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Current Affairs January 16 2019

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Maharashtra government committed to double farmers’ income by 2022: Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis
On January 14, 2019, Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis reaffirmed the state government’s commitment towards doubling farmers income by 2022.
i. According to his announcement,The government has approved Rs 24,000 crore worth loan waiver for the state’s 51 lakh farmers holding bank accounts.
ii. It had also made available more than Rs 10,000 crore fund through budget in the current fiscal for implementation of various schemes,
iii. Rs 15,240 crore worth compensation were distributed to farmers whose crops were damaged by natural calamity.He also mentioned about the government’s Jalyukta Shivar water conservation scheme.
iv. Rs 34,000 crore was given for upgrading the dams in the state.
♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor:  C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park

PM Narendra Modi unveils slew of projects worth over Rs 1,550 cr in Odisha
On 15th January 2019, Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi launched a slew of Central government projects worth over Rs.1,550 crore in Balangir district of Odisha for accelerating the state’s development.Modi in OdishaDetails of the Projects launched:
i. The prime minister dedicated to the nation the electrification of Jharsuguda-Vizianagaram and Sambalpur-Angul railway lines spanning 813 km and completed at a cost of Rs 1,085 crore.
ii. He also inaugurated the doubling of 14.2 km Barpali-Dungaripali and 17.3 km Balangir-Deogaon rail lines, completed at a cost of Rs 189.3 crore.
iii. Besides a Multi-Modal Logistics Park (MMLP), spread over 28.3 acres and built at a cost of Rs 100 crore at Jharsuguda was also dedicated to the nation.
iv. He also inaugurated the 15 km-long Balangir-Bichhupali ailway line laid at a cost of Rs 115 crore. It is part of the new 289-km Balangir-Khurda road line which connects to Howrah-Chennai main line on Khurda Road and Titlagarh-Sambalpur line at Balangir.
v. A new train on Balangir-Bichhupali route was also flagged off by PM Modi.
vi. Modi also inaugurated renovation and restoration works at Nilamadhav & Siddheswar Temple at Gandhaharadi in Boudh, Paschim Somnath group of temples, also in Boudh, and Ranipur Jharial group of monuments in Balangir.
vii .Furthermore six Passport Seva Kendras (PSKs) one each at Jagatsinghpur, Kendrapara, Puri, Phulbani, Bargarh and Balangir were also inaugurated by PM.
viii. Finally he laid the foundation stone for a permanent building of Kendriya Vidyalaya, Sonepur, to be constructed at a cost of Rs 15.81 crore and also inaugurated a Kendriya Vidyalaya at Rayagada.
About Odisha:
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik
♦ Governor: Ganeshi Lal
♦ Capital: Bhubaneswar

6th Women of India Organic Festival of WCD Ministry held in Chandigarh :
On January 12, 2019,The Ministry of Women and Child Development organised the three-day 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival in Chandigarh, to encourage the women farmers and entrepreneurs in the organic sector from the remotest parts of India.It Concludes on 14th January,2019.
i. This programme is conducted twice in a year with a motive to connect the Indian women entreprenurs with with other buyers and create awarness about the importance of adopting organic products for a healthy and a environmental friendly life-style.
ii. The Festival visualised over 1,000 varied organic products, including fabric, wellness, grains, seeds, jewellery, bakery items and a lot more.

Pongal: Harvest festival celebrated largely in Tamil Nadu
On 15th January 2019, Pongal a harvest festival started in Tamil Nadu. It is a four-day festival according to the Tamil calendar and it is usually celebrated from January 15 to January 18.Pongal means to boil. Rice is boiled in milk and offered firstly to the sun and then cows and then to the family and friends.PongalLegends behind Pongal
i. Pongal marks the beginning of the sun’s northward journey towards the equinox, known as Uttarayan.
ii. The first day of Pongal is celebrated in honour of Lord Indra and is called Bogi or Bhogi Pongal.
iii. The second day is dedicated to the Sun God and known as Surya Pongal.
iv. On third day Jallikattu festival starts  and is dedicated to cattle and  called Mattu Pongal.
v. Fourth day marks the end of the festival for the year and is called Kaanum Pongal or Thiruvalluvar day.
About Tamil Nadu
♦ Chief Minister: Shri Edapaddi Palaniswami
♦ Governor: Shri Banwaril Lal Purohit
♦ National parks: Mudumalai National Park, Mukurthi National Park, Indira Gandhi  (Annamalai) National Park,Guindy National Park,Gulf of Mannar Marine National Park
♦ Wildlife sanctuary: Indira Gandhi (Annamalai) WLS,Kalakad WLS ,Karaivetti WLS , Karikili WLS,  Mudumalai WLS, Pulicat Lake WLS , Vaduvoor WLS ,Vedanthangal WLS, Vettangudi WLS

