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Between 2010-’19, India’s population grew at 1.2% average annual rate: UN report
According to the United Nations Population Fund, India’s population grew to 1.36 billion at an average annual rate of 1.2% between 2010 and 2019 which stands more than double the annual growth rate of China.
i. The UN sexual and reproductive health agency in the State of World Population Report stated that India’s population of 1.36 billion in 2019 has picked growing from 942.2 million in 1994 and 541.5 million in 1969.
ii. Compared to India, China’s population has grown at an average annual rate of 0.5% between 2010 and 2019. Currently in 2019, China’s population stands at 1.42 billion which has risen from 1.23 billion in 1994 and 803.6 million in 1969.
iii. The report has stated that in India, the total fertility rate per woman dropped from 5.6% in 1969 to 3.7% in 1994 to 2.3% in 2019.
iv. Moreover, in India, the life expectancy at birth was 47 years in 1969, 60 years in 1994 and now, 69 years in 2019, thus recording a thorough enhancement in life expectancy at birth.
v. Portraying an overall view of India’s population in 2019, the report states that 27 % of the India’s population is between 0-14 years and 10-24 years each, whereas 67% of the population is between 15-64 years, and 6% of the population is of 65 years of age.
vi. Since the health care units in India have improved, the (MMR) Maternal Mortality Ratio has decreased from 488 deaths per 100,000 live births (in 1994) to 174 deaths per 100,000 live births (in 2015).
vii.In United Nations Population Fund’s (UNFP) State of World Population 2019 report, for the very first time, research findings of women aged between 15-49 years have been published. The report is inclusive of data on women’s ability of decision-making over three main areas, namely, sexual intercourse with their partner, contraception use and health care.
viii. The report also notifies that in 1969, the average number of births per woman was 4.8, compared with 2.9 in 1994, and 2.5 in 2019.
ix. The UN report warns that in 2019, about 35 million women, girls and young people will require life-saving sexual and reproductive health services and other services that would cater to reduction in gender-based violence,
NGT sets up Central Monitoring Committee to control pollution
A bench headed by NGT(National Green Tribunal) Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel has formed a Central Monitoring Committee to enforce a national plan to reduce the river pollution.
i. The Committee will further synchronize with the River Rejuvenation Committees of the states and supervise the implementation of the action plans. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) will be nodal authority for coordination.
ii. The committee is set to establish 350 river stretches across the country to deal with the pollution as it has caused serious threat to safety of water and environment.
♦ National Green Tribunal Act, 2010 is an act of the Parliament of India which enables creation of a special tribunal to handle the expeditious disposal of the cases pertaining to environmental issues.
India and Sweden launches joint programme on solution for smart cities, clean tech
On 11th April 2019, India and Sweden inked a pact that will deal a range of challenges around smart cities and clean technologies among others.The programme is co- sponsored by Indian Department of Science and Technologies (DST) and Swedish agency Vinnova.
i. Vinnova donate to Swedish participants upto 2,500,000 Swedish Krona (around Rs. 1.87 crore).From Indian side, provide upto 50% per project to the Indian partners.
ii. Triple helix model of innovation that include participation of industry, academia and government is implemented in this project.
♦ Capital : Stockholm
♦ Currency: Swedish krona
Namami Gange gets approved with Global recognition at Global Water Summit
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) or Namami Gange which is India’s flagship programme, was presented, with the ‘Public Water Agency of the Year’ award by Global Water Intelligence at the Global Water Summit held in London on 9th April, 2019.
i. National Mission for Clean Ganga was awarded this for its initiatives in the water sector which brings remarkable improvements in the lives of people.
ii. 2019 edition of Global Water Summit was a 3-day event held at Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel, Hounslow which started from on 8th April.
About Namami Gange programme
♦ This programme is an integrated mission for Ganga rejuvenation. It has a comprehensive multi-sectoral intervention with multi-stakeholder involvement and adopts a basin based approach which includes Ganga and its tributaries.
First-ever global coalition launched for clean cooling
The 1st ever of global coalition on clean and efficient cooling was launched at First Global Conference on Synergies between the 2030 Agenda and Paris Agreement in Copenhagen, Denmark.
i. This coalition is aim to identify solutions and mobilise action to accelerate progress towards clean and efficient cooling.
ii. Global Cool coalition was supported by the UN, Climate and Clean Air Coalition, the Kigali Cooling Efficiency Program and Sustainable Energy for All.
