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Cabinet Approvals on March 13, 2019
Notification for “General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2019) issued by the cabinet
The Union Cabinet has approved “General Election to the Lok Sabha 2019 – statutory notifications under the sub-section (2) of section 14 of the Representative of the people Act, 1951”, which would begin the election process for the 17th House of the People.
Promulgation of the Daman & Diu Civil courts (Amendment) Regulation, 2019 and Dadra & Nagar Haveli Amendment Regulation. 2019 has been approved by Cabinet
The Union Cabinet under the chairmanship of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi has approved the following promulgation under the Article 240 of the constitution in order to bring uniformity in the judicial services.
i.The Daman & Diu Civil Courts (Amendment) Regulation, 2019
ii.The Dadra and Nagar Haveli (Civil courts and Miscellaneous Provisions) Amendment Regulation, 2019
Cabinet approved the proposal for accession of India to Nice, Vienna and Locarno agreements
The Union Cabinet on the chairmanship of Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the accession of India to following agreements:
i.The Nice Agreement on the International classification of goods and services for the purposes of registration of marks.
ii.The Vienna Agreement for setting up an International classification of the figurative elements of the marks.
iii.The Locarno Agreement for establishing an International classification for industrial designs.
Benefits of the accession to agreements
i.The Accession will instill confidence in foreign investors with regard to protection of Intellectual properties in India.
ii.Indian desings, figurative elements and goods will get a chance to be included in the international classification systems.
iii.The Accession will also help the Intellectual property office to harmonize the classification systems for examination of trademark and design applications in line with international classification system.
Centre to State: Enemy properties can be put to public use
Central Government allowed State Governments to put to public use some enemy properties that were left behind by people who left India for Pakistan and China after 1965 and 1971 wars.
i. The estimated value of all enemy properties is approximately one lakh crore rupees.
ii. There are over nine thousand such properties left behind by Pakistani nationals and over one hundred by Chinese nationals.
HGS and NASSCOM to launch centre of excellence for PwDs in Bangalore
Hinduja Global Solutions (HGS) partnered with NASSCOM Foundation, to launch a centre of excellence in Bengaluru for training differently-abled persons (PwDs) which will train a minimum of 100 PwDs making them industry-ready over the next 12 months with a goal to place at least 50% of them in companies already sensitised for hiring them.
i. The trainees will be skilled in a variety of job roles suitable for hospitality, IT or BPM and retail industries and will also be trained on soft skills, interview skills, communication skills, and English language.
ii. This is third such centre set up under the partnership, after Noida and Delhi.
The 34th edition of Aahar – the International Food and Hospitality Fair begins in New Delhi
The Five day long, 34th edition of Aahar- the International Food and Hospitality Fair which is organized by India Trade Promotion Organization (ITPO) begins in New Delhi on 12th March 2019.
i. Candidates from China, Germany, Hong Kong, Italy, Indonesia, Japan, Russia, Spain, USA and UK are participating in the event.
ii. The Food fair features Food Products, Hospitality and decor solutions, confectionery items, Food beverages equipment and machinery from more than 560 National and International Participants.
Exercise Al Nagah III began in the Jebel Al Akhdar in Oman
The 3rd edition of the series of bilateral joint exercise between the armies of India and Oman, called Exercise Al Nagah III, commenced on 12th March 2019 and will continue till 25th March 2019 at Jabel Al Akhdar Mountains in Oman where both the armies will be exchanging expertise in tactics, weapon handling and firing, in order to enhance inter operability in counter-terrorist operations in semi urban mountainous terrain.
i. The Indian Army contingent will be represented by 4 Officers, 9 Junior Commissioned Officers and 47 other ranks of 10th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles and a similar strength will be showcased by Jabel Regiment of Royal Army of Oman (RAO).
ii. The first two joint exercises were held in Oman in January 2015 and India in March 2017 respectively.
♦ Capital – Muscat
♦ Currency – Rial
♦ Prime Minister – Qaboos bin Said al Said
India bans Boeing 737 MAX 8 planes after the Ethiopian Airlines crash
The entry or transit of Boeing 737 Max 8 aircraft has been banned by the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) in the Indian airspace from 1600 hrs IST or 1030 UTC 13th March 2019 following the Ethiopian Airlines crash that killed 157 people.
i. The airlines affected by this are SpiceJet which has 13 jets of the model 8 variant and Jet Airways which has 5 jets of this variant.
ii. All the top 10 countries in the air passenger travel category, except the United States and Japan have banned flights of the Boeing 737 MAX 8.
Life and times of Mahatma Gandhi is on display in London Book Fair
On 12th March 2019, India Pavilion was inaugurated by Vikram Sahay, Joint Secretary in Ministry of Information & Broadcasting and Sadhana Rout, Director General in the Publications Division in the London Book Fair. London Book Fair is being organized from 12th March to 14th March 2019.
i. The Indian Pavilion is focused on 150th Birth Anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and it displays the digital version of Life and times of Mahatma Gandhi.
ii. The Statue of Unity and other major achievements of India is also presented in the Indian Pavilion.
