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First edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference of 2019 started in New Delhi
On 23rd April 2019, the first edition of Naval Commanders’ Conference held in New Delhi and will continue till 25th April 2019. The Hon’ble Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman addressed Naval Commanders Conference on the opening day.
i. It is the apex forum within the Service for interaction between the Naval Commanders, Chief of the Naval Staff, with the Commanders-in-Chief. They will review operational, material, logistics, HR, training and administrative activities which were undertaken during the previous six months.
ii. The themes of ‘Functional Reorganization of Indian Navy towards enhancing Operational Efficiency’ and ‘Optimal Manning’ were the core of discussions in this conference.
iii. The conversations were planned on the adaptation of new capabilities, controlling technologies like ‘Big Data Analytics’ and ‘Artificial Intelligence’ for solutions in the domains of naval combat.
iv. The forum is a platform for the naval leadership to discuss the various challenges in the maritime domain and the strategies for responding to the evolving geo-strategic environment.
The Centre has revamped its high-level ‘anti-hijack panel’ by including top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, especially National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval
The Centre has revamped its high-level ‘anti-hijack panel’ to include top officials in the Prime Minister’s Office, especially National Security Advisor, Ajit Doval who will be able to coordinate any immediate military response.
i. The new panel is called the Committee of Secretaries on Aircraft Hijack (COSAH).It will have 15 top officials including pre-identified nominated members who can represent regular members during their absence.
ii. Members: The Committee will have a main secretary to the prime minister, additional principal secretary, heads of R&AW (Research and Analysis Wing) and the Intelligence Bureau as its members.
iii. Head: According to the recent order of April 11, the panel will continue to be headed by Cabinet Secretary in spite of the presence of senior officials.
iv. The fresh order also states that a control room will be set up within the Cabinet Secretariat in Rashtrapati Bhavan.
Anti-Hijacking law in India:
India had amended the 1982 Anti-Hijacking Act in 2016 to classify a credible “threat” to hijack an aircraft as equivalent to hijacking. he 2 hijacking cases: a)The hijacking of Indian Airlines flight IC-814 in 1999 and, b) the 9/11 attacks in the United States, in which aircraft was used as missiles were reasons for India to tighten the 1982 anti-hijacking law.
Visual aids for disabled CBSE students from 2020
On 18th April 2019, The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) students will be allowed to use magnifying glasses and portable video magnifiers during the Class X final examination from 2020.
i. Also, Alternative-type questions will be provided in lieu of questions having visual inputs for visually impaired candidates in social science subject.
ii. The board has directed all its affiliated schools to ensure that premises are disabled friendly by 2020 with all the educational institutions, including hostels, libraries, and laboratories to have barrier-free access. Also, the schools cannot deny admission to children with special needs in mainstream education.
iii. CBSE is a national level board of education in India for public and private schools, and is controlled by Union Government and it follows only NCERT curriculum.
BANKING & FINANCE
The Authorised capital of Allahabad Bank raised to Rs. 8000 crore by the government
The central government has increased the authorized capital of state-owned Allahabad Bank from Rs. 3,000 crore to Rs. 8,000 crore after consultation with the Reserve Bank of India.
i. This move by the central government has enabled Allahabad bank to raise further fund up to a maximum ceiling of Rs. 8,000 crore.
About Allahabad Bank
♦ Founded – 24 April, 1865
♦ Headquarter – Kolkata
♦ Tag Line – A tradition of Trust
Deposits in Jan Dhan accounts are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore mark
On 21st April 2019, the total deposits in Jan Dhan Account are set to cross Rs 1 lakh crore soon. The scheme was launched on 28th August 2014 by the Modi-government with an aim to provide universal access to banking facilities to all households.
i. On 3rd April, the total balance in the Jan Dhan accounts was at Rs 97,665.66 cr and the total number of Jan Dhan accounts crossed 35.39 crores. Also, more than 27.89 crores account holders have been issued the Rupay debit cards.
ii. Recently, the government increased the accident insurance cover to Rs 2 lakh from Rs 1 lakh for new accounts opened after 28th August 2018 and the overdraft limit was also doubled to Rs 10,000.
iii. Through this account, all government benefits are given to the beneficiary accounts and also it pushes the Direct Benefit Transfer (DBT) scheme of the Central government.
