Current Affairs June 20 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

NITI Aayog has proposed to sell only e-vehicles after 2030

  • The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog, think tank of the government, has proposed that only Electric Vehicles (EVs) should be sold after 2030. This is proposed in order to expand the scope of the clean fuel technology beyond two and three-wheelers.
  • The panel headed by NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant had suggested earlier that only EV (three-wheelers and two-wheelers) with an engine capacity of up to 150 cc should be sold from 2025 onwards.
  • According to the joint study by NITI Aayog and Rocky Mountain Institute, USA, India can save 64% of anticipated road-based mobility-related energy demand and 37% of carbon emissions in 2030 by pursuing a shared, electric, and connected mobility future. It will reduce 156 Mtoe (Megatoe) Diesel and Petrol consumption for that year and will result in a net saving of roughly Rs. 3.9 Lakh Crore in 2030 at present oil prices………………………………………….Click here to Read more

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth held in Karuizawa, Japan
G20 (Group of 20) Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth for the year 2019 was held at Karuizawa Prince Hotel (Karuizawa Town, Nagano), Japan on June 15-16, 2019. G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions
i. The Indian delegation at the G20 Ministerial Meeting on Energy Transitions and Global Environment for Sustainable Growth was represented by Shri RK Singh, Minister of State for Power and New & Renewable Energy and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship.
ii. Ministers and Representatives exchanged views on the key themes of “Accelerating the Virtuous Cycle of Environmental Protection and Economic Growth by Innovation”, “Resource Efficiency Marine Plastic Litter” and “Adaptation and Resilient Infrastructure including Ecosystem-based approaches”……………………………………Click here to Read more

Worldwide Displacement tops 70.8 million at the end of 2018: UNHCR report
According to the recently released UNHCR’s (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) annual Global Trends report, almost 70.8 million people are forcibly displaced in 2018, the most since World War II and doubled the number of 20 years ago.
Key points:
i. The report states that the number of people fleeing persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations rose by 2.3 million in 2018.
ii. About 4 million Venezuelans and more than 1.5 million Ethiopians were the largest displaced population in 2018.
iii. The 70.8 million people in the report consist of three groups which include refugees (25.9 million), asylum seekers (3.5 million) and Internally displaced persons (IDPs)( 41.3 million).
iv. The countries with most IDPs are Syria and Colombia.
iv. Every year June 20 is observed as World Refugee Day to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world.
About UNHCR:
i. It is an inter-governmental body within the United Nations system.
ii. It was created in 1950, during the aftermaths of World War II.
iii. It is responsible for strengthening the promotion and protection of human rights around the globe and for addressing situations of human rights violations and make recommendations on them.
iv. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI panel on MSMEs headed by U K Sinha recommended to double collateral-free loans limit to Rs 20 lakh

  • The 8 member panel on Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in January 2019, headed by the former Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) Chairman U K Sinha submitted its report to RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das on June 17, 2019. The panel was formed to suggest long-term measures for the economic and financial sustainability of the MSME sector.
  • The Committee suggested doubling collateral-free loans for MSMEs to Rs 20 lakh from Rs 10 lakh. This is also applicable to Micro Units Development and Refinance Agency (Mudra) and Self-Help Groups (SHGs).
  • Currently, MSMEs can get collateral-free loans under two mechanisms- based on the RBI’s 2010 circular (July 1, 2010) and on Credit Guarantee Fund (CGF). RBI’s 2010 circular prescribes a limit of Rs 10 lakh and CGF provides collateral-free loans up to Rs 2 crore……………………………………Click here to Read more

NHA and ICICI Foundation signed a MoU to train 15,000 personnel under Ayushman Bharat Scheme
The National Health Authority (NHA) and ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to train 15,000 state and district personnel and Pradhan Mantri Arogya Mitras to provide the delivery of health services under Ayushman Bharat Scheme over a period of one year. It is aimed at capacity building of health personnel at state. The state personnel is assigned the responsibility to implement the scheme in their respective states and Arogya Mitras, the health service professionals, are present at each empanelled hospital.