BANKING & FINANCE
114th Foundation Day celebrated by Corporation Bank
On 12th March 2019, Corporation Bank celebrated its 114th Foundation Day at various centres of the bank across the nation and undertook 114 Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities to mark the day.
i. CEO and MD for the bank P.V Bharathi, Executive Directors Gopal Murli Bhagat and Birupaksha Mishra and other senior officials were present at the occasion.
ii. Corp Ease– which is a mobile banking app in 10regional languages, was launched by P.V Bharathi.
iii. Under its CSR scheme, the bank declared that it would provide funds to the Shivamogga Institute of Medical Sciences for buying three haemodialysis machines.
iv. A Walkathon from the bank’s Centenary Library to the head office was organised for the bank employees, articulating the bank’s motto, “Prosperity for all”.
HDFC becomes the third Indian company to achieve a market value of more than Rs.6 trillion
On 13th March, HDFC Bank became the third Indian company after Reliance Industries (Rs. 8.52 trillion) and TCS (Rs. 7.49 trillion) to achieve a market value of Rs. 6 trillion, owing to a sudden upsurge in its share prices.
i. The shares of the bank have risen in each of the last five trading sessions, capping a 6% jump to a record high of Rs. 2,227.40.
ii. The bank witnessed a 20% growth in profits and a bad loan ratio of less than 1.5%.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
India positioned at rank 11 in gold holding: WGC Report
According to the latest report by the World Gold Council (WGC), India, the world’s largest consumer of gold, has the 11th largest gold reserve, with the current holding secured at 607 tonnes.
i. The number one slot is occupied by the U.S., which has gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3,369.7 tonnes.
ii. International Monetary Fund (IMF) is positioned at third rank on the list with total gold reserves of 2,814 tonnes followed by Italy and France with reserves of 2,451 tonnes and 2,436 tonnes respectively.
iii. Among Asian countries, China (1,864.3 tonnes) and Japan (765.2 tonnes) have more gold reserves as compared to India.
iv. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which added 6.5 tonnes of gold to its reserves in January 2019, taking its total holding forming part of its foreign exchange reserves to 607 tonnes, is set to become the 10th largest holder of gold worldwide, displacing the Netherlands.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Sona Yukti conferred with SEN Award for helping youth to develop skills
Sona Yukti, a skill development institute, was honoured with the Social Enterprise Network (SEN) sustainability award for education by Young Presidents Organisation at its annual event held in Cape Town, South Africa.
i. It is the only Indian organisation to be selected as part of the SEN awards for 2018.
ii. The award was given to Sona Yukti for helping over 55,000 economically disadvantaged individuals, mostly women, by training them to achieve highly skilled jobs in marginalised communities.
iii. The organisation focuses on providing opportunity for the disadvantaged, in partnership with the government of India, and follows standards set up by the National Skills Development Corporation.
iv. It runs 50 vocational schools in rural India providing a skilled workforce for companies and opportunities for those workers to lift themselves from poverty.
v. It is present in rural areas of Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar set Guinness World Record after donating more than 3 Lakh clothing items
On 10th March 2019, An Official of Guinness Book of World Records, UK presented a certificate to Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar for the largest collection of clothes for donation after he donated more than 3 lakh clothing items in Udaipur.
Lakshyaraj Singh Mewar who is a descendant of Rajpur ruler Maharana Pratap started the ‘Vastradan’ campaign under which 329250 cloths from around 76000 donors were collected and distributed among the needy people.
Ved Rahi will be awarded with Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar
Famous Novelist and Film Director, Ved Rahi will be awarded with prestigious Kusumagraj Rashtriya Sahitya Puruskar which carries a cash prize of Rs. 1 Lakh, A memento and a citation.
i. Ved Rahi was born in Jammu in 1933 and he had written seven novels in Dogri Language. He also wrote in Hindi and Urdu.
ii. He was given Sahity Akademi Award in 1983 for his Novel “Aale” which was written in Dogri Language.
iii. Kusumagraj award is named after Marathi Poet and playwright, late V V Shirwadkar who was popularly known as Kusumagraj.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Krishna Kumari Kohli becomes the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Senate of Pakistan
Krishna Kumari Kohli has been appointed as the first female senator of Pakistan from the Hindu Dalit community. She is also the first Thari Hindu woman to be elected to the Pakistan senate.
i. On 8th March 2019, which was celebrated as the International Women’s Day, she chaired the session of the Upper House of Parliament.
ii. She has earlier worked as a crusader for the rights of bonded labourers in Pakistan. She’s natively from the village-Dhana Gam in Nagarparkar area of Sindh.
