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Current Affairs March 2019
Look below for the latest Current Affairs March 2019:
Current Affairs March 2019 | 29th March
Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition 2019
- The world-class event is co-organised by the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Transport Malaysia along with EN Projects (M) Sdn Bhd as an organiser.
- Dubbed as the premier Asia Pacific’s maritime and aerospace show, LIMA 2019 will see another breathtaking daily show and programmes, including the trademark acrobatic air show and maritime demonstration.
- Gaining strength to strength since 1991, this year show will highlight some UAVs from three different countries and feature famous air teams Jupiter (Indonesia) and Russian Knights. Industry leaders, military officials as well as tourists are all invited to this exclusive show, whilst enjoying the fresh Andaman breeze and stunning islands.
PFC completes REC acquisition
- State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) completed an acquisition of majority stake in REC Ltd by transferring Rs 14,500 crore to the government and is hopeful of the merger of the two firms in 2019-20.
- It helped the government meet its disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for the current financial year. PFC has financed 70 per cent of the deal from the cash inflows from the business and the balance 30 per cent is through debt.
- PFC will be the second-largest government-owned financial player in the country based on the current market capital after State Bank of India (SBI). Besides, PFC will be third-highest profit-making financial player in India after HDFC Bank and HDFC – based on profit data of 2017-18. It will be the fourth-largest financial player in the country based on interest income after SBI, HDFC Bank and ICICI Bank based on income data of 2017-18.
Himachal Pradesh’s Tashigang is world’s highest polling station
- The world’s highest polling station is now in the sleepy hamlet of Tashigang in the Buddhist-dominated Lahaul-Spiti district of Himachal Pradesh at an altitude of 15,256 feet.
- This polling station falls in one of the 17 assembly segments that form the Mandi Lok Sabha seat, the second largest constituency in the country.
- Located around 29 km from the India-China border, this polling station covers two villages of Tashigang and Gete. As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women.
India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018 – International Energy Agency
- According to the International Energy Agency, India emitted 2,299 million tonnes of carbon dioxide in 2018. India’s emissions carbon dioxide witnessed an increase of 4.8% rise from last year.
- The rate of growth of carbon dioxide emission in India was higher than that of the United States and China which are the two biggest emitters in the world. This increase in the emission of carbon dioxide was attributed to coal consumption.
- India’s per capita emissions were about 40% of the global average and contributed 7% to the global carbon dioxide burden whereas the largest emitter the United States was responsible for 14%.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 28th March
Cabinet approves the creation of additional posts in National Company Law Appellate Tribunal
- The Cabinet has approved the creation of additional posts of three Judicial Members and three Technical Members in the National Company Law Appellate Tribunal (NCLAT).
- The posts will be created in Level 17 (Rs 2,25,000/- fixed) plus allowances as admissible. The total financial implication will be Rs 2,27,82,096 per annum.
- This will ensure to meet the mandate provided to NCLAT by the Finance Act, 2017, the Companies Act, the IBC, 2016 and the time frame provided for disposal of cases.
IEA’s Global Energy & CO2 status report
- International Energy Agency (IEA) recently released Global Energy and CO2 Status Report that highlights worldwide trends and developments of fuels, renewable sources, energy efficiency and carbon emissions.
- The report highlights global energy consumption in 2018 increased at nearly twice the average rate of growth since 2010, driven by a robust global economy and higher heating and cooling needs in some parts of the world. Demand for all fuels increased, led by natural gas, even as solar and wind posted double-digit growth. Energy efficiency saw lacklustre improvement.
- As a result of higher energy consumption, CO2 emissions rose 1.7% last year and hit a new record.
Artificial Intelligence-pioneers win Turing Award 2018
- The three pioneers of Artificial Intelligence (AI), Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton, and Yann LeCun were on March 27, 2019, awarded with the 2018 ACM A.M. Turing Award “for conceptual and engineering breakthroughs that have made deep neural networks a critical component of computing”.
- All the three winners will share the USD 1 million prize money. Named as the “Fathers of the Deep Learning Revolution” by the Association for Computing Machinery, all the three winners belong to big names in the industry.
- Hinton is VP and Engineering Fellow of Google; LeCun is VP and Chief AI Scientist at Facebook and Bengio is Scientific Director at Mila and has inked deals with IBM and Microsoft.
MoU on India-Africa Health Sciences Cooperation
- A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on India-Africa Health Sciences Cooperation between the Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) and African Union was signed.
- In order to carry forward the strategic vision of India-Africa Forum Summit (IAFS) III through a structured and concrete partnership in the health sector, MEA partnered with Indian Council of Medical Research and had jointly organized the First India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in 2016 in New Delhi.
- The signed MoU aims to formalise this partnership by establishing a framework. The MoU will pave the way for the cooperation in the areas of research and development, capacity building, health services, pharmaceutical trade and manufacturing capabilities for drugs and diagnostics.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 27th March
President Kovind receives Croatia’s highest civilian order
- President Ram Nath Kovind was honoured with Croatia’s highest civilian order – The Grand Order of the King of Tomislav. Croatian state order is awarded to heads of state for their important contribution towards the development of state relations between Croatia and their respective countries.
- Kovind is in the European country as part of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and the three countries.
- He also participated in the India-Croatia Economic Forum meeting.
Facebook sets up round the clock response team for elections
- Facebook is putting in place a response team for India’s general elections for monitoring and tracking of objectionable content in real time round the clock.
- The election response team will be based in Singapore and will work closely with the Election Commission of India. The ‘election operation centres’ are aimed at centralising all election-linked issues so as to reduce the time it takes to process and take down objectionable content.
- This is extremely unusual for a product team to have any part of their team dedicated to a specific country, let alone a specific event in a country. Besides setting up the product team, which has been working on the Indian elections for the past one year, many of Facebook’s tools and products have been revamped and localised, keeping the Indian elections in mind.
RBI imposes Rs 2 crore penalty on PNB
- The Reserve Bank of India has imposed a penalty worth Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations.
- SWIFT is a global messaging software, which is used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities. In a regulatory filing, PNB stated that the Reserve Bank in a letter dated March 25 has informed the bank about the penalty.
- The RBI has toughened the stance against banks on all kind of regulatory norms post PNB fraud which put it to question the ability of the central bank.
BoB to develop agri-digital platform ‘Baroda Kisan’ with IBM
- Public sector lender Bank of Baroda Tuesday said it will develop an agri-digital platform called ‘Baroda Kisan’ in order to provide solutions for all major agricultural requirements.
- Six companies — Skymet Weather Services, Weather Risk Management Services, BigHaat, Agrostar India, EM3 Agri Services and Poorti Agri Services — have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the bank for this project.
- The agri-digital platform will be executed by IT Centre of Excellence (ITCoE) of Bank of Baroda in partnership with IBM India. The digital platform will give an holistic approach towards solving agricultural plights by means of providing reliable and customised information, inputs for use, convenience of renting farm equipment and market linkage for sale of agri-produces
India, Bangladesh to start cruise service
- India and Bangladesh will start a cruise service from March 29, 2019 that would take passengers through the Sunderbans to Dhaka. The move aims to strengthen inland waterway routes between the two countries.
- Other than road and rail, India and Bangladesh also have a very strong power connectivity through waterways.
- As movement of goods starts using inland waterways, so goods from India can go in the cheapest possible form up to Narayanganj and Dhaka in Bangladesh.
India becomes 4th largest space power
- Prime Narendra Modi today announced that India has established itself as the world’s 4th largest space super power. The Prime Minister stated that the feat is historic, as till now, only three countries in the world – United States of America, Russia and China have achieved this.
- The Prime Minister announced the success of ‘Mission Shakti’, in which Indian scientists successfully targeted and shot down a live satellite on a Low Earth Orbit with an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) within a matter of just three minutes.
- He announced that India has joined the elite league of space powers and the whole mission required a lot of complex scientific maneuvers and techniques, which India was able to see through successfully.
IIT-Delhi develops AI-based system to detect malaria, other diseases
- Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi announced recently that they have developed an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based electronic hardware system to detect malaria, tuberculosis, intestinal parasite, and cervical cancer in milliseconds.
- IIT Delhi declares that their system can be used for healthcare access in resource-constrained areas with limited access to human specialists.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 26th March
IAF inducts 4 Chinook Helicopters
- The first batch of four Boeing heavy-lift Chinook Helicopters, CH-47F (I) was inducted in Indian Air Force (IAF) at Air Force Station, Chandigarh, in Squadron No 126 Helicopter Flight (Featherweights).
- The Chinook helicopters arrived at the Mundra airport in Gujarat from the United States on February 10, 2019. These multirole helicopters will be used in life-saving role during Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) missions. They will operate alongside the Russian machines. The Indian Air Force is currently using Mi-17 and Mi-26 helicopters, which were manufactured by Russia.
- The remaining eleven Chinook helicopters are expected to be delivered by 2023.
ADNOC awards onshore block to the Indian consortium
- A consortium of two Indian oil companies, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited and Indian Oil Corporation Limited have been awarded the exploration rights for Abu Dhabi Onshore Block 1.
- The Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) signed agreements awarding the exploration rights on March 25, 2019.
- The award has been endorsed by Abu Dhabi’s Supreme Petroleum Council. The move is another indication of the growing bilateral partnership between India and UAE in many dimensions.
Chandrayaan-2 to carry NASA instruments; ISRO to launch 29 satellites
- Chandrayaan-2, the second moon mission of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), will be carrying laser retroreflector arrays owned by the US space agency National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) will launch 29 satellites including the primary payload EMISAT on April 1, 2019.
- The PSLV-C45 (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle), carrying these satellites onboard, will take off from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre in Sriharikota.
CBSE to include AI, yoga as new subjects
- The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to introduce artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga as new subjects in the school curriculum from the upcoming academic session.
- CBSE would be introducing artificial intelligence as an optional sixth subject in Class IX from the 2019-2020 session onwards.
- The central board has decided that schools may start AI ‘inspire module’ of 12 hours in Class VIII itself, in order to enhance the multidisciplinary approach in teaching learning and also to sensitise the new generation.
Indian Navy’s nuclear training facility launched
- The Indian Navy’s state of the art Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Training Facility (NBCTF) was inaugurated on March 25, 2019 by Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba at INS Shivaji, Lonavala.
- The training facility has been named ABHEDYA, which means impenetrable in Sanskrit.
- The Goa Shipyard Limited had signed the contract with the Indian Navy for the construction of the facility in March 2016. It was handed over to the Indian Navy on September 28, 2019, well ahead of schedule.
In largest-ever naval exercise, India and Australia to practice hunting submarines together
- India and Australia will practise manoeuvres to hunt submarines together in their largest ever naval exercise that will take place in the Bay of Bengal next month.
- The AusIndex war-game will feature reconnaissance and attack aircraft, warships and submarines and is being described as the `most complex exercise at the high end’ between the two sides.
- Four Australian warships, including its largest ship HMAS Canberra that is designed for amphibious operations, will take part and will be matched by an equal number of Indian frontline vessels, besides a Kilo class submarine.
Young Scientist Programme (Yuvika) launched by ISRO
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched a special programme for School Children called “Young Scientist Programme”. The Program is primarily aimed at imparting basic knowledge on Space Technology, Space Science and Space Applications to the younger ones with the intent of arousing their interest in the emerging areas of Space activities.
- ISRO has chalked out this programme to “Catch them young”. The residential training programme will be of around two weeks duration during summer holidays and it is proposed to select 3 students each from each State/ Union Territory to participate in this programme covering state, CBSE, and ICSE syllabus.