NHA and ICICI Foundationii.ICICI Academy for Skills will conduct the training programme at its 20 centres and after the completion of training, the trained personnel will help beneficiaries understand the scheme better.
About Ayushman Bharat Scheme-Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PMJAY):
Under the flagship health scheme, the government aims to provide a cover of up to Rs 5 lakh per family per year, for secondary and tertiary care hospitalization to over 10.74 crore vulnerable entitled families (approximately 50 crore beneficiaries).
CEO: Indu Bhushan
About ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth:
ICICI stands for Industrial Credit Investment Corporation of India
President: Saurabh Singh

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

SEBI permits stock exchanges to introduce futures on commodity indices

  • On June 18, 2019, The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) allowed the stock exchanges with Commodity Derivative Segment (CDS) to introduce futures on commodity indices. This will facilitate mutual fund and institutional participation in commodity exchanges.
  • The stock exchanges should take prior approval from SEBI to launch such contracts. They will have to submit data of the index constructed at least for the past 3 years, along with data on monthly volatility, roll-over yield for the month and monthly return.
  • The constituent futures contracts should be in existence on the respective exchanges for at least the previous twelve months and they should have been traded at least 90% of the trading days during the previous twelve months………………………………………….Click here to Read more

ICANN, NASSCOM to collaborate on Internet Innovation Research
On June 18, 2019, Global internet body, The Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and India’s National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for a joint collaboration on research and engagement activities that will foster innovation in Internet identifier technologies. This will help both bodies to jointly identify research projects, predominantly in new technologies related to the Internet’s system of unique identifiers.

ICANN-and-NASSCOMKey points:
i. ICANN and NASSCOM’s Centre of Excellence for Internet of Things (NASSCOM COE-IOT) have established a partnership center, known as the Internet Identifier Innovation Center which will help in collaborative activities.
ii. They will first focus on updating Internet of Things (IoT) devices using Domain Name System DNS) even in situations when the manufacturers or suppliers have closed down the business.
iii. In 2018, the teams began research on the DNS and Internet Protocol version 6 (IPv6) in the context of the IoT.
iv. The project team consists of ICANN technical experts, NASSCOM’s Centre of Excellence-IOT team, the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Hyderabad team and participants from India’s Education and Research Network (ERNET).
About ICANN:
Headquarters: Los Angeles, California, US
Founded: 18 September 1998
CEO: Göran Marby
About NASSCOM:
Headquarters: Noida, Uttar Pradesh
Founded: 1 March 1988
Chairman: Keshav Murugesh

Bangladesh emerged as the fastest economy in Asia-Pacific: Asian Development Bank
Asian Development Bank (ADB) in it’s Asian Development Outlook (ADO) stated that Bangladesh emerged as the fastest growing economy among the 45 countries of the Asia-Pacific region. Higher public sector investment, stronger consumption demand, revival in exports, improved power supply and higher growth in private sector credit were the key factors of the high growth performance of Bangladesh.
Key Points:
i. In 2018-19, Bangladesh registered a growth rate of 7.9%. It was the fastest rate since 1974.
ii. It predicted that the growth will be 8% in the next financial year 2019-20.
iii. It stated that the growth will be moderate across most of developing Asia – 5.7% in 2019 and 5.6% in 2020 from 6.2% in 2017 and 5.9% in 2018.
iv. South Asia will witness slow growth in Asia at 6.8% in 2019 and 6.9% in 2020.
About Bangladesh:
Capital: Dhaka
Currency: Bangladeshi Taka
Prime Minister: Sheikh Hasina
Asian Development Bank (ADB)
Headquarters: Mandaluyong, Manila,Philippines
President: Takehiko Nakao

India constitutes 6.3 percent of the global fish production: Fisheries Department
On June 18, 2019, According to the report released by the Fisheries Department, India is the second largest fish producing country in the world after China as it accounts for 6.3 percent of the global fish production. It also states that the fisheries sector registers a 7 percent growth rate, sustaining 14.5 million fishermen.
23rd session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission(IOTC)
i.  Rajni Sekhri Sibal, Secretary, Department of Fisheries addressed the 23rd session of the Indian Ocean Tuna Commission (IOTC) held in Hyderabad, where she states that 30 percent of the Indian EEZ (Exclusive Economic Zone) is spread across the Andaman, Nicobar and Lakshadweep Islands, but only 1 percent comprises production of tuna fish.
ii. There is a huge potential in harnessing tuna and tuna-like species in EEZ, Emphasizing the need for cooperation between IOTC member countries.
iii. The global tuna market stood at $ 11.38 billion in 2017 and will reach $13.75 billion by 2023.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Lt Gen Faiz Hameed appointed as Pakistan’s new ISI chief
On June 16, 2019, The Pakistan Army appointed Lt Gen Faiz Hameed as the Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) spy agency. He was the Adjutant General at the General Headquarters (GHQ), Rawalpindi, Pakistan. He succeeded Lt General Asim Munir.

