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Current Affairs January 25 2019

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Current Affairs January 25 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

15th Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas Convention held in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh
On 21st January 2019, the celebration of 15th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas was commenced in Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh. Prime Minister of Mauritius, Mr. Pravind Jugnauth was the chief Guest of Convention. The theme of this year’s Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas (PBD) convention was “Role of Indian Diaspora in building New India”.

  • PM inaugurates Centers of Excellence at Deen Dayal Hastkala Sankul in Varanasi and released two books which are “Kashi: The Universe of Crafts and Textiles” and “Indian Textiles: History, splendor, Grandeur”.
  • President of India presented the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Awards to 30 Non Resident Indians (NRIs), Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) and organizations run by NRIs or PIOs.
  • Mauritius will organize the first Bhojpuri Festival in 2020 and also will hold a Bhagwad Gita Mahotsav in partnership with the Haryana Government in February 2019…………………………….Click here to Read more

Prime Minister launches Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana
On 22nd January 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi launched Pravasi Teerth Darshan Yojana in New Delhi. Under this scheme a group of Indian origin currently in different nations will be taken to all religious places in India twice a year.
Key Points:
i. Eligibility criteria for the scheme is the person should be Indian origin and aged between 45 to 65. The group will be selected out of them with first preference given to people from ‘Girmitiya Countries’ such as Mauritius, Fiji, Suriname, Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica.
ii. First batch with 40 members are at Pravasi Bharatiya Divas and will begin their tour from there.
iii. Religious places of all major religious in India are included in the scheme and Government will bear all the expenses including the airfare from their country of residence.
iv.Prime Minister Modi also inaugurated Centers of Excellence at Deen Dayal Hastkala Sanku.He also released two books ‘Kashi: The Universe of Crafts and Textiles’ and ‘Indian Textiles: History, Splendour, Grandeur’.

Cabinet decides to strengthen NE autonomous councils
On 23rd January 2019, the Union Cabinet approved the landmark amendment to Article 280 of the Constitution to increase the financial and executive powers of the 10 Autonomous Councils in Sixth Schedule areas of North East.
Key Points:
i. About 1 crore tribal people living in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram will benefit by the amendment.
ii. According to the approval, Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Tripura, Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council are the places where State Finance Commissions will be set up.
iii. The autonomous councils which till now had to depend on grants from Central Ministries and the State governments for specific projects would get financial resources upon the recommendation of newly constituted Finance Commission.
iv. The elections of Autonomous Councils, village and municipal councils in the scheduled areas of Assam, Mizoram and Tripura would be conducted by State Election Commissions. This will facilitate elected village municipal councils ensuring democracy at the grass-roots level.
v. The village and municipal councils will have to reserve at least one third of the seats for women. Two nominated members in all the autonomous councils will be women.
vi. Furthermore additional 30 subjects including departments of Public Works, Forests, Public Health Engineering, Health and Family Welfare, Urban Development and Food and Civil Supply would be transferred to Karbi Anglong Autonomous Territorial Council and Dima Hasao Autonomous Territorial Council in Assam.
vi. The proposed amendments would enhance the funds available to the local government institutions for undertaking development works in the tribal areas.
vii. As far now, Meghalaya has chosen to opt out of the election provision.
About Ministry for Development of North Eastern Region (MDoNER):
♦ Minister of State: Jitendra Singh (Independent Charge)
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi 

Article 35A:Supreme court to take in chamber decision on plea challenging the legislation
On January 22, 2019, 45th Chief Justice of India Ranjan Gogoi announced to take consideration on early hearing about the allegation raised on Article 35A.
i. Article 35A, was incorporated in the Constitution 1954 , which issues special rights and privileges to the citizens of Jammu and Kashmir and restricts the people from outside the state from acquiring any immovable property in the state
ii. In previous hearing,it is noted that,if a woman marries outside the state she is denied of her rights and everything whereas if it is a man,he and his spouse gets every single right that is applicable to them,over all it is undeniable that gender discrimination prevails in the implementation of the Article 35A

Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurates National Declamations Contest on Patriotism and nation building
On 24th January 2019, Minister of state of Youth affairs and Sports (Independent Charge) Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurates National declamation contest on Patriotism and nation building.