Rakesh Makhija appointed as Non-executive Chairman of Axis Bank for 3 years
On 12th March 2019, Rakesh Makhija was appointed as the non-executive chairman of Axis Bank. He would start serving on this post from 18th July 2019 and will do so for a period of 3 years.
i. He succeeds Sanjiv Misra.
ii. He has been appointed on the basis of recommendations from Nomination and Remuneration Committee of Directors and the board of directors of the bank.
iii. His appointment is subject to the approval of the Reserve Bank of India and the bank’s shareholders.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
New population of Ultraviolet Stars discovered in the Globular Cluster NGC 2808 by AstroSat
A new population of ultraviolet stars has been discovered in the Globular Cluster NGC 2808 by Indian astronomers from Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai, using the Indian multi-wavelength space observatory AstroSat.
i. AstroSat is India’s multi-wavelength space observatory which allows to observe the universe in the optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum. It was launched in September 2015.
ii. NGC 2808 is a very huge globular cluster and is located 47,000 light years away from the Earth.
iii. Globular cluster is a collection of millions of stars which move as a single unit.
INMAS developed a range of “Combat Casualty Drug” to reduce soldier’s casualties
With 90% of gravely wounded security personnel succumbing to injuries within a few hours, Institute of Nuclear Medicine and Allied Sciences (INMAS), a laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has come up with a range of cost effective ‘combat casualty drugs‘ that can extend the time till the soldier is shifted to a hospital.
i. The spectrum includes bleeding wound sealants, super absorptive dressings and glycerated salines, all of which can save lives in the event of warfare in jungle and high altitude areas as well as in terror attacks.
ii. Scientists at INMAS, entrusted with research and development in a number of areas concerning the defence sector, said the main battlefield emergencies are excess bleeding, sepsis, shock, hypovolemia (decreased blood volume) and pain.
iii. Among the drugs developed is Glycerated saline, a battlefield intravenous fluid that does not freeze till -18 degrees Celsius and is useful in handling trauma cases in high altitude areas. Unlike normal saline, it also reduces inflammation.
iv. INMAS has also developed a special medicated dressing material which is 200 times more absorptive than normal dressings during bleeding wounds. The cellulose fibre-based dressings are more effective in stopping bleeding and keeping the wound clean and moreover, antiseptics, antibiotics and curcumin can be impregnated in the dressing which acts as a slow drug release system.
v. Then there is Chitosan gel, which helps in preventing blood loss by forming a film over the wound. Coupled with platelets and red blood cells aggregation, it stops the bleeding. Its antibacterial and wound health properties are of added benefit.
vi. Hypocholorous acid (HOCL), a disinfectant for troopers involved in jungle warfare which is helpful in treating necrotising fascitis, a rapidly progressing bacterial infection of soft tissues. Bacterial toxins cause local tissue damage and necrosis, as well as blunt immune system responses.
Chemical Production to double by the year 2030: GCO II Report
The United Nations’ Environment Assembly, held in Nairobi, Kenya, on 11th March 2019, gave a wakeup call that the world will miss the globally agreed target of minimising adverse impacts of chemicals and waste by 2020.
i. As per the second Global Chemicals Outlook (GCO II) report, chemical production across the world will double by 2030.
ii. Chemical industry is the world’s second largest manufacturing sector and currently, the world has the capacity to produce 2.3 billion tonne chemicals.
iii. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 1.6 million lives were lost in 2016 due to diseases related to chemicals.
iv. The first Global Chemicals Outlook report (GCO-I) was released in 2013. Since then, instead of reducing the use of chemicals to meet the agreed target, its use has gone up.
v. Projected growth will be highest in Asia, with China estimated to account for almost 50 per cent of global sales by 2030.
A new species of frog named ‘Starry Dwarf Frog’ found in Western Ghats
A new species of frog known as ‘Starry Dwarf Frog’ has been discovered in Western Ghats mountain range.
i. The features of the frog are:
- Brown back covered with tiny spots which make it look like a starry sky
- Camouflages well in wet leaf litter
ii. It has been named ‘Astrobatrachus kurichiyana’ and is found in Kurichiyarmala, Kerala.
Spanish football club Real Madrid reappoints Zinedine Zidane as its coach till 2022
Spanish football club Real Madrid has re-appointed Zinedine Zidane as its coach till 30th June 2022. He had earlier led the team to victory in three consecutive Champions League titles.
i. He succeeds Santiago Solari from France, who was removed from the post less than five months in charge.
ii. Zinedine Zidane had earlier won 9 trophies at Madrid.
iii.The team was eliminated from the Champions League by Ajax Amsterdam. The team Real Madrid won the UEFA Champions League title for three successive seasons in 2015–16, 2016–17 and 2017–18 but the team has been eliminated in the current season of 2018–19 after defeated by FC Ajax Amsterdam.