Lt Gen Faiz HameedKey Points:
i. He has previously served in the ISI as the head of internal security.
ii. He was one among the officials to end Faizabad dharna by a radical religious group in November 2017 through a deal.
About Pakistan:
Currency: Pakistani rupee
Capital: Islamabad
Prime Minister: Imran Khan
President: Arif Alvi

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Sri Lanka launched its first satellite ‘Ravana-1’ into orbit
On June 17, 2019, Sri Lanka successfully launched its first satellite ‘Ravana-1’ into orbit from the International Space Station (ISS) along with two other BIRDS 3 satellites from Japan and Nepal. It was deployed to the 400-km of orbit at an inclination of 51.6 degrees using the JAXA (Japanese Aerospace and Exploration Agency) owned Kibo experiment module.

Ravana-1'Key Points:
i. The satellite was designed and developed by 2 Sri Lankan engineers – Tharindu Dayaratne and Dulani Chamika who are studying space engineering at Japan’s Kyushu Institute of Technology.
ii. Ravana 1 measures 11.3 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm and weighs around 1.05 kg. It was officially handed over to the JAXA on February 18, 2019, and was sent to the ISS on April 17, 2019, through the assistance of Cygnus-1 spacecraft from the US.
iii. The satellite is expected to fulfill five missions. It will have a minimum lifespan of one-and-a-half years but is expected to be active up to 5 years.
About Sri Lanka:
Capital: Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, Colombo
Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe

SPORTS

PU Chitra and Sreeshankar strikes Gold & Johnson wins silver at Folksam Grand Prix 2019
Asian champion PU Chitra (Palakkeezhil Unnikrishnan Chithra) of India won a gold medal in women’s 1500m at Folksam Grand Prix 2019 held in Sollentuna, Sweden. She ran her season best by clocking 4 minutes 12.65 seconds (4:12.65s).

PU ChitraKey Highlights:
i. Chitra beats Mercy Cherono of Kenya who finished 4:13:34s, a former IAAF World Cross Country champion and silver medallist at the 2013 World Championships.
ii. 2018 Asian Games gold medallist, Jinson Johnson from India won a silver medal in men’s 1500m at Folksam Grand Prix by clocking 3:39.69 as he finished behind Sweden’s Andreas Almgren (3:39.68s). Jinson Johnson is an Asian Games gold medalist and he has earlier bettered his own national record by clocking 3:37.62 at Next Generation Athletics Meet at Nijmegen, the Netherlands.
iii. In another separate competition, Murali Sreeshankar, National record holder won the men’s long jump gold with 7.93m at the Copenhagen Athletics Games in Denmark.

OBITUARY

Former Mizoram minister and MNF leader, Lalrinchhana dies at 84
On June 19, 2019, Lalrinchhana, Former Mizoram minister and MNF (Mizo National Front) leader passed away after battling with cancer. He was 84.

Lalrinchhana diesKey points:
i. In 1966, Lalrinchhana, a three-time minister joined the Mizo National Front (MNF).
ii. After the MNF came overground, following the signing of the Mizo Accord in 1986, he had won the assembly elections for five consecutive times since 1987.
About Mizoram
♦ Capital: Aizawl
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
♦ Chief Minister: Zoramthanga

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Refugee Day Observed On 20 June 2019
World Refugee Day is observed across the world on June 20, 2019, to raise awareness of the situation of refugees throughout the world. It seeks to draw attention to the plight of refugees across the world and celebrate their courage and resilience and renew global commitment to solve refugee problems. The Theme for the 2019 World Refugee Day is #Step With Refugees — Take A Step on World Refugee Day. The theme expects communities, schools, businesses, faith groups and people from all walks of life should take big and small steps in solidarity with refugees.

World Refugee DayKey points:
i. The World Refugee Day was instituted by United the Nations General Assembly (UNGA) through Resolution 55/76 passed in December 2000.
ii. It was passed to mark 50th anniversary of UN Refugee Convention, 1951. Since then, this day is observed annually with different themes. Prior institution of this day in 2000, Organization of African Unity (OAU) member states used to observe African Refugee Day on 20 June.
iii. Refugee is a person who has been forced to leave their country in order to escape war, persecution, or natural disaster.