BofAML in report notifies that RBI has Rs.3 lakh crore (43$ million) in excess reserves
According to the report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch (BofAML), the excess reserves that RBI holds could be up to Rs.3 lakh crore ($43 billion) or 1.5% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product). This also includes the excess capital in contingency reserves and revaluation reserves.
i. The Bimal Jalan committee on the appropriate capital reserves for RBI was likely to identify this excess buffer. The committee was set up in December-end with a 6-member panel headed by former RBI governor Jalan.
ii. Indranil Sen Gupta, chief India economist at BofAML notified that RBI maintains higher contingency reserves as a percentage of its total book compared to its peers in Brazil, Russia and South Africa, thus a lower cap will bring in more funds.
iii. The BofAML report stated that capping overall reserves at 20% from 25.5% will release Rs. 1.96 lakh crore.
iv. As of September 2018, the excess capital with RBI was Rs.9.6 lakh crore. If the cap is halved to 3.25% from present 6.5%, it will release Rs. 1.282( around Rs. 1.3 lakh crore) lakh crore.
v. Along with revaluation gains ranging from Rs. 300 crore to Rs. 1.8 lakh crore, RBI would be able to transfer the excess reserves to the government which can be used to recapitalize the country’s struggling state-run banks.
vi. RBI books revaluation gains on the foreign currency assets and gold holdings are just above $400 billion. Moreover.
BEML joined hands with Syndicate Bank for financing Earth Moving and Construction Equipment
On 22nd April 2019, Syndicate Bank and BEML Limited (Bharat Earth Movers Limited) have signed an agreement for financing Earth Moving and Construction Equipment which is manufactured by BEML. Also, it will facilitate the availability of loans and address the growing demand for higher capacity equipment in the Mining Industry.
i. Under this agreement, the customers will be provided loans in the range of Rs 20 Lakh to Rs 300 Lakh and preferential pricing by Syndicate Bank.
ii. Also, Syndicate Bank and BEML expect to book business worth Rs.100 crore by March 2020.
iii. The agreement was signed in the presence of Ajay Vipin Nanavati who is the Chairman of Syndicate Bank, Mrutyunjay Mahapatra, MD & CEO of Syndicate Bank and Deepak Kumar Hota who is the CMD of BEML Limited.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Stanford study revealed that Global warming shrank Indian Economy by 31 percent
As per the Stanford study, changes in the earth’s temperature have increased inequalities which resulted in the shrinking of the Indian economy by 31 percent due to global warming. The study published in the journal titled ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’.
i. The study revealed that since the 1960s the concentrations of greenhouse gases have increased earth’s atmosphere which has benefited cooler countries like Norway and Sweden but harmed the economic growth of warmer countries like India and Nigeria.
ii. The study also shows that from 1961 to 2010, global warming has decreased the wealth per person of the world’s poorest countries by 17-30 percent.
FIEO joins hands with Welingkar Institute of Management to support startups in exports
Exporters’ body, the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) has inked an agreement with Mumbai-based Prin. L N Welingkar Institute of Management Development and Research in order to support startups engaged in the export sector.
i. Under the memorandum of understanding (MoU), FIEO has launched a postgraduate programme in foreign trade management (PGP-FTM) at Mumbai.
ii. The aim of this industry-academia partnership is to attract new entrepreneurs in exports to bridge the gap of availability of qualified skilled manpower in Exim trade.
iii. The programme would consist of general management principles, export-import procedures, and international marketing concepts and the duration of the programme will be 11 months.
iv. The programme will be offered in 2 batches. Graduates from a recognized university who qualify the requirements can apply for direct admission to the course and the first batch will begin from August of 2019.
India Post collaborates with TCS to digitalize 1.5 lakh post offices & creating world’s largest EPostal network by deploying largest SAP implementation
India Post has collaborated with India’s leading tech giant, Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) for the digitizing of 1.5 lakh post offices in India, thus creating World’s Biggest EPostal Network and the largest SAP implementations worldwide.
Both the companies had struck a deal of over Rs. 1,100 crore in 2013 for an end-to-end IT modernization program.
i. The prime objective of the deal was to digitize the Indian post offices with the modern technologies and systems for providing efficient services to the consumers, thus driving financial inclusion by providing advantage for accessibility to citizens in remote areas.
ii. The Core System Integration (CSI) program that’s been designed and deployed by TCS supports more than 5 lakh employees and 40,000 users. Furthermore, it processes 3 million postal transactions per day.
iii. TCS has also built a web-based consignment tracking system, set-up multi-lingual call centre and implemented Point of Sale (PoS) solution with over 80,000 terminals in 24,000 post offices.
