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Important Current Affairs of 25th June

INTERNATIONAL:

Former General Mohamed Ould Ghazouani won presidential election of Mauritania.

• Mauritania, a country in Northwest Africa conducted election a former general and defense minister, Mohamed Ould Ghazouani of Union for the Republic (UPR) party won the presidential election.

He won with 52% votes.

He succeeds Mohamed Ould Abdel Aziz.

Anti-slavery activist Biram Dah Abeid won second with 18.58% votes.

Sidi Mohamed Ould Boubacar biggest Islamist party won third with 17.87% votes.

First time in 60 years Mauritania faced elections.

They gained independence (28 November 1960) from France.

About Mauritania:

Capital: Nouakchott

Currency: Mauritanian ouguiya

AGREEMENTS AND MOU’s:

NSIC signs MoU with CSC e-governance services India.

• National Small Industries Corporation (NSIC) signed an MoU with Common Service Centres (CSC) e-Governance Services India to enhance new offerings for the MSME sector.

This MoU enables CSCs to utilize a plethora of NSIC offerings through the NSIC portal.

He facilitates VLEs and MSMEs through digital empowerment in accessing NSIC integrated support services encompassing Marketing, Finance, Technology.

The MoU special focus on providing services to village level entrepreneurs (VLEs) to exponential growth of Village Entrepreneurs in the country.

The MoU enable CSCs  to utilize plethora of  NSIC offerings through the NSIC portal www.msmemart.com .

About NSIC (National Small Industries Corporation Limited)

Founder: Government of India

Founded: 1955

Headquarters: New Delhi

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Maruti Suzuki inks partnership with BOB for dealer financing

• Maruti Suzuki, an Automobile producer in India marked 'Favored Financier' MoU(Memorandum of comprehension) with Indian worldwide with Bank of Baroda(BOB) so as to improve credit for business stock financing.

• The association with Bank of Baroda permits Maruti Suzuki to back chances to sellers just as clients. The financing will work in accordance with the Bank of Baroda's item program of Supply Chain Finance.

• The tight liquidity circumstance in the budgetary arrangement of the IL&FS emergency and rising awful credits incited the banks. Moneylenders presented exacting credit standards for vehicle vendors because of the rising instances of awful advances in this portion of the car business. The sellers were approached to give guarantee stretched out by banks.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

RBI Deputy Governor Viral Acharya resigned.

• The Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) Deputy Governor Viral Acharya resigned six months before the scheduled end of his term

He returned to New York University Stern School of Business (NYU stern) as CV Starr Professor of Economics.

He submitted a letter to RBI he is unable to continue his term as a Deputy Governor of the RBI beyond July 23, 2019.

He joined RBI on January 23, 2017.

He leave the central bank on December 10, 2018

He is in charge of the Financial Stability Unit, Monetary Policy Department, Department of Economic and Policy Research, Financial Markets Operation Department.

About Reserve Bank of India

Established:1 April 1935

Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Governor: Shaktikanta Das

SPORTS:

Lewis Hamilton won French Grand Prix

Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes won the French Grand Prix .It is held in Circuit Paul Ricard, Le Castellet, France.They verified 187 points. The United Kingdom got an eighth straight success in the year 2019 .It was the 6th success of the period.It is 79th of his vocation. He crushed Valtteri Bottas of Mercedes (Finland) verified 151. Charles Leclerc of Ferrari (Monaco) got third Max Verstappen of Red Bull (Belgium) fourth.

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Important Current Affairs of 24th June

NATIONAL:

India’s first iron ore mine discovered in Bangladesh

• Iron ore mine discovered at Isabpur village in Dinajpur.

This announcement was made by the Geological Survey of Bangladesh.

After the effect of extensive drilling over two months in the area. A 400-foot thick iron layer was found in Bangladesh after the result of the Geological Survey.

• Around 1,750 feet beneath the surface stretched over an area of 6-10 square kilometer.

The percentage of iron in the mine around 65.

It indicates the high quality of the ore. The other countries like Canada, China, Brazil, Sweden, and Australia have the percentage of iron ore is below the level of 50.

• Other minerals such as gold, copper, nickel, and chromium also found at various levels of the mining.

The discovery of the iron mine opened up economic prospects for the country.

The iron concentration in the magnetite ore is 65 percent.

Indian Navy launches Operation Sankalp in Gulf of Oman

• Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Sankalp’ in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.Their main aim is to reassure safe passage of Indian flagged vessels transiting through the area.

• This deployment depends on the following recent maritime incidents in the region. INS Chennai and INS Sunayna deployed in the region to undertake maritime security operations.

• An aerial surveillance in the area done by IN aircraft.

Information Fusion Centre-Indian Ocean Region (IFC-IOR) of Indian Navy watch over the movement of ships in Gulf region.

INTERNATIONAL:

Saudi Arabia became the first Arab country to get FATF membership

• Saudi Arabia turned into the principal Arab nation to get participation of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).

• The quantity of perpetual individuals from the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) is 39. The enrollment conceded into the worldwide illegal tax avoidance after the Annual General Meeting in Orlando, Florida.

• FATF commended their 30th commemoration of its first gathering .Saudi Arabia got a welcome from FATF in 2015 and they joined as an "onlooker part'.

Mexico became the first country to ratify the trade deal to replace NAFTA

• Mexico turned into the main nation to endorse the economic accord to supplant 25-year-old North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

• The exchange accord is known as the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA).

• The USMCA (NAFTA 2.0) adjusted for automakers, stricter work, and ecological guidelines, licensed innovation assurances, and advanced exchange arrangements.

• US President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Mexico's and President Enrique Pena Nieto marked the arrangement in November 2018 need to sanctioned by every one of the three governments.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

Cricket Australia signs a multi-year partnership with HCL

• Indian multinational information technology service HCL Technologies(Hindustan Computers Limited, HCL) signed a multi-year deal with Cricket Australia (CA), the administrative body of Australian Cricket.

India's third largest sports deal, Accenture was working with Cricket Australia

A five-year deal from November 2013.

• HCL becomes the digital technology partner of Australia (CA)

The company will help CA more fans, cricketers, fans, employees, and volunteers through digital experience around the world. 

• HCL build CA's digital products such as Cricket Australia Live App, cricket.com.

Cricket Australia's fan following gradually increased upto 20 million per year.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Dr Gaurav Nigam, an educationist, pediatrician and author, honoured with 'Innovative Research Excellence Award 2019'

• Dr Gaurav Nigam deliberated with 'Inventive Research Excellence Award 2019' .The honor was given by Lyonpo Ugyen Dorji, Minister for Labor and Human Resources of Bhutan at the Asian Leadership Summit .

• The capacity is held at Thimphu, Bhutan. The occasion sorted out by the Global Leaders Foundation.

• He won this honor for his magnificence in school training of extraordinary commitment towards the imaginative improvement look into exercises in the field of school instruction in South Asian Region.

• He is the author of iCare. He is the writer of the book titled 'Villain Inside My Mind'.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Shefali Juneja appointed as India's representative in the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO)

• India's Pranati Nayak won a bronze decoration at the Senior Asian Artistic Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She is from West Bengal .

• She got equipped for finals.She verified 6th spot and concocted a score of 13.384 to win the bronze decoration.

• She scored 13.400 and 13.367 in the first and second vault score as of late.

Justice V Ramasubramanian appointed as the Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court

• Justice V Ramasubramanian designated as Chief Justice of the Himachal Pradesh High Court.

• He succeeded Chief Justice Surya Kant. The function was managed by Governor Acharya Devvrat.

• He filled in as an Additional Judge of the Madras High Court .

• He joined as changeless Judge from November 9, 2009.

