Current Affairs March 7 2019

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Current Affairs March 7 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview of Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Gujarat
On 4th March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a 2 day visit to Gujarat.

  • PM inaugurated 750 beds Annexe of GGS Hospital in Jamnagar
  • Foundation stone of Vishva Umiyadham Complex laid by PM
  • ‘One Nation, One Card’ for transport mobility launched by PM
  • Pension scheme PM Shram Yogi Maan-dhan Yojana launched by PM
  • Modi offered prayers at Shree Annapurna Dham Temple Adalaj
  • Foundation stone of Shikshan Bhavan and Vidyarti Bhavan laid by Modi at Adalaj.
  • Ahmedabad Metro first phase inaugurated by PM Modi………………………Click here to Read more

Govt launched Transport and Marketing Assistance (TMA) scheme to boost agri exports
On 6th March 2019, Government of India with a view to boost to export of farm commodities to certain countries in Europe and North America introduced a scheme for providing financial assistance for transport and marketing of agriculture products.
Key Points
i. The Government will reimburse a certain percentage of freight charges and provide assistance for marketing of agricultural produce under this transport and marketing assistance scheme.
ii. The scheme would be available for exports from March 1, 2019 to March 2020. As per the Ministry, the scheme would be applicable for a period as specified from time to time.
iii. The scheme covers freight including both normal and refrigerated cargo and marketing assistance for export by air as well as by sea.
iv. The assistance shall be admissible only if payments for the exports are received in free foreign exchange through normal banking channels.

Model guidelines for development and regulation of retirement homes issued by the Government
Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs prepared Model Guidelines for Development and Regulation of Retirement Homes that address the special needs and protect the rights of senior citizens and retirees living in Retirement Homes who aspire to spend their retired life independently in a safe, secure and dignified environment.
i. The Guidelines provide option to senior citizens and family members, who are willing and can afford to purchase a living space for their parents. The guidelines state that:

  • Retirement Homes should be aligned with the Principles, Guidelines, Norms etc. as prescribed in ‘National Building Code’ (NBC), ‘Model Building Bye Laws’ and ‘Harmonized Guidelines and Space Standards for Barrier Free Built Environment for persons with Disability and Elderly Persons’.
  • Elderly friendly built environment like lifts with audio and visual signage and signalling systems, wheel chair accessibility, lifts, etc.
  • Compliance with Green Building Principles as provided in Model Building Bye Laws and use of non-polluting and renewable energy.
  • Provision of common basic services like 24X7 water and electricity supply, maintenance of proper hygiene, etc.
  • Provision of basic medical, safety and security services like 24×7 on-site ambulance service, CCTV cameras in common areas, prior police verification of all the personnel deployed in the Retirement Homes.
  • Customised services over and above the basic common services like internal and external housekeeping, managing dining services, assistance with legal services, etc., if required by the residents has also been prescribed.

ii. There is a provision of a twofold mechanism in the form of refundable Interest Free Maintenance Security Deposit (IFMS) and Maintenance ChargesIFMS to be paid by the Allottee which is refundable within a maximum period of 3 months from the date of refund application. Maintenance Charges to be paid by the resident on lump-sum or monthly/ quarterly/ yearly installments on mutually agreed terms.
iii. The number of senior citizens in India, has increased from 7.6 crore in 2001,  to 10.4 crore in 2011 and is expected to grow to 17.3 crore by 2025 and about 24 crores by 2050. By the end of the century, nearly 34% of the total population of the country is expected to be of senior citizens.

NITI Aayog Development ranking topped by 3 districts of Jharkhand
NITI Aayog’s list of aspirational districts for the period of December 2018-January 2019 has been topped by 3 districts of Jharkhand- Chatra, Sahibganj, and Hazaribagh. These districts are also said to have performed well in ‘health and nutrition’ parameters.

