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Important current affairs 2019 january

Important Current Affairs Capsule From 11th January to 20th January 2019 | First of all, thanks for landing this post, if you are searching for the Current Affairs 2019 then we must say you are in the right place.

Important Current Affairs Capsule From 11th January to 20th January 2019


11th January 2019

National:

Sikkim will become the first Indian state to introduce Universal Basic Income
  • Sikkim’s ruling party, the Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), declared to include the Universal Basic Income scheme in its manifesto ahead of the Assembly election in 2019 and aims to implement it by 2022. If everything goes according to the plan, it will be the first state to implement UBI in India.
Six States sign agreement for Renukaji Multipurpose Dam Project
  • An agreement for Renukaji Dam Multipurpose Project will be signed among the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand. The project is aimed at meeting the drinking water needs of these states.
  • Three storage projects are proposed to be constructed on the river Yamuna and two of its tributaries – Tons and Giri in the hilly regions of Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh.
  • These include Lakhwar project on river Yamuna in Uttarakhand, Kishau on river Tons in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh and  Renukaji on river Giri in Himachal Pradesh.
Two new AIIMS for Jammu and Kashmir, One for Gujarat
  • The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has given its approval for a proposal for establishing three new AIIMS at Vijaynagar, Samba, Jammu at a cost of Rs 1661 Crore; Awantipura,Pulwama, Kashmir at a cost of Rs 1828 Crore and Rajkot, Gujarat at a cost of Rs 1195 Crore.
Government launches National Clean Air Programme (NCAP)
  • National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) was launched by Union Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Dr Harsh Vardhan in New Delhi.
  • The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. However, the international experiences and national studies indicate that significant outcome in terms of air pollution initiatives is visible only in the long-term, and hence the programme may be further extended to a longer time horizon after a mid-term review of the outcomes.
  • There will be the use of the Smart Cities program to launch the NCAP in the 43 smart cities falling in the list of the 102 non-attainment cities.
PM-led panel moves Alok Verma out of CBI, Rao back in charge
  • The high-power committee headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi removed Alok Verma as CBI Director, a day after he resumed office following the Supreme Court verdict restoring his position.
  • The panel, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Justice A.K. Sikri — the Chief Justice of India’s nominee on the panel — was of the opinion that Mr Verma had been given an opportunity to present his case before the CVC, in the presence of Justice A.K. Patnaik (retired).
Country’s longest single lane steel cable bridge opened in Arunachal
  • India’s longest 300-metre single lane steel cable suspension bridge was inaugurated by Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Pema Khandu.
  • He also laid the foundation stone for a district secretariat building.
  • The bridge across the Siang river at Yingkiong in Upper Siang district has been named Byorung Bridge.

International:

Opposition leader ‘wins’ DR Congo election
  • Opposition leader Felix Tshisekedi was declared the winner of DR Congo’s presidential election, but his victory was dismissed by the runner-up and questioned by the Catholic Church.
  • If Tshisekedi’s victory is confirmed by the constitutional court, the Democratic Republic of Congo will see its first peaceful democratic transfer of power since it gained independence from Belgium in 1960.

Business & Economy:

Govt allows Iranian bank to open Mumbai branch
  • Iran’s Bank Pasargad will open its branch within the next three months.
  • The Government of India has already given permission to Iran to open a bank branch in Mumbai.

Science & Technology:

IIT-Madras scientists create ‘space fuel’ in lab
  • IIT Madras scientists have created what they call ‘space fuel’ by simulating interstellar conditions in the lab, a method that may be used to convert atmospheric CO2 into a next-generation energy source on Earth.
  • Clathrate hydrates are molecules like methane, carbon dioxide, etc, trapped in well-defined cages of water molecules forming crystalline solids.
  • They are formed at high pressures and low temperatures at places such as the ocean floor, hundreds of metres below the sea level. They are also found in glaciers such as in Siberia.
Centre aims for 20% cut in air pollution by 2024
  • The Centre has launched a programme to reduce particulate matter (PM) pollution by 20-30% in at least 102 cities by 2024.
  • The National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), is envisaged as a scheme to provide the States and the Centre with a framework to combat air pollution.
  • “The NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. This is not a pan-India, but a city-specific programme,”.

Sports:

IWF president named as Chef de Mission for Tokyo Olympics
  • President of the Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Birendra Prasad Baishya, has been named Chef de Mission for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.
  • It is for the first time that the Weightlifting has been accorded with the honour of Chef de Mission for the Olympics.
Mary Kom is World No. 1
  • M.C. Mary Kom’s unprecedented sixth World title last November has propelled her to the top position in the AIBA latest World rankings.
  • In the latest rankings put out by AIBA, Mary Kom is placed the top of the chart in the 48kg weight division with 1700 points.

Miscellaneous:

India Ranks 79th, Japan Tops List Of Most Powerful Passports
  • According to the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access to each country’s travel document affords, India jumped two positions from 81st in 2018 to 79th this year.
  • Japan retained its top spot as the world’s most travel-friendly passport due to the document’s access to 190 countries.
  • Afghanistan, Pakistan and Nepal ranked further low at 104, 102 and 94 respectively.

12th January 2019

National:

PM to inaugurate 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 21st of this month
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas on 21st of this month at Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh.
  • The three days long event will attract many eminent persons of Indian origin from the world over.
  • The first day of the Divas will be dedicated to the youth.
  • There will be seven sessions in the  Pravasi Bharatiya Divas programme
EC panel submits a report on digital media and campaigning during last 48 hours before polls
  • The Election Commission appointed Committee has submitted its report on digital media and campaigning during last 48 hours before polls to the Chief Election Commissioner Sunil Arora.
  • The Committee was constituted under the chairmanship of Sr. Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha.
  • The panel was mandated to review and suggest modifications in the provisions of Section 126 of the Representation of the People Act dealing with campaigning in the last 48 hours and related provisions of the Model Code of Conduct.
Vice President Venkaiah Naidu to inaugurate 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai
  • Vice President of India M Venkaiah Naidu will inaugurate the 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019 in Mumbai.
  • The two-day summit will provide a platform for discussions between Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India.
  • It will also offer new partnerships and investment opportunities in sectors like Artificial Intelligence, big data, agri and food processing, defence and aeronautics, renewable energy and tourism.
Over 1 lakh youths offered job during skill summit in Ranchi
  • Over 1 lakh youths have been given jobs in the private sector during Global Skill Summit 2019 in Jharkhand’s capital Ranchi.
  • Jharkhand became the first state to achieve the feat of giving jobs to over one lakh youths in the private sector.
Three-day 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ organized by WCD Ministry to begin at Leisure Valley, Chandigarh
  • The Ministry of Women and Child Development is organising the three-day 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ at Leisure Valley, Sector-10, Chandigarh, to celebrate and promote women farmers and entrepreneurs in the organic sector from the remotest parts of India.
  • The Women of India Organic Festival has been held annually in New Delhi since 2015 and makes its debut in Chandigarh this year.

