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Current Affairs 2019

The value of Current Affairs in Civil Service Examinations is enormous. This is the most critical part of both Prelims and Mains Exam. Aspirants should study in depth to understand the significance of current affairs for the Union Public Service Commission. In fact, all the questions in Civil Service Exams are framed around current affairs. Questions are not asked directly for current news and information in the exam. Questions are framed by combining current affairs with practical knowledge. The primary motive behind this type of strategy is to check the ability of correlation a candidate can make to the fact.

Current Affairs Essays

Why current affairs is more important in Civil Service Exam?

Success in Prelims and Mains Exam is directly related to an aspirant’s awareness in current affairs. Preparation of current affairs for UPSC is the key to unlock the exam. It requires practice and revision in a well-connected manner...

In such a scenario the preparation of current affairs topics related to India and the world is an important part of your preparations. The students have to be aware of the happening in India and around the world as this portion is an integral part of the general studies paper.

In order to make you ready for the challenges of the Current Affairs preparation, we are covering the current affairs topics on a regular basis.

Our current topics are categorised in such a way that it includes; political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, government's scheme and policies and international affairs.

We provide you comprehensive topics of preparation that covers not only India's current scenario but also international events. We also cover Indian news headlines and other important international events under the current affairs segment.

For the very purpose of getting you ready for the challenge that is current news and views in India, we are covering the current affairs 2019 on a regular basis. Our hot topics are categorised such that they include political affairs, current news, science news, general knowledge, current government affairs and international affairs. Only studying India's current scenario or political affairs is not sufficient as you have to cover international events and affairs along with the Indian news space, as well as important and current events in the field of science and sports.



Current Affairs News


Current affairs books and magazine

Current Affairs March 10 to March 16

International Current News

  • European Union: It is a political and economic union of 28 member states that are located primarily in Europe.The European Union is planning to expand its blacklist of tax havens and is planning to add 10 more countries. According to an official, 'It is expected that the updated blacklist will contain 15 countries, and the updated gray list contains 23 countries. The list was first put together in 2017 to name and shame non-cooperative jurisdictions for tax purposes and will be amended at a meeting of EU economy and finance ministers meet in Brussels'. Seven countries are to be moved back from a gray list because commitments previously made have not been respected. These are Aruba, Belize, Bermuda, Fiji, Oman, Vanuatu and Dominica. They are joined by five more countries entering the naughty list for the first time, whose tax regimes, according to the Commission's assessment, have gotten worse over the past months, these are Barbados, the United Arab Emirates — that's still being debated — and the Marshall Islands.
  • China: It is a populous nation in East Asia whose vast landscape encompasses grassland, desert, mountains, lakes, rivers and large coastline. China has blocked India's bid to declare Jaish-e-Mohammed chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist for the fourth time. Action comes despite the India's huge diplomatic pressure to ban the JeM chief, who is the mastermind behind the ghastly suicide bomb attack in Jammu and Kashmir, which left 44 CRPF jawans dead. After the February-14 Pulwama terrorist attack, the US, the UK and France had moved the United Nations (UN) to declare Masood a global terrorist on February 27. However, China has again chosen to side with its 'all-weather friend' Pakistan, citing it wanted a solution (of the conflict in J&K) 'acceptable to all'.

