National News

Cyclone ‘Fani’ Intensifies Over Bay of Bengal

i. Cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ is likely to hit Coastal Andhra Pradesh by April 30 as it intensified into a severe storm and trigger thunderstorms, gusty winds and moderate rains in coastal districts and some parts of Rayalaseema.

ii. Cyclone Fani currently lays over east Equatorial Indian Ocean (EIO)and adjoining the southeast Bay of Bengal. 

Government Hikes Customs Duty On Wheat To 40%

i. The government has hiked the customs duty on wheat to 40% from 30%to curb imports and protect the domestic industry. 

ii. The government wants to restrict overseas purchase so that domestic prices of wheat do not come under pressure as the country’s wheat output is expected to scale a record high. 

IRDAI Forms Panel to Review Microinsurance Framework

i. Insurance Regulatory & Development Authority of India (IRDAI) has set up a 13 member committee under IRDAI Executive Director Suresh Mathur to review the regulatory framework on microinsurance & recommend measures to increase the demand for such products.

ii. The committee has been formed in the backdrop of a less-than-desired offtake of microinsurance products despite their inherent benefits.

Useful info:

  • IRDAI Chairman- Subhash Chandra Khuntia, Headquarters in-Hyderabad.

International News

Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un Hold 1st-Ever talks 

i. Russia’s Vladimir Putin and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un met face-to-face for the first time and vowed to seek closer ties. 

ii. The meeting was held at Russia’s Pacific port city of Vladivostok. Efforts to ease tensions on the Korean peninsula and ways to boost economic ties were discussed.

iii. Six-party talks on North Korean de-nuclearization started back in 2003. The talks involve China, Japan, Russia, the US along with North Korea and South Korea. 

Useful info:

  • Russia Capital: Moscow, Currency: Russian ruble.
  • North Korea Capital: Pyongyang, Currency: North Korean won.

UN, EU Sign Agreement To Strengthen Partnership in Counter-Terrorism Efforts

i. The United Nations and the European Union (EU) have signed a joint framework aimed at strengthening partnership in counter-terrorism efforts. 

ii. The UN Office of Counter-Terrorism announced that the framework was enacted on the occasion of the second EU-UN high-level political dialogue on Counter-Terrorism that was held in New York.

  • Useful info:
    UN Secretary-General:
     António Guterres of Portugal, Headquarters in:New York, United States, Established on: 24th October 1945.

China Hosted 2nd Belt And Road Forum In Beijing

i. The second edition of Belt and Road Forum (BRF) was held in Beijing, China in which 37 heads-of-state and 159 countries had participated along with United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and International Monetary Chief (IMF) Christine Lagarde.

ii. The theme of this event was “Belt and Road Cooperation: Shaping a Brighter Shared Future”. The Belt and Road Forum is a part of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). 

  • Useful info:

China Capital- Beijing, Currency– Renminbi.

Banking News

Canara Bank, Canara HSBC OBC Life launch ‘Webassurance’

i. Canara Bank and its life insurance partner Canara HSBC Oriental Bank of Commerce Life Insurance launched ’Webassurance’ to enable its customers to purchase life insurance in a convenient and hassle-free way.

ii. This Life Insurance is jointly owned by Canara Bank (51%) and Oriental Bank of Commerce (23%) and HSBC Insurance Holdings (26%), the Asian insurance arm of HSBC.

  • Useful info:
  • Canara Bank Chairman: Shri. T.N. Manoharan, Headquarters: Bangalore, MD & CEO R A Sankara Narayanan.


Jacques Kallis Receives Ikhamanga Award 2019

i. Ex-South Africa all-rounder Jacques Kallis has been honoured with the Order of Ikhamanga in the Silver Division. 

ii. Kallis has been rewarded for his successful cricketing career. He played 166 Tests, 328 ODIs and 25 T20Is, returning 62 hundreds and 577wickets. 

  • Useful info:
  • Order of Ikhamanga Grades: Gold (OIG)– for exceptional achievement, Silver (OIS)– for excellent achievement, Bronze (OIB)- for outstanding achievement.
  • South Africa President: Cyril Ramaphosa, Currency: South African Rand.

Important Days

International Dance Day: 29th April

i. International Dance Day is observed globally on 29th of April

ii. In 1982 the Dance Committee of ITI founded International Dance Day to be celebrated the birthday of Jean-Georges Noverre, creator of modern ballet.

Sports News

Dominic Thiem Wins Barcelona Open 2019

i. Dominic Thiem (Austria) won the Barcelona Open 2019 after defeating Daniil Medvedev (Russia). The Austrian became just the fourth player in the past 15 years to lift the title in Barcelona, joining Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori and Fernando Verdasco. 

ii. Dominic Thiem is also the first Austrian winner at this event since Thomas Muster in 1996. Thiem now has 13 ATP Tour titles, nine of which have come on clay.

Claire Polosak To Become First Female Umpire In Men’s ODI

i. Australia’s Claire Polosak will become the first female umpire to officiate in a men’s one-day international at the ICC World Cricket League Division Two match. 

ii. The 31-year-old became the first woman to umpire an Australian men’s domestic fixture in October 2017. She will stand in the final between tournament hosts Namibia and Oman.

Petra Kvitova Wins Maiden Stuttgart’s Porsche Grand Prix 2019

i. World number three tennis player Petra Kvitova (Czech Republic)beat Anett Kontaveit (Estonia) to win Stuttgart’s Porsche Grand Prixfor her second title of the year. 

ii. Kvitova is a two-time Wimbledon champion. The championship was held at Stuttgart, Germany. 

F1 Racer Valtteri Bottas Wins Azerbaijan Grand Prix 2019

i. Mercedes’ Finnish driver Valtteri Bottas beat his English teammate Lewis Hamilton by 1.5 seconds to win Azerbaijan Grand Prix. 

ii. With this, Mercedes became the first team to win the opening four races of an F1 season with one-two finishes. 

23rd Asian Athletics Championships Concludes: Bahrain Tops, India Finishes 4th

i. The 2019 Asian Athletics Championships was the 23rd edition of the Asian Athletics Championships. The 4-day event was held from at the Khalifa International Stadium in Doha, Qatar.

ii. Bahrain topped the medal tally with 11 Golds followed by China (9 Gold) and Japan (5 Gold). India clinched the 4th spot with 17 total medals including 3 Gold. PU Chitra won gold in Women’s 1,500 metres race.


Mark Medoff, An Acclaimed Author Passes Away

i. Mark Medoff, whose acclaimed play “Children of a Lesser God,”which won the Tony Award for best play in 1980 and was turned into a 1986 movie that won an Oscar for its female lead, Marlee Matlin, recently passed away at the age of 79.

Useful info:

  • Tony Award is given in recognition of excellence in live theatre.

Former Indian Footballer Pungam Kannan Passed Away

i. Former India footballer Pungam Kannan passes away at age 80 years. Kannan played 14 matches for India & was the former Mohun Bagan & East Bengal forward. 

ii. He won Santosh Trophy for Bengal twice in a row (1971-73) and was the top-scorer. He was known as the ‘Pele of Asia’. 



India tests its 1st anti-satellite missile system, codenamed Mission Shakti

India successfully conducted an anti-satellite (A-SAT) missile test, becoming the fourthcountry to do so by successfully destroying a low earth orbit satellite in space by using a missile which covered a distance of 300 km to engage the target. The US, Russia and Chinaare the only other country to have tested an A-SAT weapon previously.

  • Mission Shakti operation was a difficult target to achieve and was completed successfully within 3 minutes of launch.

Singapore airport named world’s best, New Delhi’s IGI up 8 notches at 59th

Singapore’s Changi Airport has been crowned the world’s best aviation hub for the seventhtime in a row, while New Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59, according to the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The list has been compiled by the UK-based Skytrax, a consultancy firm which runs an airline and airport review and ranking site, featuring 100 airports.

  • The prestigious accolade was awarded at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London.At number two on the list is Tokyo International Airport (Haneda), up one place from 2018. This hub also won World’s Best Domestic Airport and World’s Cleanest Airport.
  • Breaching the top three is Incheon International Airport, down one place from its second-place spot in 2018.

Hyper local connectivity app launched in Mumbai

The Mumbai-based company Linkus Infratech has launched a hyper-local connectivity app called “Bhonga” to connect users to people in their neighbourhood in the city even without an Internet connection. “Bhonga” is a word in Marathi language that translates to meaning megaphone or loudspeaker.

  • Focusing on security and anonymity, the app only shares location coordinates from where a post originates and it supports voice notes as well as photos. Once the app is downloaded, it automatically lists the user as part of the locality within the radius of one kilometre.


