Vilas Bank has reappointed Parthasarathi Mukherjee as its managing director when the lender is struggling to raise Rs 2000 crore from investors.
- Mukherjee will he at the helm for another two years. Reserve Bank of India has approved his reappointment.
- Extra info.:
Lakshmi Vilas Bank Headquarters: Chennai
NRL receives Best Miniratna PSU award
Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) has been awarded the best miniratna PSU in strategic performance (financial category) at the Governance Now Sixth PSU awards. The award, comprising of a trophy, was presented to NRL MD S K Barua by Member of Parliament Manoj Tiwari and veteran actress and social activist Poonam Dhillon at an award function held in New Delhi recently.
- Extra info.:
NRL HQ: Assam
Parent organization: Bharat Petroleum
ISRO Successfully Launched PSLV C44 Carrying Kalamsat & Microsat R
i. The Indian Space Research Organisation successfully launched the PSLV C 44 carrying Kalam sat and imaging satellite Microsat R. The satellite was launched from the Sathish Dhawan Space Centre Sriharikota, Andhra Pradesh.
ii. Kalamsat is a ten cm cube weighing one-kilogram communication satellite with a life span of two months.
- ISRO Director: K. Sivan, Headquarters: Bengaluru, Established in: 1969.
DRDO Launches Long Range Surface to Air Missile Off Odisha Coast
i. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test fired Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) from naval warship INS Chennai.
ii. The test was conducted off the coast of Odisha. The LR-SAM hit a low flying aerial target during the test.
- Dr G. Satheesh Reddy is the Secretary, Department of Defence R&D and Chairman, DRDO.
- DRDO was established in 1958.
- It Headquarters in New Delhi.
Telangana To Set Up ‘Save Tiger Protection Force’
i. The Telangana government has decided to form a ‘State Tiger Protection Force’ to save the Big Cat population in the State. The State Forest Protection Committee headed by Chief Secretary S K Joshi took the decision to form the STPF.
ii. The State and Central government will share the cost of the force on 40:60 basis. Fund amount of 2.25 Cr was also sanctioned to protect the tigers and to prevent forest fire accidents. The Committee decided to act tough against those felling forest trees and committing other related crimes.
Sultan Abdullah Elected New Malaysian King
i. Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah was elected as Malaysia’s new king by the members of the country’s royal families. The 59-year-old was earlier appointed the Sultan of the Malaysian state of Pahang.
ii. He replaced Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan, who stepped down recently, making it the first abdication in Malaysia’s history.
- Malaysia Capital: Kuala Lumpur, Currency: Malaysian ringgit.
IndiGo Appoints Ronojoy Dutta As New CEO
i. IndiGo owner InterGlobe Aviation has appointed Ronojoy Dutta as the new Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the company with immediate effect.
ii. Ronojoy Dutta will remain as the company CEO for the next five years.
Government Institutes Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar
i. The government has instituted an annual award titled Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar. It will be announced every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose. The Award carries a certificate and a cash prize of 51 lakh rupees.
ii. This year, 8th Battalion of National Disaster Response Force located at Ghaziabad has been selected for the Award for its commendable work in disaster management.
National Voters Day: 25 January
i. 25 January is celebrated every year as National Voters Day to spread awareness about the necessity of voting and to encourage young generation towards the voting rights.
ii. National Voters Day Theme 2019 is “No Voter to be left behind”. This is the ninth year of celebrating National Voters Day.
iii. 25th January is the foundation day of the Election Commission of India (ECI) which came into existence in 1950.
Johan Botha Announces Retirement From Cricket
i. Former South Africa all-rounder Johan Botha has announced his immediate retirement from all forms of Cricket. Botha played for South Africa in 5 test matches, 78 one-day internationals, and 40 T20 Internationals from 2005 to 2012.
ii. Botha captained the Proteas in 10 ODIs and took the team to the No. 1ranking after they defeated Australia 4-1 in Australia in 2009.
Sahitya Akademi Award Winning Bengali Writer Atin Bandyopadhyay Passes Away
i. Sahitya Akademi award winning Bengali writer Atin Bandyopadhyay passed away of brain stroke.
ii. Winner of 2001 Sahitya Akademi award for his compilation of short stories Panchashati Galpo, Bandyopadhyay had also penned popular fiction pieces like Nilkantha Pakhir Khonje, Aloukik Jaljaan, Nil Timi, Ekti Jaler Rekha in his illustrious career spanning over decades. He had also received the Bankim Puraskar (1998) for Dui Bharatbarsho.
