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Union Home Minister approves Task Force report on Space Technology in Border Management
On 17th January 2019, Rajnath Singh, the Union Home Minister has approved the report of Task Force created by Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) to identify areas for use of Space Technology in improving Border Management.
i. The task force was headed by the Joint Secretary Border Management (BM) and included members from BSF, Department of Space and BM Division, MHA.
ii. The task force consulted all stakeholders including Border Guarding Forces (BGFs), ISRO, National Security Council Secretariat (NSCS) and Ministry of Defence (MoD) to finalise the report.
iii. The space technology will now be used in the following areas of Border Management:
- Island development
- Border Security
- Communication and Navigation
- GIS and Operations Planning System
- Border Infrastructure Development
iv. A short, medium and long term plan has also been proposed for implementation of the project in a time bound manner, in five years in close coordination with ISRO and MoD.
v. The Indian Regional Navigation Satellite System (IRNSS) based GPS will provide navigation facilities for operational parties in high altitude, remote and difficult borders and Naxal areas.
vi. Furthermore deployment of Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs) in remote areas will be also coordinated by satellite communications.
vii. For implementation of ground segment and network infrastructure including establishment of Archival Facility, the MHA has designated the Border Security Force.
viii. The project which will strengthen island and border security and facilitate development of infrastructure in border/island areas will be implemented by MHA with the assistance of Department of Space.
About Ministry of Home Affairs:
♦ Minister: Rajnath Singh
♦ Minister of State: Kiren Rijiju, Hansraj Gangaram Ahir
About Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO):
♦ Director: Kailasavadivoo Sivan
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
♦ Founded: 15 August 1969
FinMin launched the ‘Know Your Budget’ series to educate people on Twitter about terms and references of Union Budget
On January 18, 2019, Finance Ministry started ‘Know Your Budget’ series to educate people on Twitter about the importance of Union Budget and its making.
i. The series contains definitions of various terms used in the budget.
ii. The series began with explaining the terms: Union Budget and Vote on Account.
iii. The government on February 1, 2019 would unveil the interim Budget for 2019-20.
India and Mongolia Sign a Powerful MoU at ICMEI
The Embassy of Mongolia and International Chamber of Media and Entertainment Industry (ICMEI), India have further strengthened the relationship between India and Mongolia by signing a MoU in the field of art and culture.
i. The MoU was signed in the presence of H.E. Gonchig Ganbold Ambassador of Mongolia to India and Dr. Sandeep Marwah, President ICMEI.
ii. The MoU will enable the two countries to work together on different segments including print, radio, television, cinema, animation, Performing and Fine Arts, tourism, hospitality, education, environment, solar energy, skill development, PR events and advertising, Fashion and Design and Journalism.
iii. During the event, the deserving students from Mongolia were handed over the first scholarship of short-term course of Asian Academy of Film and Television which also includes boarding and lodging for three months.
iv. Besides, decisions regarding the visit of media team to Mongolia, festival of Films from Mongolia, joint venture in feature film and short film with Mongolian film makers, promotion of Mongolia as a film location, Tourism in Mongolia, etc. were also taken at a joint meeting.
♦ Capital: Ulaanbaatar
♦ Currency: Mongolian tögrög
♦ President: Khaltmaagiin Battulga
Saksham 2019, annual event of PCRA, launched by Petroleum ministry in New Delhi
On January 16, 2019, the 2019 edition of ‘Saksham’, an annual high intensity one-month long people-centric mega campaign of Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA) under the aegis of Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas was launched in New Delhi.
It was launched by Shri. Rajiv Bansal, Addl Secretary & Financial Adviser Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas.
i. The following lists the various activities that took place in the launch of Saksham 2019:
- release of a comic book developed by PCRA jointly with NCERT for the children on various tips and day to day aspects of fuel conservation
- a short animation film for children covering domestic and transport sector was released,
- prizes for the ‘Saksham’ National Competition-2018 to the winners of Essay and Painting competitions were distributed,
- oil companies and state govts. Were also awarded due to their contributions in the fields of fuel conservation,
- publicity vans of PCRA, the fuel conservation messengers on wheels, equipped with audio, video and print displays were also flagged off to spread the conservation awareness
ii. PCRA utilized the social media platforms for various customized campaigns through Facebook, twitter, MyGov platform.
Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas:
♦ Minister of State (I/C): Shri. Dharmendra Pradhan.
Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA):
♦ Chairman and Secretary MoPNG: Shri. M M Kutty.
♦ Headquarters: Delhi.
