Current Affairs March 18 2019

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Current Affairs March 18 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

India and Afghanistan signed an MoU to collaborate on Digital Education Initiatives

  • The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India and IIT Madras signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Ministry of Higher Education Afghanistan Government to collaborate on Digital Education Initiatives, which include many prominent programs developed by Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT).
  • One of the main objectives of the MOU is to facilitate students and faculty from Afghanistan to enroll and learn from the courses offered on SWAYAM, which will expose them to latest technology courses and also up skill them in areas of their interest…………………………….Click here to Read more

Inter-ministerial panel set up by Govt for monitoring and sanctioning of projects under FAME-II programme
The Government of India has formed an inter-ministerial panel for monitoring, sanctioning and implementation of projects under the Rs 10,000-crore Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India (FAME-II) programme, aimed at incentivising clean mobility.
i. The Project Implementation and Sanctioning Committee, for the purpose of overall monitoring, sanctioning and implementation of the scheme, will be chaired by the secretary in the Department of Heavy Industries, Dr. A. R. Sihag.
ii. The programme under the second phase of the FAME India scheme will be implemented over a period of 3 years with effect from 1st April 2019.
iii. 10 lakh registered electric two-wheelers with a maximum ex-factory price will be eligible to avail incentive of Rs 20,000 each and it will also support 5 lakh e-rickshaws having ex-factory price of up to Rs 5 lakh with an incentive of Rs 50,000 each.
iv. It will offer an incentive of Rs 1.5 lakh each to 35,000 electric four-wheelers with an ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh, and incentive of Rs 13,000 each to 20,000 strong hybrid four-wheelers with ex-factory price of up to Rs 15 lakh.
v. It will support 7,090 e-buses with an incentive of up to Rs 50 lakh each having ex-factory price of up to Rs 2 crore.
vi. The scheme will have a Rs 1,500-crore outlay in 2019-20Rs 5,000 crore in 2020-21 and Rs 3,500 crore in 2021-22. It will cover buses with EV technology; electric, plug-in hybrid and strong hybrid four wheelers; electric three-wheelers including e-rickshaws and electric two-wheelers.
vii. It also plans to support for setting up of charging infrastructure whereby about 2,700 charging stations will be set up in metropolitan cities, other million-plus cities, smart cities and cities of hilly states across India.

PM Modi launches ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar’ campaign
On the lines of upcoming Lok Sabha elections, PM Modi, along with BJP leaders has started “Main Bhi Chowkidar (I am a watchman too)” campaign by prefixing the word “chowkidar” to their names in their Twitter profiles.
Key Points:
i.Its a video campaign titled “Take The Pledge”, showing people who has fought corruption, social evils and working hard for the progress of India, as watchmen.
ii.The 3.45-minute video is urging people to join Modi on March 31 at 6 p.m. for a video programme titled ‘Main Bhi Chowkidar”.
iii.In order to encourage people to be a part of campaign, a unique tech innovation called conversation cards on twitter was also started, through which people will get a personalised message from PM on Twitter on participating in this campaign.

India–Africa Joint Field Training Exercise AFINDEX-19 started in Pune, Maharashtra
The 10 days long Africa-India Joint Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-19) between the Indian Army and 16 African nations was commenced in Pune, Maharashtra on March 18, 2019 for training the participating contingents in Humanitarian Mine Assistance (HMA) and Peace Keeping Operations (PKO) under the United Nations Charter.

India–Africa Joint Field Training Exercise AFINDEX-19 started in Pune, MaharashtraKey Points:
i.It will be held in two locations in Pune viz. Foreign Training Node at Aundh Military Station and College of Military Engineering in Kirkee.
ii.The Indian army is represented by Maratha Light Infantry while African continent is comprised of 10 personnel, from each of the participating nations.
iii.The exercise is expected to facilitate sharing of Indian Armed Forces experiences in United Nations Peace keeping operations with countries in Africa and shall remarkably boost relations with the African continent.
About Africa
♦ The world’s second largest and second most-populous continent.
♦ Largest City in Africa: Lagos, Nigeria
♦ Largest river in Africa: Nile river

