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Important Current Affairs of 16th June

NATIONAL:

Two female scientists Ritu Kridhal and Vanitha to head Indias 2nd Moon mission Chandrayaan-2

• For the first time, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) has named two ladies researchers - Ritu Karidhal (as mission executive) and Muthayya Vanitha (as undertaking chief) - to head the India's second Moon mission Chandrayaan-2.

•  ISRO Chairman K Sivan reported that near 30 percent of the ISRO group chipping away at Chandrayaan 2 are ladies. Ritu Karidhal was alluded as the 'Rocket Woman of India'.

• She wound up popular with the dispatch of the MarsOrbiter Mission where she was the appointee activities chief.

Union Cabinet cleared NDIAC Bill, 2019 on institutionalised arbitration

• The Union Cabinet has cleared the New Delhi International Arbitration Center (NDIAC) Bill, 2019, which accommodates setting up of a free and self-governing body for institutional intervention.

• It additionally plans to get and move the endeavors of International Center For Alternative Dispute Resolution to New Delhi International Arbitration Center (NDIAC) with impact from March 2 this year.

• The Bill gives to supplant and nullify the NDIAC Ordinance, 2019. The proposed New Delhi International Arbitration Center is going by an administrator, who has been a judge of the Supreme Court or a judge of a high court or a prominent individual, having uncommon learning and involvement in the direct or organization of assertion.

Scientists places worlds highest weather stations atop Mount Everest

• Scientists from National Geographic Society and Tribhuvan University installed have installed two highest weather stations in the world in an expedition to Mount Everest that wrapped up in June 2019. The two weather monitoring stations are located at an altitude of 8,430 meters (27,657 feet) and 7,945 meters (26,066 feet). Also, three other stations have been set up across the Mount Everest.

• The setting up of the weather station aim to collect weather data. The data gathered from the stations will help scientists to understand how rising global temperatures impacts the rapidly melting glaciers.

• The nearly two month expedition involved a team of more than 30 scientists from all over the world, including 17 Nepali researchers. The team also collected the world highest ice core sample at 8,020 meters , which will help the scientists study the deep record of precipitation on the mountain and composition of the atmosphere during pre-industrial times.

• The project also reached another milestone of placing the world's highest helicopter-based lidar scan and the most detailed photogrammetric imaging, also with lidar scans, of the Everest Base Camp area and the entire Khumbu Glacier.

INTERNATIONAL:

India designated as guest country at Guadalajara International Book Fair in Mexico

• India designated as the Guest of Honour at the 33rd Feria Internacional del Libro de Guadalajara (Guadalajara International Book Fair)in Mexico, the National Book Trust.

The book fair organized from November 30 - December 8,

India pavilion at the fair will showcase over 35 Indian authors and artists, along with 15 publishing houses.

• India displays a wide array of its rich and composite literary and cultural heritage through literary and academic activities comprising conferences.

Ancient and rare manuscripts including "Mahabharata" and "Ramayana" will be put on exhibition, along with photo books, handicrafts, and paintings.

The exhibition will run parallel to the book fair in the pavillion

They will feature art by 40 renowned Indian women artists including Arpana Caur, Paula Sengupta, and Seema Kohli.

• The "Festival of India" will showcase folk, classical and contemporary cultural programmes.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

RBI directed all the banks to grout ATMs to a structure to enhance security

• The Reserve Bank of India has requested that the banks guarantee their ATMs are grouted to a divider, column, or floor before September month's over, with the exception of those introduced in high verified premises, for example, air terminals.

•  The declaration accompanies a mean to improve security of the money candy machines. The ATMs will be worked for money renewal just with advanced One Time Combination (OTC) locks. All banks can likewise reveal a far reaching e-reconnaissance instrument at the ATMs. This will guarantee convenient alarms and fast reaction.

• Advisory group on Currency Movement (CCM): The RBI had set up a Committee on Currency Movement (CCM) in 2016. The advisory group was solicited to audit the whole extent from security of fortune in travel and submit reports in regards to that. According to the proposals recommended by the board, the Reserve Bank of India has now issued the guidelines gone for alleviating dangers in ATM activities and upgrading security.

DAYS AND MONTHS:

June month is celebrated as the LGBTQ Pride month

• June month is celebrated as the Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer or questioning (LGBTQ) Pride month all over the world. The LGBTQ pride month is celebrated to commemorate the anniversary of Stonewall riots at Stonewall Inn in New York, a gathering space for LGBTQ community during the 60s.

• It provides role models, builds community, and represents a civil rights statement about the contributions of the LGBT community. The month is observed by United States, United Kingdom, Canada. LGBT History Month originated in the United States. It was first celebrated in 1994.

• The commemoration of the month is to recognize the impact that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender individuals have had on history locally, nationally, and internationally.

• History: On June 28, 1969, police raided the inn, leading to the gay liberation movement in the US. 'Mother of Pride' Brenda Howard organised the first pride parade a year later.

SPORTS:

India remained at 101 in the latest FIFA Rankings, Belgium on Top

• The Indian men’s football team remained static at the 101st position in the latest FIFA rankings. India recently participated in King's Cup in Thailand, in which it lost one match and won the other in the tournament.

• Belgium remained to top the overall FIFA world rankings, followed by France, Brazil, England, and Portugal.

• The Indian team is at the 18th spot among the Asian countries. Iran has become the only Asian country to feature in the top 20 as they moved one spot to finish at the 20th rank.

About FIFA:

Full form: Federation International Day Football Association

Founded at: Paris, France

Founded: 21 May 1904

President: Gianni Infantino

Headquarters: Zürich, Switzerland

Membership: 211 national associations.

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Important Current Affairs of 29th May

NATIONAL:

Madhya Pradesh to tentatively have new UNESCO heritage site

• Orchha town in Madhya Pradesh has a historical site with the Bundela dynasty architectural style.