International:

Su Tseng-chang appointed as Taiwan PM
  • Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen has appointed Su Tseng-chang as Prime Minister during a Cabinet reshuffle following the ruling Democratic Progressive Party’s heavy losses in local elections.
  • Su is a former premier appointed in 2006 by then-President Chen Shui-bian and was a chairman of Tsai’s Democratic Progressive Party for two terms.
China announces Chang’e-4 mission complete success
  • China announced that the Chang’e-4 mission, the first-ever probe to land on the moon’s dark side, was a complete success.
  • China National Space Administration (CNSA) said, the scientific instruments aboard the probe worked well, and the images taken by it have been sent back to ground control. Images from the moon’s far side show it is surrounded by lots of craters of different sizes.

Business & Economy:

Ashok Chawla resigns as NSE chairman
  • Ashok Chawla resigned as the chairman and public interest director of the National Stock Exchange (NSE) after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) informed a Delhi court that the Centre had given the go-ahead to prosecute five people, including Mr Chawla, in the Aircel-Maxis matter.

Science & technology:

Oceans are heating up at a quickening pace, say scientists
  • The world’s oceans are heating up at an accelerating pace as global warming threatens a diverse range of marine life and a major food supply for the planet.
  • The findings in the U.S. journal Science, led by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, debunk previous reports that suggested a so-called pause in global warming in recent years.
  • “Ocean heating is a very important indicator of climate change.
The first manned mission to space by December 2021: ISRO
  • ISRO is well prepared to meet the targets of launching Gaganyaan manned mission to outer space by December 2021.
  • Under Gaganyaan project, India is planning to send three astronauts to outer space for seven days and bring them back.
  • 332 launches are planned this year. Important among them are Chandrayaaan -2 mission to the moon in mid-April.
  • GSAT-20 Satellite for high bandwidth connectivity to be launched in September-October.
  • ISRO is conceiving a mission to Venus by 2023.

Sports:

Virat Kohli, Ravi Shastri receive honorary membership of Sydney Cricket Ground
  • India skipper Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri received the honorary membership of the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) for their contribution to the sport of cricket.
  • The only other international cricketers to be granted the honorary membership of the SCG are Sachin Tendulkar and Brian Lara of the West Indies.

Miscellaneous:

National Youth Day
  • National Youth Day is celebrated in all over the world on 12 January on the birthday of Swami Vivekananda. In 1984 the Government of India declared the day as the National Youth Day and since 1985 the event is celebrated in India every year.

13th January 2019

National:

Odisha launches free LED bulb distribution scheme
  • Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the ‘Ama Ghare LED’ scheme, under which about 95 lakh families in the State will each get four LED bulbs free of cost.
  • The 9-watt LED bulbs will be distributed to the beneficiaries registered under the National Food Security Act (NFSA) and the State Food Security Scheme (SFSC).
29th Indian Paint Conference – 2019; The Largest Trade Show of Paint Industry to Be Held in Agra, UP From 11th to 13th January 2019
  • The Indian Paint Association (IPA), the apex body of the country’s paint industry announced that the 29th biennial Indian Paint Conference to be held in Agra, Uttar Pradesh from 11th to 13th January 2019. This would be the largest trade show of the estimated INR 500 billion (50,000 Crore) Indian Paints & Coatings industry.
Rajyavardhan Rathore launches National Youth Parliament Festival 2019
  • Minister of Youth Affairs and Sports, Col Rajyavardhan Rathore launched the National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 at a function in New Delhi.
  • The festival will continue till 24th of next month.
  • The theme of the festival is- Be the Voice of New India and Find solutions and contributes to policy.
President Kovind gives nod to 10% quota for EWS in upper castes
  • President Ram Nath Kovind has given his assent to a bill providing 10 per cent reservation to an economically backward section in the general category. After the approval of Parliament during the Winter Session this week, the Constitution (124th Amendment) Bill, 2019 was sent to the President for his assent.
Jaitley inaugurates Hunar Haat organised by Minority Affairs Ministry
  • Finance Minister Arun Jaitley inaugurated Hunar Haat organised by Minority Affairs Ministry at State Emporium Complex in New Delhi.
  • The Minister hailed the efforts of Minority Affairs Ministry saying Hunar Haat is providing a platform to artisans.

International:

President of India Confers the Honorary Rank of General of the Indian Army on General Purna Chandra Thapa
  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, conferred the Honorary Rank of General of the Indian Army on Sukirtimaya Rashtradeep General Purna Chandra Thapa, Chief of the Army Staff, Nepalese Army, for his commendable military prowess and immeasurable contribution to fostering Nepal’s long and friendly association with India, at a special Investiture Ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Trump appoints Charles Kupperman as his deputy national security advisor
  • US President Donald Trump has appointed former defence executive Charles Kupperman as his deputy national security advisor.
Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to US Congress to run for President in 2020
  • Tulsi Gabbard, the first Hindu elected to US Congress and a four-time Democratic lawmaker, has said she will run for President in 2020, becoming the latest member of her party to challenge Republican President Donald Trump.

Business & Economy:

Sushil Modi to head GoM on GST revenue shortfall faced by states
  • Bihar Deputy Chief Minister Sushil Kumar Modi will head the seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to look into the revenue shortfall being faced by states following the rollout of Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • As per a GST Council notification, the committee will suggest steps for augmenting collections. It will undertake data analysis and suggest measures for course correction.
  • Several states, including Bihar, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Jammu and Kashmir, Odisha and Gujarat are facing revenue shortfall.

Sports:

Dhoni joins an elite list of Indian cricketers to score ten thousand runs
  • The seasoned Mahendra Singh Dhoni became the fifth player to score ten thousand runs for India in One-day International Cricket, adding another feather to his illustrious cap.
  • Dhoni thus joined an elite list of Indian cricketers who had previously achieved the feat, which include Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, Rahul Dravid and Virat Kohli.

Miscellaneous:

Namita Gokhale wins Sushila Devi Literature Award
  • Writer Namita Gokhale has won the Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel “Things to Leave Behind”.
  • She was awarded in the ‘Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman Author’ category at the inaugural edition of Bhopal Literature and Art Festival (BLF).
Prakash Utsav of Guru Gobind Singh being celebrated
  • The 352nd birth anniversary of Guru Govind Singh is being celebrated as Prakash Utsav in various parts of the country.
  • Born at Patna Sahib in 1666, Guru Govind Singh was the 10th Sikh guru. He succeeded his father Guru Tegh Bahadur Singh as leader of Sikhs at the age of just nine.

