Overview of South African President Cyril Ramaphosa’s 2 day visit to India
On 25th January 2019, for the first time, South African President Mr Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa visited India for 2 days along with his wife Tshepo Motsepe, 09 cabinet ministers, senior officials and a large business delegation.He received Guard of honour.
- Prime Minister Narendra Modi and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, India and South African sealed 3 year strategic partnership for 2019 to 2021 to boost cooperation in the various key areas including defence and investments.
- India-South Africa Business Forum was organized jointly by Indian Industry Chambers CII, FICCI (Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry) and Assocham (The Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry in India) in New Delhi.
- The President of South Africa, Mr. Cyril Ramaphosa was the Chief Guest of 70th Republic Day celebrations of India………………………Click here to Read more
Government sets up committee to explore prepaid payments by discoms to generator companies
A committee containing chairmen of distribution companies of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, representatives from Power Ministry and Power associations was set up under the Central Electricity Authority (CEA) to explore the prepaid payments by state electricity distribution companies to power plants.
i. The aim of the committee is to study the working capital cycles of power distribution companies and generation companies so as to identify the gaps which are contributing to the stress in the sector.
ii. The Committee will also suggest a mechanism for prepaid system of transactions after studying the regulations with respect to payment mechanism and transaction across power sector value chain.
iii. In order to put in place a bill discounting mechanism ahead of General Elections, a Group of Ministers (GoM) headed by Finance Mininster is also looking at the recommendation made by Cabinet Secretary P K Sinha simultaneously.
iv. P K Sinha committee had suggested that Financial institutions like REC (Rural Electrification Corporation) and PFC (Power Finance Corp) may discount receivables from discoms and make payment to generators.
CM Naidu initiated the 2nd phase of welfare pension scheme, Pasupu-Kumkuma
On 2nd February 2019, 2nd Phase of Pasupu-Kumkuma (Turmeric-Kumkum) scheme and welfare pensions was launched by Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh, Shri Chandrababu Naidu.
i. 94 Lakh DWCRA (Development of Women and Children in Rural Areas) women will be given Rs 10000 in three installments under the Pasupu-Kumkuma scheme.
ii. Under the scheme, Rs 2500 will be given on 1st February 2019, Rs 3500 will be given 8th March and Rs 4000 will be given on 5th April.
iii. 54 Lakh pensions will be given to different categories of people each month and it will cost a monthly expenditure of Rs 1100 crore. The Annual Expenditure will be around Rs 13200 crore.
iv. Pensions of senior citizens, widows, handloom workers, fisherman, toddy tappers, single women, dappu artists, cobblers and AIDS patients will increase from Rs 1500 to Rs 3000.
v. Under the Welfare Pensions scheme, Kidney patients will receive a pension of Rs 3500.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital: Amravati (de facto), Hyderabad (de jure)
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Chief Minister: N Chandrababu Naidu
Indus River Dolphin declared as Punjab’s State aquatic animal
On February 2 ,2019,Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh declared one of the rarest mammal, Indus River Dolphin, which is only found in Beas River ,as Punjab State Aquatic Animal.
Other Decisions Taken:
i. The Chief Minister constituted a committee comprised eminent members of the State Board of Wildlife, including Major AP Singh, Hardit Singh Sidhu, Col. P.S. Grewal and Jaskaran Singh and officers of Wildlife Department, to examine certain issues related to formation of separate directorate of Wildlife & Wetlands of Bir Moti Bagh wildlife Sanctuary to provide a natural habitat to various wildlife species.
ii. Declaration Kanjli Wetland and holy Kali Bein River as a wildlife conservation reserve to mark the historic celebration of 550th Parkash Purb of Sri Guru Nanak Dev.
iii. To ensure vulture conservation, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Aceclofenac has been banned in the state.
iv. Approved for the implementation of Karnataka model of jungle lodges in coordination with private organisations.
v.Punjab has Black Buck as its state animal, and Baaj, also known as northern goshawk (accipiter gentilis), as the official state bird.
♦ Capital: Chandigarh
♦ Chief minister: Amarinder Singh
♦ Governor: V.P. Singh Badnore
♦ State animal-Black Buck
Sikkim and Microsoft inked an agreement for digital learning
On January 31,2019, In order to improve the education system Microsoft signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Sikkim government .
i. The MoU was signed between the state Human Resource Department RB Subba and Managing Director of Microsoft India, Manish Prakash to boost digital literacy and new age technology knowledge in government schools.
ii. This agreement will also help Sikkim to upgrade its state curriculum from class VI to class X with IT course.
iii. In order to bring the plan in action and build student-teacher capacity in digital skills, enhance digital literacy and digital citizenship, Microsoft will adopt two schools.
♦ Capital: Gangtok
♦ Governor: Ganga Prasad
♦ Chief minister: Pawan Kumar Chamling
2019 International Spice Conference 2019 held in Hyderabad
International Spice Conference is considered as platform for all business houses, the spice associations, the policy makers, the farmers and the users, to connect and interact.
i. The fourth edition of this conference was held in the City of Pearls and the capital city of Telangana-Hyderabad.
ii. The theme for the conference 2019 is ‘Challenges of Change, Redefining the Value Chain’.
iii. Third edition of this conference was held in Jaipur with the theme ‘Managing Disruptions through Transformation and Collaboration’.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
Defence Ministry approves procurement of 73,000 assault rifles from US
On 2nd February 2019, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman approved the procurement of around 73000 Sig Sauer rifles from United States of America under fast track procurement mode.
i. USA will have to deliver the Sig Sauer rifles which is used by US forces as well as several other European forces within one year of finalization of the deal.
ii. The Procured rifles will replace INSAS rifles and the new rifles will be used by the troops deployed along the 3600 km border with China.
iii. Army needs around 7 lakh rifles, 44000 light machine guns (LMGs) and around 44600 carbines considering the evolving security threats along Pakistan’s and China’s border. The Process to acquires these weapons were started in October, 2017.
