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Current Affairs January 19 & 20 2020

We are here for you to provide the important Recent and Latest Current Affairs 19 & 20 January 2020, which have unique updates of Latest Current Affairs 2020 events from all newspapers such as The Hindu, The Economic Times, PIB, Times of India, PTI, Indian Express, Business Standard and all Government official websites.

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Current Affairs Today 19 & 20

NATIONAL AFFAIRS

Law minister inaugurated NIC’s Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru, Karnataka
On January 17, 2020, the Union Minister of Law and Justice (MoL&J) Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology set up by the National Informatics Centre(NIC) in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The CoE has been set up with the aim of providing blockchain as a service and help all stakeholders to benefit from shared learning, experiences and resources.

  • CoE function:  The CoE which has developed Blockchain based Proof of Concepts (PoCs), will facilitate govt buildings to use the blockchain technology for deployment of large scale applications. With the support of NIC, the CoE will also provide Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for hosting the Blockchain network efficiently.
  • CoE operations: The CoE is expected to begin its operations by March 2020.
  • Plans for another CoE: Apart from CoE in Bengaluru, the govt is also planning to launch another CoE for blockchain technology in Gurugram, Haryana also.
  • Blockchain technology: Blockchain means growing list of records called blocks which will be linked with cryptography. It will be helpful in sectors such as health, finance, agriculture etc….Click here to Read More

Gujarat leads in water efficiency survey 2019 under National hydrology project, Delhi among worst performing states
On January 18, 2020, According to the rankings of ‘Central and state governmental water departments based on their efficiency targets for 2019’ released by Ministry of Jal Shakti, Gujarat ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets, while National Capital Territory of Delhi remains in the worst-performing state category.

  • Departments wise ranking:The Survey of India (SoI) received top spot among the 7 central government departments reviewed .It was followed by National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and the Central Water Commission. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) pushed to the last in the year 2019 ranking.

State wise ranking: However, Delhi improved its position by 6 places to get 35th  rank in 2019 as against bottom 41 in 2018. Tamil Nadu (TN) ranked best among the states that significantly improved its ranking. It stood at 13th spot  in 2019 as compared to 33 in 2018.
Rajasthan has been ranked 3rd in the country this time, while in the April-May 2018 rankings, Rajasthan was ranked 16th….Click here to Read More

3rd International symposium on marine ecosystems challenges and opportunities (MECOS) 2020 held in Kochi, Kerala
The 3rd edition of the International Symposium on Marine Ecosystems Challenges and Opportunities (MECOS-3) was held at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi, Kerala from 7 – 10 January 2020 with an aim to address the concerns of marine ecosystem and will make new strategies for sustainable utilisation of marine wealth.
Key Points:
i.Organized by the Marine Biological Association of India (MBAI), the Symposium saw the participation of marine scientists, oceanographers, fishery researchers and marine biotechnologists from across the world to discuss various topics, including the impact of climate crisis in marine ecosystems and unusual warming of the Arabian sea.
ii.The symposium also focused on the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG-14)of the United Nations (UN),which says Conserve and Sustainably use the oceans and its resources for sustainable development.
iii.The previous editions of MECOS brought together marine scientists, researchers and teachers across the world.
About Kerala:
Capital
– Thiruvananthapuram
Governor– Arif Mohammad Khan
Chief Minister– Pinarayi Vijayan
National parks– Anamudi Shola National Park ,Eravikulam National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park , Periyar National Park ,Silent Valley National Park.
About MBAI
It functions within the premises of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) at Cochin, Kerala, India.
Formed– 1958
Journal– JMBAI
President– Gopalakrishnan. A

