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Current Affairs January 15 2019

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Current Affairs January 14 2019


Govt drafts five-year action plan to address drug abuse in the country
The Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment has drafted a five-year action plan called the National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (2018 -2023) NAPDDR which aims to employ a multi-pronged strategy to address the problem of drug and substance abuse in the country.
Key Points:
i. The action plan involves preventive education, awareness generation, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent people, besides training and capacity-building of service providers through collaborative efforts of the Centre, state and NGOs.
ii. For monitoring the effective implementation of the NAPDDR, a steering committee would be constituted under the chairmanship of the secretary, Social Justice Ministry, and with representatives from the Ministries of Health, Human Resource Development, Women and Child Development, Home Affairs, Skill development and Entrepreneurship.
iii. Furthermore a national survey to find the extent and pattern of substance abuse is also being conducted by the ministry, in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC), AIIMS.
iv. As a part of the plan, a database for re-treatment, ongoing treatment and post-treatment of addicts of different categories and age groups and on substance used will be maintained.
About Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment:
♦ Minister: Thawar Chand Gehlot
♦ Minister of State: Krishan Pal Gurjar, Vijay Sampla, Ramdas Athawale

Govt re-promulgates ordinance to amend companies law
On 12th January 2019, the Union Government has re-promulgated the Companies (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 which aims to amend the companies law to further improve the ease of doing business as well as ensure better compliance levels.
Key Points:
i. The government had first issued the ordinance in November but it would have ceased to be operational from January 21. The Lok Sabha has already passed the bill on 4th January 2019, but it is still pending in the Rajya Sabha so the government has to re-promulgate ordinance to make amendments to the Companies Act, 2013.
ii. The ordinance that has amended 16 sections of the Act, are aimed at reducing the burden of case load on special courts by over 60 per cent, bringing down applicable penalties for small companies and enhancing the jurisdiction of Regional Director for compounding offences.
iii. Now the jurisdiction of 16 types of corporate offences would be shifted from the special courts to in-house adjudication thus enhancing the scope of in-house adjudication from 18 sections at present to 34 Sections of the Act.
iv. The amended provisions also empower the central government to allow certain companies to have a different financial year instead of being determined by the National Company Law Tribunal.
v. The amendments through the ordinance were effected on the basis of recommendations made by a 10 Member Committee set up by the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) in July 2018 and headed by the Secretary of Ministry of Corporate Affairs,Injeti Srinivas.
About Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA):
♦ Minister: Arun Jaitley
♦ Minister of State: P P Choudhary
♦ Secretary: Injeti Srinivas

Overview of Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2-day visit to Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC)
On January 13, 2019, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman embarked on her 2-day visit to Andaman & Nicobar islands. Her visit would conclude on January 14, 2019.

Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s 2-day visit to Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC)i. She was received by Vice Admiral Bimal Verma, AVSM, ADC, Commander-in-Chief, Andaman & Nicobar Command at INS Utkrosh.
ii. This was her second visit and reviewed the operational preparedness and infrastructural developments of the outlying units of ANC.
Witnessing the joint military drill:
On January 14, 2019, the Defence Minister witnessed a joint military drill involving the Army, the Air Force, the Navy and the Coast Guard off Campbell Bay in the Great Nicobar Island.
i. She also inaugurated the second phase of Married Accommodation Project (MAP) consisting of 868 dwelling units for troops of ANC at Brichgunj Military Station.
Andaman and Nicobar is also the armed forces’ tri-service command. The archipelago is straddled strategically near the mouth of the Malacca Straits which is an important Sea Lane of Communication used by the navies of several countries.
Andaman & Nicobar Islands:
♦ Lieutenant Governor: Admiral D K Joshi.
♦ National Parks: Mahatma Gandhi Marine National Park, Mount Harriet National Park, Rani Jhansi Marine National Park, Campbell Bay National Park, Galathea National Park.

Union Minister Harshvardhan launches special weather services for Kumbh Mela
On 14th January 2019, Union Minister of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences and Environment and Forests and Climate Change, Dr Harshvardhan launched the special weather services for the benefit of people visiting Prayagraj during Kumbh Mela at a function in New Delhi.
Key Points:
i. The service will provide information of the prevailing weather and forecasts for next 3 days through four Automatic Weather stations (AWS) and a mobile van AWS that have been installed and operationalized at different locations at Prayagraj.
ii. The observational sites are distributed in all four directions within 5-10 km radius.
iii. It will be helpful for the local and state authorities by providing the real-time location specific weather information for efficient management of the entire event and also benefit the pilgrims by keeping them abreast of the latest weather information.
iv. Besides a mobile application named “Kumbh Mela Weather Service” was also launched to inform about the live weather information (temperature, humidity, rainfall and winds) and warnings if any for Prayagraj for next 3 days as observed in all the AWS sites.
About Ministry of Science and Technology:
♦ Minister: Dr Harshvardhan
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
About Ministry of Environment and Forests and Climate Change:
♦ Minister: Dr Harshvardhan
♦ Minister of State: Dr Mahesh Sharma
About Ministry of Earth Sciences:
♦ Minister: Dr Harshvardhan
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