India, African Union ink MoU on health sciences cooperation

The Indian Council of Medical Research and the African Union (AU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which formalised the India-Africa Health Sciences Collaborative Platform (IAHSP) by establishing a framework.

  • The IAHSP was established after the first India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in 2016 in New Delhi. The IAHSP strengthens cooperation in the health sector in a structured and organized manner.

India, Russia to open military chopper repair centre by late 2019

A new centre to repair Russian helicopters of Mi-17V-5 type will be operational in Chandigarh by the end of 2019, according to Russian Helicopters Deputy Director General Igor Chechikov.

  • He highlighted the possibility of extending the capabilities of this centre in the future, provided the Indian side is “interested”.

Tesla builds its ‘largest energy storage system in Asia’

In a bid to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan, Tesla has claimed to develop its largest power storage system in Asia. It has installed a bank of 42 Powerpacks at a train station in Japan’s Osaka that can provide sufficient backup power to safely move a train and its passengers to the nearest station in the event of a power outage. 

  • In the event of a grid outage, this Osaka Powerpack installation is designed to provide emergency backup power to safely move a train and its passengers to the nearest station. 


BoB to develop agri-digital platform ‘Baroda Kisan’, inks MoUs with 6 firms

Public sector lender Bank of Baroda said it will develop an agri-digital platform called ‘Baroda Kisan’ in order to provide solutions for all major agricultural requirements. Six companies Skymet Weather Services, Weather Risk Management Services, BigHaat, Agrostar India, EM3 Agri Services and Poorti Agri Services have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the bank for this project.

  • The agri-digital platform will be executed by IT Centre of Excellence (ITCoE) of Bank of Baroda in partnership with IBM India.


Infosys arm to buy 75% stake in Dutch bank subsidiary

Global software major Infosys said its consulting arm would buy 75 per cent equity stake in Starter N.V., a subsidiary of the Dutch-based ABN AMRO Bank for Rs 999 crore ($144 million) in cash for strategic partnership in The Netherlands.

  • The Amsterdam headquartered third largest Dutch bank ABN will hold the remaining 25 per cent of the shareholding in Stater.


31-year-old Hopman Cup replaced by new ATP Cup

The city of Perth in Western Australia (WA) will no longer play host to the Hopman Cup.Instead, the mixed tournament format will be replaced with an all men’s event called the ATP (Association of Tennis Professionals) Cup.

  • Played across three cities, Perth will join Sydney and Brisbane as the hosts of the new competition which is set to feature 100 of the world’s top male players.


ECI appoints special expenditure observers for AP, Arunachal, Gujarat, Karnataka, Nagaland, Telangana

Election Commission appointed 2 former civil servants Gopal Mukherjee and D.D. Goel as special expenditure observers for the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections. While Mr. Gopal Mukherjee ex-IRS, former Member of CBDT has been deployed in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana and Mr D.D.Goel ex-IRS, former DGIT been deployed in Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland.

  • Further, the Commission has decided to give additional charge of Gujarat and Karnataka to Shailendra Handa and Madhu Mahajan, respectively.

BCCI Ombudsman Justice D.K.Jain to serve as ad-hoc Ethics Officer

Supreme Court-appointed BCCI Ombudsman Justice D K Jain (retd) will now serve as the Ethics Officer of the Indian cricket board on an ad-hoc basis. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), provisions in its constitution require an Ethics Officer to be appointed to determine and decide issues related to conflict of interest.

  • Justice Jain, who was appointed the first Ombudsman of the cricket board on February 21 this year by the apex court, is already looking into the Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul chat show controversy following which the two players were handed a provisional suspension. 


Well known Mumbai civic activist HS D’Lima passes away

HS D’Limaactivist from Andheri Gaothan, who fought against illegal constructions and slumification of Mumbai’s gaothans (traditional east Indian urban villages) passed away. He was 84 years old. 

  • D’Lima on several occasions exposed the nefarious links between the Slum Rehabilitation Authority, BMC and builders.


National News

ICMR Launches Malaria Elimination Research Alliance

i. The Indian Council of Medical Research has launched the ‘Malaria Elimination Research Alliance (MERA) India which is a conglomeration of partners working on malaria control in order to eliminate the disease from India by 2030.

ii. The National Vector Borne Diseases Control Program (NVBDCP) of India has also developed a comprehensive framework to achieve the target of “Malaria free India by 2030”.

Useful info:

ICMR Headquarters: New Delhi.


Indian Army Inks MoU With NHPC To Build Tunnels On China, Pakistan Borders

i. Indian Army signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with National Hydroelectric Power Corporation (NHPC) Limited, to build four underground tunnels along China and Pakistanborders for storage of ammunition and other war-related equipment.

ii. Three tunnels will be built along the Chinese border and one tunnel will be built along the Pakistan border. The tunnel can store 175-200 metric tonnes of ammunition and the cost of this pilot project is around Rs 15 crore.


Rana Dasgupta Wins 2019 Tagore Literary Prize

i. The second edition of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize was awarded to author Rana Dasgupta for his 2010 novel “Solo“, a tale of estrangement and the ultimate failure of material existence.

ii. The Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for social achievementwas awarded to Yohei Sasakawa, for “his incredible efforts to uproot leprosy and great contribution to world peace”.

   Banking/Business News

Microsoft Becomes World’s Third Company To Be Worth $1 Trillion

i. Microsoft has reached a valuation of one trillion dollars for the first time after posting an increase in profits. It makes the software giant only the third publicly-traded company in history to reach the threshold after Apple and Amazon passed it in 2018

ii. Microsoft’s current valuation also means that it has again taken over Apple as the world’s most valuable company.

Useful info:

    • Microsoft CEO: Satya Nadella.

RBI Introduces ₹ 20 Banknote In Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series

i. The Reserve Bank of India will shortly issue ₹ 20 denomination banknotes in the Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series, bearing the signature of Shri Shaktikanta Das, Governor, Reserve Bank of India.

ii. The new denomination has the motif of Ellora Caves on the reverse, depicting the country’s cultural heritage. The base colour of the note is Greenish Yellow. The dimension of the banknote will be 63 mm x 129 mm.

Schemes And Committees 

CPWD Constitutes 8-member Committee To Chart Out Design Policy

i. The Central Works Public Department (CPWD) has constituted an expert committee to formulate a design policy for building construction and infrastructure development.  The committee has been set up under the chairmanship of CPWD’s Additional Director General M K Sharma.

ii. The move is aimed at reviving building construction and infrastructure development at all levels in the CPWD which comes under the Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry. The committee has been asked to submit its report to Director General Prabhakar Singh within 30 days.

Summits and conferences 

ABU Media Summit On Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness Held In Nepal

i. 5th Asia Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU) Media Summit on Climate Action and Disaster Preparedness held in Kathmandu.

ii.  The theme of the two-day summit was “Media Solutions for Sustainable Future: Saving Lives, Building Resilient Communities”.

Useful info:

    • Nepal Prime Minister: K P Sharma Oli, Capital: Kathmandu.

Sports News

 ISSF World Cup: Abhishek Verma Wins Gold In 10m Air Pistol

i. Abhishek Verma won the 10m air pistol gold medal at the ISSF World Cup at BeijingChina. He clinched the top spot with a total score of 242.7. 

ii. Russia’s Artem Chernousov took silver. His brilliant performance in the Shooting World Cup Final also secured a fifth Olympic quota for India.

Useful info:

    • ISSF– International Shooting Sport Federation, Headquarters: Munich, Germany.

 Asian Boxing Championships: India Wins 13 Medals

i. India won 13 medals, including 2 gold, 4 silver, and 7 bronze at the Asian Boxing Championships in Bangkok. Boxers Pooja Raniand Amit Panghal gave India 2 gold medals. 

ii. While the men won 1 gold, 3 silver, and 3 bronze, the women bagged 1 gold, 1 silver, and 4 bronze medals.

Pankaj Advani Wins Asian Snooker Tour Title

i. Pankaj Advani, the 21-time India’s cueist defeated Ehsan Heydari Nezhad of Iran 6-4 to clinch the Asian Snooker Tour title

ii. He had previously bagged the 2nd leg of the Tour in China and was leading the ranking before the final leg of the Tour in Bengaluru.


Terry Rawlings, British Film Editor Passes Away

i. Terry Rawlings, a British film and sound editor has passed away. He was an Oscar nominee for his work on Best Picture winner “Chariots of Fire,”.

ii He was born in 1933.  The 5-time BAFTA nominee also received a career achievement award from the American Cinema Editors society in 2006.


