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Important Current Affairs 15th February 2020

National

Nitin Gadkari Inaugurates India’s First Intercity Electric Bus between Mumbai and Pune

• The Union Minister of Road Transport & Highways, Nitin Gadkari flagged off Mumbai-Pune Electric Bus on 14 February 2020 in Mumbai.

• It is the first Electric Intercity Bus in India.

President Kovind Appoints Kejriwal as new CM of Delhi

• President Ram Nath Kovind has appointed Arvind Kejriwal as the new Chief Minister of the National Capital Territory of Delhi, after his Aam Aadmi Party won the recent Delhi Assembly elections with 62 of the 70 seats.

• The president has also appointed six MLAs as ministers of the Delhi Government namely: Manish Sisodia, Satyender Jain, Gopal Rai, Kailash Gehlot, Imran Hussain and Rajendra Gautam.

Banking and Economy

GIC Re gets license from Bank of Russia for reinsurance biz

• India’s reinsurance company, General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC Re) has received the license from Central Bank of the Russian Federation (Bank of Russia) to commence reinsurance business in Russia.

• The license enables the subsidiary to commence transacting domestic and international reinsurance business in Russia based on the capital invested by the Corporation.

• GIC of India is a state owned enterprise in India. It was the sole reinsurance company in the Indian insurance founded in 22 November 1972. GIC Re has its registered office and headquarters in Mumbai.

Awards

BioAsia 2020 announces Genome Valley Excellence Award

BioAsia, Asia’s largest annual global biotechnology and life sciences forum organised by the Government of Telangana, has announced that the Genome Valley Excellence Award will be bestowed upon Dr Carl H June and Dr Vas Narasimhan for their contributions to life sciences.

Dr. Carl H June will be awarded for his work in immunotherapy, research in development of CAR-T (Chimeric Antigen Receptor- T cells) for treatment of cancer & commercialization of world’s first FDA (Food and Drug Administration, United States)- approved gene therapy.

Science and Technology

ISRO G Narayanan to head space PSU NSIL

• Veteran space scientist G Narayanan has been named the chairman of Indian Space Research Organisation’s newly formed commercial entity New Space India Ltd (NSIL).

• Narayanan, who hails from Kerala’s Palakkad, had earlier worked as first secretary (space) at the Indian embassy in Paris.

• The Indian Space Research Organisation is the space agency of the Government of India and has its headquarters in the city of Bengaluru. Its vision is to “harness space technology for national development while pursuing space science research & planetary exploration”.

• Founder: Vikram Sarabhai

• Founded: 15 August 1969

• Headquarters: Bengaluru

Sports

Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju Announces Khelo India Winter Games in Jammu and Kashmir

• Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju has announced Khelo India winter games 2020 which will be held in the Union Territory of Ladakh later this month followed by a similar event in the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir in March.

• Khelo India Ladakh Winter Games will feature an open ice hockey championship, figure skating, and speed skating, and the competition will be conducted at the block, district, and UT levels with the expected participation of about 1700 athletes.

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Important Current Affairs 13th February 2020

National News

Union Cabinet approves Pesticide Management Bill 2020

•   Union Cabinet has approved the Pesticide Management Bill 2020. Briefing reporters in New Delhi , Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar stated, the legislation will promote organic pesticides in the country.

•  Major Ports Authority Bill to enhance overall efficiencies of the ports was cleared by the Cabinet.Cabinet has also approved changes in the Direct Tax Vivad se Vishwas Bill, 2020.

Supreme Court orders parties to publish criminal records of all candidates

•   The Supreme Court recently directed all the political parties to publish the criminal records of all the candidates, if any, within the next 48 hours.

•  These records need to be published on the official websites of these political parties as well as on their social media handles such as Facebook and Twitter.

•  The apex court also asked the parties the reason behind allotting the election tickets to candidates with a criminal record.

Arbitration and Conciliation Act 1996 amended to make arbitration process user friendly

•  The Arbitration and Conciliation Act, 1996 was amended by the Arbitration and Conciliation (Amendment) Act, 2015 in order to make arbitration process user-friendly, cost-effective and ensure speedy disposal and neutrality of arbitrators

•  The Amendment Act seeks to a new Part to the Act of 1996 for the establishment and incorporation of an independent body namely, the Arbitration Council of India (ACI) for the purpose of grading of arbitral institutions and accreditation of arbitrators, etc.

• As per the Act, ACI will be headed by a Chairperson, who has been a Judge of the Supreme Court or a Chief Justice or Judge of a High Court or an eminent person, having special knowledge and experience in the conduct or administration of arbitration, to be appointed by the Centre in consultation with the Chief Justice of India.

Banking and Economy

Nasscom’s IT revenue grows at 7.7 per cent in FY20

•  The National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) projected the Indian IT sector to grow 7 per cent to reach $191 billion in FY20, with exports reaching $147 billion, and headcount addition accelerating from the previous year.

•   This is a marginal improvement over its prediction of 2018,  when it said that the IT sector will only grow by 6.1 per cent but the sector is still ‘cautiously optimistic’ about FY21, the industry body pointed out.

