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Important Current Affairs 6th February 2019

National News

India becomes Second Largest LPG Consumer and Importer 
India is now the second largest consumer and importer of the LPG in the world. This is attributed to government initiatives to push for cleaner alternatives to traditional cooking fuels such as firewood and cow dung.
Import of LPG
The import of LPG grew by 12.5 per cent over the past five years to 12 million metric tons (13 million tons) in 2018-19. India now stands at the second position when it comes to the import of LPG surpassing Japan. India is at second place behind China. The exporters of LPG to India include Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Iran.


Delhi to Launch Zero Fatality Corridor (
Delhi Government has launched Zero Fatality Corridor with an aim to curb the number of accidents. The announcement was made by the Minister of Transport, Delhi during the opening ceremony of the Road Safety Week.
About the Zero Fatality Corridor
The important facts related to the Zero Fatality Corridor are:
•    A 3km stretch between Bhalswa chowk and Burari chowk on the outer ring road has been chosen as a case study in this regard.
•    The selected stretch has four blackspots namely Burari chowk, Bhalswa chowk, Mukundpur chowk, and Jahangirpuri bus stand.
•    This 3km stretch will be observed for scientific assessment of accidents, road engineering, road-user engagement.


Know India Programme 
Know India Programme (KIP) is a flagship initiative for Diaspora engagement. The programme aims to familiarize Indian-origin youth (18-30 years) with their Indian roots and contemporary India.
Features of the Programme
The important features of the Know India Programme are:
•    Know India Programme is a three-week orientation programme for diaspora youth.
•    The programme aims to promote awareness on different facets of life in India and the progress made by the country in various fields e.g. economic, industrial, education, science & technology, communication & information Technology and culture.
•    The programme provides a unique forum for students & young professionals of Indian origin to visit India, share their views, expectations & experiences and to develop closer bonds with contemporary India.


Implementation of PMJAY 
Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY) is a scheme of the government under Ayushman Bharat to reduce the financial burden on poor and vulnerable groups arising out of catastrophic hospital episodes and ensure their access to quality health services.
Implementation of PMJAY
The following steps have been undertaken for the effective implementation of the PM JAY:
•    The State Governments have been given the flexibility to implement PM JAY either through insurance companies, or directly through trust/society, or in a mixed mode. 
•    National Health Agency (NHA) has been set up by the Government to implement PM JAY through State level Health Agencies.
•    A robust IT system has been put in place for effective implementation of the Scheme.
•    Central Grievance Redressal Management System has been set up for receiving grievances. A system has been put in place to acknowledge, record, escalate & resolve grievances as per well-defined process through a three-tier grievance redressal structure.


Asia LPG Summit 
The second edition of the Asia LPG Summit was inaugurated by Union Minister for Petroleum & Natural Gas at New Delhi. The two-day summit with the theme ‘LPG – Energy for Life’ will deliberate over series of subjects including how India’s successful Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana can become a viable model for other countries to replicate particularly those striving to provide clean cooking fuel to its people.

The summit has been organized jointly by the major Indian oil marketing companies (OMCs) Indian Oil, Hindustan Petroleum and Bharat Petroleum together with the World LPG Association (WLPGA).

SBI UK chief honoured ‘Freedom of the City of London’ 
The State Bank of India’s UK head Sanjiv Chadha has been honoured with the ‘Freedom of the City of London’ award in recognition of his contribution to promoting the bilateral relations. Sanjiv Chadha was nominated for the honour by Lord Mayor of London Peter Estlin and Sheriff Vincent Keaveny.
Sanjiv Chadha and His contributions
Sanjiv Chadha took up the position at the helm of the 98-year-old London office of the State Bank of India in 2014. He was instrumental in expanding the bank’s presence across the UK, and in boosting wider bilateral ties in financial services.
Sanjiv Chadha was an excellent voice leading the Indian banking community and overseeing significant investment into the City.
 

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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2019

National News

Exercise Rahat
The disaster relief exercise ‘Exercise Rahat’ will be demonstrated in Jaipur, Kota and Alwar in Rajasthan on Feb 11-12.
About the Exercise
The important aspects related to the ‘Exercise Rahat’ are:
•    On behalf of the Indian Army, Jaipur based Sapta Shakti Command will conduct the Joint Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise, Exercise Rahat.
•    Exercise Rahat is being conducted in coordination with NDMA to synergise efforts for humanitarian assistance and disaster relief operations.
•    The joint exercise will see participation from Armed Forces, National Disaster Management Response Mechanism (NDMRM), State Disaster Management Authority of Rajasthan and District LMAs.
•    The exercise will be conducted simultaneously in three places, beginning at Jaipur in the form of a tabletop exercise and at Kota and Alwar.