World sickle cell day observed on June 19, 2019
World sickle cell day 2019 observed all around the world on June 19. It is observed to promote public awareness about sickle cell disease and support people by educating them.
Key points:
i. This day was recognized by the United Nation General Assembly in 2008 to raise awareness about the sickle cell disease and the pain that people go throughout life.
ii. The day was celebrated for the first time on 19 June 2009.
iii. Sickle cell disease (SCD) is an inherited genetic abnormality of hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein found in red blood cells). This abnormality causes stuck in small blood vessels, which can slow blood flow and oxygen to parts of the body.

STATE NEWS

Maharashtra Government tables interim budget with a revenue deficit of Rs 20,292.94 crore  for 2019-20
On June 19, 2019, Maharashtra state Government presented the interim budget for the financial year 2019-20 with a revenue deficit of Rs 20,292.94 crore which higher than 2018 deficit of Rs 14,960.04 crore. State Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar presented the Budget in the legislative assembly.
The government has estimated revenue expenditure of Rs.3,34,933.06 crore against revenue receipts of Rs 3,14,640.12 crore.
Some Budget features
i. The provision of  Rs 12,000 crore has been made for irrigation sector, Rs 350 crore for micro-irrigation, Rs 1,000 crore for development of Dhangar community(Shepherd), Rs 200 crore for OBC Corporations, Rs 600 crore for research by four agricultural universities and Rs 100 crore for construction of houses for Divyang.
ii. Insurance cover: It will be to 5.5 crore people under the Gopinath Munde Shetkari Apghat Vima Yojana which will be expanded with an outlay of Rs 210 crore.
iii. Amnesty scheme: The benefits of this scheme will be available in respect of outstanding tax in the ratio of undisputed tax and disputed tax proportionately.
iv. Allocaton for Water resources department: A provision of 12,597 crores rupees has been made for the Water Resource Department and 2,720 crore rupees for Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Scheme.
v. Darpankar Balshastri Jambhekar Senior Journalists Pension Scheme: Rs 10 crore fund allocated to this scheme.
vi. Sanjay Gandhi Niradhar Yojana and Shravan Bal Yojana: The aid for these yojanas has been raised from Rs 600 to Rs 1,000.
vii. A widow with one child will get the aid of Rs 1,100 per month and those with two kids will get Rs 1,200 per month.
viii. Rs.8946 crore and Rs.1,531 crores have been allotted for Jalyukta Shivar Yojana & Baliraja Jal Sanjivani scheme respectively.
 ix. The total debt of the Maharashtra state was Rs 4,14,411 crore by the end of March 2019.
About Maharashtra:
♦ Capital: Mumbai
♦ Chief minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor: Chennamaneni Vidyasagar Rao

Punjab Government set to launch a universal health insurance scheme from July 2019
On June 13, 2019, Punjab Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu announced that the State Government is set to launch its flagship universal health insurance scheme named “Sarbat Sehat Bima Yojana (SSBY)” with effect from July 1, 2019. This Health scheme will be the first of its kind in the state and provide annual health cover of Rs. 5 lakh per family to 43.18 lakh families of Punjab.
Key points:
i. Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu states that besides all government hospitals, 364 private hospitals in Punjab had been empanelled, where the beneficiaries would get the secondary and tertiary care treatment.
ii. 14.86 lakh families of Punjab will be covered under the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM JAY) in the state and the cost of the premium for the families covered under the PM JAY would be borne by the Centre and the state government in the 60:40 ratio while for the rest of the beneficiaries, it would be borne by the state government.
About Punjab:
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ Chief minister: Amarinder Singh
♦ Governor: V.P. Singh Badnore

HP Government makes GPS tracking devices mandatory for trekkers
On June 19, 2019, The Himachal Pradesh Government made it mandatory for trekkers to carry a GPS device to tackle any exigency. A decision in this regard was taken at a review meeting on preparedness for the monsoon chaired by Shrikant Baldi, Additional Chief Secretary in Shimla.

GPS tracking devices mandatory for trekkersKey points:
i. Restriction: The trekking and other yatras will be restricted during adverse weather.
ii. Early Warning Systems: It will be installed in Kullu district and Dalhousie town of the state. The towns of Rampur and Mandi have been zeroed in for setting up the relief and rescue base of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF).
About Himachal Pradesh
♦ Chief Minister: Jai Ram Thakur
♦ Governor: Acharya Dev Vrat
♦ Statehood: 25 January 1971

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