Jnanpith Winning Hindi Writer Krishna Sobti Passes Away
i. Eminent Hindi author and essayist Krishna Sobti passed away in Delhi. She was 93. She was a recipient of many coveted awards like Sahitya Akademi, Jnanpith awards and was also offered Padma Bhushan, which she had declined.
ii. Some of her celebrated works include Daar Se Bichhudi, Mitro Marjani, Zindaginama, Dil-o-Danish, Badalom ke Ghere, Ai Ladki and Gujarat Pakistan Se Gujarat Hindustan.
Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Russell Baker Passes Away
i. Russell Baker, the Pulitzer Prize-winning writer who penned thousands of columns for The New York Times, and hosted the PBS television program “Masterpiece Theatre,” passed away in Leesburg, Va. He was 93.
ii. Baker won the Pulitzer Prize for commentary in 1979. It was the first Pulitzer for commentary awarded to a humorist.
Global Investors Summit Held In Chennai
i. Tamil Nadu Government organised the 2nd edition of Global Investor summit in Chennai. The state government would soon unveil e-vehicle policy to give a boost to electric vehicles manufacturing in the state.
ii. In the opening ceremony, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was the chief guest. Tamil Nadu government has allocated nearly Rs 75 crores to conduct the event.
- Tamil Nadu Governor: Banwarilal Purohit, Chief Minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami (AIADMK), Capital: Chennai (Madras).
PM Modi Launched Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana
i. Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched the Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana under which a group of Indian diaspora will be taken on a government-sponsored tour of religious places in India twice a year.
ii. The first batch of 40 Indian-origin people are at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and from here they will begin their tour.
IAFTX 2019: India Africa Field Training Exercise Held in Pune
i. The final planning conference to work out the modalities for Indian Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX)-2019 was conducted at Pune, Maharashtra.
ii. The joint training exercise is being conducted with more than a dozen African countries & India. It aims at synergysing humanitarian mine action and joint peace operations.
Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba Commissioned New Naval Air Base ‘INS Kohassa’
i. Indian Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba commissioned the new Naval Air Base ‘INS Kohassa’ at Diglipur in Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
ii. The airbase will be used to handle operations of helicopters and small aircraft like the Dornier. The new airbase in the northernmost part of the Andaman Nicobar Islands will be used for both Defence and civil aircraft.
2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 Held In Goa
i. Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) for AYUSH Shri Shripad Yesso Naik, inaugurated the 2nd World Integrated Medicine Forum 2019 on the ‘Regulation of Homeopathic Medical Products; Advancing global collaboration’ in Goa.
ii. The organizers of the forum are the Central Council for Research in Homeopathy, under the Ministry of AYUSH.
Venezuela Breaks Off Diplomatic Ties With The US
i. Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro has announced that he is breaking off diplomatic ties with the United States after his American counterpart Donald Trump recognized Opposition leader Juan Guaido as the South American country’s interim President.
ii. Nicolas Maduro gave all US diplomatic staff in Venezuela 72 hours to leave the country. The Venezuelan President accused the US government of attempting a coup d’etat.
- Venezuela Capital- Caracas, Currency- Venezuelan bolívar.
Ravneet Gill To Replace Rana Kapoor as Yes Bank MD and CEO
i. Yes Bank has appointed veteran banker Ravneet Singh Gill as its new MD & CEO and the lender has also received the RBI’s approval for the same.He will join the bank on or before March 1, 2019.
ii. Mr Gill is currently the chief Deutsche Bank’s India operations. Gill joined Deutsche Bank in 1991 and has worked across different businesses including corporate banking, capital markets and wealth management.
- Yes Bank Headquarters in Mumbai.
Piyush Goyal Named Interim Finance Minister
i. Piyush Goyal has been named the interim Finance Minister and interim Minister of Corporate Affairs during Arun Jaitley’s indisposition. Goyal will retain his existing portfolios of coal and railways.
ii. Union Minister Arun Jaitley, 66, had left for the United States for a regular medical check-up. Jaitley will be designated as a minister without a portfolio during his period of indisposition.