For the 1st time, Govt to collect data including families headed by transgenders for census 2021
On January 15, 2020, According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the central government, for the 1st time, will collect data on households headed by a transgender and members living in the family for census 2021. Previously, the choice of the head of the household was gender – male or female.”Main Cereal” eaten will be asked for the first time in the census.
Key Points:
i.The census officer, while making a list of houses to be held from April 1 – September 30, 2020 will ask for specific information based on 31 questions from each household during the census 2021.
ii.Now three options will be given under the head “sex of the head of the household”- male, female and transgender.
iii.In addition, the government gather data on ‘ownership status of the census house’ – whether it is owned / rented.
iv.The census reference date will be March 1, 2021 but due to snowfall it will be October 1, 2020, in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K), Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
New initiative in Census 2021:
The census 2021 will be done through a mobile phone application, deviating from the traditional pen and paper.
Usage of census monitoring & management portal as a single source for all officers involved in Census activities to provide multi-language support.
Background: The census has been conducted in India since 1872 without outbreak. It is conducted every 10 years. 2021 is not only the 16th census but also 8th after independence. The Census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990 provide the legal framework in conducting the Census.
About Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA):
Founded
– 15 August 1947.
Headquarters– New Delhi.
Union minister– Shri Amit Shah.
Minister of State(MoS)- G.Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai.

President Kovind lays foundation stone of Lakshadweep’s 1st super specialty hospital at Kavaratti
On January 7, 2020, The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, who was on a first-ever 2-day Visit to the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, has laid the foundation stone for Lakshadweep’s 1st Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti.
Key Points:
i.Dineshwar Sharma,the Administrator of Lakshadweep along with other officials received the President at Agatti Airport with a traditional welcome and was accorded a Guard of Honour from a joint group of 160 different forces.
ii.President also praised Rehmath Beegum Sailaniyoda, the only woman who received  Padma Shri (1999) from Lakshadweep in the field of Medicine.
About Lakshadweep:
Capital
– Kavaratti
Formation– 1 November 1956
Administrator– Shri Dineshwar Sharma
Lakshadweep are a group of coral islands located south west off the coast of Kerala.

Centre to cut wasteful expenditure on travel and food by 20 % to control fiscal deficit
On January 12, 2020, In a major step to avoid fiscal downfall, the central Government has decided to reduce wasteful expenditure on items such as travel, food and conferences by 20%.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the newly- formed Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth (CCIG) chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi with the members Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.

  • All the ministers have been instructed to cut their unruly journeys, meals and conferences by up to20%. CCIG has also asked the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance to take necessary action in this regard.

The move aims to avoid fiscal slippage by comprising non-development expenditure and controlling fiscal deficit within the level of budgeted target of 3.3% for financial year -FY 2019-20….Click here to Read More

Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, R K Singh inaugurated 14th edition of ELECRAMA 2020 held in Greater Noida, UP
On January 18, 2020, Union Minister of Heavy Industries &Public Enterprises, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar and Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh have inaugurated the 5-day long 14th edition of ELECRAMA 2020 being held at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The ELECRAMA 2020 chairman is Anil Saboo.
Key Points:
i.The event aims to showcase the Indian electrical industry and provide platform to connect the world with Indian industry with respect to technology, modern trends and innovation for future energy transition.
ii.Organised by IEEMA (Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association ), apex industry association of manufacturers of electrical, industrial electronics & supported by the Ministry of Power, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy and Ministry of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises,  Ministry of Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), the event saw the participation of over1250 exhibitors,450 foreign exhibitors from 120 countries.
iii.Through this event, the IEEMA focus on businesses worth Rs 30,000 crore via e-mobility, energy storage, start-ups, grid transformation, revenue security with special attention on small and medium enterprises (SMEs),
iv.India’s installed power generation capacity has reached 367 gigawatt (GW)& has given 1.2 crore power connections in past 2- years.
About IEEMA (Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association ):
Motto
– your link to electricity
Founded– 1948
President– Mr. R K Chugh