Justice Raghvendra Singh Chauhan appointed as the second Chief Justice of Telangana High Court

• Raghvendra Singh Chauhan named as the second Chief Justice of Telangana High Court in Hyderabad.

• He succeeded Chief Justice T.B. Radhakrishnan in April, 2019 .He has a place with Rajasthan .

• He made vow before Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan. Boss Secretary S.K. Joshi started swearing-in service .

• The Registrar General of Telangana High Court A. Venkateswar Reddy read out the warrant

SPORTS:

Indian Gymnast, Pranati Nayak won bronze at 2019 Asian Artistic Gymnastic Championship held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

• India's Pranati Nayak won a bronze decoration at the Senior Asian Artistic Championships in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. She is from West Bengal .

• She got equipped for finals .She verified 6th spot and concocted a score of 13.384 to win the bronze decoration. She scored 13.400 and 13.367 in the first and second vault score as of late.

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Important Current Affairs of 14th June

NATIONAL:

ISRO unveiled plan to set up its own space station in seven years

• ISRO disclosed arrangement to set up its own space station in seven years. ISRO is to set up a little and a different space station. It won't be a piece of the International Space Station (ISS). The venture will be an augmentation of the Gaganyaan mission, which intends to send an Indian team to space in 2022.

• The heaviness of the space station will associate with 20 tons. ISRO's proposition will be sent to the legislature for endorsement by 2022 after the first Gaganyaan mission. the mission is taking a gander at 5-7 years to execute the program. The expense of the proposed space station was not unveiled.

• The International Space Station (ISS) is an association between European Space Agency, the United States (NASA), Japan (JAXA), Canada (CSA) and Russia (Roscosmos). It is the world's biggest global helpful program in science and technology.hina likewise plans to construct its very own space station.

YSRs Tammineni Sitaram took charge as Speaker of Andhra Pradesh Assembly

• The principal session of the fifteenth Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly as the senior chief of YSR Congress Party Tammineni Sitaram consistently chose as the Speaker of the Assembly. Boss Minister Y. S.

• Jagan Mohan Reddy praised Tammineni spoke to secure the parliamentary majority rules system.

• The fifteenth Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly's first session favored by the administration with chose lawmakers being controlled the promise of confirmation Protem Speaker S. Appala Naidu led the race for the arrangement of the Speaker which was proposed by 30 MLAs of YSRCP. Boss Minister experienced 23 MLA's and 3 MPs to surrender from YSRCP to the decision TDP.

About Tammineni Sitaram :

She is the fourth speaker of the gathering from Srikakulam area. Sitaram began his political vocation from TDP a six-time MLA from Srikakulam region's Amadalavalasa.

INTERNATIONAL:

New app to help students wishing to study in U.S

• EducationUSA launched an app in collaboration with the United States India Educational FoundationThe app is available on both Android and iOS platforms for free.The US embassy launched a mobile application that gives comprehensive and latest information about studying in the United States.

• The main aim is at students who may not be geographically centred in India

It helps students with information about studying in the country.The app EducationUSA launched in collaboration with the United States India Educational Foundation

• It is available on both Android and iOS platforms for free.

• The app act as the first point of information for students, parents, school counsellors and other interested users.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION:

Author Amitav Ghosh was conferred the 54th Jnanpith Award

• Author Amitav Ghosh was presented the 54th Jnanpith Award. He was granted for his commitment to the improvement of Indian writing in English at a service. The honor was introduced by the previous legislative leader of West Bengal Gopalkrishna Gandhi in New Delhi on 13 June. Amitav Ghosh is the principal English essayist to get this lofty Jnanpith Award

• Amitav Ghosh:  Amitav Ghosh is an Indian author. He is best known for his work in English fiction. In 2007, the administration of India granted him the regular citizen respect of Padma Shri. He likewise got the Israeli Dan David Prize, together with Margaret Atwood.

• His works and grants:  His book, The Circle of Reason won the Prix Médicis étranger which is France's top scholarly honors. His work 'The Calcutta Chromosome' won the Arthur C. Clarke Award for 1997. Additionally, his work 'Ocean of Poppies' was shortlisted for the 2008 Man Booker Prize. The book 'Stream of Smoke' was shortlisted for the Man Asian Literary Prize 2011.

Priyanka Chopra to be honoured with humanitarian award by UNICEF

• Indian actress Priyanka Chopra with the Danny Kaye Humanitarian Award at the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)Snowflake Ball in the month of December.

• The event will be held on December 3 in New York.She is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador.She visited Ethiopia last month.She is known for her contribution to social causes .She will raise her voice for children’s education.

• India to raise awareness against child welfare.She is also to improve the education, health and safety of girl child in India.

BUSINESS AND ECONOMY:

SEBI introduced enhanced disclosure guidelines for credit rating agencies

• The business sectors controller Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) presented upgraded revelation rules for FICO score offices (CRA). SEBI asked the rating organizations to reveal the likelihood of default for the backers they rate, agitated by the raters' reputation of distinguishing defaults or close defaults.

•  Explanation behind the move: Since the worldwide money related emergency in 2008, the validity of the rating organizations has been disintegrating a direct result of the irreconcilable circumstance that emerges from the way that they are paid by the guarantors to rate their protections and for their inability to minimization beset firms until they are very nearly chapter 11.

• The ongoing Infrastructure Leasing and Financial Services Ltd's (IL&FS) liquidity emergency among non-bank loan specialists in India has concentrated consideration again using a credit card rating offices.

DAYS:

World Blood Donor Day is observed on June 14

• The day is celebrated to raise awareness of the need for safe blood and blood products and to thank blood donors. The theme is - Blood Donation and Universal Access to Safe Blood Transfusion

• The main aim is to use as a component of achieving universal health coverage. The theme encourages more people all over the world to become blood donors and donate blood regularly. It is an important occasion for all governments, national health authorities and national blood services to provide adequate infrastructures to increase collection of blood from regular unpaid blood donors.

• It helps to mobilize support at national, regional and global levels among governments and development partners to invest in, strengthen and sustain national blood programmes. Blood is treating the wounded during emergencies like natural disasters, accidents and armed conflicts.

It is essential, life-saving role in maternal care.

About World Blood Donor Day

•  Countries around the world celebrate World Blood Donor Day on June 14.

•  Date: Friday, 14 June 2019

•  Observed by: All member states of the World Health Organization

SPORTS:

Indian team for Senior Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships announced

• Gymnastics Federation of India declared the Indian group for the Senior Asian Artistic Gymnastics Championships It is to be held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia from June 19 to 22.

• The four men and four ladies senior gymnasts chose for the esteemed competition after Sports Authority of India (SAI) consented to GFI's proposition of holding open preliminaries at IG Stadium. Men group includes Rakesh Kumar Patra (rings and parallel bars), Yogeshwar Singh (floor and vault), Debang Dey (wallop pony) and Arik Dey (level bar).

• Pranati Nayak (vault and pillar), Shraddha Talekar (uneven bars), Pranati Das (shaft) and Papiya Das (floor) are the ladies' cooperative individuals,. The Championships will be International introduction for Debang Dey in men's classification Papiya Das in ladies' area classification.

• This challenge likewise be critical introduction to the Gymnasts preceding the 2019 World Championships. It is the fitting the bill for the 2020 Olympics.

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Important Current Affairs of 3rd April

NATIONAL:

Tata Power, Indraprastha Gas To Offer Integrated Services.

• Tata Power and Indraprastha Gas Limited (IGL) signed a memorandum of understanding to set up integrated customer services and optimize value for customers.

• The pact will also cover common safeguard activities of underground assets (pipes and cables) including the right of way for activities like maintenance and lying of pipes and cables, routine patrolling of under and above ground assets.