•  While the global economy has been moving at a sluggish pace, Indian economy only grew at 8 per cent and exports stood at $644 billion.

Awards

President Kovind presents President’s "Colour" to INS Shivaji

•    President Ram Nath Kovind presented ‘President’s Colour’ to the INS Shivaji at a ceremony in Lonavala, Maharashtra.

•   The Presentation of Colour or Standards by the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces is an acknowledgement of the unit’s meritorious service.

Appointments and Resignations

G Narayanan appointed as head of New Space India Ltd

• ISRO’s senior space scientist G Narayanan has been appointed as the chairman of the commercial entity of ISRO New Space India Limited (NSIL).

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) named him for this post because he earlier worked as deputy director at the Liquid Propulsion Systems Centre (LPSC) of ISRO.

• New Space India Limited (NSIL) was established in March 2019 to meet the demands of ISRO’s various space programs. The NSIL will manufacture small and lightweight satellites.

Days

World Radio Day

World Radio Day is celebrated on 13 February World Radio Day 2020 celebrates the radio as a method for teaching individuals, giving data, and promoting the opportunity of expression across cultures.

The theme of World Radio Day 2020 is “Radio and Diversity”.

Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary observed as National Women's Day

India on February 13, 2020 observed Sarojini Naidu's 141st Birth Anniversary as National Women's Day 2020. Naidu was the first woman governor of India’s United Provinces (now Uttar Pradesh).

 She was popularly known as 'Nightingale of India' for her collection of poems. She was also actively involved in the Indian National Movement

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Important Current Affairs 12th February 2020

National

15 crore loans extended to women under PMMY till Jan 2020, TN tops

• Over 15 crore loans, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore, have been disbursed to women borrowers under Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana (PMMY), stated Anurag Singh Thakur, Union Minister of State for Finance and Corporate Affairs

• “As on 31.01.2020, over 15 crore loans have been disbursed to women borrowers, since inception of the scheme, amounting to Rs 4.78 lakh crore under PMMY.”

PSU Survey 2019: ONGC, IOC, NTPC top three profitable PSUs

• According to the PSU Survey 2018-19, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC), Indian Oil Corporation and NTPC were three the top profitable companies of India.

• Their total profits were 15.3%, 9.68% and 6.73% respectively. On the other hand, Air India, BSNL and MTNL suffered the most losses.

• According to the survey, 70 government companies were at a loss during this period. About 10 companies were accounted for more than 94% of the total losses.

Bhupesh Baghel inaugurates Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as Chhattisgarh’s 28th district

• Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel inaugurated Gaurela-Pendra-Marwahi as the 28th district of the state.

• The new district, carved out of Bilaspur, has three tehsils and three development blocks namely Gaurela, Pendra and Marwahi.

• It comprises 166 gram panchayats, 222 villages and two nagar panchayats, with an area of 1,68,225 hectares.

International

Covid-2019 is official name for disease caused by new coronavirus says WHO

The World Health Organization on February 11, 2020 official renamed Coronavirus as ‘COVID-19’. So far, the deadly coronavirus has caused over 1000 deaths in China, which is more than the number of deaths caused by the SARs outbreak of 2003. Coronavirus originated in China; however, the virus has now spread in various countries. India has also reported 3 cases of Coronavirus from Kerala.

About WHO:

• Head: Tedros Adhanom

• Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland

• Founded: 7 April 1948

Banking and Economy

Government to introduce new One Rupee Currency Note

The Central Government recently announced to introduce new Re 1 currency note with security features. The all-new one rupee note will have several watermarks. The value of the currency note will be mentioned in 15 different Indian languages. The note will contain an image of ‘Sagar Samrat’, the oil exploration platform.

Facebook to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women in seven Indian states

• Facebook launched its ‘We Think Digital’ programme, under which the social media giant will provide digital literacy training to 1 lakh women across seven states, including Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Bihar.

• In partnership with National Commission for Women (NCW) and Cyber Peace Foundation, the program aims to provide digital literacy training to one lakh women across seven states through the year. The programme will start with the state of Uttar Pradesh and expand to other states including Assam, West Bengal Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat, Jharkhand and Bihar, it added.

Infosys to acquire US-based Simplus for $250 million to step up cloud biz

• Bengaluru-based IT services major Infosys stated it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire US-headquartered Simplus, a major Salesforce platinum partner, in a bid to strengthen its cloud business.

• The acquisition, expected to be complete within a month, will incur a cost of up to $250 million, Infosys said in a filing with stock exchanges.$200 million, including contingent consideration to be paid for the acquisition of shares, subject to closing adjustments.

Appointment

Arvind Kejriwal to take oath as Delhi CM on February 16 at Ramlila Maidan

• After resounding victory in Delhi assembly elections, Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal will take oath for the third time on February 16.

• The swearing-in ceremony will take place at the historic Ramlila Maidan — similar to that of last two times.

