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Current Affairs January 4 2019

We are here for you to provide the important Current Affairs January 4 2019, which have unique updates of all daily events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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Current Affairs January 4 2019

INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet Approvals On 2nd January, 2019

  • Cabinet allows inclusion of merchant exporters under Interest Equalisation Scheme (1ES) for Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit
  • “Cabinet approves Continuation of Umbrella scheme for “”Family Welfare and Other Health Interventions”” during 2017-18 to 2019-20″
  • Cabinet approves ‘The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill, 2018’ for revision in list of Scheduled Tribes of Arunachal Pradesh
  • Cabinet approves continuation of Rastriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme for the Period 2017-18 to 2019-2020
  • “Cabinet approves restructuring of National Health Agency as “”National Health Authority”” for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri – Jan Arogya Yojana”
  • Cabinet gives ex post facto approval to India’s Approach for COP 24, Katowice, Poland (2-15 December 2018)
  • Cabinet apprised of Progress under NHM and Decisions of Empowered Programme Committee and Mission Steering Group of NHM
  • Cabinet approves high level committee to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord Several Longstanding demands of Bodos also approved
  • Cabinet approves proposal to allot land to Chandigarh Housing Board for construction of apartments for 3930 allottees under Self-Financing Housing Scheme for UT Employees
  • Cabinet approves first-ever three way merger in Indian Banking with amalgamation of Vijaya, Dena and Bank of Baroda
  • Cabinet approves Amendment to the Trade Unions Act, 1926 to make provisions regarding Recognition of Trade Unions……………………………………………….Click here to Read more

Cabinet Approvals with Foreign Countries on 2nd January,2019
On 02nd January 2019, the Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi approved Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morrocco.
Cabinet apprised of MoU between India and Morocco on Cooperation in the area of Cyber Security
On 2nd January 2019, The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has been apprised of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and Morocco on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security.
Key points
i. The MoU was signed on 25th September 2018.
ii. The MoU will promote cooperation for Exchange of knowledge and experience in detection, resolution and prevention of security-related incidents between India and Morocco.
iii. Implementation of the MoU will result in significant mutual benefits in the Cyber Security sector, through institutional and capacity building with Morocco in the field of Cyber Security.
About Morocco
♦ Capital: Rabat
♦ Prime Minister: Saadeddine Othmani
♦ Currency: Moroccan dirham

Hundred percent household electrification achieved in 25 states under SAUBHAGYA scheme: Ministry of Power
On December 31, 2018, the Minister of State (IC) for Power and New & Renewable Energy Shri RK Singh announced that 25 states have achieved100 percent household electrification under Centre’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ (Saubhagya).

Hundred percent household electrification achieved in 25 states under SAUBHAGYA schemei.  The Government with the support of State Power Departments and DISCOMs have already connected about 2.39 Crore households since launch of scheme
ii. Only about 10.48 Lakh households are left to be electrified in 4 States viz., Assam, Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh.
iii. The highest volume of electrification was done in the State of Uttar Pradesh with 74.4 Lakh willing households being electrified in all of its 75 districts.
Other News:
i. Government of Uttar Pradesh launched a special campaign in all parts of the State to identify any left out un-electrified households and to provide electricity connections to such households.
ii. Under the campaign, a special vehicle ‘Saubhagya Rath’, is moving around in villages/towns to enable electrification of the left-out villages.
iii. Furthermore, a helpline number of 1912 has been activated for the left-out households to avail the facility.
About Saubhagya Scheme:
♦ Launched: September 25, 2017.
♦ Under Ministry of Power.
♦ Purpose: to achieve the goal of universal household electrification in the country by 31st March 2019.
♦ The total outlay of the project: Rs. 16, 320 crore.
♦ The Rural Electrification Corporation Limited (REC) was the nodal agency for the operationalisation of the scheme throughout the country.
♦ Website: http://saubhagya.gov.in/

Rs 185 cr released since FY 2015-16 to enhance female literacy rate among Scheduled Tribes: Govt
On 02nd January 2019, the Centre has released around Rs 185 crore since financial year 2015-2016 to bridge the gap between literacy levels of tribal girls and the general female population.
The scheme, being implemented through voluntary and non-governmental organisations, aims at reducing the dropout rate at the elementary level by creating the required ambience for the education of tribal girls.
Key points
i. Minister of State Tribal Affairs Jaswantsinh Bhabhor told the Lok Sabha that the government released Rs 53.29 crore in the 2015-16 fiscal under a scheme for education of tribal girls in 54 districts where the ST female literacy rate is less than 35 per cent
ii. Rs 65.44 crore was released in financial year 2016-17 under the scheme titled ‘Strengthening Education among ST Girls in Low Literacy Districts’.
iii. The government released Rs 46.28 crore in the 2017-18 fiscal and has so far released Rs 20.36 crore in 2018-19.

Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi  inaugurated 5-day 106th Indian Science Congress in Lovely Professional University Jalandhar, Punjab
On January 3, 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the 5-day long ‘Indian Science Congress (ISC)-2019’ in Lovely Professional University Jalandhar, Punjab.It will conclude on January 7, 2019.

5-day 106th the Indian Science Congress organized by Lovely Professional University inaugurated by Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in Jalandhar, Punjabi. The theme of 106th edition of ISC-2019, is: ‘Future India: Science and Technology’.
ii. The 5 day congress will include:

  • participation of 30,000 delegates including many Nobel Laureates, Union Cabinet Ministers of India, science policymakers, administrators, etc.
  • 100 plus conferences and events of scientific and technology with participation of eminent personalities from DRDO, ISRO, DST, AIIMS, UGC, AICTE.
  • Children’s Science Congress on 4th January 2019,
  • two-day Science Communicators’ Meet- 2019 on January 5th, 2019,
  • ‘Women’s Science Congress’ on 5th January,
  • ‘Pride of India’ Expo with major exhibitors including CSIR, ISRO, DAE, ICMR, DST, DRDO, ICAR and more.

iii. The Nobel Laureates who will be participating include
German-American biochemist Prof. Thomas Sudoph, who has been awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work on vesicle trafficking;
a Hungarian-born Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry Prof.Avram Hershko; and,
a British born physicist Frederick Duncan Michael Haldane who has been awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.
iv. PM called for the invention of new low-cost technologies for the help of farmers.P.M Modi add ‘Jai anusandhan’, therefore the slogan now becomes Jai Jawan, Jai Kisan, Jai Vigyan, Jai Anusandhan,”
Punjab:
♦ Chief Minister: Amarinder Singh.
♦ Governor: V.P Singh Badnore.
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: Abohar WLS, Bir Aishvan WLS, Bir Bunerheri WLS, Bir Bhadson WLS, Bir Dosanjh WLS, Bir Gurdialpura WLS, Bir Mehaswala WLS, Bir Motibagh WLS, Harike Lake WLS, Jhajjar Bacholi WLS, Kathlaur Kushlian WLS, Takhni-Rehmapur WLS, Nangal WLS.

Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair declared as an authorized Immigration Check post
On January 3, 2019, Information, Public Relations and Tourism Division of Andaman and Nicobar Administration announced that the Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair will be an authorized Immigration Check post.
i. Superintendent of Police (CID), Andaman and Nicobar Police has been appointed as the ‘Civil Authority’ for the purpose of the immigration check post.
ii. This would work as an entry into/exit point from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers.
iii. This opened up the Port Blair Airport for direct international flight and immigration facilities.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands:
♦ Lieutenant Governor: Admiral D K Joshi.
♦ National Parks: Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Mount Harriet National Park, Rani Jhansi Marine National Park, Campbell Bay National Park, Galathea National Park.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

President Trump signs ‘Asia Reassurance Initiative Act’ into law
On 31st December 2018, President of United States of America (USA), Donald J. Trump signed the “Asia Reassurance Initiative Act (ARIA)” into law. The act establishes a multifaceted U.S. strategy to increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in the Indo-Pacific region.