• The Archaeological Survey of India included that heritage town of Orchha in a tentative list of United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) world heritage sites. It was included in the proposal sent by the ASI to the UN body in April 2019.

• UNESCO’s rules state that to be a part of the World Heritage sites, the heritage or historical site must first be on the tentative list.

• After making it to that list, yet another proposal is sent to the UNESCO.

Meghalaya CM Conrad Sangma launched a new project to boost medicinal plant cultivation

• Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma launched a new project to boost medicinal and aromatic plants cultivation named "Aroma Mission".

• "Aroma Mission" a project of Rs.18 crore launched to give importance for agriculture and allied sectors so that farmers earn the benefits from it.

• CM inaugurated a processing unit of essential oils and insisted institutions like CSIR-CIMAP to undertake more researches in this field.

• Broomsticks and bay leaves were categorized as 'Agro Forestry' items.

• Cultivation of lemon grass and citronella plant will be undertaken on 50-acre plots in every district of the state.

• Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP) is a plant research laboratory of Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR)

Telangana to set up countrys first 'Blockchain District' in Hyderabad

• Telangana released a draft blockchain policy to set up country's first 'Blockchain District' in Hyderabad. Telangana released a draft blockchain policy to set up country's first 'Blockchain District' in Hyderabad.

• It is aimed to create an ecosystem for major blockchain companies, start-ups for promoting research, innovation and industry collaboration. Telangana Government signed an agreement with Tech Mahindra to set up the Blockchain district in 2018.

• The draft was released by Information Technology, Electronics and Communications (IT E&C) Department. The main focus will be given to the sectors such as banking, financial services and insurance, pharmaceuticals and healthcare, government institutions and departments, logistics and supply chains.

• The incentives like access to investments, subsidies, tax credits will be rolled out to attract enterprises, Small and Medium Enterprises and startups. Other incentives include 25% subsidy on lease rentals up to 5 lakh per annum for the first three years of operations.

• 100% reimbursement of State Goods and Services Tax (SGST ) for the first three years for startups with revenue less than 5 crore and along with one-time grant of Rs.l0 lakh, 75% subsidy in travel fare when the founders attend global conferences and 25% reimbursement on Internet charges would be provided.

INTERNATIONAL:

India, Sri Lanka and Japan signed a deal to develop container terminal at Colombo

• Sri Lanka, Japan, and India signed an agreement to jointly develop the East Container Terminal at the Colombo Port on 28th May. The joint initiative is estimated to cost between $500 million and $700 million.

• The signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC)is significant, given that the countries had been negotiating the deal since last year with little success.

As per the agreement, the Sri Lanka Ports Authority (SLPA) retains 100% ownership of the East Container Terminal (ECT), while the Terminal Operations Company is jointly owned. Sri Lanka will hold a51% stake in the project and the joint venture partners will retain 49%.

• Aim: The ECT development project aimed at neutralizing the growing influence of China, which has poured money into the South Asian island nation under its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) infrastructure plan. The ECT is located some three km away from the China-backed international financial city, known popularly as port city.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Alapan Bandyopadhyay appointed as new Home Secretary for West Bengal

• Chief Minister of West Bengal, Mamata Banerjee appointed Alapan Bandyopadhyay, an IAS officer of the 1987 batch, as the new Home Secretary for West Bengal. He succeeds Atri Bhattacharya .

• Alapan Bandyopadhyay was in charge of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME) Department with additional charge of Industry, Commerce and Enterprises Department.

• Ajit Ranjan Bardhan as the new principal secretary of the North Bengal Development Department (NBDD)Bardhan was earlier in charge of Youth Services and Sports department.

• Barun Kumar Ray, who was in charge of the NBDD with an additional charge of Jalpaiguri Commissioner was transferred as the Commissioner of Malda.

Choten D Lama, Secretary of the Panchayat & Rural Development Department (P&RD) was shifted to the Backward Classes Welfare Department with an additional charge of the Tribal department.

• Gyanwant Singh was appointed as the new ADGP (Law and Order).

Jayanta Kumar Basu was appointed as the director of the directorate of economic offences.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

RBI extended time window for using the RTGS for customer transactions

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced that the time-window for using theReal Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS) for customer transactions will be extended from 4:30 pm to 6 pm on all working days. It will be effective from June 1, 2019.

• The current RTGS service window for customer transactions is available to banks from 8 a.m. to 4.30 p.m. on a working day.

Transactions will now take place under three windows:

1.8 am to 11 am

2.11 am to 1 pm

3.1 pm to 6pm

• Charges for the transactions:

• There shall be no charge for transactions between 8 am and 11 am.

• A charge of Rs.2 will be levied on every transaction conducted between 11 am and 1 pm.

Rs.5 shall be charged for every transaction between 1pm and 6pm.

Standard Chartered launched Trade A1 Engine in partnership with IBM

• Standard Charteredlaunched Trade A1 Engine in partnership with IBM Standard Chartered in partnership with IBM has launched the Trade A1 Engine which will automate the high risk process of trade documentation.

• It will enhance client experience through increased operational efficiency and strengthened operational control.This newly launched Trade A1 Engine will replace the Traditional documentary trade consisting of millions of data elements in paper-based that to be reviewed through a largely manual process.

About Trade A1 Engine

• Conversion of non-digital shipping documents into machine-readable format enabled by Optical Character Recognition (OCR).

•The Identification and classification of document types from an initial pre-defined database.

• The Continuous Machine learning (ML) based on user re-classification / re-defining of data elements to further Improve accuracy.

• Natural Language Processing (NLP) capabilities to read and capture context from data in the documents.

Srei Equipment Finance ties up with Oriental Bank of Commerce to offer loans for purchase of equipment under a co-lending arrangement

• Srei Equipment Financetied up with Oriental Bank of Commerce to offer loans for the purchase of equipment under a co-lending arrangement.Srei Equipment Finance is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Srei Infrastructure Finance.

