Current Affairs January 1 2019

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Current Affairs January 1 2019

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview Of P.M Narendra Modi’s Day Long Visit To Andaman & Nicobar Island
On December 30, 2018, Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi embarked on a day long visit to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands.

  • The PM laid a wreath at the Tsunami Memorial,and lit a candle at the Wall of Lost Souls remembering those who lost their lives in 2004 Tsunami.
  • Mr Modi also dedicated the 150 feet high Flag Mast at South Point in Port Blair to commemorate the first unfurling of the Tricolor on Indian soil by Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose in Port Blair on Dec 30, 1943.
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone of 50 MW LNG-based power project at Hope Town in South Andaman…………………………..Click here to Read more

Government Extends CLSS for MIG scheme till 31st march, 2020
On 31st December 2018, the Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs headed by Minister of State Hardeep S. Puri, extended the Credit-Linked Subsidy Scheme (CLSS) for Middle Income Group (MIG) Scheme by another 12 months till March 31, 2020.
Key Points:
i. Around 93, 007 beneficiaries have been covered till date and have already received Rs 1,960.45 crore of subsidy in the scheme.
ii. The scheme covers two income segments in the MIG viz. Rs 6,00,001 to Rs 12,00,000 per annum for MIG-I and Rs 12,00,001 to Rs 18,00,000 per annum for MIG-II.
iii. The dwelling unit carpet area to avail the benefit of the scheme include ‘upto 160 sq.m’ and ‘upto 200 sq.m’ for MIG I and MIG II respectively.
iv. In the MIG-I, an interest subsidy of 4 per cent has been provided for loan amounts up to Rs 9 lakh, while in MIG-II, an interest subsidy of 3 per cent has been provided for loan amount of Rs 12 lakh.
v. To become eligible for the scheme, a beneficiary family should not own a pucca house (an all weather dwelling unit) either in his/her name or in the name of any member of his/her family in any part of India.
Background of the Scheme:
Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi on 31.12.2016 announced the commencement of a new Credit Linked Subsidy Scheme for the Middle Income Group (CLSS for MIG). The purpose of the scheme was to meet the aspirations of young professionals and entrepreneurs of Middle Class Segment seeking housing loans for acquisition/ construction of houses (including re-purchase) from Banks, Housing Finance Companies and other such notified institutions.
About Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs:
♦ Minister: Hardeep Singh Puri (MOS independent charge)
♦ Headquarters: Nirman Bhawan, New Delhi

Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched Ujjwala sanitary napkin initiative in Odisha
On December 30, 2018, Union Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan launched the Ujjwala Sanitary Napkin initiative in Bhubaneswar, Odisha.
Objective:
To provide access to hygiene products and employment to opportunities in every district of the state.
Key Points:
i. Around 100 local manufacturing units will be set up by oil marketing companies at Common Service Centres (CSCs) across 93 blocks in all 30 districts of Odisha in the first phase.
ii. The units are expected to be ready by March 2019.
iii. The cost of setting up each manufacturing unit is expected to be Rs 2.94 crores.
iv. The sanitary napkins will be priced at Rs 42 per pack of eight pads.
v. Each manufacturing unit will employ five or six Ujjwala beneficiaries and will thus employ nearly 600 women across all districts.
vi. The scheme is a central move to counter Odisha government’s Khushi scheme that provides free of cost sanitary napkins to female students of government and government-aided schools in the state.
vii. Under the initiative, the National Aluminium Company Limited (NALCO) would sponsor 100 of the 500 units.
Background:
As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) report, the overall use of sanitary napkins in Odisha is 33.5 per cent.
Odisha:
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
♦ Dams: Rengali Dam, Kala dam, Pitamahal Dam, Kansbahal Dam, Tikhali Dam, Deras Dam, Salia Dam, Ghodahada Dam, Kuanria Dam.
♦ Festivals: Kalinga Mahotsav, Chandan Yatra, Durga Puja, Konark Dance Festival, Rath Yatra, Diwali, Kumar Purnima