“Womaniya on GeM” launched by Government e Marketplace [GeM] under Commerce Ministry to empower women entrepreneurs
On January 14, 2019, the Commerce Ministry announced that the Government e Marketplace [GeM] launched “Womaniya on GeM” initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and women self-help groups [WSHGs] to sell handicrafts and handloom, accessories, etc. directly to various Government ministries, departments and institutions.

“Womaniya on GeM” launched by Government e MarketplaceAbout the initiative:
i. A 3-minute video highlighting benefits of the Womaniya initiative was launched by
CEO GeM, S Radha Chauhan, whereby she explained the following:

  • nearly 80 percent women-owned establishments are self-financed,
  • more than 60 percent of 8 million units are owned and/or led by women entrepreneurs from socially-challenged sections of the society,
  • empowering the women entrepreneurs is a step in the direction of poverty alleviation.

ii. Artist Anukta M Ghosh’s artwork “Magan”, an illustration of women empowerment and grace, is the face of Womaniya on GeM.
iii. The initiative aligns with Government’s initiatives for MSMEs, especially to reserve percent in government procurement from women entrepreneurs.
iv. This initiative will also address goals and objectives under United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.
About GeM:
♦ It is a 100 percent government owned company setup under the aegis of Ministry of Commerce and Industry.
♦ Constituted: 2016.
Ministry of Commerce:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. Suresh Prabhu.
♦ Minister of State:  Shri. C R Chaudhary.

Finance Minister Shri Arun Jaitley and Union Minority Affairs Minister Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurated Hunar Haat exhibitions in New Delhi
On 13th January 2019, The Union Minister for Finance and Corporate affairs, Shri Arun Jaitley and Union Minister of Minority Affairs Shri Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi inaugurated the Hunar Haat Exhibition at State Emporia Complex in New Delhi.
Key Points
i. The Hunar Haat exhibition will be organized from 12th January 2019 to 20th January 2019.
ii. Hunar Haat aim at “ Development with Dignity” of the artisans and craftsman from the minority community.
iii. Hunar Haat is important for the national and international branding of the heritage of master artisans.
Ministry of Finance and Corporate Affairs
♦ Union Minister: Arun Jaitley
♦ Minister of State: P P Choudhary
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWS(Economically Weaker sections)  
Gujarat Government announced to implement 10 per cent quota for Economically Weaker sections of general category in educational institutions and government jobs for general category poor candidates.This quota will be implemented for every job offers or admission process that is to start from January 14, 2019

Gujarat becomes 1st state to implement 10% quota to EWSi. The Centre had taken the decision under Article 46 of Guiding Principles of Constitution of India .This move by the Government is considered to be the historic move.

4th International Kite Festival and 2nd International Sweet Festival inaugurated by Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in Hyderabad, Telangana
On January 13, 2019, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 4th International Kite Festival and 2nd International Sweet Festival in Hyderabad, Telangana.
i. It was organised by the Department of Tourism, Government of Telangana and the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as a part of  Sankranthi celebrations, at the Parade Grounds in Secunderabad.
ii. This year’s theme for Telangana International Kite Festival was for empowerment of the girl child: ‘Educate girl child and she will save the world’.
iii. As many as 42 professional kite flyers from abroad and 60 from India are participating in the Kite Festival and it witnessed participation of nearly 100 enthusiasts of kite flying from 19 different countries including India.
iv. Moreover, sweets from 20 countries and from 25 Indian states were displayed at the Sweet Festival.
About Makar Sankranthi:
♦ It is a harvest festival, a celebration of life and vitality. It is the festival of Sun God who is often regarded as the symbol divinity and wisdom.
♦ In south India, it is popularly called ‘Pongal’, in Punjab and Haryana it is called ‘Lohri’, in Assam it is called ‘Bihu’ and ‘Khichdi festival’ in Bihar.
♦ Capital: Hyderabad.
♦ Chief Minister: K.Chandrashekhar Rao.
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan.
♦ National Parks:  Kasu Brahmananda Reddy National Park, Mahaveera Harina National Park, Mrugavani National Park

India’s largest startup ecosystem, measuring 1.8 lakh sq ft, inaugurated in Kerala by CM Pinarayi Vijayan
On January 13, 2019, Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched country’s largest startup ecosystem, integrated startup complex under the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM), at the Technology Innovation Zone (TIZ), in Kochi, Kerala.