National News

Army Starts Process To Induct Women As Jawans In Military Police

i. The Indian Army has started the process of inducting women as jawans by starting their online registration for recruitment in the corps ofmilitary police. 

ii. They were being inducted only as officers and this is the first time they would be taken in as soldiers.

International News

Two New Bird Species Found In Indonesia

i. Zoologists at Trinity College Dublin have discovered two new bird species named as the Wakatobi white-eye and the Wangi-Wangi white-eye in the Wakatobi Archipelago of Sulawesi, Indonesia.

ii. Details of their discovery were published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. 

Useful info:

  • Indonesia Capital- Jakarta, Currency- Indonesian rupiah.


Gen.(Retd.) Dalbir Singh Suhag Appointed India High Commissioner To Seychelles

i. General (Retd.) Dalbir Singh Suhag has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Seychelles.

ii. He will soon be taking over the new position. General Suhag was the 26th Army Chief of the Indian Army from July 2014 to December 2016.

Useful info:

  • Seychelles Capital: Victoria, Currency: Seychellois rupee.


Benny Antony Conferred With The National IP Award 2019

i. Dr. Benny Antony has been honoured with the National Intellectual Property Award, 2019 in the category of Top Individual for Patents and Commercialization. Dr. Antony has over 80 international patents to his credit.

ii. Along with the National IP Award, the Intellectual Property Office India and the World Intellectual Property Organisation (WIPO) have jointly honoured Antony with the ‘WIPO Medal for Inventors’. 


Salim, Helen and Bhandarkar Get Deenanath Mangeshkar Award 2019

i. The prestigious Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Award 2019 was awarded to National Award-winning filmmaker Madhur Bhandarkar,popular scriptwriter Salim Khan and dancing diva Helen.

ii. The event was organized by Master Deenanath Mangeshkar Smruti Pratishthan charitable trust, Pune. It aims to encourage legends from the fields of music, drama, art and social work.

Pakistan’s Cyril Almeida Named IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero

i. Dawn editor and Columnist Cyril Almeida from Pakistan has won the IPI’s (International Press Institute) World Press Freedom Hero award in 2019. He won this award for his “critical” and “tenacious coverage” of the civil-military relations in Pakistan.

ii. MadaMasr, an Egyptian news site, won Free Media Pioneer Award 2019 of the IPI and International Media Support (IMS). Both awards will be presented in Geneva, Switzerland on 5th June, World Intellectual Property Day 2019.

Useful info:

  • IPI Headquarters- Vienna, Austria.

Banking News

State Bank of India Launched India’s First ‘Green Car Loan’

i. State Bank of India (SBI) has launched India’s first ‘Green Car Loan’(Electric Vehicle) to encourage customers to buy electric vehicles. The new scheme ‘Green Car Loan’ will offer the loan at 20 basis points lower than the interest rate on the existing car loan schemes.

ii. SBI has already notified 100% migration to EVs (Electric Vehicles) by 2030 in order to decrease carbon footprints, thus being in line with the government’s pledge of ensuring 30% EVs on road by 2030.

Useful info:

  • SBI Chairperson: Rajnish Kumar, Headquarters: Mumbai.

Sports News

India Wins Two Gold At ISSF World Cup

i. India won gold each in 10 metres Air Rifle Mixed Team and 10 metres Air Pistol Mixed team events in the ISSF World Cup in Beijing. Shooters Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary took the top spot in the 10 metres Air Pistol Mixed Team event

iiAnjum Moudgil and Divyansh Singh Panwar won gold in the 10 metres Air Rifle Mixed Team event.

Useful info:

  • ISSF– International Shooting Sport Federation, Headquarters: Munich, Germany.

Important Days 

World Intellectual Property Day: April 26

i. World Intellectual Property Day (WIPD) is celebrated every year on 26 April around the world to promote the importance of intellectual property rights (patents, trademarks, industrial designs, copyright) in encouraging innovation and creativity. 

ii. WIPD-2019 Theme is “Reach Gold-Intellectual Property (IP) And Sports“.

World Immunization Week 2019 Observed In April

i. The last week of April every year is observed as World Immunisation Week (WIW) in order to promote the use of vaccines for the protection of people of all age-groups against disease.

ii. The WIW 2019 observed from 24-30th April, carrying the theme “Protected Together: Vaccines Work”. It was observed for the very first time in 2012.

Useful info:

  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, Director general: Tedros Adhanom.


Etihad Becomes First Major Airline To Fly Plastic-Free

i. Etihad AirwaysUAE based flag carrier, has become the first major airline in the Gulf region to operate a flight without any single-use plastics on board. 

ii. The objective is to raise awareness about pollution. Etihad Airways has pledged to reduce single-use plastic usage by 80% across the entire organization by the end of 2022.

Useful info:

  • UAE Capital: Abu Dhabi, Currency: UAE dirham.


International News

World’s 1st Malaria Vaccine Launched In Africa

i. The world’s first-ever malaria vaccine was launched in a pilot project in Africa’s Malawi. The country is the first of three in Africa in which the vaccine, known as RTS,S, will be made available to children up to 2 yearsof age.

ii. Ghana and Kenya will introduce the vaccine soon. About 93% of the world’s malaria-related deaths in 2017 occurred in Africa.

Useful info:

  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, Director general: Tedros Adhanom.

Kazakhstan Sets Up Coordinating Council To Attract Indian Investments

 i. Kazakhstan has set up Coordinating Council for attracting foreign investments including from India. A decision was taken to lay down the functions of Investment Ombudsman in order to venture for new approaches to improve the investment scenario in Kazakhstan.

ii. The meeting identified the Astana International Financial Centre (AIFC) as a Unified Center for the coordination of work on investment and promotion of the investment image of Kazakhstan.

Useful info:

  • Kazakhstan PM: Askar Mamin, Capital: Nur-Sultan, Currency: Kazakhstani Tenge.

Iran, Pakistan To Set Up Border ‘Reaction Force’

i. Iran and Pakistan have agreed to set up a joint border “reaction force” to combat the attacks by militant groups on both sides their frontier. 

ii. Both the nations have decided to collaborate to form the joint quick reaction force by increasing cooperation between border forces andintelligence agencies.

Useful info:

  • Iran President: Hassan Rohani, Pakistan PM: Imran Khan.
  • Iran Capital: Tehran, Currency: Iranian rial.


MD Karnam Sekar Appointed As IOB’s New MD & CEO

i. Former Dena Bank MD & CEO Karnam Sekar is set to take over as the new Managing Director and CEO of Indian Overseas Bank from July 1, 2019. He will take over from R Subramaniakumar.

ii. Earlier Sekar was the MD & CEO of Dena Bank till September 2018. He was also the Deputy Managing Director and Chief Credit Officer in State Bank of India heading its highest Credit Committee.

Useful info:

  • IOB Headquarters: Chennai.

Banking/Economy News

RBI Becomes The First APAC Central Bank To Begin Interest Rate Easing Cycle

i. The Reserve Bank of India has become the first central bank in the Asia-Pacific (APAC) region to begin an explicit interest rate easing cycle. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das, cut rates in February and April.

ii. In the four months of 2019, the RBI has cut policy interest rates twice by 0.25% each to a one-year low of 6%. This is the first back-to-back rate cut since the MPC was formed in late 2016.

Kotak Bank Launches Debit Card-Based e-mandate On NPCI’s API Platform

i. Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) has launched the first debit card-based authentication solution on NPCI’s (National Payments Corporation of India) e-Mandate (electronic mandate) API (Application Program Interface) platform.

ii. With this, it has become the first ever Destination Bank to go live with both Net Banking and Debit Card-based e-mandate authentication. 

Useful info:

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank MD & CEO: Uday Kotak, headquarters: Mumbai.
  • e-NACH: Electronic National Automated Clearing House; OTP: One Time Password.

IndusInd Bank Receives NCLT Approval For Merger With Bharat Financial Inclusion

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

ii. Earlier, IndusInd Bank had received ‘No Objection’ from Reserve Bank of India, National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange. Bharat Financial will become a subsidiary of the private lender.

Useful info:

  • IndusInd Bank Headquarter: Mumbai, CEO: Romesh Sobti.
  • NCLT Headquarter: New Delhi.