National Current News

  • New oil and Gas Exploration Policy: Government of India has announced a new policy for oil and Gas exploration. As per the policy, the government will not charge any share of profit on hydrocarbons produced from less explored areas as it looks to attract the elusive private and foreign investment to raise domestic output. According to experts, this move is strategic move, since it breaks away from the two-and-a-half decade-old practice of having a uniform contractual regime for all sedimentary basins in the country, the new policy provides for different rules for areas that already have producing fields and ones where commercial production of oil and gas is yet to be established. Irrespective of the basins, producers will get complete marketing and pricing freedom for oil and gas in future bid rounds.
  • Guidelines for responsible business conduct: It is a new guidelines released by Ministry of Corporate Affairs under the goverment of India. The Ministry has revised the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Business, 2011 (NVGs) and formulated the National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct (NGRBC). These guidelines urge businesses to actualise the principles in letter and spirit. These principles are, 1) Businesses should conduct and govern themselves with integrity in a manner that is Ethical, Transparent and Accountable. 2) Businesses should provide goods and services in a manner that is sustainable and safe. 3) Businesses should respect and promote the well-being of all employees, including those in their value chains. 4) Businesses should respect the interests of and be responsive to all their stakeholders. 5) Businesses should respect and promote human rights. 6) Businesses should respect and make efforts to protect and restore the environment. 7) Businesses, when engaging in influencing public and regulatory policy, should do so in a manner that is responsible and transparent. 8) Businesses should promote inclusive growth and equitable development. 9) Businesses should engage with and provide value to their consumers in a responsible manner.
  • Cloud Seeding: Cloud seeding uses planes to spray clouds with chemicals to condense smaller particles into larger rain droplets. Karnataka approves cloud seeding, hoping to influence the upcoming monsoon and capture as much water as possible from the rain clouds, Karnataka government has pushed a tender call for cloud seeding operations. According to news reports, cloud seeding will enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. The project is expected to cost ₹50 crore each year. The tenders should have been out by February, giving enough time for preparation for the monsoon. However, the department managed to get the required approvals and sanction for work before the enforcement of model code of conduct on Sunday. A contractor is expected to be chosen by April-end and, officials said, the cloud-seeding planes could take to the skies by June 20.
  • Vastradan Campaign : It is a campaign launched by erstwhile royal family of Udaipur to donate clothers. Vastradan Campaign initiated has created a Guinness World Record. According to an official release, the campaign has created a Guiness World Record for the largest collection of clothes for donation. The campaign had collected more than 3 lakh items of clothing. Through the Vastradan Campaign, over 3,29,250 pieces of clothing from over 76,000 donors were collected and distributed to the needy. The campaign reached out to over 120 schools, 15 colleges and around 30 NGOs. The certificate for the Guinness World Record was handed over to Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar, a descendant of Rajput ruler Maharana Pratap. The campaign was started as an innovative exercise in giving by reaching out to the citizens rather organizations. The campaign highlighted the empathy of the citizen’s especially young boys and girls.
  • Enemy properties: It can be expanded to ‘guidelines for Enemy Property Order, 2018’. Centre has allowed the state government to put Enemy properties to public use. State governments can now put to public use, some enemy properties that were left behind by people who left India for Pakistan and China after 1965 and 1971 wars. A notification was issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs on March 8 amending the guidelines for disposal of the Enemy Property Order, 2018. The move came amid the Centre's efforts to sell around 9,400 enemy properties, valued at around Rs 1lakh crore. In November last year, the government gave an in-principle clearance for the sale of 6.50 crore shares valued at around Rs 3,000 crore belonging to those people who left India for Pakistan and China. The order has been amended to facilitate usages of enemy property by the state government exclusively for public use. According to a government report, India holds assets worth at least Rs 1.07 lakh crore, including 11,882 acres of land, belonging to people who migrated to Pakistan after 1965 and 1971 wars. Besides this, there are 149 immovable enemy properties of Chinese nationals, spread over Karnataka, West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Delhi.
  • The Star Labelling Programs: It is a program formulated by Bureau of Energy Efficiency. The program will now include these two appliances for grant of Star Rating in terms of their energy performance. Initially, the program for above two appliances will be implemented on a voluntary basis and will be valid up to 31st December 2020. In a bid to optimize energy performance of Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines, Ministry of Power, Government of India expanded its ambitious Standards & Labelling (Star Rating) program for Energy Efficient for Appliances to cover the Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines (with revised parameters) in the country. This initiative will promote advancement of technology and energy efficiency in Microwaves Ovens which is becoming a popular household gadget. As regard to the launch of revised program for Washing Machines It is estimated savings of over 3.0 Billion Units of electricity at consume-end through adoption of Star Rated Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines by 2030. This would be equivalent to Green House Gases (GHG) reduction of 2.4 Million-ton of CO2 by the year 2030 through these initiatives. The size of Indian Microwave Oven market stood at 1.21 million units in year FY 2017-18 and is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of around 2%. Whereas, the size of Indian Washing Machine market stood at 6.1 million units in year FY 2017-18 and is projected to grow at a CAGR of around 8% fuelled by a growth in urbanization. Therefore, it is important to optimize energy performance of Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines. This will create awareness amongst the domestic consumers to encourage transition towards energy efficient microwave ovens and Washing machines.