2nd Regional Conference on “Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)” held at Mumbai
On January 17, 2019, Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities organized the 2nd regional conference at Nehru Centre, Mumbai, on a scheme titled ‘Deendayal Disabled Rehabilitation Scheme (DDRS)’.
i. The conference consisted of Programme Implementing Agencies (PIAs) from the Western Region of the country which further would culminate in a National Conference in New Delhi.
ii. The Regional Conference was organized in order to disseminate the provisions of the revised scheme (2018) and to create better linkages between the department, agencies and stakeholders associated with the scheme.
iii. The western states concerned were, namely, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Gujarat and Goa and two Union Territories i.e., Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Daman & Diu.
About the scheme DDRS:
i. DDRS is a Central Sector Scheme of Government of India which is being implemented since 1999 for providing financial assistance to NGOs working for education and rehabilitation of persons with disabilities.
ii. The objective of the scheme is ensuring welfare of Divyangjan and the dignity they deserve.
iii. Under DDRS, Grant-in-Aid is released to about 600 NGOs every year.
iv. About 10% of total NGOs under DDRS, 10% of total grant and 10% of Special School for Children with Intellectual Disabilities are from Western Indian States
v. Currently in 2018, it was revised and the revised scheme is being implemented since 1st April 2018.
vi. In the revised scheme, the following changes were made:
- increase in the cost norms by 2.5 times,
- streamlining the procedure of application,
- increasing the funding of projects from 75% to 90% of their total cost,
- extending special benefits to special areas such as Left Wing Affected Districts,
- removal of limit in increase of number of beneficiaries.
Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Thaawarchand Gehlot.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Krishnan Pal Gurjar, Shri. Vijay Sampla, Shri. Ramdas Athawale.
Nagpur, the city of Oranges host the 4-day 2nd World Orange Festival for the first time
On January 18, 2019, the 4-day 2nd world Orange Festival commenced in Nagpur, the city of oranges, for the first time.It will conclude on 21st January,2019.
i. The festival will also showcase and brand the exquisite fruit in order to boost its export.
ii. The festival is bring presented by UPL and hosted by Maharashtra Tourism.
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♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park
Nashik in Maharashtra to be the site of the country’s second defence innovation hub after Coimatore, TN: MoS Defence
On January 18, 2019, Union Minister of State for Defence Subhash Bhamre announced that Nashik in Maharashtra will be the site of the country’s second defence innovation hub after Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu.
i. It was announced at a defence industry stakeholders meeting in Ojhar, Nashik.
ii. This is in line with the Defence Ministry’s target of making the country among the top five arms exporters by 2025.
iii. By that timeline, India aims to achieve annual arms exports of Rs 35,000 crore.
UP third state to approve quota for poor among upper castes
On 18th January 2019, Uttar Pradesh became the third state after Jharkhand and Gujarat to approve the 10 per cent reservation for economically backward among upper castes in jobs and educational institutions.
i. The Approval was given in a meeting headed by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister, Yogi Adityanath.
ii. The Reservation for the poor among upper castes came into effect on 12th January 2019, after President of India gives assent to The Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) ACT, 2019.
Sustainable Catchment Forest Management launched in Tripura
On 16th January 2019, Tripura Chief Minister,Biplab Kumar Deb launched the Project for Sustainable Catchment Forest Management(SCATFORM) at State Forest Academy Ground in Hatipara in West Tripura.
i. The project is jointly funded by the Government of India and Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which is providing Rs. 1000 crores for a span of 10 years to improve forestlands in targeted catchment areas of Tripura.
ii. The 80 per cent of the cost is contributed by JICA and the rest would be funded by the state and central governments.
iii. A total of 1,447 check dams will be set up in hilly areas in seven districts of Tripura.
♦ Governor- Kaptan Singh Solanki
♦ Chief Minister- Biplab Kumar Deb
♦ Capital- Agartala
♦ National parks- Bison National Park, Clouded Leopard National Park
♦ Wild life sanctuaries: Gomati Wildlife Sanctuary, Rowa WildLife Sanctuary, Trishna wildlife sanctuary.
Dams- Gomti Dam
About Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA)
♦ Headquarter- Chiyoda,Tokyo,Japan
♦ President- Shinichi Kitaoka
Two commemorative coins in the denomination of Rs 100 and Rs 5 were released to mark the 102nd birth anniversary of late Tamil Nadu chief minister
On 17th January 2019, Two Commemorative coins in the denomination of Rs 100 and Rs 5 were released to mark the 102nd Birth Anniversary of late Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M.G. Ramachandran.
i. Commemorative coins were released by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister K Palaniswami and Deputy Chief Minister O Panneerselvam.
ii. A 66 feet wide and 52 feet tail “Dr MGR Centenary Arch” which was constructed near Marina Beach was also unveiled.