Ranks and Reports
India’s Growth to Accelerate From 7.4% to 7.6% in FY20: UN Report
i. With robust private consumption and 7.4% GDP growth rate in the current fiscal, the Indian economy is expected to accelerate at a rate of 7.6% in 2019-20, according to a report by the United Nations titled United Nations’ World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2019.
3 Indian expats From UAE Win Prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award
i. Three Indian expats from the UAE are amongst those who won the prestigious Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award the highest honor conferred on Indian diaspora. President Ram Nath Kovind conferred the award on Girish Pant, Surender Singh Kandhari and Dr. Zulekha Daudand other awardees at the Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) Convention in Varanasi.
ii. Girish Pant is a social worker, Surender Singh Kandhari is chairman of the Gurudwara Guru Nanak Darbar Sikh Temple and a philanthropist, businessman, Dr Zulekha is founder and chairperson of Zulekha Healthcare Group.
National Girl Child Day: 24 January
i. National Girl Child Day is celebrated in India on 24 January. Women and Child Development Ministry celebrated the National Girl Child Day 2019 at Pravasi Bharti Kendra, New Delhi. The programme also observed the anniversary of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP) Scheme.
ii. The theme of National Girl Child Day 2019 was “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow” and celebrating with objectives of generating awareness on the issue of declining Child Sex Ratio (CSR).
- Maneka Sanjay Gandhi is the Union Cabinet Minister for Women & Child Development.
International Day of Education: 24 January
i. Today (24th January) is International Day of Education.
ii. On 3 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly adopted with consensus a resolution proclaiming 24 January as International Day of Education, in celebration of the role of education for peace and development.
Important Cabinet Approvals: 23rd January 2019
i. The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given the following set of approvals. The important Cabinet Approvals are given as follows:
ii. The Cabinet has approved-
1. MoC between India and Japan in the field of Food Processing Industry.
2. Extension of Delhi Metro corridor from Dilshad Garden to New Bus Adda Ghaziabad
3. MoU between India and Kuwait for cooperation on the Recruitment of Domestic Workers
4. Amendment to the ‘Framework on Currency Swap Arrangement for SAARC Member Countries’ to incorporate ‘Standby Swap’ amounting to USD 400 million operated within the overall size of the facility.
5. Creation of the National Bench of the Goods and Services Tax Appellate Tribunal (GSTAT).
Indian Navy Coordinates Largest Ever Coastal Defence Exercise: SEA VIGIL
i. Ten years after “26/11”, the Indian Navy commenced the largest coastal defence exercise off the Indian coast.
ii. Exercise SEA VIGIL, a first of its kind, is being undertaken along the entire 7516.6 km coastline and Exclusive Economic Zone of India and is involving all the 13 coastal States and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders, including the fishing and coastal communities.
Omega Healthcare Inks MoU With IIIT-Bangalore
i. Omega Healthcare Management Services has signed a pact with IIIT-Bangalore for advanced use of the latest technology in providing healthcare solutions.
ii. The MoU is aimed at building industry-grade AI engines that can be embedded as part of Omega’s business solutions to solve healthcare business challenges.
JNPT Becomes Only Indian Port To Be Listed Amongst World’s Top 30 Container Ports
i. The Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), India’s premier container port got listed amongst the top 30 container ports globally, as per the latest Lloyds Report. JNPT notched up five spots, to be 28th on the list, compared to its previous ranking.
ii. This is a validation of all the efforts and strategic initiatives being implemented at JNPT in order to enhance overall port efficiency.
Arunachal Government Declares Pakke Hornbill Fest As ‘State Festival’
i. Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister, Pema Khandu declared Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) as the “State Festival” at Seijosa in East Kameng district, Arunachal Pradesh. Pakke Paga Hornbill Festival (PPHF) is only conservation festival of Arunachal Pradesh.
ii. He announced that Arunachal Pradesh Forest Department will fund the festival from 2020 and permanent infrastructure will be constructed for the festival ground.
- Arunachal Pradesh Governor: Brigadier BD Mishra (Retd).
- The PPHF festival was celebrated first time in 2015 to recognize the role played by the resident Nyishi tribe in conserving hornbills in the Pakke Tiger Reserve (PTR).