SEBI Reduces Minimum Subscription Requirement For REITs, InvITs

i. Markets regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has reduced the minimum subscription requirement as well as defined trading lots for Real Estate Investment Trusts (REITs) and Infrastructure Investment Trusts (InvITs). SEBI has also increased the leverage limit for InvITs from 49% to 70%.

ii. While making an initial public offer and follow-on offer, the minimum subscription shall not be less than Rs 1 lakh for InvITs and Rs 50,000 for REITs. Currently, in the case of a REIT issue, the minimum subscription from any investor in an initial offer and follow-on public offer is not less than Rs 2 lakh, while the same is Rs 10 lakh in case of InvIT.

Useful info:

  • SEBI Headquarter: Mumbai, Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi.

BuyUcoin Introduces First Indian Platform for Wholesale Cryptocurrency Trading

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

ii. It is also known as OTC (Over-the-counter) Desk that allows users to trade on a large scale with low price fluctuations.

RBI Sells Entire Stake In NHB, Nabard To Government For INR 1,470 crore

i. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has divested its entire stake held in National Housing Bank (NHB), and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) to the government, which now holds 100%in these entities.

ii. The transactions were completed in February (Nabard) and March (NHB). RBI had 100% shareholding in NHB, which was divested for INR 1,450 crore. RBI had 72.5% stake in Nabard, out of which 71.5%, worth INR1,430 crore was divested in October 2010 and the residual shareholding was divested in February 2019 for INR 20 crore.

Useful info:

  • NHB is the regulator for housing finance companies while NABARD is responsible for regulating and supervising the functions of Co-operative banks and RRBs.

Sports News

Asian Athletics Championships: India Finishes Fourth

i. Asian Athletics Championships 2019 held at Doha in Qatar. It was the 23rd edition of the Championships. India ended at the fourth spot in the medals tally with 3 Gold, 7 Silver and 7 Bronze. Bahrain topped the table with 11 Gold, 7 Silver and 4 Bronze. China was second while Japanwas third.

ii. Tejinder Pal Singh Toor (Shot put), Gomathi Marimuthu(800 metres) and P. U. Chitra (1500 metres) won gold for India. India had won 29 medals – 12 Gold, 5 Silver and 12 Bronze in the last edition in Bhubaneswar in 2017, topping the medal tally for the first time.

Important days

World Malaria Day: 25 April

i. Every year on 25 April, people around the globe observe World Malaria Day (WMD) to raise awareness and funds for the treatment and prevention of the disease. 

ii. This year, the theme for the day is “Zero malaria starts with me” and it is being hosted by the World Health Organisation (WHO).

Useful info:

  • WHO Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland, Director general: Tedros Adhanom.


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International News

Russia Successfully Tests World’s First Floating Nuclear Power Plant

i. Russia has successfully tested the world’s first floating nuclear power plant (NPP), Akademik Lomonosov, a subsidiary of Rosatom nuclear corporation stated. 

ii. Reactors of the floating atomic block were launched in November 2018.

Useful info:

  • Russia Capital: Moscow, Currency: Russian ruble.

Israel To Name Town In Golan Heights After Donald Trump


i. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has announced that he would name a new community in the Golan Heights after US President Donald Trump, who officially recognised the disputed area as Israeli territory.

ii. Israel has also stated that in appreciation of the U.S. president, it intends to name a proposed train station near Jerusalem’s Western Wall after him.

Useful info:

  • Israel captured the Golan from Syria in a 1967 war and annexed it, in a move not recognized internationally.

Indonesia Releases Special Stamp On Theme of Ramayana

i. Indonesia has released a special commemorative stamp on the theme of Ramayana to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of its diplomatic ties with India.

ii. The stamp is designed by renowned Indonesian sculptor Padmashri Bapak Nyoman Nuarta, featured a scene from Ramayana in which Jatayu valiantly fought to save Sita. 

Useful info:

  • Indonesia Capital- Jakarta, Currency- Indonesian rupiah.
  • Ambassador of India to Indonesia: Pradeep Kumar Rawat.

Banking News

Government Raises Authorised Capital of Allahabad Bank To Rs 8,000 Crore

i. State-owned Allahabad Bank stated that the government has increased its authorised capital by Rs 5,000 crore to Rs 8,000 crore. The central government after consultation with the Reserve Bank of India increased the authorised capital of the bank.

ii. The increase in authorised capital will help enable the bank to raise further fund up to a maximum ceiling of Rs 8,000 crore.

Useful info:

  • Allahabad Bank MD and CEO: S. S. Mallikarjuna Rao, Headquarters: Kolkata.

Deposits In Jan Dhan Accounts Are Set To Cross Rs 1 Lakh Crore Mark

i. The total deposits in Jan Dhan Account are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore soon. The scheme was launched on 28th August 2014 by the Modi-government with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to all households.

ii. On 3rd April, the total balance in the Jan Dhan accounts was at Rs 97,665.66 and the total number of Jan Dhan accounts crossed 35.39 crores. Also, more than 27.89 crores account holders have been issued the Rupay debit cards.

Useful info:

  • The government increased the accident insurance cover to Rs 2 lakhfrom Rs 1 lakh for new accounts opened after 28th August 2018 and the overdraft limit was also doubled to Rs 10,000.


Uday Kumar Varma Resigns From Assocham Secretary General Post

i. Uday Kumar Varma, a former bureaucrat retired from the post of Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, resigned from the post of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) Secretary-General. 

ii. He had succeeded D S Rawat who held the position for nearly 14 years.

Useful info:

  • Assocham President: B K Goenka.

Sports News

Bajrang Punia Wins Gold In Asian Wrestling Championship

i. World number one Bajrang Punia won gold at Asian Wrestling Championship in China’s Xian. He defeated Kazakhstan’s Sayatbek Okassov in a nail-biting 65kg men’s freestyle final.
ii. It is Bajrang’s second gold at this championship, having won one in 2017Parveen Rana secured a silver medal. Satywart Kadian picked a bronze medal defeating Haobin Gao of China.

Important days

National Panchayati Raj Day : 24 April

i. National Panchayati Raj Day is celebrated every year on 24th April by the Ministry of Panchayati Raj. Then Prime Minister of India Manmohan Singh declared the first National Panchayati Raj Day on 24th April 2010. This day marks the passing of Constitution (73rd Amendment) Act, 1992that came into force with effect from 24 April 1993.

ii. The Constitution of India recognizes Panchayats as ‘Institutions of self-government’. It permits states to take steps to organize village panchayats and provide them with necessary powers and authority to help them to function as units of self-government.


International News

LSE Names A Professorship After Economist Amartya Sen

i. The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) has 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.

ii. Called the “Amartya Sen Chair in Inequality Studies,” its holder will also serve as Director of the LSE International Inequalities Institute, which facilitates interdisciplinary work on subjects related to inequality.

Useful info:

  • Amartya Sen won the Nobel Prize in Economics in 1998, Bharat Ratna in 1999 and National Humanities Medal in 2012.


Network Intelligence Inks MoU With BSE To Provide Cyber Security Services

i. BSE has entered a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Network Intelligence, to provide cybersecurity services to its members in line with the cybersecurity framework set by SEBI.

ii. Network Intelligence will be using its own developed platform BlueScope to offer 24×7 cybersecurity operations to the members. 

Useful info:

  • BSE CEO: Shri Ashish Kumar Chauhan.
  • Founder & CEO of Network Intelligence: K K Mookhey.

Ministry Of Ayush Inked MoU With CSIR

i. The Ministry of AYUSH inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) for cooperation in research and education in areas of traditional systems of medicine and its integration with modern science.

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

Useful info:

  • CSIR Headquarter: New Delhi, Director General: Shekhar C. Mande.
  • Union Minister of State (IC) in the Ministry of AYUSH: Shripad Naik.

Business News

SBI General Insurance Launches Cyber Defence Insurance For Businesses

i. SBI General Insurance has launched a product – cyber defence insurance to protect businesses from financial and reputational losses due to cyber attacks. 

ii. It is designed to protect against major insurable cyber exposures like hacking attacks, identity theft, disclosure of sensitive information and business interruption.

Useful info:

  • MD & CEO of SBI General Insurance: Pushan Mahapatra.

Bajaj Allianz Launches Total Health Secure Goal Plan

i. Bajaj Allianz General Insurance and Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance in collaboration launched their first product ‘Total Health Secure Goal’

ii. The new insurance product is a combination of two existing plans –Health Guard policy by Bajaj Allianz General Insurance, and iSecurefrom Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance.

Useful info:

  • MD & CEO, Bajaj Allianz General Insurance: Tapan Singhel.
  • MD & CEO of Bajaj Allianz Life Insurance: Tarun Chugh.

Ranks and Reports

Cancer Preparedness Index 2019 Released, India Ranks 19th

i. India was ranked 19th out of 28 countries in the Index of Cancer Preparedness (ICP) released by the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). 

ii. It was released as part of the report titled “Cancer preparedness around the world: National readiness for a global epidemic” prepared by EIU.