Five time WWE World Heavyweight champion, Kurt Angle announced retirement
WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) Hall of Famer, Kurt Angle(49) announced his retirement after the match at WretleMania 35 in April 2019.
Kurt Angle has been wrestling since the age of 7 and he had won Gold Medal at the 1995 Olympics.
Art Historian and Picasso Biographer, Sir John Richardson died at the age of 95
95 years old John Richardson, the art historian who devoted more than a quarter century in writing four-volume biography of Pablo Picasso died in Manhattan, New York while working on the final installment of the biography.The name of the biography of Pablo Picasso is “A Life of Picasso: The Prodigy 1881-1906”, which was followed by editions covering 1907-1916 and 1917-1932.
He was born on 6th February 1924 in London, England and moved to New York in 1960.
Veteran Hindi Newsreader Vinod Kashyap passes away at 88
Veteran Hindi Newsreader Vinod Kashyap passed away at the age of 88, owing to prolonged illness.
She worked at the All India Radio for around 30 years, starting her career in Radio as a drama artist. A prayer meeting to offer condolences will be held in New Delhi.
India Smart Utility Week 2019 inaugurated by Shri AK Bhalla in New Delhi
Shri AK Bhalla, Secretary Ministry of Power inaugurated the India Smart Utility Week (ISUW) 2019 which is being held in Manekshaw Center,New Delhi from 12th March to 16th March 2019. ISUW 2019 is organized by India Smart Grid Forum (ISGF) as an International Conference and Exhibition on Smart Energy, Gas and Water for Smarter Cities.
i. Experts and think-tanks from more than 55 countries and over 300 utility officials will discuss on the latest developments, trends and technologies.The event is organized with an aim to project India as the top Investment destination for Smart Energy and Smart City.
ii. Key topics to be discussed in the event are Digitization and Digital customer, energy storage technologies and energy storage roadmap for India, energy and mobility transition, resiliency & future readiness and Electric vehicle roll out challenges in India.
iii. ISGF is also conducting a roundtable of Women for the first time, in partnership with C3E initiative of the IEA (International Energy Agency) to discuss the challenges faced by women and actions required to achieve gender equality in energy sector.
iv. Some parallel workshop were also conducted on a variety of topics including “Blockchain for Utilities” and “Future Skills 2030”.
India observed Dandi March Day on 12th March, 2019
12th March 2019 marks the 89th anniversary of the Dandi Satyagraha or Salt Satyagraha, an act of nonviolent civil disobedience in colonial India led by Mahatma Gandhi.
i. Mahatma Gandhi had undertaken a 26-day march from March 12, 1930 to April 6, 1930 as a direct action campaign of tax resistance and nonviolent protest against the British salt monopoly.
ii. The 400 km Dandi March started from Sabarmati Ashram.
Exclusion from NRC list will not affect the Voting Rights in the upcoming polls: Election Commission
On 12th March 2019, The Election Commission of India (ECI) informed the three-judge bench headed by Ranjan Gogoi, the Chief Justice of India that exclusion of names from draft NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Assam will not affect the voting rights of persons in the upcoming elections provided that their name features in the electoral rolls.
i. The response of Election Commission came after ECI Secretary was summoned by the supreme court in connection with a PIL(Public Interest Litigation).
ii. Election Commission have to submit the data about addition and deletion of names from voters’ list as revised in January 2017, 2018 and 2019 by 28th March 2019 in the apex court.
iii. National Register of Citizens (NRC) contains the names of Indian citizens residing in Assam. The register was first prepared in 1951 and now it is being updated to include the names of persons who appear in the NRC, 1951 or any electoral rolls up the 24th September 1971.
Election Commission of India
♦ Formed: 25th January 1950 (25th January is celebrated as National Voters Day)
♦ Chief Election Commissioner of India: Sunil Arora
Meghalaya CM tabled Rs 1223 cr tax free, deficit budget for 2019-20
Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad K Sangma, who also holds the Finance portfolio, put forth a Rs 1,223 crore tax-free, deficit budget in the State Assembly for 2019-2020.
i. The government has given highest priority to improve revenue collection and a committee has been set up to methodically look into all issues of collections.
ii. Human development and health, besides livelihood programmes and improvement of connectivity have also been given top priority.
iii. IT-enabled systems for weighing of vehicles at gates and QR codes for transport challans are planned to be set up in the next fiscal year to improve tax collections which are estimated at Rs 2,090 crore for tax revenue and Rs 601 crore for non-tax revenue.
iv. The new GST regime has started to stabilise and has contributed to the ease of doing business.
v. The government has also created a window agency for ease of doing business and it approved 59 projects with investments of Rs 2,830 crore and providing employment to 2,525 youths.
vi. Meghalaya Integrated Transport Sector Project is also being planned by the State Government with an external aid of Rs 1,050 crore.