- Those who have just finished 9th standard (in the academic year 2018-19) and waiting to join 10th standard (or those who have started 10th Std just now) will be eligible for the programme. The selection will be based on the 8th Std marks. A few seats are left for the programme from various states. The interested students can register online from 25th March 2019 (1800 hrs) to 03rd April 2019 (1800 hrs).
Current Affairs March 2019 | 25th March
Karambir Singh appointed as next Navy Chief
- Vice Admiral Karambir Singh who is currently serving as the Commander-in-Chief of the Andaman and Nicobar Command is appointed as the new Navy chief. The government is believed to have picked the “most suitable officer” for the top job.
- His other important flag appointments include Chief of Staff of the Tri-Services Unified Command at Andaman & Nicobar Islands and as the Flag Officer Commanding Maharashtra and Gujarat Naval Area (FOMAG).
- An alumnus of National Defence Academy (NDA), Khadakwasla, Singh had commissioned into the Indian Navy in July 1980. He is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College, Wellington; College of Naval Warfare, Mumbai and has served as Directing Staff in both these Institutions.
Lalit Kala Akademi announces 60th National Academy Awards
- The Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) has announced 15 winners of the 60th Annual Academy Awards. All the awardees will be honoured with a plaque, a shawl and prize money of Rs 1 lakh at the 60th National Exhibition of Art, scheduled from March 25 to April 8 at the National Gallery of Modern Art (NGMA) and Sir JJ School of Art. The winners will also display their artworks at the exhibition.
- The awardees selected by the two-tier jury are Chandan Kumar Samal (Odisha), Gouri Vemula (Telangana), Hemant Rao (Madhya Pradesh), Hiren Kumar Chotu Bhai Patel (Gujarat), Jaya Jena (Odisha), Jayesh K.K (Kerala), Jitendra Suresh Sutar (Maharashtra), Douglas Maryan John (Maharashtra), Pratap Chandra Chakraborty (West Bengal), Rashmi Singh (Uttar Pradesh), Sachin Kashinath Chaudhari (Maharashtra), Sunil Kumar Viswakarma (Uttar Pradesh), Tabassum Khan (Bihar), Vasudeo Taranath Kamath (Maharashtra) and Veenita Sadguru Chendvankar (Goa).
- The 60th National Exhibition of Art this year will exhibit artistic brilliance and provide a platform to give appreciation and recognition to outstanding artists on a nationwide scale.
NITI Aayog organizes FinTech Conclave 2019
- NITI Aayog organised the FinTech Conclave at Dr Ambedkar International Center, New Delhi today. The conclave aims to shape India’s continued dominance in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts.
- The Conclave featured representatives from across the financial space including central ministries, regulators, bankers, startups, service providers and entrepreneurs.
- The Conclave was inaugurated by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das and was attended by senior government officials and secretaries. It hosted more than 300 representatives from the leading Financial Institutions including HDFC Bank, IndusInd, ICICI Bank, SBI Card, Tata Capital and FinTechs.
Jet Airways Crisis
- Jet Airways Founder and Chairman Naresh Goyal and his wife Anita Goyal resigned from the board amid the reports of looming financial crisis in the airlines. However, the CEO of Jet Airways, Vinay Dube will stay on to steer the airline carrier out of the current financial crisis.
- The board of Jet Airways accepted their resignation. Naresh Goyal is presently in London and addressed all 23,000 employees from there. Jet Airways was founded nearly 25 years ago by the Goyals in 1993.
- Post their resignation, the Bank Led Interim Resolution Plan (BLIRP) came into effect for the revival of the airline. The board approved the invoking of the entire 51 per cent stake of Naresh Goyal in the airline for the conversion of USD 1 billion the outstanding debt.
India ranks 76th on WEF Global Energy Transition Index
- India has jumped two positions to be ranked 76th on the World Economic Forum’s global Energy Transition index. The annual list, released by the Geneva-based forum on March 25, 2019, ranks 115 economies on their ability to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability.
- Sweden retained its top spot on the list, followed by Switzerland and Norway in the second and third positions respectively. Among the major economies, the UK is ranked at the 7th position, Singapore at 13th, Germany at 17th, Japan at 18th and the United States at the 27th position.
- India was found to be amongst the countries with high pollution levels and relatively high CO2 intensity in its energy system. Despite this, the report found that India has made significant strides to improve energy access in recent years and currently scores well in the area of regulation and political commitment towards energy transition.
Asian Rich List 2019
- Leading London-based NRI industrial tycoons, the Hinduja family top the Asian Rich List 2019 for the sixth successive year with an estimated net worth of £25.2 billion, an increase of over £3 billion over the previous year. India’s High Commissioner to the UK Ruchi Ghanashyam released the list which is a compilation of the 101 wealthiest Asians in Britain.
- Steel magnates Lakshmi Mittal and his son Aditya Mittal remained in second place, with £11.2 billion — down £2.8 billion. SP Lohia (Petrochemicals) took third place with £5.8 billion.
- The entries of the Asian Rich List 2019 have a combined wealth of more than £85.2 billion. The figure is increasing year on year and this year’s overall wealth increases by over £5 billion.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 23rd & 24nd March
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose Sworn-in as Lokpal
- President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose as the country’s first Lokpal. Justice Ghose, a former Supreme Court judge, was named the country’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman.
- The Lokpal and the Lokayukta Act, which envisages appointment of a Lokpal at the Centre and Lokayuktas in states to look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants, was passed on 2013.
- According to the rules, there is provision for a chairperson and a maximum of eight members in the Lokpal panel. Of these, four need to be judicial members. Upon selection, the chairperson and members shall hold office for a term of five years or till they attain 70 years of age.
India’s first forest-certification scheme gets global recognition
- India now has a globally recognised forest-certification scheme developed specifically for Indian forests. Recently, a Geneva-based non-profit decided to endorse the Certification Standard for Sustainable Forest Management (SFM) developed by Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF), an Indian non-profit.
- Forest certification, a global movement initiated in the 1990s after Rio Earth Summit, is a market-based non-regulatory conservation tool designed to promote sustainable management of forests and trees outside forests by an independent third party.
- Forest-based industries in India, particularly those for paper, boards, plywood, medium density fibreboard, furniture and handicrafts etc, have been pushing for forest certification to enhance their market access to western markets including European Union and the USA.
India extends Financial aid of Nepalese Rupee 35.5 million for the educational campus in Nepal
- India has extended Nepalese Rupees 35. 5 million as financial assistance for the construction of an educational campus in Nepal.
- The campus building was jointly inaugurated by District Coordination Committee and Campus Management Committee
- India has extended the financial assistance for the construction of the three-storied building for the Siddheshwar Education Public Campus at Ramechhap district.
ESPNcricinfo Superstats launched, will add ‘layer of quality and value’ to traditional numbers
- Superstats is a new language for numbers-based story-telling in cricket.
- The bouquet consists of three elements: Smart Stats, which puts each batting and bowling performance into context by looking at match situations and player quality; Luck Index, which – for the first time – quantifies the element of chance in cricket; and Forecaster, which looks the future and predicts win probabilities in each game.
- These metrics have been derived from ESPNcricinfo’s rich ball-by-ball database, and from complex algorithms developed by IIT Madras and Gyan Data, an IIT-M incubated company.
RBI again defers Ind AS implementation by banks
- The Reserve Bank again deferred the implementation of the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) by banks as the requisite legislative amendments are still under consideration.
- Earlier in April 2018, the central bank had postponed the implementation of the Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) by the banks by one year.
- Indian Accounting Standards (Ind AS) is a set of accounting norms developed by Indian authorities, which converge with the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Urban Cooperative Banks (UCBs) and Regional Rural Banks (RRBs) shall not be required to apply Ind AS and shall continue to comply with the existing Accounting Standards.
Govt exceeds disinvestment target this fiscal by 5,000 crore
- The Government Friday said it has exceeded its disinvestment target for the current fiscal by Rs 5,000 crore and the proceeds have touched Rs 85,000 crore as against a target of Rs 80,000 crore for disinvestment for the current year.
- The government has mopped up Rs 9,500 crore from the fifth tranche of CPSE ETF and Rs 14,500 crore from the REC-PFC deal.
- Disinvestment refers to the process of public asset sales by the government of India. Industrial Policy provides that in order to raise resources and encourage wide public participation, a part of the government shareholding in the public sector would be offered to mutual funds, financial institutions, general public and employees.
India GDP growth forecast for FY20 is 6.8%
- Global credit rating firm Fitch has trimmed India’s growth forecast for the financial year beginning April 1 to 6.8%, citing slow momentum in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.
- In a forecast issued in December last year, the rating agency had pegged India’s growth rate in FY 19-20 at 7%, which was yet a downgrade from its previous forecast of 7.5% for the same fiscal.
- India’s GDP growth softened for the second consecutive quarter in the fourth quarter of 2018, with the economy growing by 6.6% year on year, after increases of 7% and 8% in the third and second quarters.
March 22nd commemorates 107th Bihar Diwas
- Bihar Diwas was celebrated on March 22nd across the state to commemorate the day when Bihar was carved out of the Bengal Presidency in the year 1912. March 22nd 2019 was the 107th foundation day of the state.
- In 1911 when the capital of the British India was shifted to Delhi, the Bengal Presidency was split into four sabhas Bengal, Orissa, Bihar and Assam.
- The government of Bihar which was looking for a commemorative event in Bihar’s history that could become the state’s official day of celebration, chose March 22nd the day Bihar was carved out of Bengal Presidency as Bihar Diwas.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 22nd March
World Water Day observed worldwide
- The World Water Day was observed across the globe on March 22, 2019, with the theme ‘Leaving no one behind’. The theme is the central promise of the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, which states that as sustainable development progresses, everyone must benefit.
- The day is observed every year on March 22 to emphasise on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
- The day is an international observance and an opportunity to learn more about water-related issues, be inspired to tell others and take action to make a difference. Every year, UN-Water sets a theme for World Water Day corresponding to a current or future challenge.
International Day of Forests observed with theme ‘Forests and Education’
- The International Day of Forests (IDF) was observed on March 21, 2019, with the theme ‘ Forests and Education: Learn to Love Forests’. The day is observed every year on the same date to raise awareness on how sustainably managed forests provide a wide array of contributions in this area.
- The International Day of Forests celebrates and raises awareness of the importance of all types of forests. The day is held annually to raise awareness of the importance of forests to people and their vital role in poverty eradication, environmental sustainability and food security.
- The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution in December 2012, which declared that March 21 of each year is to be observed as the International Day of Forests.
Kazakhstan renames its capital as ‘Nursultan’
- Kazakhstan’s parliament renamed its capital Astana as ‘Nursultan’ in honour of outgoing leader Nursultan Nazarbayev.
- Nursultan stands for “Sultan of Light” in the Kazakh language, while, Astana means ‘capital’ in the Kazakh language.
- Besides holding the office of the President, Nazarbayev served as Kazakhstan’s Deputy Prime Minister from 2015 to 2016.
Evidence of water found on asteroid Bennu
- NASA’s OSIRIS-Rex mission discovers evidence of water, particle plumes on asteroid Bennu which is only slightly wider than the height of the Empire State Building and it is expected to contain unaltered material from the very beginning of our solar system.
- NASA’s Origins, Spectral Interpretation, Resource Identification, Security-Regolith Explorer (Osiris-REx) mission is aimed at studying Bennu Asteroid.
- The Osiris-Rex mission is expected to return samples to Earth in 2023 and before attempting to obtain a sample from the asteroid, it will map out Bennu’s surface in detail and orbit the asteroid to calculate its mass.
SpiceJet the first Indian budget carrier joins IATA
- Indian low-cost airlines SpiceJet has joined the International Air Transport Association (IATA).
- The membership of IATA will allow SpiceJet to explore and grow its collaborations with international member airlines of IATA through interlining and code shares and also enables to seamlessly expand the network options for its passengers in future.