Garuda Prakashan launched Modi Again and Saffron Swords.

• The Indian Publishing company, Garuda Prakashan Private Limited, launched its two books “#Modi Again” and “Saffron Swords – Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders”.

• #Modi Again: Why Modi is right for India, An Ex-Communist’s Manifesto” authored by Aabhas Maldahiyar, states the reasons about how Narendra Modi is right for India. “Saffron Swords: Centuries of Indic Resistance to Invaders” written by Manoshi Sinha Rawal is a book on 52 unsung warriors of India from last 1300 years.

BESCOM plans to use Solar energy to power electric vehicles.

• Bangalore Electricity Supply Company (Bescom) is looking to utilise solar energy to power electric vehicle charging stations.

•  The aim is to ensure that clean transport is driven by clean energy.  Karnataka Power Transmission Corporation Limited (KPTCL): 

♦ KPTCL is the sole electricity transmission and distribution company in the state of Karnataka

HCL Completes Acquisition Of Strong-Bridge Envision.

• IT major HCL Technologies stated that its acquisition of US-based Strong-Bridge Envision has been completed.  HCL recently agreed to acquire the Seattle-based company to enhance its digital transformation consulting capabilities. According to reports, the deal was worth 45 million dollars.

GST collections set new record in the month of March.

• The Finance Ministry said that GST collections have scaled to a record high of Rs.1,06,577 crore in March 2019. The revenue collection was Rs.97,247 crore in the month of February.

• The record revenue collection was attributed to increased compliance and an increase in the number of returns filed. Total gross GST revenue collected in March 2019 stood at Rs.1,06,577 crore of which Central GST is Rs.20,353 crore, State GST is Rs 27,520 crore, Integrated GST is Rs.50,418 crore and cess is Rs.8,286 crore.

• The number of summary sales returns GSTR-3B filed for the month of February up to March 31 stood at 7.59 million. The monthly average of GST revenue during 2018-19 stood at Rs.98,114 crore which is 9.2% higher than the previous fiscal. GST collections for 2018-19

COMCASA: First secure link between India, US navies set up.

• India and the US have set up the first ever secure communication link between the Indian Navy & US Central as well as Pacific Naval Commands under the COMCASA pact at New Delhi, India.

• As a result of the implementation of the COMCASA, US has also activated the Selective Availability Anti-Spoofing Module GPS system in some of C-130 and C-17 transport aircraft. About COMCASA: COMCASA - COMmunications, Compatibility And Security Agreement.

•  It is the Indo-US military-information sharing pact and was signed at the 2+2 bilateral summit on 6th September, 2018. COMCASA is one of the three foundation agreements that need to be signed by a country with the United States to share high-end encrypted communication and satellite data.

INTERNATIONAL:

European Union launched WTO cases against India, Turkey.

• The European Union has launched two World Trade Organization (WTO) disputes against India over import duties on IT products and against Turkey over measures affecting pharmaceutical producers. In the case against India, the EU is challenging the introduction of import duties of between 7.5 and 20 percent for a wide range of IT products, such as mobile phones and components, as well as integrated circuits. In the case against Turkey, the EU is challenging measures that force foreign pharmaceutical producers to move their production to Turkey.

Bolivia joins International Solar Alliance.

• During the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia, Bolivia has signed the framework agreement to join the International Solar Alliance.

• So far, 73 countries have signed the ISA Framework Agreement The International Solar Alliance (ISA) was unveiled by Prime Minister of India and French President at the U.N. Climate Change Conference in Paris on November 30, 2015.

• The idea was to form a coalition of solar resource-rich countries to collaborate on addressing the identified gaps in their energy requirements through a common approach. India, with a target to produce 100 GW of solar energy by 2022, would account for a tenth of ISA’s goal. ISA is the first international body that will have a secretariat in India.

Indonesia seeks to increase import from India.

• Indonesia is looking at increasing sugar, rice and bovine imports from India. Consul General of Indonesia, Ade Sukendar said that India exported about 50,000 tonnes of rice in 2018.

• It is looking at importing more non-basmati rice also from India. There was potential to import over one lakh tonnes a year. Negotiations are ON between the two countries to increase imports. Total exports from Indonesia to India in 2018 were to the tune of $13.72 billion and exports from India were to the tune of $5.01 billion.

AGREEMENTS:

India and Bolivia signed for the development and industrial use of lithium.

• India and Bolivia have signed an agreement for the development and industrial use of lithium during the state visit of the President Ram Nath Kovind to Bolivia.

• Lithium is a prime component used to power electric vehicles and cell phones.

• India and Bolivia agreed to forge a mutually beneficial partnership to facilitate Bolivian supplies of lithium Carbonate to India. The countries also plan to foster joint ventures for lithium battery/cell production plants in India.  This agreement will make Bolivia one of the major provider of metal for India's e- mobility and e-storage needs. Bolivia is known to have one-fourth of the world's lithium reserves.

•  The agreement facilitates mechanisms for the commercialization of Lithium Carbonate and Potassium Chloride produced in Bolivia by Yacimientos de Litio Bolivianos Corporation (YLB Corporation).

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares in SBI Life Insurance for 2,889 crore

• The foreign partner of SBI Life Insurance, BNP Paribas Cardiff sold 5 crore shares of the company for Rs 2,889 crore to increase its public shareholding to 25% of its paid-up equity share capital on or before October 2, 2020.

• This sale has not undertaken as per the methods prescribed by SEBI for achieving the minimum public shareholding (MPS) Threshold. The average price of equity share during the sale was Rs 577.93 per equity share. On the other hand, Canada Pension Plan Investment Board has bought 2 crore shares at an average price of Rs 577.50 per shares.

Kotak Mahindra Bank Becomes First Lender To Charge For UPI Use.

• Kotak Mahindra Bank (Kotak) stated that it will charge customers for UPI transactions starting 1st of May 2019.  For each Kotak Bank account, the first 30 UPI fund transfers will be free, after which a charge will be levied on all fund transfers from the bank account. This will be applicable across all platforms, including Paytm, PhonePe, Google Pay or Truecaller Pay among others.  

AWARDS:

Vikram Patel receives John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Vikram Patel, a psychiatrist and professor of global health at Harvard Medical School, has won the prestigious John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award.

• Mr.Patel has led research generating knowledge on the burden and determinants of mental health problems in low and middle-income countries and pioneered approaches which utilise community resources for the prevention and treatment of mental health problems in India with global impact.

• Laureates received a $100,000 cash honorarium and will be formally presented with their awards on October 24, 2019, at the annual Canada Gairdner Awards Gala in Toronto.

• Canada Gairdner Global Health Award: The John Dirks Canada Gairdner Global Health Award recognizes the world’s top scientists who have made outstanding achievements in Global Health Research.

SPORTS:

Saurav Ghosal becomes first Indian to enter top-10 in men's PSA rankings.

• Saurav Ghosal became the first Indian male squash player to enter the top 10 in the PSA (Professional Squash Association) world rankings. He has moved up two places to a career-high ranking of tenth and is currently the only Asian in the top-10.

• Ghosal made it to the quarter-finals of the 2018-2019 PSA World Championships in Chicago, USA for the first time in his career.

• He was also a quarter-finalist at the prestigious Grasshopper Cup in Zurich, Switzerland. In the women's rankings, Joshna Chinappa continued to be the best-ranked Indian, moving up to the 15th position. Earlier, Dipika Pallikal had broken into the top-10 in 2012 and once again in 2014.

RESIGNATIONS:

Google India head Rajan Anandan resigns after 8 years.