14th January 2019

National:

One Family One Job scheme launched in Sikkim
  • Sikkim Chief Minister Pawan Kumar Chamling launched the ‘One Family One Job’ scheme which entitles one government job for every family in the state.
  • “Sikkim has become the first state in the country to carry out such an exclusive programme for the people who would now be entitled to state government employee benefits,”.
Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWS
  • Gujarat Government has announced the benefits of 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker sections of a general category in educational institutions and government jobs.
  • 10 per cent quota for the economically weaker class from the general category will be over and above the existing 49 per cent quota for SC, ST and OBC.
President Kovind approves re-promulgation of Triple Talaq ordinance
  • President Ram Nath Kovind has approved re-promulgation of the Triple Talaq ordinance.
  • In a Ministry of Law and Justice notification, the government said, President Ram Nath Kovind has promulgated The Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Ordinance, 2019.
  • The ordinance seeks to protect the rights of married Muslim women and criminalise the practice of instant triple talaq.
Jaideep Govind appointed Secretary General, NHRC
  • Senior bureaucrat Jaideep Govind was appointed Secretary-General, National Human Rights Commission.
  • Govind, a 1984 batch IAS officer of Madhya Pradesh cadre, is at present Special Secretary and Financial Adviser in Ministry of Rural Development.
  • The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has approved his appointment as the Secretary-General, NHRC.
Govt drafts five-year action plan to address drug abuse in the country
  • The government has drafted a five-year action plan to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country.
  • National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction, 2018 to 2023, aims to employ a multi-pronged strategy to address the issue. It involves education, de-addiction and rehabilitation of affected individuals and their families.

International:

India, 5 Central Asian nations back inclusive peace process in Afghanistan
  • India and the five Central Asia nations have backed an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan that is Afghan-owned and Afghan-led.
  • The understanding was reached at the first ever India-Central Asia Dialogue in Uzbekistan capital Samarkand.

Business & Economy:

UAE, Saudi Arabia to invest in the Indian agriculture sector
  • Union Minister for Commerce and Industry and Civil Aviation Suresh Prabhu said the government is coming up with an Agriculture Export Policy in which the districts possessing a potential for particular industries and items will be identified and developed as clusters for the development of the sector.
Yes Bank appoints Brahm Dutt as non-executive part-time chairman
  • Yes, Bank appoints Brahm Dutt as non-executive part-time chairman. Yes, Bank’s board also includes Mukesh Sabharwal, Subhash Kalia, Ajai Kumar, Pratima Sheorey, Uttam Prakash Agarwal, TS Vijayan, and Rana Kapoor (Managing Director and CEO).

Sports:

Abhinav Shaw becomes the youngest gold medallist in shooting
  • At the Khelo India Youth Games in Pune, ten-year-old Abhinav Shaw became the youngest gold medallist in the shooting.
  • He teamed up with Mehuli Ghosh to help West Bengal win the 10m air rifle mixed team event. Delhi’s Devanshi Rana bagged gold in Under-21 girls 25m pistol event.
Bengaluru Raptors win Premier Badminton League title
  • Bengaluru Raptors have won their first ever Premier Badminton League title.
  • In the title clash played at Bengaluru, Bengaluru edged out Mumbai Rockets, with a 4-3 win.
8-year-old Kartik Singh becomes youngest to win Junior World title in golf
  • Gurgaon’s 8-year-old Kartik Singh has won the under-8 category at the Kids’ Golf World Championship organised by US kids Golf in Malaysia, which makes him the youngest Indian to win the title.
  • Kartik is well known all across DLF Golf and country club for his dedication and hard work.

Miscellaneous:

Noted writer Neelum Saran Gour bags The Hindu Prize for fiction
  • Noted English writer Neelum Saran Gour, author of Requiem in Raga Janki and Bengali writer and socio-political activist Manoranjan Byapari, author of Interrogating my Chandal Life: An Autobiography of a Dalit, bagged The Hindu Prize 2018 for fiction and non-fiction respectively at The Hindu Lit for Life 2019.

15th January 2019

National:

First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award presented to PM
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi, received the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award at his residence in New Delhi.
  • The Award focuses on the triple-bottom-line of People, Profit and Planet.
  • Prof. Philip Kotler is a world-renowned Professor of Marketing at Northwestern University, Kellogg School of Management. Owing to his ill-health, he deputed Dr Jagdish Sheth of Emory University, Georgia, USA, to confer the award.
World’s largest religious and cultural human congregation – Kumbh Mela begins in UP
  • The world’s largest religious and cultural human congregation -Kumbh 2019 has begun with the holy dip at Sangam, the confluence of rivers Ganga, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati at Prayagraj.
  • The first bathing was taken by saints and seers of different Akharas.
2-day Global Aviation Summit 2019 to take off in Mumbai
  • A two-day Global Aviation Summit 2019 will take off in Mumbai.
  • Union Civil Aviation Minister Suresh Prabhu said this will be the first-of-its-kind event in the world with participation from more than 86 countries.
  • The Global Aviation Summit with a theme “Flying for all – especially the next 6 Billion”, being organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation in association with FICCI.
Govt. to launch an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms/lightning by April 2019
  • India Meteorological Department will be implementing an end-to-end prediction system for predicting thunderstorms/lightning by April 2019.
  • Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology (IITM) and IMD are developing prediction tools for thunderstorm/lightning.
  • IITM Pune has already installed 48 lightning sensors around the country which can locate the thunderstorm/lightning activities in real time.
  • IITM Pune also developed a Mobile App called “DAMINI” to give alerts on impending lightning activity over the area.
Womaniya on Government e-Marketplace
  • Government e Marketplace [GeM] has launched “Womaniya on GeM”, an initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs] to sell handicrafts and handloom, accessories, jute and coir products, home décor and office furnishings, directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions.
  • The initiative seeks to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.
Nirmala Sitharaman inspects amphibious military drill by armed forces in Andaman and Nicobar
  • Defence minister Nirmala Sitharaman watched a joint amphibious exercise off the Campbell Bay coast, the southern-most island of the nation, which saw a participation of the three armed forces.
  • Andaman and Nicobar are an Integrated Services Command.
  • Andaman and Nicobar archipelago is straddled strategically near the mouth of the Malacca Straits.
  • The Malacca Straits is also an important sea lane of communication and is used by navies of several countries, including China which has been stepping up its military infrastructure in the Indian Ocean region.

Business & Economy:

Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2018-19 (Series-V) opens
  • The Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2018-19 (Series-V) opened for subion.
  • The issue price of the Bond during this sub ion period will be three thousand two hundred and fourteen rupees per gram with the settlement date of January 22nd 2019.
  • The Centre in consultation with the Reserve Bank of India has decided to allow a discount of 50 rupees per gram from the issue price to those investors who apply online and make the payment through digital mode.

