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Important Current Affairs 19th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Norway topped and India ranked 140th in World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• Norway is ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th).

• India dropped two places to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the global press freedom index analysis.

• Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.

• At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.

Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last in the World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• The index is released by Reporters Without Borders.

Top 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

1st       Norway

2nd      Finland

3rd       Sweden

4th       Netherlands

5th       Denmark

Bottom 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

176th   Vietnam

177th   China

178th   Eritrea

179th   North Korea

180th   Turkmenistan

INTERNATIONAL:

Sri Lanka launched its first Satellite.

• Sri Lanka's first satellite Raavana l was launched into space from NASA's Flight Facility on Virginia's east shore. The satellite was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It will be shuttled to the International Space Station. The “Raavana 1” was launched into space with the assistance of the US rocket “Antares”.

• Raavana 1 weights around 1.05 kg and is 1000 cubic centimetres in size. The minimum lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years and it is expected to be active for five years. Raavana 1 satellite's camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The Raavana-l is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from the earth. The satellite will achieve an active attitude stabilization which ensures that the satellite's attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The launch of Raavana-l marks Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

Saudi Arabia to host G20 Summit in 2020, first in Arab world.

• Saudi Arabia will host the annual G20 leaders' summit on November 21-22, 2020, in its capital Riyadh.

• This will be the first G20 Summit to be hosted in the Arab world.

Japan will host this year's G20 summit in Osaka, which will be held June 28-29, as well as ministerial meetings in eight cities.

• In 2018, the conference was held in Buenos Aries, Argentina and focused on the global economy, the future of labour markets and gender equality.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Canara Bank became the first PSB to meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced that Canara Bank has successfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs, is the first public sector bank to shift to EMV chip and PIN for card present transactions across the country’s vast ATM network.

• What is EMV Chip?

• EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa, the three Organisations that developed and established EMV as the global standard for chip-based credit and debit transactions. The EMVstandard helps to maximise security and global interoperability so that Visa cards can continue to be accepted around the world.

IMF and World Bank Launched Learning Coin For In-House Purposes.

• International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have together launched a private blockchain with a pseudo-token.

The new token, called “Learning Coin” accessible within the IMF and World Bank the main purpose to teach relevant individuals within the organizations about block chain.

• Though the coin has no real value hence the description pseudo-token staff members who pass educational milestones will receive the tokens which can then be redeemed for certain rewards.

Canara Bank Becomes The First Public Sector Bank In India To Meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions Canara Banksuccessfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs

Bandhan Bank Gets CCI Nod For Merger With Gruh Finance.

• Bandhan Bankreceived approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed scheme of amalgamation of Gruh Finance with the bank.

• The approval has been made under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

• Bandhan Bank in January 2019, announced the merger of Gruh Finance with it.

DAYS:

International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April.

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April every year. In 1982, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. UNESCO approved it the following year during its 22nd General Conference. Since then, 18 April has been a day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are.

• The theme for International Day for Monuments and Sites 2019 is Rural Landscapes, which is linked to the theme of the 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on Rural heritage to take place in October in Marrakesh, Morocco. The day offers the opportunity for National and International Scientific Committees to raise awareness about the relevance of rural landscapes, the challenges that encompass their conservation, the benefits that these efforts provide, and how rural landscapes are intrinsically related with sustainable development.

• Some of the main features that define rural landscapes are its fragility and use. While any changes in the conditions that sustain the living and evolving landscape might involve a dramatic transformation, or even a complete abandon or loss of a landscape, it is the conservation of its use which enables its tangible and intangible heritage to survive.

April 19 is observed as World Liver Day.

• The World Liver Day (WLD) is observed every year on April 19 to build awareness and understanding importance of liver in human body and how liver ailments are treated.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are 10th most

• common cause of death in India.

AWARDS:

UN honoured Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan.

• United Nations honoured 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. UNMISS is working to deter violence against civilians by providing a safe and secure environment for South Sudanese people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at Protection of Civilian sites across the country. It aims to provide a safe and supported environment so that these people can return to their former homes and communities to live safely and with dignity.

• UNMISS peacekeepers are also working to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, shelter and healthcare, to the millions of displaced people. It also protects, monitors, investigates, and reports on human rights violations and abuses with a strong focus on the most vulnerable, such as women and children and those who are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

• UNMISS is committed to helping build durable peace in South Sudan. It is working as a partner at a national and sub-national level with political, religious, traditional and community leaders as well as at grassroots with communities and individuals across the country to advance reconciliation efforts, to strengthen conflict resolution mechanisms and build national cohesion as well as to engage in regional and international peace initiatives.

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Important Current Affairs of 18th April

NATIONAL:

Indian Navy-Vietnam People's Navy Bilateral Exercise Concludes.

• The Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX) at/ off Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

• The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries. About Indian Navy Founded: 1612 Country: India Type: Navy Colours: Navy blue, white.

Jet Airways sought Rs.400 crore infusion to avert shutdown.

• The Jet Airways board authorised its management, headed by chief executive officer Vinay Dube, to engage with lenders to secure at least a few hundred crore rupeesof interim funding to continue operations till a new owner comes on board. The board also authorised the CEO to take the final call on the airline’s operations.

• Armed with this, the CEO approached the lenders to releaseRs.400 crore for the sake of the employees and to prevent a shutdown. Jet requires at least Rs.1,000 crore to meet its immediate needs.

• In view of the critical liquidity position of the company, its operations have been severely impacted. It is awaiting emergency liquidity support from the consortium of domestic lenders led by the State Bank of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX to fly its DART planetary defence mission.

• NASA announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defencemission. The total launch cost for NASA is estimated to be about $69 million.

• DART - Double Asteroid Redirection Test 

• It is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defense purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission.

• The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered an Earth-sized planet, HD 21749b and a “sub-Neptune” world, revolving around the star, HD 21749. The star lies 53 light-years from Earth.

• The research study has been published on 15th April, 2019 in ‘The Astrophysical Journal Letters’.

• TESS was launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

• One tool termed as ‘Planet Finder Spectrograph’ (PFS) on the ‘Magellan II telescope’ in Chile helped to confirm the planetary nature of the TESS signal and measure the mass of HD 21749b.

• HD 21749b is about 23 times heavier and 2.7 times wider than Earth. It is gaseous, has a substantial atmosphere but not as puffy as Uranus and Neptune. HD 21749b has an orbital period of 36 Earth days.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

IDRBT set up 5G Lab for Banking, Financial Sector.

• Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) launched the 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector along with blockchain technology.

• IDRBT is an arm of Reserve Bank of India.

It also released a white paper on 5G applications for banking and financial sector in India.

• The use of 5G will change a range of technologies and applications, including point of sale (PoS) machines in the banking sector, which are currently using 2G and are in the process of being phased out.

Since India is now the biggest user of mobile data in the world and the rates of devices and services have been dropping aggressively, 5G holds immense potential for the country.

IDBI Bank launched paperless account opening facility for NRIs.

• IDBI Bank has launched the ‘NRI-Insta-Online’ account-opening process for NRIs residing in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member countries.

• The person will not be required to furnish physical documents and KYC proofs for opening an account with the IDBI bank.

• FATF- Financial Action Task Force

FATF is an inter-governmental body which devices policy and sets standards to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The body has 38 member countries, including the US, UK, India, Japan, China and France, among others.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

PwC India names Padmaja Alaganandan as chief people officer, Jagjit Singh steps down.

• PwC India announced the appointment of Padmaja Alaganandan as the firm’s new Chief People Officer (CPO).

• She takes over the role from Jagjit Singh.

Padmaja associated with PwC for the last eight years.

• She was the Technology sector lead for PwC’s Advisory Line of Service.

The leader of the firm’s People and Organisation Consulting practice.

• Before joining PwC in 2011, Padmaja worked in leadership roles in different organisations such as Mercer Consulting and AF Ferguson.

• She is a member of CII’s National HR Committee and the Committee on Skill Development.

RedBus appoints Mahendra Singh Dhoni as brand ambassador.

• Bus ticketing platform redBus has appointed cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.

• The cricketer will appear in a hockey player avatar in his first cameo for the brand, slated to be launched soon.

• Dhoni’s brand endorsement deals can be in the range of Rs. 3-10 crore.

At present, Dhoni is the brand ambassador of sports firm Dream11, Colgate, MasterCard, Orient Fans, BharatMatrimony, Indigo Paints, SRMB Steel, and health supplement brand Revital H.

• Recently, Fantasy sports platform HalaPlay Technologies has appointed cricketers Krunal and Hardik Pandya as its brand ambassadors.

Mithali Raj named goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup.

• Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj has been named the goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup (SCCWC).

• She, alongside Saurav Ganguly and Rajasthan Royals, joins in supporting the team as they gear up for the final match at Lords, just ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in May this year.

• India has over 20 lakh street connected children.

Ajay Kumar Dixit appointed as CEO of Cairn Oil.