• Rajan Anandan, vice president for Google India and South East Asia, is leaving the company after an eight-year stint and will be joining Silicon Valley’s marquee venture fund Sequoia Capital. He will stay until the end of this month. Rajan Anandan had joined Google in 2011. His responsibility will be taken over by Country Director Sales Vikas Agnihotri in the interim.

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Important Current Affairs 17th March 2019

NATIONAL:

India sets aspirational target for engineering exports at USD 200 bn by 2025.

• India can achieve a three-fold "aspirational" increase in its engineering exports to reach $200 billion by 2025, if concerted efforts are made by the government and industry to develop a conducive ecosystem, and ensuring inputs at competitive prices, according to an EEPC India-Deloitte strategy paper. India's engineering exports, which contribute 25 per cent to the overall merchandise shipments, are projected to touch about $80-82 billion in the current financial year ending March 31.

West Bengal has maximum first-time voters in Lok Sabha polls.

• According to Election Commission, West Bengal has the maximum number of first-time voters, around 20.1 lakh, in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections. WB is followed by Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh, with around 16.7 lakh and 13.6 lakh first-time voters, respectively. The number of people eligible to vote has reportedly increased by 8.4 crore as compared to 2014 General Elections. Over 1.5 crore voters are in the age group of 18-19 years. These "young voters" constitute 1.66 per cent of the total electors.

AFINDEX 2019 held at Pune.

• Africa-India Joint Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-19) between the Indian Army and 16 African nations will be conducted in Pune from March 18 to 27. The joint exercise would be held at Pune's Foreign Training Node at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering in Kirkee. 

Features of AFINDEX-19:

♦ 10 personnel, each from the participating nations from the African continent and personnel of Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian Army will participate in the joint exercise

♦ The exercise aims to train the participating contingents in Humanitarian Mine Assistance (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) under the United Nations Charter through practical

♦ Contingents from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger & Zambia are part of the joint exercise together with officers from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar as Observers

Erode Turmeric received GI tag.

• Erode Turmeric has finally received GI tag from the Geographical Indication Registry. Erode is the city in the state of Tamil Nadu. The product to acquire GI tag has to indicate that a product of a particular origin has a certain quality or reputation or some other characteristics, which is essentially attributable to its geographical origin.

The uniqueness of the Erode Turmeric:

♦ Erode Turmeric is golden yellow in colour with resistance to pests after boiling

♦ Erode turmeric contains 2.5 to 4.5% of curcumin content

♦ Erode Turmeric is grown in hot moist conditions prevalent in the area with temperature ranging from 20 degrees to 37.9 degrees Celsius with an average of 600 to 800 mm rainfall in a year Geographical Indication defines the goods as originating in the territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory, provided a given quality reputation or other characteristics of the product are attributable to its geographical origin.

Income Tax dept cracks down on terror funding in Kashmir valley.

• Income Tax Department conducted search actions at 5 locations in the Kashmir Valley. Few places in Jammu were also searched. In a release, the CBDT said, these actions are part of the Department’s continued drive against use of black money by disruptive elements in the State.

• It said, the operations also send a message of deterrence and obviation to those intending to vitiate the democratic process of free and fair elections.  The preliminary results are extremely encouraging. In the aggregate, undisclosed cash of one crore 44 lakh and unaccounted jewellery of 2.48 crore rupees has been seized.

NITI Aayog and USAID organised IEMF.

• Niti Ayog in association with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on the development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF). The workshop was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership.

•  IEMF aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modelling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build the capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modelling activities and future areas of research. The workshop featured eight expert sessions which saw discussions around the various aspects of setting up an India-centric energy modelling platform and was attended by various central government ministries and agencies.

SPORTS:

South Africas Duminy announces retirement from ODIs after 2019 World Cup.

• The 2019 World Cup will be Duminy's third appearance in the tournament, having featured for South Africa in 2011 in the subcontinent and in 2015 in Australia and New Zealand. Allrounder Jean-Paul Duminy had already retired from Test cricket in September 2017 after featuring in 46 matches. Duminy has played 193 ODIs so far - scoring 5047 runs at an average of 37.39 - in addition to bagging 68 wickets.

Argentina, Colombia set to co-host Copa America in 2020.

• Argentina and Colombia have been chosen in principle to co-host the 2020 Copa America. The 2020 Copa América will be the 47th edition of the Copa América. 2019 Copa América will be  staged in Brazil between June 14 and July 7. The Copa América is the world's oldest international football tournament. The event was first held in 1916 in honour of the 100th anniversary of Argentina's independence—with Uruguay winning the inaugural title.

Sourav Ganguly appointed as advisor of Delhi Capitals for IPL 2019.

• Former India captain Sourav Ganguly was appointed as the advisor of Delhi Capitals (formerly known as Delhi Daredevils) for the upcoming edition of Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL), where he will work closely with the team’s head coach Ricky Ponting. With Captain Shreyas Iyer, Delhi Capitals will be facing Mumbai Indians on 24th March 2019 at the Wankhede Stadium.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

State Bank of India launched YONO Cash for cardless withdrawal of cash.

• State Bank of India launched ‘YONO Cash’ for cardless withdrawal of cash at over 16,500 SBI ATMs across the country. With this facility, customers can initiate the cash withdrawal process on the YONO app and set a six-digit YONO Cash PIN for the transaction.  They will also get a six-digit reference number for the transaction on their registered mobile number via SMS. The withdrawal has to be completed in the next 30 minutes at the nearest ATM. The initiative will also address their concern of using debit card at the ATMs for cash withdrawals by eliminating possible risk associated with it.

AWARDS:

Manmohan Singh presented the Business Line Changemaker of the Year award to Arun Jaitley.

• Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley received the award over successful implementation of the Goods and Services Tax (GST). The award was also presented to the petitioners against Section 377 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC), which criminalised homosexuality.

Indian Embassy in Nepal awarded 200 scholarships to meritorious Nepali students.

• The Indian Embassy in Nepal has announced 200 scholarships to meritorious Nepali students for continuing various undergraduate courses at colleges and universities. The scholarships were granted under the Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme.

• Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme was initiated by the Indian Embassy in Nepal to mark the completion of 50 years of India-Nepal Economic Cooperation. This year the scholarship programme covered 36 undergraduate courses including MBBS, BDS, BE, BSc and BBA The recipients of the scholarships represent 50 districts of Nepal. Under the scheme, an MBBS/BDS student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for five years, a BE student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for four years and a student studying in other undergraduate courses receives NRs. 3,000/- per month for three years. Those provided scholarship included 45% of girls and 8% differently-abled students.

INTERNATIONAL:

India welcomes France's decision to sanction Masood Azhar.

• India welcomed the decision taken by France to sanction Jaish-e-Mohammed Chief Masood Azhar.  In a tweet, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said, Azhar who is a Pakistan-based and his outfit is UN proscribed terrorist organisation who is responsible for the Pulwama terrorist attack. Earlier, France has decided to freeze all assets of Pakistan based terror outfit Jaish-e-Mohammed, JeM chief Masood Azhar, in the application of the country's Monetary and Financial Code.

• The French government's Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs, France always been and always will be by India's side in the fight against terrorism.  France has decided to sanction Masood Azhar at the national level by freezing his assets in the application of the Monetary and Financial Code.                                  

OBITUARIES:

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar Passes Away Aged 63 After Battle with Pancreatic Cancer.

• Manohar Parrikar, Goa Chief Minister and former defence minister, has passed away at the age of 63 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. Parrikar was diagnosed with advanced pancreatic cancer in February 2018 and had been in and out of hospitals in Goa, Mumbai, Delhi and New York since.

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Important Current Affairs of 14th March

NATIONAL:

Chennai to get second Greenfield airport.