Rajyavardhan Rathore inaugurates National Declamations Contest on Patriotism and nation buildingKey Points 
i. It was organized by Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan (NYKC) along with Department of Youth affairs. The contest has been conducting since 2015-16.
ii. Minister said that India is a country of diversities and therefore symbols like National Flag and National Anthem are necessary to inculcate feeling of belongings and Patriotism.
iii. It aims to further strengthen the spirit of nationalism in youth and whole hearted participation in nation building.
iv. It will enable the government to take lead in understanding the functions and policies of the government towards nation building.
v. The contest helps to identify youth with leadership qualities and good communication skills for their development.
vi. The contest will be block level, District level and state level declamation contest for the years 2018-19 which is organized from September 2018 to 15th January 2019.

India Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX) 2019 to be held in Pune
On 23rd January 2019, the final planning conference to work out the modalities for India Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX) which is to be held from 18th to 27th March 2019 commenced in Pune, Maharashtra.
Key Points
i. India Africa Field Training Exercise (IAFTX) 2019 will boost strategic Cooperation, political and military ties between the countries.
ii. Representatives from Egypt, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, South Africa, Tanzania, Namibia, Mozambique, Uganda, Niger, and Zambia are attending the conference.
iii. Field Training Exercise will be carried out at Aundh Military station and College of Military Engineering in Pune.
iv. At present, the Chinese Military has spread its tentacles in Africa through military hardware cooperation. The exercise will unify humanitarian action and joint peace operation.
v. As part of the exercise initial planning conference was held in December 2018. IAFTX will be the first ever exercise with several armies from Africa although Indian armed forces had given training to some military personnel from few African Nations.
About Maharashtra 
♦ Capital: Mumbai
♦ CM: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor: C Vidyasagar Rao

Neermahal:Logo for Tripura tea unveiled
On January 20, 2019,Tripura’s chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb launched the logo for Tripura’s tea in Agartala,which features Neermahal which would enhances its popularity all over the world.

Logo for Tripura tea unveiledi. ‘NeerMahal’ is the Tripura’s logo which is a iconic place in Tripura and it is one of the largest water palace in India among the two water palace.The other water palace of India is located at Jal Mahal in Rajasthan.
ii. Tripura is the second largest tea producer with 10 million kg tea produced annually.
iii. The logo was designed by artist and designer Aparesh Paul.

Telangana to set up ‘Save Tiger Protection Force’
On January 22, 2019,The Telangana government decided to form a ‘State Tiger  Protection Force'(STPF) committee to save the Big  cat population in the State.State Forest Protection Committee headed by chief Secretary S.K Joshi has decided to form STPF.
i. The State and Central government will share the cost of the ‘State Tiger  Protection Force'(STPF) with 112 members headed by the assistant conservator of the forest on40:60 basis.   
ii. They are organised to protect the tiger population in the areas of Amarabad and Kawal tiger reserves. iii. Fund amount of 2.25cr was also sanctioned to protect the tigers and to prevent forest fire accidents


The Global Commission on the Future of Work calls for fundamental changes in health at work

On 22nd January 2019,According to report ‘Work for a Brighter Future’ WHO in collaboration with International Labour Organisation(ILO) to form a global committee to implement the fundamental changes in current work to face the unprecedented change and exceptional challenges like globalization, rapid technological development, demographic transition and climate change.

WHO with the support of ILO and OECD implemented the five-year ‘Working for Health’ ,global action plan that would ensure the necessary workforce for universal health coverage and stimulating economic growth

India signs MoU with Sri Lanka to modernize facilities at Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Batticaloa , Sri Lanka
On January 21, 2019,India and Sri Lanka signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that would provide modern infrastructural facilities to Swami Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies of Eastern University in Batticaloa district of Sri Lanka.

India signs MoU with Sri Lanka to modernize facilities at Vipulananda Institute of Aesthetic Studies in Batticaloa in Sri LankaKey Points:
i. The MoU was signed by High Commissioner of India to Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu, and  Secretary, Minister of City Planning, Water Supply and Higher Education M.M.P.K. Mayadunne.
ii. Our government have sanctioned a total amount of 275 million sri lankan rupee as a support to modernise facilities in the institute
iii. The project involved renovation of the auditorium and construction of a new building with recording cum editing facilities for the institute
Important facts about Sri Lanka:
♦ Capitals: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
♦ Prime minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena

World’s longest 3D printed concrete bridge opened in china
On January 22, 2019,world’s longest 3D printed concrete bridge was opened in china.It is located on the Wenzaobang River in Shanghai.

