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BANKING & FINANCE
5G Lab for banking, financial sector launched by the Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT)
On 12th April 2019, a 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector along with blockchain technology has been launched by The Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT), which is an arm of Reserve Bank of India.
i. Shri Amit Yadav, who is the Joint Secretary in Department of Telecommunications, launched the 5G Use Cases Lab, and the White Paper on 5G Applications was released by Ms. Anjana Dube, who is the Deputy Director General in Department of Financial Services.
ii. It will change the technologies and applications, including point of sale (PoS) machines in the banking sector, which right now is 2G-enabled.
iii. 5G can play an important role in financial inclusion, it will enable integration and leveraging of various new technologies like cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, big data, etc.
IDBI Bank launches NRI-Insta Online, A paperless account opening facility for NRIs
IDBI Bank has launched ‘NRI-Insta Online’ account opening process for NRIs residing in Financial Action Task Force (FATF)member countries to open an account in the Bank without visiting the branch or submitting paper documents such as physical documents as well as KYC proofs. This online facility is available in IDBI Bank’s website.
About Financial Action Task Force (FATF):
i. FATF is an inter-governmental body founded in 1989, which devices policy and sets standards to promote successful implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other similarthreats to the integrity of the international financial system.
ii. The body accommodates 38 member countries, including India, China,US, UK, Japan and France, among others.
About IDBI Bank:
♦ Full Name : Industrial Development Bank of India
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 1 July 1964
♦ Parent organization: Life Insurance Corporation
ADB agreed to grant highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India
On 16th April 2019, Asian Development Bank (ADB) agreed to provide a total of USD 3.88 billion in sovereign loans to India in 2018, which is the highest ever loan amount since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.
i. With this total USD 21.6 billion in loans, granted from ADB’s own resources, which exceeded the target of USD 19.71 billion and up 10 percent from 2017.
ii. ADB committed several projects like a USD 100-million loan to Ostro Kutch Wind, which is a renewable energy company for constructing and operating a 250-megawatt wind power project in Gujarat, also provided USD 30 million in equity and USD 20 million in debt security to Annapurna Finance, a microfinance company.
iii. In 2018, ADB signed an arrangement with the International Solar Alliance for promoting solar energy deployment across Asia, the Pacific, and South Asia.
iv. ADB continued to deliver climate financing to USD 3.6 billion in 2018 and has a target to double its annual climate financing to USD 6 billion in approvals by 2020.
About Asian Development Bank (ADB)
♦ Headquarters: Manila, Philippines
♦ Membership: 68 countries
♦ President: Takehiko Nakao
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations: UNSG report
United Nation Secretary General (UNSG) Antonio Guterres voiced concern that the UN owes India USD 38 million, the highest amount which has to be paid by any country for peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.
i. Till now, the total amount which has to be paid to troops and police-contributing countries (TCCs/PCCs) with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million. Out of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million).
ii. This dues to troops and police-contributing countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 in the worst case scenario.
iii. At the end of 2010, UN had a positive cash balance of USD 412 million but in 2018 it finished with a negative cash balance of USD 323 million – a decline of USD 735 million in last 8 years.
iv. 73 member states had paid their full contributions by the end of the first quarter in 2017 and 2018, as compared to 62 members in 2016 and 67 in 2015. In 2019, 74 member states have paid their full contributions.
v. Some member states neither pay full nor on time. At the end of 2018, the due was USD 529 million which was equivalent to more than 21 percent of that year’s assessment and nearly 150 percent of the liquidity reserves.
vi.The United States has an obligation for 22 percent of the USD 5.4 billion budget for 2018 and 2019 and more than 28 percent of the USD 6.7 billion peacekeeping budget for the year to June 30.
vii. By the end of 2017/18 peacekeeping fiscal year, outstanding contributions to peacekeeping operation amounted to almost USD 2 billion which is well above the USD 1.3 billion unpaid as on June 30, 2017.
viii. The UN Chief ask the General Assembly to increase the Working Capital Fund to USD 350 million effective July 1, 2019, and to create a Peacekeeping Working Capital Fund of USD 250 million and authorize its use to address the liquidity challenges of active peacekeeping operations. This will help in improving the financial health of the world body and deal with the timely payment of dues to troop and police contributing countries.