3 districts of Jharkhand- Chatra, Sahibganj, and Hazaribagh.i. This ranking was released by Amitabh Kant, CEO of NITI Aayog.
ii. In terms of education, the top ranks were attained by Sonbhadra (Uttar Pradesh), Sahibganj (Jharkhand) and Chatra (Jharkhand).
About Aspirational Districts Programme
i. It took into account the incremental progress made by 112 aspirational districts in the period December 2018-January 2019.
ii. Progress in six areas such as health and nutrition, education, agriculture and water resources, financial inclusion, skill development, and basic infrastructure is considered.
iii. It was launched on January 5, 2018 by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Piyush Goyal dedicated NTPL’s 1,000-MW thermal power project to the country
Coal Minister Piyush Goyal dedicated to the nation a 1,000-megawatt (MW) thermal power project of Neyveli Tamil Nadu Power Ltd (NTPL) at Thoothukudi and a 150-MW solar power projects of Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited (NLCIL) at Ramanathapuram and Virudhunagar districts in Tamil Nadu.
i. The 1,000-MW coal-fired thermal power project of NTPL is a joint venture between NLCIL and Tamil Nadu Generation and Distribution Corporation Limited(TANGEDCO) with an equity participation of 89:11.
ii. Neyveli Lignite Corporation India Limited(NLCIL) has installed 591 MW of solar power and 51 MW of wind power plants in various parts of Tamil Nadu.
iii. 2,980 MW of thermal power plant and 776.5 MW of solar power plants are under construction.

Odisha govt initiated “Mukhya Mantri Karigar Sahayata” for craftsmen
On 6th March 2019, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched the scheme ‘Mukhya Mantri Karigar Sahayata’ for financial assistance to craftsmen. The nodal department of the scheme is the Directorate of handicrafts.

Mukhya Mantri Karigar SahayataKey Points
i. Craftsmen with 10 years of experience and having annual income below Rs.1 lakh are eligible to get an assistance of Rs.800 per month.
ii. For craftsmen above 80 years of age would get Rs.1000 per month allowance for those has the same experience and annual income as above.
iii. Annual income certificate, residence proof, experience certificate and age proof are required to produce for availing the benefits of the scheme.
iv. For selection of beneficiaries, a selection committee will be constituted in the district level under collectors of the respective districts.
About Odisha
♦ Capital: Bhubaneshwar
♦ CM: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor: Ganeshi Lal

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India offers world’s cheapest mobile data: UK report
On 6th March 2019, India has the cheapest mobile data in the world as per the research by price comparison site cable.co.ukThe global average was USD 8.53 for 1GB.

Cable.co.uk research says India has the cheapest mobile data in the worldKey Points
i. Compared to global average of about Rs. 6001GB is costing just Rs. 18.5(USD 0.26) in India. In the same case countries like UK has USD 12.37 for the same amount of data.
ii. India is the second largest smartphone market in the world after China with over 4.30 million smartphone users. The study was based on 6313 mobile data plans in 230 countries.
iii. India is followed by Kyrgyzstan with $0.27, Kazakhstan with $0.49, Ukraine with $0.51 and Rwanda with $0.56. For Indian market, researchers studied 57 plans which are available in the country from as low as Rs.1.41 to a maximum of Rs.98.83.
About Telecom Regulatory Authority of India
♦ Chairman: Ram Sewak Sharma
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi

Mumbai become world’s 16th most costly prime residential market: Knight Frank Report
According to a “Knight Frank Prime International Residential Index (PIRI 100)” Report, Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra and the financial capital of India, has become the 16th most expensive prime residential market in the world and is the only Indian city to feature in the global top 20 list of expensive prime residential markets recorded in The Wealth Report 2019.
i. In terms of the growth in prices of prime residential properties globally, Mumbai ranked 67th with 0.3% rise in prices in 2018.
ii. Delhi (55th) and Bengaluru (56th) did better than Mumbai with a 1.4% and 1.1% price appreciation, respectively.
iii. The Philippines’ capital Manila topped the global list with the highest price appreciation of 11.1% last year, followed by Edinburgh (Scotland) in second position with 10.6% rise.
iv. The German cities of Berlin and Munich took the third and fourth positions, respectively, followed by the Argentine capital Buenos Aires in fifth rank.
v. Singapore was the only Asian city after Manila to feature in the top-ten list, with a price appreciation of 9.1%.

