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Current Affairs January 18 2020

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Indian Army conducted airborne exercise ‘Winged Raider’ involving Special Forces troops
On January 10, 2020 the Indian Army(IA) conducted its biggest airborne exercise ‘Winged Raider’. The exercise comprised of more than 500 soldiers of Special Forces troops in the northeastern theatre and involved all kinds of air transport platforms of the Indian Air Force (IAF). The name Winged Raider was chosen due to its multidimensional nature of the exercise and demonstrated the operational readiness of paratroopers.
Key Points:
i.The exercise involved soldiers parachuting from the C 130 Hercules, C 17 Globemaster and Dhruv helicopters both day and night and it was preceded by a series of preparations from January 06 onwards.
ii.The exercise was telecasted live to all field formation headquarters in the Theatre and also has shown integration between the IA and the IAF.
About Indian Army(IA):
Founded- 1 April 1895.
Headquarters- New Delhi.
Motto- “Service Before Self”.
Commander-in-Chief- President Ram Nath Kovind.
Chief of Army Staff(COAS)- Manoj Mukund Naravane.

DV Sadananda launched HURL’s brand “APNA UREA-Sona Ugle” & unveiled company logo in New Delhi
On January 17, 2020 the Union Minister of Chemicals & Fertilizers (MoC&F) Shri Devaragunda Venkappa Sadananda Gowda launched “APNA UREA – SonaUgle” brand of Hindustan Urvarak & Rasayan Limited (HURL) and also the company’s logo at an event in New Delhi.
Fertilizer plants revival:
HURL: It is a Joint venture(JV) company 3 Maharatna companies as its lead promoters which are Coal India Limited (CIL), NTPC Limited (NTPC) and Indian Oil Corporation Limited (IOCL) and Fertilizer Corporation of India Ltd (FCIL) & Hindustan Fertilizer Corporation Limited (HFCL) as other two partners.

  • Plant revival by HURL: In 2016, the govt approved for the revival of 3 urea plants located at Gorakhpur (Uttar Pradesh), Sindri(Jharkhand) and Barauni (Bihar). It was undertaken by HURL.
  • Capacity of 3 plants undertaken by HURL: 3 plants which will be revived by HURL mostly by 2021 have total installed capacity of 38.1 LMT of Neem Coated Urea per annum.
  • Natural gas supply: Under pooled price mechanism natural gas supply will be done by GAIL (formerly Gas Authority of India Ltd) under the Pooled Price Mechanism.
  • Total plant revival: This undertaking by HURL is part of Prime Minister Modi’s direction of revival of 5 major fertilizer plants. The remaining 2 plants are at Ramagundam (Telangana) and Talcher (Odisha) and they will commence production soon….Click here to Read More

Commemorative stamp of former footballer Padma Shri Chuni Goswami released by Indian Postal Department 
On January 15, 2020, the Indian Postal Department has released a commemorative stamp of legendary Indian footballer Chuni Goswami on his 82nd birthday at his residence in Kolkata, West Bengal. Chuni Goswami led the Indian team to win a gold medal in the 1962 Asian Games held in bangkok, Thailand. He is only the 3rd Indian footballer on whose name a commemorative postal stamp has been released.
Key points:
i.Previous Stamp for Indian footballers: Prior to Goswami the commemorative stamp was released honouring Indian footballers Gostho Paul in 1998 and late Dr. Talimeren Ao in 2018.
ii.Chuni Goswami: He has played over 40 matches for the country from 1956 until 1964. He was honoured with  Arjuna Award in 1963 and also Padma Shri award in 1983.
iii.He was a member of the Indian team when India finishes as a runner in the 1964 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Asian Cup that was won by Israel.