♦ Headquarter : New York City, United States
♦ Secretary General : Antonio Guterres
India turns to net steel importer in Fiscal year 2018-2019
India has became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 that ended on 31 March for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US diverted supplementary supplies to India.
i. India’s steel imports increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier.
ii. Exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.
Google opens its 1st African Lab in Ghana
Google has launched its first African artificial Intelligence (AI) laboratory in Accra, capital city of Ghana, to tackle Africa’s challenges. The lab will collaborate with researchers in Ghana and across Africa to create the need impact in the country.
i. The technology would address economic, political and environmental issues.
ii. The new laboratory will use Artificial Intelligence technique to develop solutions in healthcare, education and agriculture.
♦ Capital: Accra
♦ Currency: Ghanaian cedi
♦ President: Nana Akufo-Addo
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
2019 Pulitzer Prize Announced
The Pulitzer Prize is an award for achievements in newspaper, magazine and online journalism, literature, and musical composition in the United States. It was established in 1917 by provisions in the will of American (Hungarian-born) Joseph Pulitzer who had made his fortune as a newspaper publisher and is administered by Columbia University in New York City.
Following is the complete list of 2019 Pulitzer Prize winners:
|Public service||Staff of the South Florida Sun Sentinel|
|Criticism||Carlos Lozada of The Washington Post|
|Editorial writing||Brent Staples of the New York Times|
|Breaking News Reporting||Staff of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette|
|Investigative Reporting||Matt Hamilton, Harriet Ryan and Paul Pringle of the Los Angeles Times|
|Explanatory Reporting||David Barstow, Susanne Craig and Russ Buettner of The New York Times|
|Local Reporting||Staff of The Advocate, Baton Rouge, La.|
|National Reporting||Staff of The Wall Street Journal|
|International Reporting||Maggie Michael, Maad al-Zikry and Nariman El-Mofty of Associated Press
Staff of Reuters, with notable contributions from Wa Lone and Kyaw Soe Oo
|Feature Writing||Hannah Dreier of ProPublica|
|Commentary||Tony Messenger of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch|
|Editorial Cartooning||Darrin Bell, freelancer|
|Breaking News Photography||Photography Staff of Reuters|
|Feature Photography||Lorenzo Tugnoli of The Washington Post|
BOOKS, DRAMA, AND MUSIC
|Fiction||“The Overstory” by Richard Powers|
|Drama||“Fairview” by Jackie Sibblies Drury|
|History||“Frederick Douglass” by David W. Blight|
|Biography or autobiography||“The New Negro” by Jeffrey C. Stewart|
|Poetry||“Be With” by Forrest Gander|
|General nonfiction||“Amity and Prosperity” by Eliza Griswold|
|Music||“p r i s m” by Ellen Reid|
|Special Citation||Aretha Franklin|
Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award
On 12th April 2019, Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB) has been honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’.
i. The award recognizes LAP (Loans against Property) D.Lite, which is a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.
ii. The Award was announced at the Innovation & Insight Day organized by Celent in New York.
iii. LAP D.Lite is one of the 22 initiatives from all over the world to receive this award, which featured 140 nominations from 80 institutions from 30 countries.
iv. The other banks to receive the award in other categories were Bank of America, CIBC, Fidor Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, and Santander.
v. The award is for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking. Celent is a research, advisory and consulting firm and is a part of the Oliver Wyman Group, a wholly owned subsidiary of Marsh & McLennan Companies.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
PwC India names Padmaja Alaganandan as chief people officer, Jagjit Singh steps down
PwC (PricewaterhouseCoopers) India announced the appointment of Padmaja Alaganandan as the firm’s new Chief People Officer (CPO). She takes over the role from Jagjit Singh.
i. Padmaja has been associated with PwC for the last eight years. Earlier, she was the Technology sector lead for PwC’s Advisory Line of Service. Before that, she was the leader of the firm’s People and Organisation Consulting practice.
ii. Before joining PwC in 2011, Padmaja had worked in leadership roles in different organisations such as Mercer Consulting and AF Ferguson. She has also been a member of CII’s National HR Committee and the Committee on Skill Development.