Andhra Pradesh Cabinet Decides To Give Quota For Kapus Community, EBCs
i. Andhra Pradesh cabinet has decided to cater 5% reservation each for Kapu community and the economically backward classes (EBCs)among the forward castes. The cabinet approved the decision of doubling the welfare pensions given under the NTR Bharosa Scheme.
ii. Pensions of Rs 1000 and Rs 1500 are doubled to Rs 2000 and Rs 3000 respectively.The cabinet decided to give exemption of life tax for autos and quarterly tax for tractors.
- ESL Narasimhan is the present Governor of Andhra Pradesh.
- Chandrababu Naidu is the present CM of Andhra Pradesh.
Government Constitutes NITI Aayog-led Committee To Monitor Pricing Of Drugs
i. The government has constituted a high power committee to monitor the pricing of medicines and healthcare products. The committee will be headed by a Niti Aayog member (Health).
ii. The Standing Committee on Affordable Medicines and Health Products (SCAMHP) will be the recommending body to the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA).
President Ram Nath Kovind Confers Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019
i. The President of India, Ram Nath Kovind conferred the Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019. The awards were presented to 26 shortlisted awardees including one joint award for National Child Award (now renamed as Bal Shakti Puraskar) under the category of innovation, scholastic, sports, art and culture, social service and bravery.
ii. Under National Child Welfare Awards category, 2 individuals and 3 institutions were awarded. The names of awardees were finalized by the National Selection Committee under the Chairpersonship of Minister of Women and Child Development, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi.
Noted Gujarati Poet Sitanshu Yashashchandra Awarded Saraswati Samman 2017
i. Noted Gujarati poet Sitanshu Yashashchandra has been awarded Saraswati Samman, 2017, for his poetry collection in Gujarati named “Vakhar”. This is the 27th edition of the prestigious award instituted by K.K.Birla foundation.
ii. The award comprises of a citation and a plaque apart from award money of 15 lakh rupees. Mr. Yashashchandra, recipient of the Padmashri in 2006, is known for seamlessly blending history with poetry.
Facebook To Set Up Institute For AI Ethics With Initial Investment Of $7.5 Million
i. Social media giant Facebook announced that it will create an independent Institute for Ethics in Artificial intelligence (AI) with an initial investment of $7.5 million over a period of five years.
ii. Technical University of Munich (TUM) in Germany will collaborate with this project which aims to explore fundamental issues affecting the use and impact of AI.
- Facebook Co-founder, Chairman and CEO: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook India Head: Ajith Mohan.
Vodafone Idea Board Approves Rights Issue for Rs25,000 crore
i. India’s largest telecom operator by subscriber base Vodafone Idea announced that its board had approved a rights issue of Rs25,000 crore to existing eligible equity shareholders in line with the recommendations of a capital raising committee it had set up in November 2018.
ii. The fund infusion will come at a time when it is critical for the company to raise resources to compete in the telecom market disrupted by the entry of Reliance Jio in September 2016, which brought down tariffs, hitting revenue streams of other operators.
- Kumar Mangalam Birla is the chairman of Vodafone Idea merged entity.
Ranks and Reports
India Ranks 80th On Global Talent Competitiveness Ranking: Survey
i. India has moved up one position to rank 80th on the global talent competitive index, but remains a laggard among the BRICS nations.
ii. Switzerland continues to top the list, released on the first day of the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting at Davos by INSEAD business school in partnership with Tata Communications and Adecco Group.
iii. The top 3 countries in the list are:
3. The United States.
Rishabh Pant Named ICC Emerging Player Of The Year
i. Rishabh Pant was named the International Cricket Council’s (ICC)Emerging Player Of The Year following an impressive show in India’s first-ever Test series win in Australia.
ii. With an unbeaten 159-run knock in the 4th Test in Sydney, Rishabh Pant became the first Indian wicket-keeper to score a Test century in Australia.
Mohammed Shami Becomes Fastest Indian Bowler To Reach 100 ODI Wickets
i. Mohammed Shami became the fastest Indian bowler to claim 100 ODI wickets, during the first one-dayer against New Zealand at Napier. Shami reached the milestone in his 56th match, with the wicket of opener Martin Guptill.
ii. The Indian record was previously held by Irfan Pathan, who got there in his 59th match, against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi in 2006. The world record is currently held by Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, who needed only 44 games to reach the mark.