• The Tamil Nadu government has finally taken the first step towards building the second Greenfield airport near Chennai. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (Tidco) Limited has issued a Request for Proposal to appoint a consultant for preparing a draft report and identify potential sites near the city.

•  Tidco was chosen as the nodal agency for selection of a consultant, officials said. No site has been identified yet. The consultant will identify and propose three potential sites near Chennai for the greenfield airport. The consultant will look at the air traffic projections and the demand and do a detailed master plan citing the necessary airside and land facilities and other infrastructure and industrial provisions the site will need.

Over 12 Indian states banned e-cigarettes.

• Following an advisory from the Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare issued in 2018, Twelve states across India have banned Electronic Nicotine Delivery Systems (ENDS) or e-cigarettes.

• States of Punjab, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Jharkhand have taken steps to ban the use of ENDS.

• ENDS, more commonly known as e-cigarettes or “vapes" in India, are products that produce an aerosolized mixture containing flavored liquids and nicotine that is inhaled by the user.

Over 605 people have died of swine flu in 2019 so far: Health Ministry.

• According to data from the Union Health Ministry, as many as 605 people have died due to swine flu this year, with 75 deaths being reported last week. Over 19,380 people have tested positive for the virus. Rajasthan reported the highest number of swine flu cases (4,551) and deaths (162) followed by Gujarat (118 deaths  and 3,969 cases). Delhi was third with 3,362 swine flu cases and seven deaths. Swine flu is the common name for the H1N1 influenza virus. H1N1 is a self-limiting viral, air-borne disease spread from person to person, through large droplets generated due to coughing and sneezing, indirect contact by touching a contaminated object or surface and close contact, including handshaking, hugging and kissing.

India extended USD 250 million to Nepal.

• India has extended a grant assistance of up to USD 250 million to Nepal for the reconstruction of infrastructures in the areas of housing, education, health and cultural heritage that was destroyed during the devastating April 2015 earthquake which saw the death of over 9,000 people.

India ranks 16th in terms of highest number of impacted species in hotspots.

• India was ranked 16th in the world in terms of highest number of impacted species in biodiversity-rich zones (also known as hotspots) due to human actions.

• In India, 35 species affected on an average in biodiversity-rich zones. Malaysia ranks first among countries with highest number of impacted species (on an average 125 species). Southeast Asian tropical forests — including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species.

India bans Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash.

• Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft banned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the Indian airspace from 1600 hrs IST or 1030 UTC 13th March 2019. The airlines affected by this are SpiceJet which has 13 jets of the model 8 variant and Jet Airways which has 5 jets of this variant.

Thirty four edition of Aahar International Food and Hospitality Fair begins in New Delhi.

• 34th edition of Aahar- the International Food and Hospitality Fair which is organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) begins in New Delhi on 12th March 2019. Participants from China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA and UK are participating in the event.

HGS and NASSCOM to launch centre of excellence for PwDs in Bangalore.

• Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) partnered with National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) Foundation to launch a centre of excellence in Bengaluru for training differently-abled persons (PwDs) which will train a minimum of 100 PwDs making them industry-ready over the next 12 months with a goal to place at least 50% of them in companies already sensitised for hiring them.

• The trainees will be skilled in a variety of job roles suitable for hospitality, IT or BPM and retail industries and will also be trained on soft skills, interview skills, communication skills, and English language.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

HDFC Bank becomes third Indian firm to cross Rs 6 lakh crore in value.

• HDFC Bank crossed the Rs. 6 lakh crore market capitalisation mark for the first time on March 13, becoming only the third Indian company to achieve the milestone.

• Reliance Industries is the most valued Indian company with a market value of Rs.8.50 lakh crore, followed by TCS at Rs. 7.50 lakh crore.

About HDFC bank:

♦ HDFC Bank is India’s largest private sector lender by assets.

♦ CEO: Aditya Puri

♦ Headquarters: Mumbai

♦ Founded: August 1994, India

RBI to inject rupee liquidity through Forex swap.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap, a first-of-its-kind instrument, used for liquidity management. The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for a three-year tenor on March 26.

•  The U.S. dollar amount mobilised through this auction would also reflect in RBI’s foreign exchange reserves for the tenor of the swap while also reflecting in RBI’s forward liabilities. This move of RBI can lower the dependence on open market operations (OMO) which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing as higher OMOs can distort the rates curve.

AWARDS AND RESIGNATION:

Rahul Bajaj resigns as chairman of Bajaj Finserv.

• Rahul Bajaj will step down as Chairman and Non-Executive Director of Financial services company ‘Bajaj Finserv’ on May 16. However, he will continue to serve the company as Chairman Emeritus. The 80-year-old has been at the helm of Bajaj Finserv since its inception in 2007 and the Bajaj Group for around five decades.

Ved Rahi will be awarded with Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar.

• Famous Novelist and Film Director, Ved Rahi will be awarded prestigious Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar which carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh, A memento and a citation. Ved Rahi was born in Jammu in 1933 and he had written seven novels in Dogri Language. He also wrote in Hindi and Urdu. He was given Sahitya Akademi Award in 1983 for his Novel “Aale” which was written in Dogri Language.

INTERNATIONAL:

Japan announced Rs 22 lakh for Kolkata museum.

• The Japanese government announced a donation of some Rs 22 lakh ($31,800) to the Rabindra Bharati Museum, Kolkata in a bid to strengthen historical and cultural ties with India. Rabindranath Tagore, Asia's first Nobel Prize recipient, visited Japan in 1916, 1924 and 1929, renewing relations between the countries as India's leading cultural ambassador.

About Japan:

♦ Capital: Tokyo

♦ Currency: Japanese yen

♦ Prime minister: Shinzo Abe

UK issued a Black hole Coin to commemorate Stephen Hawking.

• The United Kingdom has commemorated Professor Stephen Hawking in a new 50p coin. The coin has references to the late physicist's pioneering work on black holes.  Black Hole Coin  The commemorative coin aims to celebrate the life and "ground-breaking" achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018. It is a commemorative coin and not for circulation as currency.

• The coin features Hawkins's name in capital letters above a rippling drawing of concentric circles, intended to represent a black hole. The coin was designed by  British engraver and printmaker Edwina Ellis. The coin is available in gold, silver, and a double thickness silver version called a piedfort. The coin has been released by UK's Royal Mint.

EU has added 10 countries in the Tax blacklist.

• The European Union has expanded its tax haven blacklist by including 10 countries. The list now has 15 countries. The list was first drawn up by EU in 2017 in the wake of several scandals that pushed the EU into doing more to fight tax evasion by multinationals and the rich.

• Seven countries Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu, and Dominica were moved from greylist to blacklist due to their inability towards reform commitments. Three other countries added into the list are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates, and the Marshall Islands.

• Eu list of Tax Blacklist or Tax Havens: Tax Havens provide taxpayers with opportunities for tax avoidance, while their secrecy and opacity also serve to hide the origin of the proceeds of illegal and criminal activities. Features of these Tax Havens include low or zero taxation, fictitious residences (with no bearing on reality) and tax secrecy.

Krishna Kumari Kohli becomes the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Senate of Pakistan.

• Krishna Kumari Kohli appointed as the first female senator of Pakistan from the Hindu Dalit community. She is also the first Thai Hindu woman to be elected to the Pakistan Senate. On 8th March 2019, which was celebrated as the International Women’s Day, she chaired the session of the Upper House of Parliament.

Industrial production growth declined to 1.7% in January 2019 as per CSO report.

• The Central Statistics Office (CSO) has released the data for the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) for the month of January. The IIP data shows that: Industrial output growth stood at 1.7% in January against the 2.6% growth recorded in December 2018.  Eleven out of the twenty-three industry groups in the manufacturing sector have shown positive growth during the month of January 2019 as compared to January 2018. The cumulative industrial production increased by 4% in April-January FY2019 compared with 4.1% growth in April-January FY2018.