- International Air Transport Association (IATA) is the trade association for the world’s airlines and represents some 290 airlines which contribute to about 82% of total air traffic.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 20th March
Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh enters Canadian Parliament
- Indian-origin Jagmeet Singh has created history in Canada by entering the House of Commons as the first non-white leader of a major opposition party in the country.
- The 40-year-old was elected as the leader of the New Democratic Party in the federal by-elections, held recently.
- During induction, his first words as an elected lawmaker were about last week’s terrorist attack on two mosques in New Zealand.
Abu Dhabi to host T10 Cricket League for next five years
- The Zayed Cricket Stadium in Abu Dhabi will be hosting an exclusive T10 Cricket League for the next five years, starting with the 2019 season. So far, there were two short formats in cricket including ODI and T-20. Now, a third format, T-10 has been introduced.
- Abu Dhabi Cricket, in partnership with Abu Dhabi Sports Council and the Department of Culture and Tourism-Abu Dhabi, has signed a five-year agreement with the organisers of the T10 Cricket League. ‘
- The shortest form of the game will now be played exclusively at Zayed Cricket Stadium. The first match of the T10 League 2019 will be held on October 23.
WhatsApp to Work with Nasscom to Impart Digital Literacy before elections
- WhatsApp and National Association of Software and Services Companies (Nasscom) have decided to work together to impart digital literacy for curbing the menace of fake news before the general elections. The initiative is aimed at eliminating the miscreants who entice anger and hatred by spreading false and doctored information through technology platforms like WhatsApp.
- This foundation will train nearly 1,00,000 Indians to spot false information and provide tips and tricks to stay safe on WhatsApp. The training is aimed at educating people throughout India to be mindful of the messages they receive and to verify the facts before forwarding.
- The training will be imparted by volunteers from NASSCOM Foundation through “each one teach three” campaign that mandates every volunteer to share their learnings with three more persons leading to a network effect.
SAIL launches Smart Garbage Bins in New Delhi
- Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has launched smart garbage bins made of stainless steel with integrated technology for smart waste management. These bins will send signals to the garbage collection vehicle about the ‘fill-up’ position.
- These Smart Garbage Bins made up of SAIL SALEM stainless steel will be installed in underground Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) pits at the Smart Garbage Station. This will help prevent the spread of stink and diseases.
- There will be separate bins for recyclable and non-recyclable wastes. The pits will be covered with a pit cover fabricated out of stainless steel slip-free sheets. IOT (Internet of Things) enabled Gazelle sensors on the pit cover will transmit signals to the collection vehicle about the “fill-up” position. Initially, these Smart Garbage Bins will be placed at one each at Kamala Nagar in North and Bhikaji Cama Place in South Delhi.
IBBI, SEBI sign MoU for better implementation of IBC
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) for better implementation of Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016.
- The IBBI and the SEBI together seek effective implementation of the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code and its rules and regulations which aim to promote entrepreneurship and debt market.
- Other areas of cooperation under the MoU include cross-training of staff, effective utilisation of collective resources as well as capacity building of insolvency professionals and financial creditors.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 19th March
Cyclone Idai: ‘Massive disaster’ in Mozambique and Zimbabwe
- Over 1000 people are feared to be dead due to Cyclone Idai that devastated Mozambique in March 2019. So far, officially 84 deaths have been registered. More than 100,000 people are in danger.
- The city of Beira in central Mozambique was the centre of the Cyclone Idai. The storm resulted in fierce winds and flash floods and washed away roads and houses.
- In the neighbouring country, Zimbabwe, Cyclone Idai left 98 dead and at least 217 are still missing.
Global Recycling Day observed with the theme of Recycling into the Future
- Global Recycling Day was observed across the world on March 18, 2019, to help recognise, and celebrate the importance recycling plays in preserving the precious primary resources.
- The theme of 2019 Global Recycling Day was ‘Recycling into the Future’.The Day is organised by the Global Recycling Foundation that was established in October 2018 after the success of Global Recycling Day 2018.
- The Foundation promotes and supports the global recycling industry in its mission to recycle in preserving the future of our planet.
Pramod Sawant becomes the new Chief Minister of Goa
- Goa Legislative Assembly Speaker and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Pramod Sawant was sworn in as the 11th Chief Minister of Goa. He was given the oath of office and secrecy by Goa Governor Mridula Sinha.
- Former Goa Chief Minister and former Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who had been battling cancer, passed away in Panaji on March 17, 2019, at the age of 63. He was accorded state funeral with 21-gun salute.
Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose to be the First Lokpal of India
- The name of former Supreme Court Judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose has been cleared by the Lokpal Selection Committee headed by the Prime Minister. The notification for the appointment is expected to be released soon. Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose would be the first Lokpal of India.
- The Lokpal would consist of a chairperson and a maximum of eight members of which 50 per cent shall be judicial members. 50 percent of members of Lokpal shall be from SC/ST/OBCs, minorities and women.
- The ambit of Lokpal would cover all categories of public servants, including the Prime Minister with the exception of armed forces. Lokpal will also have powers of superintendence and direction over any investigation agency including CBI for cases referred to them by the Lokpal.
SBI launches cardless ATM withdrawal
- India’s largest Bank State Bank of India (SBI) has announced the launch of YONO Cash through which customers can withdraw money from ATMs without using a card.
- This Cardless Cash Withdrawal process works with two-factor authentication and eliminates the risk of skimming and cloning. The customers have to set a 6-digit Yono PIN for withdrawing cash through the Yono app.
- Once the process is initiated the customer will receive a 6-digit reference code via SMS, which will then have to be entered into a Yono Cash Point. The cash withdrawal must be completed within the next 30 minutes at an ATM using both the PIN and the reference number. ATMs enabled with this service will be termed as Yono Cash Point.
Business line Changemaker Awards declared
- Business line Changemaker Awards were constituted in the year 2018 to mark the completion of 25 years by the Hindu Business Line. The awards seek to celebrate the Changemaker individuals, entities and organisations, who through their work, have contributed to materially improve the condition of society, economy and the planet.
- Anju Verma for promoting the education of underprivileged children and Kush and Arjun Pandey who are the developers of ScoutMe app for tapping football talent have received the young changemakers award.
- Petitioners against Section 377 and GST Council have received the changemaker Of the Year award.
Indian Writer Raghu Karnad receives the Windham-Campbell Prize
- Raghu Karnad, the son of legendary writer and the Jnanpith awardee Girish Karnad, has won the Windham-Campbell Prize of $165,000 in the non-fiction category for his debut book, The Farthest Field: An Indian Story Of The Second World War.
- The Windham-Campbell Prize is administered by the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University in the US and was established in 2013.
- The award was constituted with the generous gift from writer Donald Windham in memory of his partner Sandy Campbell. The jury selects two winners each for each of the category fiction, non-fiction, drama and poetry.
SCO to hold Sary-Arka-Anti Terror Military Exercise 2019
- The decision to hold Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019, the first joint military exercise of Shanghai Cooperation Organization was announced at the during the 34th meeting of the RATS council held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
- The SCO member states China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan will participate in a joint counter-terrorism exercise ‘Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019’ to be held in grasslands of Kazakhstan in the Sary Arka region.
- The Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a permanent organ which serves to promote cooperation of member states against three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism.
British Army to get a Specialised Gurkha Infantry Battalion
- The British Army has decided to create a new Specialised Infantry Battalion by recruiting more than 800 Nepalese Gurkha servicepersons. Gurkhas have been there in the British Army since the past 200 years and currently, they comprise up to 3% of the British Army.
- The Gurkhas are recruitment every year by the British Army and Gurkhas are held in high esteem in the British Army. Khukri, the signature weapon of Gurkhas forms part of the Gurkha regimental insignia in Britain as well as in India.
- Gurkhas have the same service conditions as the regular British Army, with the option of British citizenship upon retirement.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 18th March
RBI to continue with SBI, ICICI and HDFC Bank as D-SIBs
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has announced that SBI, ICICI and HDFC Banks would continue as Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) for 2018. D-SIBs implies that banks are too big to fail and can support the government in times of financial distress.
- Inclusion in the list gives additional comfort to investors that these banks won’t be allowed to fail and therefore, borrowing costs of these banks from the markets are cheaper compared to others.
- RBI started this recognition as D-SIBs from 2015. RBI places these banks in appropriate buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores.
India to host the seventh edition of FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup 2020
- Gianni Infantino, the President of International Football Federation (FIFA) announced that India will host the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020. The 2020 World Cup will be the seventh edition of the U-17 Women’s tournament.
- The announcement was made during the FIFA Council meeting in Miami, USA.
- The U-17 Women’s World Cup will be the second FIFA tournament that India will be hosting, the first was the U-17 Men’s World Cup held in 2017.
Ritu Beri appointed as Cultural & Tourism Ambassador of Uzbekistan in India
- The Ministry of Tourism of Uzbekistan has appointed popular Indian fashion designer Ritu Beri as the Cultural and Tourism Ambassador of Uzbekistan in India.
- This is in recognition of her contribution towards bringing the two countries together by way of fusing cultures in her clothesline.
- She is the first Indian to be appointed to this position.
More incentives to Central Government staff for acquiring qualifications
- The Union Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions has announced the increase in incentives of Central Government employees acquiring higher qualifications while serving in the job.
- Till now, the Central Government employees acquiring fresh higher qualifications after coming into service were granted incentives in the form of a one-time lump-sum amount ranging Rs 2000 to Rs 10,000.
- Now with the hike, the employees will get a minimum of Rs 10,000 to a maximum of Rs 30,000 as incentives for acquiring higher qualifications like PhD, a five-fold increase in one-time incentive.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 16th & 17th March
West Nile Virus detected in India
- A seven-year-old in Kerala has been detected with the West Nile Virus which is a viral infection. It is typically spread by mosquitoes and results in neurological disease as well as death in people.
- The Virus is the member of the flavivirus genus and belongs to the Japanese encephalitis antigenic complex of the family Flaviviridae. It was first detected in a woman in the West Nile district of Uganda in 1937 and was later identified in birds in the Nile delta region in 1953.
- People infected with WNV suffer from fever, headache, fatigue, body aches, nausea, vomiting, occasionally with a skin rash and swollen lymph glands. In case of severe West Nile disease, the patient suffers from headache, high fever, neck stiffness, disorientation, stupor, coma, tremors, convulsions, muscle weakness, and paralysis.
Special Olympics World Games Inaugurated at Abu Dhabi
- The Special Olympics World Games 2019 was inaugurated at Abu Dhabi. For the first time, the Special Olympics is being held in the Middle East and North Africa region.
- The host UAE had introduced the term “people of determination” as part of a new National Strategy for Empowering People with Disabilities. Special Olympics is a global movement of people creating a new world of inclusion, where every single person is accepted and welcomed, regardless of their ability or disability.
- The motto of Special Olympics “Let me win. But if I cannot win, let me brave in the attempt.’ embodies what every athlete wants to pursue in life by dispelling the myth that children with intellectual disabilities must be confined behind the walls of unique and uncommon societies.
Festival of Innovation and Entrepreneurship inaugurated at Gujarat
- The Festival of Innovation & Entrepreneurship (FINE) was inaugurated by President Ramnath Kovind at Gujarat. On the occasion, President conferred 10th Biennial National Grassroots Innovation Awards.
- It is an initiative of the Office of the President of India to recognise, respect and reward grassroots innovations and foster a supportive ecosystem.
- It aims to provide a platform to the innovators for building the linkages with potential stakeholders whose support can improve their prospects in the coming years for the larger social good.
- The Bureau of Energy Efficiency has released the draft consultation paper for accelerating energy efficiency in India.