Former Indian Hockey Player Raghbir Bhola Passes Away
i. Former Indian hockey player Raghbir Singh Bhola, a two-time Olympic medallist, has passed away aged 92. In 2000, he was honored with the Arjuna Award for his achievements in hockey.
ii. He served in diverse roles such as the member of the IHF selection committee, FIH international umpire, manager of the Indian hockey team, TV commentator and government observer at the Olympic Games.
15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas: All You Need To Know
i. The Prime Minister, Narendra Modi inaugurated the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh.
ii. For the first time, the three day long convention is being organized in Varanasi from 21-23 January, 2019. The theme of PBD Convention 2019 is “Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India”.
India Signs MoU With Sri Lanka to Modernize Facilities At Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Batticaloa
i. India and Sri Lanka signed an MoU to provide modern infrastructural facilities to Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies of Eastern University in Batticaloa district of Sri Lanka.
ii. The project involves refurbishment of the auditorium and construction of a modern building complex with recording cum editing facilities and supply vehicles to the institute through a grant of over 27 crore Sri Lankan rupees from the Government of India.
- Ranil Wickremsinghe is the Prime minister of Sri Lanka and Maithripala Sirisena is the President.
India Steel 2019 Exhibition and Conference Begins in Mumbai
i. India Steel 2019 Exhibition and Conference had begun in Mumbai.The three-day event organized by the Ministry of Steel helped chart out the future growth path of the steel industry.
ii. The event provided an opportunity for all the stakeholders to deliberate and identify ways to contribute towards building a robust roadmap for the further growth of the steel sector.
- Chaudhary Birender Singh is the Cabinet Minister of Steel of India.
Dell Launches India’s First Policy Hack for Teachers
i. Dell, as a part of its three-city PolicyHack series, hosted an interactive hackathon, where teachers focused on their learning journey in New Delhi. The initiative allows the teaching fraternity to come up with solutions for problems faced by teachers inside and outside the classroom.
ii. PolicyHack in India was conducted at two levels. Over 80 schools pan-India took part in it. The maiden hackathon for teachers was won by the Government Boys Senior Secondary School No 1 Ghonda, Delhi who presented the most promising and innovative ideas and solutions.
Andry Rajoelina Sworn In As Madagascar President
i. Madagascar president, Andry Rajoelina, has sworn into office after taking the oath in Antananarivo before nine judges of the High Constitutional Court.
ii. He won nearly 56% to defeat another former president, Marc Ravalomanana.
- Madagascar Capital: Antananarivo, Prime Minister: Christian Ntsay.
China’s Economy Grew At 6.6% In 2018, Slowest Rate In 3 Decades
i. China’s economy grew at 6.6% in 2018, its slowest rate in almost 3 decades. The world’s 2nd biggest economy was grappling with the effects of the current trade war with the US and declining exports.
ii. In the 3 months to December, the economy grew 6.4% from a year earlier, down from 6.5 % in the previous quarter. China’s National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) stated that last year’s growth rate was down from 6.8% in 2017 and was the lowest since 1990 when the growth rate was 3.9%.
- China Capital: Beijing, Currency: Renminbi.
Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu Presented Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards and SAGY Awards
i. The Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu presented the 2nd Chhatra Vishwakarma Awards to students and their mentors and Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) Awards to institutions at an event organized by All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) in New Delhi.
Ranjani Murali Wins ‘Woman’s Voice Award’ At AKLF 2019
i. US Based Indian poet Ranjani Murali was awarded the “Woman’s Voice Award” at the Apeejay Kolkata Literary Festival (AKLF). The Objective of the award is to recognize and encourage creative writing by women in India. The Award carried a cash prize of Rs 1 Lakh along with a citation.
ii. Ranjani Murali’s second book “Clearly you are ESL” won the Great Indian Poetry Collectives (GIPCs) Editor’s Choice award. Her first book “Blind Screens” was published in July 2017.
2018 ICC Awards: Virat Kohli Takes 3 Major Honours
i. Virat Kohli has become the first player in history to win the Sir Garfield Sobers Trophy for ICC Cricketer of the Year, the ICC Men’s Test Player of the Year and the ICC ODI Player of the Year awardsfollowing an extraordinary 2018.
ii. The International Cricket Council also announced the men’s Test and ODI teams of the year with Virat Kohli named captain of both sides.