Science & Technology:

9th International Conference on Micro Irrigation to be held at Aurangabad
  • Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation, Government of India is organizing the 9th International Micro Irrigation Conference on Modern Agriculture at Aurangabad in Maharashtra from January 16–18, 2019, in association with International Commission on Irrigation and Drainage (ICID), Indian National Committee on Surface Water (INCSW) and WAPCOS Limited, a CPSE under the Union Ministry of Water Resources, River Development & Ganga Rejuvenation.
India’s largest startup ecosystem inaugurated in Kerala
  • India got its largest startup ecosystem when Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated here a 1.8-lakh-square-feet facility housing incubation set-ups across a string of segments in modern technology.
  • The Integrated Startup Complex under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) includes the ultra-modern facilities of Maker Village that promote hardware startups, the Bio Nest that promotes medical technologies, BRINC which is the country’s first international accelerator for hardware startups; BRIC which aids developing solutions for cancer diagnosis and care, and a Centre of Excellence set up by industry majors such as UNITY.

Sports:

Shakil Ahmed sets world record in indoor rowing
  • Asian Cup gold medallist Shakil Ahmed has added one more feather to his cap when he set up a world record in indoor rowing by completing one lakh metres in above-40 year’s category in Kolkata.
  • Shakil began his record-setting indoor rowing feat in Salt Lake stadium complex and achieved the milestone of covering one lakh metres of simulated distance in 10 hours.

Miscellaneous:

Armed Forces Veterans’ Day
  • Armed Forces Day is commemorated as a mark of respect to the services rendered by Field Marshal K M Kariappa, who retired on January 14, 1953.
Chennai Traffic Police introduces robots for traffic management
  • The Chennai Traffic Police inducted a road safety robot into its fold.
  • Named ROADEO, the robot will make the pedestrians, especially children; feel safe while crossing the roads.
  • It will also ease the work of traffic police, as these robots can be integrated with the traffic signals, as well as can be operated manually, through a Bluetooth app.
National Wildlife Board clears ONGC Trishna gas project
  • The state-owned ONGC Tripura Asset would soon start extracting natural gas from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Belonia subdivision of Gomati district following National Wildlife Board’s clearance of its proposal.
  • We have discovered 10-12 gas bearing wells long back in Trishna Wildlife sanctuary. As the gas bearing zones are in the wildlife sanctuary, we needed permission from the National Wildlife Board.

16th January 2019

National:

PM dedicates Kollam bypass, Kerala to the Nation; also launches development projects worth over Rs 1,500 cr in Odisha
  • The Kollam Bypass on the National Highway-66 considerably reduces travel time between Alappuzha and Thiruvananthapuram, besides avoiding traffic congestion in Kollam town.
  • Notably, this is the first National Highway project in the country taken up on a 50:50 Centre-State partnership.
Govt forms GoM for GST issues in real estate
  • The government has constituted a seven-member Group of Ministers (GoM) to boost the real estate sector under the GST regime. Deputy Chief Minister of Gujarat Nitin Patel will be the convener of the GoM.
  • Finance Ministers of Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh and the Panchayat Minister of Goa will be the members.
Doordarshan’s channel ‘DD Science’ along with internet-based channel ‘India Science’ launched
  • Science and Technology Minister Dr Harshvardhan launched DD Science and India Science channels in New Delhi. DD Science is Doordarshan’s first ever daily slot on Science and Technology, while India Science is an Internet-based channel.
10 % reservation in education to economically weaker sections of general category to be implemented from 2019-20 session
  • The 10 per cent reservation in education to Economically Weaker Sections of the general category will be implemented in 40,000 colleges and 900 universities from the academic year 2019-20.
Maharashtra cabinet approves schemes for the financial welfare of OBSs and SC/ST communities
  • The Maharashtra Cabinet has approved schemes worth over 700 crore rupees for the financial welfare of OBCs and the SC/ST communities.
  • The State Cabinet approved eight different schemes to provide financial support in the forms of the individual loan, group loan and interest subvention to OBCs, SCs and STs.
First Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship Programme inaugurated in Delhi
  • First Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship Programme was inaugurated by the United Nations Under-Secretary-General Izumi Nakamitsu, and Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Keshav Gokhale.
  • According to a press release of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), young diplomats from as many as 27 countries are participating in the Fellowship Programme, which is being held at the Foreign Services Institute from January 14 to February 1.
  • The programme, which is organised by Ministry of External Affairs, covers a range of issues relevant to disarmament and international security such as global security environment, weapons of mass destruction, certain conventional weapons, space security, maritime cooperation, security of cyberspace, export controls, emerging technologies, etc.

International:

British Parliament rejects Brexit deal
  • British Prime Minister Theresa May suffered a crushing defeat in Parliament over Brexit deal.
  • May’s bid to get the Withdrawal Agreement, struck between Britain and European Union, passed by House of Commons was defeated by a margin of 202 to 432 – a majority of 230 votes. This is the biggest defeat ever suffered by a British premier in modern history.
  • According to Britain’s parliamentary procedure, when a bill is rejected by the MPs, the prime minister has three sitting days to return to Parliament with a Plan B.

Business & Economy:

RBI announces OMO purchase of government securities on Jan 17
  • Reserve Bank will inject 10,000 crore rupees into the system through the purchase of government securities to increase liquidity.
  • The central bank said in a statement that the purchase will be made through open market operations (OMOs).
  • The eligible participants should submit their offers in electronic format on the RBI Core Banking Solution (E-Kuber) system.

Science & Technology:

Antarctic ice melting 6 times faster than it did in the ’80s
  • The ice in Antarctica is melting six times faster than it did 40 years ago, according to a new study.
  • This acceleration of the ice loss is a clear indication of human-caused climate change.
Albumin better indicator of diabetes
  • Based on findings of their new research, scientists at the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune have suggested that measuring levels of free albumin and albumin attached to glucose molecules in the blood can be a better diagnostic test for diabetes and help in its management.
  • The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends using levels of glycated (or glucose-bound) haemoglobin in blood for the diagnosis of diabetes.

Sports:

Srihari Nataraj bags 7 Gold medals
  • Karnataka swimmer Srihari Nataraj has emerged as the most prolific gold medal winner at the Khelo India Youth Games.
  • He has won 7 Gold medals. With SP Likith, picking five, the Karnataka duo were the most decorated gold medalists of the Games.
1st National EMRS National Sports Meet, 2019 Began at Hyderabad
  • The 1st National Level Sports Meet for the students of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) was inaugurated by Shri Jaswantsinh Sumanbhai Bhabhor, Minister of State for Tribal Affairs at G.M.C Balayogi Stadium, Gachibowli, Hyderabad.