iv. For accomplishing this objective, TCS has over 1.3 lakh DARPAN 1 for remote villages. DARPAN 1 is a hand-held device that the Gramin Dak Sevaks can use to give postal services, insurance, and cash management services in remote villages, even without any Internet or network connectivity.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Swacchta Pakhwada Awards 2019 awarded to All India Radio, Publication Division & Children’s Film Society of India
Three organizations All India Radio, Publication Division and Children’s Film Society of India conferred Swacchta Pakhwada Award 2019. The award was given by Amit Khare, Secretary Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
i. The award was received by Director General of All India Radio F. Sheheryar and Director General (News) Ms. Ira Joshi on behalf of All India Radio.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Michelin-star chef Vikas Khanna has been named brand ambassador of Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC)
Vikas Khanna, Michelin-star chef has been named brand ambassador of Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC), a leading cultural organisation which will organise the annual New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF) that would showcase the chef’s film ‘The Last Color‘ and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer ‘Photograph’.
i. The New York Indian Film Festival is North America’s longest-running and most prestigious Indian film festival that would be organised from May 7 to 12, 2019. This would be the 19th edition of the fest.
ii. The festival will showcase 30 feature-length films, including 3 documentaries, 30 shorts and 19 regional films.
Uday Kumar Varma resigns from Assocham Secretary General post
Uday Kumar Varma, a former bureaucrat retired from the post of Secretary, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, resigned from the post of The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Assocham) Secretary-General. Currently, Assocham’s Deputy Secretary-General Saurabh Sanyal is discharging the duties of secretary general.
Last year U K Varma took over Assocham’s General Secretary. He had succeeded D S Rawat.
♦ Founded: 1921
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ President: Balkrishan Goenka
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ICMR has released guidelines for Candida auris, multi-drug resistant yeast, which causes fatal invasive infections
Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) has issued guidelines for Candida auris, multi-drug resistant yeast that causes fatal invasive infections. Since 2009, the infection has been reported worldwide.
What is Candida auris infection?
Candida auris(C. auris) is an uncommon fungus that can cause serious bloodstream, wound and ear infections. It can be more difficult to treat than other candida infections, as they are often resistant to antifungal medicines.
i. Candida auris is contagious and patients carry the fungus somewhere on their body without it causing any symptoms or an infection. This is known as colonisation.
ii. C. auris forms non-dispersible cell aggregates and stays for a longer time in the environment in addition to its thermotolerant (heat tolerant) and salt tolerant properties.
ICMR guidelines for candida auris infection
- There is no method for entire curability due to variation of vulnerability from patient to patient.
- Fluconazole should be avoided.
- Patients should be tested for antifungal susceptibility.
- Echinocandins is the first-line therapy for C. auris infection.
- Flucytosine (MIC50, 0.125–1 µg/ml) has shown good activity for urinary tract infection, but the drug is advised not to be used alone.
- Posaconazole (range, 0.06–1 µg/ml) shows excellent in vitro activity against C. auris, but till date no data is available for use on patients.
How can a patient contract C. auris?
- If the patient is from ICU or transferred from another hospital after a long stay.
- Multiple interventions & prior antifungal exposure in any patient.
- If in a commercial system the presence of these viruses are there -Candida haemulonii, C. famata,C. guilliermondii, C. lusitaniae, C. parapsilosis, Rhodotorulaglutinis, Candida sake, Saccharomyces and if the Candida appears to be resistant to fluconazole and high MIC to voriconazole.
- Patients should be kept in isolated rooms or with other patients with the same infection.
- WHO (World Health Organization) for hand-hygiene recommended using all 6 steps that should be followed strictly by all staff and patient attendants before and after contact.
NASA revealed that Mercury has a massive solid inner core
NASA (The National Aeronautics and Space Administration) has revealed that Mercury, the smallest planet in the solar system has a massive solid inner core.
The final trip around Mercury before crash-landing in 2015 was made by NASA’s ‘MESSENGER’. The spacecraft orbited Mercury for around 2011 to 2015 and it was its second mission to Mercury.
i. According to NASA’s information, both Mercury and the Earth have metallic cores and like Earth, Mercury’s outer core is of liquid metal. But there are indications that Mercury’s innermost core which is nearly 85% of Mercury’s volume is solid and it is nearly of the same size as Earth’s inner core.
ii. The new mission is on its way to Mercury. It is termed ‘BepiColombo‘ and is a joint mission by the European Space Agency (ESA) and the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) to explore Mercury from 2 unique vantage points.
iii. BepiColombo is Europe’s 1st mission to Mercury. It was set off in 2018 and on arriving at Mercury in 2025, it will experience temperatures more than 350°C.
iv. The mission comprises two spacecrafts: the Mercury Planetary Orbiter (MPO) and the Mercury Magnetospheric Orbiter (MMO).
i. Mercury is the closest planet to the Sun and is also the smallest planet in the solar system.
ii. It takes Mercury 59 Earth days for rotation and 88 Earth days for revolution.
iii. MESSENGER (March 18, 2011) was the second mission after Mariner 10’s 1975 flyby to reach Mercury.
