Current Affairs April 17 2019

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Current Affairs Today April 17 2019

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Ministry Of External Affairs Sets Up Indo-Pacific Wing

  • Recently making a strategic move, India has set up an Indo-Pacific division in Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). This division is the brainchild of current foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. This new division is intended to give a coherent architecture to the policy, which was articulated by the PM Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018.
  • Currently, this division will be headed by join secretary Vikram Doraiswami, for whom it will be an additional charge apart from Bangladesh and Myanmar……………………….Click here to Read more

2nd Edition of Indo-Vietnam Bilateral Exercise ‘IN – VPN BILAT EX’ concludes
The Indian Navy held the 2nd edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX) at Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam during 13th to 16th April, 2019.
Key points
i. The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries.
ii. INS Kolkata under the command of Captain Aditya Hara and INS Shakti under the command of Captain Sriram Amur participated in the exercise.

Debrief of Indian Navy coastal defence exercise “Sea Vigil” was chaired by Vice Admiral MS Pawar in New Delhi
On 16th April, 2019, the debrief of the Indian Navy exercise termed as ‘Sea Vigil’  (held from January 22 to 23) was conducted. The meeting was chaired by Vice Admiral MS Pawar, AVSM, VSM, the Deputy Chief of the Naval Staff (DCNS). It was conducted at the Naval headquarters, New Delhi.
i. After the 26/11 Mumbai attack in 2008, Sea Vigil became the very 1st national-level coastal defence exercise conducted by the Indian Navy. In this exercise, it involved naval stakeholders at the centre and all 13 coastal states and union territories.
ii. The meeting was conducted for  the National Committee for Strengthening Maritime and Coastal Security (NCSMCS).
iii. The coastal defence exercise was attended by high officials of the Navy, Indian Coast Guard, central ministries, state governments, union territory administration and intelligence agencies.
iv. Between 26-29 November, 2008 conspired attack on India’s financial capital, Mumbai was mounted by the Pakistan based Laskhar-e-Toiba terrorist group, when 10 terrorists from Laskhar-e-Toiba group set sail from Karachi, used the Indian shoreline to land in Mumbai and launched attack on 26/11’s night.
v. The terrorists ability to land undetected in Mumbai was seen as a huge weakness in India’s coastal security system, owing to which the Indian navy was designated responsible for overall maritime security, including offshore and coastal security.
vi. Exercise Sea Vigil’s prime objective is to safeguard India’s 7516.6 km coastline and its exclusive economic zone, thus helping in strengthening India’s Maritime and National security. Critical areas of evaluation in the exercise included inter-agency coordination, information sharing and technical surveillance.
vii. The feedbacks and deliberations of the exercise will be presented in the next meeting of NCSMCS.

BANKING & FINANCE

Canara Bank: India’s First Public Sector Bank To Meet RBI’s EMV Mandate
Global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, ACI Worldwide, notified that India’s public sector bank, Canara Bank has successfully rolled out new functionality that supports EMV (Europay, MasterCard and Visa) card acquiring across its ATM (Automated Teller Machine) network and Aadhaar Authentication, thus becoming the 1st in the market to leverage ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution and the 1st public sector bank to shift to EMV chip and PIN for card based transactions across the country’s vast ATM network.
i. The functionality developed by ACI and Canara Bank also fastens the process of Aadhaar number linking, which in turn eases KYC (Know Your Customer) compliance at the bank’s branches.
ii. The prime objective of the EMV shift is to reduce fraud of lost and stolen card and make forging of card fraud more difficult.
iii. For Canara Bank, this is a notable achievement as it offers its customers improved authentication for card-based transactions at the ATM, thus ensuring greater security and risk mitigation.
iv. Canara Bank has around 6,300 branches and more than 10,000 ATMs.