Malaysia joined the International Criminal Court
Malaysia became a member of the International Criminal Court (ICC), the world’s only permanent war crimes court which aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling.

Malaysia joined the International Criminal Courti. Malaysia is the 124th member of the court since its establishment in 2002.
ii. Its new government, which came to power in 2018, had vowed to join the ICC.
About ICC
♦ Headquarters –  The Hague, Netherlands
♦ President – Eboe-Osuji
About Malaysia
♦ Capital – Kuala Lumpur
♦ Currency – Ringgit
♦ Prime Minister – Mahathir Mohamad

BANKING & FINANCE

World Bank to grant 250 Million dollars for NRETP to boost Rural incomes in India
In order to provide a boost to rural income across 13 states on India, World Bank would provide $250 million support to the National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP). The agreement was signed between the World Bank and Government of India.

worldbanki. The Agreement was signed in New Delhi by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Hisham Abdo, Acting Country Director, World Bank India.
Key Points:
i. The loan aims to help rural women entrepreneurs in setting up their businesses related to farm and non-farm products.
ii. The loan has a 5-year grace period with a final maturity of 20 years.
iii. National Rural Economic Transformation Project (NRETP) is an add-on to the National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) worth $500-million, which was approved by the World Bank in July 2011.
iv. The National Rural Livelihoods Project (NRLP) currently spans across 13 states, 162 districts and 575 blocks. It has integrated 8.8 million women from poor rural households into 7.5 lakh self-help groups (SHGs).

World Bank to provide Rs 2,200 crores for a healthcare project to Andhra Pradesh
The World Bank has decided to provide a loan of Rs. 2200 crores ($328-million) to Andhra Pradesh for implementation of the AP Health Systems Strengthening Project (APHSSP). The loan agreement was signed between the Government of Indiagovernment of Andhra Pradesh and the World Bank.
i. The agreement was signed by Bandana Preyashi, director, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance (GoI), Poonam Malakondaiah, Special Chief Secretary (Medical and Health, AP government) and Mohini Kak and Kari L Hurt, representatives of World Bank in India.
Key Points:
i. The loan provided through International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a six-year grace period and a maturity of 29 years and 6 months.
ii.The project aims to improve the quality of healthcare, availability and accessibility of primary health services to the majority population of the state.
iii. The quality of healthcare delivery will be enhanced through National Quality Assurance Standards (NQAS) certifications for Community Health Centres (CHCs) and Primary Health Centres (PHCs). It involves setting up of an integrated online patient management system and patient feedback system, functional e-subcentres will provide tele-consultations and non-communicable disease (NCD) management and screening at sub-centres (SCs) and PHCs.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital- Amaravati (de facto)
Hyderabad (de jure)
♦ Chief Minister- N. Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Governor- E. S. L. Narasimhan

National Housing Bank proposes stricter regulations for Housing Finance Companies
National Housing Bank (NHB), a mortgage sector regulator and a fully owned subsidiary of the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to impose stricter regulations on the Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) to prevent them from falling prey to liquidity and credit risks.
Following proposals have been put forward:
i. Increasing the capital adequacy ratio (CAR)of these companies from 12%to 15%, in a phased manner by 31st March 2022. This will be accomplished by increasing the minimum CAR to 13% by 31st March 2020, 14 % by 31st March 2021 and 15 % by 2022.
ii. Bringing down the public borrowings to 12 times of the Net Owned Fund (NOF) from the existing 16 times, by March 2022.
iii. Implementing graded reduction in the limit on the overall borrowings of Housing Finance Companies (HFCs) from 16 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) to 14 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF) by 31st March 2020, 13 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2021 and 12 times of Net Owned Fund (NOF)by 31st March 2022.
iv. Capping the ceiling on public deposits at 3 times of the Net Owned Fund (NOF) of the Housing Finance Company (HFC).