Ministry of Defence
♦ Union Minister: Nirmala Sitharaman
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Subhash Ramrao Bhamre
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani won Australian literary prize
On January 31,2019 , Manus Island ’s refugee Behrouz Boochani ’s debut book “No Friends But the Mountains” won both the 25,000 dollars non-fiction prize at the Victorian premier’s literary awards and the 100,000 dollars Victorian prize for literature , in Australia.
The writer was an asylum seeker who was on Manus Island in Papua New Guinea for almost six years and was denied to Australia.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Rishi Kumar Shukla has been appointed as the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI)
On February 2,2019, Narendra Modi Government appointed Rishi K Shukla, former Madhya Pradesh DGP , as the new director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a fixed tenure of two years.
After the unceremonious exit of Alok Verma , M Nageswara Rao had been working as the Interim Director.
Ajai Kumar interim CEO of YES Bank
On january 31,2019 ,RBI has approved the appointment of Ajai Kumar as the interim CEO of YES Bank, which have undergone several resignations and appointments in top leadership level.
i. RBI approved Ajai Kumar as Interim MD and CEO of the bank from February 1, 2019, for one month or till Ravneet Gill assumes office as MD and CEO. Ravneet Gill is at present the head of the German based Deutsche Bank in India. According to the report, he will take charge on or before March 1,2019.
ii. Former MD and CEO Rana Kapoor demitted the office,leaving Yes Bank , as the fifth largest bank.
EU parliament appointed Juan Guaido as Venezuelan interim president
On February 1,2019,European Parliament appointed Juan Guaido as the interim President, highlighting the international crisis and the pressure of public against President Nicolas Maduro.
European Union members voted 439 in favor to and 104 against, in Brussels special conference meet and finally recognized Venezuelan congress head Juan Guaido as interim President.
B.S.Mubarak became Ambassador of India to the Republic of Honduras
On 1st February 2019, Shri B.S.Mubarak an Indian Foreign Service officer of 2001 batch,has been Appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Honduras.
At Present B.S Mubarak was the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Guatemala.
About Republic of Honduras:
♦ Capital- Tegucigalpa
♦ Currency- Lempira
♦ President- Juan Orlando Hernández
Dinesh Bhatia appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Argentina
On 1st February 2019, Shri Dinesh Bhatia an Indian Foreign Service officer of 1992 batch has been appointed as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Argentina.
At Present,he was the Consul General, Consulate General of India, Toronto.
Important Event Held in Argentina Recently:
♦ Argentina Hosted the 13th G20 Summit in its Capital Buenos Aires
♦ This is the first G20 summit to be hosted in South America.
♦ Theme of the Summit was: “Building Consensus for Fair and Sustainable Development”
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Hoveizeh- Long-Range Surface to Surface Missile Unveiled by Iran on 1979 Islamic Revolution Anniversary
On 2nd February 2019,Iran Unveiled its Long Range Cruise Surface to Surface Missile,named Hoveizeh with a Strike range of 1,300 km (800 miles) to mark the remembrance of 1979 Islamic Revolution Anniversary.
The Long Range Cruise Missile is from the Soumar family of cruise missiles,which was unveiled in the year 2015.
♦ Currency-Iranian rial
♦ India’s Ambassador to Iran-Gaddam Dharmendra
‘Nasr’-short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile test fired by Pakistan
On 1st February 2019,Pakistan has test fired a short range surface-to-surface ballistic missile ‘Nasr’ with a strike range of about 70-km.
It is a high precision, shoot and scoot weapon system with the ability of in-flight maneuverability.
♦ Capital- Islamabad
♦ Currency- Pakistani rupee
♦ President- Arif Alvi
Qatar won their First-ever Asian Cup Title In Football by defeating Japan
On 2nd February 2019,Qatar won its first major soccer title by beating four-time champion Japan 3-1 in the 17th edition of the AFC Asian Cup held in United Arab Emirates(UAE).
i. Sudan born Almoez Ali,became the first player to score nine goals at a single Asian Cup.He break the record of Iranian Ali Daei,who scored eight goals in1996.
ii. Awards Conferred:
- Top scorer of the tournament was conferred to Almoez Ali(He created a Record After Scoring 9 Goals)
- Best player of the tournament was conferred to Qatar Almoez Ali
- Best goalkeeper of the tournament was conferred to Qatar Saad Al Sheeb
- Japan Received the Fair play award
Sundeep Jora of Nepal becomes the youngest man to hit T20 International fifty
On January 31,2019 ,Nepal’s cricketer Sundeep Jora, who made his debut in T-20 International, against UAE, became the youngest man to score a half-century in T20 Internationals at the age of 17 years and 103 days and entered the book of records.
Earlier, Rohit Paudel of Nepal had scripted history by becoming the youngest man to score a half-century in international cricket. At 16 years and 146 days, he scored 55 against UAE in the second ODI surpassing Sachin Tendulkar.