- The strategy document titled Unlocking National Energy Efficiency potential (UNNATEE) is first of its kind which clearly depicts the energy efficiency targets for the respective demand sectors up to the state levels.
- The Bureau of Energy Efficiency assists the government in developing policies and strategies with a thrust on self-regulation and market principles with the primary objective of reducing the energy intensity of the Indian economy within the overall framework of the Energy Conservation Act, 2001.
World Consumer Rights Day observed on March 15
- March 15 every year is celebrated as World Consumer Rights Day. The theme of the World Consumer Rights Day 2019 is “Trusted Smart Products” which aims to highlight what consumers want and need from a connected world and how important it is to put them at the heart of the development of these digital products and services.
- The first World Consumers Day was celebrated at 1983 and since then every year March 15 is celebrated as World Consumers Day.
- World Consumers Day aims to highlight that rights of all consumers are respected and protected and to protest against market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.
IIT Kharagpur to set up High-Performance Computing Facility & Data Center
- IIT Kharagpur has signed an MoU with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to set up a 1.3 Petaflop high-performance computing facility and data centre. This will be funded under the National Supercomputing Mission which was initiated in 2015. The Mission envisages empowering India’s national academic and R&D institutions spread by installing a vast supercomputing grid comprising of more than 70 high-performance computing facilities.
- The new supercomputing system would be used for specific challenge domains like cryptography, chemistry, molecular dynamics, drug discovery, artificial intelligence and data sciences where the new system would be utilized.
- PetaFlop is the measurement of computing power based on the frequency of mathematical calculations that can be done per second.
Wholesale Price Inflation increases
- Inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 2.93% in February over January 2019. It is due to hardening of prices of primary articles, fuel and power. Inflation of primary articles, which includes kitchen essentials like potato, onion, fruits, and milk increased to 4.84 per cent during the month, as against 3.54 in January.
- In the WPI index, Primary Articles had a weightage of 22.62 per cent, Fuel and Power had a weightage of 13.15 per cent and Manufactured Products had a weightage of 64.23 %.
- The Wholesale Price Index is released by the Office of Economic Advisor (OEA), Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion, Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
Gallantry Awards presented to Armed forces personnel
- President Ramnath Kovind conferred the Gallantry Awards and the Distinguished Service Decorations as part of the Defence Investiture Ceremony- 2019 to Armed Forces Personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at a solemn ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan.
- Among the recipients are Army Chief General Bipin Rawat, who was presented the Param Vishisht Seva Medal; Major Tushar Gauba, who was awarded the Kirti Chakra and Vice Admiral Sunil Anand, who was given the Nao Sena Medal, among others.
- The government of India constituted Gallantry Awards on 26th January 1950 and were deemed to have effect from the 15th August 1947. Gallantry Awards are announced twice in India on the occasion of Independence Day and Republic Day.
Students from IIT- Kharagpur Devised a Solution to Detect Fake Notes
- The Students from IIT- Kharagpur has developed a code for a Smartphone application to detect fake Indian currency. An image processing application is devised to detect counterfeit currency.
- A user can upload a currency note image and the mobile app would verify its authenticity using 25 features extracted from the front and rear side of the currency note. If the app finds the discrepancies with the features it reports about the failure checkpoints.
- This Hackathon is organised by Ministry of Human Resource and Development in association with AICTE and i4c.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 15th March
Young Global Leaders 2019
- The Forum of Young Global Leaders, the World Economic Forum’s foundation for remarkable leaders under 40 has released the list of Individuals with grit, foresight and potential to improve the state of the world for the year 2019.
- Andhra Pradesh IT minister Nara Lokesh, BJP MP Poonam Mahajan, Xiaomi India head Manu Kumar Jain, Telangana government’s Chief Innovation Officer Phanindra Sama, Save Life Foundation’s Piyush Tewari and Kaleido Finn’s co-Founder Sucharita Mukherjee are the Indians featuring in the list of Young Global Leaders 2019.
- The Young Global Leaders reflect global diversity, innovate to promote the public interest and value authentic exchanges towards public-private cooper. Young Global Leaders participate in the Annual Meeting of the New Champions, established in 2007 and known informally as “Summer Davos”, alongside Global Growth Companies and other delegations to the World Economic Forum.
Cloud Seeding in Karnataka for Two Monsoon Seasons
- The government of Karnataka is planning for a cloud seeding project to influence the upcoming monsoon and capture as much water as possible from the rain clouds. The government of Karnataka has called the tenders for cloud seeding operations to enhance rainfall during the monsoons of 2019 and 2020. The cost is expected to be Rs 50 cr per year.
- Cloud Seeding is a process of intervening chemically to induce precipitation rain or snow from clouds. Rain occurs when moisture in the air reaches levels at which it can no longer be held.
- Cloud seeding aims to facilitate and accelerate the process by making available chemical ‘nuclei’ for condensation to take place. The agents used as nuclei are iodides of silver or potassium, dry ice (solid carbon dioxide), or liquid propane.
Erode Turmeric gets GI tag
- Erode Turmeric has finally received GI tag from the Geographical Indication Registry after a long and cumbersome process which lasted for about 8 years. Erode is the city in the state of Tamil Nadu.
- Erode Turmeric is grown in hot moist conditions prevalent in the area with temperature ranging from 20 degrees to 37.9 degrees Celsius with an average of 600 to 800 mm rainfall in a year.
- Geographical Indication defines the goods as originating in the territory of a country or a region or locality in that territory, provided a given quality reputation or other characteristics of the product are attributable to its geographical origin.
- Africa-India Joint Field Training Exercise (AFINDEX-19) between the Indian Army and 16 African nations will be conducted in Pune from March 18 to 27. 10 personnel, each from the participating nations from the African continent and personnel of Maratha Light Infantry of the Indian Army will participate in the joint exercise.
- AFINDEX-19 aims to train the participating contingents in Humanitarian Mine Assistance (HMA) and Peacekeeping Operations (PKO) under the United Nations Charter through practical and comprehensive discussions and tactical exercises. Contingents from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger & Zambia are part of the joint exercise together with officers from Rwanda, Democratic Republic of Congo and Madagascar as Observers.
- AFINDEX-19 is expected to greatly facilitate sharing of Indian Armed Forces experiences in United Nations Peacekeeping operations with countries in Africa and shall significantly enhance relations with the African continent.
DRDO successfully test fires Indigenous Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile
- Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has successfully test-fired indigenously designed and developed Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) in the deserts of Pokhran in Rajasthan. Man-Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) incorporates many advanced features, including, image infrared radar (IIR) seeker with integrated avionics.
- MPATGM is a third-generation anti-tank guided missile (ATGM), developed by DRDO in association with VEM Technologies Ltd. MPATGM is fitted with high-explosive anti-tank (HEAT) warhead.
- MPATGM capable of being fired from the shoulder and can be used during day and night. MPATGM are being developed to replace the French origin anti-tank guided missile Milan and Soviet semi-automatic wire-guided missile Konkur in service with Indian Army.
Mercer Quality of Living Ranking 2019
- The Quality of Living Index 2019 was released by the Consulting Agency Mercer. The index was based on the data analysed between September and November 2018. The index is based on 39 factors such as access to public transport and traffic congestion levels, availability of housing and international schools city’s cultural scene which are grouped under 10 heads like “political and social environment”, “recreation”.
- Austrian capital Vienna tops the Mercer’s index of most liveable cities for the 10th year in a row. Vienna was closely followed by Zurich in Switzerland. Auckland, Munich, and Vancouver came in joint third.
- Indian Cities in also in the List. Chennai topped the list among the Indian cities with a rank of 105. Bengaluru was the second best with the ranking of 149. Mumbai with the ranking of 154 stood third among Indian cities. The capital of India, New Delhi ranked at 162 in Mercer’s Quality Of Living Index.
RBI categorizes IDBI Bank as Private Sector Bank
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) categorised the IDBI Bank Limited as a ‘Private Sector Bank’ for regulatory purposes with effect from January 21, 2019.
- The move came following the acquisition of the 51 per cent of the total paid-up equity share capital of the IDBI bank by Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
- The IDBI Bank was categorised in the sub-group ‘other public sector banks’ by the RBI in April 2005.
World Sleep Day 2019: What are the different kinds of sleep disorders?
- The World Sleep Day was observed across the globe on March 15, 2019, with the theme ‘Healthy Sleep, Healthy Aging’.
- The day is observed annually on the Friday before the March Equinox on the Earth, when the subsolar point appears to leave the Southern Hemisphere and cross the celestial equator, heading northward as seen from Earth.
- Sleep disorders are medical disorders of the sleep patterns of a person or animal. Simply put, they are changes in the way a person sleeps.
Fact Sheet on Electoral Roll Data 2019: Election Commission
- As per available Electoral Roll Data 2019, there are 15064824 voters in the age group 18-19 years.
- The Electors Photo Identity Card coverage of 99.36 percent has been achieved till date.
- The Elector/Population Ratio is 631 currently and Gender Ratio is 958. The Data was released in the wake of upcoming Lok Sabha Elections 2019.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 14th March
UK issues New Black Hole Coin in Honour of Stephen Hawking
- The United Kingdom has commemorated professor Stephen Hawking in a new 50p coin. The coin has references to the late physicist’s pioneering work on black holes.
- The commemorative coin aims to celebrate the life and “groundbreaking” achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018. It is a commemorative coin and not for circulation as currency.
- The Black Hole coin is a tribute to Hawking’s research into black holes and his ability to make science accessible for all.
India, US to set up six nuclear power plants in India
- India and the United States have agreed to build six American nuclear power plants in India, in an effort to boost bilateral civil nuclear energy cooperation.
- The two nations made the announcement through a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the 9th round of India-US Strategic Security Dialogue, held in Washington DC on March 13, 2019.
- The dialogue was co-chaired by Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale, who had led the Indian delegation and Andrea Thompson, the US under the secretary of state for arms control and international security.
World Kidney Day 2019: The Burden of Chronic Kidney Diseases
- The World Kidney Day 2019 was observed on March 14, 2019, the second Thursday of March, with an aim to raise awareness of the importance of our kidneys. The theme of World Kidney Day 2019 was “Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere”.
- The theme calls for Universal Health Coverage (UHC) for prevention and early treatment of kidney disease.
- The ultimate goal of a UHC policy is to promote population health by ensuring universal, sustainable and equitable access to essential healthcare of high quality.
Boeing 737 MAX aircrafts barred from entering Indian airspace from 4 PM
- Indian Government has barred Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft from entering the Indian airspace in the wake of the plane crash in Ethiopia that killed 157 people on board, including four Indians.
- The Ministry of Civil Aviation stated that no Boeing 737-Max 8 aircraft will be allowed to enter or transit Indian airspace from 4 pm on March 13.
- Earlier, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation, DGCA, took a decision to ground all Boeing 737-Max operations of domestic carriers. While Spicejet has around 12 Boeing 737 Max 8 planes in its fleet, Jet Airways has five. The latest crash was the second such involving 737 MAX 8 aircraft in less than five months.
India Awards 200 Golden Jubilee Scholarships to Nepali Students
- The Indian Embassy in Nepal has announced 200 scholarships to meritorious Nepali students for continuing various undergraduate courses at colleges and universities. The scholarships were granted under the Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme.
- Golden Jubilee Scholarship scheme was initiated by the Indian Embassy in Nepal to mark the completion of 50 years of India-Nepal Economic Cooperation. Initially started by providing scholarships to 50 students, the scholarship scheme has grown over the years.