Ducati appoints Bipul Chandra as new head of Indian operations

• Italian super bike maker Ducati stated it has appointed Bipul Chandra as the new Managing Director of its India operations.

• Chandra replaces Sergi Canovas who is moving to an international role within the company.

About Ducati:

• Parent organization: Lamborghini

• Founded: 4 July 1926, Bologna, Italy

• CEO: Claudio Domenicali

Ranking

India ranks 17th among countries at risk of coronavirus import

• Of the countries most at risk of importing coronavirus cases, India ranks 17th, researchers have found on the basis of a mathematical model for the expected global spread of the virus that originated in China’s Wuhan area in December 2019.

• The top 10 countries and regions at risk of importing coronavirus cases are: Thailand, Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong, Taiwan, USA, Vietnam, Malaysia, Singapore and Cambodia, according to the model.

• While Thailand’s national import risk is 2.1 per cent, it is 0.2 per cent for India, found the research.

Days

National Productivity Day observed globally on 12 February

• National Productivity Day is observed on 12 February. The day is celebrated by the National Productivity Council (NPC) to promote productivity culture in India. Also, National Productivity Week is celebrated from 12-18 February 2020. The day aims to propagate productivity, quality, competitiveness, and efficiency.

• NPC was established in 1958. The autonomous organization functions under the Department for Promotion of Industry & Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry.

• Chairman of National Productivity Council: Guruprasad Mohapatra.

• Director-General of National Productivity Council: Arun Kumar Jha.

International Day of Women and Girls in Science

• The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) adopted a resolution A/RES/70/212 on December 2015, declaring Feb.11 as the International Day of Women & Girls in Science.

• Theme:“Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth”.

World Unani Day

• The World Unani Day is observed every year on February 11.

• The day commemorates the birth anniversary of great Unani scholar and social reformer Hakim Ajmal Khan.

• Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh was the chief guest of the 4th Unani day function organized by AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga & Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy) Ministry, New Delhi, India.

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Important Current Affairs 9th February 2020

National

National Conference on e-Governance 2020 Held in Mumbai

• The 23rd edition of the National Conference on e-Governance was held at Mumbai, Maharashtra on 7-8 February 2020.

• The theme of the conference was: India 2020: Digital Transformation.

BBIN nations deliberate on MoU for implementation of motor vehicle agreement

• A meeting of the BBIN nations (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) was held in New Delhi on 8 February 2020 to deliberate on a proposed MoU, to be signed by Bangladesh, India and Nepal, for implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement (MVA) in these countries.

• Representatives of Bhutan participated in the meeting in an observer capacity. The Indian delegation was led by Vikram Doraiswami, Additional Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs.

DefExpo 2020 Concludes With Over 200 Partnerships at Bandhan Ceremony

• The 11th edition of the biennial DefExpo 2020, concluded in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh on 8 February 2020.

• The theme of the 11th Edition was “India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub”.

• More than 1,000 companies, including 165 offshore enterprises participated in the event.

• Over 200 partnerships involving Signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs), Transfer of Technology (ToTs) , Product launches were concluded during a ceremony titled “Bandhan” at DefExpo 2020.

• Bandhan ceremony witnessed more than 13 product launches, 124 MoUs between Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSUs), private and global defence manufacturing companies.

International

US India’s preferred trade partner in journey to be $5 trn economy: Envoy

• America is India’s preferred trade and business partner in its journey to become a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024, the country’s new envoy to the US Taranjit Singh Sandhu has stated.

• Addressing a gathering of American business community at a reception hosted in his honour by US-India Strategic and Partnership Forum, Sandhu stated that the potential for cooperation between the United States and India is limitless.

• He futher added that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has set the goal for India to grow from a USD 3 trillion economy to a USD 5 trillion economy by 2024 and a USD 10 trillion economy by 2030.

Philip Barton appointed Britain’s new High Commissioner to India

• Britain appointed career diplomat Philip Barton as its High Commissioner to India to succeed Dominic Asquith.

• Barton will take up his appointment during Spring 2020, a statement from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) stated

Obituary

Padma Shri Winning Indian Author Giriraj Kishore Passes Away

Veteran writer and academician Giriraj Kishore passed away following a prolonged illness. He was 82-years-old.

Giriraj was awarded the Padma Shri by the President of India in the year 2007, for his work Pahla Girmitiya (The Girmitiya Saga).

P Parameswaran passes away in Kerala

• Renowned thinker, writer and the founder-director of Bharatiya Vichara Kendram P Parameswaran has passed away in Ottapalam, Kerala. He was 91.

• Kendram P Parameswaran was awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2018 and Padma Shri in 2004.

Sports

Bangladesh wins ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020

• Bangladesh has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held in South Africa. Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team defeated India Under-19 team by 3 wickets to win the final of the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup 2020 held at JB Marks Oval, Potchefstroom, South Africa.

• This was the 13th edition of the tournament in which 16 teams participated from all over the world.

• Bangladesh Under-19 cricket team has won the ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup for the first time in the tournament history.