  • Pulse polio program 2019: It is a government programme to eradicate polio eradication. The programme was launched by President of India Ram Nath Kovind, who administered polio drops to children less than five years old, at the Rahstrapati Bhawan in New Delhi. More than 17 crore children of less than five years across the country will be given polio drops as part of the drive. Universal Immunization Programme is focusing to protect children from more diseases than ever before and has introduced several new vaccines like Pneumococcal Conjugate Vaccine, Rotavirus vaccine, and Measles-Rubella vaccine in the recent past. To provide additional protection to our children, Government has also introduced the injectable Inactivated Polio Vaccine into its routine immunization program. Along with Universal Immunization Programme of the country, government has also launched Mission Indradhanush to accelerate our goal to achieve more than 90% full immunization coverage. More than 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women have been vaccinated through Mission Indradhanush drives.
  • J& K Return Policy for Militants: It is a draft policy encourages militants in J&K to give up arms. The policy is under consideration of the J&K government headed by Governor Satya Pal Malik. Jobs, reformative measures, and a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 are the key points of draft to encourage militants hailing from the state to give up arms. The policy draft is presently at the pre-SAC stage. It is subject to clearance by the State Home Department and the Chief Secretary. The State Administrative Council (SAC) is the body governing J&K, which is under President’s rule, and is led by the Governor and includes his four advisors and Chief Secretary B V R Subramanyam. According to the draft, the new initiative addresses the need for rehabilitation at a policy level through a two-pronged approach: reformative measures and opportunities of livelihood. There is also provision for a monthly stipend of Rs 6,000 for a militant who surrenders with a view to encourage him to join the mainstream. The initiative, however, will not cover militants found to have been involved in heinous crimes.
  • IT Corridor: It is a location which has lot of IT related businesses and facilitates growth. Aiming to facilitate partnerships between Indian and Chinese Companies, India has launched its third IT corridor in China. The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) entered into a partnership with China's Xuzhou city from Jiangsu Province in China to help develop the IT corridor. The IT industry body has already launched such corridors at Dalian and Guiyang cities to cash in on the burgeoning Chinese IT industry market. Through its previous similar initiatives in China, NASSCOM has brought to the fore opportunities with over 300 companies where more than 10 Indian SME companies have signed deals worth 31 Million RMB (USD 4.5 million). The previous IT corridors in Dalian and Guiyang have already sprung up opportunities to the tune of 24 Million RMB (USD 4.6 million) and 62 Million RMB (USD 8.9 million) respectively, it said.
  • National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA): It is a government regulatory agency that controls the prices of pharmaceutical drugs in India. NPPA has put out list of 390 anti-cancer non-scheduled medicines with MRP reduction up to 87 %. NPPA had put 42 anti-cancer drugs under 30% Trade Margin cap. Manufacturers and Hospitals were directed to convey revised MRP, to be effective from 8th March, 2019, based on the Trade Margin (TM) formula. 390 brands i.e. 91% of the 426 brands reported by manufacturers, showed downward price movement. The average out of pocket expenditure for cancer patients is 2.5 times that for other diseases. This move is expected to benefit 22 lakh cancer patients in the country and would result in annual savings of approx. Rs. 800 crores to the consumers. The Trade Margin rationalisation for 42 anti-cancer drugs was rolled out as Proof of Concept, stressing on the new paradigm of self-regulation by the Industry. The manufacturers of these 42 drugs have been directed not to reduce production volumes of brands under regulation.
  • Marayur Jaggery : It is a traditional and handmade product from Idukki district, Kerala. The jaggery has got the geographical indication (GI) tag. The tag allow the food item safe for consumption while rejuvenating the traditional way of production and ensuring a safe market in future. It has been a long-term demand of farmers in Marayur and Kanthallur grama panchayats, where jaggery is produced without adding any chemicals. Though the Marayur jaggery has always been known for its high quality, fake jaggery with a salty taste was being marketed as Marayur jaggery. It was the persistent efforts made by the Intellectual Property Rights cell, Kerala Agriculture University, from August 2016 that resulted in the jaggery receiving the GI tag. An official said, said that GI tag would help get more acceptance in the internatioanl market for the product. But the farmer should maintain the quality. The GI tag would aid in initiating legal action against fake jaggery being sold as Marayur jaggery. The GI tag was given after considering its quality and speciality.
  • Sirsi Supari : It is kind of aracanut which is grown Yellapura, Siddapura and Sirsi taluks in Karnatakan. This kind of arecanut has got the Geographical Indication (GI) Tag. Totgars’ Cooperative Sale Society Ltd., Sirsi, is the registered proprietor of the GI. The Registrar of Geographical Indications, under the Union government, Chennai issued the certificate to the society on March 4, 2019. Its GI number is 464. According to a release, the particular arecanut which is medium in size, somewhat flat and rounded in shape, somewhat ash coloured, and has a hard seed. The arecanut grown in these taluks have unique features like a round and flattened coin shape, particular texture, size, cross-sectional views, taste, etc. These features are not seen in arecanut grown in any other regions. Its average dry weight is 7.5 g and average thickness is 16 mm. This particular variety has a unique taste due to differences in chemical composition. The total average flavonoids content in it is around 90 whereas in others it is around 80. The total carbohydrates in ‘Sirsi Supari’ are 23% to 26%, total arecoline is 0.11% to 0.13%, total tannin content is 14.5% to 17.5%.
  • Erode Turmeric: Erode turmeric is a rhizome, both finger and bulb obtained from the Erode local cultivar. Erode turmeric has finally got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the Geographical Indication Registry. The Erode Manjal Vanigargal Matrum Kidangu Urimaiyalargal Sangham applied for the GI tag on January 4, 2011, at the office of the Deputy Registrar of GI Registry in Chennai. A Geographical Indication is a name or sign used on certain products that correspond to a specific geographical location or origin. The application and supporting documents said Erode turmeric was a traditional cultivar of India, grown in Erode, pointed out Chinnaraj G. Naidu, Deputy Registrar of Geographical Indications Registry, Chennai. The cultivar is called Erode local, i.e., Chinnanadan.. In its claim for uniqueness, the application said the mean length of the fingers of Erode turmeric was about 4.15cm and the mean circumference was about 3.03cm. The mean bulb length of the mother rhizome is about 4.54cm and the mean circumference is 6.54cm. Quality parameters of the turmeric included 2.5 to 4.5% of curcumin content, a golden yellow colour and resistence to pests after boiling.