Magh Bihu festival celebrated in Assam
On January 15,2020 Magh Bihu, an auspicious harvest festival is being celebrated in Assam. Magh Bihu falls in the local month of ‘Magh’ during mid-january. It is also called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ or ‘Maghor Bihu’ as it is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest takes place.
Key Points:
i.People began the day by gathering at the temple and offered prayers, beat up the drums and walk around the bonfire.
ii.The highlight of this festival is the food, which is made from the abundance of grains after the harvest.
iii.The night before ‘Magh Bihu’ is called ‘Uruka’ meaning the night of feasts.
iv.The villagers make bamboo huts called ‘Bhelghor’ or community kitchen where they begin with the preparations for the festival.
About Assam:
Capital- Dispur
Chief Minister (CM)- Sarbananda Sanowal
Governor- Jagdish Mukhi
National Parks (NP)- Kaziranga NP, Manas NP, Dibru Saikhowa NP, Nameri NP, Orang NP

1st of Krishi Manthan 2020 begins in Ahmedabad, GujaratkrishiThe 1st edition of the Krishi Manthan 2020 which is a Food, Agri-business and Rural Development Summit of Asia was held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on December 28-29, 2019. The event was organised by the Food and Agribusiness Committee of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).
Key Points:

i.Participants: Nearly 1500 delegates inclusive of students and academicians participated in the summit.
ii.Members present: Anil Gupta, IIMA Professor; Founder of 24 Mantra Organic Shri Rajashekhar Reddy Seelam, former Executive Vice President(VP) of Mahindra Agri Solutions and other officials attended the summit
About Gujarat:
Capital- Gandhinagar.
Largest city- Ahmedabad.
Chief Minister- Vijay Ramniklal Rupani.
Deputy Chief Minister- Nitin Patel.
Governor- Acharya Devvrat.

Union HRD Minister inaugurated 28th New Delhi World Book Fair 2020 in New Delhi
The 28th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair 2020 (NDWBF 2020) was held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from January 4-12, 2020. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. The theme of NDWBF 2020 book fair was ‘Gandhi: TheWriters’ Writer’ celebrating 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi. Since 2013, the NDWBF is organised by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), Ministry of Commerce(MoC) under Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with ITPO.

  • Photo exhibition: A special photo exhibition titled “Padhe Bharat Badhe Bharat” on NBT’s contribution in promoting books in schools and libraries under govt. of India’s programme for the school education was put up.
  • Braille Books: NBT of India in collaboration with the All India Confederation of Blind (AICB) jointly published over 250 books in Braille for visually impaired readers.
  • 1st edition: NDWBF was first inaugurated by Shri. Varahagiri Venkata  Giri, then President of India and was held from March 18 to April 4, 1972 with just 200 participants.
  • NDWBF is the oldest book fair in India after Kolkata Book Fair. It is also Asia’s biggest book fair is expected to soon become the world’s biggest book fair….Click here to Read More

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

WEF’s 1st Global Social Mobility Index 2020: India ranks 76th & Denmark tops the list
On January 20, 2020, the World Economic Forum (WEF) released 1st edition of a report titled “The Global Social Mobility Report 2020: Equality, Opportunity and a New Economic Imperative”. The global social mobility index (GSMI) of 82 countries were launched in this report. As per the Index, India ranked at the 76th position with a score of 42.7while Denmark topped the list. The key findings in the report are as follows:

  • India is among the 5 countries namely China, the United States(US), Japan and Germany which stands to gain most from boosting social mobility score. India ranks 41st in lifelong learning while it ranks 53rd in working conditions. It has the second-highest level of workers in vulnerable employment behind Saudi Arabia.
  • Improvement needed areas:  Social protection and fair wage distribution are the areas in which India needs improvement. It ranks 76th in social protection and 79th in fair wage distribution.
  • Top 5 countries in the index:  Denmark is followed by Norway (score 83.6), Finland (score 83.6), Sweden (83.5) and Iceland (82.7) in the 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th place respectively.  It is to be noted that the top 5 countries are all Nordic countries.
  • Top 10 countries: Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and Luxembourg rank 6th, 7th, 8th 9th and 10th in the list.
  • Most to gain economy: As per the analysis the economy with the most to gain is China.Click here to Read More