President Trump signs ‘Asia Reassurance Initiative Act’ into lawKey points
i. The ARIA will authorize $1.5 billion over a five year period to enhance economic, diplomatic and security cooperation with strategic regional allies.
ii. The ARIA Act was introduced into the Senate in April by Senator Cory Gardner, and was co-sponsored by Senators Edward Markey, Marco Rubio, and Ben Cardin.
iii. ARIA was passed by the Senate on December 04 2018, and approved by the House on December 12 2018.
iv. ARIA draws attention to U.S. relations with China, India, the ten member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), and Northeast Asian allies Japan and South Korea.
About the USA
♦ Capital: Washington D.C.
♦ Currency: United States dollar
♦ President: Donald Trump

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI Forms Expert Panel On MSMEs under Ex-SEBI Chief UK Sinha
On 02nd January 2019, the Reserve Bank set up an expert committee under former SEBI chairman U K Sinha to suggest long-term solutions for the economic and financial sustainability of the MSME sector.
The eight-member committee will also examine the factors affecting the timely and adequate availability of finance to the sector.
Key points
i. The RBI has announced the expert panel on MSMEs after it allowed a one-time restructuring of existing debt of up to 25 crore rupees for the companies which have defaulted on payment but the loans given to them have continued to be classified as standard assets.
ii. The restructuring has to be implemented by 31st of March 2020.
iii. The expert committee will submit its report by the end of June 2019.
iv. The panel will also review the current institutional framework in place to support the MSME sector and study the impact of the recent economic reforms on the sector and “identify the structural problems affecting its growth”.
v.While constituting the panel, the RBI said that considering the importance of the MSMEs in the Indian economy, it is essential to understand the structural bottlenecks and factors affecting the performance of the MSMEs.Such enterprises contribute about 40 per cent to the country’s export and 45 per cent in the manufacturing sector.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI)
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das (25th RBI Governor)
About SEBI (The Securities and Exchange Board of India)
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Chairman: Ajay Tyagi
♦ Formed: 12 April 1992

Bharti AXA Life uses WhatsApp to deliver policy, renewal premium
On 02nd January 2019, private sector insurer Bharti AXA Life Insurance started delivering policies and renewal premium receipt to customers via instant messaging platform WhatsApp as a part of its alternative service option to the policy holders.

Bharti AXA Life uses WhatsApp to deliver policyKey points
i. Bharti AXA Life Insurance, a joint venture between Bharti Enterprises and French Insurance major AXA is one of the first few insurers to provide the option of policy contract, renewal premium receipts and claim intimation through whatsapp.
ii. The Policy contract will be available for download shortly after its issuance.
About Bharti AXA Life Insurance
♦ Chief Operating Officer (COO): Ishita Mukherjee
♦ MD & CEO: Vikas Seth

Bancassurance pact was signed between Syndicate Bank and SBI Life Insurance
On January 2, 2019, Syndicate Bank and SBI Life Insurance signed a bancassurance pact aiming to offer a comprehensive financial planning solution to its customers.

Syndicate Bank and SBI Life Insurancei. This was signed between:

  • Syndicate Bank MD & CEO, Mrutyunjay Mahapatra and MD and
  • CEO of SBI Life, Sanjeev Nautiyal.

ii. Through the pact, Syndicate Bank will provide penetration in the market with its 3,000 branches and SBI Life’s diverse range of protection, wealth creation and savings insurance products will be brought to the table to the customers.
Syndicate Bank:
♦ Headquarters: Manipal, Karnataka.
♦ Tagline: Faithful and Friendly.

HDFC MF surpassed ICICI Prudential MF to become largest AMC in India: AMFI
On January 3, 2019, as per the latest data of Association of Mutual funds in India (AMFI), HDFC Mutual Fund has surpassed ICICI Prudential MF to become the country’s largest asset management company (AMC) after a gap of over two years.