• The funds for the project will be sourced through a platform named iQuippo, a unique digital market place of Kanoria Foundation.It will help in loan origination, loan dues collection, auction of equipment, valuation of equipment and other facilities.

• The co-lending arrangement will include financing of construction, mining and allied equipment, medical equipment, commercial vehicles and farm equipment.

Motila Oswal AMC become the first Indian fund house to introduce WhatsApp transaction platform

• Motilal Oswal Asset Management Company (AMC) become the first Indian fund house to launch WhatsApp transaction platform for mutual fund transactions for new as well as existing investors.This enables investors to use WhatsApp to invest in any scheme from Motilal Oswal AMC.Investors can either invest lump sum or through SIPS.

• The platform works:

• An investor should add Motilal Oswal AMC number (+91 9372205812) to his/her contact list. Then on WhatsApp, type 'Hi' on the above number.

• After sharing the PAN details, the investor should share his/her mode of investment, fund, amount. Finally, authorize payment for the transaction through the payment link sent

DAYS:

Veer Savarkar was observed on 28 May

• Swatantryaveer Vinayak Damodar Savarkar's birth anniversary was celebrated on 28 May 2019. On this occasion, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid tributes to VD Savarkar. He said that the nation will always remember sacrifices made by Veer Savarkar during the freedom struggle.

SPORTS:

Ivo Karlovic-Oldest Man to win a match at the French Open 2019 for 46 years

• Croatia’s Ivo Karlovic became the oldest man to win a match at the French Open 2019 for 46 years on 28 May. He beat Spain’s fellow veteran Feliciano Lopez in a first-round duel.

• Forty-year-old Ivo Karlovic became the oldest player to win a match at Roland Garros and defeated 37-year-old Feliciano Lopez to secure 7-6(4), 7-5, 6-7(7), 7-5 in three hours and six minutes to reach the second round at the clay-court Grand Slam for the sixth time.

• This was the oldest men’s match in combined age at Roland Garros during the Open Era, and the seventh-oldest match at a Grand Slam. Karlovic hit 35 aces and saved five of the six break points he faced to win his first match since Indian Wells.

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Important Current Affairs 25th April 2019

NATIONAL:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

India ranked 17th in the StartupBlink report.

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

• StartupBlink Report:

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

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

INTERNATIONAL:

Russia has successfully tested Akademik Lomonosov.

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

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

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

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

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

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

Bharat Financial will become a subsidiary of the private lender.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

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

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

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

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

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

DAYS:

World Malaria Day observed on April 25.

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

• World Malaria Day 2019 Theme:

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

• World Malaria Day - History:

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

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

• Facts about Malaria:

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

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

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

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

unchanged over the previous year.

SPORTS:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Important Current Affairs of 7th March

National :

Cabinet approves promulgation of Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019

• Union Cabinet approved the proposal for promulgation of the Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teachers’ Cadre) Ordinance, 2019. 

• The Ordinance will ensure that the Constitutional provisions of reservation for Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes and the socially and educationally backward classes in the faculty recruitment will be protected.

• This will ensure that the process of recruitment of faculty is resumed and the vacancies are filled up.

• The decision will allow filling up of more than five thousand vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers cadre. 

CCEA approves construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal

• The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs approved the construction of a 3rd railway line between Narayangarh in West Bengal and Bhadrak in Odisha of 155 kilometres length. 

• The total estimated cost of this project is over Rs 1866 crore and will be completed by 2023-24. 

• This will also help in generating direct employment for about 37 lakh man-days.

Poorest of poor and uneducated women left behind in Integrated Child Development Scheme: Report

• As per a paper published in WHO bulletin recently, the poorest of the poor and uneducated women are not being covered under the Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS).

• The Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) provides a package of services at anganwadi or child-care centres to young children and pregnant women and lactating mothers.

• These services include supplementary nutrition, referral services, immunisation, health check-up, pre-school non-formal education and health and nutrition education.

• The study also said that mothers without any schooling were the lowest beneficiaries.

PM-STIAC: Nine Science and Technology Missions and other Projects

• The Principal Scientific Adviser to the Government, Prof. K. Vijay Raghvan shared details of the nine national missions guided by the Prime Minister Science, Technology & Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC).

• The PM-STIAC aims to facilitate the process of collaboration and focus needed to solve complex problems in a reasonable time-frame.

• The Union Government is catalysing collaborations across scientific ministries, research institutions and industry partners, through the PM-STIAC, to leverage cutting edge scientific research for societal benefit.

• 4 meetings of the PM-STIAC have been held since October 2018 and key national missions emerged from the discussions. Each mission is being led by a lead Ministry and will engage international and national institutional partners, young scientists and industry.

Prime Minister launches key development projects at Kalaburagi and Kancheepuram

• The Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched key development projects at Kalaburagi in Karnataka and Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu.

• At Kalaburagi in Karnataka, the Prime Minister dedicated the ESIC Hospital and Medical College, Bengaluru to the nation.

• He also inaugurated the Super Specialty Block of KIMS in Hubali, the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal building in Bangalore and the Women’s Hostel for Students from North Eastern Region at Bangalore University.

• At Kancheepuram in Tamil Nadu, the Prime Minister launched various National Highway projects, including the foundation stone for the four laning of NH-45C from Vikravandi to Thanjavur and the six laning of Karaipettai – Walajapet section of NH-4.

• He dedicated the 5 MMTPA capacity Ennore LNG Terminal to the nation.

• The Prime Minister also unveiled the statue of Dr MG Ramachandran at Dr. MGR Janaki College of Arts & Science for Women, Chennai.

Uttar Pradesh gets highways projects worth over Rs 1 Lakh Crore

• Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated National Highways projects worth Rs 1, 10, 154 crore in Lucknow in Uttar Pradesh.

• He inaugurated foundation stone for several works under Namami Gange programme worth over Rs 1969.57 crore.