- Under the scheme, an MBBS/BDS student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for five years, a BE student receives NRs. 4,000/- per month for four years and a student studying in other undergraduate courses receives NRs. 3,000/- per month for three years.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 13th March
India at 38th Gee Bee Boxing Tournament
- The 38th Gee Bee Boxing Tournament was held at Helsinki, Finland. The lone gold medal for India was won by Kavinder Singh Bisht. He won against Indian counterpart Mohammed Hussamuddin in summit clash in the 56kg case.
- Mohammed Hussamuddin settled for silver. Other Silver medals for India were won by Govind Kumar Sahani (49kg), Shiva Thapa (60kg) and Dinesh Dagar (69kg). Bronze Medallists were Sachin Siwach (52kg), Sumit Sangwan (91kg) and Naveen Kumar (+91kg) after their respective semi-final loss.
- India signed off from the 38th Gee Bee Boxing Tournament with one gold, four silver, and three bronze medals.
India has the 11th largest gold reserve: World Gold Council Report
- As per the latest report of the World Gold Council, India has the 11th largest gold reserve and the current gold holding is pegged at 607 tonnes. The top spot is occupied by US gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany at second with 3,369.7 tonnes gold reserves.
- China and Japan have more reserves of the precious metal when compare1d to India. Mainland China has gold reserves of 1,864.3 tonnes and Japan has gold reserves of 765.2 tonnes.
- The World Gold Council report highlights the quantum of gold holding by the different countries.
ASTROSAT observed a new population of Ultraviolet Stars in the Globular Cluster NGC 2808
- Astronomers from Thiruvananthapuram and Mumbai identified a new population of ultraviolet stars in the globular cluster NGC 2808 using the Indian space observatory AstroSat.
- Launched in September 2015, AstroSat is India’s dedicated multi-wavelength space observatory that observes the universe in the optical, ultraviolet, low and high energy X-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum.
- Major astronomy Institutions and some Universities in India are participating in these observations.NGC 2808 Globular clusters are collections of thousands to millions of stars moving as one unit. These stars are tightly held together by the gravity of the cluster itself.
Geographical Indication Tag: Arecanut gets its first GI tag for ‘Sirsi Supari’
- Arecanut, known as supari or betel nut, made its entry in the list of agricultural produce for the first time with the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for ‘Sirsi Supari’.
- The GI tag was accorded by the Registrar of Geographical Indications in the first week of March 2019. The ‘Sirsi Supari’ is grown in Sirsi, Siddapur and Yellapur taluks of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
- The GI tag will guarantee the authenticity of Arecanut grown in these talukas, and ensure a better market.
General Elections 2019: Latest Updates!
- The Election Commission of India on March 12, 2019, told the Supreme Court that exclusion of names of persons from draft NRC in Assam will not affect their voting rights in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls provided their names feature in the electoral rolls.
- This was stated by the ECI secretary, who had been summoned by the apex court last week in connection with a PIL.
- The plea alleged that several categories of persons in Assam have been deprived of voting rights ahead of the Lok Sabha polls
Current Affairs March 2019 | 12th March
Vastradan Campaign Sets Guinness World Record
- Vastradan Campaign initiated by the erstwhile royal family of Udaipur has set the Guinness World Record for the largest collection of clothes for donation. The campaign had collected more than 3 lakh items of clothing.
- Through the Vastradan Campaign, over 3,29,250 pieces of clothing from over 76,000 donors were collected and distributed to the needy. The campaign reached out to over 120 schools, 15 colleges and around 30 NGOs.
- The campaign was started as an innovative exercise in giving by reaching out to the citizens rather organizations. The campaign highlighted the empathy of the citizen’s especially young boys and girls.
Indigenously Developed Pinaka Guided Weapons System Successfully Test-Fired
- The indigenously developed Pinaka Guided Weapons System was successfully test fired at Pokhran desert in Rajasthan. The successful test trial gives a boost to the artillery capability of the Indian Army. Pinaka Guided Weapon System is equipped with a guidance kit comprising an advanced navigation and control system.
- Pinaka rocket systems are developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The rocket system was named after Pinaka, the bow of Lord Shiva.
- Pinaka rockets were used in the Kargil War with Pakistan. With the increased range there came a need for a more accurate. To fulfil this requirement guided version of the Pinaka is being developed by DRDO.
China’s Long March Rocket Series Completes 300 launches
- China’s Long March Rocket Series which is the mainstay of China’s space programme since 1970 has successfully completed its 300th launch by putting a new communication satellite into orbit through Long March-3B Rocket.
- China’s indigenously built China’s Long March rockets have sent more than 500 spacecraft into space. The rocket series built by China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation was responsible for about 96.4 per cent of all the launch missions in China.
- The Long March rockets completed 37 consecutive successful launches, ranking a global first for the highest number of successful launches in 2018.
India is the world’s second largest arms importer; Saudi Arabia tops the list: SIPRI Report
- India is the second largest importer of weapons in the world, as per the annual report ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers-2018 released on March 11, 2019, by the think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).
- After maintaining its position of world’s largest arms importer for about 8 years, India dropped down to be the second largest importer of weapons during 2014-18. Saudi Arabia is now the world’s largest weapons importer.
Evolution of WWW: Google Doodle celebrates 30 years of World Wide Web
- Google Doodle on March 12, 2019, celebrated 30 years of the World Wide Web (WWW), an invention of Sir Tim Berners-Lee.
- The doodle showed the Earth revolving inside a computer connected to a switch on its letters.
- The doodle is in the form of animation showing block graphics that were common earlier, depicting how things were like earlier. A globe in the centre rotates slowly on the desktop monitor, hinting at the early days of slower speed.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 11th March
India launches third IT corridor in China
- India has launched its third IT corridor in China. The corridor will facilitate partnerships between Indian and Chinese companies. National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) entered into a partnership with China’s Xuzhou city from Jiangsu Province in China to help develop the IT corridor.
- IT corridor facilitates partnerships between Indian and Chinese companies by enabling Indian software and service industry associations to enter the Chinese market and seize the development opportunities in China. The corridor will help create more jobs in China and India and facilitate talent transfer between the two countries.
- IT corridor project between India and China strengthens India-China Digital Cooperation by leveraging the respective strengths in hardware and software to build innovative products and solutions in Co-create mode.
New Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology Inaugurated
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has inaugurated the new Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology at Greater Noida in Uttar Pradesh. On the occasion, he also unveiled the statue of Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya at the campus and visited the Deendayal Museum in the Institute campus.
- Pandit Deendayal Upadhyaya Institute of Archaeology is a state-of-the-art institution spread over 25 acres and built at an estimated cost of Rs. 289 crore. The Institute comprises of an auditorium with seating capacity of 1000 people, an open-air theatre and an Archaeological Museum.
- Institute of Archaeology is an academic wing of the Archeological Survey of India under the Ministry of Culture. The Institute provides students with the necessary supportive, enthusiastic and challenging academic atmosphere which enables them to achieve their full potential in the field of Archaeology.
Marayoor Jaggery gets Geographical Indication Tag
- The persistent efforts of the Intellectual Property Rights cell of the Kerala Agriculture University have finally yielded results. The Marayoor Jaggery largely produced in the regions of Marayur and Kanthalloor grama panchayats of Kerala has got the GI tag.
- Geographical Indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin. Marayoor in the Idukki district of Kerala is known for its tensive sugarcane cultivation. In the regions of Marayur and Kanthallur, more than 2500 acres of land is under sugarcane cultivation.
- The Marayoor Jaggery is produced without adding any chemicals has always been known for its high quality. Eyeing the market of the traditional Marayoor Jaggery fake jaggery with a salty taste was being marketed as Marayoor jaggery. The GI tag will now enable to initiate legal action against fake jaggery being sold as Marayoor Jaggery.
Pulse Polio Program 2019
- The government has launched the Pulse Polio Programme 2019. Under the programme, polio drops would be administered to children less than five years of age. As part of the Pulse Polio Program 2019 more than 17 crores, children of less than five years across the country will be administered polio drops.
- The pulse polio programme conducted every year aims to protect children from the polio disease by conducting two nationwide mass polio vaccination campaigns and two to three sub-national campaigns each year.
- The pulse polio programme 2019 is aimed at sustaining the polio eradication from the country. India was declared polio-free country in the year 2014.
Hasmukh Adhia Appointed as Chancellor of Gujarat Central University
- President Ram Nath Kovind has approved the appointment of former finance secretary Hasmukh Adhia as the chancellor of Gujarat Central University. He will hold the post for a period of five years.
- Hasmukh Adhia was a Gujarat cadre IAS officer and was appointed as the secretary in the Department of Financial Services after then Chief Minister of Gujarat Narendra Modi took charge as the Prime Minister in 2014.
- The Central Universities were established by the Ministry of Human Resource and Development to address regional imbalances in higher educational facilities in states and 16 states were identified for the establishment of central universities.
Two Inter-State road projects in the North-East Inaugurated
- Union Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) Dr Jitendra Singh dedicated two Inter-State road projects in the Northeastern Region.
- The projects inaugurated were 17.47 km long Doimukh-Harmuti Road which links Assam and Arunachal Pradesh and 1.66 km Tura-Mankachar Road provides connectivity between Assam and Meghalaya.
- The roads were developed under the North East Road Sector Development Scheme which is especially focused on inter-State road connectivity in the region and was constructed by National Highways and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL).
Current Affairs March 2019 | 9th & 10th March
Seven Crores LPG connection under PMUY Handed Over
- The Union Minister for Petroleum and Natural Gas Dharmendra Pradhan handed over the Seven Croreth LPG connection under the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY). The PMUY was launched by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi on 1st May 2016 with an initial target of five crores LPG connections, which was later revised upward to eight crores connections.
- Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) aims to safeguard the health of women & children by providing them with a clean cooking fuel LPG so that they don’t have to compromise their health in smoky kitchens or wander in unsafe areas collecting firewood.
- Initially, the beneficiaries under the scheme were identified through socio-economic caste census, now all the poor of the country are now eligible to get PMUY connection.
Washing Machines, Microwave Ovens to have Energy Efficiency Ratings
- The Ministry of Power has announced that two more electrical appliances microwave ovens and washing machines will now be assigned star ratings based on their energy efficiency metrics. The programme of star rating of Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines will be implemented on a voluntary basis and will be valid up to December 31, 2020.
- The star rating of Microwave Ovens and Washing Machines encourage the transition towards energy efficient equipment. Further to enable the ease of implementation the Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has developed an online registration platform for expeditious registration and approval under this initiative.
- Star Rating of Appliances provides a basic sense of how energy efficient each product is. Higher the rating, higher is the efficiency of the appliance. The rating of appliances in India is undertaken by the Bureau of Energy Efficiency.
GI Website & Tutorial Video on IPR Launched
- Union Minister for Commerce and Industries Suresh Prabhu has launched the tutorial video on Intellectual Property Rights and the GI website. Geographical Indication (GI) is a name or sign used on products which correspond to a specific geographical location or origin.
- Geographical Indication act as a certification that the product possesses certain qualities, is made according to traditional methods or enjoys a certain reputation, due to its geographical origin.
- This tutorial video explains the fundamentals of Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) such as Patents, Copyrights and Trademarks. The tutorial video can be can be used in schools without any external intervention from teachers or experts and will aid in reaching a large number of schools and students, thereby overcoming issues of bandwidth and limited resources. Geographical Indications (GI) of India website showcases Indian GIs products, classified state wise as well as product category wise.
Prices of 90 cancer medicines cut by up to 87%
- The National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) has reduced the MRP of 390 non-scheduled cancer medicines have been reduced by up to 87%. NPA has asked the manufacturers and hospitals to revise the prices based on the trade margin formula.
- This price reduction is expected to result in annual savings of around Rs 800 crore for patients. The price reduction is expected to benefit about 22 lakh cancer patients in India.