India's largest startup ecosystemAbout the ecosystem:
i.  It is a 1.8 lakh sq ft. facility housing incubation infrastructure across a series of sectors in technology.
ii. It will have the following under it:

  • facilities of Maker Village that promotes hardware startups,
  • the Bionest that promotes medical technologies,
  • BRINC, the country’s first international accelerator for hardware startups;
  • BRIC which aids developing solutions for cancer diagnosis and care, and
  • a centre of excellence set up by industry majors such as UNITY.

iii. The facility also has firms working in fields such as biotechnology, computer-aided design, augmented/virtual reality and advanced communication.
Other News:
i. Also, the Kerala Government is working to have a total area of 2.3 crore sq ft of IT space (up from 1.3 crore sq ft last year).
ii. Furthermore, after the completion of three more projects, Kerala will have startup and incubation space of 5 lakh sq ft, which will be largest of these type in the world.
iii. The government is also planning to give direct jobs to 2.5 lakh in IT.
♦ Capital: Thiruvananthapuram.
♦ Chief Minister: Pinarayi Vijayan.
♦ Governor: Palanisamy Sathasivam.
♦ National Parks: Periyar National Park, Silent Valley National Park, Pampadum Shola National Park, Mathikettan National Park, Eravikulam National Park, Anamudi Shola National Park.

Puducherry announced ban of Single-Use Plastic from March 1, 2019
On January 13, 2019, Chief Minister V Narayanasamy announced that production, sale and use of single-use plastic products will be banned in the Union Territory of Puducherry from March 1, 2019.
i. He also announced the following decisions of the cabinet:

  • to introduce ‘voluntary retirement scheme’ for the workers and staff of the century-old Anglo-French Textiles (AFT) mill and two other textile mills, named Bharathi and Swadeshi (run by Puducherry Textile corporation) in a phased manner in the next six months.
  • one per cent quota of reservation would also be provided to the members of the ‘Irular, Villi and Vettaikaran’ communities under the Scheduled Tribes Category in education and employment opportunities.
  • government-owned Pondicherry Industrial Promotion Development and Investment Corporation Limited (PIPDIC) and Distillery and Power Corporations would get benefits of Seventh Pay Commission,

In June, 2018, Tamil Nadu government had announced that it would ban the use of plastic items including non-biodegradable carry bags from January 1, 2019.
♦ Chief Minister: Shri. V. Narayanasamy.
♦ Lt. Governor: Dr. Kiren Bedi.

HC forms committee to weed out invasive plant species from Western Ghats
On 12th January 2019, The Madras High Court formed an expert committee to suggest ways and means to remove the invasive species of the plants from the Western Ghats and rehabilitate the forests.
Key Points
i. The invasive species of plants are the second largest cause of loss of biodiversity in the world.
ii. The Expert committee has to find a solution and file the report within two months.
iii. The Division bench of Justice M M Sundaresh and N Sathish has already constituted a committee to restrain the state government from cultivating eucalyptus species in Tamil Nadu for commercial purpose.
What are Invasive Alien species?
The International Union for Conservation of Nature defines the invasive alien species as those species which establish themselves in ecosystems and threaten native biological diversity.


Swaraj on 2-day visit to Samarkand,Uzbekistan to attend first India Central Asia dialogue

  • On 12th January 2018, Foreign Minister, Sushma Swaraj left for a two-day visit to Uzbekistan to attend the first ever India-Central Asia Dialogue which was held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.
  • On 13rd January 2019, India and the five other Central Asian countries backed an inclusive peace process in Afghanistan that would be Afghan-owned and Afghan-led in the first ever India-Central Asia Dialogue…………..Click here to  Read more

Macedonia renamed as the Republic of Northern Macedonia   
On January 11, 2019,Macedonia’s parliament passed an amendment to the constitution to rename the country as Republic of North Macedonia,on a mutual agreement with Greece to put an end to a 27-year rivalry.The agreement was reached between Greek prime minister Alexis Tsipras and his Macedonian counterpart Zoran Zaev.The language of the country would be referred to as Macedonian and its people known as Macedonians
Facts to be known:
 i. The use of the name “Macedonia” is disputed between the southeastern European countries of Greece and the Republic of Macedonia, formerly a state within Yugoslavia.
ii. In the parliment of 120 seat only 80 voted in favour of renaming the country that is renaming amendment is passed with 2/3 of majority supporting it.
iii. This major step opened their door toward European Union and Nato organisation.
About Macedonia:  
♦ Capital:Skopje
♦ Currency:Macedonian denar