• Cairn Oil & Gas, a division of Vedanta Ltd, has announced the appointment of Ajay Kumar Dixit as its Chief Executive Officer. Dixit succeeds Sudhir Mathur, who after seven successful years with the company, moves on to pursue personal endeavors.

• Dixit had joined Vedanta in 2015 from Siemens where he was CEO-Energy for South Asia. He is an alumni of Delhi College of Engineering and had served as the acting CEO of Vedanta’s Aluminium and Power business before being elevated to this new role.

• The company expects that his leadership will support Cairn’s vision to realize the full potential of Barmer block, grow the offshore business and appraisal of new blocks under OALP I and discovered small fields (DSF-II).

DAYS:

World Heritage Day observed on 18th April.

• World Heritage Day also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites is an annual event celebrated on 18 April every year.

In 2019, the theme is Rural Landscapes.

SPORTS:

FIFA ban former Brazilian football president Jose Maria Marin for life.

• Former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin has been banned for life from all football activities by FIFA.

• In August 2018, Marin who led Brazil’s organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, was sentenced to four years in prison for racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

• He became the first person to be imprisoned as the result of the US investigation into corruption at world football’s governing body.

Earlier Marin was arrested at a luxury Zurich hotel in May 2015. During US investigation, he was found to have taken bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various tournaments which also include the Copa America.

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Important Current Affairs of 17th April

NATIONAL:

Centre sets up an Indo Pacific division.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office. The Indo-pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to theIndo-Pacific policy. The policy was articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018. In India, the policy will be run by the MEA.

About Indo-Pacific Wing:

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is currently headed by joint secretary Vikram Doraiswami

• The Indo-Pacific Wing will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred policymaking

• The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific policy

• In its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy.

India turns to net steel importer in Fiscal year 2018-2019.

• India became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 that ended on 31 March for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US diverted supplementary supplies to India.

• India’s steel imports increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier.

• Exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

PSEs gets 12 months to monetise non-core assets.

• The Union Cabinet announced that the Public Sector companies will have 12 months to monetise (convert something into or express in the form of currency ) non-core assets identified by a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister. On failing, the finance ministry may restrict budgetary allocations to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) issued guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties.

The New guidelines:

• According to the guidelines, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) chaired by the secretary of DIPAM will identify the non-core assets of the CPSEs on its own, and also on the basis of recommendations of the Niti Aayog.

• Once the panel, comprising the finance minister, road transport minister and the minister of the administrative ministry concerned, approves the assets for monetisation, it should be completed within 12 months from the date of approval

• This will be the target to be achieved by the CPSEs as part of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)

• The Department of Expenditure and Department of Economic Affairs may consider any proposal from the CPSE/administrative ministry for budgetary support only after looking at the achievement of asset monetisation target by the CPSE

• Performance of contract management will be considered before sanctioning any government budgetary support.

ADB committed highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India.

• Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed a total of USD 3.88 billion, including sovereign loans and co-financing to India during the year ended December 2018.

• This is the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

• Private sector operations reached USD 3.14 billion, a 37 per cent increase from 2017, which is 14.5 per cent of ADB's overall commitment.

RBI puts into circulation Rs 50 banknotes signed by Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• Reserve Bank of India put into circulation 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• RBI in Mumbai approved the design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.

UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations.

• United Nations (UN) owes India USD 38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.

• In a report on improving the financial situation of the world body, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million.

• Of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million).

The arrears to troop- and police-contributing (TCCs/PCCs) countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 “in the worst-case scenario”.

• World body’s cash balance in negative:

UN had a positive cash balance of USD 412 million at the end of 2010 but finished 2018 with a negative cash balance of USD 323 million - a decrease of USD 735 million in an eight-year period.

• Regular budget assessments are issued at beginning of each year and member states are required to pay their contributions in full within 30 days.

• In 2017 and 2018, 73 member states had paid their contributions in full by the end of the first quarter, compared with 62 in 2016 and 67 in 2015. So far, 74 member states have paid in full in 2019

• US is responsible for 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion regular budget for 2018 and 2019 and more than 28 per cent of the USD 6.7 billion peacekeeping budget for the year to June 30.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Rajesh Yaduvanshi is appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank.

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) appointed Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi as the Executive Director of the bank.

• Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi joined PNB as a management trainee in 1985.

He is equipped with an experience of 34 years in the banking career and is a certified associate member of Indian Institute of Bankers.

• In the past, he had worked with Dena Bank in the capacity of the Executive Director.

• He holds a doctorate in science from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, (IARI) New Delhi.

DAYS:

World Haemophilia Day observed on April 17.

• World Haemophilia Day was started in 1989 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) which chose to bring the community together on April 17 in honour of WFH founder Frank Schnabel’s birthday.

April 17, 2019, marks the 30th World Hemophilia Day.

AWARDS:

Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award.

• Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB)honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’.

• The award recognizes LAP (Loans against Property) D.Lite, which is a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.

• The Award was announced on its 12th anniversary in 2019 and was organized by Celent in New York.

LAP D.Lite is one of the 22 initiatives from all over the world to receive this award, which featured 140 nominations from 80 institutions from 30 countries.

• The other banks to receive the award in other categories were Bank of America, CIBC, Fidor Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, and Santander.

The award is for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

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Important Current Affairs of 16th April

NATIONAL:

India’s 1st indigenously made long-range missile Nirbhay successfully test fired

• Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the India’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from a test range in Odisha’s Chandipur.

• 'Nirbhay' is designed to carry conventional and 300-kilogram  nuclear warheads. The missile weighs 1,500 kg, width of 0.52 meters and has a wingspan of 2.7 metre. It is all-weather missile and can be launched from multiple platforms. It also has the capability to strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers.

• It has the ability to fly at low altitudes in order to avoid detection by enemy radar. The missile is armed with a Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system. It is also equipped with a MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and the GPS system.

• The organisation had conducted five trials since 2013 before this. The last successful trial of ‘Nirbhay’ cruise missile was conducted on November 7, 2017.

INTERNATIONAL:

China developed the world’s first armed amphibious drone attack boat named Marine Lizard.

• Marine Lizard was built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

• It could be used in land and sea assault operations. The amphibious Marine Lizard can possibly form an unmanned sea-land-air integrated combat system with aerial armed reconnaissance drones and other drone ships.

•  It has a maximum operation range of 1,200 kms and can be remotely controlled via satellites.

•  In ship form, the 12-metre-long Marine Lizard is a trimaran propelled by a diesel-powered hydrojet and can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

CMFRI Signs Agreement with ISRO To Save Coastal Wetlands.

• The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have joined hands to map, validate and protect smaller wetlands in coastal regions.

• The programme is aimed at restoring them through coastal livelihood programmes.

• The MoU was signed between the CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre of ISRO to develop a mobile app and a centralised web portal that will have a comprehensive database of wetlands that are smaller than 2.25 hectares in the country.

India to partner with Japan and UAE to set up two projects in Africa.

• India will build a cancer hospital in Kenya in collaboration with Japan. Also, India will partner with the UAE to set up an ICT centre (Information and Communications Technology center) in Ethiopia.

• Through this partnership, India has undertaken many projects like the ambitious Pan African e-network project on tele-education and tele-medicine which provides “integrated” satellite, fiber optics and wireless network between educational and medical institutes in Africa and India.

• Africa is the focus under the Narendra Modi government amid China's push in the continent and countries from Europe are also keen to partner India for projects in third countries in Africa.

The 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2019 started in New Delhi

• The 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2019 organised by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and co-hosted by South Delhi Municipal Corporation started in New Delhi.

• It will conclude on 17th April 2019. It offers a lot of innovative solutions that build resilience to climate change at the sub-national level. Local governments in the Asia Pacific region are the main target of the event. The RCAP 2019 is a platform for discussing the opportunities and mechanisms of executing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

• The proposed themes that have been recognised for RCAP 2019 are: Integrated climate resilience planning to manage risks and vulnerabilities Good governance and resilience Nature-based solutions to adaptation Climate knowledge brokering Opportunities for regional networking and collaboration Sustainable infrastructure development and green growth Urban Nexus Financing mechanisms for Asian cities About Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

NBFCs, MFIs raised Rs.26,000 crore through Securitisation.

• Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance companies (MFIs) raised about Rs.26,200 crore through securitisation in FY19, despite tight liquidity conditions. It is a growth of 170% over FY18. In FY18, NBFCs and MFIs raised Rs.9,700 crore through securitisation. The sectors faced tight liquidity conditions in FY19 after a series of defaults by Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services (IL&FS).

• A report by rating agency Icra stated that their reliance on the securitisation route to raise funds increased to help meet their growth targets in FY19. In FY18 and H1FY19, securitisation contributed to only 18-20% of the overall disbursements. However, this number leapfrogged to 37% and an estimated 50% in the third and fourth quarters of FY19, respectively.