National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development(NIPCCD) inagurated at Mohali ,Punjab
On January 14, 2019,Minister of Women and Child Development,Smt Maneka Sanjay Gandhi inaugurated Regional Centre of National Institute of Public Cooperation and Child Development (NIPCCD)  at Mohali,Punjab.
i. Addressing at the function,she stressed on the need for training and development of elected women representatives of Panchayati Raj Institutions (PRIs) to ensure that fruitful development would reach the top level through their active participation and actual empowerment.
ii. It is a premier organisation devoted to promotion of voluntary action research, training and documentation in the overall domain of women and child development.This organisation have already four such Regional Centres one each at Bangalore, Guwahati, Indore and Lucknow besides the Headquarters at New Delhi. 

First Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship Programme inaugurated in Delhi
On 14th January 2019, the First Annual Disarmament and International Security Affairs Fellowship Programme was organised by Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi. The event will be concluded on 1st February 2019.
Key Points:
i. The event was inaugurated by the United Nations Under Secretary General and High Representative for Disarmament, Ms. Izumi Nakamitsu, and Foreign Secretary, Shri Vijay Keshav Gokhale.
ii. The Fellowship Programme, which is being held at the Foreign Services Institute, New Delhi will be attended by Young Diplomats from 27 countries.
iii. Multiple issues related to disarmament and international security such as global security environment, weapons of mass destruction, certain conventional weapons, space security, maritime cooperation, security of cyberspace, export controls, emerging technologies etc. will be covered in the programme.
iv. The aim of the programme is to equip participants with knowledge and perspectives on various issues related to disarmament, non-proliferation, arms control and international security.
About Ministry of External Affairs:
♦ Minister: Sushma Swaraj
♦ Minister of State: General (Dr) Vijay Kumar Singh (Retd)
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
 About United Nations:
♦ Secretary General: António Guterres
♦ UN General Assembly President: María Fernanda Espinosa
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
♦ Founded: 24 October 1945

DD Science and India Science: 2 National Level initiatives launched by DST and Prasar Bharti in field of Science Communication
On January 15, 2019, Union Science & Technology Minister, Dr. Harsh Vardhan inaugurated national level initiatives in the field of Science and Communications.These initiatives are the first step in creating a national science channel for the country.DD ScienceKey Points:
i.The initiatives were:DD Science and India Science.
ii.These were launched by:
The Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Doordarshan(DD), Prasar Bharati.
iii.These were made official by singing of MOUs between:
Vigyan Prasar and Doordarshan.
iv.These are aimed to integrate and elevate science in everyday life and to make India reach in top 3 of countries propagating science and technology by 2030.
v.The channels have been conceived and supported by the DST and are being implemented and managed by Vigyan Prasar, an autonomous organisation of DST.
vi.India Science ( is already a 24×7 presence and DD Science may also be scaled up to a full-fledged channel in the future.
vii.As per content, people will have free access to science-based documentaries, studio-based discussions, and virtual walkthroughs of scientific institutions, interviews and short films.
About DD Science:
i.It will be a one-hour slot on Doordarshan National channel which will telecast Monday to Saturday from 5 pm to 6pm.
About India Science:
i.It is an internet-based channel, which will be available on any internet-enabled device, and will offer live, scheduled play and video-on-demand services.
Ministry of Information and Broadcasting:
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Rajyavardhan Rathore.
Department of Science and Technology:
♦ Under Ministry of Science and Techonology.
♦ Union Minister: Dr. Harsh Vardhan.