• The National Highways include four-laning of Lucknow-Sultanpur section on NH-56, four-laning of Kursi Road–Ayodhya Road section of Lucknow ring road, four-laning of Ghaghra Bridge to Budhanpur section on NH-233, widening of Sonoli-Gorakhpur section on NH-29E, widening of Barabanki-Jarwal Road Junction on NH-28C, etc.

• The foundation stone for construction of Lucknow-Kanpur Expressway was also laid.

• Several projects under Namami Gange programme were launched including laying of sewerage network of 214.88 km in Prayagraj at a cost of Rs 260.86 crore, laying of sewerage network of 69 km including 2 STPs of 9MLD capacity in Garh Mukteshwar, etc.

Shri Vishwakarma Skill University, National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research sign MoU

• A Memorandum of Understating (MoU) between Shri Vishwakarma Skill University (SVSU) and National Institute of Technical Teacher’s Training and Research (NITTTR) was signed.

• The MoU will be in force for a period of three years. 

• The collaboration targets to ensure purposeful engagement of Faculty, Experts and Industry Partners for various academic activities.

• The collaboration seeks to support Vision and Mission of both Institutions related to Technical and Vocational Education, Training and Research.

Uttarakhand Chief Minister lays foundation stone for Doon-Mussoorie ropeway project

• Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat laid the foundation stone for the Dehradun-Mussoorie ropeway project.

• The 300-crore rupees ropeway project is expected to be completed in three years.

• It will be one of the world's longest ropeways, and will shorten the one-hour zigzag drive to just 15 minutes from Purkul village the base camp at Dehradun to Mussoorie.

• Poma, a French company which manufactures cable-driven projects, will provide the technical support to the ropeway which will be built on the PPP mode

Madhya Pradesh: Ancient tribal language Gondi to be taught in tribal districts

• In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts.

• Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state's tribal-dominated districts.

• The rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue is a matter of concern. Hence, the Chief Minister stressed on the need to save it.

Justice SA Bobde nominated as Executive Chairman of NALSA

• President Ram Nath Kovind nominated Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).

• The post is currently headed by Justice AK Sikri who retired on March 6, 2019.

• The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.

• NALSA fulfils the provisions under the Article 39A of the constitution which provides for free legal aid to the poor and weaker sections of the society.

International:

ISRO, French space agency CNES sign agreement on maritime security

• National space agency ISRO and its French counterpart CNES signed an agreement to set up a joint maritime surveillance system in the country.

• The two nations will explore putting up a constellation of low-Earth orbiting satellites that will identify and track movement of ships globally and in the Indian Ocean region where France has its Reunion Islands.

• They will initially share data from their present space systems and develop new algorithms to analyse them.

• The agreement comes a year after the two governments initiated broad collaboration plan during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit in March 2018.

• The two agencies have put up two climate and ocean weather monitoring satellites Megha-Tropiques (of 2011) and SARAL-AltiKa (2013) that are considered as models.

Malaysia joins the International Criminal Court

• Malaysia ratified the Rome Statute making it the 124th State party to join the International Criminal Court (ICC).

• Even though Malaysia had helped to negotiate the Rome Statute, it has been long been reluctant to ratify it.

• The downing of flight MH17 and the Rohingya crisis have focused Malaysia’s attention on the ICC.

• After the election of Mahathir Mohamad as Prime Minister in May 2018, there has been a significant shift in the relationship between the Malaysian government and monarchy.

• The ratification has also stemmed from ambition to see Malaysia playing a more active role in ASEAN and the United Nations.

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Important Current Affairs of 4 March

NATIONAL:

April 2019 to March 2020 declared as Construction Technology year

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi declared April 2019-March 2020 as Construction-Technology year at the Construction Technology India-2019 Expo-cum-conference in New Delhi.

• Construction-Technology year emphasizes the role of advanced technology to meet the increasing demand for housing in the country. The declaration of Construction year aims to gives the housing sector a new pace by using the latest technologies available in the world. India has even launched the Global Housing Technology Challenge to fast-track the construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.

Usha Thorat-led task force to ensure stability of external value of rupee

• The Reserve Bank of India constituted an eight-member task force on offshore rupee markets, headed by Usha Thorat former Deputy Governor, to look into issues related to the markets and recommend appropriate policy measures to ensure the stability of the external value of the rupee.

• The terms of reference of the task force include assessing the causes behind the development of the offshore rupee market; study the effects of the offshore markets on the rupee exchange rate and market liquidity in the domestic market; and recommend measures to address concerns, if any, that may arise out of offshore rupee trading.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi chairs National Security Council meet

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi chaired a meeting of the National Security Council on Sunday following heightened tensions with Pakistan

• He Official sources said the meeting was attended by Home Minister Rajnath Singh, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.

• The NSA is tasked with advising the prime minister on matters of national security.

• It was set up by the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government in 1998, with Brajesh Mishra as the first National Security Advisor (NSA).

Sushma Swaraj addresses OIC Foreign Ministers plenary session in Dubai

• External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed the plenary session of the foreign ministers’ meet of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation states in Abu Dhabi.

• She presented a picture of the secular fabric of India and began the speech by saying that she stands as a representative of land that has been for ages a fountain of knowledge, a beacon of peace, a source of faiths and traditions, and home to religions from the world.

Centre, ADB sign 926 million loan agreement to operationalize two lines of Mumbai Metro

• The Union Government on March 1, 2019 signed a 926 million dollar loan agreement to operationalize two of the Mumbai Metro Rail System.

• The move will ease the distress of millions of commuters each day and help provide a cleaner and less congested city. The loan agreement was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs, on the behalf of the Indian Government and Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB's India Resident Mission on behalf of ADB.

• The carriages procured under this project will feature high-level safety features and automation, including surveillance systems, door closing, and train obstacle detectors.

Govt approves Adani Powers Rs 14,000 crore Jharkhand SEZ project.