The RBI issued Rs. 50 denomination bank notes in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series bearing the Governor’s signature
On 16th April 2019, The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued Rs. 50 denomination banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series that bore Shri Shaktikanta Das’ (Governor of RBI) signature.
i.The design of these notes is exactly similar to the ‘Rs 50 banknotes’ in Mahatma Gandhi (New) Series.
ii.The RBI notified that all bank notes in the denomination of Rs. 50 issued by the Central Bank in the past will continue to be legal tender.
About the Rs. 50 currency note:
i.The dimension of the Rs. 50 banknote is 66 mm x 135 mm.
ii .On the frontal side, the numeral ’50’ is written in the Devanagari script along with Mahatma Gandhi’s portrait in the centre.
iii. A small design of the denominational numeral ’50’ is printed on the front and back sides of the note, in the middle of the vertical band next to the watermark. It has a correct back-to-back registration and, according to the RBI, the design appears as one when seen against the light.
iv. The windowed demetalised security thread with inscriptions of Bharat and RBI, is mentioned on the front side of the note. The emblem of Ashoka Pillar is also printed on the front-right side of the note.
v. The year of printing is mentioned on the back-left side of the note.
vi. On the reverse side, the note has a ‘Swachh Bharat‘ logo printed on it with its slogan.

A quasi-cryptocurrency called as “Learning Coin,” launched by The World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF)
On 13th April 2019, Two international financial institutions the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have launched a private blockchain and quasi-crypto currency called as “Learning Coin” for better understanding of blockchain technology and the function of crypto assets.

Learning CoinKey Points:
i. This news was published via a Financial Times report.
ii. The asset will only be available for use within the IMF and the World Bank. It has no monetary value, means it is not a true cryptocurrency.
iii. After the testing period, the IMF and the World Bank may use blockchain technology to create smart contracts, fight money laundering, and improve transparency

Bank of Maharashtra and M1Xchange join hands for MSME bill discounting
State-owned Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) has partnered with M1Xchange TReDSplatform for Micro,Small and Medium Enterprises(MSMEs) bill discounting.Trade Receivables Discounting System (TreDS) is a digital platform to assist MSMEs to get their bills financed at a competitive rate through a vendue where multiple registered financiers can participate.
i. TreDS platform is run by Mynd Solutions, a technology management firm. BoM is now on-boarded as financier on Mynd Solutions.
ii.TReDS platform will facilitate shortening of payment cycle and the smooth flow of liquidity and ensure that MSMEs do not miss out on business opportunities due to shortage of funds.
iii.The cost of funds will be decreased for MSMEs as banks will be bidding based on the risk rating of a corporate.
About Bank of Maharashtra:
♦ Founded: 1935
♦ Headquarters: Pune
♦ Owner: Government of India
♦ CEO: A. S. Rajeev

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

ETMONEY becomes India’s first comprehensive financial services app to integrate with Unified Payment Interface (UPI)
ETMONEY India’s largest app for financial services has integrated with UPI as a payment method. The reason for this is to double its monthly user base by the end of 2019. This integration will simplify the mutual fund payment for millions of ETMONEY users.
ETMONEYKey Highlights
i. Now ETMONEY users can make payment easily by using UPI option on the payment page. They can select different UPI-enabled apps like Google Pay, BHIM UPI, PhonePe among others.
ii. They only have to enter valid UPI ID and can make the payment instantly within a few seconds. In addition to this, ETMONEY users can use Netbanking and Debit Card for payments.
iii. Recently ETMONEY app crossed the landmark of Rs. 2000 crores of money invested in Mutual Funds via their platforms. By using ETMONEY app, investors from across 1,200 cities are adding more than Rs. 150 crores in new investment transaction value every month.
About UPI
It is an instant real-time payment system developed by National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI) which facilitates inter-bank transactions.
About ETMONEY
♦ Headquarter: Gurugram, Haryana
♦ CEO: Mukesh P Kalra

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

3 Indian teams win awards at NASA Rover Challenge 2019
NASA has awarded three teams of Indian students in its 25th Annual Human Exploration Rover challenge 2019 at the US Space and Rocket Centre in Huntsville, Alabama.The program invites college students and high school students to develop and test roving vehicles for future missions to the Mars,Moon and beyond.