Conservation and Promotion of Medicinal Plants 
The National Medicinal Plants Board (NMPB) under the Ministry of AYUSH is implementing following schemes to encourage farming/cultivation, conservation, processing and promotion of medicinal plants throughout the country:
National AYUSH Mission (NAM)
The large scale farming/cultivation of medicinal plants is being supported under the ‘Medicinal Plants’ component of the National AYUSH Mission (NAM). The scheme provides support for:
•    Cultivation of prioritized medicinal plants on farmer’s land.
•    Establishment of nurseries for the supply of quality planting material.
•    Post-harvest management.
•    Primary processing, marketing infrastructure etc.

Madras High Court Rules against Negative Marking in Competitive Exams
The Madras High Court has ruled against negative marking in competitive examinations saying they are bad in law.

Observations of the Madras High Court
•    The Madras High Court while hearing a petition filed by an IIT JEE aspirant who failed to clear the Mains due to negative marking has made the following observations:
•    The Madras High Court has accepted the petitioner’s argument that negative marking is not prevailing anywhere else in the world.
•    The court said that negative marking acts only as “a bolt in the brain development” of students and prevents them from making intelligent guesses.
•    Deducting marks for wrong answers would not in any way help in analysing the intelligence, aptitude or knowledge of the candidates.

Haryana government approved new Pharmaceutical Policy
Haryana government approved new Pharmaceutical Policy and Pharmaceutical Policy 2019, which envisages to establish a state-of-the-art pharma park at Karnal. The decision was taken at a Cabinet meeting held under the chairmanship of Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar at Chandigarh, Punjab. The new policy aims to develop Haryana into a hub for pharmaceutical manufacturing by facilitating and creating a holistic industry and academia. The Cabinet also gave its nod for the Haryana Micro Small and Medium Enterprises Policy 2019 with an aim to create globally competitive MSMEs in Haryana.

ICS launched Swasth Naari, Shakti Hamaari campaign
The Indian Cancer Society (ICS) launched Swasth Naari, Shakti Hamaari campaign in Mumbai, Maharashtra to spread awareness of cancer among underprivileged women and enable early detection of the disease.  The campaign was launched on the occasion of World Cancer Day. ICS in collaboration with pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca organized the campaign. It aims to conduct free and specialized cancer-screening camps for women in high-priority districts of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, and Karnataka.


Telangana State approves the creation of Mulugu district
The Telangana State government has approved for the creation of Mulugu as a new district. It is carved out from Bhupalpalli district.  This would be the sixth district to be created from the erstwhile Warangal district.  The State government has issued a notification calling for objections and suggestions from the public on December 31. The one-month period duration expired on January 30.
 

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Important Current Affairs 4th February 2019

National News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi take on the financial estimates for New India 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi take on the financial estimates for New India is considering three options for a relief package to help farmers suffering because of low crop prices at a cost of as much as Rs. 3 lakh crore, according to three government sources. The possibilities are a direct payment to all landowning farmers, compensation for those who sold produce below government prices, and a loan-waiver programme. The government is keen to find a way to get money to farmers as quickly and simply as possible so that they can feel the benefits before the election.

Vani Kapoor Becomes First Indian To Grab Australian LPGA Card
Golfer Vani Kapoor becomes the first Indian to grab Australian Ladies PGA Tour (LPGA) after securing 12th Rank tied with three others in the first-ever qualifying tournament at the Ballarat Golf Club in Australia.  


Tamil Nadu State approved Rs.158 crore for drinking water supply scheme 
Tamil Nadu, Chief Minister Edappadi K. Palaniswami sanctioned Rs.158 crore for taking up drinking water supply schemes across the State. This approval is in view of the below normal rainfall during the north-east monsoon.  While Rs.122 crore has been earmarked to Chennai Metro Water to take up suitable drinking water supply works, another sum of Rs.36 crore was sanctioned to the Tamil Nadu Water Supply and Drainage Board (TWAD Board) to take up drinking water supply works in the urban and rural areas of Tamil Nadu.  The CM also insisted that Metro Water, TWAD Board, Rural Development and MAWS Departments should complete the ongoing water supply works quickly and put them to use.

South Central Railway gets Rs 5,924 crore
South Central Railway (SCR) got Rs 5,924 crore for 2019-20 from the year 2019 budget as against last year’s outlay of Rs 5,752 crore with the highest allotment made for doubling works of Rs 1,905 crore.  Additional General Manager John Thomas said that the New lines got Rs.834 crore, passenger amenities Rs 229 crore and traffic facilities got Rs138 crore.