SBI and Hitachi Payment Services launched SBIPSPL to establish digital payments platform in India
State Bank of India (SBI) and Hitachi Payment Services Pvt Ltd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd, launched their merchant-acquiring joint venture, SBI Payment Services Pvt Ltd (SBIPSPL), for establishing a digital payments platform for India and other countries in the region, in Mumbai.

SBI and Hitachi Payment Services launched SBIPSPLi. It will facilitate expansion of the digital payments landscape in India via its digital payments platform and offer innovative products to suit the requirements of all segments of merchants by leveraging the brand value and vast distribution network of SBI, and bring Artificial Intelligence and other technological capabilities of Hitachi to SBI Payment Services.
ii. SBI has a 74% stake in the joint venture and the balance 26% is with Hitachi Payment Services.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India’s Unemployment Rate shot up to 7.2% in Feb’19: CMIE
The unemployment rate in India rose to 7.2% in February 2019, the highest since September 2016, and up from 5.9% in February 2018, according to data compiled by the Centre for Monitoring Indian Economy (CMIE).
i. The number of employed persons in India was estimated at 400 million in February 2019 compared with 406 million last year.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Swachh Survekhshan 2019 Awards presented by President Ram Nath Kovind
President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Swachh Survekhshan 2019 Awards in New Delhi and appreciated those who are taking active part in cleanliness drive in the country.

Swachh Survekhshan 2019 Awardsi. Indore bagged award for cleanest city for third straight year in Swachh Survekshan.
ii. New Delhi Municipal Council area gets cleanest small city award while  Uttarakhand’s Gauchar was adjudged Best Ganga Town in the survey.
iii. Top ranked cities received a statue of Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi as award for their work towards cleanliness.
iv. Swachh Survekshan 2019 covered all Urban Local Bodies in the country, making it the largest such cleanliness survey in the world.

Japanese architect Arata Isozaki wins Pritzker Prize, the highest honour
Japanese architect Arata Isozaki, who integrated the East and West in his creative designs has been honoured with Pritzker Architecture Prize 2019. This prize was incorporated in 1979 and is said to be the highest international honour in the field of architecture.

Arata Isozakii. The $100,000 prize was announced by the jury of the Hyatt Foundation.
ii. He is the 8th Japanese and 46th Pritzker laureate to be honoured with this award.
iii. The award ceremony will be held in May, 2019 at the Chateau de Versailles in France.

Kylie Jenner becomes world’s youngest self-made billionaire
Kylie Jenner was declared by Forbes magazine as the youngest ever self-made billionaire.
i. The credit of this success goes to her company Kylie Cosmetics which introduced the popular Kylie Lip kit.
ii. She is 21 and holds the 2,057th position whether her wealth was self-made or inherited.

Mukesh Ambani ranks 13th richest person with $50 bn net worth in the Forbes Billionaire List
Reliance Industries Chairman, Mukesh Ambani, jumped six positions to rank 13th on Forbes World’s Billionaires list with USD 50 billion wealth and leads 106 billionaires from India on the list where Wipro Chairman Azim Premji ranked 36th with USD 22.6 billion wealth.