Overview of the TROPEX 19 held in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands
Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba, presided over the day long review session of largest War Game of the Indian Navy – the Theatre Level Operational Readiness Exercise (TROPEX 19) in Kochi, intended to examine the conduct of the exercise and to assess the operational preparedness of the Indian Navy.
i. The exercise had commenced 7th January 2019 and was planned to be terminated by 10th March 2019 but due to the JEM (Jaish-e-Mohammed) sponsored terrorist attack on the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) convoy in Pulwama on 14th February 2019 led to the rapid redeployment of the Indian Navy for Operations in North Arabian sea.
ii. TROPEX 19 had commenced with Tri-services Amphibious Exercise in the Andaman & Nicobar Islands with participation of Army and Air Force and about 60 ships of the Indian Navy, 12 ships of the Indian Coast Guard and 60 aircraft were part of the exercise.
iii. This was followed by the largest Coastal Defence Exercise code-named SEA VIGIL on 22nd January and 23rd January 2019 with the participation of all 13 Coastal States and Union Territories along with all maritime stakeholders.
iv. The TROPEX 19 was so far the largest in terms of geographical spread covering the IOR and also with regard to the number of participating units.
v. The lessons learnt from the exercise will provide the planners accurate assessments to fine tune force structuring requirements, operational logistics, as also material and training imperatives.

BANKING & FINANCE

ICICI Lombard partnered with MobiKwik to provide cyber-insurance
On 18th March 2019, ICICI Lombard and digital financial services company MobiKwik entered into a partnership to provide cyber insurance cover of Rs. 50000.

ICICI Lombard partnered with MobiKwikKey Points
i. It aims to provide protection against unauthorised and fraudulent transactions online across debit/credit cards, bank accounts and mobile wallets.
ii. The service will be available through an app at Rs. 99 per month along with an insured sum of Rs. 50000.
iii. To enjoy the benefit of a stress-free and secured transaction MobiKwik users can avail the ‘Commercial Cyber Insurance’ policy underwritten by ICICI Lombard.
iv. It will strengthen the relationship between MobiKwik and ICICI Lombard and will provide innovative and unique products against the new-age risks.
About ICICI Lombard
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
♦ CEO – Bhargav Dasgupta

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

WhatsApp and NASSCOM Foundation collaborated to tackle misinformation
On 18th March 2019, WhatsApp has joined hands with NASSCOM Foundation, to tackle the challenge of misinformation. The aim of the partnership is to train 100,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.

WhatsApp and NASSCOMKey Points:
i. With this partnership, Whatsapp aims to reach approximately 100,000 Indians with training to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp.
ii. The company said that the co-created curriculum encourages people to be mindful about forwarding rumors. The training will include real-world anecdotes, tools which can be used to verify a forward and actions users can take like reporting problematic content to fact checkers and law enforcement also the curriculum will be disseminated in multiple regional languages.
iii. On March 27, the first training will start in Delhi and will be followed by more planned interventions like hosting training workshops for representatives from rural and urban areas along with road shows across numerous colleges.
About (NASSCOM)
♦ ChairpersonRishad Premji
♦ Founded1 March 1988

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani Tops list of World’s Richest Sports Team Owners
Asia’s richest man and Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani topped the Forbes World’s Richest Sports Team Owners 2019 list with a total net worth of about $50 billion.
Key Points:
i. He bought the IPL team Mumbai Indians for over $100 million in 2008 through RIL’s 100 percent subsidiary IndiaWin Sports.
ii. He has been followed by CEO of Microsoft, Steve Ballmer ($41.2 billion), who owns Kroenke Sports & Entertainment and Micky Arison (Net worth: $8.9 billion), owner of the NBA franchise Miami Heat.
About Reliance Industries
♦ CEOMukesh Ambani
♦ OwnerMukesh Ambani
♦ FounderDhirubhai Ambani

Chennai teen pianist Lydian Nadhaswaram won a million dollars on the American reality show ‘The World’s Best’
13 years old pianist from Chennai Lydian Nadhaswaram won the prize of $1 million (6.9 crore) for his performance on the American reality show ‘The World’s Best’.

pianist Lydian Nadhaswaram won a million dollarsKey Points:
i. The young prodigy also made his debut on The Ellen Show.
ii. Lydian Nadhaswaram is also a student of the Chennai-based KM Music Conservatory which is run by A.R. Rahman in Chennai.