Tourism Minister co-chairs the 7th ASEAN-India Tourism Ministers meeting at Ha Long City, Viet Nam
On 18th January 2019, Union Tourism Minister K. J. Alphons, co-chaired the 7th Meeting of Tourism Ministers of ASEAN-India with Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism of Viet Nam, Mr. Nguyen Ngoc Thien. The Meeting was held in Ha Long City in Viet Nam.
i. The Meeting was also attended by the Tourism Ministers of Brunei Darussalam, Combodia, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore and Thailand.
ii. Tourism Ministers welcomed the decision of ASEAN-India Informal summit which was held on 15 November 2018 and launched ASEAN-India Tourism Cooperation Year 2019. Earlier Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi also proposed to designate 2019 as the ASEAN-India Tourism Year.
iii. During the meeting, ministers noted the improved tourism performance of ASEAN and India in 2018 with the increase of 7.4 percent in arrival of tourists in ASEAN and India. The Preliminary number of tourist arrival stands at 139.5 million.
♦ Capital: Hanoi
♦ Currency: dong
♦ President: Nguyen Phu Trong
♦ Prime Minister: Nguyen Xuan Phuc
India to host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD)
As per Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, India will host the 14th session of the Conference of Parties to United Nations Convention to combat Desertification (UNCCD) in 2019 to address the issues of land degradation and desertification.
i. The event will be participated by more than 100 countries and it is likely to be held in the month of October, 2019.
ii. UNCCD COP-14 aims to showcase the India’s commitment to achieve land degradation neutrality by 2030.
Palestine took over the Chair of the Group of 77 (G-77) for 2019 from Egypt
On January 15, 2019, Palestine took over the chairmanship of the Group of 77 from Arab Republic of Egypt.
i. Prior to this, Egypt was the previous Chair of the bloc which is a coalition of 134 developing countries, along with China.
ii. The decision to elect Palestine as 2019 Chair of the G77 was taken in September 2018 by the foreign ministers of the Groups’ member States.
iii. In October 2018, the UN General Assembly approved a resolution enabling Palestine, a non-member Observer State at the world body, to have additional privileges and rights, such as participating in international conferences held under its auspices, for the duration of its role as G77 Chair.
♦ It was established in 1964 by 77 developing countries in Geneva.
♦ The Chairmanship, which is the highest political body within the organizational structure of the Group of 77, rotates on a regional basis (between Africa, Asia-Pacific and Latin America and the Caribbean) and is held for one year.
Its main functions are:
- To promote collective economic interests and enhance joint negotiating capacity with UN Agencies,
- To promote South-South cooperation for development.
- G77 represents 80 per cent of the world’s population.
BANKING & FINANCE
Government of India and JICA sign Loan Agreements on Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan to India
On 18th January 2019, Dr. C.S.Mohapatra, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic affairs, Government of India and Mr. Katsuo Matsumoto, Chief Representative, Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) signed the Loan Agreement under Japan’s Official Development Assistance Loan Program in New Delhi.
i. Loan Agreement was signed for following projects:
- Development of Chennai Peripheral Ring Road (Phase 1) for JPY 40.074 billion (Rs. 2470 Crore)
- Program for Japan India Cooperative Actions towards Sustainable Development Goal in India for JPY 15 billion (Rs. 950 Crore)
ii. Chennai Peripheral Ring Road (Phase 1) project aims to meet the continuously increasing traffic demand in Chennai metropolitan area.
iii. The second project which is ‘Japan India Cooperative Actions towards sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)’ aims to contribute the promotion of SDGs especially in social development by supporting the efforts of Indian Government in strengthening the Policy Framework and Implementation mechanism.
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Yen
♦ Prime Minister: Shinzo Abe
HDFC Standard Life Insurance renamed to HDFC Life Insurance
On January 16, 2019, HDFC Standard Life Insurance renamed itself to HDFC Life Insurance.
i.The change in name has been made effective immediately.
HDFC Life Insurance:
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Tagline: Sar Utha ke Jiyo.
♦ MD & CEO: Ms. Vibha Padalkar.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ MD: Aditya Puri.
♦ Tagline: We Understand your world.
♦ Founded: August 1994.