Miscellaneous:

Green nod for Telangana’s Rs 13,384 cr Sita Ram Irrigation project
  • Telangana government has been given the green nod for its Rs 13,384.80 crore Sita Rama Lift Irrigation Project that aims to divert Godavari river water to irrigate 2.72 lakh hectare in three districts.
  • As per the proposal, the lift irrigation project will divert Godavari river water from upstream of existing Dummugudem Anicut to irrigate 2,72,921 hectare of Bhadradri Kothagudem, Khammam and Mahabubabad districts of Telangana.
Detained Chinese lawyer Yu Wensheng wins Franco-German human rights award
  • A detained Chinese rights lawyer has won a European human rights award for his “exceptional contribution” to the protection and promotion of human rights.
  • Yu Wensheng, who is in pretrial detention on subversion charges, has been held incommunicado by authorities in Jiangsu’s Xuzhou city for more than a year.

17th January 2019

National:

President Kovind approves elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna, Justice Dinesh Maheshwari to SC
  • President Ram Nath Kovind approved the elevation of Justice Sanjiv Khanna and Justice Dinesh Maheshwari to the Supreme Court.
  • Justice Khanna is presently a judge of the Delhi High Court.
  • Justice Maheshwari is the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.
President of India to inaugurate Gandhian Resurgence Summit in Prayagraj
  • The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, will visit Uttar Pradesh (Prayagraj) to inaugurate the Gandhian Resurgence Summit.
  • This Summit is being organised by the Parmarath Niketan, the Harijan Sevak Sangh and the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance.
Election Commission of India launches Voter Awareness Forums (VAFs) across the country
  • Voter Awareness Forum (VAF) was launched by Election Commission of India in New Delhi.
  • Similar VAFs were also launched by the Chief Electoral Officers in the State capitals and by District Election Officers in the Districts simultaneously.
  • Voter Awareness Forums are informal Forums for generating awareness around the electoral process through activities like discussions, quizzes, competitions and other engaging activities.
  • All employees of the Organisation are expected to become members of the VAF with the Head of the Organisation acting as the Chair.
PM Modi to open Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show in Gujarat
  • Mr Modi will inaugurate the ‘Vibrant Gujarat Global Trade Show’ in Gandhinagar.
  • The event is an integral part of the ninth edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit.
  • The Trade Show will showcase more than 25 industrial and business sectors under one umbrella.
  • Mr Modi will also dedicate to the nation the newly-constructed Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Institute of Medical Sciences and Research in Ahmedabad
Government to set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country
  • The government will soon set up over 460 more Eklavya Model Residential Schools across the country.
  • Eklavya Model Residential Schools have expanded into a major education system in the country after Vidyalaya and Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.
C.P. Joshi new Rajasthan Speaker
  • Veteran Congress leader C.P. Joshi was elected unopposed as the Speaker of the Rajasthan Assembly.
  • The House passed the motion for Mr Joshi’s election to the post by a voice vote.

International:

India-Myanmar begin Army exercise for UN peacekeeping
  • The second India-Myanmar bilateral Army exercise ‘IMBEX 2018-19’ commenced at Chandi Mandir military station in Chandigarh.
  • “The aim of this joint training event is to train the Myanmar delegation for participation in UN peacekeeping operations. The exercise includes the participation of 15 officers from the Myanmar Army and 15 officers from Indian Army who shall jointly train for over a period of six days,”.
US Prez Trump nominates 3 Indian Americans to a key administration post
  • US President Donald Trump has nominated three Indian Americans to key administration positions as per the latest list of senior nominations sent by the White House to the Senate.
  • Rita Baranwal has been nominated for the post of Assistant Secretary of Energy (Nuclear Energy), Aditya Bamzai for Member of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board and Bimal Patel as the Assistant Secretary of Treasury.

Business & Economy:

RBI eases norms for external commercial borrowing
  • In a bid to improve ease of doing business, the Reserve Bank of India has decided to liberalise external commercial borrowing (ECB) norms, allowing all companies that are eligible for receiving foreign direct investment, to raise funds through the ECB route.
  • The RBI has decided to keep the minimum average maturity period at 3 years for all ECBs, irrespective of the amount of borrowing, except for borrowers specifically permitted to borrow for a shorter period. Earlier, the minimum average maturity period was five years.
  • The ceiling for borrowing remains at $750 million.
SBI, other banks agree to finance Nagpur-Mumbai Samruddhi Corridor
  • A consortium of banks led by State Bank of India has agreed to provide finance for Nagpur-Mumbai ‘Samruddhi Corridor’ expressway project.
  • SBI has agreed to lend the highest amount, 8,500 crore rupees. Other lenders include Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, Bank of Maharashtra as well as the Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) of India.
Cabinet approves recapitalisation of Exim Bank to the tune of Rs. 6,000 cr
  • Union Cabinet approved recapitalisation of Export-Import Bank of India to the tune of 6,000 crore rupees and increase in the authorized capital of Exim Bank from 10,000 crores to 20,000 crore rupees.
  • EXIM Bank is the principal export credit agency for India and infusion of capital into it will enable it to augment capital adequacy and support Indian exports with enhanced ability.

Science & technology:

Odisha takes its first step towards promoting turtle tourism
  • The state held its first Olive Ridley turtle festival to give way to eco-tourism and in turn conserve turtles.
  • Odisha’s Puri beach witnessed its first turtle festival on January 13, 2019, where tourists, researchers and environmentalists gathered to promote eco-tourism, which in turn could help conserve Olive Ridley turtles.
  • While Odisha has half of the world’s Olive Ridley turtle population, 90 per cent of India’s turtle population lives in the state.

Miscellaneous:

WHO Goodwill ambassador Yohei Sasakawa to get Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018
  • Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 will be conferred on Yohei Sasakawa who is Goodwill Ambassador of the World Health Organization for Leprosy Elimination.
  • The award will be given to Mr Sasakawa in recognition of his work towards the eradication of the disease in India and across the world.
  • Ekal Abhiyan Trust has been chosen for the award for the year 2017 while Akshaya Patra Foundation and Sulabh International will share the award for 2016. Vivekananda Kendra, Kanyakumari bagged the award for 2015.
India’s Satyarup becomes world’s youngest mountaineer to climb 7 peaks, 7 volcano summits
  • Mountaineer Satyarup Siddhanta conquered Antartica’s highest point, Mount Sidley. With this feat, he became the first Indian and youngest man to climb the seven highest peaks and volcanic summits across all continents.