- NPPA provides ceiling price to all Drugs notified under Schedule-I of the DPCO, 2013 and monitors annual price increase for these and the non-schedule drugs.
Foundation stone of Kashi Vishwanath Corridor laid
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has laid the foundation stone for the Kashi Vishwanath Corridor. The project envisions a massive makeover of the holy shrine and its surrounding areas.
- The proposed 50-feet corridor will directly connect Ganga’s Manikarnika and Lalita Ghat to the Kashi Vishwanath Jyotirlinga Temple. Along the corridor, pilgrims and travellers will see a newly built museum and depicting Varanasi’s ancient history and culture.
- The Kashi Vishwanath temple located on the left bank of the holy river Ganga is surrounded by narrow and small, claustrophobic lanes. The corridor will ease the congestion and provide the pilgrims and travellers other amenities such as wider and cleaner roads and lanes, better lighting with bright street lights, and clean drinking water.
President presents Nari Shakti Awards
- President Ram Nath Kovind presented the Nari Shakti awards, 2018 on the occasion of International Women’s Day on 8th March. Nari Shakti awards are the highest civilian honour for women in India.
- 44 Nari Shakti awards were presented for the year 2018 and the awardees include Scientists, entrepreneurs, environmentalists, social workers, farmers, artists, masons, a woman marine pilot, a woman commando trainer, journalists and film-makers.
- Nari Shakti Awards, earlier known as Stree Shakti Awards was constituted by the government of India in the year 1991. Nari Shakti Awards provide an opportunity to understand the contribution of women in the building of society and the nation.
NHPC to acquire Lanco Teesta Hydro Power Ltd (LTHPL)
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved the acquisition of debt-laden Lanco’s 500 MW Teesta hydro-electric power project in Sikkim by state-owned NHPC. NHPC will take over debt-laden Lanco’s 500 MW Teesta hydro-electric power project for Rs 907 crore in Sikkim.
- CCEA has sanctioned the funds for the acquisition and execution of balance work of the Teesta Stage-Vl Hydro Electric Project by the NHPC Ltd. Teesta Stage-Vl Hydro Electric Project is a Run of River (RoR) project in Sirwani Village of Sikkim to utilize the power potential of Teesta River Basin in a cascade manner.
- The project involves the construction of a 26.5-metre high barrage across river Teesta. NHPC which is a premier organization in the country for the development of hydropower has an authorised capital of about Rs.15,000 crores and has a Miniratna status.
India Cooling Action Plan
- India Cooling Action Plan was released by the Union Minister of Environment, Forests and Climate Change. The plan is aimed at reducing emissions and providing thermal comfort to citizens.
- India Cooling Action Plan provides a 20-year perspective to address the cooling requirements across various sectors and recommends ways to provide access to sustainable cooling and thermal comfort for people.
- Under the action plan, the government has planned to achieve at least 30% reductions in cooling energy requirement by improving the energy efficiency of room ACs and fans, better servicing and optimized operations in cold chains.
Al Nagah III Joint Military Exercise
- Al Nagah III is the third in the series of the bilateral joint exercise between India and Oman. It will be held between March 12 to March 25 at Oman. The 14-day exercise will see both the armies exchanging expertise and experience in tactics, weapon handling and firing.
- The exercise is aimed to enhance interoperability in counter-terrorist operations in semi-urban mountainous terrain. The Indian Army contingent is going to be represented by 10th Battalion of the Garhwal Rifles. Similar strength is also to be fielded by Jabel Regimen of Royal Army of Oman.
- The India-Oman bilateral security ties have continued to evolve and the joint military exercise will go a long way in enchaining understanding of capabilities and strengthening camaraderie between both the Armies.
Government Launches the e-Dharti app and e-Dharti GeoPortal
- The Union Housing and Urban Affairs Minister Hardeep Puri launched the e-Dharti app and e-Dharti GeoPortal to help the public in getting the necessary information on fingertips and the government to effectively manage its properties.
- Under the e-Dharti app, all the three modules- Conversion, Substitution and Mutation related to properties have been made online.The payment system in Land and Development Office, L&DO has also been completely digitized.
- e-Dharti GeoPortal enables the lessee of the property to see the basic details of property along with the map showing its location. e-Dharti GeoPortal will also benefit the government by letting it know the actual status of its vacant properties, whether there is any encroachment on the property.
IBBI Signs Cooperation Agreement with IFC
- The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) has signed a cooperation agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC) to assist IBBI in further building the capacity of insolvency professionals and insolvency professional agencies for the purpose of the bankruptcy code.
- IBBI established under the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 provides a platform for re-organisation and insolvency resolution of corporate person partnership firms and individuals in a time bound manner for maximisation of the value of assets, o promote entrepreneurship, availability of credit and balance the interests of all the stakeholders.
- IFC would assist IBBI in the effective implementation of the Code and its allied rules and regulations by assisting in further building the capacity of insolvency professionals and insolvency professional agencies for the purpose of the bankruptcy code.
Journalist Priyanka Dubey gets Chameli Devi Jain Award
- The bilingual correspondent with the BBC Priyanka Dubey has been named for the Chameli Devi Jain Award for an Outstanding Woman Journalist for the year 2018.
- The jury honoured Priyanka Dubey for her multi-faceted, investigative and interrogative reportage which took up the burning and complex social and political issues and uncovering the reality underlying them showing them to be layered, complex, and variegated.
- The Chameli Devi Jain Award awards women journalists for their exceptional contribution to the cause of journalism upholding standards of excellence through a sustained body of work
Raghuram Rajan to Get Yashwantrao Chavan National Award
- Raghuram Rajan, former governor of RBI has been chosen for the ‘Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2018’ by Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan for his contribution to economic development.
- Raghuram Rajan will be presented with the award at the 106th birth anniversary of Yashwantrao Chavan on March 12. Raghuram Rajan is credited with steering Indian economy during turbulent times during the post-global financial crisis period. He is credited for positioning Indian currency as among the best-performing emerging markets amid a global currency rout against the dollar as emerging markets witness a major capital flight not seen since the collapse of Lehman Brothers in 2008.
- The Yashwantrao Chavan National Award constituted by the Yashwantrao Chavan Pratishthan honours individuals and institutions for their outstanding contribution to national integration and social and economic development.
Income tax exemption limit on gratuity doubled to Rs 20 lakh
- The government has increased the tax-free gratuity income limit to Rs 20 lakh. This move will benefit the public as well as private sector employees.
- Gratuity is the monetary benefit provided by the employer to his/her employee for the services rendered by him during the period of employment. A minimum of five years of service with an organisation is mandatory for availing the benefit of gratuity.
- The Payment of Gratuity Act 1972 makes it mandatory for the employers to pay their employees gratuity at the time of quitting, provided certain conditions were met.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 8th March
New Visually Impaired Friendly Coin Series
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has unveiled the new series of visually impaired friendly coins of various denominations. The coins are of denomination Rs. 1, Rs. 2, Rs. 5, Rs. 10 and Rs.20.
- Rs 20 coin, the first-ever coin offering in Rs 20 denomination, has been created in the shape of a 12-edged polygon with a design of grains to denote farm dominance of the nation.
- Other than Rs 20 coins others are in round shape. The coins designed by the National Institute of Design has been produced by Security Printing and Minting Corporation of India Limited and the Finance Ministry.
PM inaugurates IOC’s Ennore LNG Import Terminal
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the Indian Oil Corporation’s (IOCs) LNG terminal at Ennore. Ennore terminal is ambitious terminal for storage and regasification of imported LNG, built by the nation’s largest fuel retailer Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL), at a cost of Rs 5,151 crore inside Kamaraj Port at Ennore.
- The project was commissioned by the IOC through its joint venture company Indian Oil LNG Pvt Ltd. The LNG terminal was commissioned through the shipload of LNG from Swiss trader, Gunvor carried from Qatar.
- The imported LNG at the terminal will meet the requirements of Chennai Petroleum Corp Ltd, Madras Fertilisers Ltd, Tamil Nadu Petroproducts and Manali Petrochemicals Ltd together with catering to the requirements of the industries in Tamilnadu and parts of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh. IOC is laying a pipeline of 1244 Km for evacuation of gas from Ennore terminal.
PM inaugurates Nagpur Metro
- With the inauguration of Nagpur Metro, Nagpur has become the second city of the state of Maharashtra after Mumbai to get a Metro Rail. It is a 13.5-kilometre stretch comprising five stations from Khapri to Sitabuldi. The Nagpur Metro consists of two corridors with a total length of 38 kilometres.
- To emphasise on Women Safety and empowerment each train will comprise of a special “Nari Shakti” women’s coach. Nagpur Metro is also hailed as the green Metro since 65% of its electricity consumption from solar energy.
- The population of the city of Nagpur is projected to double by 2050. Hence it was imperative to equip the city with 21st-century infrastructure, and the Metro Rail is one step in that direction.
India Signs Agreement with Russia for on Chakra III Attack Submarine
- India and Russia have signed an agreement for the leasing of a nuclear-powered attack submarine for the Indian Navy for a period of 10 years. Russia will be delivering the Akula class submarine, to be known as Chakra III, to the Indian Navy by 2025.
- India had earlier leased two nuclear submarines from Russia. They are INS Chakra leased in 1988 under a three-year lease and second INS Chakra was taken on lease in 2012 for a period of 10 years.
- Chakra III will be equipped with Indian communication systems and sensors, including the indigenously-developed USHUS integrated sonar system and Panchendriya sonar. Chakra III will also be loaded with four 650-millimetre and four 533-millimetre launch tubes for firing Type 65 and Type 53 torpedoes. Both of these torpedoes are made in Russia.
Soumya Swaminathan appointed as Chief Scientist of WHO
- As part of the reforms at the World Health Organisation (WHO), Soumya Swaminathan was promoted from the position of Deputy Director-General to Chief Scientist.
- The position of the Chief Scientist was created to strengthen the organization’s core scientific work and ensure the quality and consistency of its norms and standards.
- Swaminathan was one among the three Deputy Director-Generals supporting the Director-General in overseeing all programmes. She was the first Indian to hold the post.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 7th March
Yuvashree Arpan Scheme of West Bengal
- The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has unveiled a new scheme Yuvashree Plan II or Yuvashree Arpan to encourage entrepreneurship among youth.
- Under the Yuvashree Arpan Scheme around fifty thousand Youths who have passed out of ITI or other polytechnic institutes will be eligible to get financial support of Rs One Lakh from the state MSME department to set up their own business initiatives.
- Yuvashree I was launched by the labour department of the state of West Bengal. Under the scheme, an unemployment allowance of Rs 1500 per month was provided per month to 1,00,000 unemployed youth.
Ajit Kumar Mohanty Appointed Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre
- The Ministry of Personnel has notified the appointment of Ajit Kumar Mohanty as Director of Bhabha Atomic Research Centre for the period of three years. Currently, he is the Director, Physics Group in BARC and Director, Saha Institute Institute of Nuclear Physics.
- The Bhabha Atomic Research Centre (BARC) is India’s premier nuclear research facility headquartered in Trombay, Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- Over the years, BARC has emerged as the multi-disciplinary research centre with extensive infrastructure for advanced research and development. Its R&D covers the entire spectrum of nuclear science, engineering and related areas.
PM-STIAC Identifies Nine Missions
- The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Council (PM-STIAC) have identified nine national missions to address major scientific challenges to ensure India’s sustainable development.
- Through the nine missions, the PM-STIAC aims to facilitate collaboration to solve complex problems.
- The missions are Natural Language Translation, Quantum Frontier, Artificial Intelligence, National Biodiversity Mission, Electric Vehicles, BioScience for Human Health, Waste To Wealth, Deep Ocean Exploration and Agnii.