Sovereign gold bonds on sale at Rs 3,214 a gram during Jan 14-18,2019
On 12th January 2019, ministry of finance announced that a new series of sovereign gold bonds will be available at Rs 3,214 per gram from 14th January to 18thJanuary 2019.Gold Monetisation Scheme 2015 met with a few changesGold Monetisation Scheme 2015 met with a few changes
Key Points
i. A discount of Rs 50 per gram will be given to the Investors who apply online for the Sovereign Gold Bond Scheme 2018-19 – Series V.
ii. Interest rate of 2.50 percent per annum will be offered to the investors which is payable semi-annually. The interest earned is taxable.
iii. The issue price of gold bond will be Rs 3,164 per gram of gold with the settlement date of January 22, 2019.
About Sovereign gold bond scheme
i. Launched in 2015 by the government to reduce the demand for physical gold by shifting a part of the physical bars and coins purchased every year for investment into gold bonds.
ii. Sovereign gold bonds are issued by the RBI on behalf of the government.
iii. The tenor of the Bond is of 8 years with an exit option in 5th, 6th and 7th year.
iv. Sovereign gold bonds are denominated in grams of gold and investments can be done in multiples of one gram with a maximum limit of 4 kg per person.


Consumer retail inflation fell 18-month-low to 2.19% in December 2018: CSO report
On January 14, 2019, according to an official release by Central Statistics Office (CSO), citing cooling food and fuel prices as the reasons, it stated that wholesale and retail inflation reduced to a multi month low with CPI falling to an 18-month low in December,2018.
i. India’s headline inflation rate based on the consumer price index (combined) reduced to an 18-month low of 2.19% in December, down from 2.33% in November, 2018. It was 5.21% in December 2017.
ii. Wholesale inflation (measured by WPI) softened to an eight-month low of 3.8% in December from 4.64% in November, 2018.
iii. Retail inflation remained below RBI’s target of 4%.
iv. Core inflation (excluding food, fuel and light, and transport and communications) was 5.7% in December, 2018. core inflation numbers implydemand side pressure. High core inflation, for examples due to health and education where inflation is constantly on the rise, is due to limited supply.
Effects of this slippage:
i. Due to the reduction in CPI and since it is within RBI’s target of 4%, the following is predicted from the MPC meeting of RBI that will take place in February 7, 2019.
1.RBI is expected to change its policy stance to resume the accommodative policy stance.
2.This would provoke cuts in rates thus promoting growth by lowering the borrowing costs of industry
3.Investments will rise and industries will be able to take loans at a lower cost and this would support growth in industries.
ii. As of November 2018, the industry growth has reduced to 17-month low.
1.The Reserve Bank in its last MPC (Monetary Policy Committee) meeting had kept policy rates unchanged in the December review of the monetary policy but had changed its stance to “calibrated tightening”.
2.The next monetary policy review is due on February 7, 2019.
About measurement of Inflation:
♦ To measure inflation in an economy, usually, Wholesale Price Index (WPI) and Consumer Price Index (CPI) are used.
♦ Wholesale Price Index helps in measuring the average change in prices received on bulk sale of goods.
♦ Consumer Price Index is one that computes the changes in the general price level of a class of consumer goods.
♦ Founded: 1st April 1935.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ Governor: Mr. Shaktikanta Das.
Central Statistics Office:
♦ It is an agency under Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation.
Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation:
♦ Union Minister: Shri. D. V. Sadananda Gowda.
♦ Minister of State: Shri. Vijay Goel.


Detained Chinese lawyer Yu Wensheng wins Franco-German human rights award
On 14th January 2019, detained Chinese lawyer, Mr Yu Wensheng who is best known for suing the Beijing government over the city’s once chronic pollution, granted a human rights award by the French and German ambassadors to China at an event organised by the German embassy in Beijing.Yu WenshengKey Points:
i. Yu Wensheng’s wife, Madam Xu Yan, received the Franco-German Prize for Human Rights and the Rule of Law for 2018, on his behalf.
ii. The awards which consisted of 15 winners were announced in November last year.
iii. Mr Yu was detained in January last year and charged with “inciting subversion of state power” after he had circulated an open letter calling for five reforms to China’s Constitution, including the institution of multi-candidate presidential elections.
iv. Since President Xi Jinping took power in 2012, Beijing has stepped up its crackdown on civil society by tightening restrictions on freedom of speech and detaining hundreds of activists and lawyers.
About China:
♦ President: Xi Jinping
♦ Capital: Beijing
♦ Currency: Renminbi