BANKING & FINANCE
Govt keeps interest rate unchanged for General Provident Fund at 8% for April-June, 2019-20
For the first quarter of current financial year, the government has stuck to the previous (January-March quarter of 2018-2019) interest rate for (GPF) General Provident Fund, Contributory Provident Fund (CPF) and other schemes at 8%.
i. The Department of Economic Affairs notified that the mentioned interest rate of 8% will be applicable on provident funds of Contributory Provident Fund (India), the All India Services Provident Fund, the State Railway Provident Fund, the General Provident Fund (Defence Services), the Indian Ordnance Department Provident Fund, the Indian Ordnance Factories Workmen’s Provident Fund, the Indian Naval Dockyard Workmen’s Provident Fund, the Defence Services Officers Provident Fund, and the Armed Forces Personnel Provident Fund.
ii. In March 2019, the government had kept interest rates unchanged on small savings which was inclusive of National Savings Certificate (NSC) and Public Provident Fund (PPF) for the first quarter of the current fiscal year.
iii. According to the new rule, only after the completion of 10 years of service (as against 15 years of service previously), employees can withdraw the fund for selected purposes.
What is GPF?
GPF is a provident fund account where only central government employees are entitled to be a member and those specific government employees are allowed to contribute a part of their salary and are entitled to the lump sum fund at the time of retirement.
Applicability of candidates:
The GPF rules are applicable to the government employees who’ve been appointed on or before December 31, 2003. At the time of opening their account, the employees can also nominate someone.
Eligibility: Temporary government employees after continuous service of 1 year and permanent government servants are compulsorily allowed to subscribe to GPF.
Subscription amount: The amount that the subscriber fixes which is subject to a minimum of 6% of salary and not more than his total salary.
RBL Bank partners with CreditVidya to leverage customer experience
RBL Bank has partnered with CreditVidya to enhance the lender’s customer experience (by offering them relevant credit products) and construct customised offerings for over 15 lakh customers.
i. RBL bank had first partnered with CreditVidya in 2018 for instant and automated verification of employment details of salaried card applicants.
ii. RBL Bank will leverage CreditVidya’s big data underwriting platform across its credit card and mobile banking apps.
iii. CreditVidya helps lenders, wallets assess risk of customers, leverages alternative data, artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning for credit scoring for the facilitation of institutional credit for the underserved.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Indian Government clears procurement of 464 Russian tanks under the T-90 Project
The Cabinet Committee of Security has cleared the procurement of 464 Russian tanks from Russia under T-90 project in a deal worth over Rs 13,500 crore.
Details of the procurement deal:
i. The tanks would be given to the Armoured Corps of the force which will be furthered used by them for deployment along the India-Pakistan border.
ii. The new deal would increase the number of T-90s in the Army to 2,000 along with the remaining T-72 and T-55s.
iii. The acquisition also includes a Make-in-India element for integration at the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi (near Chennai).
iv. The T-90 tanks are built with thermal imaging night sights which will be advantageous to the tank commander during night battles.
v. T-90 would be replacing the older variants of T-72 and T-55 tanks in the force.
vi.The Indian Army also operates two regiments of the Arjun Mark 1 tanks. These tanks are majorly used in the desert terrain due to their weight. Under the Futuristic Main Battle Tank project, the Indian Army would develop new tanks.
RailWire Wi-Fi is live at 1600 railway stations in India
Railtel, neutral telecom infrastructure providers in India, turned 1600 railway stations in India into RailWire WiFi zone. Santacruz railway station in Mumbai is the 1600th station to become a RailWire Wi-Fi zone.
i. RailTel Corporation, a Mini Ratna (category-I) PSU, is owning a pan-India optic fibre network on exclusive Right of Way (ROW) along Railway track.
ii. RailWire is a retail Broadband initiative of the RailTel.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Dost Education, India’s education technology startup conferred with “Next Billion Edtech Prize 2019”
On 9th April 2019, ‘Dost Education’, which is India’s education technology startup won a $25,000 (Rs 17 lakhs) tech prize for its ability to empower parents to take charge of their child’s early education.
i. The prize ‘The Next Billion Edtech Prize 2019’ is run by UK-based Varkey Foundation.
ii. This foundation recognizes the most innovative technology which creates a radical impact on education in low income and emerging world countries.
iii. The other winners for this prize were Ubongo from Tanzania and PraxiLabs from Egypt.
iv. From the three winners, Ubongo crowned as the overall winner and take home the Next Billion Prize trophy. The third winner of this award, PraxiLabs provides virtual laboratories for schools and learning organizations.