• The government has approved a Rs 14,000-crore special economic zone (SEZ) project of Adani Power in Jharkhand, which will export the entire power generated in the Unit to Bangladesh.

• It will be ready by the end of 2022.

• The company had sought approval for setting up the project over an area of 425 hectares.

• Two supercritical units of 800 MW each would be set up with an investment of Rs 14,000 crore, which would include setting up of a water pipeline and a power evacuation system.

PM Modi flagged off Tejas Express, fastest train between Chennai and Madurai.

• This train will be the fastest in the Chennai-Madurai corridor and is India’s first semi-high speed fully AC luxury train.

• PM Modi also laid the foundation stone for two other projects which will boost rail infrastructure in Tamil Nadu.

• PM laid the foundation stone for the restoration of rail connectivity between Rameswaram and Dhanushkodi. The 17.20 Km railway line project is worth Rs 208 crore.

• Prime Minister also laid the foundation stone for the construction of new bridge Pamban viaduct. This will be India's first ever vertical moving bridge. The cost of this project is Rs 250 crore.

India signed deal with Russian firm to produce 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles

• For the AK-203 Assault Rifles, the deal was signed between the OFB (Ordnance Factories Board) and the Russian company Concern Kalashnikov.

• The AK-203 rifles, the latest derivative of the AK-47 rifles, will be produced at the Indian Ordnance Factory at Amethi's Korwa.

• The new 7.5 lakh rifles will replace the indigenous INSAS rifles in the Army, Air Force and Navy.

• AK-47, officially known as the Avtomat Kalashnikova, is the most basic model followed by AK 74, 56, 100 series and 200 series.

INTERNATIONAL:

NASA created a deep ocean conditions in lab to study origins of life.

• Scientists from NASA, the U.S. space agency, have reproduced deep ocean conditions in the lab to re-create a life that could have formed on the sea floor four billion years ago.

• The study focuses on how the building blocks of life form in hydrothermal vents on the ocean floor. It could offer clues to how life started on Earth. Hydrothermal vents are places on the seafloor where warm water from under the Earth’s crust mixes with near-freezing seawater. These vents form natural chimneys, which play host to all kinds of ocean life.

• The team at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in California made their own miniature sea floors by filling beakers with mixtures that mimic Earth’s primordial ocean.

APPOINTMENTS AND RE-APPOINTMENTS:

Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal

• Macky Sall has been re-elected as the President of Senegal. He won the re-election with58.27% of votes cast. Under the election system of Senegal if a candidate wins more than 50% votes there would be no second round voting and he would be announced the winner.

Sports:

Shashank Shekhar claimed 10 km Nepals (COAS) Marathon and Run for Fun.

• Shashank Shekhar won the 10-kilometre race of Nepal’s Chief of Army Staff (COAS) Open Marathon and Run for Fun which was held in Nepal’s Capital- Kathmandu.

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Important Current Affairs 27th February 2019

National News

Government cuts airfare for Haj pilgrims after withdrawing subsidy

• The move is part of the Centre’s “empowerment without appeasement” policy Minority Affairs Minister Mukhtar Abbas said.

• He said airfare reduction will end the exploitation caused under UPA regime.

Delhi gets streetlights with CCTV, Wi-Fi, pollution monitors

• The “smart poles” will be operational by the end of March.

• The NDMC is aiming to install a total of 55 such poles of which 32 have been installed.

India ranks 47th on inclusive Internet Index: Facebook

• India has been ranked 47th out of 86 countries by the Economist Intelligence Unit.

• The scores on the index is based on the scores of Availability, Affordability, Relevance and Readiness categories.

International News

Maldives decline India’s invite for naval exercise ‘Milan’.

• This comes amid the state of emergency in Maldives after the government refused a SC order to release political prisoners.

• India had said it is important that Maldives returns to the path of democracy.

China may overtake US as biggest producer of nuclear power

• China is expected to triple its nuclear capacity in the next 20 years.

• The International Energy Agency said that lesser investment in nuclear energy and no lifetime extension of the existing plants threatened the US’ position as the global leader in nuclear power.

Michelle Obama announces memoir

• Her memoir titled ‘Becoming’ will be published on November 13, 2018.

• The book will be published in 24 languages worldwide

Business News:

Goldman Sachs-backed start up buys crypto exchange Poloniex

• The start-up Circle acquired the crypto exchange Poloniex

• Poloniex, which was founded in 2014, is within the top 20 largest crypto exchanges by trading volume.

PNB reveals additional Rs.1, 300 cr fraud in Nirav Modi case

• PNB said that the fraudulent amount is Rs.1, 300 crore more than the current estimate of Rs.11, 400 cr.

• The amount of over Rs.12, 700 cr is nearly 10 times PNB’s 2016-17 net profit.

Iran plans its own crypto currency to beat US sanctions

• The crypto currency would help Iran evade the potential US sanctions.

• This comes after Venezuela, also hit by US sanctions, launched its own oil-backed crypto currency ‘Petro’.

Sports News:

Karnataka defeat Saurashtra to win Vijay Hazare Trophy

• Karnataka won the tournament for the 3rd time.

• Karnataka put up a total of 253/10 before Saurashtra were bowled out for 212 in 16.2 overs.

Usain Bolt to play charity football match at Man Utd’s home.

• Eight time Olympic gold medal winning sprinter Usain Bolt will lead the ‘World XI’ team against team ‘England’.

• The match will be held on June 10th.

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Important Current Affairs 22th February 2019

National News

Civil services marks cannot be disclosed under RTI: SC

• The SC ruled that Civil Services examination marks cannot be revealed under the Right to Information Act.

• The court added that revelation of marks would compromise on the integrity of the exams.

IAF Officer becomes 1st Indian woman to fly fighter jet solo

• Avani Chaturvedi has become the 1st Indian woman to fly a fighter jet solo as she operated the Russian made MiG21 aircraft.

• She is one of the 3 women inducted into IAF fighter stream in 2016.