1st Session of India-Norway Dialogue on Trade & Investment Held in New Delhi 
The 1st ever session of the India-Norway dialogue on Trade & Investment (DTI) was held from January 15-16 in New Delhi. The session was conducted based on the Terms of Reference (ToR) which was signed by India and Norway on 8th January 2019 in New Delhi at time of Norway Prime Minister Erna Solberg’s visit to India.
Key Points:
i.The 1st Session on January 15, 2020, was preceded by an industry interaction with representatives of various organizations/sectors like Information and Communications Technology(ICT), renewable energy, fisheries and the Ministry of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises(MSME).
ii.The main session on 16th January 2020 was co-chaired by Joint Secretary of Department of Commerce(DoC), Nidhi Mani Tripathi, and Director General (DG) of Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Fisheries, Mr. Erling Rimestad from Norway.
iii.FDI inflow: The Foreign Direct Investment(FDI) inflows to India from Norway were around $257million during April 2000-September 2019.
About Norway:
Capital- Oslo (also the largest city)
Currency- Norwegian krone.
Prime Minister- Erna Solberg.

Bahadurpur and Kheri Viran to become India’s first model sports villages
On January 16, 2020 Two villages namely Bahadurpur and Kheri Viran of Uttar Pradesh (UP) has set to become India’s first ‘Model Sports villages’ as a part of Institute of  Management Technology (IMT) Ghaziabad, UP ‘Adarsh Khel Gram’ program in association with NGO(Non Governmental Organization)‘ Sports: A Way of Life’ to evolve sports culture and increase sports literacy in the country.
Key Points:
i.Under this program all the verandahs, courtyards will be developed as primary sports ground management and IMT will provide Olympic related sports equipment.
ii.One hour everyday from 4-5:00 pm will be the designated time to play sports.
iii.Mr.Kanishka Pandey, IMT Sports Research Head,informed that various development sports committee will be carried out in distributing free booklets, sports magazines and books that will provide the villagers with the basic knowledge.
iv.The main objective is to teach about Olympic games in these villages and various Arjuna Awardees would meet these kids to motivate them to participate in the games.
About UttarPradesh:
Capital- Lucknow
Chief Minister(CM)- Yogi Adityanth
Governor- Anandiben Patel

Govt allocates Rs 2379 crore for completing Z Morh tunnel in J&K
On January 17, 2020 a concession agreement was signed in New Delhi for completing the Z-Morh tunnel in the Union Territory (UT) of Jammu and Kashmir(J&K). Under the agreement Rs.2379 crore has been allocated to complete the construction of the tunnel within 3.5 years.
Pact signing: The agreement between National Highways & Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited (NHIDCL) and APCO Amarnathji Tunnelway Pvt Ltd was signed in presence of Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, Minister of State(MoS) for Road Transport and Highways Gen (Retd) Vijay Kumar Singh and Secretary of Road Transport & Highways Shri Sanjiv Ranjan.

  • The length of the two-lane bi-directional Z Morh tunnel with parallel escape tunnel is 6.5 kilometers. It will remain closed during winter due to heavy snowfall in Gagenger area of J&K.
  • Union ministers visit: Following the initiative of Union Minister of Home Affairs(MoHA) Shri Amit Shah, a group of 36 union ministers have set visit to different districts of J&K to spread awareness on the abrogation of article 370.  The ministers will engage in dialogues with the people from January 18-24, 2020. In the midst of the visit, Russia has reaffirmed its stand on Kashmir….Click here to Read More

5th edition of Science Film festival 2020 held in Panaji, Goa
On January 15, 2020 the 5th edition of the Science Film Festival of India, SCI- FFI 2020 held at Inox Complex and Maquinez Palace in Panaji, Goa. It was a 4-day long festival which was held from January 15-18, 2020 and was inaugurated by Chief Minister of Goa Dr.Pramod Pandurang Sawant. The aim of the festival was to instill knowledge of science among youth of the country. It is organized by Vidnyan Parishad, Goa with the organizing partners – Entertainment Society of Goa, Dept. of Science, Technology and Waste Management (Govt. of Goa), VigyanPrasar (DST) Govt. of India and National Institute of Oceanography.
Key Points:
i.The event was supported by both Satyajit Ray Film and Television Institute(SRFTI) and National Institute of Science Communication and Information Resources (NISCAR).
ii.Event Highlights: The event had panel discussions on challenges in scientific education that involved various academicians.