Useful info:

  • Top 3 countries are Australia (1st), Netherlands (2nd) and Germany (3rd).
  • Bottom three are Saudi Arabia (28th), Romania (27th) and Egypt (26th).

Sports News

Fabio Fognini Becomes First Italian To Claim ATP Masters 1000 Title

i. Fabio Fognini became the first Italian to win an ATP Masters 1000 title at the Rolex Monte-Carlo Masters. He defeated Dusan Lajovic

ii. The Italian defeated World No. 3 Alexander Zverev to reach the quarter-finals and stunned 11-time champion Rafael Nadal in the last four.

Useful info:

  • Italy Capital: Rome, Currency: Euro.

Important days

World Book Day: 23 April

i. World Book Day is celebrated every year on 23 April. It is also known as World Book and Copyright Day, or International Day of the Book. It is organized by UNESCO to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.

ii. It was first celebrated on 23 April 1995. For the year 2019, Sharjah, UAE has been declared as the World Book Capital. It will be preceded by Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in the year 2020.

Useful info:

  • UNESCO Headquarters- Paris, France.


S Muthiah, chronicler of Madras, Passes Away

i. Chennai’s famed chronicler, cartographer, and journalist S. Muthiah, 89, passed away due to age-related ailments. 

ii. He was awarded the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2002 for his accomplishments.


International News

Volodymyr Zelenskiy Wins Landslide Victory In Ukrainian Presidential Election

i. Volodymyr Zelenskiy, an actor and comedian has won a landslide victory in Ukraine’s presidential election. The incumbent, Petro Poroshenko conceded defeat. 

ii. He is best known for his role in the long-running Ukrainian television series Servant of the People, where he played the role of president.

Useful info:

  • Ukraine Capital: Kiev, Currency: Ukrainian hryvnia.

Asian Tea Alliance Launched In China

i. To boost tea trade, cultural and technical exchanges as well as the global promotion of tea, the Asian Tea Alliance (ATA), a union of five tea-growing and consuming countries, was launched in Guizhou, China.

ii. The members of the alliance are the Indian Tea Association, China Tea Marketing Association, Indonesian Tea Marketing Association, Sri LankaTea Board and Japan Tea Association.


Twitter Appoints Manish Maheshwari As India MD

i. Twitter has appointed Manish Maheshwari as the Managing Director of its India operations. 

ii. Maheshwari has previously served as the CEO of Network18 Digital. Maheshwari will report to Twitter Vice President and Managing Director of Asia Pacific Maya Hari and will be based in Delhi.


TCS Signs Deal With India Post To Transform Country’s Mail Delivery System

i. 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. 

ii. It will modernise the delivery of mail and packages, enhance customer experience, and launch innovative services that will drive new revenues.

Business News

Reliance Retail Became India’s First Retail Company To Cross The Rs.1 Lakh Crore Annual Revenue

i. Reliance retail has become the first Indian retail company to clock more than Rs 1 lakh crore in annual revenues. 

ii. The retail venture of Reliance Industries reported an income of Rs 1,30,556 crore for 2018-19, 89% more than the previous year’s Rs 69,198 crore.


Sunil Kumar Gautam Bestowed With ‘Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Award’

i. Sunil Kumar Gautam, Special Commissioner of Police (Operations) was honoured with ‘Pandit Govind Ballabh Pant Award‘ for his book titled ‘Samvidhan Kavya‘.

ii. He was awarded by the Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR&D) under the Ministry of Home Affairs.  


KAU IPR Cell Wins The National IP Award 2019

i. The Intellectual Property Rights Cell (IPR Cell) of Kerala Agricultural University (KAU) has been selected for the National Intellectual Property Award 2019.

ii. The award, comprising prize money of INR 1 lakh, citation, and memento, will be presented at a function to be held in New Delhi on World IP Day

Useful info:

  • World IP Day is observed on April 26.
  • The award constituted by the Indian Intellectual Property Office under the Union Ministry of Industry and Commerce is conferred on persons and organisations working in the field of patents, trademarks, and Geographical Indications.

Sree Sreenath Inducted Into Cleveland International Hall of Fame

i. Indian-American scientist and social activist Sree Sreenath has been inducted into the prestigious Cleveland International Hall of fame for his contribution in applications in systems biology, global issues, and sustainable development.

ii. He earned BE in Electrical Engineering from Bangalore University and is currently serving as Director of Case GEMNI(Graduate Engineering & Management National and International) Programme at Case Western Reserve University.

Ranks Ans Reports

India Ranks 17th In Global Startup Ecosystem

i. India was ranked 17th position among 100 countries in Startup Ecosystem Ranking for 2019 released by StartupBlink. It was ranked 37th spot last year.
ii. It takes into consideration startup ecosystems of 1,000 cities and 100countries for the ranking. China was ranked 27thBangaloreNew Delhi,and Mumbai were the top cities in the Indian startup ecosystem.

Useful info:
Top three countries are:

1st: United States
2nd: United Kingdom
3rd: Canada.

Important Days

Earth Day: April 22

i. Earth Day is an annual event celebrated on April 22 Worldwide. It was first celebrated in 1970. The theme for Earth Day 2019 is to ‘Protect Our Species.’
ii. This theme is created to focus on the destruction caused to plants and wildlife populations mainly due to human activity.


Eminent Bengali Folk Singer Amar Paul Passes Away

i. Eminent Bengali folk singer Amar Paul passed away following a cardiac arrest. He was 97. Paul lent his voice in a number of films.

ii. He has penned several books on folk songs of Bengal and received accolades from various academies around the world.

Lorraine Warren, A Paranormal Investigator Passes Away

i. One of the most well known paranormal investigatorLorraine Warren passed away at the age of 92. She investigated haunted houses and other manifestation of paranormal activities throughout her life with her late husband Ed. Warren.
ii. Both wife and husband founded the New England Society at Monroe, Connecticut in 1952 to investigate haunting cases. Famous horror movies like ‘Amityville Horror’ and ‘Conjuring’ were inspired by her work.



INS Kolkata and INS Shakti arrives in China to participate in IFR

The Indian Navy ships Kolkata and Shakti arrived at Qingdao in China to participate in the International Fleet Review (IFR) as a part of the 70th anniversary celebrations of People Liberation’s Army (PLA-Navy).

  • IFR is a parade of naval ships, aircraft and submarines that is organised by nations to promote goodwill, strengthen cooperation and showcase their organisational capabilities.

Navy chief launches new guided missile destroyer ‘INS Imphal’

Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba launched the third ship of Project 15B, a guided missile destroyer Imphalat Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, Mumbai. The launch marks yet another significant milestone in the annals of the indigenous warship design and construction programme of India. 

  • Project 15B ships feature cutting edge advanced technology and are comparable to the best ships of similar class anywhere in the world. These ships have been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design.

Bhopal gas tragedy among world’s major industrial accidents of 20th century: UN

The 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy which killed thousands of people is among the world’s “major industrial accidents” of the 20th century, a UN report has said, warning that 2.78 million workers die from occupational accidents and work-related diseases each year.

  • The report titled ‘The Safety and Health at the Heart of the Future of Work – Building on 100 years of experience’ released by the the UN labour agency International Labour Organization (ILO) said the Bhopal disaster was among the world’s “major industrial accidents after 1919”.
  • Useful info:
    International Labour Organization Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland.


Scientists unearth 220-million-year-old dinosaurs fossils in San Juan province

A site containing the 220-million-year-old fossilised remains of nearly a dozen dinosaurs has been discovered in western Argentina. According to Martinezof the University of San Juan, the fossils are approximately 220 million years old, belonging to “an era of which we know little”.

  • This discovery is doubly important because there are at least seven or eight individuals of dicynodonts, the ancestors of mammals, the size of an ox.

Universe’s first molecule, formed 14 billion years ago, detected in space

Scientists have detected the most ancient type of molecule in our universe in space for the first time ever. Helium hydride ion (HeH+) was the first molecule that formed when, almost 14 billion years ago, falling temperatures in the young universe allowed recombination of the light elements produced in the Big Bang.

  • At that time, ionised hydrogen and neutral helium atoms reacted to form HeH+, said researchers from The Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy (MPIfR) in Germany.


Tata Technologies joins hands with China’s FutureMove Automotive

Tata Technologies said it has inked a pact with China’s FutureMove Automotive to develop connected mobility solutions for automotive manufacturers in China and other markets. The companies signed a memorandum of understanding on the sidelines of the Shanghai Motor Show 2019.