Defence

  • Pinaka Guided Weapons System : It is a guided weapons system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system. The weapon systems impacted the intended targets with high precision and achieved desired accuracies. Telemetry Systems tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight path and all the mission objectives have been met. Defence Research and Development organisation(DRDO) has successfully test fired the PINAKA guided WEAPON rocket system from Pokhran range in Rajasthan. An official release said, the weapon It said, the indigenously developed Guided PINAKA by DRDO will significantly boost the capability of the artillery to make precision hits.
  • Combat Casualty Drugs : It is a new range of combat casualty drugs developed to save security personnel during grave injuries. According to a release, 90 per cent of gravely wounded security personnel succumbing to injuries within a few hours. In order to reduce the casualities, DRDO's medical laboratory has come up with a range of 'combat casualty drugs' that can extend the golden hour till the trooper is shifted to hospital. The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings and glycerated salines, all of which can save lives in the event of warfare in jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks. According to developers of the drugs at the Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences, a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation, chances of survival and minimum disability are highest when effective first aid care is given within the golden hour. Scientists at INMAS, entrusted with research and development in a number of areas concerning the defence sector, said the main battlefield emergencies are excess bleeding, sepsis, shock, hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) and pain.
  • Indian Arms Import: India is the second largest importer of weapons in the world, as per the annual report ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers-2018’ by the think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). According to the release, Saudi Arabia displaces India as world’s largest importer of weapons. After maintaining its position of world’s largest arms importer for about 8 years, India dropped down to be the second largest importer of weapons during 2014-18. Saudi Arabia is now the world’s largest weapons importer. India accounted for 9.5 percent of the global total imports during 2014-18, while Saudi Arabia accounted for 12 percent of the total imports during the period.