Gehlot approves amendment in Rajasthan judicial service rules
On 29th December, 2018, Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot approved the proposal for amendments in Rule-12 and Rule-17 of the Rajasthan Judicial Service Rules, 2010 after State Cabinet’s meeting held under the chairmanship of Ashok Gehlot.
Key Points:
i. As per the Rajasthan Judicial Service(Amendment) Rule 2018, the minimum age limit for general category in Rajasthan Judicial Service has been reduced from 23 to 21 years and maximum age limit is increased from 35 to 40 years.
ii. The benefit of age exemption has been given to differently-able persons of various classes, including general category, OBC and Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes by 10, 13 and 15 years, respectively.
iii. It has been decided to give 1 per cent reservation to the Backward Classes in the Rajasthan Judicial Service.
About Rajasthan:
♦ Governor: Shri Kalyan Singh
♦ Capital: Jaipur
♦ National Parks: Ranthambore National Park, Sariska National Park, Keoladeo Ghana Bird Sanctuary

Madhya Pradesh government to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag(spiritual department)
On 29th December 2018, The Congress-led Madhya Pradesh Government announced that it is going to create an Adhyatmik Vibhag (spiritual department) by merging several existing department.
Key Points:
i. The Congress had promised to form such a department before the last month’s Assembly elections.
ii. The proposed Adhyatmik Vibhag (Spiritual Department) going to be formed by merging Dharmik Nyas Evam Dharmasv Department (Religious Trust and Endowment Department), Anand Vibhag (Happiness Department) in addition to the Directorate of Religious Trust and Endowment, Madhya Pradesh Teerth Evam Mela Pradhikaran and Rajya Anand Sansthan.Madhya Pradesh had become the first state in the country to create Happiness Department.
About Madhya Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Bhopal
♦ Chief Minister: Kamal Nath
♦ Governor: Anandiben Patel
♦ National Parks: Kanha National Park, Pench National Park, Bandhabgarh National Park

UP university, Deen Dayal Veterinary Universityto set up first goat fertility lab in the state of Uttar Pradesh  
On December 30, the Deen Dayal Veterinary University in Uttar Pradesh proposed to set up the first goat fertility lab in the state under Rastriya Krashi Vikas Yojna at the cost of Rs 22 crore.
i.The University has entered into a contract with Pradeshik cooperative Dairy Federation for marketing.
About Rastriya Krashi Vikas Yojna:
♦ Rastriya Krashi Vikas Yojna or National Agriculture Development Programme is a State Plan Scheme of Additional Central Assistance launched in August 2007 as a part of the 11th Five Year Plan by the Government of India.
♦ It aims to achieve 4% annual growth in agriculture through development of Agriculture and its allied sectors.
♦ The funds are released to the State Governments/UTs on the basis of projects approved in the State Level Sanctioning Committee Meeting (SLSC) headed by the Chief Secretary of the concerned State.
♦ The Cabinet has approved (as on 1st November 2017) for continuation of the ongoing Centrally Sponsored Scheme (State Plans) – Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana (RKVY) as Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojana- Remunerative Approaches for Agriculture and Allied Sector Rejuvenation (RKVY-RAFTAAR) for three years i.e. 2017-18 to 2019-20 with a financial allocation of Rs. 15,722 crores
♦ Under Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare.
♦ Union Minister of MoA&FW: Shri Radha Mohan Singh.

Govt can check online food, grocery delivery items any time: FSSAI
On December 29, 2018, the national food regulator, Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI) issued guidelines to enable government to monitor the online food and grocery operators such as Grofers and BigBasket as well as food delivery platforms like Swiggy and Zomato any time.
i. The guidelines are part of directives issued by the regulator to re-operationalise licensing and registration of e-commerce food companies.
ii. According to the guidelines, the following has to be done:

  • Food products offered for sale are liable to sampling at any point in the supply chain.
  • An image of the said food should be out up in the platforms of the Companies so that consumers can recognise the product.
  • All mandatory information mentioned in the Food Safety and Standards (FSS) Act will also have to be provided to consumers before purchase
  • only fresh food should be delivered to consumers.
  • A remaining shelf life of 30% or 45 days of the food should be maintained before expiry at the time of delivery.

FSSAI:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ Chief Executive Officer: Pawan Kumar Agarwal.
♦ Chairperson: Ms. Rita Teaotia.

BANKING & FINANCE

Allahabad Bank, SBI Life join hand for bancassurance partnership
On 31st December 2018, a ‘bancassurance’ pact was signed between State-owned Allahabad Bank and SBI Life Insurance to sell the policies of the insurer from over 3,238 branches of the Allahabad Bank.