C Prem Kumar Clinched Gollapudi Srinivas award for his Tamil film ‘96’
C Prem Kumar who is a Cinematographer-turned-director, will be awarded with 22nd Gollapudi Srinivas National Award for his debut film Tamil ‘96’ on 12th August 2019 in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The award is presented to debutant filmmaker by Gollapudi Srinivas Memorial Foundation in the memory of Gollapudi Srinivas who passed away while making his first project.
Key Points
i. The award consists of a cash prize of Rs 1.5 lakh and a memento. ’96’ is the 2nd Tamil film after Kutty (2011) directed by Janaki Viswanathan to receive this award.
ii. The Movie ’96’ was set against the backdrop of a school alumni reunion. Trisha and Vijay Sethupathi played the leading characters in the movie.

ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS

RBI limits HDFC to hold more than 9.9% stake in Bandhan Bank
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has prohibited India’s largest mortgage lender HDFC from owning more than the regulatory limit in Bandhan Bank.
i. HDFC can hold 9.9% in the bank which is the maximum a non-banking finance company can own in a private bank
ii. HDFC, which will merge its low-cost arm Gruh Finance with Bandhan Bank, had sought approval to hold 14.96%.
About HDFC
♦ CEO – Aditya Puri
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Indian Coast Guard ship ‘Vijit’ goes on its maiden voyage to Indonesia
Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vijit’ became the first-ever Coast Guard ship to visit SabangIndonesia, highlighting the close maritime proximity between India and Indonesia and strengthening cooperation in the area of maritime security and safety between New Delhi and Jakarta.
i. During its maiden voyage from 17th March to 20th March 2019, officers and crew of Vijit will hold interaction with officials of Bakamla (Indonesian Coast Guard), Indonesian Armed Forces and the civil administration at Sabang.
ii. This visit of the coast guard ship follows from the first-ever-visit of Naval Ship INS Sumitra to Sabang in July 2018.
iii. The ship is commanded by Commandant T Ashish (0532-J), who is a long Navigation Direction officer.

3 astronauts successfully reached ISS on Russian Soyuz spacecraft
On 15th March 2019, 3 astronauts, Nick Hague and Christina Koch from US and Alexey Ovchinin from Russia arrived at the International Space Station (ISS) on Russian Soyuz spacecraft which was launched from Kazakhstan’s Baikonur Cosmodrome on 14th March 2019.
Soyuz spacecraft carries people and supplies to and from International Space Station and it has become the sole means of transportation after the retirement of Space Shuttle in 2011.

SPORTS

An Overview of Indian Wells Masters 2019 held in California, United States 
On 17th March 2019, the professional tennis tournament Indian Wells Masters 2019 also known as BNP Paribas Open held in California, United States. Prize money for the game was $9035428 for ATP and WTA separately.

An Overview of Indian Wells Masters 2019 held in California, United StatesDominic Thiem lifts Men’s Singles title defeating Roger Federer
Austrian player Dominic Thiem defeated five time champion Roger Federer of Switzerland to win Men’s Singles title. It is Dominic’s first Masters 1000 title.
Bianca Andreescu defeated Angelique Kerber to win Women’s Singles title
Canadian player Bianca Andreescu defeated German player Angelique Kerber in Women’s Singles Category to win her first ever Indian Wells title. The score was 6-4, 3-6, 6-4.
Nikola Mektic and Horacio Zeballos won Men’s Doubles title in Indian Wells
Croatia’s Nikola Mektic and Argentina’s Horacio Zeballos won Men’s Doubles title by defeating Poland’s Lukasz Kubot and Brazil’s Marcelo Melo. It was their first Doubles title.
Elise Mertens and Aryna Sabalenka won Women’s Doubles title for the first time
Elise Mertens of Belgium and Aryna Sabalenka of Belarus won their first Doubles title as a team against Barbora Krejcikova of Czech Republic and Katerina Siniakova of Czech Republic. The duo won the game for 6-3, 6-2.