Highlights of NSA Ajit Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka; $50mn assistance pledged to SL
On January 18, 2020 the National Security Advisor (NSA) of India Shri Ajit Doval paid a day-long visit to Colombo in the Island nation of Sri Lanka (SL). On his visit, Shri Doval met the President of SL Shri Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa and held talks on various bilateral issues. The highlights of the visit in detail are as follows:

  • $50 million assistance: India pledged to provide $50 million security assistance to Sri Lanka for purchasing equipment for its security forces.
  • SL and India vowed to strengthen military ties and also to widen their maritime links with neighbours. After the talks, NSA Ajit Doval discussed on setting up of a maritime research coordination centre in SL.
  • Ajit Doval is the second-highest-ranking Indian official to visit Colombo, SL after  Gotabaya Rajapaksa assumed office in November 2019.
  • Previously, Minister of External Affairs(MEA) Shri Subrahmanyam Jaishankar was the 1st foreign dignitary to visit Sri Lanka….Click here to Read More

Lok sabha speaker Om Birla attends 25th conference of speakers and presiding officers 2020 in Ottawa, Canada
A parliamentary delegation headed by Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has attended the 25th edition of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) 2020 held in Ottawa,Canada from January 6 -January 10,2020. The conference aimed at topics of parliamentary engagement: openness, transparency and accountability, and on Parliamentarians as effective legislators and representatives.
Key Points:
i.The biennial conference saw the participation of Speakers and Presiding Officers from 37 Commonwealth Parliaments & was hosted by the Senate of Canada’s Speaker,George Furey and the Speaker of the House of Commons, Anthony Rota.
ii.In addition to Birla, Rajya Sabha Deputy Chairman Harivansh Narayan Singh and Lok Sabha Secretary General Snehlata Shrivastava were also attended the conference.
iii.In 2022, Australia will be the host of commonwealth speakers meeting & Uganda to host 2024 Commonwealth speakers conference with additional CSPOC Standing Committee meetings to be held in Guernsey in 2021 and Trinidad and Tobago in 2023.
About Canada:
Capital– Ottawa
Currency– Canadian dollar
Prime Minister– Justin Trudeau
About Commonwealth of Nations
Founded– 1931
Headquarters– London, United Kingdom (UK)
Member countries– 53
Secretary-General– Patricia Scotland

BANKING & FINANCE

WGC: RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops
On January 15, 2020, India’s central bank i.e., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad after it purchased 25.2 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2019 according to World Gold Council(WGC) report titled “Outlook 2020: Global economic trends and their impact on gold”. The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland have purchased more gold than India in 2019. The report in detail are as follows:

  • RBI gold purchase: In October 2019, 7.5 tonnes of gold was bought by RBI buttressing (supporting) its foreign exchange reserves(forex) to $450 billion.
  • Forex reserves crosses $450 billion: To be more precise, the Forex reserves surged to a new high of $451.7 billion as of December 3, 2019, which is the largest in recent years.
  • Current holdings in gold: RBI currently holds 625.2 tonnes of gold, that forms 6.6% of its forex reserves. The gold consumption in India slipped in 2019 as against the level in 2018….Click here to Read More

ECONOMY & BUSINESS

UN predicts India’s GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 5%
On January 18, 2020, United Nations (UN), an intergovernmental organization responsible for maintaining international peace and security, has predicted the
India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for the year 2019-20 to 5% .
Key Points:
i.This comes a day after its ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP)2020’ report 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.
ii.The estimation of UN hadn’t taken into account the latest growth figures released by India’s National Statistical Office (NSO) and hence the outlook has been revised. Earlier the NSO estimated the growth in real GDP for 2019-20 at 5%
compared to 6.8% for 2018-19.
iii.The UN’s projection comes at a time when China has also released growth figures. China’s growth was 6.1% in 2019 due to trade war with the US(United States). This is the lowest in 29 years. Still 1.1% higher than India’s projected growth.
iv.2 ways to accelerate growth: (i) India, which is going through an economic slowdown, needs to continue with structural reforms &(ii) Financial incentives and
financial sector reforms are needed to increase investment and consumption.
About United Nations (UN):
Founded
– 1945
Headquarters– New York City, US
SecretaryGeneral– António Guterres; Head of the UN Economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific– Nagesh Kumar