Karnataka State launched MyCityMyBudget initiative
MyCityMyBudget initiative was launched in Banguluru, Karnataka. The city Mayor Gangambike Mallikarjun launched the initiative.  The initiative provides citizens an opportunity to tell the BBMP exactly on what civic infrastructure issue, the money has to be spent on. Citizens may submit their budget inputs online by visiting www.ichangemycity.com  Now the people can send their inputs about the city’s road infrastructure, water, power, safety, transport to ichangemycity’s MyCityMyBudget initiative.

Kerala State sets up Price Monitoring and Research Unit 
Kerala has become the first State to set up a Price Monitoring and Research Unit (PMRU). This unit will track violation of prices of essential drugs and medical devices under the Drugs Price Control Order (DPCO). The move comes more than five years after the National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) proposed such a system for the States and the Union Territories. National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA): 
Formed on: 1997 
Headquarters: New Delhi, India 
Chairman: Bhupendra Singh 
Parent: Department of Pharmaceuticals, Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers 
NPPA controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India

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Important Current Affairs 3rd February 2019

National News

22nd AIIMS to come up in Haryana
The 22nd AIIMS would come up in Haryana. The announcement was made regarding this at the Interim Budget 2019. The AIIMS would be established at Manethi village in Haryana’s Rewari district.
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS)
All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) is the autonomous institutions set up under the act of parliament. The All India Institute Of Medical Sciences Act, 1956 provides for the establishment of AIIMS  as Institute of National Importance.

India’s Mithali Raj Becomes First Woman Cricketer to Play 200 ODIs 
India’s One-day International (ODI) captain Mithali Raj has become the first woman to play 200 ODI matches with her appearance in the match against New Zealand. The record for largest number of games played by a Woman Cricketer was already in the name of Mithali Raj. Mithali Raj had achieved the milestone when she played her 192 ODI of the career, going past Charlotte Edwards’ record of 191 appearances.
The 36-year-old Mithali Raj is playing the game at the international circuit for almost twenty years and she is also the fourth-highest among the cricketers as a whole, as Mithali is just behind Sachin Tendulkar (463), Sanath Jayasuriya (445) and Javed Miandad (233).


Bharathi appointed as the MD and CEO of Corporation Bank
The government has appointed P.V.Bharathi as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Corporation Bank. Earlier she has served as the Executive Director of Canara Bank. Corporation Bank is public-sector banking The company headquartered in Mangaluru, India. She took charge on February 1, 2019. The bank has a pan-Indian presence.  The bank has a network of 2,600 fully automated CBS branches, 3,040 ATMs, and 4,724 branchless banking units across the country.

International News

5 countries elected as non-permanent members of UNSC
United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) elected South Africa, Indonesia, Dominican Republic, Germany and Belgium as non-permanent members of UN Security Council (UNSC). They will have two-year term beginning January 1, 2019.
These five non-permanent members were elected according to the following pattern
•    Two seats for Group of African states and Group of Asia-Pacific states,
•    One for the Group of Latin American and Caribbean states
•    Two seats for Western European and other states.


International World Cancer Day celebrated on 4th February 
The world celebrates the World Cancer Day on 4th February. World Cancer Day was founded by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) to support the goals of the World Cancer Declaration, written in 2008. The aim is to raise awareness of cancer and to encourage its prevention, detection, and treatment. The main goal is to significantly reduce illness and death caused by cancer and is an opportunity to rally the international community to end the injustice of preventable suffering from cancer.

Obituary

Padma Shri R.B.Patil passed away
Padma Shri R.B. Patil, 93-year-old, passed away in Hubballi. He established North Karnataka’s first comprehensive centre for cancer in 1977 from voluntary donations.  Dr.Patil completed his education in England and continued to see patients until recently before his health deteriorated. The mortal remains of the surgeon were kept at his nursing home in Vidyanagar, Hubballi, for people to pay tributes.

Award


P.S.Krishnan is to receive K.Veeramani Award
K.Veeramani Award for Social Justice 2018 will be conferred on P.S. Krishnan, former Secretary, Government of India. Dravidar Kazhagam leader Veeramani will felicitate the awardee at a function in New Delhi. About the award: Periyar International Inc., (USA) gives an annual award for outstanding contributions to Social Justice, which is named his honor.  Mr.V.P.Singh, former Prime Minister of India, was the first recipient of the award. K.Veeramani is an Honorary Associate of Rationalist International.
 

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Important Current Affairs 2nd February 2019

National news

New Long Range Missile by Iran 
•    Iran unveiled a new cruise missile with a range of 1,300 km (800 miles).
•    Reason behind choosing the day: the Middle Eastern country displays its achievements during celebrations marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
•    Specifications of missile:
1.    Need short time for preparedness
2.    Can fly at low altitude
•    1979 Islamic revolution :
Iran is marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the shah and ended centuries of monarchy in the country.