CategoryWinnerRunner-up
Men’s SinglesDominic Thiem (Austria)Roger Federer (Switzerland)
Women’s SinglesBianca Andreescu (Canada)Angelique Kerber (German)
Men’s DoublesNikola Mektic (Croatia) and Horacio Zeballo (Argentina)Lukasz Kubot (Poland) and Marcelo Melo (Brazil)
Women’s DoublesElise Mertens (Belgium) and Aryna Sabalenka (Belarus)Barbora Krejcikova (Czech Republic) and Katerina Siniakova (Czech Republic)

An Overview of Swiss Open 2019 held in Basel, Switzerland 
The 2019 Swiss Open badminton championship held at St. Jakobshalle in Basel, Switzerland from 12th March to 17th March 2019. The total prize money amounts to USD 150000.

CategoryWinnerRunner-up
Men’s SinglesShi Yuqi (China)Sai Praneeth (India)
Women’s SinglesChen Yufei (China)Saena Kawakami (Japan)
Men’s DoublesFajar Alfian and Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Indonesia)Lee Yang and Wang Chi-lin (Taiwan)
Women’s DoublesChang Ye-na and Jung Kyung-eun (South Korea)Nami Matsuyama and Chiharu Shida (Japan)
Mixed DoublesBay-Smidt and Rikke Soby Hansen (Denmark)Rinov Rivaldy and Pitha Haningtyas Mentari (Indonesia)
Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas wins Australian F1 Grand Prix 2019
Mercedes Formula One (F1) driver Valtteri Bottas has clinched his first championship in the Australian Grand Prix held in Melbourne. He was followed by Lewis Hamilton of Mercedes and Red Bull’s Max Verstappen.

Mercedes' Valtteri Bottas wins Australian F1 Grand Prix 2019About Valtteri Bottas
i.He is a Finnish racing driver and now competing in Formula One with Mercedes.
ii.Valtteri Bottas achieved his first Formula One pole position in Bahrain.
iii.He won the 2017 Russian Grand Prix and 2017 Austria Grand Prix.
About Australian Grand-Prix of Formula-1
First held1928
VenueMelbourne Grand Prix Circuit

Asian Youth Athletes Championship: India finishes second in medal tally
India finishes second in Asian Youth Athletes Championship held in Hong Kong with a gold added to the medal tally on the final day of the championship.

Asian Youth Athletes Championship India finishes second in medal tallyKey Points
i. India secured second position in the overall medals tally with 26 medals including 8 gold, 9 silver and 9 bronze medals.
ii. China topped the championship with 31 medals including 12 gold, 11 silver and 8 bronze. Japan ranked third in the Championship with 20 medals. Japan got 6 gold, 8 silver and 6 bronze medals.
iii. Boys medley relay team Karan Hegiste, Shanmuga Nalubothu, Shashikant Angadi and Abdul Razak Rasheed defeated Sri Lankan team to acquire first position in the game.
iv. Avantika Santhosh Narale received gold in 100m and a silver medal in 200m final while Deepthi secured bronze medal in the 200m event.
About Hong Kong
♦ Hong Kong is special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China
♦ Currency – Hong Kong Dollar

Asian wrestling championship taken away from India, to be now held in Thailand
The United World Wrestling (UWW) has taken away the Junior Asian Wrestling Championship from India and asked all its affiliated federations to stop dealing with the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) due to the country’s diplomatic tension with Pakistan.
i. After the original hosts of the event, Lebanon withdrew, India had agreed to host the re-scheduled event in July 2019.
ii. However, after India denied visas to a three-member shooting contingent from Pakistan for the Shooting World Cup in Delhi following the Pulwama terror attack, the International Olympic Committee had censured the Indian Olympic Association.
iii. It was followed by UWW asking all its affiliated federations to suspend all communication with WFI and it shifted the junior Asian championship from India to Thailand.

Bengaluru FC won their first ISL Title beating FC Goa by 1-0
Bengaluru Football Club (FC) won their first Indian Super League (ISL) title at the Mumbai Football Arena defeating FC Goa by 1-0 in the final.
i. Both teams did not score any goals in the 90-minute time frame and the game went on for extra time.
ii. In the 118th minute, Rahul Bheke jumped up to shoot a header into the far corner and get Bengaluru their winning goal.