18th January 2019

National:

National Museum of Indian Cinema set to be inaugurated by PM
  • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi will inaugurate the National Museum of Indian Cinema (NMIC) in Mumbai.
  • The state-of-the-art Museum, built at a cost of Rs. 140.61 crore, aims to take its visitors through an absorbing journey of over a century of Indian cinema in a storytelling mode with the help of visuals, graphics, artefacts, interactive exhibits and multimedia expositions.
  • The creation of the Museum has been guided by the Museum Advisory Committee headed by Shri Shyam Benegal. An innovation Committee headed by Shri Prasoon Joshi was also constituted to provide an upgrade to NMIC.
Government forms GoM on GST issues in lottery trade
  • The government set up an eight-member ministerial panel headed by Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar to look into GST-related issues of lottery business.
  • The Group of Ministers (GoM) would submit its report to the Goods and Services Tax (GST) Council.
PM inaugurates the Ahmedabad Shopping Festival-2019
  • The Prime Minister Shri Narendra Mod inaugurated the Ahmedabad Shopping Festival-2019 at the Sabarmati Riverfront in Ahmedabad.
  • From the street vendors to shopping malls and from Craftsmen to hotels-restaurant-linked businesses, across Gujarat, have come here to showcase and promote their products.
  • The festival is unique since it is being organized simultaneously with the Vibrant Gujarat Summit.
2nd World Orange Festival begins in Nagpur
  • The second World Orange Festival will be organised in Nagpur to 21 of this month.
  • The festival, while offering its famed oranges to the world, will also showcase and brand the exquisite fruit in order to boost its export.

Business & economy:

Prabhu inaugurates 10th edition of India Rubber Expo 2019
  • Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, Suresh Prabhu inaugurated the 10th edition of the India Rubber Expo – 2019 in Mumbai.
  • The three-day event being held at the Bombay Exhibition Centre is one of the most anticipated events in the rubber industry’s calendar.
BES EXPO 2019 begins, 25 countries displaying their products at Expo
  • The 25th International conference and exhibition on terrestrial and satellite broadcasting BES EXPO 2019 began in New Delhi.
  • Nearly 300 companies from 25 countries are displaying their products at the Expo.
PMRPY crossed a milestone of one crore beneficiaries as on Jan 14
  • The Pradhan Mantri Rozgar Protsahan Yojana, PMRPY has crossed the milestone of one crore beneficiaries as on the 14th of this month.
  • The Centre’s flagship scheme launched on 7th August 2016 incentivises employers to promote employment generation.
  • Under the scheme, the government pays full employers’ contribution of 12 per cent towards Employees’ Provident Fund and Employees’ Pension Scheme for a period of 3 years to new employees registered with EPFO, with salary up to 15,000 rupees per month.

Science & Technology:

Rainfall detected on Saturn’s moon Titan
  • Scientists, using data from the Cassini spacecraft, have found evidence of methane rainfall on the north pole of Titan, the largest moon of Saturn. The rainfall would be the first indication of the start of a summer season in Titan’s northern hemisphere.
Dr Jitendra Singh inaugurates UNNATI– Unispace Nanosatellite Assembly & Training programme of ISRO in Bengaluru
  • UNNATI, a capacity building programme on Nanosatellite development, is an initiative by ISRO to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the first United Nations conference on the exploration and peaceful uses of outer space (UNISPACE-50).
  • The programme provides opportunities to the participating developing countries to strengthen in assembling, integrating and testing of Nanosatellite.
  • UNNATI programme is planned to be conducted for 3 years by U.R. Rao Satellite Centre of ISRO in 3 batches and will target to benefit officials of 45 countries. The first batch started in which 30 delegates from 17 countries are participating.

Sports:

Vinesh Phogat becomes first Indian athlete to be nominated in Laureus World Comeback of Year Award
  • Ace Indian female wrestler Vinesh Phogat has become the first Indian athlete to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.
  • She has been nominated alongside US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, who won his first tournament in five years.  The Awards will be presented in Monaco on the 18th of next month.

Miscellaneous:

First human rights TV channel to ‘lend voice to the voiceless’
  • The world’s first television channel dedicated to human rights was launched in London with a promise to deliver hidden stories ignored by mainstream media into people’s living rooms.
  • The International Observatory of Human Rights (IOHR) said its web-based channel would bring human rights issues to audiences in over 20 countries across Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.
India born, Dr Rattan Lal honoured with 2019 Japan Prize
  • The Japan Prize Foundation announced the laureates of the 2019 Japan Prize, who have pushed the envelope in their respective fields of “Materials and Production” and “Biological Production, Ecology”.
  • India born, Dr Rattan Lal, Distinguished University Professor of Soil Science at The Ohio State University in Columbus, Ohio, U.S.A. is being honoured for his work in identifying technological options adapted to various ecosystems through his intensive basic and applied research on processes and factors of soil degradation caused by inappropriate biological production.

19th January 2019

National

India’s second defence innovation hub to come up in Maharashtra’s Nashik
  • Nashik in Maharashtra will be the site of the country’s second defence innovation hub after Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre said. He said the defence innovation hub at Nashik will help local industries and entrepreneurs and further the Centre’s Make in India push in the country’s defence sector.
  • He informed the gathering the Ministry of Defence had set a target of making the country among the top five arms exporters by 2025.
PM inaugurates Ninth Edition of Vibrant Gujarat Summit in Gandhinagar
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 9th edition of Vibrant Gujarat Summit at Mahatma Mandir Exhibition cum Convention Centre in Gandhinagar. 5 Heads of States from Uzbekistan, Rwanda, Denmark, Czech Republic and Malta along with the captains of industry from various sectors & over  30,000 delegates from India and abroad are taking part in the event.
  • Underlining the importance of India’s growth and its strong economic fundamentals, the Prime Minister said, At 7.3 per cent, the average GDP growth has been the highest of any Indian government since 1991. At the same time, the average rate of inflation at 4.6 per cent is the lowest for any Indian government since 1991 when India began its process for liberalization.”

International

Justice Asif Khosa takes oath as new Chief Justice of Pakistan
  • Justice Asif Saeed Khosa on took oath as the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan in a simple ceremony held here at the President’s House which was also attended by foreign dignitaries, including from India.
  • President Arif Alvi administered an oath to the new Chief Justice who took office after the retirement of Chief Justice Saqib Nisar.
India to host UN conference on land degradation, desertification this year
  • India will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) this year to address the issue of land degradation and desertification.
  • A source close to the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change said the conference of the UNCCD, which has participation from over 100 countries, is likely to be held in October.
  • The UNCCD, established in 1994, has 197 parties working towards maintaining and restoring land and soil productivity and mitigating the effects of drought.