•  Investors were also comfortable buying retail loan portfolios originated by these entities as opposed to taking direct on-balance sheet credit exposure, especially for small and medium sized entities. What is Securitisation? Pooling various types of contractual debt (such as residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto loans or credit card debt obligations) and selling their related cash flows to third party investors as securities, which may be described as bonds, pass-through securities, or collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). 

• Investors are repaid from the principal and interest cash flows collected from the underlying debt and redistributed through the capital structure of the financing.  Securities backed by mortgage receivables are called mortgage-backed securities (MBS), while those backed by other types of receivables are asset-backed securities (ABS).

Wholesale price inflation increased to 3.18 percent in March.

• Wholesale price inflation increased to 3.18% in March on costlier food and fuel. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation was at 2.93% and 2.76% in February and January 2019, respectively, and 3.46% in December 2018. It was 2.74% in March 2018. Inflation in Category wise:

• Food articles: Inflation in the food articles basket hardened to 5.68% during March 2019 as against 4.28% in February, as prices of vegetables raised high. Vegetable inflation was at 28.13% in March, up from 6.82% in the previous month. However, inflation in potato cooled substantially to 1.30%, from 23.40% in February. Pulses and wheat witnessed some cooling in inflation at 10.63% and 10.13%, respectively. 

• In protein-rich items such as ‘egg, meat and fish’ saw inflation fall to 5.86% during March.

• Fuel and power: In this category, the inflation spiked to 5.41%, from 2.23% in February.  Inflation in diesel shot up to 7.33% during the month from 3.72% in February. In petrol, inflation was 1.78% in March, as against a deflation of 2.93% in February.

• Wholesale Price Index (WPI): The price of a representative basket of goods at the wholesale stage is referred to as the Wholesale Price Index. It consists of over 2400 commodities. Wholesale goods refer to goods which are sold in bulk and are traded between different corporations and not consumers. The price of goods traded between consumers is called the consumer price index. WPI is used by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to frame the monetary and fiscal policies.

• What is Inflation? An increase in the general level of prices in an economy is termed as inflation. If the price of one good has gone up it is not inflation, inflation occurs only when the prices of most goods have gone up. Inflation leads to a decrease in the purchasing power of the currency which means that the same amount of money will buy fewer goods. The modern economists say that inflation occurs as a result of the creation of extra purchasing power to the consumer over the same level of production. This means that extra money is generated in the economy without an increase in the level of production.

A unique proposition to pay electricity bill on EMIs launched by Bajaj Finserv

• A unique proposition to pay electricity bill on EMIs launched by Bajaj Finserv through its lending arm Bajaj Finance Ltd.

•  through the campaign of #BijliOnEMI.

• Customers can avail an Insta Credit loan in their Bajaj Finserv Wallet to pay their electricity bills on EMI. Bajaj Finance Ltd. financed the purchase of over 12 lakh air conditioners across our country in the year 2018.

• Bajaj Finance Ltd launched this campaign and customers buying air conditioners of Rs 20,000 and above will be eligible for Rs 5000 Instant Credit loan and for the air conditioners above Rs 40,000 will receive Rs 7000 Instant Credit loan to their Wallet.

• The Wallet facilitates the customer to access the EMI network card digitally, like tracking loan-related details online, transacting securely with EMIs on purchases, etc.

AWARDS:

Three teams from India are awarded in NASAs Human Exploration Rover Challenge

• NASA has awarded three teams from India as part its annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge, which invites high school and college students to build and test roving vehicles for future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Nearly 100 teams took part in the competition.

• The team from KIET Group of Institutions in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, won the “AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award”. The Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering from Mumbai, Maharashtra, won the “Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award”. A team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, won the “STEM Engagement Award”.  

• NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge: The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is to encourage research and development of new technology for future mission planning and crewed space missions to other worlds. The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge prior to 2014 referred to as the Great Moonbuggy Race. It is an annual competition for high school and college students to design, build, and race human-powered, collapsible vehicles over simulated lunar/Martian terrain. The competition was first held in 1994. NASA sponsors the competition since 1996, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, hosts.

Crying Girl photo by John Moore won the World Press Photo of the Year Award.

• Veteran Getty Images photographer John Moore’s photograph of a young girl Yanela Sanchez crying as she and her mother are taken into custody by US border officials in McAllen, Texas, USA, after crossing into the US from Mexico won the World Press Photo of the Year and the first prize in the Spot News, Singles, category.

• He received €10,000 (£8,600) as prize amount. Dutch-Swedish photographer Pieter Ten Hoopen won the “World Press Photo Story of the Year Award” for the image of 2018 mass-migrant caravan to the US border. For 62 years, the World Press Photo Foundation has recognized the best contributions to visual journalism by professional photographers through its international World Press Photo Contest. This year's winners were selected from 78,801 images entered by 4,738 photographers world-wide.

Pulitzer Prize for New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

• The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their separate investigations of President Donald Trump and his family.  The Times won the prestigious journalism award for a probe of the Trump family’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges. 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.

SPORTS:

Golfer Tiger Woods won fifth green jacket and 15th major title.

• Golfer Tiger Woods won fifth Masters and 15th major title at Augusta National Golf Club. It was the 43-year-old American golfer’s first major title victory in 11 years and his first Master’s win since 2005. All-time leader, Jack Nicklaus is just three major titles ahead of the former world No.1.

Mumbai Shuttler Dani clinches Dutch International badminton title 2019.

• India’s Harsheel Dani, a former junior national champion, defeated Mads Christophersen of Denmark, world no 149, to clinch the 20th Victor Dutch International Badminton title in Wateringen, The Netherlands with a 15-21, 21-12, 21-13 victory in a 47-minute clash.

• It was the second win for Dani opposite Christophersen.  The 22-year-old won the Ghana international crown in 2018 second Karvy All India junior-ranking badminton tournament in 2012.

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Important Current Affairs of 15th April

NATIONAL:

Rotary Club of Madras North initiated Project Kannamma.

• Project Kannamma is the initiative of the Rotary Club of Madras North to provide sanitary napkins to the students. 

• Project Kannamma: 

♦ It was started in August of 2018 by providing free, biodegradable sanitary napkins to 82 students at the Government High School in Uthandi of Tamil Nadu

♦ Under the Project Kannamma, sanitary napkins are provided to over 300 students from across Government Schools in and around Chennai today 

♦ The sanitary napkins are provided by the Irula Tribal Women's Welfare Society (ITWWS)

♦ The project is also supporting the livelihood of the Irula Tribal Women 

♦ If the group sells 15,000 pads per month, it can sustain the families of 12 tribal women.

INTERNATIONAL:

Bhutan Government to place bill for ratification of BBIN initiative at its upper senate

• Bhutan government will place the bill for ratification of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity at its upper senate.

• Briefing media on the occasion of Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering's visit to Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Shahidul Haq told reporters that BBIN is a big initiative in the region for improving rail and road connectivity in the region and he expressed the hope that the bill will be passed by the Bhutanese Parliament soon.

• The Motor Vehicle Agreement of BBIN countries was signed in 2015 by the four member countries.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI permitted Reinsurance Brokers to open Foreign Currency Accounts.

• Reinsurance brokers have been permitted to open non-interest bearing foreign currency accounts with banks for undertaking transactions.

•  Foreign currency account refers to a bank account held or maintained in currency other than the currency of India or Nepal or Bhutan.

• Earlier, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had issued notification and then RBI issued Foreign Exchange Management (Foreign Currency Accounts by a person resident in India) Regulations, 2015 - Opening of Foreign Currency Accounts by Re-insurance and Composite Insurance brokers.

RBI granted 12 years to LIC to bring down its stake in IDBI Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which classified IDBI as a private sector bank last month, has granted Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) with 12 years to cut its stake in the bank by 10 percent.

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

• LIC is the major shareholder of IDBI Bank. It has a 51 per cent stake in the Bank. The government is the other major investor in IDBI Bank owning 46.46 per cent while the rest is with the public.

• As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI), LIC can hold up to 15 percent stake in any bank which can go up to 30 percent as per the board approval. But the insurance regulator has allowed LIC to invest up to 51 percent in IDBI Bank last year.

HDFC Bank tops Forbes' list of best Indian banks 2019.

• Forbes has compiled a first-ever list of the World's Best Bank 2019 in terms of customer services and technological advancements.

• The private lender, HDFC Bank, was ranked at the top of the ‘Forbes Best Indian Banks 2019’ list. HDFC Bank claims to provide the best of its technological features to its 43 million customers.

• Another private lender ICICI Bank took the second spot, while DBS was at the third rank in Forbes list of Indian banks. Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank had managed to gain the fourth and fifth spot respectively.

• Syndicate Bank, PNB, Allahabad Bank, Vijaya Bank and Axis Bank were ranked from sixth to tenth respectively.

• Forbes had partnered with Statista, a market research company, to measure the best banks in 23 countries.

• The survey compiled data from around 40,000 customers around the world for their opinions on their banking relationships.