World's longest 3D printed concrete bridge opened in chinai. The Bridge is designed by Professor Xy Weiguo from Tsinghua University in China.
ii. The bridge is of  26.3 metre-long and 3.6-metre-wide and is made out of 44 hollowed-out 3D printed concrete blocks.
iii. The newly-opened bridge is made with a technology that supplies data and also vibrating wire stress sensors.


SBI Ecowrap Report recommends Unconditional Cash Transfer to Farmers
On 22nd January 2019, State Bank of India recommended Unconditional Cash Transfer to farmers to alleviate the agrarian distress instead of Universal Basic Income (UBI) scheme in its Ecowrap report.
Key Points
i. Initiating Rythu Bandhu Scheme on national level may not be feasible presently because land data in several states including Bihar, Jharkhand, Gujarat and Tamil Nadu is not yet digitized.
ii. The Report suggested that Government should consider Unconditional Cash Transfer scheme until the problems are ironed out in terms of proper tenancy laws because it will be more equitable (on per farmer basis) with meaning full impact.
iii. As per the report, The Government had estimated Agriculture Subsidy (Plus Support) at Rs 98,100 crore in the 2019-20 budget which includes 13,000 crore for Crop Insurance, 15,000 crore for Interest Subsidy and Rs. 70,100 crore for Fertilizer subsidy.
iv. As per the SBI Ecowrap Report, Government needs to provide cash support in the range of Rs. 10000 to Rs 12000 per annum to make it completely cash neutral and such as scheme would cost government about 1.2 lakh crore per annum.
About State Bank of India
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairman: Rajnish Kumar


Indian economy may grow 7.4% in FY19, 7.6% in FY20: UN report
On 23rd January 2019, the United Nations released the World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) report which projected India’s gross domestic product (GDP) to grow at 7.4 per cent during 2018-19 and improve to 7.6 per cent in the next fiscal.
Key Points:
i.  Besides the report projected that the gross domestic product (GDP) of India in 2020-21 will grow at 7.4 per cent.
ii. The robust private consumption, a more expansionary fiscal stance and benefits from previous reforms are the major pulling forces for India’s Economic growth.
iii. But according to the report a crucial challenge which needs to be addressed to uplift medium-term growth is a more robust and sustained recovery of private investment.
iv. The report also pointed out feeble job creation rates in the formal sector which has left many workers underemployed or in low-salary jobs, with the situation for youth particularly worrisome.
v. Besides the UN report said the size and composition of public budgets have been important in promoting growth in India and any reduction of the fiscal deficit in the near term will be difficult because of prioritization of subsidies and welfare payments.
vi. The global economy is expected to grow at a steady pace of around 3 per cent in 2019 and 2020 but global trade tensions pose a threat to the economic outlook according to the report.
vii.The rising financial, social and environmental challenges are the major concerns over the sustainability of global economic growth according to the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019.
About United Nations:
♦ Secretary General: António Guterres
♦ UN General Assembly President: María Fernanda Espinosa
♦ Headquarters: New York, United States
♦ Founded: 24 October 1945

United Nations released World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 report
On 21st January 2019, the United Nations released the World Economic Situation and Prospects 2019 (WESP) report which projected the Global growth to remain at 3.0 per cent in 2019 and 2020. The report was produced by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UN/DESA), the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) and the UN’s five regional economic commissions((ECA), (ECE), (ECLAC), (ESCAP) and (ESCWA).
Key Points:
i. In 2018 the Global Economy grew with a flat rate of 3.1 %.The report stated that more than half the world’s economies growth rate accelerated in 2017 and 2018.
ii. The report cautioned that the constant growth rate in the global economy hides an increase in downside risks that could potentially exacerbate development challenges in many parts of the world.
iii. The trade tensions which are accelerating are causing an impact on global trade and employment.
iv. The report suggested that the countries which are facing the problem of rising national debt and thus are unable to provide basic services and those which are affected from climate change and waning support for international cooperation could avoid or minimize such situation if they work together.
v. For Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), including Russia the overall growth is forecast as slow to two per cent, and 2.5 per cent in 2020.
vi. The report further noted that the US-China trade tension had led to a fall in global trade levels in 2018, from 5.3 per cent in 2017, to 3.8 per cent.
vii. The result of trade war is that China which grew at 6.6 % in 2018 is expected to grow at 6.3% in 2019. Unless the dispute is settled, the developing countries may suffer the fallout too, due to this.
viii.The strengthening of the dollar and rise in interest rates in the US could make matters worse for fragile emerging economies. This could lead a substantial rise in interest repayments on debt in many low-income countries.
ix. The report warned that the effect of ‘Brexit’ fallout might affect the countries outside the EU, with a possible “10-15 per cent decline in funding available to EU accession countries”.The full report is available in UN/DESA official website :
About United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA)
Under Secretary General: Liu Zhenmin