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS        

‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline app’ won e-Governance Award of Excellence 2019 in Bhubaneswar, OdishaElectionCommission On January 17, 2020 Award of Excellence for the year 2019 was given by Computer Society of India (CSI) and Special Interest Group on e-Governance (CSI SIG e-Gov) at  Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneswar, Odisha during the CSI 2020, 53rd annual convention of CSI.
i.
The two innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications developed by  Election Commission of India (ECI), ‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline App’ has won the ‘Award of Excellence’ 2019.
ii.Dr. Kushal Pathak, Director ICT &  chief information security officer (CISO), ECI and Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Shri Sushil Kumar Lohani received the award on behalf of ECI.
iii.By using cVIGIL app citizens can report Violations during elections such as bribery, free gift, liquor distribution, playing loudspeakers beyond the permitted time.
iv.The Voter Helpline app provides an option for voters to search their name in 90-plus crore electors database, fill forms for new voter registration, migration and corrections….Click here to Read More

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: 4th Indian to receive highest Australian civilian honourkiran-mazumdar-shaw-On January 17, 2020, Australia has conferred its highest civilian honour, the Order of Australia honour to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder and chairperson of biopharmaceutical company Biocon and appointed as an honorary member in the general division of the Order of Australia by Australia’s High Commissioner to India Ms. Harinder Sidhu at a ceremony in Leela Palace, Bengaluru, Karnataka. She is the fourth Indian citizen to be awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour.
Award contribution:
The award is given to foreign nationals who have extraordinarily contributed to Australia or for humanity.
Key Points:
i.Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw was an alumnus of Federation University, Australia.
ii.She was born in Bengaluru, Karnataka and also recognized as an ‘Australian Global Alumni Ambassador’ for her significant contribution to industry academia collaboration between Australia and India.
iii.She also contributed immensely in promoting women in STEM (Science, Technology,Engineering, Mathematics) through the joint research programmes developed between Biocon and Deakin University, Australia.
iv.The Australian civilian honours from India are star batsman Sachin Tendulkar in 2012, Former Attorney General of India Soli Jehangir Sorabjee in 2006 and Mother Teresa (Agnes Gonxha Bojaxhiu) of Kolkata in 1982.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS          

General Satinder Kumar Saini appointed as the new Vice Chief of Army StaffSK_Saini On January 15, 2020, Southern Army Commander Lieutenant General Satinder Kumar Saini appointed as the new Vice Chief of Army Staff (VCOAS). He will take charge on January 25, 2020. He succeeded Lieutenant General Manoj Mukund Naravane, who was promoted as the 28th Chief of Army Staff.
Key Points:

i.The appointment was made by the Department of Military Affairs (DMA) headed by Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and this was the first order of a senior military appointment made through DMA.
ii.In 1981, General Saini was commissioned into the Jat Regiment.
iii.General Saini also served as the Deputy Chief Military Personnel Officer in Iraq-Kuwait United Nations (UN) Mission, attended Global Peace Operations Initiative’s peacekeeping exercise in Mongolia and counter-terrorism exercise in Australia.
About Ministry of Defence:
Minister of Defence- Rajnath Singh
Minister of State for Defence-Shripad Yesso Naik

Arjun Munda becomes President of Archery Association of India (AAI)arjun_mundaOn January 18, 2020, Arjun Munda (Jharkhand), Minister of Tribal Affairs elected as the President of the suspended Archery Association of India (AAI) for 4 years term. The elections were held as per the Delhi High Court order.  Arjun Munda got the support from former AAI President Vijay Kumar Malhotra and defeated B V P Rao by a margin of 34-18 votes.
Key Points:

i.A total of 31 State Associations were part of the AAI but only 26 states (Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Jammu & Kashmir were excluded) cast their votes.
ii.Captain Abhimanyu Sindhu (Maharashtra) was elected senior vice-president while Pramod Chandurkar (Maharashtra) became the secretary-general, and Rajendra Singh Tomar (Uttarakhand) was elected as treasurer.
iii.Arjun Munda, former Jharkhand chief minister also runs an archery academy which was instrumental in the rise of former world number one archery player Deepika Kumari.
About Archery Association of India AAI:
It is a 19-member Executive Committee consisting of President, Secretary-general, senior vice-president, eight vice-presidents,seven joint-secretaries and one treasurer.
Headquarters- New Delhi
Founded- 8 August 1973