i. As per the data, as of December 2018, HDFC MF managed assets worth Rs 3.35 lakh crore, while those of ICICI Prudential MF stood at Rs 3.08 lakh crore.
ii. And consequently, the assets under management (AUM) of HDFC MF have grown over 9 per cent in October-December quarter from the last quarter.
iii. Whereas, ICICI Prudential MF’s AUM reduced by 0.6 per cent.
iv. Among other firms, SBI MF stood at the third slot with AUM of Rs 2.64 lakh crore, followed by Aditya Birla Sun Life MF (Rs 2.42 lakh crore) and Reliance MF (Rs 2.36 lakh crore).
v. Overall, asset base of the country’s mutual fund industry was at Rs 23.61 lakh crore at the end of December quarter.
Background:
Earlier in February 2016, ICICI Prudential MF had surpassed HDFC MF in terms of AUM and reached the top position.
What are Mutual Funds (MFs)?
MFs are investment vehicles made up of a pool of funds collected from a large number of investors and this pool of money is invested in stocks, bonds and money market instruments, among others.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India cuts duty on refined, crude palm oil from ASEAN to 40 and 45 percent respectively: Finance Ministry
On December 31, 2018, the ministry of finance announced that the government has cut import duties on crude and refined palm oil from Southeast Asian countries or ASEAN countries.
This move was taken under the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and Malaysia under the India-Malaysia Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (IMCECA).
i. The duty on crude palm oil from Malaysia, Indonesia and other members of the Association of South East Asian Nations was cut to 40 per cent from 44 per cent.
ii. The tax on refined palm oil was cut to 45 per cent from 54 per cent if imported from Malaysia and to 50 per cent, if purchased from Indonesia or other member-nations of ASEAN.
iii. The duty cuts were made effective from January 1, 2019.
iv. India expects to import 15.5 million tonnes, with 60 per cent from Malaysia and Indonesia, followed by soyabean oil from Argentina and Brazil, sunflower oil from Ukraine and Russia and canola oil from Canada.
v. The effective duty difference between crude and refined palm oil has narrowed to 5.5 percent from 11 percent.
vi.  This move could hurt the domestic refining industry.
Background:
India is world’s biggest edible oil buyer.
ASEAN:
♦ Full form: Association of South-East Asian Nations.
♦ Members: 10.
♦ Headquarters: Jakarta, Indonesia.

India will not impose anti-dumping duty on coated paper imported from China, EU, US: DGTR
On January 3, 2019, after the conclusion of its anti-dumping probe, the Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR), under Commerce Ministry suggested that India will not impose anti-dumping duty on coated paper from China, European Union and the US.
i. The probe conducted by the DGTR has not found any impact on the domestic industry due to the alleged dumped imports.
ii.  The probe was conducted as per the request of the Indian Paper Manufacturers Association on behalf of BILT Graphics Paper Products, subsidiary of Ballarpur Industries.
What is coated paper?
The paper, primarily used for printing of magazines, catalogues, books and manuals, calendars, brochures, labels and flexible packaging, is called coated paper.
Background:
Under the multilateral regime of the World Trade Organization, a country starts to impose anti-dumping duties on products of other countries when upon investigation it is found that domestic industries have been hurt because of increased cheap imports.
Directorate General of Trade Remedies (DGTR):
♦ Under Commerce Ministry.
♦ DGTR: Shri Sunil Kumar (Additional Secretary).

Defence industries received Rs 1.21 cr FDI during 2014-18: Commerce Min
On January 2, 2019, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry C R Chaudhary announced that India’s defence sector received Rs 1.21 crore (Rs 12,146,180 ) foreign direct investment during 2014-18.

i.  The break-down of the FDI flows are as follows:

  • In 2013-14: defence industries had received USD 0.82 million
  • In 2014-15: USD 0.08 million, and
  • In 2015-16:  USD 0.10 million.
  • In 2016-17, the industries had failed to attract any foreign direct investments.
  • In 2017-18:  USD 10,000 (about Rs 7 lakh) FDI was attracted by the sector.

Ministry of Commerce:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Suresh Prabhu.
♦ Minister of State:  Shri. C R Chaudhary.
Ministry of Defence:
♦ Union Minister: Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman.
♦ Minster of State: Shri. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre.

Rs. 5151 crore worth first LNG import terminal of IOC commissioned in Ennore, Tamil Nadu
On January 2, 2019, Indian Oil Corp (IOC), the nation’s biggest oil firm, announced commission of its first Rs 5,151-crore worth Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal in Ennore, Tamil Nadu.
i. This is the first LNG import terminal IOC has built on its own and will become operational by the end of January 2019.
ii. IOC holds 95 per cent stake in the Ennore LNG import terminal. Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) has 5 per cent.
iii. The firm is also working on laying a 1,385 km natural gas pipeline originating from the Ennore terminal to Nagapattinam in Tamil Nadu via Puducherry.
iv. Also, branch pipelines will be laid in Madurai, Tuticorin, and Bengaluru to meet the LNG demand.