Japan plans to stun the world in 2020 Olympics.

• Driverless cars, robot volunteers and ultra high-definition TV: Japan Inc. plans to use the Tokyo 2020 Olympics to show the world it has regained its touch for innovation and technology.  The last time Japan hosted the summer games, Tokyo 1964, it stunned the visitors with its shinkansen, the sleek high-speed bullet train that has since become a byword for cool and efficient transport.

•  The country used the games as a springboard to dominate the tech world. From Sharp's LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) screens to the Sony Walkman, Japan enjoyed an unparalleled reputation in the vanguard of technological innovation. Japan’s vision for the 2020 Games includes an aspiration to make them the most innovative in history.

NASA to send women to Mars.

• NASA, the US Space agency, said that the first person to set foot on Mars is likely to be a woman. It said that women are at the forefront of the U.S. space agency’s upcoming plans.

• NASA recently announced that it will have its first all-female spacewalk at the end of the month when astronauts Anne McClain and Christina Koch will get to float around in space. NASA has the first all-female spacewalk at the end of March, which is, of course, National Women’s Month. So NASA is committed to making sure that it has a diverse set of talent. It is also looking forward to the first woman on the Moon.

DAY:

World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March.

• World Kidney Day 2019 is observed on 14th March. The theme of the World Kidney Day 2019 is Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere.  Second Thursday of March every year is observed as World Kidney Day every year as a global health awareness campaign focusing on the importance of the kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney disease and its associated health problems worldwide.

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Important Current Affairs of 10th March

NATIONAL:

Google launches 'Bolo' app to help children read in Hindi, English

• Google has launched a new app called Bolo, which aims to help students with their reading and comprehension skills and will help them read out aloud in English and in Hindi.

• The app features an animated character 'Diya', who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word.

• Bolo will also be a free app and relies on Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology.

Southern Railway gets a boost; Kerala to get a new coaching terminal in Nemom

• Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal laid the foundation stone for New Coaching Terminal at Nemom and unveiled WAP-7HS passenger locomotive through video conferencing here today. Shri Ghanshyam Singh, Member (Traction), Railway Board, Shri Rajesh Agarwal, Member (Rolling Stock), Railway Board, Shri Vishwesh Chaubey, Member (Engineering), Railway Board and other Senior Railway Officers were present on this occasion.

• Shri Piyush Goyal said that the present Government has consistently focused on development for all areas in the country

• The main focus has been on large scale infrastructure creation both physical and social.

Telangana govt forms SIT to probe data theft case

• The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

• The Telangana government formed a Special Investments in-depth probe into the alleged electoral rolls data theft.

• The SIT will have three IPS officers, two DSPs and a few instants A YSR Congress leader had lodged a complaint with the Cyberattack.

• YSRCP president YS Jaganmohan Reddy alleged that the TDP president and chief minister N Chandrababu Naidu.

Centre to launch work from home jobs in the IT sector

• The government is working on a scheme to push work-from-home jobs in the IT sector by offering financial incentives to both employees and employers. Incentivising work-from-home jobs through policy-level initiatives can help in creating jobs in the ITES domain while increasing the available talent pool for the sector.

• This will create employment opportunities in the IT/ITES industry, especially for women and differently-abled persons. Currently, the scheme is proposed for a three-year period till March 31, 2022, with an outlay of about Rs.270 crore to create about 50,000 work-from-home jobs.

• The initiative is likely to be launched as phase II of the IT Ministry’s India BPO Promotion Scheme that incentivises firms to set up operations in tier-2 and tier-3 cities in the country. The scheme, launched in 2016, had an outlay of about Rs. 500 crore with an objective to create about 1.45 lakh jobs.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

DBS plans to triple balance sheet size in 5 years as a WoS

• Singapore’s DBS Bank plans to grow its balance sheet size threefold in five years. DBS recently started operations in India as a wholly owned subsidiary (WoS). The bank is expected to close the financial year with a balance sheet size of Rs.50,000 crore.

• In 2018, the bank infused Rs.1,800 crore capital while transforming itself into a WoS. The total capital of the bank now stands at Rs.7,700 crore, with a capital adequacy ratio of more than 19%. The loan book, which is about Rs. 20,000 crore, is predominantly made up of corporate loans while the share of retail is less than 10%. The deposit base of the bank is about Rs. 30,000 crore.

• DBS aims to grow the retail so that it contributes 30% of the income and profitability over the next few years.

AWARDS AND PRIZES:

Arata Isozaki won Pritzker Architecture Prize

• Arata Isozaki, a prominent Japanese architect renowned for his versatility and transnational approach to design, has won his field's highest accolade, the Pritzker Architecture Prize.

• He is the 46th person and eighth Japanese architect to receive the Pritzker Prize.

President Ram Nath Kovind to give Nari Shakti awards on International Womens Day

• International Women’s Day is being observed on 08th March. Governments, NGOs and other organisations across the world observe the day on the 8th of March every year to highlight the achievements of women.

• The theme for this year’s women’s day is ‘Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change’.

• The purpose of the theme is to achieve gender equality by putting innovation by women and girls, for women and girls, at the heart of efforts.

RESIGNATION:

Kummanam Rajasekharan Resigns as Mizoram Governor

• Mizoram Governor Kummanam Rajasekharan stepped down from his post. Governor of Assam, Prof. Jagdish Mukhi, has been given temporary charge of the Aizawl Raj Bhavan.

• Mr. Rajasekharan, who was former State president of the BJP in Kerala, sworn in as Governor of Mizoram in May 2018.

INTERNATIONAL:

China hikes defence budget to USD 177.61 billion, turns second highest spender

• China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per cent for this year, hiking it to USD 177.61 billion from last year's USD 175 billion.

• It is over three times India's defence budget.

• With this increase, China becomes the highest defence spender on defence after the United States.

• India's defence budget this year was increased by 6.87 per cent to Rs 3.18 lakh crore against last year's allocation of Rs 2.98 lakh crore.

France reiterates support for India’s permanent seat in reformed UNSC

• France, which assumed the March Presidency of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC), has reiterated its support for India as the permanent member of the powerful UN organ. It said that the UNSC’s enlargement is the first crucial part towards its reform.

• India has been calling for the reform of the UN Security Council along with Brazil, Germany, and Japan for long, emphasizing that it rightly deserves a place at the UN high table as a permanent member.

• It also stressed that the UN cannot be recognised as a centre of gravity for multilateralism throughout the world unless it can step up partnerships and focus should also be made on openness to civil society, business world, NGOs and trade unions, which are all stakeholders that breathe life into the UN.

SPORTS:

Yomif Kejelcha sets world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec

• Ethiopia's Yomif Kejelcha smashed the world indoor mile record with a time of 3min 47.01sec at the Bruce Lehane Invitational in Boston. The 21-year-old broke a record of a mark of 3:48.45 set by Morocco's Hicham El Gerrouj on February 12, 1997.

• It was third time lucky for Kejelcha, who narrowly missed out on breaking world indoor records in his two previous races. He finished just 0.01 outside the world indoor mile record at the Millrose Games with a time of 3:48.46, and was then beaten to the world indoor 1,500m record in Birmingham one week later when compatriot Samuel Tefera won in 3:31.04.

EXTRAS:

HIV remission achieved via stem cell transplantation

• In a significant development, a person with HIV infection has been reported to be experiencing remission for the last 18 months after antiretroviral therapy (ART) was stopped following stem-cell transplantation in London. Remission is when HIV RNA (ribonucleic acid) is undetectable in blood. ART is used for treating HIV.