♦ Personal Digital Assistant name: EVA.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Vinesh Phogat became first Indian athlete to be nominated in Laureus World Comeback of Year Award
On January 18, 2019, Indian female wrestler Vinesh Phogat, who hails from Haryana, became the first Indian athlete to receive a nomination in the prestigious Laureus World Comeback of the Year Award.
i. She was nominated due to her comeback after battling a long injury lay-off to win a gold medal at the Gold Coast Commonwealth Games and Jakarta Asian Games.
ii. Besides her, US Tour Championship winner Tiger Woods, Canadian snowboarder Mark McMorris, American alpine ski racer Lindsey Vonn, Japanese figure skater Yuzuru Manyu, and Dutch para-snowboarding star Bibian Mentel-Spee have also been nominated for the same.
iii. The deserving winner would be presented the award in Monaco, France on the 18th of February 2019.
Mary Kom named event ambassador of 16th Tata Mumbai Marathon
On January 3, 2019, Six-time women’s world boxing champion and Olympic medallist M C Mary Kom was named as the event ambassador for the 16th Tata Mumbai Marathon which will be held in January 20, 2019.
i. It would be organized by Procam International.
ii. The marathon will have a prize money of USD 405,000 and will see the participation of over 46,000 runners.
Haryana announces Shaurya Award for Students
On 16th January 2019, Chief Minister of Haryana, Shri Manohar Lal Khattar announced “Shaurya Award” to students in the name of 71 state police force martyrs who laid down their lives while maintaining law and order and protecting society since the formation of state in 1966.
i. A prize money of Rs. 11,000 will be given to students for courageous deeds every year in a village block where school is located under this award.
ii. The announcement was made by Manohar Lal Khattar at the first state level function at National Police Memorial in New Delhi.
iii. Chief Minister, Mahohar Lal Khattar also released a book titled “Martyrs of Haryana Police” which highlights the heroic deeds of the police personnel.
♦ Governor: Satyadev Narayan
♦ Chief Minister: Manohar Lal Khattar
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Prabhat Singh appointed DG in NHRC
On 17th January 2019, the Department of Personnel & Training, Government of India has appointed Senior IPS Officer Prabhat Singh as Director General (Investigation) in the National Human Rights Commission.
i. Singh, a 1985 batch IPS Officer of AGMUT cadre is at present Special Director, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).
ii. He has been appointed to the post for a period up to April 30, 2020, the date of his superannuation.
iii. The appointment of Mr. Singh came after the post of the Director General (Investigation) National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) fell vacant with the retirement of Gurbachan Singh (IPS 1984 batch) on 31 December 2018.
About National Human Rights Commission of India:
♦ Chairperson: Shri Justice H. L. Dattu
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
“Poetic Justice” Asif Khosa takes oath as 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan
On 18th January 2019, Justice Asif Saeed Khosa who is known for his habit of citing works of literature in his judgements took oath as the 26th Chief Justice of Pakistan in a ceremony held at the President’s House, Islamabad.
i. Justice Khosa, 64,was administered oath by President Arif Alvi, in the ceremony which was also attended by Prime Minister Imran Khan, judges of high courts, ministers, diplomats, civil and military officials, lawyers and foreign guests, including from India.
ii. He will serve as the top judge of Pakistan for nearly 337 days and is scheduled to retire on December 21, 2019.
iii. Because of his habit of citing works of literature in his judgements, he is known as the “poetic justice” and is regarded as Pakistan’s top expert in criminal law.
iv. Some famous judgements of Justice Khosa include overturning of the death penalty of Asia Bibi, a Christian woman jailed for blasphemy and disqualification from politics for life to the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif after corruption allegations in 2017 in the landmark Panama papers verdict.
♦ President: Arif Alvi
♦ Prime Minister: Imran Khan
♦ Capital: Islamabad
♦ Currency: Pakistani Rupee
Lingappa Narayana Swamy appointed Karnataka HC acting Chief Justice
On 17th January 2019, the President of India Shri Ram Nath Kovind under Article 223 of the Constitution appointed Justice Lingappa Narayana Swamy as the Acting Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court.
i. He was appointed Acting Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court following the elevation of the incumbent Chief Justice Dinesh Maheshwari to the Supreme Court.
ii. Justice Swamy who began his career as an Advocate in 1987 and practiced in the Karnataka High Court is presently the senior most Judge of the Karnataka High Court.
iii. He was appointed as an Additional Judge of the Karnataka High Court in 2007 and was made a permanent judge in 2009.