Indian embassy in US opens 24/7 hotline to assist Indian students arrested by American authorities 
•    The Indian embassy in the US has opened a 24/7 hotline to assist Indian students arrested by the American authorities for alleged immigration rules violation. As many as 129 Indians are among the 130 foreign students arrested for allegedly enroling at a fake university to remain in the US.
•    India said it is monitoring the situation arising out of detention of Indian students closely and have impressed upon the US Government the need to address the situation at the earliest.
•    Indian ambassador to US: Harsh Vardhan Shringla (He is a career diplomat and a member of the Indian Foreign Service since 1984.)


Kumbh Mela to take place on Mauni Amavasya on 4th Feb 
•    The third main holy bath Shahi Snan Parv of Mauni Amavasya at on-going Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj will be observed on Monday,4th February at Sangam.
•    Kumbh Mela: 
is a mass Hindu pilgrimage of faith madhav singh kunwargather to bathe in a sacred Kumbh Melas: the Prayagraj Kumbh Mela, Haridwar Kumbh Mela, the Nashik-Trimbakeshwar Simhastha, and Ujjain Simhastha. These four fairs are held periodically at one of the following places by rotation: Allahabad (Prayagraj), Haridwar, Nashik district (Nashik and Trimbak), and Ujjain. The main festival site is located on the banks of a river: the Ganges (Ganga) at Haridwar; the confluence (Sangam) of the Ganges and the Yamuna and the invisible Sarasvati at Allahabad; the Godavari at Nashik; and the Shipra at Ujjain.

PM Narendra Modi to launch two Railway projects at Durgapur in West Bengal
•    Mr Modi  will dedicate to the nation, the Railway electrification of 294 kilometre long Andal- Sainthia-Pakur-Malda  and Khana- Sainthia Sections.
•    Advantages : 
1.    Ease of transportation of coal, 
2.    Stone chips and ballast to North and North East India
•    Durgapur:
Durgapur is the 3rd largest urban agglomeration after Kolkata and Asansol in West Bengal and happens to be the 2nd planned city in India after Chandigarh. It is the only city in Eastern India to have an operational dry dock.

National Road Safety Week to be Launched on Monday
•    Union Home Minister will inaugurate the 30th National Road Safety Week, 2019 in New Delhi on Monday, the 4th of February.
•    It will be attended by a host of school children, NGOs, and stakeholders in road safety from Government and industry.
•    A Motorcar Rally will also be flagged off on the occasion to commemorate the 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
 

Environment

India has wealth of wetland ecosystems : NITI Aayog
•    2nd February is marked as World’s Wetlands day.
•    The day marks adoption of the Convention on Wetlands on 2nd February 1971, in the Iranian city of Ramsar on shores of the Caspian Sea.
•    The theme of this year is “Wetlands and Climate Change”.
•    The theme highlights the importance of healthy and intact wetlands to one of the most pressing challenges of climate change.
•    Speaking at an event organized to mark the occasion, NITI Aayog Vice Chairman Dr Rajiv Kumar stressed on convergence between various Ministries and also between Centre and States to save wetlands in the country.
 

National Income

To provide an assured income support to small and marginal farmers Govt. is launching Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman 
•    To provide an assured income support to the small and marginal farmers, Government is launching a historic programme namely “Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi (PM-KISAN)”.
•    Specifications of Scheme:
Under this programme, vulnerable landholding farmer families, having cultivable land upto 2 hectares, will be provided direct income support at the rate of Rs 6,000 per year. This income support will be transferred directly into the bank accounts of beneficiary farmers, in three equal installments of Rs 2,000 each. This programme will be funded by Government of India. Around 12 crore small and marginal farmer families are expected to benefit from this.
•    Need of the scheme:
1.    Reduced income from farming
2.    Small and fragmented land holding on account of repeated divisions has also contributed in decline in the income of the farmer family.
3.    Declining prices of agricultural commodities in the international market.
 

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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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Important Current Affairs 31st January 2019

National News

Govt embarks on ambitious programme to ensure 100% electrification of Railways grid in next 5 years 
•    Government has embarked on an ambitious programme to ensure 100 per cent electrification of Railways grid in the next five years.
•    The step will help reduce carbon emissions and supplement the efforts to fight climate change. Mr Goyal was speaking in New Delhi today after he was conferred with Carnot Prize by a US-based Centre for Energy Policy.
•    The award recognizes role of exceptional leaders in advancing mission of cultivating energy policy innovation.


PM Modi dedicates National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation
•    Prime Minister Narendra Modi dedicated National Salt Satyagraha Memorial to the nation at Dandi village, situated in South Gujarat on Arabian sea coast.
•    At the memorial site, he also unveiled statues of Mahatma Gandhi and 80 Satyagrahis who had marched with him during the historic Dandi Salt March in 1930.
•    A dedication ceremony on Bapu’s death anniversary has acquired special significance as Dandi village is to receive a big push from the government to be developed as a place of national importance and tourist interest like Statue of Unity.