Mukesh Ambani ranks 13th richest person with $50 bn net worthi. Last year, he was ranked 19th with USD 40.1 billion.
ii. The list was topped by Amazon’s Jeff Bezos and family with USD 131 billion wealth followed by Bill Gates (USD 96.5 bn) and Warren Buffet (USD 82.5 bn).
iii. Other Indians in the list include:

  • Aditya Birla Group Chairman Kumar Birla (122nd)
  • Chairman and founder of the Adani Group Gautam Adani (167th)
  • Bharti Airtel head Sunil Mittal (244th)
  • co-founder of consumer goods giant Patanjali Ayurveda Acharya Balkrishna (365th)
  • Piramal Enterprises Chair Ajay Piramal (436th)
  • Biocon founder Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw (617th)
  • Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy (962nd)
  • RCom chairman Reliance Anil Ambani (1349th).

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

2nd Senior-most Judge of SC Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri retired
65-year-old, Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri, the second senior-most judge of the Supreme Court, has retired.
i. His career began in 1977 when he enrolled as an advocate and was appointed as a judge of the Delhi High Court on July 7, 1999.

2nd Senior-most Judge of SC Justice Arjan Kumar Sikri retiredii. He became Acting Chief Justice of the High Court on October 10, 2011 and was elevated as Chief Justice of the Punjab and Haryana High Court on September 23, 2012, before beginning his tenure in the Supreme Court.
iii. He is a serving member of the Academic Council of National Judicial Academy, the Committee on Restatement of Law,International Law Association (India Branch), Governing Council of Bangalore Law University and the Directorate of Legal Studies and Law Reforms Committee.
iv. President Ram Nath Kovind has nominated Justice S A Bobde of the Supreme Court as executive chairman of the National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) in place of Justice Sikri. The appointment will be in effect from March 7, 2019.
v. Justice SA Bobde will be the senior most judge of the Supreme Court after Justice Sikri retires.
Related Points
♦ Chief Justice of India – Ranjan Gogoi (46th)

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

First exoplanet Kepler-1658b confirmed by NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope
Ten years after its launch, NASA’s Kepler Mission has discovered and received confirmation for its first exoplanet Kepler-1658 b.It is recognized as hot jupiter due to very high temperature.
Characteristics of Kepler-1658 b:

  • Very high-temperature
  • Thrice as large and 1.5 times as massive as the Sun.
  • Orbits at a distance of only twice diameter of the Sun.

Additional Information:
An exoplanet is a planet outside the Solar System.

“Bolo App” unveiled by Google to help children in India with reading, comprehension skills
Google India has unveiled an app- Bolo which focuses on improving the reading and comprehension skills of students, especially the ones in rural areas.

Google launches Bolo appi. The Beta version of the app was launched after a pilot project with support from ASER centre,that was conducted in around 200 villages of Uttar Pradesh with a sample size of almost 900 students.
ii. Bolo has an in-built reading companion called ‘Diya’ whose primary task is to encourage, aid, explain and correct the users as they read aloud.
iii. It has been launched on the Google Play Store in India and has compatibility with all Android smartphones running on Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and higher.

SPORTS

ICC imposed 10 years ban on Ex-Zimbabwe Cricket Director Enock Ikope for breaching anti-corruption code
The International Cricket Council (ICC) has banned former Zimbabwe Cricket director Enock Ikope for a period of 10 years for breaching ICC’s anti-corruption codes.
i. In 2018, he had been suspended after being charged under ICC’s Article 2.4.6 and Article 2.4.7. These articles constitute offences like refusal in cooperation and delaying the investigation being conducted by the Anti-Corruption Unit (ACU).
ii. He is the second person from the Harare Metropolitan Cricket Association to be punished by the ICC, the first being Rajan Nayer who was banned from cricket for 20 years for his involvement in match fixing.
About Zimbabwe
♦ Capital- Harare
♦ President- Emmerson Mnangagwa

Govt granted recognition to Kudo International Federation India as National Sport Federation
Kudo International Federation India (KIFI) has been provisionally recognised as National Sport Federation by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports. The recognition shall be granted if it complies with the provisions of National Sports Development Code of India, 2011 and displays information on the website according to the ministerial guidelines.
The recognition would provide a major chance to KIFI Association for promoting and developing Kudo in India.  The sport is placed in the ‘Others’ category.