  • FutureMove Automotive, with its digital and mobility services, is a strategic partner to Tata Technologies’ customers in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macao and the US.


Mukesh Kumar elected Judo Union of Asia general secretary

Former Judo Federation of India chief Mukesh Kumar was re-elected as general secretary of the Asian governing body at its ordinary congress at Fujairah in the UAE.

  • Incumbent Judo Federation of India President Partap Singh Bajwa was elected as Vice President of Judo Union of Asia as well as president of South Asia Judo Federation. Mukesh is also the Chairman of the Technical Conduct Committee of the 36th National Games allotted to Goa.


World Liver day

World liver day is observed every year on every 19 April, to spread awareness about liver related diseases. The liver is the second largest and the second most complex organ in the body, after the brain. The day is meant to raise awareness about liver and following a lifestyle which supports liver health.


National News

India And France To Hold Largest Ever ‘Varuna’ Naval Exercise Off Goa Coast

i. India and France will conduct their largest ever naval exercise ‘Varuna‘ in May 2019. It will witness the participation of aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines, and fighters.

ii. India will deploy its aircraft carrier, INS Vikramaditya with its MiG-29K fighters. Similarly, the French Navy will send its aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle with its Rafale-M naval jets, and other warships for the “Varuna” exercise.

INS Kolkata, Shakti To Participate In IFR In China

i. The Indian Navy will participate in International Fleet Review (IFR) that is scheduled to take place in Qingdao, China as part of 70th Anniversary celebrations of People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLA Navy).

ii. The Indian Navy would be represented in the IFR by indigenously built stealth guided missile destroyer INS Kolkata and fleet support ship INS Shakti.

Useful info:

  • Indian Navy Chief: Admiral Sunil Lanba.

Banking News

Exim Bank Funds Projects Worth USD 267 mn In Rwanda

i. Exim Bank has provided soft loans of USD 266.60 million to Rwandafor various projects.

ii.  The funding, done in three separate tranches to Rwanda, is to support agricultural projects, development of special economic zones (SEZs) and for financing a road project in the African nation.

Useful info:

  • Rwanda Capital- Kigali, Currency- Rwandan franc.


Cipla Chairman Yusuf Hamied Receives UK Royal Society Honour

i. Prominent scientist and businessman Yusuf Hamied is among a host of Indian-origin experts honoured in the 2019 list of new fellows of the UK’s Royal Society.

ii. The 82-year-old chairman of pharmaceutical major Cipla has been made an Honorary Fellow of the prestigious body, comprising of many of the world’s most eminent scientists.

Useful info:

  • The Royal Society is an independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

Books and Authors

Book On Jallianwala Bagh Poem ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ Released In UAE

i. A book containing English translation of the 100-year-old classic Punjabi poem about Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ has been released in Abu Dhabi. India’s Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri commended the launch of the book.

ii. The poem was translated by Mr. Suri whose grandfather, revolutionary poet and novelist Nanak Singh, a Jallianwala Bagh survivor, wrote it after witnessing first-hand the events of April 13, 1919.


Scotland All-rounder Con de Lange Passes Away

i. Scotland all-rounder Con de Lange who had been diagnosed with a brain tumour has passed away at the age of 38. 

ii. The South Africa-born de Lange played 21 internationals for Scotland, making his debut in a T20I against Ireland in June 2015.

NASA’s 1st Female Astronaut Candidate Jerrie Cobb Passes Away

i. America’s first female astronaut candidate, pilot Jerrie Cobb passed away in Florida at the age of 88 following a brief illness. 

ii. In 1961, Cobb became the first woman to pass astronaut testing. Altogether, 13 women passed the arduous physical testing and became famous as the Mercury 13.


National News

Gagandeep Kang Becomes First Indian Female FRS

i. Professor Gagandeep Kang has become the first Indian female scientist to be elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in the UKfellowship’s 358-year-history.

ii. The 56-year-old is the Executive Director of Translational Health Science and Technology Institute at Faridabad. Other notable FRS inducted in 2019 include Fields Medal-winning mathematicians Akshay Venkatesh and Manjul Bhargava.

International News

Sri Lanka’s 1st Satellite ‘Raavana-1’ Launched Into Space

i. Sri Lanka’s first satellite ‘Raavana-1’ was launched into space from NASA’s Flight Facility on Virginia’s east shore. ‘Raavana 1’ weights around 1.05 kg and the lifespan of the satellite is around one and a halfyears.

ii. The satellite was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan by two Sri Lankan research engineers. Its camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries.


Deutsche Bank Appoints Kaushik Shaparia As CEO For India

i. Deutsche Bank appointed Kaushik Shaparia as the chief executive officer for India to succeed Ravneet Gill. Gill left the bank to head private lender YES Bank. Shaparia’s appointment will be effective from May 2019.

ii. Shaparia served as Asia Pacific Head of Corporate Banking Coverage within Institutional and Treasury Coverage, as well as Global Head of Subsidiary Coverage and has a 30-year experience at the bank.

Useful info:

  • Deutsche Bank Headquarters: Frankfurt, Germany.

Mali’s PM Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga Resigns

i. Mali’s Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga has resigned along with his whole government, following a motion of no confidence over its failure to handle violence in the West African country.

ii. President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita’s office stated that the President accepts the resignation of the prime minister and that of the members of the government.


Indian Peacekeepers Awarded UN Medal of Honour

i. A total of 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) have received medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice.

ii. Under the UNMISS, the Indian Horizontal Mobility Engineering Company had completed the renovation of 145 km of roadway connecting Bentiu and Leer in South Sudan, easing the way for the delivery humanitarian aid, trade, and inter-communal dialogue.

Ranks and Reports

India Ranks 140th In World Press Freedom Index 2019, Norway Topped

i. India ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the World Press Freedom Index 2019, released by Reporters Without Borders. The index is topped by Norway. 

ii. Paris-based Reporters Sans Frontieres (RSF), or Reporters Without Borders, is a non-profit organisation that works to document and combat attacks on journalists around the world.

Useful info:

  • 1st: Norway
  • 2nd: Finland
  • 179th: North Korea
  • 180th: Turkmenistan.


Bajrang Regains Top Spot In World Wrestling Rankings

i. India’s Bajrang Punia has regained the world number one spot in the men’s 65-kilogram freestyle category rankings. The rankings were released by United World Wrestling.

ii. Punia, who won Gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as a silver in the World Championships in 2018, secured 58 points ahead of Akhmed Chakaev of Russia.


Christina Koch To Set Record For Longest Spaceflight By A Woman

i. NASA astronaut Christina Koch is going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days, which would set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

ii. Koch, who arrived at the space station on March 14 is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020, will eclipse the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17. 


National News

Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific 2019 Congress Held in New Delhi

i. The Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific (RCAP) 2019 Congress is being organised by ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability and hosted by South Delhi Municipal Corporation in New Delhi, India. 

ii. The event offered a combination of high-level plenaries and technical sessions on the implementation and achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and the New Urban Agenda of 2016. 

International News

Nepal and Sri Lanka Launches Its First Satellite From USA

i. Nepal successfully launched its first satellite NepaliSat-1 into space. The satellite developed by the Nepalese scientists was launched from Virginia in the United States. It is a low orbit satellite which will be in the 400-km distance from the Earth’s surface.

ii. Sri Lanka’s first satellite ‘Raavana-1’ was also launched into space, marking Sri Lanka’s entry into the global space age. 

Useful info:

  • Nepal Prime Minister: K P Sharma Oli, Capital: Kathmandu.

Saudi Arabia To Host G20 Summit In 2020

i. Saudi Arabia announced that it will be hosting the G20 summit in November 2020 in its capital Riyadh. This would be the first G20 summit in the Arab world.

ii. Last year’s G20 meeting was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had represented the Kingdom.  

Banking/Business News

Fincare Small Finance Bank Awarded the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award

i. Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) has partnered with M1Xchange Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) platform for MSME bill discounting. 

ii. TReDS is a digital platform to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to get their bills financed at a competitive rate through an auction where multiple registered financiers can participate.

iii. The main purpose of TReDS platform is to facilitate smooth flow of liquidity in the system and make finance available at a competitive rate.

CRISIL Board Gives Nod For Transfer Of Ratings Business To New Subsidiary 

i. CRISIL Ltd, a diversified global analytics company, will transfer its rating business to its proposed new wholly-owned subsidiary. The board of CRISIL gave the nod for the transfer, which is being done to comply with SEBI norms of 2018.

ii. Earlier, SEBI had modified its regulations for credit rating agencies and mandated the segregation of rating and non-ratings businesses of credit-rating agencies. 