Current Affairs March 03 to March 09

International Current News

  • Iran: It is also called Persia and officially known as the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia. With over 81 million inhabitants, Iran is the world's 18th most populous country. Iran has announced the successful flight test of its new Hoveizeh long-range cruise missile. The announcement has coincided with celebrations for the country’s 1979 Islamic revolution. According to an official, 'The test of the Hoveizeh cruise missile was carried out successfully at a range of 1,200 km and accurately hit the set target. The Hoveizeh, part of the Soumar family of cruise missiles unveiled in 2015, has a range of over 1,350 km (840 miles) and is designed to be used against ground targets. Cruise missiles with a range of over 1,000 km are classified as long range. The Hoveizeh missile needs a very short time for its preparedness and can fly at a low altitude. An undated video released by the defense ministry showed the Hoveizeh being test-fired from a mobile launcher. Hoveizeh is manufactured by the Aerospace Industries Organization and will be used by the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force. Iran began ten days of celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution which deposed the monarch Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, replacing his government with an Islamic republic under the Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini.
  • Macedonia: It is a country in the Balkan Peninsula in Southeast Europe. Macedonia has signed an accord to join NATO to become the 30th member of the US-led alliance. At a formal signing of the NATO accession protocol, Macedonia’s Foreign Minister Nikola Dimitrov hailed the moment as showing that the country will never walk alone once in the alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said the admittance of a new member highlighted that all European nations who meet the entrance criteria could join the regional alliance. However, Moscow has continually rejected NATO's position, saying that by taking in Balkan members, the alliance is undermining security in the region. The Macedonia-NATO accord follows a deal with Greece ending a 27-year-old dispute over Macedonia's name. The accord must now be ratified by allied governments.
  • Thailand: It is a Southeast Asian country. It's known for tropical beaches, opulent royal palaces, ancient ruins and ornate temples displaying figures of Buddha. Siamese fighting fish has been named Thailand’s national aquatic animal. Known in the Western World as a betta fish, the underwater brawler is popular in home aquariums for its iridescent body and many-hued tail. According to an official statement, cabinet of Thailand greenlighted a proposal for the fighting fish to be the national fish, citing its historical and cultural significance. It brings up feelings of nostalgia for older generations in Thailand – which changed its name from Siam in 1939. They remember a time when the fish were traded and sparred in childhood games. Children looking for the fish today will mostly see it in pet shops.