• The banks were rated on the basis of 5 key attributes - trust, digital services, financial advice and fees.

Gargi Kaul appointed as Secretary of Defence Finance.

• The  Central government appointed Gargi Kaul as Secretary, Defence Finance.  She is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS). 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

New Palestinian government sworn in a second time after botched oath

• Palestine’s New Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayeh, a veteran peace negotiator and harsh critic of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and his 22-member cabinet took the oath of office a second time, on April 14, 2019. The ministers neglected to include a clause pledging faithfulness “to the people and its national heritage” during ceremony on April 13.

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

• The new Cabinet replaces a technocratic government formed by Rami Hamdallah in 2014 after an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has run the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah and evicting the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

• Ishtayeh faces challenges, with the Palestinian Authority in a deep financial crisis after U.S. sanctions and Israel's decision to withhold $138 million in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

AWARDS:

Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar received Best Digital Agency award

• Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar was honoured with the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nobel Award by International Human Rights Council at Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai.

•  Among the awardee, Digital Sukoon was the Best Digital Agency of the Year 2019 to receive the award.

• Yogesh Lakhani of Bright Outdoor Media, Actor Johnny Lever, Jasleen Matharu also received awards in various other categories.

Dr. A K Singh honoured with 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

• Dr. A K Singh, director at Life Sciences, DRDO has been honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 during 4th APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave at Chandigarh University, Mohali. 

• He has made notable contributions in Internal Decorporation of Fission Produced Radionuclides and Infection Imaging.

• He also discovered a Diagnobact Kit to detect the infectious lesion. He also introduced Pharmacosyntigraphy,  i.e. application of nuclear medicine imaging in drug research.

• 4th Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave: For Best Innovative Project Awards 2019, 965 innovative projects competed against each other. Pankaj Sharma bagged the first position and Best Innovation of the Year Award 2019, for Smart Trolley Bag project.  Pratul and Abhishek shared second place.

•  Pratul acquired award for Automatic Toilet Cleaner project. Abhishek won for prototype model for Accident Management System respectively.

• Third prize was jointly won by Vaibhav and Daniyal for treatment of textile affluent and plastic with bio-mass to help in controlling water and air pollution.

Telugu Poet K Siva Reddy Selected For Prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018

• Telugu poet K Siva Reddy selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018 for his collection of poetry titled Pakkaki Ottigilite. 

• The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque. About Saraswati Samman 2018 Awards The Saraswati Samman is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. 

• It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India. Currently held by Sitanshu Yashaschandra.

SPORTS:

Meena Kumari bagged gold at the 2019 Boxing World Cup.

• Meena Kumari Maisnam from Manipur claimed the Gold medal in the 54 kg category at the Boxing World Cup at Cologne in Germany. She defeated Thailand’s Machai Bunyanut in the final. Meena was the 2014 Asian Championships bronze medallist. India bagged a Gold, two Silver and two bronze medals at the Boxing World Cup. Sakshi won Silver in 57 kg Category and Pwilao Basumatary in 64 kg category. Pinki Rani won bronze in 51 kgs and Parveen won bronze in 60 kgs category.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mark Boucher inducted as MCC Honorary Life Members

• Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq and South African Mark Boucher were inducted as the Honorary Life Members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), in recognition to their outstanding achievements in the game of cricket.

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Important Current Affairs 14th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders.

• On World Parkinson’s Day,11th April, Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

•  It will offer medical and surgical treatment for patients affected by various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease.

• The centre would offer Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgeries and other services to treat a wide spectrum of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, dystonia, essential tremor, and intractable spasticity dyskinesia.

• Tremors, mainly on one side of the body, is the first manifestation of Parkinson’s disease.

• The initial management requires multidisciplinary care including physiotherapy, neurological support, psychiatric counselling, and nutrition. Surgery could be considered when the symptoms cannot be adequately controlled by medical management.

• The centre would offer DBS in which electrodes are implanted in the brain.

Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai.

• Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai, Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first-of-its-kind rainforest-themed park spread across 1.4 acres is home to over 500 exotic birds from more than 60 species.

• The main motive is to set up a bird park that meets international standards and let the city dwellers peep into the birds’ world. The park is carefully designed to ensure appropriate living conditions for the birds.

• It is meant not only for entertainment but also to spread awareness of different types of birds. 

• The park is equipped with small ponds for aquatic birds, dense cover of trees for birds to incubate their eggs and a water stream that offers drinking water to birds. It also houses a special bird’s kitchen and healthcare centre.

IMF cut India growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.3 per cent.

• According to the latest edition of World Economic Outlook (WEO), released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during 2019 Spring Meeting, India is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent in fiscal year 2019-20, as against China's 6.6 per cent.

• This is 20 basis points lower than January outlook and 10 basis points lower than October’s forecast.

• Though the growth is estimated to go up at 7.5% during 2020-21. India’s Current account deficit is seen at around 2.5% of GDP.

• Global growth fell to 3.6% in 2018 and is projected to decline further to 3.3% in 2019. China is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBL Bank tied up with CreditVidya for improving customer experience.

• Through this partnership, the private sector lender - RBL Bank will be able to gain significant insights into its customer base.

• RBL Bank will leverage CreditVidya's big data underwriting platform across its credit card and mobile banking apps.

• The bank had first partnered with CreditVidya in 2018 for instant and automated verification of employment details of salaried card applicants.

• Founded in 2012, CreditVidya helps lenders and wallets assess risk of customers.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Jamia Millia Islamia gets its First Woman Vice-Chancellor.

• The Ministry of Human Resources and Development issued a statement about appointing Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islam about Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) by the President of India.

• She is appointed for a period of five years. Professor Najma Akhtar will be the first woman to hold the post.

• Professor Najma Akhtar is a gold medallist from Aligarh Muslim University. She has a PhD in Education from Kurukshetra University.

• Professor Najma Akhtar a Commonwealth Fellow for University.

Murali Kartik named as the new brand ambassador of Fantasy 11.

• Funtasy11, a fantasy sports platform, has roped in former Indian cricketer Murali Kartik as its brand ambassador. Fantasy Gaming Space is rapidly growing and is expected to reach 100 million users by 2020.

• Karthik was the ‘Official Fan Management Partner’ for the recently conducted Premier Badminton league.

• Before Karthik, appointment of brand ambassadors made by famous online gaming industries are listed below:

♦ Dream 11 - MS Dhoni

♦ CricPlay - Gautam Gambhir

♦ HalaPlay - Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal

♦ Fantain  - Suresh Raina

♦ Fanmojo - Prithvi Shaw

Jean Michel Lapin elected as Haiti's new prime minister.

• Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise announced that Jean Michel Lapin, who once served as a courier in the public administration, to be the new prime minister of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

• He succeeds Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant. The former culture and communications minister, Lapin was named acting prime minister on March 21.

•  Lapin is the third head of government under President Moise, since he came to office in February 2017.

• The formation of a new government in Haiti is an International Monetary Fund (IMF) pre-requisite for the disbursement of the first tranche of a US$229 million loan to Haiti.

• In 2018, Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, had a record US$290 million deficit, while its national budget was estimated at US$1.8 billion.

AWARDS:

Two schemes of West Bengal won WSIS awards.

• Two schemes, Utkarsh Bangla and Sabooj Sathi, of the West Bengal government for skill development and distribution of bicycles to students have won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards of the United Nations. 

• The announcement was made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Utkarsh Bangla Scheme:

♦ The scheme is to give vocational training to school dropouts by providing training ranging from 400 to 1200 hours free of charge. 

♦ Under this scheme, beneficiaries will be trained in driving, tailoring, repairing television and other electronic equipment's, beautician courses, etc. 

Sabooj Sathi scheme:

♦ The objective of the scheme is to empower the students, especially the girls and reduce drop-outs in higher education. 

♦ Under the scheme, 34.94 lakh bicycles are already procured and distributed to target group students of class 9 to 12.

Alice G. Vaidyan awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

• Alice G. Vaidyan, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India, India’s reinsurance major awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK. Alice G.

• Vaidyan holds post graduate degree in English literature trained at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.

• She is a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India. Alice G. Vaidyan was the first lady officer to assume the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation of India.

• She was also the first lady chairman cum managing director of General Insurance Corporation of India. Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a City of London Corporation upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary.

Russia honours PM Narendra Modi with its highest civilian award.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured with Russia’s highest state decoration, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle.

• The award has been given to PM Modi for “exceptional services in promoting a special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian peoples.

• This is the seventh award conferred on PM Modi by a foreign country.

• The award was established at the end of the 17th century by Tsar Peter I in honour of Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

• The award has been given to only 18 people, including weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov; writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II; doctors Valery Shumakov and Boris Petrovsky; singers Lyudmila Zykina and Irina Arkhipova; choreographer Yuri Grigorovich; and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

Deepa Malik honoured with New Zealand Prime Ministers Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019.

• Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was named as the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her “inspiring achievements“.