Swedish Vaulter Armand Duplantis Breaks World Pole Vault Record

On 8 February 2020, Armand Duplantis, who plays for Sweden, broke the world pole vault record with a jump of 6.17 metres at an indoor meeting in Poland.

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Important Current Affairs 8th February 2020

National

NPCI approves WhatsApp to expand its UPI project 10 million users

• Facebook-owned instant messaging platform WhatsApp has received the approval from the National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) to expand its Unified Payment Interface (UPI) services to 10 million users.

• WhatsApp’s payment feature, named WhatsApp Pay, has developed by the NPCI to run on UPI. It allows users to pay others or do business transactions through their bank accounts.

PFRDA increases minimum net worth for pension fund managers to Rs 50 cr

• The Pension Fund Regulatory and Development Authority (PFRDA), the regulator of the National Pension System (NPS), has made certain amendments in the pension guidelines. These are as follows.

• Minimum Net Worth: The regulator has doubled the minimum net worth requirement for pension fund managers to Rs 50 crore from the Rs 25 crore stipulated earlier.

• Validity of License: Provision has also been made for licenses to have indefinite validity. Earlier, the licenses of pension fund managers was granted for a period of five years.

• Equity Acquisition: A pension fund or its sponsor cannot acquire equity stake in another pension fund.

Disha Police Station inaugurated in Andhra Pradesh’s Rajamahendravaram

• The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy on inaugurated the first ‘Disha Police Station’ in Rajamahendravaram city on 8 February 2020, which will exclusively handle cases of crime against women and children.

• In all 18 Disha Police Stations will be set up in all 13 districts of the state, under the Disha Act, enacted by the state government in 2019, to ensure speedy investigation and trial of sexual assault cases.

• The state government has allocated a budget of Rs 21.10 crore for the setting up of these police stations.Each Disha Police station will be headed by a deputy superintendent of police.

International

Astronaut Christina Koch returns to Earth after record stay in space

• Christina Koch, US-astronaut who made record for the longest continuous spaceflight ever undertaken by a female astronaut, returned from the International Space Station (ISS) to Earth on 6th February 2020.

• Koch was accompanied by European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Luca Parmitano and Russian cosmonaut Alexander Skvortsov on the way to Earth.

• The three boarded a Soyuz capsule docked at the ISS at around 12:50 AM EST, and had a safe landing at around 4:12 AM EST (3:12 PM local time) in Kazakhstan.

• American astronaut Christina Koch joined the NASA’s astronaut corps in 2013 and also led the first ever all-female spacewalk in 2019.

Science & Technology

Indian Army Major develops world's first bulletproof helmet

• Indian Army has developed first bulletproof helmet of the world which can stop an AK-47 bullet round fired from a distance of 10 meters.

• The Ballistic helmet is developed by An Indian Army Major Anoop Mishra.

• The helmet is developed under the Indian Army’s project “Abhedya“.

DRDO inks deal with Russian company for missiles propulsion

• Pune-based DRDO Laboratory, High Energy Materials Research Laboratory (HEMRL) has signed technology development contract with Rosoboronexport, Russia for development of Advanced Pyrotechnic Ignition Systems.

• The agreement was signed at the DefExpo2020 in Lucknow.The agreement will enable advancement in the field of energetic materials and pyrotechnic technology leading to the development of advanced ignition systems.

• HEMRL works in the development of spectrum of high energy materials required for missiles, rockets and guns.

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Important Current Affairs 7th February 2020

National

First Central Asia Business Council” launched in New Delhi

• The first ever India-Central Asia Business Council meeting was launched in New Delhi on 6th February 2020.

• The programme was organised by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI).From India, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed the meeting.

• The aim of the meeting was to bring together business chambers of India and all five Central Asian states, namely Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan to collaborate and strengthen trade and investment partnership.

Jaipur becomes certified UNESCO World Heritage City

• Jaipur “The Pink City” has been certified by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) as the World Heritage site.

• The certification was done by the UNESCO Director General Audrey Azoulay during an event held in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

SAI & Hockey India to Launch 7 High Performance Centres Across the Country

• Sports Authority of India (SAI) and Hockey India have decided to establish High Performance Centres in seven places across the country to provide state-of-the-art facilities to Junior and Sub-Junior players.

• The move is taken in view of 2024 and 2028 Olympic Games, so as to groom the young talent.

• The seven High Performance Hockey Centres will be installed at the following places:

• 1. SAI Centre, Bengaluru, Karnataka (South Zone)

2. Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium, New Delhi (North Zone)

3. SAI Sundergarh, Odisha (East Zone)

4. SAI UDMCC, Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh (Central Zone)

5. SAI NS NEC, Takyel, Imphal, Manipur (North-East Zone)

6. Balewadi Sports Complex, Pune, Maharashtra (West Zone)

7. SAI Centre, Ranchi and Gomke Jaipal Singh Astroturf Hockey Stadium (East Zone II)

 India’s First Glass Floor Suspension Bridge to Come up in Uttarakhand’s Rishikesh

• The Uttarakhand Government has approved the design of a glass floor suspension bridge, the first of its kind in the country, which will be built across the River Ganga in Rishikesh.