India's 1st Geographical Indication Store opened in Goa
•    Union Civil Aviation minister Suresh Prabhu on Monday inaugurated India's 1st Geographical Indication store at Goa International Airport in Dabolim.
•    The store is located on the first floor on Departure Terminal, and jointly set up by Airports Authority of India and The Cashew Export Promotional Council of India.
•    Union Minister informed that currently there are 270 GI registered products in the country and the store will be a boon for the global tourists.


CBI books Chanda Kochhar, Venugopal Dhoot 
•    The CBI has booked former ICICI Bank CEO and MD Chanda Kochhar, her husband Deepak Kochhar and Videocon group MD Venugopal Dhoot in connection with alleged cheating and irregularities in loans sanctioned by the bank to the group in 2012.
•    It is alleged that Videocon promoter Venugopal Dhoot allegedly invested crores of rupees in Nupower months after the Videocon group got Rs 3,250 crore as loan from the ICICI Bank in 2012.
 

International News

US, China begin trade talks in Washington 
•    Top trade officials from the US and China have begun talks in Washington for defusing the escalating tariff war. 
•    The Chinese delegation is headed by Chinese Vice Premier Lie, while the American side is led by US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer.
•    The White House said, US welcomes the Chinese delegation and US President Donald Trump will meet them at the end of the two-days talks.
•    US and China have just a month remaining in a 90-day truce declared in December. Should the talks fail, US import duties on 200 billion dollars in Chinese imports are due to more than double on 2nd March.


South Korea bans single-use plastic bags in supermarkets 
•    The South Korean government ban on the use of disposable plastic bags at big supermarkets came into effect on January 1 in a bid to protect the environment and encourage recycling.
•    The revised law affects about 2,000 supermarkets over 165 square metres in size, all of which used to provide disposable plastic bags for free.
 

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Important Current Affairs 30th January 2019

National News

NGMA to organize 1st edition of Night at the Museum 
•    National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) New Delhi will today organize the first edition of Night at the Museum.
•    The event will be organised in collaboration with the India Art Fair from 8:00 PM to 11:00 PM.
•    NGMA will conduct guided tour of its prestigious permanent collection which is on display at the permanent gallery.
•    Highlight objects include works of art of Rabindranath Tagore, Amrita Sher-Gil, Raja Ravi Verma, Nandalal Bose and Jamini Roy.


Four highway projects worth over Rs 3000 cr launched in Rajasthan
•    In Rajasthan, Minister for Road Transport and Highways Nitin Gadkari inaugurated and laid the foundation stone of four National Highway projects worth over 3 thousand 237 Cr. rupees.
•    These include three projects in Bikaner and one in Nagaur District.
•    24 thousand Km Highways will be constructed in first phase of Bharatmala Project.
•    Foundation stone of two projects were laid down in the function, which include National Highway from Raisinghnagar to Poogal and Khajuwala to Poogal and Poogal to Naukha-Bap sections of NH-911.


All religion prayer organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram in Gujarat
•    Gujarat is paying rich tribute to its son of soil father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi on his death anniversary today.
•    All religion prayer has been organized at Sabarmati Gandhi Ashram this morning. 
•    Several functions have been organized at Kirti Mandir in Porbandar- the birthplace of Mahatma Gandhi.
•    People will also observe two minutes silence at 11 am in respect to the father of the nation Mahatma Gandhi.


India improves its global corruption ranking in 2018: Study
•    India has improved its ranking on a global corruption index in 2018 by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41.
•    In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind at 87th and 117th position, respectively.
•    According to the rankings released by an anti-corruption watchdog, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.


Obituary

Former Defence Minister George Fernandes passes away in New Delhi 
•    Former Defence Minister and Anti-Emergency Crusader George Fernandes passed away in New Delhi. He was 88.
•    One of the most prominent leaders of the socialist movement in the 1970s, George Fernandes was a senior Janata Dal leader before he founded the Samata Party. 
•    He was elected to the Lok Sabha 9 times and once to the Rajya Sabha.
•    He also served as Union Minister for Railways, Communications and Industry. 
•    George Fernandes was also a trade unionist, agriculturist, and journalist. As President of the All India Railwaymen's Federation he led the Railway strike involving 1.5 million workers in 1974, resulting in thousands being sent to jail.


International News

UAE, Saudi central banks launch common digital currency called 'Aber' 
•    The central banks of the UAE and Saudi Arabia have launched a common digital currency called "Aber", which will be used in financial settlements between the two countries through Blockchains and Distributed Ledgers technologies.
•    It will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable banks to directly deal with each other in conducting financial remittances.
•    Through this digital currency, both the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAECB) and the Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessments of risks.