Swachh Survekshan Awards 2019
- Swachh Survekshan Awards are given by the Union Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs based on the survey which covered all urban local bodies in the country. The Survey was the largest such cleanliness survey in the world.
- Indore was adjudged India’s cleanest city for the third straight year. The second and third positions were clinched by Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and Mysore in Karnataka.
- The winners were awarded a statue of Mahatma Gandhi’s memento by the President Ram Nath Kovind.
China hikes defense budget by 7.5%
- China has increased its defence budget by 7.5 per to $177.61 billion up from last year’s $165 billion. The 2019 Defence Budget of China stood at 1.19 trillion yuan (about $177.61 billion) which is three times the Indian Defence Budget.
- China’s Defence Budget growth rate stood at 7.6 per cent in 2016, 7 per cent in 2017 and 8.1 per cent in 2018. China’s defence spending at $177.61 billion makes it the highest spender on defence after the United States.
- The Chinese government has stated that the increased spending will “strengthen military training under combat conditions, and firmly protect China’s sovereignty, security, and development interests.”
The US Plans To End India’s Preferential Trade Status
- President Trump notified the Congress his intent to terminate trade benefits for both India and Turkey under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) eligibility criteria.
- About 2,000 products, including auto components and textiles, can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meet the eligibility criteria. India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status.
- President Trump has accused India of failing to ensure the US of “equitable and reasonable” access to its markets. The US is pressing India to reduce US trade deficits and has repeatedly called out India for high tariffs.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 6th March
India nominates Ramesh Chand to head Food and Agriculture Organisation
- India has nominated a member of Niti Ayog, Ramesh Chandra to head Food and Agricultural Organisation. Ramesh Chand’s candidature is challenged by Qu Dongyu of China, Medi Moungui of Cameroon, Catherine Geslain-Laneelle of France and Davit Kirvalidze of Georgia.
- To get elected to the post of Director-General of FAO, the candidate needs to secure a simple majority of the 194 members. The only Indian to head the FAO is Binay Ranjan Sen, who was the Director-General from 1956 to 1967.
- The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of the United Nations which leads international efforts to defeat hunger. FAO aims to achieve food security for all and make sure that people have regular access to enough high-quality food to lead active healthy lives.
P V Ramesh appointed as the director-general of the National Archives of India
- The Appointment Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of P V Ramesh appointed as the director-general of the National Archives of India. Currently, he is serving as the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of Rural Electrification Corporation.
- After the Independence, the government of India rechristened IRD as the National Archives of India with Director of Archives as its head and in the year 1990 the office of the Director of Archives was redesignated as Director General of Archives.
- At present National Archives of India is an attached office under the Ministry of Culture and has a Regional Office at Bhopal and three Records Centres at Jaipur, Puducherry and Bhubaneswar.
Justice SA Bobde nominated as NALSA Executive Chairman
- President Ram Nath Kovind has nominated Justice SA Bobde of the Supreme Court as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA). The post is currently held by Justice AK Sikri who is due to retire on 6th March.
- The National Legal Services Authority (NALSA) is a statutory body constituted under the Legal Services Authorities Act, 1987 to provide free Legal Services to the weaker sections of the society.
- The objective of NALSA is to legally empower the marginalized and excluded groups of the society by providing effective legal representation, legal literacy and awareness and bridging the gap between the legally available benefits and the entitled beneficiaries.
Jalamrutha Scheme of Karnataka
- The government of Karnataka has launched the water conservation scheme Jalamrutha. The scheme focuses on drought-proofing measures, including protection and rejuvenation of water bodies.
- The scheme will be implemented by the Ministry of Rural Development and Panchayat Raj of Karnataka. The scheme is community drive and will be implemented by key line departments of the government, Panchayat Raj Institutions (PRIs), non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and private sector institutions.
- Emphasizing on water conservation the government of Karnataka has announced 2019 as the ‘Year of Water’ to emphasize the importance of water becoming a scarce commodity and the need to conserve it.
RBI imposes Rs 8 crore fine on 3 banks for non-compliance in Swift operations
- The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed a fine of 8 crores on 3 banks viz. Karnataka Bank, United Bank of India and Karur Vysya Bank for non-compliance of directions on Swift messaging software.
- A fine of 4 crores was imposed on Karnataka Bank, 3 crores on United Bank of India and one crore on Karur Vysya Bank.
- SWIFT( Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications) is a messaging network that financial institutions use to securely transmit information and instructions through a standardized system of codes. Under SWIFT, each financial organization has a unique code which is used to send and receive payments.
ISRO launches Young Scientist Programme
- The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has launched the Young Scientist Programme (Yuva Vigyani Karyakram) to impart basic knowledge on space technology, space science and applications to the young ones to arouse their interest in space activities.
- ISRO will select over 100 students from across India and give them practical experience of how satellites are built. Three Students will be selected from each state/union territory to participate in the programme each year covering CBSE, ICSE and state syllabus on basis of their academic performance and extracurricular activities.
- The students from rural areas will be given special weightage in the selection and all the expenses of travelling and boarding will be funded entirely by ISRO.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 5th March
Azaadi ke Diwane Museum Inaugurated at Red Fort
- The ‘Azaadi ke Diwane’ museum dedicated to the unsung heroes of the country’s freedom struggle was inaugurated at the Red Fort premises.
- The Museum is built by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) that pays homage to hundreds of freedom fighters who do not find mention in popular culture.
- Azaadi ke Diwane is a digitised and interactive museum with a state-of-the-art, informative and educational exhibition allowing the visitors to engage with the exhibits through multi-sensor technology.
GSI Sets Up 22 GPS Stations across Country
- The Geological Survey of India (GSI) has launched 22 permanent global positioning system (GPS) stations across India to identify seismically hazardous zones and encourage mapping activities.
- These 22 stations are part of the 35 stations planned by GSI to establish and maintain a network of continuously operating 35 permanent GPS stations.
- 22 stations inaugurated are based at Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram, Jaipur, Pune, Dehradun, Chennai, Jabalpur, Bhubaneswar, Patna, Raipur, Bhopal, Chandigarh, Gandhinagar Visakhapatnam, Agartala, Itanagar, Mangan, Jammu, Lucknow, Nagpur, Shillong and Little Andaman. The main aim is to create and update of national geoscientific information and mineral resource assessment through various surveys.
India-Bangladesh border along Dhubri comes under BOLD-QIT Surveillance
- Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh inaugurated the BOLD-QIT Surveillance along Dhubri district in Assam on the India Bangladesh border. BOLD-QIT stands for Border electronically dominated quick response team interception technique.
- BOLD-QIT together with help the Border Security Force (BSF) in curbing all types of cross border crimes it will also provide respite to the troops from round the clock human surveillance.
- These modern gadgets under BOLD-QIT provide feeds to the BSF control rooms on the border and enable BSF Quick Reaction Teams to thwart any possibility of illegal cross border crossing and crimes.
National Common Mobility Card
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched a National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), which can be used to make payments across public transport anywhere in the country, including Metro, bus and suburban railways, for toll and parking, and for retail like any credit or debit card.
- NCMC was envisaged as part of the National Urban Transport Policy (NUTP) in 2006 by the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs. Referred to as ”One Nation One Card”, this inter-operable transport card would allow the holders to pay for their bus travel, toll taxes, parking charges, retail shopping and even withdraw money.
- It runs as on RuPay card and automates the fare collection system. The NCMC was launched by the Prime Minister while inaugurating the first phase of the Ahmedabad metro train service.
Cricket to be re-introduced in Asian Games
- The Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) has decided to reintroduce Cricket in the 2022 Asian Games to be held at Hangzhou, China. Earlier Cricket had featured in 2010 and 2014 Asian Games but was dropped from the 2018 Asian Games held at Incheon of Indonesia.
- In all probabilities mostly T20 version of cricket would be introduced in the Asian Games like it happened during the 2010 and 2014 edition in Guangzhou and Incheon respectively.
- Asian Games, also known as Asiad is a multi-sport event held every four years among athletes from all over Asia. Asian Games are organized by the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) in association with the host nation.
- Sampriti 2019, eight editions of India Bangladesh joint military exercise began on 3rd March 2019. The joint exercise is aimed to increase mutual cooperation, bonhomie, and camaraderie between the armies of India and Bangladesh.
- Sampriti 2019 is hosted by Bangladesh at Tangail will be held till March 15. Bangladesh is represented by 36 East Bengal Battalion and India side is represented by 9th Battalion the Rajputana Rifles.
- The exercise is aimed at increasing mutual cooperation, bonhomie and camaraderie between the two armies through interoperability and tactical exercises.
Abhinandan Varthaman To Be Awarded Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar
- Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman has been chosen for the first Bhagwan Mahavir Ahimsa Puraskar constituted by the Akhil Bharatiya Digambar Jain Mahasamiti.
- The award which carries a cash prize of Rs. 2.51 lakh, a memento and a citation will be presented to Abhinandan Varthaman on April 17 the Mahavir Jayanti.
- Abhinandan Varthaman, a wing-commander in the Indian Air Force shot into limelight in the ongoing bilateral tensions between Indian and Pakistan aftermath of the Pulwama terror attack.
Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 makes it to the Guinness World Records
- The Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has made into Guinness World Records in the following three sectors i.e. Largest traffic and crowd management plan, Biggest painting exercise of public sites under paint my city scheme and Biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism.
- Kumbh Mela, the festival of the sacred pitcher is the largest public gathering and collective act of faith, anywhere in the world. This Hindu pilgrimage Kumbh Mela is celebrated four times over a course of 12 years over four locations in India.
- The Kumbh Mela has been inscribed on the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity” by UNESCO in 2017.
PM lays foundation stone for AK-47 rifle Manufacturing Unit
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid the foundation stone for AK-47 rifles manufacturing unit at Amethi of Uttar Pradesh. On the occasion of laying foundation stone PM thanked Russian President Vladimir Putin for making the venture possible in such a short time.
- The message of the Russian President Vladimir Putin read out by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on the occasion.
- The rifles will be manufactures at Amethi as a joint venture between India and Russia. At Amethi Manufacturing facility, world-famous Kalashnikov assault rifles of the newest 200 series would be manufactured. This new Kalashnikov assault rifles will fulfil the needs of national security agencies in this category of small arms, resting upon advanced Russian technologies.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 4th March
Centre Bans Jamaat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir)
- The Central Government has banned the Jamaat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir) for a period of 5 years due to the outfit’s ‘close touch’ with the militants.
- Jamaat-e-Islami is a socio-political and religious organisation founded in 1945 by Islamic theologian and socio-political philosopher Abul Ala Maududi. After the partition, the organization broke into two groups, Jamaat-e-Islami Pakistan and Jamaat-e-Islami Hind.
- The Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a notification of ban on Jamaat-e-Islami (Jammu and Kashmir) under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act.
DRDO chief Satheesh Reddy conferred Missile Systems Award
- Aerospace scientist and Chief of the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO), G Satheesh Reddy has been conferred the Missile Systems Award 2019 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
- Satheesh Reddy is the Scientific Adviser to the Defence Minister and is considered the architect of advanced missile technologies and smart guided weapons technologies in India.
- American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) is a professional society of Aerospace Engineers. AIAA aims to ignite and celebrate aerospace ingenuity and collaboration, and its importance to our way of life.
OSDMA bags SKOCH Award
- The Odisha State Disaster Management Authority (OSDMA) has bagged the SKOCH Award, 2018 for its remarkable achievements in the field of disaster management. The award was presented at the 56th SKOCH Summit held at New Delhi.
- OSDMA had received Order-of-merit in the Gold category for constructing 879 multipurpose cyclone and flood shelters which played a key role in saving human lives during Cyclone Phailin in 2013.