SC allows withdrawal of cops send during Gorkhaland protests

• Central forces were deployed in the region during violent protests demanding a separate state of Gorkhaland.

• The Calcutta High Court had earlier barred the Centre from withdrawing the forces stating that normalcy had not been established.

International News

Trump suggests arming teachers to prevent school shootings

• Trump made the comment while meeting the students who survived the recent Florida school shooting which claimed 17 lives.

• Trump also called for the implementation of strict background checks for gun purchases in the country.

250 civilians killed in Syrian shelling in 2 days

• Continuous shelling by Syrian govt forces in eastern Ghouta has killed around 250 civilians.

• Nearly 5 lakh people have been killed in the Syrian war.

N Korea envoys’ visit cost more than athletes’ training

• The International Olympic Committee paid around $50,000 for the training of 22 N Korea athletes who participated in the 2018 Winter Olympics.

• S Korea spent around 346% more than the amount spent on the athletes’ training.

Business News

Vijay Mallya’s Rs.300 cr Mumbai house to be auctioned

• Mallya entered into an agreement allowing him to acquire up to 13 domestic properties from USL within a limited time frame after his resignation.

• The company has decided to sell after Mallya failed to buy them back last year.

Gitanjali shares drop 58%

• The company has lost Rs.435.41 cr from its market capitalisation in the last seven days.

• This comes after PNB accused Choksi and jeweller Nirav Modi of defrauding the bank of $1.77 bn.

Brace for difficult times ahead : Aircel CEO

• Aircel CEO Kaizad Heerjee has warned 5k employees to brace for difficult times.

• Aircel, which has 85 mn customers, recently stopped services in six circles to focus on the better performing ones.

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Important Current Affairs 19th February 2019

AWARDS AND HONORS:

President Kovind presents Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony.

• President Ram Nath Kovind on Monday said each region in the country has a distinct cultural identity but this does not divide but unites and harmonizes all of India.

• President made the statement after presenting the Tagore Award for Cultural Harmony here on Monday. He remarked that the award is a celebration of Indian tradition of culture.

• Remembering Rabindranath Tagore, President Kovind said, "Gurudev was a remarkable genius, who became the first Indian Nobel laureate. Gurudev Tagore is remembered every day as a poet who gave India its national anthem. He belongs to the entire world as he was a nationalist as well as an internationalist."

Sudanese refugee wins major human rights award.

• Sudanese refugee, Abdul Aziz Muhamat, who spent 5 years in the Australian detention center on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea, was given the Martin Ennals Award 2019 in Geneva, Switzerland, for exposing “the very cruel asylum seeker policy of the Australian Government”.

• It is sometimes referred to as the “Nobel Prize for human rights”. Abdul Aziz Muhamat’s podcast “The Messenger”, created from more than 4,000 WhatsApp messages Muhamat sent from the detention center, had won best radio/audio feature at Australia’s Walkley Awards in 2017.

Sunil Chhetri receives 'Football Ratna' award.

•Talismanic Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever ‘Football Ratna’ by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in Delhi. Dr. Shaji Prabhakaran, President, Delhi Football presented the honor a function at the majestic Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

• Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list, said: “I am honored by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognizing me with the Football Ratna award.”

•“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football, and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

NATIONAL:

Infosys launches InfyTQ app for engineering students.

• Infosys has announced the launch of a digital platform offering learning and engagement experiences for engineering students.

•“InfyTQ is a free platform open to all engineering students in their third and fourth year. The platform encourages holistic development by imparting technical as well as professional skills and helps them become industry ready,” said a statement from Infosys.

• InfyTQ will be available on both mobile and desktop and is equipped with a plethora of content, courses and news to establish talent readiness at an industry level through online assessments and certification.

During his Jharkhand visit, PM Narendra Modi to inaugurate several development projects.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi will lay the foundation stone for hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka and Palamau in Jharkhand on Sunday and inaugurate a host of development schemes during his visit to the state, an official statement said.

• The prime minister will lay the foundation stone online for four 500-bedded hospitals in Hazaribagh, Dumka, Palamau and Jamshedpur.

• This apart, he will lay foundation stone for Hazaribagh urban line water supply scheme and rural drinking water supply - four schemes for Hazaribagh and two for Ramgarh.

Banned Punjabi Poem On Jallianwala Massacre To Be Published In English After 99 Years.

• A poem on the Jallianwala Bagh massacre by acclaimed Punjabi writer Nanak Singh, which was banned by the British after its publication in 1920, has now been translated into English.

• Singh was present at Jallianwala Bagh on April 13, 1919. He was 22 years old at the time.

• The name of the poem is ‘Khooni Vaisakhi'

SPORTS:

Vidarbha won Irani Cup.

• Vidarbha defended its Irani Cup title on 16 Feb 2019 at the Jamtha Stadium in Nagpur.

• The Irani Cup tournament was conceived during the 1959-60 season to mark the completion of 25 years of the Ranji Trophy championship.

National Championship: Saina Nehwal beats PV Sindhu to clinch second successive title.

• Saina Nehwal defeated PV Sindhu for the second year running as she claimed the senior national title in women's singles once again with a 21-18, 21-15 win in Guwahati on Saturday.

• Saina had defeated Sindhu in the final in the previous edition of the nationals in November 2017 and the two-time Commonwealth Games gold medalist was at it again.

Qatar Open: Elise Mertens beats Simona Halep to win her biggest tour title.

• Elise Mertens has claimed the biggest title of her career by beating top seed Simona Halep to win the Qatar Open.

• Mertens, 23, recovered from a set and a break down - losing 18 points in a row at one stage in the second set - to beat the world number three 3-6 6-4 6-3.

• World number 21 Mertens also overcame a lengthy medical time-out for a back issue in the first set.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMICS:

JP Morgan: first to create crypto currency.

• US investment bank, JP Morgan Chase became the first US bank to offer its own crypto currency.