• She became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games when she bagged a silver in shot put F 53 at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, scoring her personal best of 4.61m.

• She will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand.

• The fellowship, awarded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, aims to strengthen the ties between India and New Zealand.

• Deepa Malik is the only Indian woman to have won medals in three consecutive Asian Para Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

•  Her tally of laurels stands at 58 national and 23 international medals.

• She is also the recipient of India’s civilian honour Padma Shri and the prestigious Arjuna Award for excellence in sports. Deepa has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times.

SPORTS:

Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament.

• Viswanathan Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament, Shamkir, Azerbaijan. He drew with Veselin Topalov in the ninth round to finish fourth with 4.5 points, the same as Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov.

• However, Anand was placed fifth in the rankings behind Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Sergey Karjakin, and Grischuk.

• The results (ninth round):

♦ Anand (4.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (4)

♦ David Navara (4) drew with Teimour Radjabov (4.5)

♦ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (5)

♦ Ding Liren (5) drew with Anish Giri (3)

♦ Magnus Carlsen (7) bt Alexander Grischuk (4.5).

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Important Current Affairs 13th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Indian Railways unrolls new quota for foreigners and NRIs to book tickets.

• Indian Railways is one of the leading railway systems in the world. With new enthusiasm, Indian Railways introducing new schemes for the betterment of services and exciting plans.

• Indian Railways lifted restrictions so that now Foreigners and NRIs can book tickets in all classes. The foreign tourists who travel in Indian trains are allowed to book tickets in the first AC, second AC and executive classes through IRCTC website up to 365 days in advance.

• Under the FTQ category, the Railways has allocated four berths per coach in a sleeper and 3rd AC classes while seats have been parked per coach in chair car classes.

Nizamabad Lok Sabha Seat May Enter Guinness Book With Record EVMs.

• Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, which went to elections, may well get into the Guiness Book of World Record for the use of largest number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). 

• With a high number of 185 candidates, including 178 farmers, in the contest, the Election Commission (EC) used 12 EVMs in each booth in the constituency. In any constituency, usually one or maximum four EVMs are used with one control unit in each booth, but in Nizamabad, 12 EVMs were linked to one control unit and the constituency has 1,778 polling centres.

• The EC used M3 type EVMs which can support up to 24 BUs (ballot Units). Each BU will have 24 names. Besides, large number of BUs, the EC used 2,200 Control Units and about 2,600 VVPATs for Nizamabad Constituency.

• This new version of EVMs was developed by the Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX launched its first commercial mission.

• SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world, launched its first commercial mission from Florida in a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space Company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts.

• The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk’s cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Google partners with MMTC-PAMP India.

• Google has partnered with bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to allow Google Pay users to buy and sell gold through the app.

• Through this partnership with India’s only LBMA-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. This type of service is already offered by the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, and PhonePe.

AITA signs MoU with STF to train Indian junior players.

• The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serbian Tennis Federation (STF) to train Indian junior players under world-renowned Serbian coaches at the R.K. Khanna Stadium, New Delhi.

• The MoU was signed on 10th April by AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee and STF CEO Dusan Orlandic. Trainers and coaches from Serbia will come to India for a week/ two-week camp in the under-12, 14, 16 and 18 categories.

Tata Trust and Microsoft signed MoU to support handloom weaving community.

• Tata Trusts and Microsoft India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly rejuvenate the handloom clusters in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.

• Project ReWeave: Microsoft’s Project ReWeave will help preserve traditional weaving forms by upskilling workers, designing and marketing merchandise, and creating sustainable livelihood options.

• Microsoft will also enable digital training through Project Sangam, a Microsoft Azure-based Learning Management System, which provides necessary training and tools to weaving communities to help them realise their full potential. Antaran initiative: Tata Trusts’ initiative, Antaran, aims at rejuvenating ailing handloom clusters through an end-to-end programme.

•  Intensive work has been initiated in Odisha, Assam and Nagaland. The programme will benefit 3,000 artisans directly involved in pre-loom, on-loom and post loom processes, impacting the livelihood of weavers in six weaving clusters in these three States. Craft sector is the country’s largest source of employment after agriculture.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Hong Kong’s stock market overtakes Japan to become worlds 3rd largest.

• According to Bloomberg,  Hong Kong has overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest stock market – after the U.S. and mainland China.

• Hong Kong’s market cap was $5.78 trillion as of April 2nd week, compared with $5.76 trillion for Japan.

•  Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been the main driver with a 22 percent gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 17 per cent this year through Tuesday, when it closed at its highest since June 15. Japan’s Topix Index advanced 8.3 percent in that period.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Nitin Chugh likely to be appointed as MD & CEO of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.

• Nitin Chugh, digital banking head of private sector lender HDFC Bank, is likely to succeed Samit Ghosh, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. Mr.Ghosh, who is also the founder of Ujjivan SFB, will retire in November 2019.

• The Bengaluru-based small finance bank has already applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval to appoint Mr.Chugh as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Mr.Chugh has over 23 years of experience.

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Important Current Affairs of 12th April

NATIONAL:

India's population grew at 1.2 percent between 2010-19: UN report.

• According to United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFP) State of World Population 2019 report, India’s population grew at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010 and 2019 to 1.36 billion, more than double the annual growth rate of China.

• India’s population in 2019 stood at 1.36 billion, growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969. China’s population grew at an average annual rate of 0.5% between 2010 and 2019.

• In comparison, China’s population stood at 1.42 billion in 2019, growing from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969. In India, total fertility rate per woman was 5.6 in 1969, dropping to 2.3 in 2019. India also recorded an improvement in life expectancy at birth.

INTERNATIONAL:

Google unveiled new Cloud Platform, Anthos to manage apps from anywhere.

• Google has introduced a new open platform called Anthos to run and manage apps from anywhere.

• Based on the Cloud Services Platform that Google announced in 2018, Anthos lets users run applications on existing on-premise hardware investments or in the Public Cloud. Anthos will also let users manage workloads running on third-party clouds like Amazon AWS and Microsoft Azure.

• Anthos is a Kubernetes-powered technology to build and manage hybrid applications, for on-premises or cloud deployments. Google also announced Anthos Migrate in beta, which auto-migrates virtual machines (VMs) from on-premises, or other clouds, directly into containers in Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) with minimal effort.

Pakistan country issues 2,200 visas for Sikh pilgrims.

• India-Pakistan Protocol visit to religious shrines of 1974.  In this perspective, Pakistan granted 2,200 visas to Sikh pilgrims from India to participate in Baisakhi celebrations from April 12 to 21.

• The Sikh pilgrims would be visiting shrines like Panja Sahib, Nankana Sahib, and Kartarpur Sahib. 

• The protocol between India and Pakistan enables a large number of pilgrims to visit the other country to observe various religious festivals or occasions every year. 

AGREEMENTS:

India, Sweden inked pact to collaborate on solutions for smart cities, clean tech.

• The India-Sweden Collaborative Industrial Research and Development Programme will work towards addressing a range of challenges around smart cities and clean technologies among others. The programme was co-funded by Indian Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Swedish agency Vinnova. Vinnova will provide funding to Swedish participants up to 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs 1.87 crore) as grant.

• On the Indian side, conditional grant of up to 50 per cent (with a limit of Rs 1.5 crore) per project will be provided to the Indian partners. This Programme is technically and administratively managed by the Global Innovation & Technology Alliance (GITA) on behalf of DST in India and Vinnova in Sweden.

• Government, Academia, and Industry or the ‘triple helix’ - is key to the Sweden-India partnership. About Department of Science & Technology (DST), Government of India: It was established in May 1971, with the objective of promoting new areas of science & technology (S&T) and to play the role of a nodal department for organising, coordinating and promoting S&T activities in the country.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

India and Netherlands vow to strengthen bilateral political & economic ties.

• India and the Netherlands have discussed ways to strengthen bilateral political and economic ties including boosting cooperation at the United Nations and other international fora. The two countries held Foreign Office Consultations in New Delhi, with the Indian side led by A Gitesh Sarma, Secretary, West, Ministry of External Affairs, and Johanna Brandt, Secretary General, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, leading the Dutch delegation. Both countries used this opportunity to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, including political, economic, commercial, scientific and cultural cooperation.

PAISALO Digital Limited signed the first co-origination loan agreement SBI

• PAISALO Digital Limited signed the first co-origination loan agreement with State Bank of India (SBI). This is the first agreement of its kind in the country that State Bank of India has signed. The agreement was signed with a vision of empowering the AGRI, MSME segment and small businesses.  The loan ticket is designed at Rs.10,000 to 2 lakh. The company expects to disburse 200,000 loan applications in FY20.  PAISALO Digital Limited is a leading systemically important non-deposit taking NBFC. It is registered with the Reserve Bank of India, in operations since 1992.