Mithali Raj named as Goodwill Ambassador of Street Child Cricket World Cup 2019
Ace cricketer Mithali Dorai Raj, Captain of the Indian women’s cricket team, has been named as the goodwill ambassador of the Indian team for the Street Child Cricket World Cup (SCCWC) 2019 .Mithali joins IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals and former captain SouravGanguly in supporting the team.
i. This is the first cricket world cup for street-connected children and final will be played at Lord’s in London on May 7.
ii. The tournament is being organised by Street Child United (SCU), a UK based organization.
iii. In the tournament, there are 10 gender equal national teams.i.e., boys and girls will play together.
Mahendra Singh Dhoni named as the brand ambassador of redBus
On 15th April 2019, cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been appointed as the brand ambassador of Bus ticketing platform redBus to strengthen the redBus brand.
i. At present, Dhoni is the brand ambassador of sports firm Dream11, Colgate, MasterCard, Orient Fans, BharatMatrimony, Indigo Paints, SRMB Steel, and health supplement brand Revital H.
ii. RedBus started its operation in 2006, works with over 2500 bus operator and have sold more than 180 million bus tickets till date. It also a part of the MakeMyTrip group.
♦ Founded: August 2006
♦ CEO: Prakash Sangam
♦ Headquarters: Bengaluru
Rajesh Yaduvanshi is appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank
Punjab National Bank (PNB) has appointed Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi as the Executive Director of the bank.
i. Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi had joined PNB as a management trainee in 1985.
ii. Currently, he is equipped with an experience of 34 years in the banking career and is a certified associate member of lndian lnstitute of Bankers. In the past, he had worked with Dena Bank in capacity of the Executive Director.
iii. Yaduvanshi holds a doctorate in science from lndian Agricultural Research Institute, (IARI) New Delhi.
iv. Currently PNB now has three Executive Directors, namely, Yaduvanshi, L V Prabhakar and A K Azad.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASA’s TESS Exoplanet Mission
The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered an Earth-sized planet, HD 21749b and a “sub-Neptune” world, revolving around the star, HD 21749. The star lies 53 light-years from Earth.
i. The research study has been published on 15th April, 2019 in ‘The Astrophysical Journal Letters’.
ii. TESS was launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.
iii. One tool termed as ‘Planet Finder Spectrograph’ (PFS) on the ‘Magellan II telescope’ in Chile helped to confirm the planetary nature of the TESS signal and measure the mass of HD 21749b.
iv. HD 21749b is about 23 times heavier and 2.7 times wider than Earth. It is gaseous, has a substantial atmosphere but not as puffy as Uranus and Neptune. HD 21749b has an orbital period of 36 Earth days.
v. HD 21749b’s surface temperature is mostly around 300 degrees Fahrenheit (150 degrees Celsius).
Published in Nano Energy: Researchers at UCLA created 3D-device ‘snow-TNG’ that produces electricity from snowfall
The researchers at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), US created a 3D-printed device that that can produce electricity from falling snow. The device is small, inexpensive, thin, flexible like a plastic-sheet and can work anywhere because it provides its own power and does not need batteries.
i. The research study was published in the journal ‘Nano Energy‘ and UCLA’s Richard Kaner is the senior author of it.
ii. The device termed as snow-based triboelectric nanogenerator or snow TENG, generates charge through static electricity and produces energy from electron-exchange.
iii. The clever device can specify how much snow is falling, the direction of the snow-fall as well as the speed of the wind.