‘Money Loji’ launches App that offers loans for salaried professionals
On 23rd April 2019, a modern money lending platform named Money Loji has launched an application which offers loan to salaried professionals within 5 minutes with flexible repayment options starting from 7 days to a maximum of 90 days.
i. It follows a three-step process which is – application, approval, and disbursement and the app requires the users to upload an identity proof, an address proof, last 3 months bank statement alongside the salary slips.
ii. The eligibility criteria to avail this benefit is a minimum in-hand salary of Rs 20,000 per month and a minimum age of 23 years.
iii. It not only ensures security but also reduces the chances of data misuse, backed by world-class security protocols to encrypt all the data.
iv. Also, it has a flexible repayment process where customer can pay in one EMI if the tenure of the loan is below 30 days, and can get an option to pay in three easy EMIs if the loan tenure is above 30 days and up to 90 days.
Rating agency ICRA Projects 7-7.5 GW Solar Power Capacity Addition In 2019-20
On 23rd April 2019, rating agency ICRA (Investment Information & Credit Rating Agency) has estimated 7-7.5 GW solar power capacity addition in 2019-20, which includes 1 GW of rooftop solar based on tendering and awards of projects in the last 12-15 months.
i. By contrast, solar capacity addition is estimated to have remained subdued at around 6 GW to 6.5 GW 2018-19 due to weak trend inaward of solar projects in the year 2017.
ii. Tendered project awards for solar PV (photovoltaic) projects during 2018 stood at about 11 GW against 4.5 GW in 2017, and nearly 56 percent of the capacity auctioned in 2018 has been accounted by central agencies, such as Solar Energy Corporation of India and NTPC Ltd.
About ICRA Limited
♦ Headquarters: Gurugram
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National Fire Service Week observed on 14th to 20th April
The Fire Service Week is observed nation-wide from 14th April to 20th April. Since 1968, 14th April is observed every year as the National Fire Service Day in remembrance of the lives lost in the devastating fire that erupted and the explosions that followed on 14th April 1944 at freighter SS Fort Stikine at the Victoria Dock in Bombay Port. This year the National Fire Service Week was observed with a theme “Fire Prevention is better than Fire Fighting”.
i. In that incident, as many as 66 firefighters lost their lives.
ii. The day is observed under the aegis of the Fire Adviser, Ministry of Home Affairs, Govt. of India.
iii. The Tata Steel celebrated the National Fire Service Week across all locations in India. The opportunity would be used to create fire safety awareness among the employees, contractor & community to prevent and manage fire and fire-related emergencies.
April 22 observed as an International Mother Earth Day
On April 22, 2009, United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has passed a resolution declaring April 22 as ‘International Mother Earth Day’. This resolution was introduced by The Plurinational State of Bolivia and supported by more than 50 member states. This year marked the 10th anniversary of International Mother Earth Day. So, to commemorate the anniversary 9th Interactive Dialogue of the General Assembly on Harmony with Nature was held in the Trusteeship Council Chamber, United Nations headquarters in New York.
i. The resolution recognizes that the Earth and its ecosystem are our home and promoting harmony between nature and Earth should be our prime concern.
ii. International Mother Earth Day also recognizes the collective responsibility of the people which is also called for in the Rio Declaration in 1992.
♦ Headquarter: New York, United States
♦ President: Maria Fernanda Espinosa
April 23 observed as a World Book and Copyright Day
World Book and Copyright Day, also known as World Book Day, is celebrated every year on April 23. This annual event is organized by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) and the aim is to promote reading, publishing, and copyright.
i. On April 23, 1616, prominent writers Cervantes, Shakespeare and Inca Garcilaso de la Vega all died. Then in 1995, UNESCO’s General Conference was held in Paris where April 23 was regarded as the World Book and Copyright Day to pay a world-wide tribute to books and authors.
ii. Each year UNESCO and other international organisations select World Book Capital for a period of one year. This year Sharjah, UAE has been selected as a World Book Capital for 2019.
iii. This year World Book and Copyright Day event focuses on six broad themes: inclusivity, reading, heritage, outreach, publishing and children with a slogan “Read – you are in Sharjah”.
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency: United Arab Emirates Dirham
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