Afghanistan defeated Ireland to win their first-ever Test Match
On 18th March 2019, Afghanistan defeated Ireland by 7 wickets to win their first ever Test Match in Dehradun, Uttrakhand. Rahmat Shah, who scored 98 and 76 runs in 1st and 2nd innings respectively was awarded the Player of the Match.

Afghanistan defeated Irelandi. Afghanistan won the T-20 series against Ireland by 2-0 and ODI series was level at 2-2.
ii. Afghanistan is the newest ICC-member to play test cricket and this was Afghanistan’s 2nd Test Match. Afghanistan was badly defeated by the Cricketing behemoth, India in its debut test match.

OBITUARY

79 years old Veteran Bengali Actor Chinmoy Roy passed away
On 18th March 2019, Veteran Bengali actor, Chinmoy Roy who was known for his portrayal of comic characters, passed away at his salt lake residence following Cardiac arrest at the age of 79.
i. Chinmoy Roy was born in Kumilla district of present day Bangladesh in 1940 and he started his career in Bengali films in 1960s.
ii. He worked in films like Basanta Bilap and Dhonni Meye. He also worked in children’s fantasy Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne.

Goa CM Manohar Parrikar passed away at the age of 63 years
Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away at the age of 63 years after fighting a prolonged battle with pancreatic cancer at his residence in Panaji, Goa.He is the India’s 18th and Goa’s second chief minister to die in office.

Goa CM Manohar Parrikari. Former Defence Minister and four-time Goa chief minister, he was among the few from Goa who made it to the national level.
ii. He held the Defence portfolio in the Narendra Modi-led government from 2014 to 2017 after which he returned to being Goa Chief Minister once again.
iii. The Central government announced national mourning on 18th March 2019 following his demise and the National Flag was flown at half-mast in New Delhi and capitals of all States and Union Territories.
iv. Manohar Parrikar was born in Mapusa, Goa on 13th December 1955 and did his schooling at Loyola High School, Margao. After finishing his secondary education in Marathi, he went on to graduate in metallurgical engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay (IIT Bombay) in 1978.
v. He is the first IIT alumnus to serve as MLA of an Indian state and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnus Award by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay in 2001.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Ordnance Factories Day 2019 observed on 18th March 
Ordnance Factories Day is observed annually on March 18 all over India to commemorate the first production of Ordnance Factory of India. Indian Ordnance Factories are regarded as the backbone of India’s Defence production.
Key Point:
i.On 18th March 1802, the production of the oldest Ordnance Factory of India was commenced at Cossipore, Kolkata.
ii.On the 200th anniversary of the first ordnance factory which is now known as the Gun and Shell Factory, the day was declared as Ordinance factories day.
iii.The day is celebrated by displaying the major weapons manufactured in the factories, through exhibitions across all over India.
iv.The Ordnance Factories Board is known as the country’s “Fourth Arm of Defence” and the remaining three arms are – the Navy, the Air Force, and the Army.
About Ordnance Factories Board
♦ Founded: 1775
♦ Headquarters: Ayudh Bhawan, Kolkata

STATE NEWS

“i-help” initiative launched by Assam CEO Mukesh Sahu
Assam Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Mukesh Sahu launched the ‘i-help’ initiative at a meeting held at the Election Department, Janata Bhawan in Guwahati.
i. It is a joint initiative of the office of the Chief Electoral Officer, Assam and Common Service Centres (CSC), Assam to promote digital electoral literacy in the State.
ii. The CSCs are internet-enabled access points spread throughout the country delivering various government and non-government digital services (e-Services) to the citizens.
iii. Through its vast network, particularly in rural areas, CSC is uniquely positioned to significantly extend the awareness and outreach activities of CEO, Assam under Systematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) in the State. It is geared up to ensure that no voter is left behind.
iv. This particular initiative will fill the digital divide and fulfil the objective of turning the General Election, to be held in April 2019, more inclusive and participatory.

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