  • Several films namely ‘Mission Mangal’, ‘Antariksham 9000 KMPH’, ‘Everest’, ‘Aamorie’, ‘Terminator: Dark Fate’, ‘Geostorm’ and, ‘Virus’ were screened.
  • A special workshop was conducted by Indian Institute of Technology- Bombay(IIT-B) in the title “Million SoUL” and provided training on solar lamps.

About Goa:
Formation- 30 May 1987.
Chief minister- Pramod Sawant.
Capital- Panaji.
Governor- Satya Pal Malik.


10th World Future Energy Summit 2020 held in Abu dhabi, UAE; CLIX sustainability summit held
Recently the 10th edition of World Future Energy Summit (WFES)2020 hosted by Masdar renewable energy company, was held at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates(UAE) from January 13-16, 2020. The theme for the year 2020 was “Rethinking Global Consumption, Production, and Investment”.
3rd Climate Innovations Exchange:
Alongside the World Future Energy Summit, 3rd edition of the Climate Innovations Exchange, ‘CLIX’ in short and the Future Sustainability Summit was also held in Abu Dhabi. The event showcased innovative ideas related to energy, food, agriculture and sustainability in space
Key Points:
i.Energy summit Participants: Nearly 33,500 participants from over 170 countries and 800 specialist exhibitors participated in the World Future Energy Summit 2020. The summit was based on 5 main pillars which are energy, solar, water, waste and smart cities.
ii.WFES: The summit is held annually under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces. The summit was first held in the year 2011.
About United Arab Emirates(UAE):
Capital- Abu Dhabi.
Currency- UAE dirham.
Largest city- Dubai.
President- Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
Prime Minister- Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
About Masdar:
Headquarter-Abu Dhabi
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)-Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi


RBI tightens norms for debit, credit card issuance & usage to improve security
On January 15, 2020, In view of the increasing cases of cyber fraud, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has framed new rules under “Enhancing Security of Card Transactions” to further protect debit, credit card transactions. These directions are issued under Section 10(2) of the Payment and Settlement Systems Act, 2007 (Act 51 of 2007) & will come into effect from 16 March,2020.

  • Facility to switch on, off cards: Under this, now transactions at ATMs(Automated Teller Machine) and PoS (Point of Sale) will be done through domestic cards. In addition, RBI directed banks and other card issuing companies to allow their customers to switch on and off their debit and credit cards.
  • The RBI also directed that all physical or virtual cards be enabled to be used only at contact based point of use (ATM and PoS) at the time of issue or re-issue.
  • However, this RBI directive is not mandatory to be applied for prepaid gift cards and cards used in mass transit systems….Click here to Read More

Digital payments body NPCI launches blockchain-based ‘Vajra platform’ to make payments fast & secure
On January 6, 2020, National Payments Corporation of India (NPCI),an umbrella organisation for operating retail payments has launched blockchain technology based “Vajra Platform” to make payments fast & secure.

  • Vajra: The new platform Vajra, which is based on the Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT),has been designed with the aim to offer automatic clearing and settlement of payments on NPCI products such as unified payments interface (UPI) and Rupay card & will significantly reduce the need for manual reconciliation.
    It uses a permissions model in order to ensure that only approved parties are a part of the network.
  • Benefits: All the transactions undertaken by Vajra Platform using DLT follow real-time clearing and settlement. Especially, the DLT usage in payments will ensure minimal reconciliation of transactions, which will in turn provide higher efficiencies through automation and transparency….Click here to Read More


India’s GDP growth to 5.7% from 7.6% for FY 2019-20: UN WESP
On January 16, 2020, According to the ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020’ report  released by the United Nations (UN), it has slashed India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for the year 2019-20 by 1.9% to 5.7%. Earlier in 2019, it had projected GDP growth rate of 7.6% for FY 2019-20.

  • It has lowered the India’s growth rate to be 6.6% in the next financial year-FY 2020-21 from 7.4 % earlier. It has also estimate a growth rate of 6.3 % for the fiscal beginning in 2021,while the growth rate was 6.8% in FY 2018-19.