NASA Rover Challenge 2019i. “AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award” won by team from KIET Group of Institutions in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh.
ii. Team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, received “STEM Engagement Award”.
iii. The Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering, Mumbai, Maharashtra, received the “Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award” and also won the System Safety Challenge Award at the competition hosted by NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center.
About NASA:
♦ Full Name : National Aeronautics and Space Administration
♦ Formed : 1958
♦ Headquarters : Washington

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

US appoints the 1st Indian, Sanjay Kumar, Geospatial Media and Communications CEO and WGIC Secretary General to its geospatial advisory committee member
Sanjay KumarThe US Department of Interior inducted its very first Indian, Delhi-based Sanjay Kumar, CEO of Geospatial Media and Communications and Secretary General of World Geospatial Industry Council (WGIC), to its prestigious National Geospatial Advisory Committee (NGAC).
i. In November, 2018, Sanjay Kumar was honoured with the Global Geospatial Industry Ambassador award by the United Nations Global Geospatial Information Management (UN-GGIM).
ii. Kumar first joined the committee as a representative of the WGIC.
iii. WGIC was launched on 1st August, 2018 at the 8th Session of the UN-GGIM, at United Nations Headquarters, New York.
iv. In 2017-18, India’s geospatial industry was estimated to be worth 1.1$ billion which is further expected to grow at 13.8% in the near term. The Indian government currently runs 163 geospatial-related projects across over 50 departments.
About NGAC (The National Geospatial Advisory Committee):
NGAC is a Federal Advisory Committee that is sponsored by the Department of the Interior.
i. The NGAC gives advice and recommendations on National Geospatial Policy and management issues, the development of the National Spatial Data Infrastructure (NSDI), and the implementation of the Geospatial Data Act of 2018.
ii. The NGAC includes around 30 members who serve 3-year terms on the committee.
iii. The NGAC holds meetings 3 to 4 times per year where the public is invited to give suggestions at all committee meetings.
iv. The U.S. Geological Survey, a bureau of the Department of the Interior, provides support services for the NGAC.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

Bandhan Bank got the approval from CCI to acquire Gruh Finance
On 16th April 2019, Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank has received the approval of the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the acquisition of Gruh Finance which is the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC Ltd in a share-swap deal. The approval has been given under the sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

Gruh FinanceKey Points:
i. Bandhan Bank has transferred 14.9 percent stake to HDFC for this acquisition.
ii. For this merger, the shareholding of Bandhan Financial Holdings came down to about 61 percent from about 82 percent, and HDFC held around 15 percent in the merged entity from about 57 percent in Gruh Finance.
iii. The swap ratio would be 568 shares of Bandhan Bank for every 1,000 shares of Gruh Finance.
About Bandhan Bank
♦ Founded: 23 August 2015; 3 years ago
♦ Founder: Chandra Shekhar Ghosh
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Chairperson: Harun Rasid Khan

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA Chooses SpaceX to Launch First Ever Asteroid-Walloping Mission in 2021
SpaceX, a private Aerospace company, will provide launch services for NASA’s  Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) mission, the first-ever mission to redirect an asteroid. DART mission, $69 million contract,  will blast off aboard a Falcon 9 rocket from Vandenberg Air Force Base, California in June 2021.In October 2022, the spacecraft will smash into “Didymoon,” the 540-foot-wide (165 meters) satellite of Didymos,a near-Earth asteroid.
i. If all goes with no trouble, the observation about the collision will help researchers to evaluate the kinetic impactor strategy of hazardous-asteroid deflection.
ii. After this mission, in 2023, Acandidate European mission called Hera would launch toward the Didymos system and get there in 2026.
About SpaceX:
♦ Name : Space Exploration Technologies Corp.
♦ Headquarters: Hawthorne,California
♦ Founded:  2002
♦ CEO: Elon Musk
♦ Services: Orbital rocket launch
♦ Products: Falcon launch vehicles, Dragon capsules,Merlin, Raptor andKestrel rocket engines,ASDS landing platforms.

NASA selected Person of Indian Origin (PIO) Keshav Raghvan to lead the team CubeSat
On 15th April 2019, National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has chosen a team led by an Indian American student, Keshav Raghvan to have its CubeSat which is a mini research satellite to be sent to space to detect cosmic rays.
Key Points:
i. 21 year old Keshav Raghavan, led the researchers from the Yale Undergraduate Aerospace Association (YUAA) which is among the 16 teams across the country whose CubeSats will be flown into space on missions planned to launch in 2020, 2021 and 2022.
ii. The team’s CubeSat BLAST (Bouchet Low-Earth Alpha/Beta Space Telescope) is named after physicist Edward A Bouchet who was the first African American to receive a Ph.D. in America.
iii. It is a scientific investigation mission to gather scientific information, map the distribution of galactic cosmic radiation across the night sky and will identify as well as count alpha particles and beta particles in the rays, and also measure the radiation energy around Earth.
iv. Normally CubeSat projects cost about USD 30,000 but this CubeSat BLAST will cost around USD 13,000 to USD 20,000.
v. The satellite is smaller than a loaf of bread and built from a modular structure of 10x10x10cm cubes.
About NASA:
♦ Formed: July 29, 1958
♦ Headquarters: Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Founder: Dwight D. Eisenhower
♦ Administered by: Jim Bridenstine