Snow-TENG can be used for monitoring winter sports as well as improving athlete’s performances.
Indian Coast Guard offshore patrol vessel ‘Veera’ commissioned by General Bipin Rawat
Indian Coast Guard vessel Veera has been commissioned by General Bipin Rawat, Chief of Army Staff in the presence of Director General of Indian Coast Guard Rajendra Singh, Chief of Eastern Naval Command Vice Admiral Karambir Singh and other senior dignitaries of the central and state government in a ceremony organised at Eastern Naval Command in Vishakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh.
i. Veera, the third in the series of the new generation Offshore Patrol Vessel (OPV) is indigenously designed and built by Larsen & Toubro Ltd. at its shipbuilding facility at Kattupali in Chennai.
ii. It is commanded by Commandant Girish Datt Raturi and managed by 12 officers and 94 men..
i. The 98 metre long, 15 metre wide patrol vessel has a 3.6 metre draft and a range of 5,000 nautical miles. The vessel is fitted with a 30mm naval gun and will be fitted with 12.7mm Gun with FCS.
ii. The vessel is equipped with advanced technology navigation and communication equipment, sensor and machinery. It is also equipped with an Integrated Bridge System (IBS), Integrated Platform Management System (IPMS), Automated Power Management System (APMS) and High Power External Fire Fighting System (HPEFS).
iii. The ship displaces approx 2200 tons (GRT) and is propelled by two 9100 KW diesel engines to attain a maximum speed of 26 knots.
iv. The ship is designed to carry one twin-engine helicopter and four high-speed boats including two inflatable boats for boarding operation, Search and Rescue, Law Enforcement and Maritime Patrol. The ship is also capable of carrying limited pollution response equipment to contain oil spill at sea.
v. The commissioning of ICGS Veera will enhance the Indian Coast Guard’s operational capability to discharge the multifarious maritime tasks. It will give a boost to the maritime protection of our vast coastline of Eastern Seaboard.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital: Amaravati
♦ Chief Minister: N. Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Important National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries – Mrugavani National Park, Coringa Wildlife Sanctuary.
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FC Goa pip Chennaiyin FC to clinch 2019 Hero Super Cup title
On 13th April 2019, FC Goa, nicknamed as ‘Gaurs’, emerged as champions of the 2nd edition of Hero Super Cup 2019 after beating Chennaiyin FC 2-1 at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar. Goa lifted their first ever Trophy.19 year old Goa Goal keeper Mohammad Nawaz has been named as Hero of the Match.
ii. In six years of existence, FC Goa accounted for two Indian Super League semi-finals and two finals and then in their first Super Cup final, they conquered their first trophy.
About Hero Super Cup:
♦ Region: India
♦ Established: 2018
♦ Organising body: All India Football Federation
♦ Number of teams: 20
ICC partners with UNICEF to deliver ‘#OneDay4Children’ at Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019
On 16th April 2019, International cricket council (ICC) cricket for good in partnership with UNICEF (United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund), launched #OneDay4Children, a tournament-wide campaign to help construct a better world for all children, at the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019.
i. England all-rounder Chris Woakes and #OneDay4Children ambassador Nasser Hussain launched the campaign.
ii. All 48 matches of the event will support #OneDay4Children activity and the funds gathered will strengthen UNICEF’s work for children in cricket playing nations across the world.
iii. The campaign will conclude at the England v India game at Edgbaston on 30 June.
About ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019:
i. The tournament will run from 30 May to 14 July. Old Trafford in Manchester and Edgbaston in Birmingham will host the semi-finals 9 and 11 July respectively, while final will be played at Lord’s in London on 14 july.
ii. England and Wales have previously hosted ICC Cricket World Cups in 1975, 1979, 1983 and 1999.
iii. Australia is the most victorious team in the history of the World Cup, having won events in 1987, 1999, 2003, 2007 and 2015. The West Indies won in 1975 and 1979, while India won in 1983 and 2011and Pakistan in 1992 and Sri Lanka in 1996.