Contemporary Economic Development

BHEL and LIBCOIN to Build India’s First Lithium Ion Giga Factory
  • Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) and Lincoln are in dialogue to form a world-class consortium to initially build 1GWh lithium-ion battery plant in India. Its capacity will be scaled up to 30GWh in due course. With this, India has finally taken steps into its energy security and clean energy commitment to the world.
  • BHEL will be sending a team of senior officers for a study of the facilities, R&D infrastructure and other techno-commercial issues soon. Based upon the evaluation and recommendations of the team, a further process towards the formation of Joint Venture will be carried forward.

Science & Technology

The launch window for Chandra van-2 is March 25 – April 30 this year
  • The launch window for Chandra van-2 is March 25 – April 30 this year, said Chairman, Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), Dr K Sivan. He said that ISRO has planned 32 missions this year. Elaborating on the priority areas of ISRO, the Chairman said that these include Gaganyaan project, reaching out to students, outreach programmes, planned missions of this year and Vikram Sarabhai Centenary celebrations.
  • For the first time, ISRO has announced the ‘Young Scientists Programme’ to encourage the scientific talent and increase scientific pool in the country. Under this programme, Dr Sivan said, 3 students from each state and UT will be selected for ISRO programme for one month during which they will visit ISRO centres, interact with senior scientists and will have access to Research and Development facilities.
Super Blood Wolf Moon, Lunar Eclipse on January 20-21, 2019
  • The only total lunar eclipse for 2019 will take place on the night January 20 to January 21. The eclipse is also being called as a ‘Super Blood Wolf Moon’, and will start at 7.34 pm Pacific Standard Time on January 20, which converts to 9:00 am IST (January 21). However, India will not be able to witness this lunar eclipse.
  • According to NASA, if the skies are clear the eclipse will be visible across North America, South America, Greenland, Iceland, Ireland, Britain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal, France and Spain. The rest of Europe and Africa will also get a glimpse of the Super Blood Wolf Moon. The eclipse will not be visible to people in India and other Asian countries.

Sports

Virat Kohli’s men became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series
  • Mahendra Singh Dhoni rekindled his love affair with final flourishes, anchoring India to their maiden bilateral ODI series triumph in Australia for a perfect finish to a historic trip Down Under in Melbourne.
  • Virat Kohli’s men became the first country to return from Australia without losing a single series having won the Test series 2-1 and drawn the T20 Internationals 1-1.
  • MS Dhoni scored his 70th half-century as India chased down 231 against Australia at the Melbourne Cricket Ground to win their first ever bilateral ODI series in the country. After losing the first ODI in Sydney, India bounced back to win the second match in Adelaide by 6 wickets and the series decider in Melbourne by 7 wickets.

Miscellaneous

Raksha Mantri dedicates Diffo Bridge in Arunachal to the Nation
  • Raksha Mantri Smt Nirmala Sitharaman inaugurated the 426.60 meters long Pre Stressed Concrete Box Girder type bridge over Diffo River on Roing-Koron-Paya road in Arunachal Pradesh. Dedicating the bridge to the nation, the Raksha Mantri praised the commendable work being done by Project Udayak, Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in this region.
  • Smt Sitharaman appreciated completion of this prestigious bridge which would provide uninterrupted access between Dibang Valley and Lohit valley region of Eastern Arunachal Pradesh and an all-weather Road to the troops deployed on the China Border.
Headquarters Andaman Nicobar Command ANC to enhance its operational capability with the upcoming commissioning of INS Kolassa
  • Naval Air Station (NAS) Shibpur will be commissioned as INS Kohassa on   24 Jan 19 by Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM, AVSM, ADC, Chief of Naval Staff.  INS Kohassa has been named after a White- Bellied Sea Eagle, which is a large bird of prey endemic to Andaman and Nicobar Islands (ANI).
  • NAS Shibpur was established in 2001 as a Forward Operating Air Base (FOAB) for surveillance in North Andaman. Located in the northernmost part of the islands, the airfield holds strategic importance not only for the security of the islands but also for its overall development.
Tourism Minister co-chairs the 7th ASEAN-India Tourism Ministers meeting at Ha Long City, Viet Nam
  • The Union Minister for Tourism Shri K. J. Alphons attended the Seventh Meeting of Tourism Ministers of ASEAN and India held in Ha Long City, Vietnam.  Shri. K J Alphons co-chaired the Tourism Ministers’ meeting with the Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, Mr Nguyen Ngoc Thien.
  • The Ministers’ meeting noted the strengthened tourism performance of ASEAN and India in 2018 with preliminary numbers of 139.5 million tourist arrivals to ASEAN and India in the year with an increase of   7.4 per cent as compared to the previous year. The Tourism Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand also attended the meeting.

20th January 2019

National

Nirmala Sitharaman launches TN Defence Industrial Corridor
  • Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched a series of projects as a part of the Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor in Tiruchirappalli. The Tamil Nadu Defence Industrial Corridor will include Chennai, Hosur, Salem and Coimbatore, Tiruchirappalli as the nodes.
  • Dr.Ajay Kumar, Defence Production secretary said that the corridor is expected to be a specialised facility of aero component manufacturing. Ordnance Factory Board has announced 2305 crore rupees investment in the corridor. This will be the country’s second defence industrial corridor after the first one was launched in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh August last year.
  • The Ministry also said that Tamil Nadu ranks 4th in the country with 9.8% of India’s total exports and the corridor will expand the exporting opportunities from the region.
New Delhi appoints new envoys for Israel, South Africa, Bhutan, and the Maldives
  • In a major reshuffle of ambassadorial appointments, the Ministry of External Affairs has decided on sending new Ambassadors to Israel, Mexico, South Africa, Argentina, New Zealand and Vietnam. India’s High Commissioner to South Africa Ruchira Khamboj is expected to be posted to Thimphu after completing the visit of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa who will be the Chief Guest for the Republic Day parade this year. Ms Khamboj would exchange places with Jaideep Sarkar, who is presently in Thimphu and will move to Pretoria in her place. Sunjay Sudhir, presently with the Petroleum Ministry has been chosen to move to the Maldives, an important posting given the reset in ties between the two countries since the election of President Ibu Solih.
  • Sanjeev Singla, a key official in the Prime Minister’s Office, is being sent to Israel in place of Ambassador Pavan Kapoor. Former ambassador to Afghanistan Manpreet Vohra is being sent to Mexico and will replace Ambassador Muktesh Pardeshi, who, according to reports will move to New Zealand. Pranay Verma, who has been a diplomat handling South East Asia at the MEA headquarters at present will move to Vietnam and the Joint Secretary (North) who handled Nepal and Bhutan, Sudhakar Dalila, will head to Chicago as Consul-General, according to sources.
Uttar Pradesh third state to approve quota for poor among upper castes
  • The Uttar Pradesh government approved 10 per cent reservation for economically backward among upper castes in jobs and educational institutions.
  • The nod was given at a meeting here of the state cabinet presided over by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, senior cabinet minister and UP government spokesperson Shrikant Sharma told media persons.
  • Uttar Pradesh became the third state after Gujarat and Jharkhand to approve the legislation which has to be ratified by at least half the state Assemblies in the country.