• The crypto currency, called 'JPM Coin' will always have a value equivalent to one US dollar.

• It will be initially used internally between JPMorgan Chase's wholesale business clients.

RBI lifts cap on FPI investments.

• The Reserve Bank of India withdrew the 20% limit on investments by FPIs in corporate bonds of an entity

• It was stipulated in April 2018 that no FPI should have an exposure of more than 20% of its corporate bond portfolio to a single corporate.

•This has been done with a view to encourage more foreign investments.

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Important Current Affairs 16th February 2019

Committees:

Rajasthan forms committees to review textbooks.

• The Rajasthan government has set up two committees of experts and educationists to review the syllabus of school textbooks from class 1 to 8 and from class 9 to 12.

• The committee to review the syllabus of class 1 to 8 will be coordinated by I V Trivedi.

• The coordinator for the four-member committee for class 9-12 is the former Chairman of Rajasthan State Public Service Commission BM Sharma.

Defense:

IAF gets its first woman flight engineer.

• Flight Lieutenant Hina Jaiswal became the first woman flight engineer.

• She was commissioned in January 2015 to the IAF's engineering branch

• She created history when she was chosen as the first woman candidate to pursue the elite course.

• A flight engineer is a member of an aircraft’s flight crew and requires special skills for constantly monitoring and operating its complex systems.

Vice Admiral SN Ghormade: Takes over as COS.

• He was awarded the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal on 26 Jan 2017 and Nau Sena Medal in 2007 by the President of India.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

RBI imposed penalty on 3 PSU banks.

• The monetary penalty was imposed for non-compliance on monitoring of end-use of funds and on the restructuring of accounts.

• A penalty of Rs 1.5 crore was imposed on Oriental Bank of Commerce (OBC) and Rs 1 crore each on Punjab National Bank (PNB) and Bank of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

India withdraws MFN status from Pakistan.

• India has withdrawn the MFN (Most Favored Nation) status that it had granted to Pakistan.

• It followed the attack in Jammu & Kashmir’s Pulwama that left 37 CRPF personnel dead.

• The decision was taken during the Cabinet Committee on Security meeting held in New Delhi.

• India had granted the status to Pakistan in 1996, a year after WTO’s formation.

PM Modi on 2-day visit to South Korea.

• PM Narendra Modi will pay a 2-day visit to South Korea from February 21 2019.

• He will be conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize on February 22, in recognition of his national and international contributions.

• He will also hold talks with President Moon Jae-in on a host of issues to strengthen strategic ties.

GOVERNMENT SCHEME:

App launched PMAY (U).

• Hardeep S Puri, Minister of State for Housing and Urban Affairs launched the PMAY (U) Mobile App on 14 Feb 2019.

• The app will allow beneficiaries to capture and upload high-resolution photographs of completed houses along with their families.

• The PMAY (U) mission was launched on 25th June 2015 with an aim to provide houses to every eligible urban household in India by the year 2022.

PM-SYM scheme implemented.

• Pradhan Mantri Shram Yogi Maan-dhan (PM-SYM).

• Scheme was implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Employment on 15 Feb 2019.

• The features of the scheme are family pension and minimum assured pension.

• The unorganized workers whose monthly income is Rs 15,000/per month or less and belong to the entry age group of 18-40 years are eligible for the scheme.

• Each subscriber under the PM-SYM shall receive minimum assured pension of Rs 3000/- per month after attaining the age of 60 years.

• During the receipt of pension, if the subscriber dies, the spouse of the beneficiary shall be entitled to receive 50% of the pension received by the beneficiary as family pension. Family pension is applicable only to spouse.

POLITY:

16th Lok Sabha session concluded.

• The last session of 16th Lok Sabha concluded on 14 Feb 2019

• There were a total number of 331 sittings for Lok Sabha. 205 bills were passed and the productivity was 85%.

• For Rajya Sabha, 154 bills were passed and the productivity was 68%

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Bradley Cooper won the best director from PETA.

• Bradley Cooper was awarded the ‘Oscar’ by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA).

• The animal rights organization awarded the best director award to Cooper for his enlightened decision to cast his own canine companion in ‘A Star Is Born’.

APPOINTMENTS:

B P Sharma: CMD Pawan Hans.

• B P Sharma was re-employed as the CMD of the state-run helicopter manufacturer Pawan Hans.

• He was the CMD of Pawan Hans earlier in March 2015.

• He will be serving for a period of 5 months.

• Pawan Hans has a fleet of more than 50 helicopters.

Sushil Chandra became Election Commissioner.

• President Ram Nath Kovind appointed Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT) Chairman Sushil Chandra as an Election Commissioner.

• The post had fallen vacant after the appointment of the then Election Commissioner Sunil Arora as Chief Election Commissioner.

• Ashok Lavasa is the senior-most Election Commissioner.

Appointments Committee of Cabinet (ACC) has appointed senior IRS officer Pramod Chandra Mody as chairman of Central Board of Direct Taxes.

• He will succeed Sushil Chandra, who was recently appointed Election Commissioner.

• The Government of India, Government of Himachal Pradesh (GoHP) and the World Bank signed a $40 Million Loan Agreement to help bring clean and reliable drinking water to the citizens of the Greater Shimla area.

• William Barr was sworn for second time as the Attorney General of US.

• Derrick Pereira is set to become the coach of the Indian Under-23 football team for the upcoming Asian Football Confederation (AFC) qualifiers, to be held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan from 22nd March.

• Dewan Housing Finance Corporation Limited (DHFL) has notified that its CEO Harshil Mehta has resigned from his position with immediate effect on 13th February, 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2019

NATIONAL:

Pulwama Attack: MIB issues advisory to all private satellite TV Channels

• The Information and Broadcasting Ministry has issued an advisory to all private satellite TV Channels in view of the terrorist attack in Pulwama District.