Global growth: The report stated that, due to the long trade dispute in 2019, the world economy grew by 2.3%, which is the lowest in 10 years. It is also projected to grow at a rate of 2.5% in 2020. In the coming times, business stress, financial ups or geopolitical tensions may affect recovery….Click here to Read More


Singer Suman & music director Kuldeep Singh to get MP’s Lata Mangeshkar Award for 2017 & 2018 respectivelyOn January 16, 2020 noted Indian singer Suman Kalyanpur was chosen for the 2017 National Lata Mangeshkar Award of the state govt. of Madhya Pradesh(MP) while Indian Music composer Kuldeep Singh has been chosen for the same Mangeshkar award for the year 2018. They have been chosen for this award for their contribution in the field of music and will be awarded in February 2020 at an event in Indore, Madhya Pradesh.
Key Points:

i.The award carries a cash prize of Rs 2 lakh, a shawl, a citation and a ‘shreephal’ (coconut). 
ii.Award committee: The selected committee of the award included singer Suresh Wadkar among others.
iii.About the award: The award has been instituted by MP in 1984-85 in honour of renowned singer Lata Mangeshkar (90 years). MP is the birthplace of the Lata.

  • Music director Naushal Ali was the 1st person to be conferred with the award in 1984-85.

About Madhya Pradesh:
Capital- Bhopal.
Governor- Lalji Tandon.
Chief minister- Kamal Nath.
National Parks(NP)- Kanha NP,Bandhavgarh NP, Madhav NP, Sanjay NP, Van Vihar NP, Panna NP, Satpura NP, Pench NP, Mandla Plant Fossils NP.

Road transport minister Gadkari presents National highway excellence awards 2019 in New Delhi
On January 14, 2020, Nitin Jairam Gadkari ,the Union Minister for Road Transport & Highways and MSMEs (Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises), has presented the National Highways (NH) Excellence Awards 2019 to honor the 12 best performers in NH sectoron  in New Delhi.

  • The award was given in 7 categories for which a total of 104 applications from across the country were received in 2019.The 7 categories include, Excellence in Project Management, Excellence in Operation and Maintenance, Excellence in Toll Management, Excellence in Highway Safety, Innovation, Outstanding Work in Challenging Conditions, Green Highway….Click here to Read More   


Harish Salve appointed Queen’s Counsel for courts of England & WalesOn January 17,2020 Indian Senior Advocate Harish Salve has been appointed the Queen’s counsel for the courts of England and Wales. The appointment was announced by Queen Elizabeth II on the advise of the Lord Chancellor Robert Buckland.
Key Point:

i.The title of Queen’s Counsel QC is awarded to those who have demonstrated particular skill and expertise in the conduct of advocacy.
ii.Salve and other appointees will be formally appointed as QC on March 16, where the Lord Chancellor will preside over the appointment ceremony at Westminster Hall, London, United Kingdom (UK).
iii.Advocate Salve served as Solicitor General for India from 1999 to 2002.
iv.He is currently a Barrister with a legal firm- Blackstone Chambers.
v.Harish Salve is known for representing India before the International Court of Justice in the Kulbhushan Jadhav extradition case.
UK(United Kingdom) comprises of 4 countries England, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland.
Capital- London.
Currency- Pound Sterling.

SC appoints former apex court judge Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre as head of road safety committee            
On 14th January 2020, The Supreme Court will appoint one of its retired judges Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre as the Chairman of the committee on road safety since the panel’s current head and former top court judge Justice K.S.P. Radhakrishnan expressed his difficulty in continuing the position.
Key Points:
i.The decision in this regard has been given by a bench headed by Chief Justice Sharad Arvind Bobde. 
ii.The bench has also appointed Sanjay Mitra, former Defence Secretary as a member of the committee replacing the former secretary of Ministry of Road Transport and Highways S Sundar, who has found it difficult to continue as a member of the committee due to ill-health.
iii.The Center has directed to issue necessary notification on this replacements and the
changes will take place w.e.f February 1, 2020.
About Ministry of Road Transport and Highways:
Founded– July 1942
Minister Responsible– Nitin Gadkari, Cabinet Minister
Minister of state– General (Retd.) V. K. Singh