• The bridge is as an alternative to the iconic Lakshman Jhula, almost 94 years old, which was closed in 2019 due to safety reasons

Madhya Pradesh to deploy drones to map villages

• The Madhya Pradesh state government has decided to deploy drones to map villages. This will be the first time that drone technology is used to make maps in the state.

• Till now, all the land survey work in the satet was either done manually or with the help of satellite images.

• The map of the population area will be created on a scale of 1: 500, which will help a clearer picture of the population area. Around 55000 villages have been selected for mapping.

Banking and Economy

RBI to conduct “Financial Literacy Week 2020”

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) will be organizing Financial Literacy Week (FLW) from February 10 to February 14, 2020.

• The theme for 2020 FLW is “Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs),”

• RBI conducts Financial Literacy Week (FLW) every year since 2016 to propagate financial education messages on a particular theme every year across the country, through a focused campaign.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

IOC signs First Term contract for Russian crude oil

• State-owned Indian Oil Corp has signed a deal with Russian oil and gas company Rosneft for the annual purchase of 2 million metric tonnes of crude oil

• This is the first ever annual oil purchase deal between India and Russia.

• Under the deal India will import up to 2 million tonne of Urals grade crude oil from Rosneft of Russia.

• India is world’s third largest energy consumer. It is 83 percent dependent on imports to meet its oil needs.

• Two-thirds of the imports come from the Middle East, with Iraq being the biggest supplier followed by Saudi Arabia.

• Headquarters of Indian Oil Corp: New Delhi, Mumbai (Registered Office)

• Founded of Indian Oil Corp: 1959.

• Chairman of Indian Oil Corp: Sanjiv Singh.

Resignation

Microsoft-Owned LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner resigns as CEO

• Jeff Weiner has recently resigned as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Microsoft-owned LinkedIn.

• Jeff Weiner will become Executive Chairman of the company, while Ryan Roslansky who is currently the senior vice-president of product, will become CEO with effect from 1st June 2020.

• LinkedIn is a business and employment-oriented service that operates via websites and mobile apps.

• LinkedIn Corp: Founded: 2002.

• LinkedIn Corp: Headquarters: Sunnyvale, California, United States.

World Bank chief economist Pinelopi Koujianou resigns

• World Bank Chief Eeconomist Pinelopi Koujianou Goldberg has announced to step down from the post with effect from 1st March 2020.

• She is resigning to return to teaching at Yale University and create opportunities for the poor young talented economists to the bank.

• The World Bank President David Malpass has announced that the organisation’s research director Aart Kraay would take over as the Chief Economist in place of Goldberg until a new permanent chief economist is hired.

• President of World Bank: David Robert Malpass.

• Managing Director(MD) and Chief Financial Officer(CFO): Anshula Kant.

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2020

National 


14-day joint military exercise by Indian, Bangladesh armies begin
•    The 9th edition of the annual joint military training exercise by Indian and Bangladesh armies named ‘SAMPRITI-IX’ was flagged off on 3rd February 2020 in Umroi in Meghalaya.
•    The 14-day log exercise is an important bilateral defence cooperation endeavour between India and Bangladesh, hosted alternately by the two countries, enabling both armies to familiarise each other in various tactical drills and procedures.

Coronavirus: Kerala declares 'state calamity'

Kerala government has declared ‘state calamity’ after 3 confirmed cases of Coronavirus in the state. The Central Government recently constituted a High-Level Group of Ministers (GoM) to review the preparedness of concerned authorities to deal with Coronavirus in India. Till date, Coronavirus has led to the death of over 400 people in China.

Banking and Economy


Paytm launches Android POS device for SMEs & merchant partners

•    Paytm has launched an Android POS device for small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners. The android based device will enable the merchants to accept payments in various ways like debit and credit cards, Paytm Wallet, UPI-based apps and cash. 
•    The device provides the merchants with the facility of producing GST compliant bills, to manage transactions and settlements through ‘Paytm for Business’ app. 
•    These services will increase the importance of digital payments in the business of small and medium businesses (SMEs) & merchant partners and will also bring to them the advantages of the digital economy.

RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das Named Central Banker of the Year 2020
•    The Governor of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), Shaktikanta Das, has been named as the ‘Central Banker of the Year 2020 for the Asia-Pacific region’ by ‘The Banker’ magazine, owned by London-based Financial Times (FT).
•    The Banker‘s Central Banker of the Year 2020 awards celebrate the officials that have best managed to stimulate growth and stabilise their economy.

Awards


21st IIFA Awards to be held in Indore in March 2020
•    The 21st edition of the International Indian Film Academy Awards (IIFA Awards) 2020 will be held in Indore, Madhya Pradesh from March 27-29, 2020.
•    This will be the second consecutive year that the event is being organised in India. Last year it was held in Mumbai.
•    Till 2019, the events were organised in cities outside the country.
•    The IIFA awards are presented annually since 2000 for Excellence in cinematic achievements for Bollywood.