Trishna Gas Project of ONGC in Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary approved by National Wildlife Board
On January 12, 2019, the National Wildlife Board after receiving recommendations from the state Wildlife Board, approved extraction of natural gas from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary by state-owned ONGC Tripura Asset.
i. Under the project, 10-12 gas bearing wells had been discovered by ONGC Tripura Asset for extraction of natural gas from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Belonia subdivision of Gomati district, Tripura.
ii. The gas extracted from Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary would be transported to the North Eastern Electric Power Corporation Ltd (NEEPCO) owned100 MW gas-based thermal power project at Monarchak in Sonamura subdivision of Sipahijala district.
iii. Also, Tripura unit of ONGC would provide Rs 25 crore to the state government for carrying out Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.
♦ Earlier in September 2017, the state Wildlife Board sanctioned the project.
National Wildlife Board:
♦ National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) is a statutory Board constituted on 22nd September 2003 under Section 5 of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972.
♦ It is chaired by Hon’ble Prime Minister.


First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award entitled to PM Narendra Modi
On January 14, 2019,The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi, received the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award, in New Delhi.

First-ever Philip Kotler Presidential award entitled to PM Narendra ModiAbout Philip Kotler Presidential award :
The Award focuses on the triple P’s of the Nation: People, Profit and Planet. It will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation. This award is given in remebarance of works and contribution done by Prof. Philip Kotler,who is a well-known in the field of Marketing.
Reasons that for Narendra Modi is selected for this award:
i. During his regime, India is identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (Make in India), and a global hub for professional services such as Information Technology, Accounting and Finance.
ii. ”Adding to it initiatives such as Make in India, Startup India, Digital India, and Swachh Bharat, “which positioned India as a iconic country.“His visionary leadership resulted in the Digital Revolution (Digital India), Unique Identification Number, Aadhaar, for social benefits and financial inclusion.These initiative made India to be noticed as one of the best infrastructral and technically developed country.


Dr. T.C.A Anant takes Oath as Member, UPSC
On January 14, 2019, Dr. T.C.A Anant, former Chief Statistician of India & Secretary, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, took the Oath of Office and Secrecy as Member, Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) .Oath was administered by Shri Arvind Saxena, Chairman, UPSC.

Dr. T.C.A Anant takes Oath as Member, UPSCFacts to be known About UPSC
i. The commission has a strength of 10 members, besides a chairperson.Despite Anant’s appointment, the commission had one more vacancy .Former Delhi Police Commissioner Bhim Sain Bassi, Prof. Pradeep Kumar Joshi, Air Marshal A S Bhonsle (retired), Sujata Mehta, Manoj Soni, Smita Nagaraj, M Sathiyavathy and Bharat Bhushan Vyas are members of the UPSC.
ii .A member of the UPSC have a maximum of six-year tenure or till an incumbent attains the age of 65.             About UPSC:
♦ Chairman:Arvind Saxena(Acting)
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 1 October 1926

Retired HDFC Bank executive and former Federal Bank board member Deepak Maheshwari has taken charge as chief credit officer (CCO) at Axis Bank
On 11th January 2019, Deepak Maheshwari, the retired HDFC Bank executive and former Federal Bank board member took charge as chief credit officer (CCO) at Axis Bank as part of an ongoing reshuffle undertaken by new CEO Amitabh Chaudhry.
Key Points:
i.The 64 years old Maheshwari will be given responsibility of corporate credit appraisal and disbursement at the Axis Bank.
ii.Maheshwari was also granted an exemption to take over as CCO by the board of Axis Bank as he is now 64 which is above the bank’s retirement age of 60.
iii.The appointment of Maheshwari is an attempt by the CEO Amitabh Chaudhry to tighten the Axis Bank’s credit appraisal process and follow HDFC Bank’s model in the Axis Bank.
About Axis Bank:
♦ CEO: Amitabh Chaudhry
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: Badhti Ka naam Zindagi
About HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation) Bank:
♦ CEO: Aditya Puri
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: We understand your world.


ROADEO: robot inducted by Chennai Traffic Police for traffic management
On January 14, 2019, the Chennai Traffic Police introduced a road safety robot named ROADEO, to help in traffic management and assist citizens.
i. With this, Chennai became the second city after Mumbai to induct robots in traffic management.
ii. The robots would be integrated with traffic signals and could be managed manually via Bluetooth devices.
iii. The robot has been developed by schoolchildren of a private robotics lab.