♦ Capital: Dodoma
♦ Currency: Tanzanian shilling
♦ Prime minister: Kassim Majaliwa
♦ President: John Magufuli
♦ Capital: Cairo
♦ Currency: Egyptian pound
♦ President: Abdel Fattah el-Sisi
Rio Paralympics silver medalist Deepa Malik honoured with New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019
On 11th April 2019, the 48-year-old, Rio Paralympics silver medalist Deepa Malik has been honoured with the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her “inspiring achievements”.
i. She won the silver medal in shot put F53 event in Rio Paralympics in 2016.
ii. She became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games and the first Indian women to win medals in three consecutive Asian Para Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018.
iii. She also honoured with India’s civilian honour Padma Shri and the prestigious Arjuna Award for excellence in sports and made a place in the Limca Book of World Records for four times.
iv. This fellowship was given by the Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern to strengthen the ties between India and New Zealand.
About New Zealand
♦ Capital: Wellington
♦ Prime minister: Jacinda Ardern
♦ Currency: New Zealand dollar
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Shiv Das Meena named as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC)
On 9th April 2019, Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs (MoHUA), Shiv Das Meena has been appointed as the Chairman cum Managing Director (CMD) of National Buildings Construction Corporation (NBCC).
i. Shiv Das Meena, an Indian Administrative Service officer of Tamil Nadu cadre of 1989-Batch, will succeed Dr. Anoop Kumar Mittal.
ii. He takes charge as the 17th CMD of NBCC.
Murali Kartik, the new brand ambassador of Fantasy 11
Fantasy 11,Gaming startup, has roped in Murali Kartik, former Indian Cricketer as its brand Ambassador.He was the’ official Fan Management Partner’ for recently concluded Premier Badminton League (PBL).
i. He will provide his expert opinions about cricket and will serve in marketing campaigns.
ii. Murali Kartik represented India in the duration 2000 to 2007.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Google unveils new Cloud Platform, Anthos
Google has launched a new open platform named ‘Anthos’ to run and manage apps from anywhere. It lets users run applications on the public cloud or on existing on-premise hardware investments.
i. It helps the users to manage workloads running on third-party clouds like Microsoft Azure and Amazon AWS.
ii. Google also announced “Anthos Migrate” in beta, which auto-migrates virtual machines from on-premises, or other clouds directly into Kunernetes Engine with minimal effect.
iii. VMware,Dell EMC,HPE,Intel and Lenovo have committed to deliver Anthos.
About Google Inc:
♦ Founded : 1998, California
♦ Founders: Larry page, Sergey Brin
♦ Headquarters : California
♦ CEO : Sundar Pichai
“chain-melted state” which can be solid and liquid at the same time has discovered
On 10th April 2019, a new state of matter which can be solid and liquid at the same time has been discovered by scientists of the University of Edinburgh.
i. The study was led by Dr. Andreas Hermann of the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy and was published in the journal named ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.’
ii. This distinct state of matter named as the “chain-melted state”.
iii. In this study, scientists found that more than half a dozen other elements, including sodium and bismuth, were able to reach the ‘the chain-melted state’ if they were put into the right environments. Also, Potassium is one of the simplest metals which can form very complicated structures under extremely high pressures and temperatures.
iv. The study was carried out in collaboration with scientists from Xi’an Jiantong University in China and was supported by the European Research Council and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.