Ananth Narayanan steps down as Myntra-Jabong CEO
On 14th January 2019, Ananth Narayanan, the chief executive officer of Myntra and Jabong, a unit of Walmart-owned Flipkart, quit the company to pursue external opportunities.
Key Points:
i. Ananth Narayanan is expected to join as the chief executive officer of video streaming service Hotstar.
ii. Flipkart executive Amar Nagaram who previously headed consumer shopping experience has been appointed as the new head of Myntra and Jabong and will report to Flipkart Group CEO Kalyan Krishnamurthy.
iii. Earlier in November Flipkart’s co-founder & group CEO, Binny Bansal, had also stepped down from the company following a probe into serious personal misconduct.
About Flipkart:
♦ CEO: Kalyan Krishnamurthy
♦ Founders: Binny Bansal, Sachin Bansal
♦ Parent organization: Walmart

ICICI Bank appointed B Sriram, Rama Bijapurkar as independent directors
On January 14, 2019, private sector ICICI Bank appointed former SBI Managing Director B Sriram on its board as independent director for 5 years.B Sriram,i. Prior to this, Sriram was the managing director of IDBI Bank and before which he was the same in SBI.
ii. Besides him, ICICI also appointed management consultant Rama Bijapurkar as independent director.
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai.
♦ MD& CEO: Mr. Sandeep Bakshi.
♦ Chairman: Mr. Girish Chandra Chaturvedi.
♦ Tagline: Hum Hain Na!

Accenture CEO Pierre Nanterme steps down from the post:
On January 11, 2019,Accenture,a Dublin based consultant firms CEO Pierre Nanterme steps down from his post due to his health issues.
i. Financial Officer of the company David Rowland was named interim CEO .
ii.Though resigned as CEO of the company,Pierre Nanterme will continue at Accenture as advisor to the CEO.
iii.THE lead independent director Marge Magner was named non-executive chair.


Albumin better indicator of diabetes: study by scientists of NCL, Pune
On January 14, 2019, scientists at the National Chemical Laboratory, Pune suggested that albumin can be a better indicator of diabetesDiabetiesi. This can be achieved based on measurements of levels of free albumin and albumin attached to glucose molecules in the blood.
ii. Glycation is binding of glucose to protein or lipid molecules and glycated hemoglobin is the percentage of glucose bound to hemoglobin.
iii. These albumin levels in blood influence glycation of haemoglobin which further helps in diagnosis of diabetes.
♦ According to WHO, levels of glycated (or glucose-bound) hemoglobin in blood can be used for diagnosis of diabetes.


Garbage dumps leading to shift in food habits of wild animals: study
On January 14, 2019, a research team including scientists from School of Life Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Asian Adventures and Nature Science Initiative stated that dumps are resulting in a shift in food habits of birds and wild animals.
i. This shift is mainly due to plastic waste which causes health complications and disruptive reproductive patterns in animals.
ii. An experiment on the study was conducted to monitor animal visits and food intake behaviour at two selected sites in the Nainital district inUttarakhand.
iii. The study found that few animal species at some places are becoming more dependent on anthropological food waste.
iv. The study has been published in journal Current Science.
♦ Garbage dumping sites have both physical and toxicological implications on animal life.

Antarctica ice melts 6 times faster than 40 years ago:      
On January 14, 2019,American and Dutch scientists found that yearly ice mass loss in Antarctica increased six times more in the past 40 years.Antarcticai. The increase in Antarctic snow accumulation that began 10,000 years ago is adding enough ice to the continent through the increased losses from its thinning glaciers.
ii. It is the longest-ever assessment of Antarctic ice mass, covering 176 basins and surrounding islands.
iii.The Antarctic ice sheet revealed a net gain of 112 billion tons of ice a year from 1992 to 2001.And net slowed  to 82 billion tons of ice per year between 2003 and 2008.Their report also revealed the accelerated melting elevated global sea levels more than 1.2 centimeters during 1979 to 2017.As Antarctica is shedding ice at a rapid rate,we can except a multi-meter rise in the sea level in the upcoming decades.