Shakil Ahmed set world record in achieving 1 lakh meters in 10 hours in Indoor rowing
On January 13, 2019, Asian Cup gold medallist Shakil Ahmed set a world record in indoor rowing by completing 1,00,000 (one lakh) metres in 10hours, in above-40 years category, at Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.
i. He also has the record of completing 50,000 metres of simulated rowing in four hours and 13 minutes which is already in the Limca Record Book.

Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed‘s record goes past MS Dhoni, Adam Gilchrist, to become the wicket-keeper with most catches
On January 14, 2019, Pakistan skipper Sarfaraz Ahmed set a world record to become the wicket-keeper captain with the most number of catches in a match.

Britain Cricket Champions Trophyi. This was achieved by him while playing a match against South Africa in the Third Test at the Wanderers Stadium in Johannesburg.
ii. In the match, he took five catches in the first innings and repeated the feat in the second innings to go past Australia’s Adam Gilchrist and India’s MS Dhoni.

Bengaluru Raptors win Premier Badminton League title
On 13th January 2019, the Bengaluru Raptors beat Mumbai Rockets by 4-3 in the final of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) 2019 at the Kanteerava Indoor Stadium in Bengaluru to win their maiden title.

Bengaluru Raptors win Premier Badminton League titleKey Points:
i. Kidambi Srikanth, Vu Ji Trang and the Men’s Doubles pair of Mohammad Ahsan and Hendra Satiawan won their matches for Bengaluru guiding them to victory.
ii. Bengaluru Raptors have become the fifth team after Chennai Smashers, Delhi Dashers, Hyderabad Hotshots and Hyderabad Hunters to win the title.
iii. This was the fourth season of the Premier Badminton League (PBL) in which a total of 9 franchises played for the title. The winner team, Bengaluru Raptors got INR 3 crores and the Mumbai team got INR 1.5 crores as the runners-up.
iv. Besides the total prize money for this season was INR 6 crores. The teams which finished in the third and fourth places, i.e., Hyderabad Hunters and Awadhe Warriors were awarded INR 75 lakhs each.
v. Various other award winners of the League include-

Best Comeback of the TieSameer Verma
Attacking Player of the TieKidambi Srikanth
Indian Oil Indian Player of the TieKidambi Srikanth
Smartest Player of the TieSameer Verma
Attacking Player of the LeagueMathias Christiansen
Emerging Player of the LeagueAnders Antonsen
Indian Oil Indian Player of the LeagueSameer Verma
Vodafone Smartest Player of the LeagueKidambi Srikanth

About Badminton Association of India:
♦ President: Himanta Biswa Sarma
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi


Former Ranji cricketer Rajesh Ghodge passed away at 47
On January 13, 2019, Former Goa Ranji player Rajesh Ghodge passed away at 47 while playing at the Margao Cricket Club tournament.
i. Ghodge was part of the Goa Ranji squad in 1999-2000.

1956 Olympian footballer Zulfiqar passed away at 83
On January 13, 2019, Former India and 1956 Olympian footballer, Mohammed Zulfiqaruddin, passed away at 83 in Hyderabad.
i. He also represented India in the 1958 Tokyo Asian Games and the Merdeka Cup in Malaysia.
ii.  He was the captain of Andhra Pradesh in the Santosh Trophy from 1955 to 1967.
iii. He also captained AP Police team from 1954 to 1967 and won IFA Shield, Durand Cup and Rovers Cup tournaments.
In 1956 Olympics, India lost to Bulgaria 0-3 in the bronze-medal match in Melbourne to finish fourth, a result considered one of the finest moments in the country’s football history.


Armed Forces Veterans Day – Jan 14
On January 14, 2019,The Armed Force is celebrated the Veterans Day to honour the legends of the Army, Navy and Air Force. The main celebration in Delhi will take place at the New Delhi. Minister of State(Defence) Dr Subhash Bhambre inaugurated the main event. This Day is commemorated in the memory of first Indian Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Field Marshal K M Cariappa becoming a veteran in 1953. To mark the occasion, veteran rallies will be held country wide at Armed Forces stations.

Armed Forces Veterans Day - Jan 14Facts to be known:
i. Defence Minster Nirmala Sitharaman along with former Army chief General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, Air Chief Marshal (retd) Arup Raha,Lieutenant General Abhay Krishna, General Officer Commanding-in-Chief (GOC-in-C), Eastern Command paid homage to those who made supreme sacrifice in the line of duty .
ii. The main motive behind this celebration is to honour the ex-servicemen and resolve the problems faced by them after their retirement.
iii. 69th Army day is to be celebrated on January 15, 2019.