Janaushadhi Diwas is being celebrated across the country
i. Janaushadhi Diwas is being celebrated across the country on 07th March. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will address five thousand Janaushadhi stores across the country through video-conferencing on the occasion.
ii. He will also interact with owners of Janaushadhi Kendras and beneficiaries of the scheme. More than five thousand 50 Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana Kendras, PMBJP, are functional in 652 districts.
UK CM Rawat lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project
i. Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat has laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project which is considered to be a tourist novelty. The Rs 300-crore ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years.
ii. Poma, a French company which manufactures cable-driven projects, will provide the technical support to the ropeway which will be built on the PPP mode.
Ancient tribal language Gondi to be taught in tribal districts of MP
i. In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts. Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath has decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state’s tribal-dominated districts.
CCEA approves Rs 2,790 cr interest subvention on loans to sugar mills
i. The CCEA has approved Rs 2,790 crore interest subvention for extending loans by banks to sugar mills. This is in addition to Rs 1,332 crore already approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) in June 2018.
ii. The interest subvention is for extending loans of Rs 12,900 crore by banks to sugar mills under the scheme for extending financial assistance to sugar mills for enhancement and augmentation of ethanol production capacity.
India signs the loan agreement with World Bank Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project
i. India has signed a loan agreement with the World Bank for 96 Million US dollars for additional financing of Uttarakhand Disaster Recovery Project.
ii. Finance Ministry in a release stated the World Bank has been supporting the State Government since 2014 to restore housing and rural connectivity and to build the resilience of communities.
Government announces new Rs 20 coin
i. The Centre has announced a new Rs 20 coin which will come in 12-edged polygon (dodecagon) shape. The government is also planning to release new coins of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10. However, the govt has not announced the exact date for the issuance of these new series coins.
ii. The Finance Ministry stated that the new Rs 20 coin will be made in copper, zinc and nickel. It will be 27mm (millimeters) and weigh 8.54 grams. The Lion Capitol symbol of Ashoka Pillar with the legend “Satyamev Jayate” below it will be inscribed on its front side. The words “Bharat” in Hindi and “INDIA” in English will be there on the right and left-hand side of the symbol respectively.
NGT slaps Rs 500 crore fine on Volkswagen
i. The National Green Tribunal has slapped a fine of Rs 500 crore on German auto major Volkswagen for damaging the environment through the use of “cheat device” in its diesel cars in India. A bench headed by NGT chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the carmaker to deposit the amount within two months.
ii. The tribunal enhanced the compensation amount of Rs. 171.34 crore, which was recommended by an NGT- appointed committee, as a means of “creating deterrence”.
IRDAI, NHA form working group to curb fraud in Ayushman Bharat scheme
i. The Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) and the National Health Authority (NHA) have formed a working group on the Ayushman Bharat Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (AB-PMJAY). The joint working group, to be chaired by Dinesh Arora, Deputy CEO of NHA, will have 10 members from both the organisations.
ii. In six months, it will submit a report on how to detect and deter fraud through a common repository and capacity-building.
- IRDAI Headquarters: Hyderabad, NHB Headquarters: New Delhi
- Chairperson of IRDAI: Subhash Chandra Khuntia
OECD cuts global economic growth forecasts again
i. The OECD cut forecasts again for the global economy in 2019 and 2020, following on from previous downgrades in November, as it warned that trade disputes and uncertainty over Brexit would hit world commerce and businesses.
ii. The Organisation for Economic Co-Operation & Development forecast in its interim outlook report that the world economy would grow 3.3 percent in 2019 and 3.4 percent in 2020. Those forecasts represented cuts of 0.2 percentage points for 2019 and 0.1 percentage points for 2020, compared to the OECD’s last set of forecasts in November.
- OECD Founded on: 30th September 1961
- Headquarters of OECD: Paris, France
United Bank, HDFC Life sign bancassurance deal
i. United Bank of India has signed a bancassurance deal with private life insurer HDFC Life Insurance Company. Through this partnership, United Bank’s customers will be able to take advantage of HDFC Life’s expertise in life insurance products, distribution and customer service.
ii. United Bank has a strong presence in rural and semi-urban areas, with over 2,000 branches and offices, while HDFC Life is India’s largest non-bank-promoted private life insurer.
- Headquarters of United Bank of India: Kolkata
- CEO of United Bank of India: Ashok Kumar Pradhan
- Headquarters of HDFC Life: Mumbai
Venezuela orders German ambassador to leave
i. The Venezuelan government has announced to expel German ambassador Daniel Kriener from the country. President Nicolas Maduro’s embattled government has declared the German ambassador persona non grata and ordered him to leave the country within 48 hours.
NASA astronauts to carry out first all-female spacewalk
i. Just in time for International Women’s Day, NASA announced that it will be conducting the first-ever, all-female spacewalk.
ii. Astronauts Christina Koch and Anne McClain will exit the International Space Station on March 29, 35 years after the first woman performed a spacewalk. They’ll be guided from the ground by flight director Mary Lawrence, and flight controllers Jackie Kagey and Kristen Facciol.
Malaysia joins International Criminal Court
i. Malaysia has become a member of the International Criminal Court. The ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling. Malaysia becomes the 124th member of the court since its establishment in 2002.
ii. But the tribunal in The Hague has come under fire over high-profile acquittals, while Burundi became the first country to quit the court in 2017 and the Philippines has announced its intention to withdraw.
India, Paraguay agree to promote bilateral investment, explore new areas of collaboration
i. India and Paraguay have agreed to identify sectors of mutual interest to promote bilateral investment and decided to explore new areas of collaboration, including Information and Communication Technology and space and biotechnology.
ii. The decisions were taken as Vice President Venkaiah Naidu visited the country. He is the highest-level representative of India to visit Paraguay since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1961.
- Capital of Paraguay: Asuncion, Currency: Paraguayan Guarani
- President of Paraguay: Mario Abdo Benitez
Google launches ‘Bolo’ to tutor children to read Hindi, English
i. Tech giant Google has unveiled a new app ‘Bolo’ that aims to help children in primary school learn to read in Hindi and English. The free app, which is being launched in India first, uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.
ii. The app features an animated character ‘Diya’, who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word. It also lauds the reader when he/she completes the reading.