• Co-origination loan agreement:

♦ This new framework seeks to bring the strengths of two sectors, that is, banks and micro-finance institutions (MFIs)/non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) together

♦ Under this framework, both a bank and an MFI/NBFC will join at each underwriting and loan level and share the loan amount at an agreed percentage with all other structures put in place

♦ It is expected that such a blending would not only increase the flow of credit to MSMEs but also bring down the cost of credit for the sector substantially.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Shiv Das Meena to be designated as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).

• He is appointed as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC). He assumed office as Chairman-cum-Managing Director, NBCC.

Cairn India’s CEO and CFO resign.

• Cairn India CEO Sudhir Mathur and CFO Pankaj Kalra have resigned from the firm. Ajay Dixit, who was CEO of the Aluminum and Power divisions of Vedanta, will take over from Mr.Mathur in the interim, after his exit. Mr.Mathur is the fourth CEO to quit the firm after it was acquired by Vedanta in 2011.

AWARDS:

Varanasi ranked third on the WHOs list of 15 most polluted cities.

• According to the 'Political Leaders Position and Action on Air Quality in India 2014-2019' report, released by Climate Trends, the air quality in Varanasi, Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 2014 Lok Sabha constituency, is ranked third on the WHO's (World Health Organisation) list of 15 most polluted cities in the world.

• Fourteen of the 15 most polluted cities in the world, listed by World Health Organisation (WHO) are in India, of which four are in Uttar Pradesh. Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh is the most polluted city in the world and is ranked one on the list. Faridabad in Haryana has been ranked second.

•  Delhi is ranked sixth on the list. Gaya and Patna in Bihar, Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow, Cities of Agra, Muzaffarpur, Srinagar, Gurugram, Jaipur, Patiala and Jodhpur are also on the WHO list of most polluted cities. The air quality index (AQI) in Varanasi reached an alarming 490 in 2017 and 384 (very poor category)  in December 2018.

•  Air Quality Index (AQI) in India: As per pollution control authorities, An AQI between

♦ 0 and 50 is considered "good",

♦ 51 and 100 "satisfactory",

♦ 101 and 200 "moderate",

♦ 201 and 300 "poor",

♦ 301 and 400 "very poor", and

♦ 401 and 500 "severe".

Namami Gange got Public Water Agency of the Year award at Global Water Summit

• India's flagship programme, National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) or Namami Gange  was felicitated with ‘Public Water Agency of the Year’ award by Global Water Intelligence at the Global Water Summit in London. Namami Gange Mission:

♦ The Namami Gange programme is an integrated mission for Ganga rejuvenation, and approved by the Union Government in June 2014 with budget outlay of Rs.20,000 Crore.

SPORTS:

Eni Nuraeni named as Best athletic coach in Asia 2019 by AAA.

• Indonesian Eni Nuraeni was named by Asian Athletic Association (AAA) as the best athletic coach in Asia for the short-haul run category in 2019. It was announced by the Indonesian athletic sports association (PB PASI). Eni coaches young sprinter Lalu Muhammad Zohri to win the 100m gold medal in 10.20 seconds in the 2019 Grand Prix Malaysia Open athletics championships. Earlier, Zohri won the 100m in 10.18 in the IAAF World U20 Championships in Tampere, Finland in 2018.

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Important Current Affairs of 11th April

NATIONAL:

Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App.

• Arappor Iyakkam launched the Arappor App, which is available free on Google Playstore, offering details of all candidates contesting in the Lok Sabha elections in Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The app is aimed at creating awareness among the people about the candidates in their constituencies.

• This is an effort to make people aware of the choices they have before they go to vote on April 18.

• This information is based on the declaration by the candidates in their affidavits. It is expected that all voters should use this app to know the details of candidates in their constituency.

• The details include educational background, profession, annual income in the last five years, asset, liabilities, and details of criminal cases pending against them.

• The app can be downloaded on any android mobile from the link http://bit.ly/KnowYourCandidates-Arappor in both English and Tamil. It has been presented in a simple app. It will soon be updated with information on the by elections for Assembly constituencies.

Government clears procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia.

• Amid increased tensions with Pakistan, the Central government has cleared the procurement of 464 T-90 tanks from Russia in a deal worth over Rs 13,500 crore.

•  Under the new deal, the tanks would be provided to the Armoured Corps of the force which will use them for deployment along the border with Pakistan.

• The deal would increase the number of T-90s in the Army to close to 2,000 along with the remaining T-72 and T-55s. The Indian Army had first purchased T-90 tanks in 2001 when 310 units were ordered.

• The Indian Army is projected to have a force of over 1,600 T-90 tanks by 2020. The army is also looking to develop new tanks under the Futuristic Main Battle Tank project. The Army also operates two regiments of the Arjun Mark 1 tanks, which are mainly used in the desert terrain due to their weight.

Dost Education win the Next Billion Edtech Prize.

• India's education technology startup 'Dost Education' has bagged a $25,000 Next Billion Edtech Prize 2019.

• Two other startups, Ubongo (Tanzania) and PraxiLabs (Egypt), also won the award. Dost Education was awarded for its ability to empower parents to take charge of their child's early education by creating short, friendly audio content that is sent to them via their mobile phones.

• Because of this app low-income families need no longer send their children to primary school behind and without a chance to catch up.

President Ram Nath Kovind launched Veer Parivar App.

• On April 9th, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) celebrated its 54th Valour Day (Shaurya Diwas). On the occasion, President Ram Nath Kovind launched 'Veer Parivar App', a mobile application for families of CRPF personnel killed in the line of duty.

• About the Veer Parivar App:

♦ The App is an interface between the CRPF authorities and the next of kin of the slain personnel. It will be installed securely on the phones of the slain personnel families and will not be available in the app stores.

♦ The app will provide assistance to the families of the martyred CRPF personnel with regard to issuance of ex gratia, pension benefits etc. The app will also provide all the necessary information regarding the welfare schemes introduced for them by the government.

♦ The App will provide assistance to the families on a real-time basis and the CRPF authorities will respond to the issues raised by the members of the families of the slain personnel. 54th Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas:

♦ The CRPF celebrates 9 April as Shaurya Diwas or Valour Day to commemorate the defence of the Sardar Post in the Rann of Kutch at the onset of the India-Pakistan War of 1965.

♦ In the intervening night of 8 and 9 April 1965, nearly 3500 men from the 51st Infantry of Pakistani Army invaded India at Sardar Post. The Pakistani Army comprised 18 Punjab battalion, 8 Frontier Rifles, and 6 Baluch battalion. Their mission was to capture the Indian territory defended by Sardar Post.

♦ The post was guarded by two battalions of CRPF, roughly 150 soldiers. Compared to the Pakistani Army, the CRPF soldiers were no match in terms of an arsenal. Additionally, the terrain was disadvantageous for the defending forces.

♦ A fight ensued in which the Pakistani Army made three attempts to overrun the post. The battle lasted for 12 hours. In the end, the Pakistani Army fled the battleground leaving behind 34 of their men dead and CRPF lost six of its brave soldiers. Ever since the day has been celebrated by the CRPF as the Valour Day or Shaurya Diwas.

INTERNATIONAL:

British Governments white paper named online harms draws focus to users (mostly childrens) safety

• British government’s ‘white paper’ which is open for public consultation termed as ‘online harms’, focuses to make online social media platforms responsible to safeguard users, especially children.

• Since all of the social media platforms use strong algorithms leading to echo-chambers, where a user is bombarded with only blinkered content (according to the user’s web-browsing) instead of multi-directional content (i.e. seeing a variety of voices and opinions), all of which can affect children’s brain; the white paper proposes the compulsory ‘duty of care’ on various social media platforms for taking reasonable steps to protect users (focusing on children) from getting harmed.

SUMMITS:

Seventeenth MENA World Economic Forum Held In Jordan.

• World Economic Forum in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) took place at Jordan’s Dead Sea. 

• The forum assembled more than 1,000 government, business and civil society leaders from more than 50 countries.

• The forum was themed on three major visions:  Generating job opportunities, Empowering Arab women and promoting the most intriguing startups that have joined the region’s industry over the past years.

• About World Economic Forum Motto: Committed to improving the state of the world Formation: January 1971; 48 years ago (as European Management Forum) Founder: Klaus Schwab Type: Nonprofit organization.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Emirates Islamic became world's first Islamic bank to launch banking via WhatsApp.

• Dubai based Emirates Islamic has announced the launch of Chat Banking services for customers via WhatsApp, marking a global first in the Islamic banking sector.

• The Chat Banking solution allows customers to use features such as checking account balances and temporarily blocking or unblocking of an existing card.

•  All messages on Emirates Islamic’s verified WhatsApp Business account are encrypted, ensuring confidentiality and security.

HDFC AMC Ranks 1st In Terms Of Assets: AMFI Report.

• India’s asset management companies (AMCs) own assets under management (AUM) worth Rs24.46 trillion according to data released by the Association of Mutual Funds in India (Amfi). HDFC Asset Management Co.

•  Ltd claimed the top spot with an average AUM of Rs3.42 trillion, overtaking ICICI Prudential Asset Management Co. Ltd with an average AUM of at Rs3.20 trillion.