National Current News

  • National Annual Rural Sanitation Survey (NARSS): It was the new survey conducted by Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation. According to the report, over 93 per cent households in rural India have access to toilets and of these households, 96.5 per cent uses them. The survey was conducted by an independent verification agency under the supervision of the Ministry of Drinking Water and Sanitation, also re-confirmed the open defecation free (ODF) status of 90.7 per cent villages which were declared so by various districts and states. The survey was conducted between November 2018 and February 2019 and covered 92,040 households in 6,136 villages across States and Union Territories of India. It was found that 93.1 per cent of households have access to toilets during the survey period and 96.5 per cent of those who had access to toilets, used them. 90.7 per cent villages which were previously declared and verified as ODF were re-confirmed to be ODF. The remaining villages also had sanitation coverage of about 93 per cent. 95.4 per cent of the villages surveyed found to have minimal litter and minimal stagnant water. The government said since its launch in October 2014, the Swachh Bharat Mission has changed the behaviour of hundreds of millions of people with respect to toilet access and usage. 500 million people have stopped defecating in the open since the SBM began, down from 550 million at the beginning of the programme to less than 50 million.
  • NABL : It is the abbreviation for National Accreditation Board for Testing and Calibration Laboratories. It is an autonomous society providing Accreditation (Recognition) of Technical competence of a testing, calibration, medical laboratory & Proficiency testing provider (PTP) & Reference Material Producer (RMP). NABL has launched another voluntary scheme called Quality Assurance Scheme (QAS) for Basic Composite (BC) Medical Laboratories (Entry Level). These laboratories perform only basic routine tests like blood glucose, blood counts, rapid tests for common infections, liver & kidney function tests and routine tests of urine will be eligible to apply under this scheme. To encourage small pathology laboratories, the base criterion of the scheme is based on the requirements enlisted in Gazette notification dated 18th May, 2018 by Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW) to amend Clinical Establishments (Central Government) Rules, 2012. The scheme requires minimal documentation and a nominal fee has been prescribed for availing the scheme. Components of competence assessment have been added for assuring quality and validity of test results. The scheme will help to bring quality at the grass root level of India’s health system where laboratories follow the imperatives of quality in all their processes.
  • Rs 20 Coin: The Government has launched first ever ₹20 coin which will be shaped like a 12-edged polygon with design of grains to denote farm dominance in the country. The ₹20 coin will weigh 8.54 gm and its outside diameter will be 27mm with the outer ring made of nickel silver and the centre piece of Nickel brass. The face of the new ₹20 coin shall bear the ‘Lion Capitol of Ashoka Pillar’ with ‘Satyameva Jayate’ inscribed below. The left periphery will have the word ‘Bharat’ in Hindi and the right periphery will have the word ‘India’ in English. The reverse side of the coin would have the denominational value ‘20’ in the international numerals along with the Rupee symbol. The design of grains depicting the agricultural dominance of the country is flanked on the left periphery of the coin. The year of minting in international numerals shall be shown on centre of left periphery of the coin.
  • Kendriya Vidyalaya: It is a system of central government schools in India. The Union Cabinet, chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the setting up of 50 new KendriyaVidyalayas under Civil/Defence Sector all over the country. The Vidyalayas are proposed to be opened in the Civil/Defense Sector and once they are fully functional they will provide quality education to approximately 50,000 students once they become fully operational. The new KVs will be set up at Gaya and Supaul in Bihar, Sonitpur and Darrang in Assam, Bilaspur and Kondagaon in Chhattisgarh, Yamunanagar, Gurgaon and Sonepat in Haryana, Agar-Malwa, Alirajpur, Anuppur, Mandsaur and Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh, Coimbatore, Tiruppur, Shivgangai and Madurai in Tamil Nadu, Sepahijala in Tripura, Varanasi, Fatehpur, Hamirpur, Lakhimpur Kheri, Agra and Behraich in Uttar Pradesh, Udham Singh Nagar and Champawat in Uttarakhand. The KVs will also build in Siligudi in West Bengal, Koderma, Sarai Kelakharsawan and West Singhbhum in Jharkhand, Belgaum and Bengaluru in Karnataka, Pratapgarh amd Dausa in Rajasthan, Guntur in Andhra Pradesh, Anjaw, Namsai and Upper Subansari in Arunachal Pradesh, Mandi in Himachal Pradesh, Doda in Jammu and Kashmir, Ernakulam in Kerala, Gadchiroli in Maharashtra and Keonjhar, Ganjam, and Rayagada in Odisha.
  • National Common Mobility Card : It is a bank-issued debit, credit or prepaid card which can be used for payments for all transport facilities including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail. The stored value on card supports offline transaction across all travel needs with minimal financial risk to involved stakeholders. The service area feature of this card supports operator specific applications e.g. monthly passes, season tickets etc. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the payment card which can be used to pay transport charges across the country.
  • Aadhaar: It is a 12-digit unique identity number that can be obtained by residents of India, based on their biometric and demographic data. President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to an Ordinance that allows voluntary use of Aadhaar as ID proof for obtaining mobile SIM cards and opening bank accounts. The Ordinance — necessitated because the Rajya Sabha could not approve a Bill after its passage by the Lok Sabha — was promulgated recently. It should be noted that the Cabinet approved the promulgation of an Ordinance to give effect to changes proposed in Aadhaar and two others legislations. The amendments provide for stiff penalties for violation of norms set for the use of Aadhaar and violation of privacy. It bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers in cases of individuals who have voluntarily offered the national ID as a means of authentication. The ordinance gives effect to the changes in the Aadhaar Act such as giving a child an option to exit from the biometric ID programme on attaining 18 years of age. The amendments make it clear that anyone not offering Aadhaar cannot be denied any service, be it opening of a bank account or obtaining a mobile phone SIM card.
  • PSBloansin59minutes.com : It is a portal launched in November to provide credit of up to Rs 1 crore to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) in just 59 minutes or less than an hour, in a bid to make banking transparent and hassle-free. The portal has become largest online lending platform in the country with loan sanctions exceeding over Rs 35,000 crore. The platform has reduced the turnaround time from 20-25 days to 59 minutes. Upon approval, the loan is disbursed in 7-8 working days. The automated loan processing system has not only brought in ease, but is also helping in fostering transparency. It has put an end to discretion at the bankers’ end, as in-principle approval of loans does not require human intervention. Due to the linking of data points, no one can game the system now. There is no scope for information asymmetry. It will also end the era of giving false information, such as a different income statement to banks and tax authorities. Since the launch, 1.62 lakh MSME units have been given in-principle approvals, while 1.12 lakh have got a final nod. Of this, 35,517 units have got new loans worth Rs 10,047 crore, while 77,369 units have received renewal loans of Rs 25,609 crore, according to the latest figures. MSME units availing of the loans have to submit details such as income-tax returns, GST data and bank statements to avail of credit facility through this portal.
  • Pradhan Mantri Jivan Yojana: It is a new scheme approved by the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs. The scheme titled Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana aims for providing financial support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock. The JI-VAN Yojana will be supported with total financial outlay of Rs.1969.50 crore for the period from 2018-19 to 2023-24. Out of scheme fund of Rs.1969.50 crore, Rs.1800 crore has been allocated for supporting 12 Commercial projects, Rs.150 crore has been allocated for supporting 10 demonstration Projects and remaining Rs.9.50 crore will be provided to Centre for High Technology (CHT) as administrative charges. Under this Yojana, 12 Commercial Scale and 10 demonstration scale Second Generation (2G) ethanol Projects will be provided a Viability Gap Funding (VGF) support in two phases: a) Phase-I (2018-19 to 2022-23), wherein six commercial projects and five demonstration projects will be supported. b) Phase-II (2020-21 to 2023-24): wherein remaining six commercial projects and five demonstration projects will be supported.
  • Centre for Disability Sports : It is a new facility approved by the Government, aimed at offering sports infrastructure to ensure effective participation of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in sports activities and also enable them to compete at national and international levels. The centre will come up at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh. The facility is expected to be completed in two yeartime, i.e, by 31st March, 2021. Thereafter, it will take another 6 months for the Centre to become operational. Once operational, this Centre will result in employment of 140 personnel. In addition, construction and allied activities will also generate considerable employment opportunities.Setting up of the Centre shall entail an estimated cost of Rs 170.99 crore (Non-recurring Rs.151.16 crore and Recurring Rs 19.83 crore),spread over a period of 5 years. The Centre will have an Outdoor Athletic Stadium, Indoor Sports Complex, Basement Parking Facility; Aquatic Centre having 2 Swimming Pools, one covered Pool and an Outdoor Pool; High Performance Centre with classrooms; medical facilities; Sports Science Centre; hostel facilities for athletes, support facilities including accessible lockers, dining, recreational amenities and Administrative Block. The facilities so developed would be multi-functional centres with provision for training, selection, sports academics and research, medical support, spectator galleries and suitable for holding national/international events.