Myanmar parliament approves step toward charter change
•    Myanmar's parliament has voted to create a committee to propose amendments to the country's military-enacted constitution, which grants the armed forces the power to block any change.
•    The proposal to form the committee was presented by a member of the ruling National League for Democracy party of leader Aung San Suu Kyi, which took power in 2016 after more than five decades of military or military-backed rule.
•    The 2008 constitution gives the military control of national security ministries and 25 per cent of legislative seats, enough to prevent any constitutional changes, which require the support of more than 75 per cent of lawmakers.


Awards

Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal among 24 honoured with Sahitya Akademi Award 
•    Renowned Hindi writer Chitra Mudgal, Dogri writer Inderjeet Kesar, Kannada writer KG Nagarajappa and Kashmiri story writer Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq were among 24 writers, who were honoured with the Sahitya Akademi Award 2018.
•    President of the Sahitya Akademi Chandrasekhar Kambar presented these awards at a function in New Delhi.
•    The awards were given for 24 different languages. The award was given to Chitra Mudgal for her book 'post box no 203 Nalla Sopara', which was based on the life of a transgender.
•    Inderjeet Kesar got the award for his Dogri novel- Bhagirath based on challenges faced by human beings. 
•    K. G Nagarajappa bagged the award for Anushreni- Yajamanike which is a collection of Kannada essays. 
•    Mushtaq Ahmad Mushtaq received the award for his collection of 18 Kashmiri short stories - Aakh.
 

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Important Current Affairs 29th January 2019

International News

World Steel Association Report
The World Steel Association has released a Report highlighting various trends related to the Industry, they are:

•    China is the largest producer of crude steel and it accounts for more than 51 per cent of global production. China’s share has been increased from 50.3 per cent in 2017 to 51.3 per cent in 2018.
•    The production in China increased by 6.6 per cent from 870.9 MT in 2017to 928.3 million tonnes (MT) in 2018.
•    India has replaced Japan as the world’s second-largest steel producing country.
•    The Steel production in India increased by 4.9 per cent from 101.5 MT in 2017 to 106.5 MT in 2018.
•    The global crude steel production increased by 4.6 per cent from 1,729.8 MT in 2017 to 1,808.6 MT in 2018.
•    Other countries in the Top 10 list of steel producing nations include US at United States, at the 4th position as the country produced 86.7 MT of crude steel in 2018, South Korea (72.5 MT, 5th place), Russia (71.7 MT, 6th), Germany (42.4 MT, 7th), Turkey (37.3 MT, 8th), Brazil (34.7 MT, 9th) and Iran (25 MT, 10th).

Australia Day: January 26 

Australia celebrates 26th January as Australia Day which marks the landing of the First Fleet, a convoy of 11 ships carrying convicts, at Port Jackson in 1788. It also marks the founding of the colony New South Wales.

How the Australia Day came into being?
On the 30th anniversary of the founding of the colony in 1818, the Governor of New South Wales celebrated the day with a 30-gun salute and a holiday for all government employees.

Initially, the celebrations were confined to New South Wales. The first founding day was celebrated on 1838, 50 years after the First Fleet arrived in New South Wales. By 1926, almost all states of Australia were celebrating the Australia Day and it was being referred to as Anniversary Day in New South Wales.

From 1946, January 26 was celebrated as Australia Day all over the country with the public holiday.
 

National News

Two Day International Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation inaugurated in New Delhi 

The 3rd Stock Taking Conference on Tiger Conservation was inaugurated in New Delhi today. Third in a series of Stock Taking Conferences, this is the second to be held in India after 2012 and is expected to have wide ranging discussions on the status of the Global Tiger Recovery Program (GTRP) by the 13 tiger range countries besides deliberations on combating wildlife trafficking.

Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, who is also the Chairman of the National Tiger Conservation Authority said on the inauguration that conservation of tigers is a duty which has to be meticulously pursued and more innovative ways needs to be devised so that we can better the targets adopted by tiger range countries in 2010 at St. Petersburg, Russia. “The New India that we envisage is not only for humans but for every aspect including wildlife”, said Dr. Vardhan.


National Conference on “Prison Design” to begin in Visakhapatnam 

The first ever National Conference on “Prison Design” will begin in Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh tomorrow (29th January 2019).   The two-day conference is being hosted by the DG Prison, Andhra Pradesh on the behalf of State and is being   sponsored by the Bureau of Police Research & Development (BPR&D).  

The Deputy Chief Minister (Home & Disaster Management), Andhra Pradesh, Shi N. Chinarajappa will inaugurate the National Conference.  This conference aims to provide a platform to the Sr. Police officers, Prison officers and Architects from Prison Department and Police Housing Corporation to meet and deliberate upon on the various issues relating with planning, Design and Constructions of prison keeping in view the safety and security need as well as administrative ease of day to day functioning of the prison.  The idea of conference is also to incorporate new construction technology, Information and Communication Technologies and modern safety and security gadgets in Prison Administration, besides ensuring conducive living environment in a holistic sense.