♦ Chief Minister: H. D. Kumaraswamy
♦ Governor: Vajubhai Vala
♦ Capital: Bengaluru
♦ National Parks (NP): Anshi NP, Bandipur NP, Bannerghatta NP, Kudremukh NP, Rajiv Gandhi (Nagarhole) NP
♦ Wild Life Sanctuaries (WLS): Dandeli WLS, Pushpagiri WLS, Bhadra WLS, Brahmagiri WLS, Cauvery WLS, Malai Mahadeshwara WLS, Mookambika WLS, Ranganathittu WLS, Sharavathi WLS,Biligiri Rangaswamy Temple WLS, Bhimgad WLS, Ghataprabha Bird WLS, Ranebennur Black Buck WLS, Someshwara WLS, Daroji Bear WLS, etc.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Japan launches Epsilon-4 rocket with 7 satellites
On 18th January 2019, Japan launched the Epsilon – 4 rocket carrying 7 satellites including world’s first artificial meteor shower blasted into space from the Uchinoura space centre by the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA).
i. The cost of launch which is roughly USD 50 million was borne by Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to promote and encourage space exploration by private sector in Japan.
ii. The Epsilon series was developed in a bid to put small satellites into orbit at a low lost.
Indian Navy inducted two Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) into its fleet at Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu
On January 18, 2019, the Indian Navy inducted two Fast Interceptor Craft (FIC) at Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, to boost coastal security.
i. The vessels were acquired for Sagar Prahari Bal, a unit of the Navy.
ii. The boats can carry a variety of armament from heavy machine guns to grenade launchers with the upper deck canopies bullet-proof.
2018, the sixth warmest year in India and fourth warmest globally since 1901: IMD
On January 16, 2019, the India Meteorological Department (IMD) in it’s report titled ‘Climate of India during 2018’ announced that 2018 was the sixth warmest year in India since 1901 and total of 1,428 people died due to extreme weather events in 2018 alone. It was the fourth warmest year globally on record.
i. According to the government agency’s data, the average temperature over India during 2018 was “significantly above normal”.
ii. The annual mean surface air temperature (averaged over the country) during the year was 0.41°C above (1981-2010) average and it showed an increase of 0.6°C per 100 years in during 1901-2018.
iii. The country’s average season mean temperatures were also “above the average” with the winter season (January- February, +0.59 degree Celsius) being the fifth warmest since 1901 and the pre-monsoon season (March-May) the seventh warmest
iv. Also, all the six warmest years on record in India were in the last 10 years and 11 out of 15 warmest years were during the recent past 15 years(2004-2018).
v. The five warmest years on record are: 2016 (+0.72 degree Celsius), 2009 (+0.56 degree Celsius), 2017 (+0.55 degree Celsius), 2010 (+0.54 degree Celsius) and 2015 (+0.42 degree Celsius).
India 1st away team to win bilateral series in all formats in Australia
On 18th January 2019, India defeated Australia in the third ODI at Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) to win the ODI series by 2-1 and became the first Visiting team to win bilateral series across the three formats against Australia in Australian soil.
i. Indian team lead by Virat Kohli also became the first ever Indian side to win bilateral ODI series in Australia.
ii. Yuzvendra Chahal was given the player of the match award whereas Veteran Player M. S. Dhoni was honoured with Player of the series award.
iii. Earlier, India defeated Australia by 2-1 in the test series for the first time.
iv. Cheteshwar Pujara was awarded the Player of the series in Test Series against Australia.
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
♦ Prime Minister: Scott Morrison
Rani to lead Indian women’s hockey team for Spain tour
On 18th January 2019, the Hockey India announced that striker Rani Rampal will lead the 18-member Indian women’s team for the season opener tournament in Spain starting 26 January 2019.
i. Besides, goalkeeper Savita was appointed as the vice-captain of the Indian Women Hockey team for the tour.
ii. Throughout the tour the Indian Hockey team which is coached by Sjoerd Marijne is set to play four matches with Spain and two matches against the Women’s World Cup runners-up, Ireland.
Wasim Jaffer became the 1st Asian to slam 2 first-class double tons after turning 40
On January 17, 2019, the highest run-getter in the Ranji Trophy history, Wasim Jaffer, became the first Indian and the first Asian batsman to score two double centuries after turning 40 in first-class cricket.
i. This was achieved in the Ranji Trophy quarter-final for Vidarbha against Uttarakhand in Nagpur.
ii. He has scored more than 10,000 runs in the Ranji Trophy and has a tally of 1000 runs in the ongoing season of Ranji Trophy.
Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver dies at 83
On 17th January 2019, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mary Oliver died at her residence in Hobe Sound, Florida due to a disease caused lymphoma at the age of 83.
i. She was critically acclaimed for her rapturous odes to nature and the animal life.
ii. Mary Oliver wrote more than 15 poetry and essay collections.