Govt retains interest rate for General Provident Fund at 8%.

• Union government retained the interest rate for General Provident Fund (GPF), Contributory Provident Fund and other related schemes at 8 per cent for the first quarter of the current financial year 2019-2020.

• The interest rate on these funds was at 8 per cent in the January-March quarter of 2018-19 and government kept it unchanged for April to June for 2019-20. 

• The Department of Economic Affairs, in a notification, the mentioned interest rate will be applicable on provident funds of central government employees, railways and defence forces. 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SC Collegium recommends Justice Vikram Nath as First Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh HC.

• Supreme Court Collegium recommended that Allahabad High Court judge, Justice Vikram Nath appointed as the first Chief Justice of the recently constituted Andhra Pradesh High Court at Amaravati. The office of the Andhra Pradesh High Court Chief Justice has been lying vacant since the day of its inception.

• Justice Vikram Nath obtained his law degree in 1986. Following his enrolment in 1987 and he practised in the Allahabad High Court. He was appointed an additional judge of the Allahabad High Court in 2004.

Algeria MPs elect Abdelkader Bensalah as first new president in 20 years

• Abdelkader Bensalah was appointed president for a three-month transitional period after weeks of mass protests led to the resignation of long-serving former President Abdelaziz Bouteflika on April 2.

• Algeria's newly appointed interim President Abdelkader Bensalah announced the election would be held on July 4 to vote for a new president. However, the 77-year-old Bensalah is barred under the constitution from running in the upcoming election.

Benjamin Netanyahu elected for 5th term as Israel's Prime Minister.

• Netanyahu defeated centrist ex-military chief Benny Gantz, whose nascent Blue and White party emerged as a viable alternative to Netanyahu's decade in power.

• With over 97% votes counted, Netanyahu's Likud party tied with the Blue and White party, winning 35 seats each in the 120-member Knesset.

• Netanyahu's victory came amid allegations of corruption against him and his wife. His campaign has focused heavily on his friendship with President Donald Trump and his success in cultivating new allies, such as China, India and Brazil.

Karnam Sekar to be appointed as MD, CEO of Indian Overseas Bank.

• The Central Government made important management appointments to several public sector banks. 

• According to the Department of Personnel and Training, Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved the appointment of Karnam Sekar as MD and CEO in Indian Overseas Bank. Karnam Sekar is currently the CEO and MD of Dena bank. 

• The new designation will be effective from July 1, 2019.

DAYS:

National Safe Motherhood Day is celebrated on April 11.

• National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD) is observed annually on 11 April to raise awareness about the proper healthcare of women and maternity facilities to pregnant and lactating women. The theme of 2019 NSMD is "Midwives for Mothers".

• Last year’s NSMD theme was ‘Respectful Maternity Care’. This day also raise awareness for the prevention of child marriages that may be an indirect cause of maternal deaths. About National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD):

♦ this day is an initiative of the White Ribbon Alliance India (WRAI) to provide women with various healthcare programs during pregnancy, childbirth and post-natal services.

♦ This day is first celebrated in 2003.

♦ 11 April is the anniversary day of Kasturba Gandhi's birth. Facts about Maternal Mortality according to WHO:

♦ Approximately 830 women die every day from preventable causes related to pregnancy and childbirth.

♦ In developing countries 99% maternal deaths occurs.

SPORTS:

India bow out of 2020 Olympic Qualifying tournament.

• The Indian women’s football team bowed out on an opportunity to qualify for the third round of the 2020 Olympic qualifiers. The Indian team win to top Group A but it lead twice to play out a 3-3 draw against Myanmar to bow out of the competition.

Virat Kohli and Smriti Mandhana named the Wisden's Leading Cricketers in the World

• In the 2019 (156th) edition of the Wisden Cricketers' Almanack published recently, Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli and women's cricketer Smriti Mandhana were named the Leading Cricketers in the World.

• Kohli has won the honour for an unprecedented third year in a row while it’s the first time Smriti has won the honour.

• Kohli scored 2,735 runs across the three formats in 2018 while Smriti scored 669 and 682 runs in ODIs and T20s respectively. Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was named the Leading T20 cricketer for the second year in a row.

• Wisden's Cricketers of the Year was also awarded to four other Cricketers namely English cricketers Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Rory Burns and Tammy Beaumont, for their performances in the 2018 English summer.

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Important Current Affairs of 10th April

NATIONAL:

Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. to acquire Usha Martin Ltd.

• Tata Sponge Iron Ltd. (TSIL), a Tata Steel subsidiary, has announced the completion of its acquisition of the steel business of Usha Martin Ltd. (UML). The acquisition also included UML’s steel business undertaking along with captive power plants. The acquisition also included a cash consideration of Rs.4,094 crore payable to UML (after adjustment for negative working capital and debt-like items). 

• TSIL is subject to further holdbacks of Rs.640 crore, pending transfer of some of the assets including mines and certain land parcels. Tata Steel had announced in a stock exchange disclosure on September 22, 2018, the signing of definitive agreements to buy UML’s steel business. The acquisition cost was then pegged at between Rs.4,300 and Rs.4,700 crore.

• The acquired business comprises a one million tonne per annum (mtpa) alloy-based long products making facility in Jamshedpur, an operational iron ore mine, a coal mine under development, and captive power plants. UML’s steel business has a rich mix of carbon steel and alloy steel, catering to the automotive sector as well as high-end wire-rod makers. 

• The TSIL board had already approved a plan to finance the buy through an issue of rights share up to Rs.1800 crore, external borrowings up to Rs.2500 crore and issue of non-convertible redeemable preference shares of Rs.1,000 crore. TSIL is debt-free with free cash reserves of about Rs.670 crore.

India becomes YouTube largest and fastest growing market.

• India has become YouTube’s largest and fastest growing market with 265 million Indians watching the video-sharing website every month. In the last year, YouTube’s consumption on mobile has increased to 85%, with 60% of the watch time coming from outside the six largest metros in India.

• Today, YouTube creators have become effective storytellers, with more than 1,200 Indian creators crossing the million subscriber-milestones, compared to five years ago, when there were only two creators.

Indian Railways creates record; Free WiFi at 500 rail stations in 7 days.

• Modi government’s ‘Digital India’ initiative, RailTel, which is a mini ratna CPSU (Central Public Sector Undertaking) under the Ministry of Railways has provided free high-speed WiFi service to as many as 500 stations in a short period of seven days with ‘RailWire’. RailTel has also tied up with Tata Trust for providing free WiFi at 4,791 B, C, D and E category railway stations.

•  Recently, Northern Railways’ Sahibabad station has become the 1500th railway station in India to get the free Wi-Fi facility. The free Wi-Fi project was initiated from Mumbai Central railway station.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi congratulates Maldives President Solih for his partys landslide victory.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi personally called Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to congratulate him on his party’s exceptionally strong performance in the Maldives Majlis elections of 2019, in which the Maldives’ Democratic Party secured 65 of 87 seats, and won a landslide supermajority in parliament.

• He further conveyed his full confidence that the Maldives Government can deliver on their promises towards the Maldivian people in the upcoming five years, and that the Indian Government will always stand ready to be of assistance to the Maldives.

CBDT detects unaccounted cash collection racket of Rs 281 crore in Madhya Pradesh.

• Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) searches in Madhya Pradesh by Delhi Directorate of Income Tax have detected widespread and well-organised racket for the collection of unaccounted cash of about 281 crore rupees through various persons. 

• The department has also detected a trail of 20 crore rupees suspect cash allegedly being moved to the headquarters of a major political party in Delhi from the house of an important person.

• The CBDT identified neither the political party nor the senior functionary. It added that records of collection and disbursement of cash in the form of handwritten diaries, computer files and excel sheets were found and seized and it corroborates the above findings.

• The several unaccounted and benami properties at posh locations in Delhi have also been detected.

Dream11 became Indias first billion-dollar gaming Startup.

• Mumbai-based Dream11 has become India's first gaming unicorn or billion-dollar startup with an investment from Steadview Capital. Apart from Steadview Capital, Kalaari Capital, Think Investments, Multiples Equity and Tencent investments collectively put Dream11’s total evaluation beyond $1 billion.

• The investment by Hong Kong and London-based Steadview Capital comes about eight months after Dream 11 sealed a $100 million equity financing round led by Tencent, which is world's fifth-largest internet company.

India’s gold reserves increased in February.

• The World Gold Council (WGC) said that India has marginally increased its gold holding to 1.7 tonnes in February while maintaining the tenth position among countries in terms of yellow metal reserves.

• India added 1.7 tonnes in February while most other countries, except Russia and China, had their reserves unchanged in the recent past.

• As per WGC, India had total gold reserves of 608.7 tonnes in February, marginally up from the previous month’s holding of 607 tonnes.

IIT Madras ties up with GE to set up Indias first Cold Spray SMART Lab.