Stephen Constantine resign as coach of Indian football team
On 14th January 2019, Indian Football team’s Head Coach, Stephen Constantine resigned from his post following the exit of Indian team from the AFC Asian Cup 2019. AFC Asian Football Cup, organized by Asian Football Confederation is being held in the United Arab Emirates from 5th January 2019 to 1st January 2019.
Key Points
i. Indian suffered an exit from the group stage of AFC Asian Cup after their 1-0 loss against Bahrain at Sharjah Stadium on 14th January 2019.
ii. Bahrain’s Jamal Rashed scored goal in the 91st minute of game which was proved to be the winning goal.
iii. Stephen Constantine was on four contract with Indian Football team since 2015. It was his second stint as India Manager after having been at the helm from 2002 to 2005.
Indian Football Team
♦ Association: All India Football Federation (AIFF)
♦ Captain: Sunil Chhetri
♦ FIFA Ranking: 97

Andy Murray announces tennis retirement
On 11th January 2019, British tennis player and former World No. 1, Andy Murray, because of his right hip injury, announced to retire from the game after this year’s Wimbledon if he can keep playing beyond this month’s Australian Open.

Andy Murray won the Mubadala World Tennis Championship final in Abu Dhabi.Key Points:
i. The 31-year-old Murray who had hip surgery a year ago said the pain has become unbearable and that he had made the decision last month during his training camp to make this summer’s Wimbledon his final tournament.
ii. Murray had won three Grand Slam titles: Wimbledon in 2013 and 2016 and the US Open in 2012 besides two Olympic gold medals in singles in 2012 and 2016, 45 ATP crowns, and led Britain to their first Davis Cup triumph.
iii. Murray became the first singles player from the United Kingdom officially to be world No. 1 when he topped the rankings Nov. 7, 2016.
About Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP):
♦ Chairman‎: ‎Chris Kermode
♦ Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
About United Kingdom:
♦ Prime minister: Theresa May
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound Sterling


Malayalam Director Lenin Rajendran passed away at 67
On January 14, 2019, Malayalam director and screenwriter Lenin Rajendran passed away at 67.
i. He was a five-time recipient of the Kerala State Film Awards and also received the International Federation of Film Critics Award for the best Malayalam film for his ‘Makaramanju’ screened at the 2010 IFFK.
ii.  In the 23rd International Film Festival of Kerala (IFFK) six of his films were screened under the category ‘Chronicler of Our Times’.
iii. He was also chairman of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation.
iv. Overall, he had directed 16 films in his 35-year career.

Fields Medal-Winning Mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah passed away
On January 14, 2019, 1966 Fields Medal-Winning Mathematician Sir Michael Atiyah passed away.Sir Michael Atiyahi. He was best known for his contribution to a branch of mathematics called topological K-theory and the Atiyah-Singer index theorem.
ii. He received many awards, notably the Fields Medal, Abel Prize and the Royal Society’s highest accolade, the Copley Medal.
iii. He was also the chancellor of the University of Leicester and was the President of Royal Society in 1990-1995.
♦ Fields Medal is also known as the ‘Nobel for Mathematics’.

Former Maharashtra Minister Shivajirao Deshmukh dies
On 14th January 2019, 83 year old Shivajirao Deshmukh, former chairman of the state legislative council and senior Congress leader died follwing long illnesses while under treatment at Mumbai, Maharashtra.His last rites to be performed at Shirala on 15th January.
Key points
i. He belongs to Shirala tehsil in Sangli district of western Maharashtra.
ii. Shivajirao Deshmukh served as revenue minister in the Vasantsada Patil government in 1976-85.
iii. He was also the former speaker of Maharashtra legislative assembly.
iv. He won the assembly polls four times from Shirala seat in 1978, 1980, 1985 and in 1990. In 2008 he was elected as Chairman of the upper house and continued till 2015.


January 15, 2019 celebrated as 71st Army Day
On January 15, 2019, an annual parade was held at the Carriappa Parade Ground in New Delhi to celebrate the 71st anniversary of the Indian Army Day.Army Dayi .January 15 is celebrated as the Indian Army Day to commemorate our soldiers for their bravery and sacrifice.
ii. This day was constituted by Field Marshall KM Cariappa who took over as the first Indian Army chief in 1949.
♦ Chief of Army Staff: General Bipin Rawat.