- These awards are the recognition of Odisha becoming a model state in disaster management and risk mitigation since the 1999 Super Cyclone.
Red Flag 2019
- Red Flag 19 military drill is being held in the US from March 3 to 16. The exercise gives aircraft crews an opportunity to experience advanced, relevant, and realistic combat-like situations in a controlled environment to increase their survivability in actual combat operations.
- Exercise Red Flag is an advanced aerial combat training exercise held several times a year by the United States Air Force. The exercise offers realistic air-combat training for military pilots and other flight crew members from the U.S., NATO and other allied countries.
- Exercise Red Flag brings together aircrews from the United States Air Force (USAF), United States Navy (USN), United States Marine Corps (USMC), United States Army (USA) and numerous NATO and other allied nations’ air forces.
With Parade Of Over 1,300 Bicycles, CISF Sets New Guinness World Record
- The Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) created a new Guinness World Record for the longest single moving line bicycle parade at the Yamuna Expressway.
- The world record was attempted to commemorate the 50 years of the paramilitary force CISF. For creating the World Record the personnel of the central force rode 1,327 bicycles non-stop with a uniform distance between bicycles in a single line.
- The CISF came into existence in 1969 with a modest three battalions, to provide integrated security cover to the Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs) which had occupied the commanding heights of the economy in those days.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 2nd & 3rd March
K P Bezbaruah re-appointed as Chairman of Tea Board
- The Ministry of Commerce and Industries has approved the re-appointment of P K Bezbaruah as the Chairman of Tea Board.
- This is his second tenure. He was the first non-IAS chairman of the Tea Board. The origin of the Tea Board can be traced to 1903 when the Indian Tea Cess Bill was passed to provide for levying a cess on tea exports. The Current Tea Board was constituted on 1st April 1954 under section 4 of the Tea Act 1953.
- Tea Board is functioning as a statutory body under the Ministry of Commerce and Industries. Tea Board Consists of 31 members drawn from Members of Parliament, tea producers, tea traders, tea brokers, consumers, and representatives of Governments from the principal tea producing states, and trade unions.
April 2019-March 2020 to be observed as Construction-Technology Year
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi has declared ‘April 2019-March 2020’ as Construction-Technology year at the Construction Technology India-2019 Expo-cum-conference in New Delhi.
- Construction-Technology year emphasises the role of advanced technology to meet the increasing demand for housing in the country.
- The integration of modern technology to the housing sector would make the sector more dynamic and vibrant.
Gwalior to have a Centre for Disability Sports
- The Union Cabinet has approved the proposal for setting up of a Centre for Disability Sports at Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh.
- The Centre for Disability Sports, Gwalior will be set up at an estimated cost of Rs 170.99 crore, spread over a period of 5 years. The announcement for setting up of Centre for Disability Sports was made in the Budget of 2014-15.
- The centre would create an improved sports infrastructure to ensure effective participation of persons with disabilities in sports activities and also enable them to compete at national and international levels.
Govt and ADB sign loan agreement for Mumbai Metro Rail Project
- The Government and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) have signed a loan agreement of $926 Million to operationalise two lines for the Mumbai Metro Rail System.
- This is the single largest Infrastructure Project Loan in ADB history approved by the Asian Development Board.
- The agreement also involves funding for 63 six-car trains, signalling and safety systems, and establishment of a newly dedicated metro operations organization to manage the entire metro network.
UNAIDS observes Zero Discrimination Day
- Zero Discrimination Day is annually celebrated by the UN and other international organisations on March 1st every year. It is celebrated to promote and celebrate everyone’s right, regardless of age, gender, sexuality, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, etc. Zero Discrimination Day aims to raise the voice for the right to live life with dignity, despite one’s choices, beliefs, profession, education, disability or even illness.
- It was launched by UNAIDS Executive Director at Beijing after UNAIDS launched its Zero Discrimination Campaign on World AIDS Day in December 2013.
- The Day is particularly noted by organisations like UNAIDS that combat discrimination against people living with HIV/AIDS since HIV related stigma and discrimination is pervasive and exists in almost every part of the world.
National Policy on Software Products – 2019
- The National Policy on Software Products – 2019 has been approved by the Union Cabinet. The policy is aimed at developing India as a Software Product Nation.
- The Policy is aimed at giving a direction for the formulation of several schemes, initiatives, projects and measures for the development of Software products sector in the country as per the roadmap envisaged therein.
- National Software Products Mission will be set up with participation from Government, Academia and Industry. The Indian IT Industry is predominantly a service Industry. It is necessary to move up the value chain through technology-oriented products and services to ensure sustainability.
Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities sets World Record
- The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has set a new world record.
- The department had undertaken the Modern Artificial Limbs (Legs) implantation in Bharuch, Gujarat. The implantation was carried out for 260 people in record eight hours. This was the seventh world record set by the Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities.
- It was created as a separate department on May 12, 2012, to give focused attention to Policy issues and meaningful thrust to the activities aimed at welfare and empowerment of the Persons with Disabilities. The department was renamed as Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities on 08.12.2014.
Bhagwan Lal Sahni appointed Chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes
- Bhagwan Lal Sahni who hails from Bihar has been appointed as the Chairman of the National Commission for Backward Classes.
- National Commission for Backward Classes is a Constitutional body set up through the 123rd constitutional amendment bill 2018 and 102nd amendment act under the provisions of Article 338B of Indian Constitution. The commission consists of one chairman and five Members with the term of three years.
- National Commission for Backward classes is the successor of the National Commission for Socially and Educationally Backward Classes (NCSEBC).
Cabinet approves setting up of SPV for disinvestment of Air India
- The Union Cabinet headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has given ex-post facto approval for the creation of the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) and associated activities for the disinvestment of Air India and its subsidiaries/JV.
- The subsidiaries which are not part of Air India strategic disinvestment viz. Air India Air Transport Services Ltd. (AIATSL), Airline Allied Services (AASL), Air India Engineering Services Ltd. (AIESL) and Hotel Corporation of India Ltd. (HCI) would be shifted to the special purpose vehicle.
- Debt of Air India Ltd. amounting to Rs. 29,464 crore would be transferred to Air India Assets Holding Ltd. The disinvestment proceeds from the Air India would be utilized to set off the working capital loan liability of Air India which are not backed by any asset and warehoused in the same SPV.
CSO Data on Q3 GDP
- The Central Statistical Office (CSO) has released the data about the GDP for the third quarter. Indian economy decelerated at a faster pace than anticipated in the third quarter of 2018-19 to 6.6%. This was the lowest in five quarters. This increases the possibility of another round of rate cuts by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) in April to support growth.
- The full-year growth forecast for the current fiscal year has been revised to 7%. The growth rates for the earlier quarters were also revised downward to 8% and 7% respectively. The size of the Indian economy through the nominal gross domestic product (GDP) was revised upward to Rs 190.54 trillion ($2.7 trillion) against Rs 188.41 trillion ($2.65 trillion).
- India remains the fastest growing economy as China’s economy cooled in the December quarter to a 28-year low of 6.4%.
EASE Index Report
- The BCG-IBA (Boston Consulting Group and Indian Banks Association) report EASE Reforms for Public Sector Banks measures the performance of each PSB on 140 objective metrics.
- According to the report, Punjab National Bank has been ranked first among public sector banks in the implementation of ‘reforms agenda’, followed by Bank of Baroda and Bank of India. Punjab National Bank with a score of 78.4 out of 100 has been ranked first under the theme of EASE (Enhanced Access & Service Excellence).
- PNB is followed by BoB (77.8), SBI (74.6), Oriental Bank of Commerce (69), Canara Bank (67.5) and Syndicate Bank (67.1). The government had announced in January 2018 that the government would come out with EASE -Index for ranking of banks aimed at increasing the public accountability of PSBs as independent agencies evaluate and rank PSBs annually on reforms.
CCEA approves Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs has approved the “Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana” under the Ministry of Petroleum & Natural Gas to provide financial support to Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.
- JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) which aims at accomplishing the Government of India’s vision to reduce import dependence by way of substituting fossil fuels with Biofuels.
- The scheme aims to incentivise 2G Ethanol sector and support this nascent industry by creating a suitable ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and increasing Research & Development in this area. The government has set the target to achieve 10% blending percentage of Ethanol in petrol by 2022.
CCEA Approves Phase 2 of FAME Scheme
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Rs 10,000 crore package over three years till 2022 for the second phase of Faster Adoption & Manufacturing of Electric (and hybrid) vehicles (FAME) scheme.
- The FAME scheme is aimed at encouraging faster adoption of Electric and hybrid vehicle by way of offering an upfront incentive on the purchase of Electric vehicles and also by way of establishing a necessary charging Infrastructure for electric vehicles.FAME-II is the expanded version of the present scheme titled FAME India 1 which was launched on 1st April 2015. It emphasizes on electrification of the public transportation that includes shared transport.
- The Scheme also proposes for the establishment of charging infrastructure, whereby about 2700 charging stations will be established across the country so that there is an availability of at least one charging station in a grid of 3 km x 3 km.
Current Affairs March 2019 | 1st March
Vice President presents Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2019
- Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu presented Kalam Innovation in Governance Award 2019 at the third edition of Dr A.P.J. Abdul Kalam Summit on Innovation and Governance, in New Delhi.
- Kalam Summit on Innovation and Governance is organised by the Kalam Centre to feature discussions and studies on various national and global examples of transformational governance for the betterment of the people.
- The Summit is an international conclave of policymakers, civil service officers, NGOs, media and academia who are dedicated to the task of governance and its dimensions.
PM confers Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi conferred Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prizes for the years 2016, 2017 and 2018 in New Delhi. Eleven scientists including Dr Rishikesh Narayan of Indian Institute of Science, Bengaluru and Dr Amalendu Krishna of Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Mumbai were awarded the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2016.
- Ten scientists including Dr Deepak Gaur of Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi and Dr S Suresh Babu of Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre were given the Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2016.
- Thirteen scientists including Dr Amit Kumar of IIT, Delhi and Dr Nitin Saxena, IIT, Kanpur were awarded Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for 2018.Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar Prize for Science and Technology was instituted in the year 1957, in the memory of late Dr (Sir) Shanti Swarup Bhatnagar, the founder director of the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research(CSIR).
India to grow at 7.2 per cent in 2018-19: CSO
- The Central Statistics Office has released the first advance estimates of National Income for 2018-19. The observations say the Indian economy is expected to grow at 7.2 per cent in 2018-19, a tad higher from 6.7 per cent in the 2018-18.
- The expansion in activities in agriculture, forestry and fishing is likely to increase to 3.8 per cent in the current fiscal from 3.4 per cent in the preceding year. Growth in the manufacturing sector is expected to increase to 8.3 per cent in 2018-19. Electricity, gas, water supply & other utility services growth is estimated at 9.4 per cent in 2018-19, up from 7.2 per cent in 2017-18.
- Financial, real estate & professional services growth will be a tad higher at 6.8 per cent this fiscal against 6.6 per cent in 2017-18. CSO also estimates per capita net national income during 2018-19 to be at Rs 1,25,397, an increase of 11.1 per cent as compared to Rs 1,12,835 during 2017-18 with the growth rate of 8.6 per cent.
Growth Rate in the Core Sector witnesses Decline
- The growth rate eight core sectors which include coal, crude oil, natural gas, refinery products, fertilisers, steel, cement and electricity witnessed a decline as per the data from the Ministry of Commerce and Industries.
- The core sector which had witnessed a 6.2% growth in January 2018 witnessed a growth rate of 1.8 % in January. The declining trend which has been witnessed since October 2018 suggests continued weakness in industrial activities and a weak second half economic growth in the financial year 2018-19.
- Sluggish core sector growth would impact the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) as these segments account for about 41 per cent of the total industry output.
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