BAFTA 2020 Film Awards
•    The 73rd edition of the annual British Academy Film Awards, also known as BAFTA, was held on 2 February 2020 in London,
•    The award is presented by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, to honor the best national and foreign films of 2019 of any nationality that were screened at British cinemas in 2019.
•    The Film ‘1917’ received the highest number of awards at 7 with nominations in 9 categories.

Obituary

Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath Passes Away
•    Former Karnataka Minister D Manjunath passed away at the age of 93 after prolonged illness.
•    Manjunath joined the Janata Party in 1977 and had served in different capacities including as Chairperson of Legislative Council and Minister in various governments.


Appointment


Ajay Bisaria Appointed Indian High Commissioner to Canada
•    Ajay Bisaria, a 1987 batch IFS officer, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to Canada.
•    Currently, he is India’s High Commissioner to Pakistan.
Albin Kurti Appointed New Prime Minister of Kosovo
•    Kosovo’s parliament has approved Albin Kurti as the new prime minister of the country on 3rd February 2020.
•    Albin Kurti, leader of the political party Vetëvendosje, will serve as the fourth Prime Minister of Kosovo.

Days


World Cancer Day: February 4
•    World Cancer Day is organized every year on 4 February by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to raise awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.
•    World Cancer Day 2019-21 theme: ‘I Am And I Will’
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2020

National

Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Vanilla’

• Indian Navy recently sent INS Airavat to Madagascar as post-natural disaster relief. Indian Navy will provide basic help to the people of Madagascar like food, drinking water, shelter, medicines, sanitary pads, etc.

• The INS Airavat is capable to carry more than 500 troops and 10 battle tanks. It was commissioned in the Indian Navy on May 19, 2010.

Nepal creates Guinness World Record for highest altitude fashion show event

• Nepal has created a new Guinness World Record for organizing highest altitude Fashion Show on the earth.

• The Mount Everest Fashion Runway was held at 5340 meters (17515 feet) elevation at Kala Patthar, near Everest base camp.

• The Guinness world record registered the title and awarded a certificate to the organizers including Dr Pankaj Gupta from India and Ms Ramila Nemkul and Mr Riken Maharjan from Nepal.

• The main objective of the fashion show was to create awareness about climate change and also to give a message to the world that Nepal is the destination for all activities.

World’s largest meditation centre inaugurates in Telangana

• World’s largest meditation centre was inaugurated at Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, Telangana.

• This centre is built to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and Heartfulness Institute.

• The meditation centre with a central hall and eight peripheral halls to accommodate 1,00,000 people will offer meditation training free.

Yuva Swabhiman Yojana

• The MP government launched on January 31, 2019, guaranteeing 100 days of work and pay to unemployed youth who have registered themselves with the Madhya Pradesh government.

• The stipend has been hiked by Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per month.

• On the lines of MNREGS, the government is ready to extend the guarantee of 100 workdays to 365 days of temporary employment a year .

16th Mumbai International Film Festival begins

• The 16th Mumbai International Film Festival-2020 for Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation films), inaugurated at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli, Mumbai.

• The oldest and largest film festival for non-feature films in South Asia, which began in 1990 is organized by the Films Division, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Government of India.

• The festival directorate has received 874 entries, with 144 entries from 24 countries in the International competition and 730 entries in the National competition.

Reliance Industries launching new project to use plastics in road construction

• Reliance Industries organization will try to work with India’s highway authority and individual states to possibly supply a plastics-implanted blend.

• India, which utilizes around 14 million tons of plastic every year, comes up short on a sorted out framework for the administration of plastic waste.

Nobel Laureate Abhijit Banerjee conferred D.Lit degree by Calcutta University

Nobel laureate Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee conferred the honorary Doctor of Letters (D.Litt.) by Calcutta University at its annual convocation in Kolkata. The Vice-Chancellor of the University Ms Sonali Chakraborty Banerjee presented the Degree to him.

Banking and Economy

RBI appoints Executive Director Janak Raj as member of MPC

• Reserve Bank of India (RBI) appoints its Executive Director, Janak Raj, as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC).

• The Monetary Policy Committee takes decisions based on a majority vote. Raj replaces M D Patra recently promoted as Deputy Governor of the RBI.

• The decision to appoint Janak Raj taken at the 581st meeting of the central board held in Mumbai.

• The RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das heads the MPC.

Google announces USD 1 million grant to promote news literacy in India

• Technology giant Google has announced USD 1 million grant to promote news literacy among Indians to avoid spreading of misinformation.

• The money will be given to Internes, a global non-profit organisation, which will select a team of 250 journalists, fact checkers, academics and NGO workers for the project.

• A curriculum will be developed by a team of global and local experts, who will roll out the project in seven Indian languages.

Sports

Esow Alben wins gold at Berlin cycling tournament

• Indian cyclist Esow Alben has bagged a gold in the men’s Keirin individual event of the Six-Day Berlin Tournament.