The death toll from destructive Cyclone Idai rises above 1,000
The death toll from the cyclone idai that crashed southeast Africa last month has risen above 1000, while more than 4000 cholera cases and seven deaths from the illness reported.The Cyclone hit Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi on March 14.
i. On 10 April 2019, The number of death updated to 344 in Zimbabwe,602 in Mozambique, 59 in Malawi and 257 people were listed as missing.
ii. The United Nations has defined Cyclone Idai as “one of the deadliest storms on record in the southern hemisphere”.
iii. It is the second-deadliest tropical cyclone recorded in the South-West Indian Ocean basin, after 1892 Mauritius cyclone.
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AITA inks pact with Serbian Tennis Federation to train Junior players
On 10th April, 2019, All India Tennis Association (AITA) has collaborated with Serbian Tennis Federation (STF) to train Indian junior players under world renowned Serbian coaches, at the RK Khanna Stadium, New Delhi.
i. This pact will aim to cooperate within the sphere of competence to work towards the development of junior tennis players in India.
ii. Serbia’s trainers and coaches will come to India for a camp for the under 12, 14, 16 and 18 categories. Then in the latter half of the year, preparation camp will also be conducted in Serbia for 8-10 players in the age group of 15-18 and 3-4 trainers.
♦ Capital: Belgrade
♦ Currency: Serbian Dinar
♦ PM: Ana Brnabic
‘Uri: The Surgical Strike’ Actor Navtej Hundal Dies at The Age of 55
On 8th April 2019, Indian Actor Navtej Hundal passed away after suffering from chronic Hepatitis B disease. He was 55. The news was shared on Cine And TV Artist Association’s (CINTAA) official Twitter handle. He hailed from Mumbai, Maharashtra.
i. Navtej had acted in Bollywood films like Khalnayak (1993), Tere Mere Sapne (1996) and The Whispers (2009) and did TV show Bharat Ek Khoj.
Veteran Communist Leader Drupad Borgohain passed away aged 78
On 10th April 2019, Veteran communist leader and former parliamentarian Drupad Borgohain passed away at the age of 78 at a private hospital in Dibrugarh, Assam after fighting a prolonged battle with cancer.
i.He was born on 7th November 1941 in Sivasagar, Assam.
ii.He was a Rajya Sabha member between 1998 and 2004 and served as a legislator from Nazira constituency from 2006-2011 in the Assam assembly.
iii.Also, he served as the secretary of the Assam state council of the Communist Party of India (CPI) and elected as the president of Assam state council of All India Kisan Sabha.
♦ Capital: Dispur
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ National Park: Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Orang National Park, Dibru-Saikhowa National Park
“National Safe Motherhood Day” observed on 11th April in Delhi with theme ‘Midwives for Mothers’
Every year 11th April is observed as National Safe Motherhood Day (NSMD). On April 11, 2019, the Indian Government along with The White Ribbon Alliance (WRAI) (UNICEF is an active member of WRAI) conducted a national stakeholders’ meeting, in Delhi, to discuss on the pressing issues relating to women’s health.
In 2003, the Government of India had declared 11th April as National Safe Motherhood Day which is the birth anniversary day of Kasturba Gandhi. She was wife of Mohan Das Karam Chand Gandhi, the father of the nation.
i.The theme of 2019 NSMD was “Midwives for Mothers”.
ii.On issues relating to safe motherhood, UNICEF in an event partnered with the World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Health Fitness Trust and organised an ‘Awareness Run’ in Delhi, for school children.
iii. India is the first country in the world to have official National Safe Motherhood Day.
The M3 version of EVMs to be used in Nizamabad Lok Sabha and Likely To Enter Guinness Book with Record EVMs
On 11th April 2019, The Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana may enter in the Guinness World Records for the maximum number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs) of M3 version used in the polling booth.
i. Total of 12 EVMs in each polling station was linked to one control unit in each of the 1,778 polling centers.
ii. It became the first constituency in the country to witness polling with EVMs for a large number of candidates (185 candidates).
iii.This new version of EVMs was developed by the Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).
iv. The Nizamabad constituency has a little over 15.53 lakh voters including 3.73 lakh farmers.
v. This new M3 version EVMs, came after 2013, with a maximum capacity of 384 candidates including NOTA, have additional features like Tamper Detection and Self Diagnostics.
♦ Capital: Hyderabad
♦ Chief Minister: Chandrashekar Rao
♦ National Park: Mrugavani National Park, Mahavir Harina Vanasthali National Park
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