Atal Setu of Goa 

Chief Minister of Goa Manohar Parrikar inaugurated the “Atal Setu” on the Mandovi river in Goa.
The important features of the bridge are:

•    It is a four-lane 5.1-km long cable-stayed bridge connects state capital Panaji with north Goa.
•    This four-lane bridge weighs at 2.5 lakh tonnes is equivalent to the weight of 570 Boeing aircraft.
•    The bridge has been built by 1 lakh cubic metres of high strength, high performance concrete enough to fill 40 Olympic size swimming pools.
•    13,000 tonnes of corrosion resistant reinforcement steel, 32,000 square metres of structural steel plates and 1,800 kilometres of high tensile pre-stressing strands have gone into making the bridge.
•    The bridge utilizes 88 high tensile strength cables in the state-of-art single place harp type cable stay system and a real-time force monitoring mechanism.


Steel Ministry to set up Safety Directorate 

Ministry of Steel,Government of India, held its Parliamentary Consultative Committee meeting in Goa today chaired by the Minister of Steel, Chaudhary Birender Singh. The issues discussed atthe meeting were mining activities of CPSEs under Steel ministry and safety in Steel Plants.

At the end of the Parliamentary Consultative Committeemeeting, the Steel Minister addressedmedia persons and emphasized the importance of safety in the production of iron and steel which is a complex and hazardous activity.The Minister said that recognising the need to prevent injuries and accidents and provide a healthy working environment and also guard against all possible hazards and risks, it has been decided to set up a Safety Directorate which will become operationalsoon. This directorate will oversee the safety standards in the steel industry. Steel Minister said both its CPSEs, Steel Authority of India Limited and RashtriyaIspat Nigam Limited(RINL), have comprehensive safety policies.

Union Minister Patnaik launches Rs 1,100 crore Infra projects in Ganjam district 

Shri Naveen Patnaik laid the foundation stone for 231 projects worth Rs 715 crore and inaugurated 48 projects in the Ganjam District of Odisha. Some of the Major Projects inaugurated by Naveen Patnaik are a 10-bedded geriatric ward (Rs 40 crore), bleaching store (Rs 29.64 crore), district vaccine store (Rs 79 crore) and Construction of OPD for eye department at the district headquarter hospital and city hospital. Foundation stone for various projects was laid during the visit of Naveen Patnaik including Railway over the bridge at Jagannathpur and Ambapua with an estimated cost of Rs 30 and Rs 35 crore respectively and 9 Major Rail project (Rs 113.51 crore). Foundation stone was also laid for the development of infrastructure of 11 tourism projects costing Rs. 4.78 crore in the district.
 

appointments

Dr Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed as Regional Director WHO SOUTH EAST Asia

Dr. Poonam Khetrapal Singh appointed Regional Director for World Health Organization South-East Asia, for a second five-year term. Her second term of office will begin on 1 February 2019. She is the first woman to become Regional Director of WHO South-East Asia Region Previous year, Thailand became the first in Asia-Pacific to eliminate mother-to-child transmission of HIV and syphilis. 
About World Health Organisation (WHO) Headquarters: Geneva, Switzerland 
Head: Tedros Adhanom 
Founded: 7 April 1948
 

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Important Current Affairs 28th January 2019

National News

Supreme Court refuses to stay amendments to SC/ST Act 
The Supreme Court has refused to stay the amendments to Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Amendment Bill, 2018. These amendments were brought in to nullify the safeguards instituted by the Supreme Court to prevent its misuse.
Safeguards proposed by Supreme Court
Expressing concerns over the misuse of the various provisions under the Scheduled Castes and the Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, the Supreme Court had proposed following safety mechanisms:
Provision of anticipatory bail
•    Approval of Senior Superintendent of Police to arrest those accused under this act.
•    Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP) to conduct a preliminary enquiry to find out whether there is a prima facie case under Act.


Yuva Swabhiman Yojana 
The government of Madhya Pradesh has announced the Yuva Swabhiman Yojana to provide employment for the unemployed youth from the economically weaker sections of the society.
About the Scheme
The features of the Yuva Swabhiman Yojana scheme are:
•    It aims to provide employment to the youth belonging to the weaker section of the society mainly in urban areas of the state.
•    The scheme aims to provide 100 days of employment to youngsters from economically weaker sections of the society in urban areas.
•    The youths would also be given skill training by the government.
The component of skill training has been added to enable the youth to explore the available opportunities. To enhance the job opportunities the government of Madhya Pradesh has also announced changes in industrial policy with a clause under which industries would be eligible to get the state government incentives only if they hire 70 per cent staff from Madhya Pradesh.