Useful info:

  • CRISIL was formerly known as Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited. 

ETMONEY Becomes India’s First Comprehensive Financial Services App To Integrate With UPI

i. ETMONEY India’s largest app for financial services has integrated with Unified Payment Interface (UPI) as a payment method. The reason for this is to double its monthly user base by the end of 2019.

ii. This integration will simplify the mutual fund payment for millions of ETMONEY users. ETMONEY is owned by Times Internet which is a part of the Times Group.

Useful info:

  • UPI is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) which facilitates inter-bank transactions.

Ranks and Reports

Mukesh Ambani Among TIME’s List Of 100 Most Influential People

i. The Time 100 Most Influential People 2019 list has been released, naming the world’s most influential pioneers, leaders, titans, artists, and icons of the year. Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani and public-interest litigators Arundhati Katju and Menaka Guruswamy, who spearheaded a historic legal battle for LGBTQ rights in India, are the Indian names that appeared in the list.

ii. The famous names in the list include Indian-American comedian and TV host Hasan Minhaj, US President Donald Trump, Pope Francis, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Pakistan PM Imran Khan, and iconic golfer Tiger Woods.

Important Days

International Day for Monuments and Sites: 18th April

i. In 1982, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. 

ii. The theme for International Day for Monuments and Sites 2019 is ‘Rural Landscapes’. 


National News

Conclusion of bilateral exercise between Indian Navy-Vietnam People’s Navy

i. India launched another version of bilateral marine practice between Off Cam Rinh Bay , Vietnam  ,  Indian Navy  and  Vietnam People’s Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX)  . 

ii. This practice was done as part of the overseas deployment of ships of Eastern Fleet in Southeast Asian countries.

Coast Guard patrol ship Veera unveiled

i. Army chief General Bipin Rawat said Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh ’s Dockyard in naval jetty in a ceremony held at the Indian Coast Guard ship Veera unveiled.

ii. In the series of offshore patrol ships of Coast Guard, the third   warrior was built  by  L & T at Kattupalli, Chennai , on its shipbuilding facility.

International news

Google unveils its first African AI Lab in Ghana

i.  One year after Google announced the project, its first African Artificial Intelligence Center (AI) was opened  in Ghana’s capital, Accra  .

ii. Research Laboratory will host software engineers and research scientists to work on dedicated projects for next-generation technology.

Useful info:

CEO Google:  Beautiful Pichai.

IMF and World Bank launch ‘Learning Coin’ for internal purposes

iThe International Monetary Fund (IMF)  and  World Bank  have jointly launched a private blockchain with a pseudo-token. The new token, which is called  “Learning Coin”  and accessible only in the IMF and World Bank, is intended to teach relevant people to Blockchain in organizations.

ii. Although the coin has no real value – hence the details: Sodo Token  – Employees receiving academic achievement will receive token which can then be redeemed for some awards. Its purpose is to understand the applications of blockschain technology in the real world.

Useful info:

World Bank President:  David Mulapas , Headquarters: Washington DC, USA,  Established:  1944.

IMF’s MD-Kristen Stein Leggard , Headquarters – Washington DC, USA.


Finacle Small Finance Bank won the Client Model Bank 2019 award

i. Fainkeyr Small Finance Bank (SFB)  to  “redesign Lending to Reach Small Business’  for the  coveted Clent model bank in the category of Financial Inclusion Award 2019  has been awarded ..

ii. This award  recognizes LAP  (Loan Against Property)  D.Lite  , which is a tab-based solution designed and developed by Finchier SFB for the creation of loans and quick downtime against targeted assets in micro and small enterprises.

Useful info:

Mr. Rajeev Yadav is MD & CEO of Fincker Small Finance Bank.

It was launched in 2017  .

Banking / Business / Economy

Bandhan Bank got approval from CCI for merger with Home Finance

i. Bandhan Bank  has  got approval from the Indian Finance Commission (CCI)  for the proposed scheme of  amalgamation  with  Home Finance . Approval has been made under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

ii. Bond Bank announced its merger with Home Finance in January 2019. This step was taken to bring the promoter holding below the 82.3% in the bank.

IDBI Bank launches ‘NRI-Insta-Online’ paperless account facility

i. IDBI Bank  has started the process of opening an ‘NRI-Insta-Online’  account for NRIs living in member countries of the   Financial Action Task Force (FATF)  .

ii. The person will not need to submit KYC proof along with physical documents to open an account with the bank  .

India becomes a pure importer of steel in 2018-19

i. India   was the net importer of steel for the  first time in three years for the first time in the financial year 2018-19  , it was due to the increase in market share between its traditional steel buyers and the demand for high quality steel at the domestic level. is.

ii. According to the initial official figures given to Reuters on Friday, the finished steel exports of the country has decreased by 34%  to  6.36 million  tons in the fiscal year ending March   . During the same period, finished steel imports  increased by 4.7%  to  7.84 million  tonnes  .

ADB provided India with Sovereign Loan of $ 3 billion in 2018

i. ADB has committed to provide India 3 billion US dollars  in sovereign debt in 2018  . It has been stated in the annual report of the multilateral lending agency that it was  the highest level  of assistance since the beginning of sovereign operation in the country in  1986 .

ii. In all, 68 member countries owned by Asian Development Bank (ADB) have  committed a total of US $ 3.88 billion including the sovereign debt and co-financing during the year-end of December 2018.

Useful info:

Asian Development Bank headquarters:  Manila Philippines , President:  Takheiko  Nakao.

Canara Bank becomes the first public sector bank of India to implement RBI’s EMV mandate

i. ACI Worldwide , a global provider of real-time electronic payments and banking solutions  , has announced that  Canara Bank  has successfully implemented major new functionality to support EMV cards received through its ATM network and base authentication. Taking advantage of the UPI Payments solution, the market gets first place.


Mithali Raj was appointed Goodwill Ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup

iIndian women’s cricket team captain Mitali Raj  the  Street Child World Cup (SCCWC)  has been appointed goodwill ambassador of Team India.

ii. Mithali IPL franchisees support the team with Rajasthan Royals and former captain Sourav Ganguly.

Mohammad Isha’ah was appointed as PM of Palestine 

iPalestinian President Mahmoud Abbas  said  Mohammed Ishtiah  has appointed a new Prime Minister. Mohammed Ishtiyah will replace Rami Hamdallah.

ii. Since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995, the 18th Palestinian government sworn in accordance with the President’s decision issued by Abbas, it is at a time when the possibilities for peace agreement with Israel are probably at their lowest point.

Useful info:

Palestine Capitals – Ramallah and East Jerusalem


National News

India’s First Foreign Interactive Bird Park Launched In Mumbai

i. India’s first exotic Bird Park ‘Essel World Bird Park’ was launched by EsselWorld Leisure Pvt. Ltd, the entertainment arm of the $6-billionEssel Group in Mumbai.

ii. The Park is spread over 1.4 acres of land and surrounded by flora and fauna. It is home to over 500 exotic birds from more than 60 species of flying, terrestrial and aquatic birds and has 200 species of special plants and trees for the birds.

Rongali Bihu Festival Celebrated In Assam

i. Assam’s most awaited festival – the Rongali Bihu, also known as ‘Bohaag Bihu’ which marks the beginning of the new Assamese calendar year started. 

ii. In Assam, three Bihu festivals are celebrated in a year called as Rongali Bihu or Bohag Bihu, Bhugali (Magh Bihu) and Kangali (Kati Bihu) for marking the distinctive phase in the farming calendar. 

Useful info:

  • This festival is observed at almost the same time as Baisakhi in Punjab, Poila Baisakh in Bengal, Puthandu in Tamil Nadu and Vishu in Kerala.
  • Assam Capital: Dispur, Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal

Home Expo India 2019 Begins in Greater Noida

i. The 8th edition of Home Expo India 2019 opened at India Expo Centre and Mart, Greater Noida. The three-day exhibition has been organized by the Export Promotion Council for Handicrafts (EPCH). 

ii. Home Expo India covers sectors with maximum thrust and growth potential in home décor, furnishing, furniture, flooring, and textiles. 

Useful info:

  • EPCH is the nodal export promotion body for handicrafts in India.

International News

China Develops World’s First Armed Amphibious Drone Boat

i. The world’s first armed amphibious drone boat named ‘Marine Lizard‘and guided by China’s BeiDou Navigation Satellite System, has been successfully tested by China

ii. The drone ship has been built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC). 

iii. The drone ship has a maximum operation range of 1,200 km and can be remotely controlled with the help of satellites.