7 Oil PSUs signed pact with IIT Bombay to set up centre of excellence
On January 2, 2019, IIT Bombay and public sector oil companies inked a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for setting up Centre of Excellence in Oil, Gas and Energy.
i. The MoU was signed by heads of:

  • Indian Oil Corp (IOC),
  • Oil and Natural Gas Corp (ONGC),
  • GAIL India Ltd,
  • Bharat Petroleum Corp Ltd (BPCL),
  • Hindustan Petroleum Corp Ltd (HPCL),
  • Oil India Ltd and
  • Engineers India Ltd.

ii. This would link up energy industry and academics to help jointly address energy requirements with new and innovative, indigenous technology.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Pentagon comptroller David Norquist named acting deputy defence secretary of United States
On January 3, 2019, Pentagon comptroller David Norquist was named acting deputy defence secretary of United States.
i. He has been the department’s chief financial officer and comptroller since May 2017.
ii. In addition to that, Deputy Secretary of Defence Patrick Shanahan was appointed to serve as the acting secretary of defence.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Scientists develop ‘brain pacemaker’ to treat epilepsy Parkinson’s
Scientists have developed a device named WAND which stands for “Wireless artifact-free neuromodulation device” that works like a “Pacemaker for the brain” to monitor the brain’s electrical activity and potentially deliver fine-tuned treatments to patients suffering from diseases like epilepsy and Parkinson’s.
i. The most important feature of the device is that it is both wireless and autonomous, which means when it learns to recognize the signs of tremor or seizures then it can adjust the stimulation parameters on its own to prevent the unwanted movements.
ii. The device has custom integrated circuits to record the full signal from both the subtle brain wave and the strong electrical pulses.

Paper Sensor to detect freshness of Milk developed by Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati
On 01st January 2019, scientists at Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati have developed a simple paper kit that can test freshness of milk and tell how well it has been pasteurized.
i. The kit is sided with smart phone app to ensure that milk is consumed before it turns too sour.
ii. The team has prepared a kit by attaching probe discs onto a 2 cm square transparent cellulose acetate film. The probe is then covered with another cellulose acetate film
iii. Colour reaction takes place when milk is injected through a tiny hole in the cover and a smart phone can be used to get the results. It takes just about 15 minutes to detect raw milk from pasteurized one.

ENVIRONMENT

Tropical Storm Usman hits Philippines
On December 29, 2018, tropical Storm Usman hit Philippines’ Bicol region in Manila.
i. The tropical depression brought heavy rains and triggered deadly landslides all over the country.
ii. The Philippines is affected by 15 to 20 typhoons every year during the rainy season, which usually begins in May or June and concludes in November or December.

SPORTS

Virat Kohli fastest to 19000 international runs, breaks Sachin’s record
On 3rd January 2019, 30 years old Indian cricket team captain, Virat Kohli beats Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar’s to become the fastest batsman to score 19000 international runs on the 1st day of 4th Test Match in Sydney against Australia.

Virat Kohli fastest to 19000 international runs, breaks Sachin’s recordi. Virat Kohli crossed 19000 runs mark in 399 innings whereas Sachin Tendulkar took 432 innings to score 19000 runs.
ii. West Indies’ Brain Lara and Australia’s Ricky Pointing took 433 and 444 innings respectively to score 19000 international runs.

OBITUARY

Bengali writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee Dibyendu Palit Passed away in Kolkata
On January 3, 2019, renowned Bengali writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee Dibyendu Palit passed away at 79 in Kolkata.
i. Palit was conferred the Sahitya Akademi for his novel ‘Anubhab’ in 1998.

Bengali writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee Dibyendu Palit Passed awayii. His first short story ‘Chhandopatan’ was published in 1955 and his first novel ‘Sindhu Baroan’ published in 1959.
iii. He was awarded the ‘Bankim Purashkar’ for ‘Dheu’ in 1990 and ‘Ananda Purashkar’ in 1984 for ‘Sahojoddha’.

Dronacharya awardee and cricketer Sachin Tendulkar’s coach Ramakant Achrekar Passed away in mumbai
On January 3, 2019, 1990 Dronacharya awardee cricket coach Ramakant Achrekar, who coached Cricketer Sachin Tendulkar passed away at 86 in Mumbai.

Sachin Tendulkar’s coach Ramakant Achrekar Passed awayi. Besides Tendulkar, he also coached other prominent players like Vinod Kambli, Pravin Amre, Sameer Dighe and Balwinder Singh Sandhu.
ii. Because of his contribution to the sport, he was honoured with Padma Shri in 2010.
iii. The Kamath Memorial Cricket Club in Dadar was founded by him.

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