♦ Full Name: United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund
♦ Headquarters: New York, New York, United States
♦ Head: Henrietta H. Fore
♦ Founded: 11 December 1946, New York, New York, United States
♦ Executive director: Henrietta H. Fore
♦ Founders: United Nations General Assembly, LudwikRajchman
FIFA ban former Brazilian football president Jose Maria Marin for life
Former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin has been banned for life from all football activities by FIFA as he had breached the art. 27 (Bribery) of the FIFA Code of Ethics.
i. In August 2018, Marin who led Brazil’s organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, was sentenced to four years in prison for racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud. He became the first person to be imprisoned as the result of the US investigation into corruption at world football’s governing body.
ii. During US investigation, he was found to have taken bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various tournaments which also include the Copa America.
iii. In 2017, Marin took $6.6 million in bribes. He was ordered by federal court to forfeit $3.3 million and pay $1.2 million as fine. The FIFA ethics committee also imposed a 1 million Swiss franc fine.
♦ Capital : Brasilia
♦ Currency: Brazilian Real
♦ Headquarter: Zurich, Switzerland
♦ President: Gianni Infantino
On 15th April, 2019: the 72nd Himachal Day celebrated in Himachal Pradesh
The 72nd Himachal Day was celebrated in Himachal Pradesh on the 15th of April, 2019. In order to mark the red-lettered day, Governor Acharya Devvrat unfurled the national flag at an event on The Ridge Maidaan in Shimla. He then inspected a parade led by Shakti Singh, the Parade Commander Deputy Superintendent of Police, in which contingents of state police, home guards, NCC cadets, Bharat Scouts and Guides participated.
i. Himachal Day or Himachal Pradesh Statehood Day is celebrated as a public holiday to commemorate the creation of Himachal Pradesh.
ii. After the independence from British rule in 1947, Himachal Pradesh was created as a province on 15 April 1948.
iii. Before India’s independence, Himachal Pradesh was divided into regions, namely, Chamba, Mandi, Shimla etc, after which in 1948, the state was declared as a union territory.
iv. The union territory was declared as a separate state again in 1970. On 25th January 1971, it became the 18th state of India with Dr. Yashwant Singh Parmar as its first chief minister.
♦ State: Himachal Pradesh
♦ Capital: Shimla
West Bengal celebrated Bengali New Year on 15th April
On 15th April 2019, Bengali New Year also known as Pahela Baishakh was celebrated in West Bengal and among Bengali communities in Assam, Tripura and also in Bangladesh.
i. The festival usually falls on 14 April every year which marks the first day of the initial month of Baishakh of the Bengali solar calendar.
ii. The 7th century King Shashanka of ancient Bengal started this Bengali era which was estimated to be in 594 AD in Gregorian calendar and it was later modified by Mughal emperor Akbar for the purpose of tax collection.
iii. On this day, the Bengali business community opens new books of accounts known as Halkhata to mark the beginning of the new accounting year.
iv. In 2016, UNESCO declared this festival as “cultural heritage of humanity”.
About West Bengal
♦ Capital: Kolkata
♦ Chief Minister: Mamata Banerjee
♦ Governor: Keshari Nath Tripathi
MHA (the Union Ministry of Home Affairs) gives approval for renaming ‘Durjanpur’ in MP as ‘Shivdham’
The Central Government has given its approval for the proposal of the Madhya Pradesh State Government, to change the name of a village in Madhya Pradesh from ‘Durjanpur‘ to ‘Shivdham’. Durjanpur is situated in Katni District of Madhya Pradesh.
The Home Ministry’s approval came after a no objection notice from the Geographical Survey of India (GSI), the Department of Post, the Ministry of Railways and the Ministry of Earth Sciences.
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