Allahabad Bank, SBI Life join hand for bancassurance partnershipKey Points:
i. The agreement is considered as one of the largest Bancassurance partnerships in the country.
ii. The agreement was signed in the presence of Allahabad Bank Managing Director (MD) and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Mallikarjuna Rao and SBI Life MD & CEO Sanjeev Nautiyal.
About Allahabad Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Kolkata
♦ MD & CEO: Mallikarjuna Rao
♦ Tagline: A tradition of trust
 About State Bank of India Life Insurance Company:
♦ MD & CEO: Sanjeev Nautiyal
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: With Us, You are Sure

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India to grow by 7.5% in 2019; Settled GST, credit flows had a positive effect : CII
On December 31, 2018, in its report titled ‘Growth Outlook for 2019’, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) stated that India will remain the fastest growing major economy with GDP growth estimated to be 7.5% in FY19.
i. The reasons cited for the growth are:

  • Better demand conditions, settled GST implementation, capacity expansion resulting from growing investments in infrastructure and better credit inflow especially in the service sector (that is of 24%).

ii. Additionally, CII had suggested the following:

  • only three slabs for GST – a standard rate, a higher rate for demerit goods and a lower rate for some mass consumption items – and inclusion of fuels, real estate, electricity and alcohol in the ambit of the levy.
  • RBI to have lending restrictions on banks under the PCA (prompt and corrective action) and create a limited special liquidity window to meet emergencies of financial institutions.
  • digitisation of land records,
  • online single window systems in states and
  • enforcing contracts among measures to enhance ease of doing business.
  • all states implement the Agriculture Produce and Livestock Marketing Model Act to strengthen agriculture produce marketing and
  • To set up additional benches of the National Company Law Tribunal to address the issue of non-performing assets.
  • Also to increase domestic oil production to have positive impact on crude oil prices.

Background:
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) predicted India’s economy to grow 7.4% in 2018-19.
CII:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi.
♦ President: Mr. Rakesh Bharti Mittal.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Three Indian-origin women scientists awarded by Australian government under Superstar of STEM initiative
On December 31, 2018, three Indian-origin women scientists were among the 60 Superstars of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) list awarded by Australian government.

Three Indian-origin women scientists awarded by Australian government un STEM to act as influencers in science field for women and girlsi. The 3 scientists are Onisha Patel, Devika Kamath and Asha Rao.
ii. Under the initiative, due to gender gap in STEM courses, the government there is planning to train these scientists for one year to become influencers for female students.
iii. 32-year-old, Devika Kamath is an astrophysicist, Onisha Patel is doing her research on generate a cure for many cancers including breasts.
iv. Whereas, Asha Rao is a cyber mathematics expert and specialises in detection of money laundering.
Australia:
♦ Capital: Canberra.
♦ Currency: Australian dollar.

An Overview of ICC Awards 2018
On 31st December 2018, India Women Cricket team Vice-captain and Left-handed opener, Smriti Mandhana was adjudged ‘Rachael Heyhoe Flint Award for the Women’s Cricketer of the Year‘ as well as the ‘Women’s ODI Player of the Year’by the International Cricket Council (ICC).

An Overview of ICC Awards 2018Key Points:
i. The 22 year old Mandhana, scored 669 runs in 12 ODIs along with 622 runs in 25 T20 Internationals in 2018 and became the second Indian woman to win an ICC award after fast bowler Jhulan Goswami, who was named the ICC Women’s Player of the Year in 2007.
ii. Besides this Harmanpreet Kaur of India who spearheaded her side to the semi-finals of the ICC Women’s World T20 2018 held in the Caribbean in November 2018, has been named the captain of ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year.
iii. The other awardees in different categories of the ICC Women Cricket 2018 include:

Player (team)Category of award
Alyssa Healy (Australia)ICC Women’s T20I Player of the Year
Sophie Ecclestone (England)ICC Women’s Emerging Player of the Year
Suzie Bates (New Zealand)Captain ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year
iv. The squad for ICC Women’s ODI Team of the Year: Smriti Mandhana (India), Tammy Beaumont (England), Suzie Bates (New Zealand) (captain), Dane van Niekerk (South Africa), Sophie Devine (New Zealand), Alyssa Healy (Australia) (wicketkeeper), Marizanne Kapp (South Africa), Deandra Dottin (Windies), Sana Mir (Pakistan), Sophie Ecclestone (England), Poonam Yadav (India).
 v. The squad for ICC Women’s T20I Team of the Year: Smriti Mandhana (India), Alyssa Healy (Australia) (wicketkeeper), Suzie Bates (New Zealand), Harmanpreet Kaur (India) (captain), Natalie Sciver (England), Ellyse Perry (Australia), Ashleigh Gardner (Australia), Leigh Kasperek (New Zealand), Megan Schutt (Australia), Rumana Ahmed (Bangladesh), Poonam Yadav (India).
vi. Rumana Ahmed is the first Bangladesh player to have been selected in the ICC T20I Team.
vii. Anjum Chopra, Snehal Pradhan were the Indians in the voting academy comprising of former players, members of the media and broadcasters that selected the ICC women team 2018 and awardees for the ICC Women Cricket 2018.
About International Cricket Council (ICC):
♦ Chairperson: Shashank Manohar
♦ CEO: David Richardson
♦ Headquarters: Dubai, United Arab Emirates

National Nritya Shiromani Award 2019 for Anindita
US-based Kathak dancer Anindita Neogy Anaam will be honoured with the National Nritya Shiromani award for promoting the dance form across the world.  This award of national repute has been given in the past to the outstanding Indian classical dance performers and musicians of India and abroad.
Key Points:
i. The award would be conferred on her in Cuttack on the opening day of the 10th Cuttack Mahotsav: International Dance and Music festival in Cuttack on 2nd January, 2019.
ii. Anindita Anaam is a recipient of prestigious national awards like Jayadev Rashtriya Puraskar and Bidagdha Nartaki Samman for her outstanding achievement in the preservation and promotion of Indian art in India and abroad.
About National Nritya Shiromani Award 
♦ Organized By: Utkal Yuva Sanskrutik Sangathan
♦ Venue: Cuttack, Odisha
About Odisha:
♦ Capital: Bhubaneshwar
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor: Ganeshi Lal
♦ National Parks: Bhitarkanika National Park, Simlipal National Park.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Sheikh Hasina Wins Third Term as PM of Bangladesh
On 31st December, 2018, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s alliance won Bangladesh’s election with a thumping majority giving her a third straight term.

Sheikh Hasina Wins Third Term as PM of BangladeshKey Points:
i. The alliance dominated by her Awami Leaguewon 287 of the 298 seats for which results have been declared, the commission said. There are 300 constituencies in the country.
ii. The main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP), which boycotted the last poll in 2014, won just 6 seats.
About Bangladesh:
♦ Capital: Dhaka
♦ Currency: Taka
♦ President: Mohammad Abdul Hamid

Sudhir Bhargava Appointed New Information Chief Commissioner; Government Appoints 4 New Information Commissioners
The Government of India has appointed Sudhir Bhargava, an information commissioner in the Central Information Commission as the new chief information commissioner. The government has also appointed four new information commissioners.

Sudhir Bhargava Appointed New Information Chief CommissionerKey Points:
i. President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the appointment of former bureaucrats Yashwardhan Kumar Sinha, Vanaja N Sarna, Neeraj Kumar Gupta and Suresh Chandra as the new information commissioners.
ii. The appointments came weeks after the Supreme Court had asked the Centre to disclose the process of appointment of the members of the Central Information Commission, including details on applicants and search committees. The court had asked the government to maintain transparency in the process.
About Central Information Commission:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Established: 12th October, 2005

SC judge Justice M B Lokur retired from his duties
On December 30, 2018, the second senior-most Supreme Court judge Justice Madan B Lokur retired.
i. He was among the four judges who held the controversial January-12 press conference against the then Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra over the issue of allocation of sensitive cases.
ii. He also played an active role in the pursuit of judicial reforms — computerisation of courts, judicial education, legal aid and legal services.
iii. His tenure in the Supreme Court began in June 2012.