NY Times, Wall Street Journal Win Pulitzers For Trump Probes

The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their separate investigations of President Donald Trump and his family. 

ii. The Associated Press won a Pulitzer for international reporting for its coverage of the war in Yemen. Reuters was honoured for international reporting for its coverage of atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar. 

2019 Pulitzer Prize Announced: Complete List of Winners

i. The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. 

ii. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and is administered by Columbia University in New York City.

Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo To Receive 2019 UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize

i. Reuters journalists, Kyaw Soe Oo, and Wa Lone have been selected for UNESCO/Guillermo Cano Press Freedom Prize 2019. Currently, they are serving 7-year prison sentences in Myanmar.

ii. They collected classified military records that revealed extrajudicial assassinations of Rohingya Muslims by the army in Rakhine State. 

Useful info:

  • The award is a tribute to Colombian journalist Guillermo Cano Isaza. In December 1986, he was killed in front of the offices of his newspaper El Espectador in Bogota, Colombia.
  • UNESCO Headquarters: Paris, France.

Banking News

IDRBT Sets Up 5G Lab For Banking, Financial Sector

i. The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), an arm of Reserve Bank of India, has launched a 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector.

ii. The 5G technology, along with blockchain, will be progressively adopted by banks. Department Of Telecommunications had already launched test beds for 5G use in the academia in Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore to develop 5G for Indian use. 

Banks’ Credit Growth Up 13.24% in FY2019: RBI Data

i. The financial year 2019 has ended on a relatively robust note for banks. They clocked a 13.23% year-on-year credit growth against 9.85% in FY2018. 

ii. Deposit growth, at 9.99% year-on-year in FY2019, was also better than the 6.15% logged in FY2018, according to the Reserve Bank of India’s scheduled banks’ statement of position in India.

Sports News

Singapore Open 2019 Concludes: Complete List of Winners

i. The 2019 Singapore Open, was a badminton tournament which took place at Singapore Indoor Stadium in Singapore and had a total purse of $355,000. 

Shuttler Harsheel Dani Clinched Dutch International Badminton Title

i. Former junior national champion Harsheel Dani rallied from a game down against Mads Christophersen of Denmark to clinch the Dutch International badminton title in The Hague, Netherlands.


Renowned Space Scientist SK Shivakumar Passes Away

i. Former Director of Indian Space Research Organisation Satellite Centre (ISAC)SK Shivakumar died at the age of 66 in Bengaluru. 

ii. He hailed from Mysuru, Karnataka. He was part of the team which had developed telemetry system for India’s first moon mission Chandrayan – I.



Cabinet apprised about MoU between India and Republic of Korea

The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, was apprised about an MoU signed in February, 2019 between India and Republic of Korea. Department of Posts, Ministry of Communications, Government of India and The Ministry of Science and ICT (Korea Post), Government of the Republic of Korea have mutually agreed to jointly issue Postage Stamps on the theme “Queen Hur Hwang-ok of Korea”.

  • The joint stamps will be released on a mutually agreed date by the end of 2019.

Useful info:

  • President: Moon Jae-in
    Capital: Seoul
    Currency: South Korean won

CCEA approves proposal to extend duration of new urea policy from April 1

The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs, has approved a proposal to extend the duration of New Urea Policy-2015, from April 1 till further orders. The extension will not apply to the provisions which were amended by a notification dated March 28, 2018. 

  • This approval will help in continuing usual operations and regular supply of urea to the farmers.

Cabinet approves five GSLV flights during 2021-24

The Union Cabinet approved the ongoing GSLV continuation programme phase 4 consisting of five GSLV flights during 2021-24. This will enable the launch of 2-tonne class of satellites for geo-imaging, navigation, data relay communication and space sciences. 

  • The fund requirement is Rs 2,729 crore and includes the cost of five GSLV vehicles, essential facility augmentation, programme management and launch campaign along with additional funds required for meeting the scope of ongoing GSLV continuation programme.


World’s largest aircraft takes first flight

The world’s largest airplane, developed by aerospace venture Stratolaunch, flew into the air for its first flight test. The gigantic, six-engined twin-fuselage megajet took off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California for the flight expected to last for a couple of hours. 

  • Stratolaunch was founded by the late Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2011 to develop the large carrier airplane as a flying launch pad for orbital-class rockets.


Airtel, FLO launch app for women’s safety

Bharti Airtel in collaboration with FICCI Ladies Organisation (FLO) launched a mobile app, My Circle, to help women in case they face any problem or a panic situation. The application is carrier agnostic which would work on phones with any telecom service network, both Airtel and non-Airtel.

  • My Circle app enables women to send SOS alerts to any five of their family or friends in 13languages including English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Marathi, Punjabi, Bangla, Urdu, Assamese, Oriya, and Gujarat.

LIC gets 12 years from RBI for reducing stake in IDBI Bank

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given 12 years to Life Insurance Corp to reduce its stake in IDBI Bank, accepting the life insurer’s argument that it is a long-term investor in the struggling bank which had nearly 30 per cent of its advances as bad loans in the December quarter.

  • RBI has stipulated that after 12 years LIC has to reduce stake in IDBI Bank by 10 per cent to 40 per cent. 


Hamilton wins record-extending 6th Chinese GP

Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton secured a record-extending sixth Chinese Grand Prix (GP) victory, snatching the world championship lead from his Mercedes teammate Valtteri Bottas.

  • Five-time world champion Hamilton, of the United Kingdom, clinched his 75th career victory and second of the season in the 1,000th Formula One race after overtaking pole-sitter Bottas of Finland.

Kohli surpasses Raina, becomes highest-scoring Indian batsman in T20 format

Royal Challengers Bangalore skipper Virat Kohli has surpassed Chennai Super Kings batsman Suresh Raina to become the highest-scoring Indian batsman in the T20 format. The 30-year-old surpassed Raina’s record in the ninth over of the RCB innings. Kohli now has 8175 runs from 245 T20 innings at an average of 41.22 with four centuries and 59 half-centuries.

  • Kohli now is placed at the sixth position in the list of highest run-scorers in the T20 format. Raina has 8145 runs from 293 innings in the format. 

Goa clinch Super Cup 2019 title

FC Goa emerged as champions of the 2019 Super Cup as they pipped Chennaiyin FC 2-1 in a tense affair at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.

  • Despite Goa being billed as the favourites to take home the crown, it was Chennaiyin, who started the game as the better of the two sides.

Meena Kumari Maisnam clinches gold in Cologne World Cup boxing

Meena Kumari Maisnam continued her fine run to win gold medal in the 54 kg at the Boxing World Cup in Cologne. Sakshi (57kg) and Pwilao Basumatary (64kg) lost their final bouts and had to settle for the silver while Pinki Rani (51kg) and Parveen (60kg) won bronze as India finished with five medals.


Mohammed Ishtaye sworn in as new Palestinian PM

New Palestinian Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtaye and his cabinet members were sworn in before President Mahmoud Abbas at his headquarters in the West Bank city of Ramallah. 

  • The 18th Palestinian government since the establishment of the Palestinian Authrity in 1995 was sworn in according to a presidential decree issued by Abbas. 

Useful info:

  • Palestine Capitals: Ramallah, East Jerusalem

BK Nayak appointed FIH Health and Safety Committee Chair

Bibhu Kalyan Nayak became the first Indian to be appointed Chair of International Hockey Federation (FIH) Health and Safety Committee by the world governing body. He will serve a two-year term lasting till the first executive board meeting after Congress 2020. 

  • A native of Bhubaneswar, Nayak has extensively trained in Sports Traumatology and Sports and Exercise Physiology from National Institute of Sports Medicine at Havana, Cuba & National Sports Centre at Madrid, Spain.

Useful info:

  • International Hockey Federation Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland


Mint’s Teena Thacker wins Citi Journalistic Excellence Award

Mint’s Teena Thacker has been selected by Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism as the winner of the 2019 Citi Journalistic Excellence Awards. Thacker won this award for her long story in Mint on Johnson and Johnson (J&J’s) faulty hip implants in India.

  • The Citi Journalistic Excellence Award (CJEA) began in 1982 as a way to recognize journalists for excellence in financial and business reporting.


Kerala’s lauded IAS and Former chief secretary D Babu Paul passes away

Eminent scholar, writer and former additional chief secretary D Babu Paul has passed away. He was 78. During his illustrious career Babu Paul held several key posts including member Ombudsman for the Local Self-Government institutions and vice-chancellor of the Kerala University.

  • At present, he was serving as the independent member of the Kerala Infrastructure Investment Fund Board.