• The Ministry in its advisory said that all channels are advised to be particularly cautious with regard to any content which is likely to incite violence or contains anything against maintenance of law and order or which promotes anti-national attitude or contains anything affecting the integrity of the nation.

• The Ministry asked them to ensure that no such content is telecast which is violative of programme and advertising code as prescribed in the Cable Television Networks Regulation Act.

Chandigarh woman becomes IAF's 1st female Flight Engineer

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) inducted flight lieutenant Hina Jaiswal as its first woman Flight Engineer on Friday. Jaiswal, who hails from Chandigarh, studied engineering at Punjab University.

• As a Flight Engineer, Hina will be posted to operational helicopter units of the IAF and routinely called to operate in demanding and stressful conditions.

Train 18 launch despite attack befitting reply to terrorists: Goyal

• Railways Minister Piyush Goyal has said that going ahead with the inauguration of India's fastest train, Vande Bharat Express (Train 18), was a befitting reply to the terrorists who perpetrated the Pulwama attacks.

• He added the decision to continue with the flagging off programme was inspired by the way Mumbai reacted by showing their resilience following the 26/11 attacks.

Security forces given full freedom to take action: PM on J&K attack

• In light of the terror attack on CRPF jawans in J&K's Pulwama on Thursday, PM Narendra Modi said, "Our security forces have been given full freedom.

• We have full faith in their bravery." Thanking all the nations who condemned the attack and showed support to India, PM Modi said, "A strong reply will be given to this attack.

SC asks EC to be flexible in applying 3 years domicile for defence personnel

• The Supreme Court of India has asked the Election Commission to be flexible in applying three-year domicile for defence personnel.

• The apex court noted that though people in services are posted at peace place for three years, there is occasion when they are transferred in two-and-half years.

• A bench headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi said it will be open for the Election Commission to prescribe further flexible eligibility criteria to ensure that defence personnel are able to vote.

• The bench said, there was no need to pass any further order. It noted that the Election Commission has taken a decision to allow armed forces personnel to vote at their place of posting which excludes Jammu and Kashmir and Northeastern states.

INTERNATIONAL:

Trump to sign spending bill averting government shutdown

• President Donald Trump has decided to sign a spending bill averting a government shutdown but will also issue an emergency declaration to fund his controversial border wall.

• Declaring an emergency, a rare step, would free Trump to seek to redirect federal funds from elsewhere to help pay for a wall along the US-Mexico border.

• US House of Representative Speaker and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi expressed disdain for the President's upcoming emergency declaration. She stated that the happening at the border is not an emergency.

William Barr sworn in as US Attorney General

• William Barr was sworn in for second time as the new Attorney General of United States, taking the helm of the Justice Department as special counsel Robert Mueller investigates Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

• Earlier, the Senate voted 54-45 to confirm his appointment. Barr, who also served as the Attorney General from 1991 to 1993 during President George HW Bush’s administration, succeeds Jeff Sessions.

• As the country’s chief law enforcement officer, Barr will oversee the remaining work in Mueller’s investigation into potential coordination between the Kremlin and the Trump campaign and decide how much Congress and the public know about its conclusion.

NASA declares Mars rover Opportunity officially dead

• NASA’s Mars rover Opportunity was officially declared dead on February 13, 2019, after having contributed almost 15 years of grand services.

• The declaration came after the long wait of eight months after the robot stopped responding to engineers back on earth after the dust storm hit the red planet.

• Setting off for Mars on the night of July 7, 2003, the golf-cart-sized robot has covered the distance of 28 miles since it has landed on the surface on January 25, 2004.

• After landing the rover, towards its journey to Endurance Crater, started searching intensively for bedrock and sand dunes.

• In an attempt to get a clue of water in its distant past, the rover studied the Victoria crater between the period of two years (2006 to 2008) and discovered how water had entered and left the region billions of years ago.

SPORTS:

Steyn overtakes Kapil, becomes joint 7th highest Test wicket-taker

• South African pacer Dale Steyn went past former Indian captain Kapil Dev in the list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket after registering figures of 4/48 against Sri Lanka on Thursday.

• Steyn with 437 wickets to his name in the longest format is now at the joint seventh position in the all-time list of highest wicket-takers in Test cricket.

Saina, Kashyap, Verma enter semifinals of Senior Nationals

• Former champions Saina Nehwal, Parupalli Kashyap and Sourabh Verma advanced to the semifinals of the 83rd Yonex-Sunrise Senior Badminton Nationals in Guwahati on Friday.

• Saina will face 22-year-old Nagpur qualifier Vaishnavi Bhale, while Kashyap will face Lakshya Sen. The 26-year-old Sourabh Verma will meet qualifier Kaushal Dharmamer of Mumbai.

• Shane Warne named brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals

• Australia spin legend Shane Warne has been named as the new brand ambassador of Rajasthan Royals for the upcoming Indian Premier League.

• Warne, who led Rajasthan Royals to its first and only IPL title in 2008, was the mentor of the side last season.

BUSINESS:

IndiGo to curtail 30 daily flights in February

• The country's largest airline IndiGo announced curtailing around 30 flights daily for the rest of February as it looks to stabilize operations and adjust crew rosters.

• IndiGo, which has more than 41 per cent of domestic market share, said the cancellations represent 2 per cent of its flights and that operation would be normalised completely by March 31, 2019.

• The budget carrier cancelled 49 flights on February 13 and the same has been informed to aviation regulator DGCA. The cancellations were reportedly caused by several factors like anticipated weather conditions and NOTAMS at various airports.

• This resulted in extended duty times which then made it necessary to re-roster the crew and optimise the operations. Therefore, the airlines has decided to curtail its schedule for the remaining period of this month by approximately 30 flights a day.

Appointments

 Ashwani Lohani, a retired bureaucrat, was appointed the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of National carrier Air India, on 13 Feb 2019.

• This will be his second tenure.

• In August 2017, he was named the Chairman to the Railway Board and retired on December 31, 2018.

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