• The person with HIV was diagnosed with advanced Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a form of cancer, in 2012. To treat cancer, stem cells which give rise to blood cells were transplanted from a donor who had two mutant copies of a co-receptor for HIV infection. This exercise was carried out in London.  The co-receptor (CCR5) is used by the HIV virus to gain entry into host cells in humans. But a mutant does not allow the virus to enter the host cells and hence makes the person resistant to HIV infection.

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Important Current Affairs of 8 March

NATIONAL:

PM STIAC identified 9 national missions for India’s sustainable development

•  The Prime Minister's Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PM-STIAC) have identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges to ensure India's sustainable development. Through the nine missions, the PM STIAC aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems.

The identified Nine Missions are:

♦ Natural language Translation

♦ Quantum Frontier

♦ Artificial Intelligence

♦ National Biodiversity Mission

♦ Electric Vehicles

♦ BioScience for Human Health

♦ Waste to Wealth

♦ Deep Ocean Exploration

♦ Agnii

Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission for women in Indian Army

• The Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission will be granted for Women in all the 10 branches of Indian Army. The extension of Permanent Commission to Women will provide women with a career in the Army till their retirement. The Short Service Commission entails an opportunity to serve as a Commissioned Officer for 10/14 years. At the end of 10 yrs, 3 options will be provided, either elect for a Permanent Commission or opt out or have the option of 4 years extension.

• The Women Officers will now get a permanent commission in branches such as signals, engineers, army aviation, army air defence, electronics, and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordnance corps, and intelligence. The Defence Ministry had earlier approved permanent commission for women in all branches of Air Force including fighter pilots.

Delhi government launches app One Delhi to track bus, metro services

• A commute-planning app “ONE Delhi” was launched by Kailash Gahlot, Transport Minister of Delhi.

• The app offers facilities such as:

• Obtaining the estimated time of arrival for buses and metros.

• Tracking the real-time location of buses and metros.

• Providing information about their fares.

• Providing the best route and mode of travel between two places.

• List of tourist spots in Delhi.

MoEFCC amended rules to ban the import of solid plastic waste

• The Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has amended the Hazardous and other Wastes (Management and Trans boundary Movement) Rules, 2016 to completely ban the import of solid plastic waste.

• The amendment notified by the MoEFCC fixes a loophole which previously allowed the import of plastic waste into India for processing. The ban on the import of plastics is in lines with the principles of sustainable development. To ensure the ban doesn't adversely impact the ease of doing business, the amendment allows the reverse import of defective electrical and electronic assemblies and components manufactured in and exported from India, within a year of export.

• India is exploring various options to discourage the use of single-use plastics and also is emphasizing recycling of the plastic waste to reduce the burden on the environment thereby providing benefits.

OECD has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for 2019 to 3.3 percent

• The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has reduced the world economic growth forecasts for the year 2019.  OECD has cut its 2019 forecast for global economic growth to 3.3% for the current year, down from 3.5% it predicted earlier.

• The report notes that trade tensions and political uncertainty, including Brexit and erosion of business and consumer confidence are weighing on the world's economy thereby contributing to the slowdown. The 19-nation eurozone was particularly hard to hit, with predicted growth dropping from 1.8% to 1% which was contributed to policy uncertainty including those over Brexit.

Government to issue Rs 20 coins for the first time

• The Finance Ministry has announced the rollout of a new Rs. 20 coin shaped like a "dodecagon", a 12-edged polygon.

• The new coin will be heavier than all the existing coins at 8.54 grams.

• The obverse side of the coin will bear Lion Capital of Ashoka Pillar while the reverse will have the denominational value "20" with rupee symbol above.

• New series of Re 1, Rs 2, Rs 5 and Rs 10 denomination coins will also be minted.

• As per Coinage Act, 1906, the Government of India has the sole right to mint coins and the responsibility for coinage vests with the Government.

• Coins are minted at the four India Government Mints at Mumbai, Alipore (Kolkata), Saifabad (Hyderabad), Cherlapally (Hyderabad) and Noida (UP).

Odisha Government announces financial assistance for craftsmen

• Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme ‘Mukhyamantri Karigar Sahayata’ for financial assistance to craftsmen. The nodal department of the scheme is the Directorate of handicrafts.

• Craftsmen with 10 years of experience and having annual income below Rs.1 lakh are eligible to get assistance of Rs.800 per month.

• For craftsmen above 80 years of age would get Rs.1000 per month allowance for those has the same experience and annual income as above.

• Annual income certificate, residence proof, experience certificate and age proof are required to produce for availing the benefits of the scheme.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

SBI and Hitachi Payment Services launched SBI PSPL to establish digital payments platform in India

• State Bank of India (SBI) and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, launched their merchant-acquiring joint venture, SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL), for establishing a digital payments platform for India and other countries in the region, in Mumbai.

•  It will facilitate the expansion of the digital payments landscape in India via its digital payments platform and offer innovative products to suit the requirements of all segments of merchants by leveraging the brand value and vast distribution network of SBI, and bring Artificial Intelligence and other technological capabilities of Hitachi to SBI Payment Services.

National Housing Bank proposes stricter regulations for Housing Finance Companies

• National Housing Bank (NHB),a mortgage sector regulator and a fully owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose stricter regulations on the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to prevent them from falling prey to liquidity and credit risks.

• Following proposals have been put forward:

• Increasing the capital adequacy ratio (CAR)of these companies from 12%to 15%, in a phased manner by 31st March 2022. This will be accomplished by increasing the minimum CAR to 13% by 31st March 2020, 14 % by 31st March 2021 and 15 % by 2022.

• Bringing down the public borrowings to 12 times of the Net Owned Fund (NOF) from the existing 16 times, by March 2022.

•  Implementing graded reduction in the limit on the overall borrowings of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) from 16 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) to 14 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) by 31st March 2020, 13 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2021 and 12 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2022

World Bank to provide Rs 2,200 crores for a healthcare project to Andhra Pradesh.

• The World Bank decided to provide a loan of Rs. 2200 crores ($328-million) to Andhra Pradesh for implementation of the AP Health Systems Strengthening Project (APHSSP).

• The loan agreement was signed between the Government of India, government of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank

• The agreement was signed by Bandana Preyashi, director, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI), Poonam Malakondaiah, Special Chief Secretary (Medical and Health, AP government) and Mohini Kak and Kari L Hurt, representatives of World Bank in India.

• The project aims to improve the quality of healthcare, availability and accessibility of primary health services to the majority population of the state.

• The quality of healthcare delivery will be enhanced through National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) certifications for Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs).

AWARDS AND HONOUR:

BIAC India won the Women on a Mission award

• Brandix India Apparel City (BIAC) India’s partner P. Doraswamy was conferred with ‘The Women on A Mission Award’. It was presented to him by philanthropist Sudha Narayana Murthy at the women’s summit organized under ‘he for she’ category in Bengaluru.

• The award was given to him for his contribution to the welfare of women workforce in Visakhapatnam by organizing free medical camps, cancer screening initiatives, distribution of free amenities.

DAY:

International Women's Day 2019

• International Women's Day is celebrated across the world on March 8.

• The United Nations began celebrating International Women's Day in the International Women's Year, 1975.

• Official UN Theme of International Women's Day 2019: Think Equal, Build Smart, Innovate for Change.

• National Women's Day of India was observed on 13 February, on the date of birth of India’s first women governor Sarojini Naidu.

INTERNATIONAL:

Singapore government to invest Rs 5,000 crore in Bharti Airtel

• Singapore's government’s investment arm GIC Pvt Ltd will subscribe to shares worth Rs.5,000 crore as part of Airtel's plans to raise Rs.25,000 crore through rights issue.