• Czech Republic’s Tomas Babek, who won a silver in the 2017 World Championship, came in second while Maximilian Lev of Germany took home the bronze.

Ranking

Bengaluru has the worst traffic in the world

• According to a report by TomTom, the Netherlands-based global provider of navigation, traffic, and map products, Bengaluru is the world’s most traffic-congested city.

• Manila in the Philippines took the second place.

• Mumbai, Pune, and New Delhi were the other Indian cities that also featured in the top 10, taking fourth, fifth, and eighth places, respectively.

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Important Current Affairs 26th January 2020

National

Republic Day 2020: India celebrates its 71st Republic Day – 

• This year's Republic Day was unique for India in many different ways as compared to the previous years. Starting from the military might that was displayed through indigenously developed artillery gun system 'Dhanush' or with first woman parade adjutant for the Republic Day with Captain Tania Shergill leading the parade; there were many ‘firsts’ that marked India’s 71st Republic Day Celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro was the chief guest at India's 71st Republic Day Parade on January 26.

• At the 71st Republic Parade, for the first time, newly appointed Chief of Defence Staff Gen Bipin Rawat attended the Republic Day parade. General Rawat welcomed PM Modi for the Wreath Laying Ceremony at the National War Memorial along with the service chiefs for all the three armed forces i.e. Army, Navy and Air Force.

• Continuing the theme of women power, the day also saw an all-woman biker contingent of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) make its debut as a part of the 71st Republic Day Parade. The contingent was commanded by Inspector Seema Nag, who is posted with the Rapid Action Force (RAF).

• The Indian Air Force (IAF) also participated in the Republic Day Parade with its tableau showcasing scaled system of the five-fighter system. The models on display during Parade included Rafale Fighter Jet and Tejas Aircraft.

Nitin Gadkari Launches Web Portal “GATI” to Monitor Road & Highways Projects

• The Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs Shri Nitin Gadkari has launched an online Web Portal ‘GATI’ on the pattern of ‘PRAGATI’, the portal used by the Prime Ministers’ Office (PMO) for monitoring projects.

• The GATI portal has been created by the National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) and can be accessed from NHAI Website.

• The portal was launched by the minister during the two-days long review meeting of NHAI-Ministry projects in Haryana’s Manesar on 23 & 24 January 2020.

• A total of 500 projects (including delayed ones) costing around Rs 3 lakh crore were taken up for review during the meeting.

Inaugural Ganga-Volga Dialogue of Civilizations between India and Russia held in New Delhi

• The maiden Ganga Volga Dialogue of Civilization took place in New Delhi on 22 January 2020, to provide a platform for enhancing the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.

• The idea of the Dialogue was conceptualized during the October 2018 India-Russia Summit between President Putin and Prime Minister Modi.

• The event was inaugurated by India’s Minister of State for External Affairs V. Muraleedharan.

• The Dialogue was organised by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with Dr. Syama Prasad Mookerjee Research Foundation.

International

Global Unemployment to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020: ILO Report

• The International Labour Organization (ILO) has released a report titled “World Employment and Social Outlook: Trends 2020” which predicts that unemployment is likelt to increase by around 2.5 million in 2020.

• However, the report also revealed that after nine years in decline, the rate of global unemployment remained unchanged in 2019, at 5.4%, and is expected to stay the same for the next two years, due to fluctuations in the population seeking work.

Researchers discovered a new species of Allosaurus in Utah

• Paleontologists have unveiled a remarkable new species of the meat-eating dinosaur at the Natural History Museum of Utah.

• It is suspected that the species must have evolved at least 5 million years earlier than fragilis.

Banking and Economy

India’s GDP to grow at 5.0% in FY20 & 5.5% in FY21: India Ratings

• India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) has projected India’s GDP growth rate for fiscal 2019-2020 at 5 percent, which is a multi-year low.

• Ind-Ra expects gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 5.5 percent in FY21.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

India signs 15 MoU with Brazil including Cyber Security

• India and Brazil on Saturday signed 15 MoUs in various fields including cybersecurity, bioenergy and health and medicine among others, following the bilateral talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro.

• An MoU on bioenergy cooperation, investment cooperation and facilitation treaty, agreement on cooperation in the field of health and medicine, cultural exchange programme for the period 2020-2024 were exchanged between the two sides.

Appointment

EU Appoints Joao Vale De Almeida As First Ambassador To Post-brexit UK

EU named Joao Vale de Almeida its first ambassador to the post-Brexit United Kingdom after PM Boris Johnson on Friday signed the agreement to leave the bloc.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd January 2020

National 


Cabinet approves closure of Hindustan Fluorocarbons Ltd

• The Union Cabinet recently approved the closure of public sector Hindustan Fluorocarbon Ltd (HFL). Only 88 employees are working in this company.
• HFL has been at a loss since 2013-14 and its net worth has come down to a negative mark. As on March 31, 2019, the company incurred a cumulative loss of Rs 62.81 crore and its net worth is Rs 43.20 crore.
• NBCC (India) will be a land management agency for facilitating the disposal of land assets. Hindustan Fluorocarbon Ltd is a subsidiary company of Hindustan Organic Chemicals.