SPORTS

Olympics 2020: Rs 100 crore earmarked for funding of athletes under TOPS, says SAI
The Sports Authority of India Director General Neelam Kapur announced that The Sports Ministry has earmarked Rs 100 crore for the funding of athletes under the Target Olympic Podium Scheme (TOPS) for their preparations for 2020 Olympics.
Key Points:
i. Launched in September 2014, TOPS, is a flagship programme of the sports ministry to provide financial assistance to potential Olympic medal winners besides giving the financial assistance to prepare for Commonwealth Games and Asian Games.
ii. On September 2018, a TOPS Secretariat which consists of a team of professionals with management and sporting expertise was established in a bid to fine tune India’s preparations for the 2020 Olympics and build a sustainable sports ecosystem in the country.
iii. The TOPS team reviews every sport broadly along several parameters, including global performance trends from previous Olympics, World Championships and other major competitions specific to that sport to select a player.
iv. The athletes selected are provided support which covers essential items specific to their sports discipline including customised domestic and international training and competitions, purchase of equipment and out of pocket allowance.
About Sports Authority of India:
♦ Headquarters: Delhi
♦ Director General: Neelam kapur
About Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports:
♦ Minister: Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

Jasprit Bumrah becomes top wicket-taker in international cricket in 2018
On 30th December 2018, 25 years old Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah became the highest international wicket-taker of 2018 with 78 wickets after taking 9 wickets in the 3rd Test Match against Australia held in Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia.

Jasprit Bumrah becomes top wicket-taker in international cricket in 2018i. South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada ranked 2nd in the list of Highest International wicket taker of 2018 with 77 wickets.
ii. Indian spin bowler Kuldeep Yadav along with Adeel Rashid and Rashid Khan ranked 3rd with 76 wickets in 2018.

Virat Kohli equals Ganguly’s record with 11th away test win as captain
On 30th December 2018, Indian Cricket team captain Virat Kohli equaled Former Indian Captain Sourav Ganguly’s record with 11th away test win as a captain after defeating Australia in the 3rd Test Match held in Melbourne, Australia.
i. Virat Kohli became the first Indian captain to retain the Border-Gavaskar trophy on Australian soil. India is leading the series with 2-1.
ii. Indian team also achieved the record of highest number of away Test wins after defeating Australia in the 3rd Test Match.

Rishabh Pant became 1st ever Indian wicket-keeper to take 20 catches in a Test series
On 30th December 2018, 21 years old Indian wicket-keeper Rishabh Pant became the 1st ever player to take 20 catches in a Test series by surpassing former cricketers Naren Tamhane and Syed Kirmani who had recorded 19 catches in 1954-55 and 1979-80 respectively.
i. Pant achieved the feat to take 20 catches in just 3 matches whereas Naren Tamhane and Syed Kimani took 19 catches in 6 and 7 matches respectively.
ii. Rishabh Pant took 11 catches 6 in first innings and 5 in second innings against Australia in the 3rd Test Match to break the record of fellow wicket-keeper Wriddhiman Saha who took 10 catches in a match.

Ishant, Shami, Bumrah breaks 34 year old record with 131 wickets in 2018
On 30th December 2018, Indian pace trio of Ishant Sharma, Mohammed Shami and Jasprit Bumrah broke the 34 year record of highest test wickets in a calendar year to become the most successful pace trio with 131 wickets in 2018.
i. The record was previously held by West Indies seamers Joel Garner, Michael Holding and Malcolm Marshall who had taken 130 wickets in 1984.
ii. South African trio of Morne Morkel, Makhaya Ntini and Dale Steyn hold the third position with 123 wickets in 2008.
iii. Current Indian bowling line-up had also created the record of having most wickets in Test in calendar year for india with a total of 257 wickets in 14 matches.

OBITUARY

ARPAnet lead, early internet pioneer Larry Roberts passed away at 81
On December 26, 2018, ARPAnet head and early internet pioneer Larry Roberts died at 81.
i. He was the program manager for ARPAnet (precursor to the internet), and conceptualised the computer-to-computer networks in the 1960s.
ii. Later he formed his company Telenet and to commercialise packet switching technology.

‘City on Fire’ director Ringo Lam died at 63
On December 31, 2018, Hong Kong-born filmmaker and “City on Fire” director Ringo Lam died at 63.

‘City on Fire' director Ringo Lam died at 63i. He worked on many other films like “Prison on Fire” and “School on Fire”, “Maximum Risk”, “In Hell” and “Replicant”.
ii. His final film was “Sky on Fire”.

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