Science and Technology Current News

  • Geological Survey of India (GSI) : It is a government body and the prime provider of basic earth science information to government, industry and general public, as well as the official participant in steel, coal, metals, cement, power industries and international geoscientific forums. GSI has launched 22 permanent global positioning system (GPS) stations across India to identify seismically hazardous zones and encourage mapping activities. The 22 GPS-Geodetic (pertaining to Geodesy, the science of earth measurement) observatories are located in Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar Vishakhapatnam, Agartala, Itanagar, Mangan, Jammu, Lucknow, Nagpur, Shillong and Little Andaman. The new 13 stations will be located in Aizawl, Faridabad, Uttarkashi, Pithoragarh, Cooch Behar, Zawar, North Andaman, Middle Andaman, South Andaman, Ranchi, Mangalore, Imphal and Chitradurga. These stations are meant to delineate high strain zones for earthquake probability, determine a seismic motion on faults that may lead to a rupture and produce thematic maps with high positional accuracy. The GSI is also keen on getting youngsters interested in geology and has taken several initiatives for this, the first being introduction of geology at the school level.
  • ISRO: It is an acronym for Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO). It is the space agency of the Government of India. It will launch a special programme for School Children called Young Scientist Programme. The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities. The program is thus aimed at creating awareness amongst the youngsters who are the future building blocks of our Nation. This will further help them to appreciate what they are being taught in the school and its real application in Space Science & Technology. ISRO has chalked out this programme to ‘Catch them young’. The programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and the schedule will include invited talks, experience sharing by the eminent scientists, facility and lab visits, exclusive sessions for discussions with experts, practical and feedback sessions. It is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme every year covering CBSE, ICSE and State syllabus. Those who have finished 8th standard and currently studying in 9th standard will be eligible for the programme.