Ministry of Defence Launches ‘RDP INDIA 2019’ 
Asia new initiative in sync with the Digital India campaign of the Government, Ministry of Defence had launched a mobile app 'RDP India 2019' on the Republic Day, with the intent of making available the highlights of the Republic Day event, not only to the spectators at Rajpath, but also to the general public all over the world.
This app contains information about the Parade on Rajpath, New Delhi, including Order of the March, details of the tableaux presented by different States and Ministries, children cultural performances, fly past and names of recipients of Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Bal Puraskar 2019. It was extremely informative to the spectators witnessing the Parade and was widely appreciated. The app also hadthe provision for live streaming of the Parade.


The Kumbh contributes to infrastructure Development at Prayagraj City 
•    Kumbh and Mahakumbh have always proved very significant contributors to the Prayagraj district in terms of infrastructure development and growth in civic amenities. But this year Prayagraj Kumbh has changed the face of entire city and suburbs. 
•    Investment of crores for the infrastructure development in the town by Prayagraj Development Authority has not only widened most of the roads particularly Sangam, Public places and historical buildings bound roads but has also beautified most of the squares. Ths squares have been left with artistic sculptures and statues. Encroachments occupying the roads for last several years have been removed amicably and even religious constructions on the roads have been removed without any trouble. 
•    Vehicular Transport has been strengthend and roads have been freed from traffic jams due to removal of encroachments. About 3000 encroachments have been removed from about 65 roads in different parts of the Prayagraj town. These illegal constructions were continuing for last several years. About 150 kilometres of road has been constructed in the city area under the drive to widen roads. Connectivity from all railway and bus stations and Airport has been strengthened connecting most parts of the city. 
•    About five over bridges have been constructed in view of the Kumbh at different places and it has smoothened road traffic at railway crossings and places like Allahabad High Court. A new civil Airport has come to facilitate the visiting devotees and tourists. Newly constructed Airport has linked Prayagraj to several important cities including Kolkata, Nagpur, Indore, Lucknow, New Delhi, Bengluru, Ahmadabad, Dehradun and Patna with Air services.


National Conclave on Technical Textiles at Mumbai 
Ministry of Textiles will hold National Conclave on Technical Textiles on 29th January 2019 in Mumbai. The event will also be a curtain raiser for TechnoTex 2019.The conclave will be presided over by the Union Minister of Textiles, Smriti Zubin Irani.
The release of HSN codes by Government of India for technical textiles will be one of the major highlights of the conclave.
Several panel discussions will be held on subjects like administrative consolidation of technical textiles items, manufacturing possibilities and import substitution, benefits of standardization and global best practices, technical textiles codes for New India, investment opportunityin technical textiles sector and research & development in technical textiles by eminent panellists drawn from various Central Government departments, NITI Aayog, IITs and textile industry.


Minister of Railways & Coal Shri Piyush Goyal Announces ‘Vande Bharat Express’ 
Minister of Railways & Coal, Shri Piyush Goyal announced the name Vande Bharat Express for Train 18, acknowledging it is made-in-India status. He called it a ‘vandaniya’ step towards realisation of New India vision. This train set has been manufactured by Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in the period of 18 months under 'Make in India' program.
Since the launch of Rajdhani trains, Vande Bharat Express is the next major leap for Indian Railways in terms of speed and convenience. It is India's first semi-high speed train equipped with world class passenger amenities.
It can achieve high speeds (max speed of 160 kmph) due to faster acceleration & deceleration and will reduce journey time by 25% to 45%. Scheduled commute between New Delhi & Varanasi will take approximately 8 hours making it 40-50% faster than the fastest train currently connecting these two cities.
 

International News

South Asian Nitrogen Hub 
The British government has announced a research project, South Asian Nitrogen Hub to study nitrogen pollution in India and South Asia. The project led by UK’s Centre for Ecology and Hydrology will partner with 50 organisations from the UK and South Asia. The Indian Institutions partnering the study are:
•    National Institute of Oceanography
•    Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
•    Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
•    Jawaharlal Nehru University
•    Aligarh Muslim University
•    National Physical Laboratory
•    TERI University
The project aims to study the impact of different forms of nitrogen pollution, particularly looking at nitrogen in agriculture in eight countries of South Asia which includes India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Maldives.


Nari-Shakti is the Oxford Dictionaries Hindi Word of the year for 2018 
The Oxford Dictionaries announced that the word ‘Nari Shakti’ which is derived from Sanskrit has been chosen as the Hindi Word of the year for 2018. The Announcement was made during a session at Jaipur Literature Festival which is being held at Diggi Palace in Jaipur, Rajasthan.
 

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