Third Transiting Planet in the Kepler-47 Circumbinary System named “Kepler-47d” has been discovered
A group of researchers, led by astronomers at San Diego State University, by using data from NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope, detected the new Neptune-to-Saturn size planet orbiting between two previously known planets Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c. This new planet named as Kepler-47d. The research was recently published in the Astronomical Journal.
Key Highlights
i. According to a new study, Kepler-47d is about seven times larger than Earth and also the largest of the three planets in the Kepler-47 circumbinary system. The Kepler-47 system is approximately 3.5 billion-years-old and it is 3,340 light years away in the direction of the constellation Cygnus.
ii. After the discovery of Kepler-47d, now there are three planets in Kepler-47, that are orbiting two suns. Kepler-47 is binary star system and only known multi-planet circumbinary system. Circumbinary planets are those that orbit two stars.
iii. Kepler-47d’s equilibrium temperature is roughly around 50 degree Fahrenheit (10 degree Celcius), while Kepler-47c is -26 degree Fahrenheit (-32 degree Celcius). The innermost planet which is also the smallest circumbinary planet known is a much hotter 336 degree Fahrenheit (169 degree Celcius).
iv. The inner, middle and outer planets in Kepler-47 circumbinary system are about 3.1, 7.0 and 4.7 times larger than the size of the Earth and take 49, 187 and 303 days, respectively to orbit around their suns.
v. Their stars themselves orbit each other in only 7.45 days. Out of two stars, one star is similar to the Sun, while the other has a third of the mass of the Sun.
vi.The planets in the Kepler-47 circumbinary system were detected by using the “transit method”. In 2012 itself, Welsh and his team detected two planets Kepler-47b and Kepler-47c, but not able to detect the third planet due to weak transit signals.

SPORTS

Ethiopian runners Gelete Burka and Abrha Milaw won Paris Marathon 2019
Ethiopian athletes Gelete Burka in women’s race and Abrha Milaw in men’s race have won the 43rd edition of the Paris Marathon by leading a record of 60,000 participants through the French capital, Paris on 14th April, 2019.

Paris Marathon 2019Key points
i. Abrha Milaw won the men’s race with a time of 2:07:50.
ii.Gelete Burka was the fastest woman with a time of 2:22:48.
About France
♦ Capital: Paris
♦ Currency: Euro, CFP franc
♦ PM: Edouard Philippe

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Haemophilia Day observed on 17th April
17th April, 2019 has marked the 30th World Hemophilia Day. World Haemophilia Day was started in 1989 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) which chose to bring the community together on April 17 in honour of WFH founder Frank Schnabel’s birthday.
Key points
i. The theme of this year’s World Hemophilia Day is ‘Outreach and Identification’.
ii. The day was observed with the slogan – ‘Reaching Out: The First Step to Care’.

Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak was celebrated across the world on April 17
On 17th April 2019, Jain community celebrated Mahavir Jayanti or Mahaveer Janma Kalyanak, or the Birth Anniversary of Vardhamana Mahavira in memory of Lord Mahavira. Mahavir Jayanti is observed on the 13th day of the bright half of the moon in the month of Chaitra as per the Hindu Calendar.
i. Mahavira, 24th and the last, Tirthankara, spiritual teacher in Jainism was born in Ahalyabhumi and belonged to the Ikshvaku dynasty.
ii. As a part of celebrations, the statues of lord Mahavira were given a ceremonial bath called abhisheka to carry out a procession, Rath Yatra, with his idol.
iii.All believers strictly adhere to a particular satvik diet on this day.
About Jainism:
♦ Traditional Name :  Jain Dharma
♦ Firsttirthankara : Rishabhanatha
♦ Jain Festivals : Mahamastakabhisheka festival,Diwali
♦ Main religious premises of Jainism: ahiṃsa , anekantavada , aparigraha, asceticism.

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