• Singapore's Singtel also committed to buying Rs.3,750 crore worth Airtel stock.

Kaja Kallas elected as the first female Prime Minister of Estonia

• Kaja Kallas is the leader of country’s Reform Party.

• The Reform party beat the current Prime Minister Jüri Ratas’ lead Centre party, gaining 4 new seats in the parliament.

• Estonia also elected their first female president Kersti Kaljulaid in 2016.

• Estonia is a small country in the Baltic states that has been very active in the block chain field.

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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 1st February 2019

National News

Highlights of 2019 – 20 Interim Budget 
•    6,000 rupees yearly direct support to farmers through PM-KISAN Programme.
•    3,000 rupees pension for unorganised sector workers earning upto 15,000 rupees through a mega Pension Scheme - Pradhan Mantri Shram- Yogi Maandhan.
•    Direct tax system simplified; Returns to be processed in 24 hours with  immediate refunds.
•    Allocations to Health care, MGNREGA, SC/ST welfare programmes, Pradhan Mantri Gram Sadak Yojana, Development of infrastructure in North-East hiked substantially.
•    A separate Department of Fisheries.
•    Allocations to Defence budget crosses three lakh crore rupees for the first time.
•    10 point vision for 2030 to realize India’s social economic potential; 10 trillion dollars economy in 13 years.
•    An All India Institute of Medical Sciences - AIIMS for Haryana.
•    Single window clearance for shooting films to be made available to Indian film makers.
•    The fiscal deficit pegged at 3.4 percent of GDP are the highlight of the Interim Budget for 2019-20.
Budget
1.    What is an interim budget?
An interim budget is the budget of a regime or administration that is going through a period of transition.
2.    When is an interim budget presented?
The government presents an interim budget if it does not have time to present a full Budget or if the general elections may be in the near future.
3.    Why do we need an interim budget?
The government needs Interim Budget to work during the time it takes for a new government to make its own fiscal plan. The budget for the year permitted by Parliament gives the government spending rights only till 31st March i.e. end of the financial year.

Government Unveils vision for the Next Decade 
The Government has unveiled its vision for the next decade, listing thereby ten most important dimensions in 2030. “With this comprehensive ten-dimensional Vision, we will create an India where poverty, malnutrition, littering and illiteracy would be a matter of the past.
The dimensions of Vision-2030 outlined by Shri Goyal are as follows-  
•    To create physical and social infrastructure for ten trillion dollar economy and to provide ease of living.
•    Digital India led by the youths with innumberable start-ups and million of jobs.
•    To make India pollution free by focusing on Electrical Vehicles and renewables.
•    Rural industrailisation using modern technologies to generate massive employment.
•    Clean rivers, with safe drinking water to all Indians and efficient use of water in irrigation using micro-irrigation techniques.
•    Besides scaling up Sagarmala, India’s coastline and ocean waters will power development
•    Through our space programme – Gaganyaan, India becoming the launch-pad of satellites for the World
•    Self sufficiency in food production and producing food in the most organic way.
•    A healthy India by 2030 and a distress free health care and wellness system for all. Ayushman Bharat and women participation would be an important component in it.
•    Employees working with elected Government, transforming India into Minimum Government Maximum Governance nation.

PETROTECH-2019 
PETROTECH-2019, the 13th International Oil & Gas Conference & Exhibition, being organised under the aegis of the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Government of India. India’s flagship hydrocarbon international conference is expected to be inaugurated by Prime Minister of India.
Aim : The PETROTECH 2019 exhibition will focus on development in technologies for exploration & production, process control, refining and pipeline and services, systems, products, oil field hardware, software, analytical instruments, Renewable, R&D, HSE, training and publications of technical literature.
About Conference: The PETROTECH series of International Oil & Gas Conference is a biennial platform for national and international experts in the oil & gas industry to exchange views and share knowledge, expertise, and experiences. Being held for the last over two decades with growing participation.


8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava 
An International Conference on 8th century Himalayan sage Guru Padmasambhava was held in New Delhi. The conference was organised as part of events to commemorate 50-years of formalization of diplomatic ties between India and Bhutan.
Guru Padmasambhava
•    Guru Padmasambhava was born in India and travelled all across Himalayan region in the 8th century to spread Buddhism and Buddhist teachings.
•    Guru Padmasambhava is highly revered in Bhutan. There is an image or painting of the Guru Padmasambhava in every Bhutanese home or temple.
•    Guru Padmasambhava was also known as Guru Rinpoche is widely venerated as a “second Buddha” by adherents of Tibetan Buddhism in Tibet, Nepal, Bhutan, the Himalayan states of India, and elsewhere.


Human Space Flight Centre Inaugurated 
•    The Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) which would be the core of ISRO’s future manned missions was inaugurated at the ISRO headquarters in Bengaluru.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre will implement the first development flight of Gaganyaan with the support of existing ISRO Centres.
•    The Human Space Flight Centre would be responsible for end-to-end mission planning, development of engineering systems for crew survival in space, crew selection and training and also pursue activities for sustained human space flight missions.

New India by 2022
Shri Goyal said that a New India would celebrate its 75th Independence year in 2022 when every family would have a house with access to water, electricity and toilets; farmers income would have doubled; and the country would be free from terrorism, communalism, corruption and nepotism.

Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey takes Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, UPSC (Appointment)
•    Shri Rajiv Nayan Choubey, took the Oath of office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission today. The oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.
•    An officer of the 1981 batch of Indian Administrative Service of Tamil Nadu Cadre, Shri Choubey during his career spanning over more than 35 years, has held several important positions in the Central Government as well as in the Government of Tamil Nadu.
•    He served as Joint Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Development Commissioner 
(Handloom) in the Ministry of Textiles, Director General in the Directorate General of
Hydrocarbons, Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Power, Special Secretary, Ministry of Power and prior to his joining the Commission, he was serving as Secretary in the Ministry of Civil Aviation, In the State also, he held various important positions in the Revenue, Rural Development, Transport, Finance, Industries, Telecommunications and Personnel & General Administration Department.

International news

UNSC adopts resolution to extend sanctions against CAR for another year
The United Nations Security Council has adopted a resolution to extend sanctions against the Central African Republic (CAR) for another year.
Resolution 2454, adopted unanimously yesterday by the 15-member council, decides to renew the sanctions regime - an arms embargo, travel ban and asset freeze till January 31, 2020.
Details of Sanctions
On 5 December 2013 the United Nations Security Council, concerned at the continuing deterioration of the security situation in the Central African Republic, imposed an arms embargo on the Central African Republic. This was followed on 28 January 2014 by a travel ban and asset freeze in connection with individuals who act to undermine the peace stability and security of CAR or who violate the arms embargo.
About Central African Republic (CAR)
The Central African Republic is a landlocked country in Central Africa. It is bordered by Chad to the north, Sudan to the northeast, South Sudan to the east, the Democratic Republic of the Congo to the south, the Republic of the Congo to the southwest and Cameroon to the west.

India now 6th largest economy in the world with high growth 
•    Under the leadership of the Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, the country has witnessed its best phase of macro-economic stability, becoming the sixth largest economy in the world from being the 11th in the World in 2013-14.
•    Presenting the Interim Budget for the year 2019-20 in Parliament today, the Union Minister for Finance, Corporate Affairs, Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal said “India is the fastest growing major economy in the world” with an average GDP growth of 7.3% per annum, the highest ever achieved by any Government since economic reforms began in 1991.
•    Shri Goyal said under the leadership of Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, a clean, decisive and stable Government reversed the policy paralysis, laid foundation for sustainable growth and restored the image of the country.

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