Equifax inks pact to acquire 100 % stake in its Indian JV- Equifax credit information services for Rs 370 crore
On January 16, 2020, Equifax Inc, a global information solutions company has signed a definitive agreement to acquire 100 % stake in its Indian Credit information company, Equifax Credit Information Services Private Ltd (ECIS) for Rs 370 crore.
Key Points:
i.ECIS has worked as a joint venture (JV) between Equifax and leading Indian financial institutions (FI) namely State Bank of India (SBI-7.41% stake), Bank of India (BOI-3.50 % stake), Kotak Mahindra Prime Limited (5.56% stake), Union Bank of India (UBI-4.17% stake) and Bank of Baroda(BoB), Sundaram Finance Limited (10% each) since the year 2010.
ii.Following this deal, now all the partners will exit from ECIS.
iii.Till now, ECIS has made many innovative solutions in data and analytics to the Indian lending space. It will now a full-service credit bureau offering its services to all segments of the lending sectors – Retail Banking, MFI and Commercial
About Equifax Inc:
Founded– 1899 (as Retail Credit Company)
Headquarters– Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.
CEO– Mark W. Begor


Russia to deliver five S-400 air defence systems to India by 2025
On January 17, 2020 Russia has announced to deliver 5 units of S-400 air defence systems to India by 2025 while its production has already begun. The announcement was made by Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin. India and Russia signed a deal of $5.43 billion for the procurement of these S-400 systems during the 19th edition of India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit held in New Delhi in 2018.
RIC meet: 
It was also announced that the Union Minister of External Affairs(MEA) Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, will visit Russia on March 22&23 to attend the Russia-Indian-China(RIC) trilateral Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Vladivostok, Russia.

  • S-400: It is an upgraded version of the S-300 missiles that were previously available only to the Russian defence forces and is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007….Click here to Read More

CM Bhupesh Baghel launches employment-oriented mobile app ‘Rojgar Sangi’ in RaipurOn 15 January 2020, The Chief Minister (CM) of Chhattisgarh, Bhupesh Baghel has launched an employment-oriented mobile app,‘Rojgar Sangi’ developed by state-run Chhattisgarh State Skill Development Authority (CSSDA) at the ceremony of youth fest 2020 held at Science College premises in Raipur, Chhattisgarh.
Key Points:

i.The app is designed to provide employment to trained youths under their skill development programme. It is expected that through this app, lakhs of unemployed youth of the state will be able to get employment.
ii.The app will act as a bridge between the employment-generating institutions or individual and skill-trained youth. In this, the institutions or individuals providing employment can contact the youth trained in skill training as per their requirement.
iii.Information of trained & certified youths from more than 400 courses has been included. Through this app, any organization and person can post information on vacancies as per their requirement.
About Chhattisgarh:
– Raipur
Governor– Anusuiya Uikey
State Animal– Wild Asian Buffalo
National Parks– Indravati (Kutru) National Park, Kanger Valley National Park, Guru Ghasi Das
(Sanjay) National Park.
Wildlife Sanctuaries– Achanakmar WLS, Badalkhol WLS, Bhoramdev WLS.


Meteorite Contains The Oldest Material On Earth: 7-billion-year-old Stardust
On January 15, 2020 Scientists discovered the oldest material on earth, a 7 billion years old grains inside the meteorite that crashed in a fireball in 1969 into the town of Murchison in Victoria State, southeastern Australia.
Key Points:
i.All the dust specks that were analyzed in the research came from before the solar system’s formation known as ‘presolar grains’ (60% of them between 4.6 and 4.9 billion years old and the oldest 10% dating more than 5.6 billions years ago) the grains are small measuring from 2 to 30 micrometers in size.
ii.Presolar grains are the solid matter came from dying stars with the stardust flung into interstellar space ready to be used again to form new stars.
iii.A team of scientists led by Philip Heck, curator of meteorites from the Field Museum in Chicago, United States examined the presolar grains and research published in ‘Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ (PNAS).
iv.Scientists previously had found a presolar grain in the Murchison meteorite was about 5.5 billion years old, the oldest known solid material on earth.
v.The oldest known minerals that formed on earth are found in rock from Australia’s jack hills formed 4.4 billion years ago.


Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez to retire after Twenty20 (T-20) World CupOn January 17, 2020 Pakistan’s All-rounder cricket player Mohammad Hafeez, 38 years old, announced that he will be retiring from international cricket after the upcoming T-20 World Cup to be held in Australia in October 2020. Hafeez has been selected to play the T20I (Twenty20 International) series against Bangladesh starting in Lahore on Jan 24,2020.
Key Points:

i.Mohammad Hafeez nicknamed as ‘Professor’ for his knowledge of the game, has been one of Pakistan’s key players- as a top-order batsman and a handy off-spinner since 2003.
ii.Hafeez retired from tests in December 2018 after playing 55 tests and scored 6,614 runs took 139 wickets in 218 one-day internationals.
iii.His last ODI (One Day International) was during the World Cup (50 overs) in England 2019.
iv.Hafeez match in 89 T-20 internationals stands at 54 wickets and 1,908 runs.
v.He played 17 years for Pakistan and also captained Pakistan in 29 Twenty 20 Internationals, winning 17 and losing 11 with one ending in a tie.


Former India all-rounder cricketer Bapu Nadkarni passed away at 86On January 17,2020 Former Indian all-rounder Rameshchandra Gangaram Bapu Nadkarni, 86 years old, a left-handed batsman and slow-left arm orthodox bowler passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra. He was best known for bowling a record of 21 consecutive maiden overs in a test match against England.
Key Points:

i.Nadkarni played 41 tests in which he scored 1414 runs and grabbed 88 wickets with 6/43 as his best bowling figures.
ii.Bapu Nadkarni was born on 4 April 1933 in Nashik, Bombay Presidency, British India and played 191 first-class matches and taken 500 wickets and scored 8880 runs.
iii.Nadkarni made his test-debut against New-Zealand in Delhi in 1955 and played his last test at Auckland against New-zealand in 1968 under Mansoor Ali Khan Pataudi captaincy.
iv.Nadkarni is known for his accuracy as he also had test match figures in 1960-61 series against Pakistan where he returned with figures of 32-24-23-0 at Kanpur followed by 34-24-24-1 in Delhi.

Senior journalist and former MP Ashwini Kumar Chopra passes away at 63On 18th January 2019, Senior Journalist and former Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Member of Parliament (MP) Ashwini Kumar Chopra passed away at a private hospital in Gurgaon after battling with terminal cancer. 
Key Points:

i.Born on 11th June 1956 in Jalandhar, he was a senior Journalist and Editor of Punjab Kesari (Hindi daily), later he was elected as a Member of Parliament from Karnal, Haryana, in 2014 and served for the period of 2014-2019.
ii.Before entering into Journalism, he played in the Ranji Trophy under the name Ashwini Minna for Punjab and played 25 first-class matches between 1975-76 and 1979-80.


Kerala announces sports awards, Muhammad Anas wins GV Raja awardOn 16 January 2020, Kerala Sports Minister EP Jayarajan Nambiar announced the sports award instituted by Kerala State Sports Council. Indian Sprinter Mohammad Anas won GV Raja(Lt.Col. P. R. Godavarma Raja) award (Male) for athletics.
GV Raja award
is awarded yearly for excellence in Sports.
Key Points:
i.Anas has won silver for India in the 400-meter race at Jakarta Asian games.
ii.In female category Puthenpurayil Chandrika Thulasi, Pallakad won the GV Raja award which carries prize money of Rs 3 lakh and a citation.
iii.PC thulasi won bronze for India in the Asian games and performed well in other international badminton tournaments.
iv.T P Ouseph,athletics coach selected for Olympian Suresh Babu lifetime achievement award which carries a prize of Rs 2 lakh and a citation.
v.Satheevan Balan won the award for the best sports trainer by the Kerala State Sports Council.
vi.The awards was instituted by the Kerala State Sports Council in 2018.
About Kerala:
Capital- Thiruvananthapuram
Chief Minister- Pinarayi Vijayan
Governor- Arif Mohammad Khan
State Animal- Indian Elephant
State Bird- Great hornbill
State Tree- Coconut