Sports Current News

  • Cricket : It is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of eleven players on a field at the centre of which is a 20-metre (22-yard) pitch. Cricket will be returning to the next Asian Games at Hangzhou 2022. Cricket will be making its entry after the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) added it to its sports programme for the next edition of the continental event. Cricket has struggled to grow beyond its traditional bases and was last played at the Olympics in the 1900 Paris Games. Cricket was added back for Hangzhou at the OCA general assembly in Bangkok. The ICC has been pushing for the game's Olympic return with the shortest 20-over format and hopes to find a place at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles. Cricket will return to the next Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) added it to its sports programme for the next edition of the continental event. Cricket has struggled to grow beyond its traditional bases and was last played at the in the 1900 Paris Games. International Cricket Council (ICC) has been pushing for the game's Olympic return with the shortest 20-over format and hopes it will find a place at the 2028 Games in Los Angeles.

Arts

  • Azaadi Ke Diwane museum: It is a new museum dedicated to the unsung heroes of the country’s freedom struggle. Located in Redfort, the facility was built by Archaeological Survey of India (ASI). It is the fifth in a series of recently inaugurated ones — the others being the Subhash Chandra Bose and INA museum, the Yaad-e-Jallian museum, the Museum on 1857 (on the country’s first war of Independence) the Drishyakala (a museum on Indian Art) — on the sacrifices of India’s freedom fighters. The museum is a modern, state-of-the-art, informative and educational exhibition involving multi-sensory technology to engage the visitors.

Defence

  • AK 203 rifle: It is a derivative of legendary AK-47 rifle. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone of a manufacturing unit of AK-203 rifles in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. The rifles will be manufactured in Amethi under a joint venture between India and Russia. The rifles will be known as Made in Amethi and will help security forces in militant encounters. Modi expressed his gratitude to Russian President Vladimir Putin for making the venture possible in such a short time by his support, Modi accused previous governments of neglecting the armed forces, adding that the manufacture of AK-203, a modernised version of the AK-47, should have started more than eight years ago. Attacking the United Progressive Alliance government, Modi said, “These people sat on Rafale deal for years and when it was time for their government to go, they pushed it into cold storage. When our government assumed office, we finalised it in one-and-a-half years...and the first Rafale aircraft will be in our skies soon.
  • Indian Army: It is the land-based branch and the largest component of Indian Armed Forces. Women officers will be getting permanent commissions in 10 branches of the Indian Army. The Defence Ministry said that it has taken necessary steps to ensure that women, who were earlier inducted for short service commission (SSC), get permanent commission in the armed forces. Permanent commission will be granted to women officers inducted in branches such as Signals, Engineers, Army Aviation, Army Air Defence, Electronics and Mechanical Engineers, Army Service Corps, Army Ordinance Corps and Intelligence. The Short Service Commission (SSC) women officers will have to give their option for permanent commission before completion of four years of commissioned service and they would be able to choose their specialisation. The government had earlier approved the the same for the Air Force, where all branches including fighter pilots are open for women officers. In Indian Navy, all non-sea going branches/cadre/specialisation have been opened for induction of women officers through Short Service Commission.

Economics

  • Cement Industry – India 2018: It is a compendium on the Indian Cement Industry released Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu. The compendium has been prepared by National Council for Cement and Building Materials (NCCBM), in association with cement section of Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT). It contains key information about technology development, challenges and opportunities for Indian cement industry along with an exhaustive directory of cement plants in India. The Indian cement industry is the second largest in the world with an installed capacity of 509 million tonnes per annum in 2018 and cement production of 298 million tonnes in 2018 with 143 integrated cement plants, 102 grinding units, 5 clinkerisation units and 62 mini cement plants in the country.
  • Reserve Bank of India (RBI): It is India's central banking institution, which controls the issuance and supply of the Indian rupee fines three banks for non-compliance of norms. RBI has announced that it has imposed a total penalty of Rs 2.2 crore on private sector lender Axis Bank in two separate cases. A penalty of Rs 2 crore has also been imposed on UCO Bank and Rs 1 crore on Syndicate Bank for violation of norms. The RBI said penalty of Rs 2 crore has been imposed each on Axis Bank and UCO Bank for non-compliance of norms related to payment through cheques. In another case, a penalty of Rs 20 lakh has been imposed on Axis Bank for contravention of the directions related to detection and impounding of counterfeit notes. The penalty on Syndicate Bank has been imposed for violation of guidelines related to checking fraud and managing risk. The RBI, however, said the action on banks is based on deficiencies in regulatory compliance and is not intended to pronounce upon the validity of any transaction or agreement entered into by the bank with its customers.

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