Jaipur Literature Festival begins

• Rajasthan’s Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated Jaipur Literature Festival 2020 on January 23, 2019. Litterateurs of the country participate in the festival.
• It is the 13th year of the Jaipur Literature Festival. This time more than 550 speakers are joining the festival from different parts of the country and the world.
• Some issues like NRC, CAA and Delhi's JNU can also be discussed during the festival. Although the organizers have not listed these issues in the list of discussions.

ECI to conduct first Sukumar Sen Memorial lecture

• Election Commission of India (ECI) has organized an annual lecture as a tribute to Sukumar Sen, the first Chief Election Commissioner of India.
• Sukumar Sen (1898–1963) admirably conducted the first two general elections for the Lok Sabha and the state legislatures. Former President of India Pranab Mukherjee delivered a lecture on this occasion.
• Sukumar Sen was born on January 02, 1898. He completed his education from Presidency College, Kolkata and University College, London. He joined the Indian Civil Service in 1922.

S Jaishankar inaugurates Gandhi Convention Center in Niger

• Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar and Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou jointly inaugurated the Mahatma Gandhi International Convention Center. 
• It is the first convention center that started in Africa on the 150th birthday of Mahatma Gandhi.
• This convention center was designed as a spacious, modern and environmentally friendly facility. S Jaishankar is the first foreign minister of India to visit Niger.


Banking and Economy

ICICI Bank introduces cardless cash withdrawal facility through ATMs
•    ICICI Bank has rolled out “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service through ATM. The “Cardless Cash Withdrawal” service can be used for cash withdrawal having a per day transaction limit of Rs 20,000. 
•    The service will enable the ICICI customers to withdraw cash from the ATM by putting a request on ICICI Internet Banking App “iMobile”.

UN lowers India’s GDP growth rate to 5.7% for FY 2019-20
•    The United Nations has lowered India’s GDP growth rate to 5.7% for the Fiscal Year 2019-20 in its World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020 report. 
•    UN has lowered the growth rate to 5.7% from 7.6% which it projected in its WESP 2019 report.
•    UN has also projected India’s growth rate at 6.6% for FY 2020-21 and 6.3% for FY 2021-22. According to the UN, India’s growth rate for FY 2018-19 was 6.8%.

Awards

Priya Prakash wins Cisco Youth Leadership Award 2019

•    The founder and CEO of India based HealthSetGo, Priya Prakash, has won the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award for 2019. The award was given for her school health program that provides healthcare support to children.

•    HealthSetGo is a healthcare organisation that supports the UN’s (United Nation) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and to improve the health & lives of children.

Sports

Indian shooter Divyansh & Apurvi wins gold medal at Meyton Cup
•    Indian shooters Divyansh Singh Pawar and Apurvi Chandela have clinched a gold medal each in Meyton Cup, a private tournament in Innsbruck, Austria. 
•    While Divyansh won the gold in the men's 10m air rifle event with an effort of 249.7, Apurvi bagged the yellow metal in the 10m air rifle women's category with a 251.4.


Appointment


Challa Sreenivasulu Setty becomes SBI MD

• Challa Sreenivasulu Setty has been appointed as the new Managing Director (MD) of the State Bank of India (SBI). He will remain on this post for the next three years.
• Appointment Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) approved his name proposed by the Department of the Financial Services.
• Challa is currently working as the deputy managing director of the SBI. This post is extendable by two years or until any other orders. However, such orders come only after reviewing performance.

BOB, BOI and Canara Bank get new MD & CEOs
•    The government on Monday appointed heads of three large public sector banks - Bank of Baroda, Bank of India and Canara bank for a period of three years. Sanjiv Chadha has been appointed as Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Bank of Baroda (BoB) by Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC). He succeeds P S Jayakumar, whose term ended in October last year.

•    The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) appointed Lingam Venkat Prabhakar as MD & CEO of Canara Bank and Atanu Kumar Das as MD & CEO of Bank of India. Prabhakar was the executive director of Punjab National Bank and he will be replacing RA Sankara Narayanan who will retire end of this month.

•    Atanu Kumar Das has been appointed as the MD and CEO in Bank of India. He will head the bank for three years from date of assuming office. He is at present working as the Executive Director in the same bank.


Ranking

Greenpeace India Report: Jharia most polluted city in India

•    The coal-belching town of Jharia in Jharkhand to be the most polluted city in India according to a Greenpeace India Report. Jharkhand’s Dhanbad, known for its rich coal reserves and industries, is the second-most polluted city in India.

•    Delhi is the 10th-most polluted city in India, according to the report.  As per the report, 6 of the top-10 polluted cities are in Uttar Pradesh comprising of Noida, Ghaziabad, Bareilly, Allahabad, Moradabad and Firozabad. 
•    Lunglei in Mizoram is the least polluted city in the country. The report is based on analysis of PM10 data from 287 cities across the country.
 

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