NITI Aayog, UT of Ladakh signed MoU for development of Infrastructure Projects
On January 17, 2020, the National Institution for Transforming India(NITI) Aayog has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with newly developed Union Territory(UT) of Ladakh in order to promote the development of infrastructures in the recently developed UT.  Under the MoU, Niti Aayog will provide support to ladakh through ‘Development Support Services to States for Infrastructure Projects (D3S-i or DSSS for Infrastructure Projects)’.
MoU signing: The MoU was signed by senior adviser of Niti Aayog Yogesh Suri and Adviser to the Lieutenant Governor of Ladakh Umang Narula in presence of Niti Aayog Chief Executive Officer(CEO) Shri Amitabh Kant and joint secretary MC Jauhari.
Key Points:
i.DSSS for infrastructure projects: Niti Aayog has implemented the DSSS projects to develop the infrastructure of the state of the art capacity. It involves providing support to the state/ UTs from the concept plan till financial closures.

  • The 1st phase of DSSS was completed in 2018 with a selection of 10 projects out of over 400 projects while phase 2 was completed in 2018-19 with the selected 10 projects progressing to the transaction stage.

ii.Under the DSSS identification of high-impact priority projects, project implementation, addressing structural-level issues and creating models of development for Ladakh will be done.

Current Affairs Headlines: 18 January 2020 

  1. Indian Army conducted airborne exercise ‘Winged Raider’ involving Special Forces troops
  2. DV Sadananda launched HURL’s brand “APNA UREA-Sona Ugle” & unveiled company logo in New Delhi
  3. Commemorative stamp of former footballer Chuni Goswami released by Indian Postal Department
  4. 1st Session of India-Norway Dialogue on Trade & Investment Held in New Delhi
  5. Bahadurpur and Kheri Viran to become India’s first model sports villages
  6. Govt allocates over Rs 2000 crore for completing Z Morh tunnel in J&K
  7. 5th edition of Science Film festival 2020 held in Panaji, Goa
  8. 10th World Future Energy Summit 2020 held in Abu dhabi, UAE; CLIX sustainability summit held
  9. RBI tightens norms for debit, credit card issuance & usage to improve security
  10. Digital payments body NPCI launches blockchain-based ‘Vajra platform’ to make payments fast & secure
  11. UN slashes India’s GDP growth to 5.7% from 7.6% for FY 2019-20
  12. Singer Suman & music director Kuldeep to get MP’s Mangeshkar Award for 2017 & 2018 respectively
  13. Road transport minister Gadkari presents National highway excellence awards 2019 in New Delhi
  14. Harish Salve appointed Queen’s Counsel for courts of England & Wales
  15. Ukraine PM Oleksiy Honcharuk resigns
  16. SC appoints former apex court judge Justice Abhay Manohar Sapre as head of road safety committee
  17. Equifax inks pact to acquire 100 % stake in its Indian JV- Equifax credit information services for Rs 370 crore
  18. Russia to deliver five S-400 air defence systems to India by 2025
  19. CM Bhupesh baghel launches employment-oriented mobile app ‘Rojgar Sangi’ in Raipur
  20. Meteorite Contains The Oldest Material On Earth: 7-billion-year-old Stardust
  21. Pakistan’s Mohammad Hafeez to retire after Twenty20 (T-20) World Cup
  22. Former India all-rounder Bapu Nadkarni passed away at 86
  23. Senior journalist and former MP Ashwini Kumar Chopra  passes away at 63
  24. Kerala announces sports awards, Muhammad Anas wins GV Raja award
  25. NITI Aayog UT of Ladakh signed MoU for development of Infrastructure Projects

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