- ICC Chairperson: Shashank Manohar, Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
- Manu Sawhney has been recently appointed as the ICC’s new Chief Executive Officer (CEO).
Bharat Ratna CNR Rao Chosen For International Prize For Materials Research
i. Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Researchannounced that the Centre for Advanced Materials of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) chose Eminent Scientist and Bharat Ratna recipient CNR Rao for the first Sheikh Saud International Prize for Materials Research.
ii. The Award containing a plaque, a medal and a Cash Prize of USD 100000 will be presented by Sheikh Saud to Professor CNR Rao.
- United Arab Emirates Capital: Abu Dhabi, Currency: UAE dirham.
- CNR Rao was awarded the highest Civilian award, Bharat Ratna in 2014 and presently he is working as the Honorary President of Jawaharlal Nehru Centre for Advanced Scientific Research.
Ranks and Reports
India Among The Most Trusted Nations Globally: Report
i. India is among the most trusted nations globally when it comes to government, business, NGOs and media. The 2019 Edelman Trust Barometer report, noted that the Global Trust Index witnessed a marginal increase of 3 points to 52. China topped the Trust Indexamong both the informed public and the general population segments.
ii. India was at the 2nd place in the informed public category and 3rd place in the general population category. The findings are based on an online survey in 27 markets covering over 33,000 respondents.
Microsoft Launches e-Commerce Platform for Handloom Weavers
i. Microsoft India has launched a new e-commerce platform re-weave.in for handloom weavers under its Project ReWeave, part of its philanthropic initiatives.
ii. This e-commerce platform will help connect artisans to buyers directly, enabling them to expand to newer customers and markets.
- Microsoft CEO: Satya Nadella, Headquarters: Washington, United States.
15th Pravasi Bhartiya Divas Begins At Varanasi
i. The 15th edition of Pravasi Bhartiya Divas begins at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. The 3 day event is being organized in Varanasi for the first time.
ii. The theme this year is, ‘Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India’. Several world leaders of Indian origin, including the Chief Guest Mr. Pravind Kumar Jugnauth, Prime Minister of Mauritius, will take part in the event and share their insights on the theme.
India and JICA Sign Loan Agreements on Loan to India
i. India and Japan-India Cooperative Actions (JICA) signed the loan agreements under the Japanese Official Development Assistance Loan Program in New Delhi.
ii. The agreements under the Japanese Official Development Assistance Loan were signed for two projects. These are:
(a) Project for the Construction of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road (Phase 1) for Japanese Yen 40.074 billion (around Rs 2470 Crore), and
(b) Program for Japan-India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goals in India for Japanese Yen 15.000 billion (around Rs 950 Crore).
2-Day Agri Vision 2019 Conference Concludes in Hyderabad
i. The 2-day Agri Vision 2019 Conference on envisioning Agro solutions for Smart and Sustainable Agriculture was held in Hyderabad. It was inaugurated by Vice-President M Venkaiah Naidu.
ii. The conference was jointly organized by Professor Jayashankar Telangana State Agricultural University (PJTSAU), Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) and Cornell University, USA.
IIT-H Launches Full-Fledged B.Tech In Artificial Intelligence
i. Indian Institute of Technology-Hyderabad (IIT-H) has announced the launch of a full-fledged bachelor’s programme in Artificial Intelligence (AI) technology from the new academic session, a first for the countryand only the third globally.
ii. Besides IIT, Carnegie Mellon University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), both of which are in the US, offer full-fledged B.Tech programmes in AI. The new course will have 20 seats and the eligibility is clearing the JEE-Advanced test.
Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman Inaugurated The Diffo Bridge In Arunachal Pradesh
i Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 426 meters long Diffo Bridge over Chipu River in Lower Dibang Valley District of Arunachal Pradesh. Border Roads Organization (BRO) has constructed the bridge along Indo-China border.
ii. The construction of the bridge began in 2011. The total cost to build the bridge was Rs 4,847.83 lakh and was funded by the Union ministry of road transport and highways.
- Arunachal Pradesh CM: Pema Khandu, Governor: B. D. Mishra,Capital- Itanagar.