OBITUARY

Jerry Merryman, co-inventor of the World’s First Handheld Electronic Calculator Dies at 86
Jerry Merryman, one of three people at Texas Instruments (TI) credited with inventing the world’s first handheld electronic calculator in 1960s, died at the age of 86 years at DallasTexas(native place).

i. He helped to develop the calculator while he was working at TI alongside James Van Tassel and his boss Jack Kilby, the co-creator of the first integrated circuit and Nobel Prize winner.
ii. The team filed a patent for the finished prototype in 1967 for the battery-powered product known as “Cal-Tech” which could fit in the palm of the hand and was capable of addition, multiplication, subtraction and division.

Professional WWE wrestler King Kong Bundy passed away
On 5th March 2019, WWE legend, King Kong Bundy whose real name was Christopher Pallies died at the age of 61. He belonged to Atlantic City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
i. King Kong Bundy was 6 feet and 4 inches and weighed about 458 pound. He Defeated SD Jones at the first  Wrestlemania in 1986.

Chief adviser of All India Matua Mahasangha, Binapani Devi, dies at age 100
Binapani Devi, popularly known as Boro Maa, died at the age of 100 years, due to age-related ailments at the SSKM Hospital, Kolkata, West Bengal.She was born in 1919 in Barishal, now in Bangladesh.
i. She headed the Matuas sect, a religious refugee community from Bangladesh and was the widow of Pramath Ranjan Thakur, great-grandson of Harichand Thakur who was the founder of Matua Mahasangha.
ii. Nearly 65-67% voters in Bongaon Lok Sabha seat belong to the Matua community and the sect holds sway with political parties ahead of the Lok Sabha elections.

IMPORTANT DAYS

March 7 to be observed as “Janaushadhi Diwas” all over India
Union Minister of State for Chemicals & Fertilisers, Road Transport & Highways, Shipping, Mansukh Mandaviya, announced that March 7 will be observed as Janaushadhi Divas across India to create awareness and provide further impetus to the Pradhan Mantri Bhartiya Janaushadhi Pariyojana (PMBJP) scheme.The government plans to have at least one PMBJP Kendra in each block by 2020.
i. The scheme has led to total savings of approximately Rs.1000 crores for common citizens, as these medicines are cheaper by 50 to 90% of average market price.
ii. It is also providing a good source of self-employment with self-sustainable and regular earnings as average sales per store per month has grown to Rs 1.50 lakh.

STATE NEWS

Delhi government launches app ‘One Delhi’ to track bus, metro services
A commute-planning app “ONE Delhi” was launched by Kailash Gahlot, Transport Minister of Delhi to allow users to plan their travel efficiently across government transport facilities.

Cable.co.uk research says India has the cheapest mobile data in the worldi. “One Delhi” is an upgraded version of PoochhO, which was launched in 2014.It was developed by Delhi Integrated Multi-Modal Transit System (DIMTS).
ii.The app offers facilities such as:

  • Obtaining the estimated time of arrival for buses and metros.
  • Tracking the real-time location of buses and metros.
  • Providing information about their fares.
  • Providing the best route and mode of travel between two places.
  • List of tourist spots in Delhi.

iii. It is available only on Google Play for the Android users.

New 5 year industrial policy unveiled by Maharashtra CM
On 6th March 2019, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis unveiled the State’s new 5 year industrial policy which will be effective from 1st April, 2019.
Key Points
i. The policy emphasizes on high technology and employment generating businesses which aims to attract investments worth 10 lakh crore rupees.
ii. It will create nearly 40 lakh Jobs by 2023-24 and the goal is to turn Maharashtra into a trillion dollar (one lakh crore) economy.
iii. In Maharashtra the rate of conversion of Memorandum of Understanding into actual investments after a period of one year from the agreement is more than 45% in comparison to the national average of 30-35 per cent.

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