• American conglomerate, General Electric in association with IIT-Madras, established India’s first ‘Cold Spray’ SMART (Surface Modification and Additive Research Technologies) Laboratory in the institution thereby IIT-M became the only academic institution with High-Pressure Cold Spray(HPCS) facility in India.

• The High-Pressure Cold Spray machinery carried from Plasma Giken, Japan. GE India Technology Centre CEO Alok Nanda and IIT Madras Director Bhaskar Ramamurthi inaugurated the laboratory on 5th April 2019.

PFS in a joint venture with USICEF finances solar projects in India.

• PTC India Financial Services (PFS) an Infrastructure finance company partnered with (USICEF) the US-India Clean Energy Finance to leverage funds for solar projects in India. PFS Managing Director and CEO Pawan Singh stated that this innovative venture can contribute to achieve India’s distributed energy target of 40 GW (gigawatt) by 2022.

• Climate Policy Initiative (CPI) manages USICEF that was founded in partnership with the Indian Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, OPIC(Overseas Private Investment Corporation), IREDA (Indian Renewable Energy Development Agency Ltd.) and leading U.S. Foundations in 2017.

India-Singapore Joint Military Exercise Bold Kurukshetra 2019.

• Military forces of India and Singapore to participate in a joint exercise in Babina Cantonment in Jhansi.  The three-day exercise, ‘Bold Kurukshetra–2019’, conducted to develop military technology, boost maritime security and bolster the nations’ fight against terrorism.

• The two countries signed a cooperation agreement to strengthen the defence ties between Indian Military and Singapore Armed Forces in November. About Singapore  President: Halimah Yacob Prime Minister:

• Lee Hsien Loong Deputy Prime Ministers: Teo Chee Hean Tharman  Capital: Singapore  

INTERNATIONAL:

London becomes world's 1st city to launch 24x7 pollution charge zone.

• London became the first city in the world to implement a special Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) that would charge an entry fee for older vehicles if they do not meet the emission standards.

• This move aims to reduce toxic air pollution and protect public health. The ULEZ will be operational for 24 hours and seven days a week.

• Polluting vehicles account for around 50 per cent of London's harmful Nitrogen Oxide air emissions. London's famous red bus fleet is also being updated as part of these efforts, and all 9,200 vehicles will meet or exceed ULEZ standards by October 2020.

Google launched its 1st drone delivery service in Australia.

• Wing, one of the many companies belonging to Alphabet (Google parent) made its first delivery in Canberra, Australia after getting approval from the Australia's Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA).

• The drones will deliver food and drinks as well as medication directly to clients' homes. Wing was testing drone delivery in Australia since 2014 and delivered medicines, chocolate to 3,000 homes in the last 18 months.

• Wing is now preparing to launch a trial service in Helsinki, Finland.

Sri Lanka new railway line inaugurated.

• Sri Lanka has opened a new railway line connecting its coastal city of Matara and Beliatta in Hambantota.

• It was built with China’s assistance. This move will boost passenger traffic into the island nation’s deep south. It is the first to be constructed in Sri Lanka since 1948.  The new line was inaugurated on 8th April 2019 in the presence of Sri Lanka’s Transport and Civil Aviation Minister Arjuna Ranatunga, Finance Minister Mangala Samaraweera and other parliamentarians.

• About the railway line: The Matara-Beliatta railway extension is of 26.75-km length. The cost of the project was $278 million. The Matara-Beliatta railway extension includes the longest and second longest railway bridges of 1.5 km and 1.04 km, respectively.

• China's role: The railway extension was financed by the Export-Import Bank of China and the contract was awarded to the China National Machinery Import and Export Corporation. China termed it as a major Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) project in Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka has been the major recipient of Chinese loans and investments in recent years, totalling over $8 billion. The heavy borrowing has raised concerns over Sri Lanka’s ability to repay after Colombo handed over the Hambantota port to Beijing for a 99-year lease in 2017 as a debt swap. China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI): BRI is also known as the One Belt One Road (OBOR). It was first proposed by President Xi Jinping in 2013. It is an ambitious programme to connect Asia with Africa and Europe via land and maritime networks along six corridors. "Belt" refers to the overland routes for road and rail transportation, called "the Silk Road Economic Belt"; Whereas "road" refers to the sea routes or the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road. The aim is to strengthen infrastructure, trade, and investment links between China and some 65 other countries that account collectively for over 30 percent of global GDP, 62% of the population, and 75 percent of known energy reserves. 

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

SBI cut interest rate on home loans up to Rs 30 lakh by 10 bps.

• India's largest lender, SBI has reduced the interest rate on housing loans of up to ₹30 lakh by 10 basis points to a range between 8.60% and 8.90% per annum, from existing rates of 8.70% to 9%.

• SBI also cut its benchmark lending rates by five basis points across all tenors. The one-year marginal cost of fund-based lending rate (MCLR) now stands at 8.50%, down from 8.55%. The move comes days after the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) cut its policy interest rate by 25 basis points to 6%, in a move to boost the economy.

•  From May 1, the rates of large savings accounts (balances above ₹1 lakh) will get revised. Overdraft and other short-term loans will get cheaper.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

SUN Group chairman Vikramjit Sahney elected as president of ICC India.

• SUN Group Chairman Vikramjit Singh Sahney elected as the new president of International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) - India. He will succeed Jawahar Vadivelu.

DAYS:

April 10: World Homoeopathy Day.

• The World Homoeopathy Day 2019 is observed across the world on April 10, 2019 to commemorate the birth anniversary of the founder of Homoeopathy, Dr. Christian Friedrich Samuel Hahnemann.

• The week following the birth date of Hahnemann, that is, 10 April - 16 April is observed as the World Homeopathic Awareness Week. This year it is 263rd birth anniversary of founder of Homoeopathy.

• About Samuel Hahnemann: Samuel Hahnemann, a German physician, a great scholar, linguist and an acclaimed scientist, is known as the Father of Homeopathy, Father of Human Pharmacology, Father of Nano Medicine and the Father of Infinite Dilution concept in Chemistry.

• About CCRH: Central Council for Research in Homeopathy (CCRH) in India organises the scientific convention on the World Homeopathy Day to pay tributes to Dr. Hahnemann on his birth anniversary. The council has so far accomplished over 168 clinical researches, 40 basic researches, standardization studies of 348 drugs, proving of 112 drugs and clinical verification of 106 drugs. On the occasion, the AYUSH Awards will be conferred for Life Time Achievement, Best Teacher, Young Scientist and Best Research paper with an aim to recognise exemplary work in the field of Homoeopathy. About Homeopathy: Homeopathy as system of medicine was developed by Dr. Samuel Hahnemann in Germany in 1796. It is a natural approach to the treatment of the sick. This medical system based on the belief that the body can cure itself. Homeopathy uses animal, plant, mineral, and synthetic substances in its preparations and labels them in Latin or faux-Latin vocabulary. It is world’s second most widely used system of treatment.

AWARDS:

AIMA Managing India Awards 2019 to Azim Premji, Mahendra Mohan Gupta and 9 others.

• The All India Management Association (AIMA) Managing India Awards 2019 was held on April 08, 2019 at Hotel Taj Palace, New Delhi. Mahendra Mohan Gupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran, was awarded under Lifetime Contribution to Media category.

• Complete Winners List:

1. Lifetime Contribution Award: Azim H Premji (Chairman, Wipro Ltd)

2. Outstanding Institution Builder: Prathap C Reddy (Founder-Chairman, Apollo Hospitals Group)

3. Corporate Citizen Award: Devi Prasad Shetty (Founder & Chairman Narayana Hrudalaya)

4. Entrepreneur of the year: Sanjiv Bajaj (Managing Director, Bajaj Finserv Ltd)

5. Business Leader of the Year: Sanjiv Mehta (Chairman & Managing Director, Hindustan Unilever Ltd)

6. Lifetime Contribution to Media: Mahendra Mohan Gupta (Chairman & Managing Director, Jagran Prakashan Ltd and Editorial Director, Dainik Jagran)

7. Outstanding Contribution to Media: Uday Shankar (President, 21st Century Fox, Asia and Chairman and CEO, Star India)

8. Indian MNC of the Year: Pawan Goenka (Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, Managing Director and Member of the Group Executive Board)

9. MNC in India of the Year: T Krishnakumar (Coca-Cola India, President  & CEO, India & Southwest Asia)

10. Outstanding PSU of the Year: Sanjiv Singh (Chairman, Indian Oil Corporation Ltd)

11. Director of the Year: Rajkumar Hirani (Director, Producer, Writer & Editor - Sanju Movie)

SPORTS:

Spain Garbine Muguruza claimed Monterrey Open title.

• Garbine Muguruza of Spain successfully claimed back-to-back Monterrey Open title 2019 as Victoria Azarenka succumbed to injury in the final.

•  Asia Muhammad & Maria Sanchez claimed women's doubles title in Monterrey Open. The Monterrey Open is a professional women's tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts.

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