Nepal’s Central Bank Announces Ban of Indian Notes Above Rs100
i. Nepal’s central bank has banned the use of Indian currency notes of Rs 2,000, Rs 500 and Rs 200 denominations, a move that could affect Indian tourists visiting the Himalayan nation where Indian currency is widely used.
ii. Nepal Rastra Bank issued a circular prohibiting Nepali travellers, banks and financial institutions from holding or carrying and trading Indian bank notes higher than Rs 100.
- Nepal’s central bank is called as Nepal Rashtra Bank.
- It was established in 1956 under the Nepal Rashtra Bank Act 1955.
- Dr. Chiranjibi Nepal is the Governor of Nepal Rashtra Bank.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Lofven Reelected For Second Term
i. The Swedish Parliament approved Stefan Lofven as Prime Ministerfor a second four-year term.
- Sweden Capital- Stockholm, Currency- Swedish krona.
Rio de Janeiro Named As 1st World Capital of Architecture for 2020
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has named the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro as the World Capital of Architecture for 2020.
ii. Rio will be the first city to receive the title under a programme launched together by UNESCO and the International Union of Architects (UIA) in November 2018. The city beat Paris and Melbourne to get the position.
- France’s Audrey Azoulay- 11th DG of UNESCO, UNESCO Headquarters- Paris, France.
Arab Economic And Social Development Summit Held In Beirut
i. The Arab Economic and Social Development Summit held in Lebanon’s capital Beirut.
ii. The leaders of many Arab countries took part in the summit aimed to make a joint statement on a 29-item agenda that ranges from discussions on an Arab free trade zone and the economic effect of Syrian refugees on host countries.
WEF Annual Meet Begins in Switzerland
i. The World Economic Forum (WEF) annual meet had begun in Davos, Switzerland. The meeting will continue for 5 days.
ii. The theme of the event would be ‘Globalization 4.0: Shaping a Global Architecture in the Age of the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.
- The founder and Chairman of WEF- Klaus Schwab.
- WEF Headquarters in Switzerland.
Ranks and Reports
India To Surpass UK in World’s Largest Economy Rankings in 2019: PwC
i. India is likely to surpass the United Kingdom in the world’s largest economy rankings in 2019, to become the world’s fifth largest economy, according to a report by global consultancy firm PwC.
ii. PwC’s Global Economy Watch report projects real GDP growth of 1.6% for the UK, 1.7% for France and 7.6% for India in 2019.
iii. The US was the world’s largest economy with a size of 19.39 trillion dollars, followed by China at 12.23 trillion dollars at the second place in 2017.
MP Anurag Thakur Honoured With Sansad Ratna Award
i. Himachal Pradesh MP Anurag Thakur has been bestowed with Sansad Ratna Award for his distinguished performance as a parliamentarian under Jury Committee Special Award category.
ii. Thakur became the first BJP MP to receive the Jury Committee award. 12 parliamentarians were honored with the Sansad Ratna award, which was set up in 2010 on the suggestion of ex-President APJ Abdul Kalam.
- The Sansad Ratna Award was set up & launched in 2010 by Former President Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.
RBI Approves Appointment of V Vaidyanathan as MD, CEO of IDFC First Bank
i. The Reserve Bank of India has approved the appointment of V Vaidyanathan as MD and CEO of IDFC First Bank for a period of three years.
ii. In December 2018, IDFC Bank and non-banking financial company Capital First completed their merger, creating a combined loan asset book of Rs 1.03 lakh crore for the merged entity IDFC First Bank.
- IDFC First Bank Headquarters in Mumbai.
Ankita Raina Wins ITF’s Tournament In Singapore
i. India’s Ankita Raina has won the International Tennis Federation’s25,000-dollar Women’s tournament in Singapore. In the Final, Ankita defeated top seed Arantxa Rus of the Netherlands.
ii. She will play two more tournaments before gearing up for the Fed Cup,starting in the first week of February at Astana, Kazakhstan.
World’s Oldest Man Masazo Nonaka Passes Away At 113
i. The world’s oldest man, Masazo Nonaka of Japan, has died at the age of 113.
ii. Nonaka, who was officially recognized as the oldest male in the world by Guinness World Records in April 2018, passed away at his home in the north of Japan’s Hokkaido island.