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India successfully test-fired nuclear capable SLBM K-4 of 3,500 km range in Visakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh
India successfully test-fired nuclear capable SLBMOn January 19, 2020 India successfully test-fired the nuclear capable Submarine Launched Ballistic Missile (SLBM) K-4 at the Visakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh. The range of K-4 ballistic missile is 3,500 Kilometer. The missile was developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO). The test was carried out from an underwater platform in the sea.
Key Points:

i.By this test, India moved a step towards the induction of ballistic missile on the INS (Indian Naval Ship) Arihant class nuclear submarines.
ii.The three-meter-long ballistic missile carries a nuclear warhead of over one tonne with a circular error probability of 40 meters or less, which makes it ideal to strike targets from stand-off ranges.
iii.India is the fourth country after the United States (US), Russia, China to launches SLBM of 3,500 kilometer range.
iv.Apart from K-4, BO-5 is the other underwater missile with a strike range of 700 kilometers which is being developed by India.
About DRDO:
Founded- 1958; Headquarter– New Delhi
Chairman- Dr G Satheesh Reddy
About Andhra Pradesh:
Chief Minister- Jagan Mohan Reddy
Governor- Biswabhushan Harichandan
Capital City- Amaravati
State Tree- Neem tree
State Flower- Water lilies
State Animal- Blackbuck
State Bird- Indian roller

SPORTS

Jacqueline Williams of Jamaica becomes the 1st woman third Umpire in men’s T20IJacqueline-WilliamsJacqueline Williams of Jamaica becomes the first woman third umpire in men’s international cricket match. The 43-year-old Jamaican woman oversaw all 3 matches of the Twenty20 International (T20I)  series in Grenada, West Indies between West Indies and Ireland.
Key Points:

i.43-years-old Jacqueline Williams stood as umpire in 2015 ICC Women’s World Twenty20 Qualifier tournament.
ii.In 2017, she was one of the four umpires in Women’s Cricket World Cup Qualifier. In 2019, she stood in her first One Day International (ODI) match between the United States (USA) and Papua New Guinea in the 2019 United States Tri-Nation Series.
iii.In May 2019, India’s Gandikota Sarva Lakshmi became the first woman to be appointed onto the ICC International Panel of Match Referees and oversaw the third series of the Men’s Cricket World Cup League 2 in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), becoming the first woman match referee in men’s ODIs.
About Jamaica:
Capital- Kingston
Currency- Jamaican dollar

OBITUARY

Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee & Odia Hindustani vocalist Sunanda Patnaik passed away at 85patnaikOn January 19,2020 Indian Classical Singer Sunanda Patnaik, 85 years old passed away in Kolkata, West Bengal due to age-related complications. She was famously known as ‘Guruma’ in the classical music circle. She is the daughter of renowned Odia poet Baikunthanath Patnaik and had composed many bhajans (devotional songs) both in Odia and Hindi.
Key Points:

i.Sunanda was a trained classical singer of Gwalior gharana (Hindustani classical music). She was popularly known for her devotional odia song ‘Jeevana Patra Mo Bhariccha Kete Mote’ which was penned by her father.
ii.Sunanda was born in Cuttack, Odisha, and started her singing career in All India Radio (AIR) at the age of 14 and completed her  Masters degree in Music by Pune School in 1956.
iii.She also received a scholarship in music from the first President of India, Dr. Rajendra Prasad.
iv.Achievements: Sunanda was honoured with the Sangeet Natak Akademi award in 1970 and 1971 and also the Central Sangeet Natak Akademi Award for the year 2012 for her contribution towards Hindustani classical music.
v.Sunanda also established the Vishnu Vinayak Sangeet Ashram in Kolkata & trained many Hindustani musicians.
About Kolkata:
Capital- West Bengal
Chief Minister (CM)- Mamatta Banerjee
Governor- Jagdeep Dhankhar