International

Stefan Lofven elected for a second term as Prime Minister of Sweden
  • In Sweden, Prime Minister Stefan Lofven has been elected for a second term, ending a four-month political vacuum. Lofven’s minority centre-left government, comprising his Social Democrats and the Greens, won the backing of the Centre and Liberal parties. The latter two until now were members of the four-party centre-right opposition Alliance.
  • The Prime Minister is expected to formally present his new government and its full programme. It will be one of the weakest administrations in Sweden in 70 years, with just 32.7 per cent of voters have cast ballots for the two parties.
Palestine takes over the chairmanship of Group of 77 and China from Egypt
  • Palestine took over the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China from Egypt at the United Nations headquarters in New York. Palestine is slated to lead the bloc for 2019.
  • Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas accepted the chairmanship of the Group of 77 and China, a coalition of 134 mainly developing nations, on behalf of Palestine, a non-member observer state of the United Nations.
  • The G77, which got its name from 77 founding members, is a group of 133 developing countries at the United Nations. China aligns itself with the group, whose aim is to promote the collective economic interests of the members and to try to have a bigger say in the world organization.

Contemporary Economic Development

RBI approves the appointment of V Vaidyanathan as MD, CEO of IDFC First Bank
  • Reserve Bank has approved the appointment of V Vaidyanathan as MD and CEO of First Bank for a period of three years, according to a regulatory filing.  His tenure is effective from December 19, 2018.
  • Last month, IDFC Bank and non-banking financial company Capital First completed their merger, creating a combined loan asset book of Rs 1.03 lakh crore for the merged entity IDFC First Bank. Following the merger, the board of IDFC First Bank approved the appointment of Vaidyanathan as MD and CEO of the new entity. Prior to this, Vaidyanathan was the founder and chairman of Capital First.

Science & Technology

Japan launches Epsilon-4 rocket with 7 satellites
  • Japan successfully launched the Epsilon-4 rocket carrying seven satellites from the Uchinoura Space Center in Kagoshima.
  • The satellites have been developed by private sector companies and universities. The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency or JAXA shouldered the cost of the launch, which adds up to roughly USD 50 million, to encourage space exploration by the private sector, reports NHK World.
  • In a first for the Epsilon series, which was developed in a bid to put small satellites into orbit at a low cost, multiple satellites were transported.
  • In fact, the largest satellite has been successfully placed in orbit shortly after take-off at an altitude of 514 kilometres.
2018 sixth-warmest year in India, says IMD
  • The year 2018 was the sixth warmest year on record in India since it commenced keeping nation-wide records of weather events in 1901, said India Meteorological Department (IMD) while noting that the country had lost over 1,400 lives in extreme weather events last year.
  • Highlighting that the average temperature over India during 2018 was “significantly above normal”, the national weather forecaster said annual mean surface air temperature (averaged over the country) during the year was 0.41 degree Celsius above (1981-2010) average.
  • It was, however, less than the global mean temperature for the January-October period when the world recorded 0.98 degrees C (+/- 12 degrees C) above the pre-industrial baseline (1850-1900), making 2018 the fourth warmest year globally on record.
HAL-built light combat helicopter completes air-to-air weapon trials
  • The public sector entity Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) designed and developed light combat helicopter (LCH) has successfully carried out air-to-air missile firing on a moving aerial target.
  • “This is the first time in the country that a helicopter has carried out air-to-air missile engagement. None of the helicopters with the military services in the country has demonstrated such a capability. With this, LCH has successfully completed all weapon integration tests and is ready for operational induction,” HAL chief R Madhavan said.

Sports

Mumbai Marathon: Cosmas Lagat, Worknesh Alemu clinch men’s, women’s titles
  • Cosmas Lagat of Kenya and Worknesh Alemu of Ethiopia surprised pre-race favourites to win the men’s and women’s crowns respectively in the USD 405,000 Tata Mumbai Marathon in Mumbai.
  • Lagat, winner of the Sevilla in 2016, made the 42.195-km race in this coastal city his own over the last 10 km to storm his way home in 2 hours, 9 minutes and 15 seconds, the second-best in the 16-year history of the race.
  • In second place was Aychew Bantie of Ethiopia who clocked  2 hours:10 minutes and: 05 seconds. The women’s race Ethiopian Alemu in 2 hours: 25 minutes and: 45 seconds. Gobena came in second.Significantly, India’s Sudha Singh finished on top among the Indian runners while sitting at a personal best of 2 hours:34 minutes and: 56 seconds, but also dipped well under the qualifying mark set by IAAF for the September-October Doha World Championships.

Miscellaneous

Union Home Minister approves Task Force report on Space Technology in Border Management
  • The Union Home Minister Shri Rajnath Singh has approved report of Task Force created by MHA to identify areas for use of Space Technology in improving Border Management.
  • The Task Force headed by Joint Secretary (Border Management) and having members from BSF, Department of Space and BM Division, MHA consulted all stakeholders including Border Guarding Forces (BGFs), ISRO, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finalise the report.
  • Following areas have been identified for use of space technology: 1. Island development, 2. Border Security, 3. Communication and Navigation, 4. GIS and Operations Planning System and 5. Border Infrastructure Development
Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet who found solace in nature, dies
  • Mary Oliver, a Pulitzer Prize-winning poet whose lyrical descriptions of the lamp-eyed owl, the white-toothed bear and the lilies by the pond evoked natural wonders with a startling clarity of vision, while suggesting that life was a matter of learning to love the world even in the face of ugliness and pain, died Jan. 17 at her home in Hobe Sound, Fla.
  • Mary Jane Oliver (September 10, 1935 – January 17, 2019) was an American poet who won the National Book Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 2007 The New York Times described her as “far and away, this country’s best-selling poet.”
Indian-American Sikh Gurinder Singh Khalsa presented with Rosa Parks Trailblazer award
  • An Indian-American philanthropist and entrepreneur, Gurinder Singh Khalsa, has been presented with the prestigious Rosa Park Trailblazer award for his campaign that forced US authorities to change their policy towards headgear of the Sikh community. Indianapolis-based Khalsa, 45, was presented the award for his continued demonstration of courage and compassion.
  • In 2007, Khalsa was refused access to board an aeroplane because of his turban, organisers of the event said. Thereafter Khalsa mobilised more than 67,000 people nationwide for petitions and took the issue to all the way to the US Congress, which forced Transportation and Security Administration (TSA) to change its headgear policy towards the Sikh community.
Look at this also – Important Current Affairs Capsule From 6th January to 10th January 2019

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