Former Haryana Congress Chief Shamsher Singh Surjewala passes away at 87shamsher-singh-surjewalaOn January 20, 2020 the former Haryana Congress Chief Shamsher Singh Surjewala passed away after in  All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) hospital, New Delhi after suffering from a brief illness. He was 87 and hailed from Haryana.
Key Points:

i.Shamsher Singh won from Narwana, Haryana in 1967, 1977, 1982, 1991, and 2005 (Kaithal) to be elected in Haryana Legislative Assembly and in 1992 he was elected to the Rajya Sabha as Member of Parliament (MP).
ii.He was the father of Congress national media in-charge and national spokesperson Randeep Singh Surjewala.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Book ‘Essays and Reminiscences: A Festschrift in Honour of Nani A Palkhivala’ released on noted jurist and economist Nani A PalkhivalaessaysOn January 16, 2020 the book ‘Essays & Reminiscences: A Festschrift in Honour of Nani A Palkhivala was released to mark the birth centenary anniversary of Indian Jurist and Economist Nanaboy “Nani” Ardeshir Palkhivala. The book is published by LexisNexis publications.
Key Points:

i.The book was commissioned by the Nani A Palkhivala Memorial Trust and edited by the senior advocate Arvind Datar.
ii.The book primarily divided into two parts essays written in honour of Palkhivala on a variety of subjects and reminiscences of those who knew and interacted with the late jurist.
iii.Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram G Rajan, Industrialist Ratan N Tata, Jurists Fali S Nariman, Soli J Sorabjee and K Parasaran and Justice (retired) S Ranganathan are some of the important contributors of the book.

Former Indian Cricketer WV Raman’s book ‘The Winning Sixer’, released by Anil Kumble in Bengaluru, KarnatakaWV Raman authored book ‘The Winning Sixer’, On January 17,2020 Woorkeri Venkat Raman (WV Raman), former Indian cricket team opener has authored a book ‘The  Winning Sixer: Leadership Lessons To Master’, which was released formally by Anil Radhakrishna Kumble during an event in Bengaluru, Karnataka. WV Raman is the current head coach of the national women’s cricket team. The book was published by Rupa Publications, India.
Key Points:

i.The book deals with all the attributes required for a leader that exists in each one of us.
ii.Anil Radhakrishna Kumble a former India Captain, P.Madhavan, Executive Vice-President, TVS Tyres and Rahul Dravid (former Indian Cricketer) were also present at the book launch event.

IMPORTANT DAYS

15th raising day of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) observed on 19 Jan 2020
On January 19, 2020, 15th Raising day of the National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) was celebrated in New Delhi. The Union Minister of State (MoS) for home affairs Shri Nityanand Rai was the chief guest on this occasion while Shri G.V.V. Sarma, Member Secretary, NDMA (National Disaster Management Authority) was the Guest of Honour. NDRF came into force on Jan 19, 2006.
Key Points:
i.2024 target set by NDRF: More than 4000 volunteers have alredat been trained, now NDRF is planning to give training for more than 70000 volunteers by 2024 at the local levels in different parts of the country.
ii.Service medal awarded:MoS for Home Affairs Shri Nityanand Rai presented the medals to the awardees of Distinguished Service Medals and trophies to the winner of school safety and best battalion sports competition.
iii.Booklet released: A booklet on SOPs (Standard Operating Procedure) was also released on the occasion.
iv.A workshop was also conducted on ‘Urban flooding & challenges’ and ‘Biological Emergencies & New Technology in Disaster Management’.
v.Participants:The program was attended by the Heads of premier disaster management Institutes, senior officers of Central Police Forces and officials from various central agencies.
vi.Achievements by NDRF: NDRF has saved more than 1 lakh lives in its 3100 operations and rescued/evacuated over 6.7 lakh people during disasters since 2006.

National Immunization Day observed on January 19, 2020
National Immunization Day (NID) also known as ‘Polio Ravivar’ was observed on January 19, 2020. The Pulse Polio Programme 2020 was conducted as a part of National Immunization Day across the country. The programme aims to protect children less than five years from Polio disease and to eliminate Poliomyelitis in India.
Key Points:
i.This year nearly 17.4 crore children across the country were administered under the programme. Puducherry chief minister Narayanasamy also launched the Intensified Pulse Polio Immunization (IPPI) in Puducherry.
ii.In India, Pulse Polio Immunization Programme was launched in 1995.
iii.As per the reports the last cases of wild polio in India were in West Bengal and Gujarat on January 13, 2011.
iv.On March 27, 2014 the World Health Organization (WHO) declared India a polio free country.
About WHO:
Founded- April 7, 1948
Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland
Director-General- Tedros Adhanom

AC BYTES

Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupan flagged off  Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express 
Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupani has flagged off Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express, from Ahmedabad, Gujarat which is the second premium train, after Lucknow – New Delhi Tejas Express, to be run by Railway subsidiary IRCTC (Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation), covering the distance of 491 km and running at a top speed of130 kmph.

Current Affairs Headlines: 19 & 20 January 2020 

  1. Law minister inaugurated NIC’s Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru, Karnataka
  2. Gujarat leads in water efficiency survey under National hydrology project, Delhi among worst performing states
  3. 3rd International symposium on marine ecosystems challenges and opportunities (MECOS) 2020 held in Kochi, Kerala
  4. For the 1sttime, Govt to collect data including families headed by transgenders for census 2021
  5. President Kovind lays foundation stone of Lakshadweep’s 1st super specialty hospital at Kavaratti
  6. Centre to cut wasteful expenditure on travel and food by 20 % to control fiscal deficit
  7. Union ministers Prakash javadekar, R K Singh inaugurate 14th edition of ELECRAMA 2020 being held in Greater Noida, UP
  8. Magh Bihu festival celebrated in Assam
  9. 1st of Krishi Manthan 2020 begins in Ahmedabad, Gujarat
  10. Union HRD Minister inaugurated 28th New Delhi World Book Fair 2020 in New Delhi
  11. WEF’s 1st Global Social Mobility Index 2020: India ranks 76th & Denmark tops the list
  12. Highlights of NSA Ajit Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka; $50mn assistance pledged to SL
  13. Lok sabha speaker Om Birla attends  25th conference of speakers and presiding officers 2020 in Ottawa,Canada
  14. WGC: RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops
  15. UN revises India’s GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 5% from 5.7%
  16. ‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline app’ won e-Governance Award of Excellence 2019 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha
  17. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: 4th Indian to receive highest Australian civilian honour
  18. General Satinder Kumar Saini appointed as the new vice Chief of Army Staff
  19. Arjun Munda becomes President of Archery Association of India (AAI)
  20. India successfully test-fired SLBM K-4 of 3,500 kilometer range in Visakhapatnam coast in Andhra Pradesh
  21. Jacqueline Williams of Jamaica becomes the 1st woman third Umpire in men’s T20I
  22. Sangeet Natak Akademi awardee & Odia Hindustani vocalist Sunanda Patnaik passed away at 85
  23. Former Haryana Congress Chief Shamsher Singh Surjewala passes away at 87
  24. Book ‘Essays and Reminiscences: A Festschrift in Honour of Nani A Palkhivala’ released on noted jurist and economist Nani A Palkhivala
  25. Former Indian Cricketer WV Raman’s book ‘The Winning Sixer’, released by Anil Kumble in Bengaluru, Karnataka
  26. 15th raising day of National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) observed on 19 Jan 2020
  27. National Immunization Day observed on January 19, 2020
  28. Gujarat Chief Minister Vijay Rupan flagged off  Ahmedabad-Mumbai Tejas Express

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