Kerala’s oldest student made commonwealth Learning Ambassador
On 23rd January 2019, Karthiyani Amma from Kerala became Commonwealth Learning Goodwill Ambassador. She was the oldest ever candidate to appear for Kerala Literacy Mission’s Akshara Laksham (Million Letters) literacy exam.
Key Points 
i. Karthiyani Amma is from Alappuzha district in Kerala. She secured top position with 98% marks in Kerala Literacy Mission’s Akshara Laksham (million letters) literacy exam for Grade 4. She was 96 year old.
ii. Her story will now inspire other commonwealth countries and it also aims at promoting distant education in the member countries.
iii. Literacy exam includes reading, writing and Mathematics skills. Her next aim is to clear Class 10 equivalent. She started learning computer in a laptop which was gifted by Kerala Education.
iv. Commonwealth of learning is works for furthering education in the commonwealth nations and Akshara Laksham programme was launched by the government of Kerala on 26th January 2018 to achieve 100 percent literacy in the slate about Kerala.
About Kerala
♦ Capital : Thiruvananthapuram
♦ CM: Pinarayi Vijayan

Government institutes Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar
On January 23, 2019,The government formed an annual award titled Subhash Chandra Bose Aapda Prabandhan Puraskar. This award is to be awarded every year on 23rd January, the birth anniversary of Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose.The Award carries a  certificate and a cash prize of 51 lakh rupees.
i. For the year 2019, 8th Battalion of National Disaster Response Force located at Ghaziabad is selected for its work in disaster management.
ii. The award is a honour to acknowledge the contribution and selfless service of organisations and individuals to humanity in any kind disaster.


Burkina Faso President appoints Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire as new Prime Minister
On 23rd January 2019, West African country Burkina Faso President appointed Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire new Prime Minister as Paul Kaba Theiba and his cabinet resigned last week.

Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire new Prime MinisterKey Points:
i. Christophe Joseph Marie Dabire is a politician and economist. He takes the reins of government at the time when Burkina Faso is economic and security challenges.
ii. He worked as commissions for 10 years at the West African economical and Monetary Union. He served as ministers under former President Blaise Compaore between 1994 and 1996
iii. Dabire was head of the department of health between 1992 to 1997 and Higher Education and Scientific Research between 1997 to 2000
iv. He was a member of the National assembly from 1997 to 2007 under the former ruling partner.
v. Thieba did not give reasons for his resignation. It is evident that growing concerns over terrorists threats and social uneasiness are said to be the reasons.
About Burkina Faso
♦ Capital: Ouagadougou
♦ Currency: Franc
♦ President: Roch Marc Christian Kabore.

Piyush Goyal named interim Finance & Corporate Affairs minister
On January 24, 2019,The President of India appointed Piyush Goyal as the interim finance and corporate affairs minister because of Arun Jately’s health issues.Piyush Goyal’s tenure as a interim finance Minister will be till August 2019.

Piyush Goyal named interim Finance & Corporate Affairs ministerKey points:
i. Jaitley will be designated as a minister without a portfolio during his period of indisposition.
ii. Being the interim finance and corporate affair minister,he will present the budget on February 1
iii. This is second time , Goyal has been given charge of the Finance Ministry.
Important fact about Piyush Goyal:
♦ He is the Minister of Railways and coal
♦ Constituency‎: ‎Maharashtra

Ranveet Gill to replace Rana Kapoor as the Yes bank’s MD and CEO 
On January 24, 2019,Yes bank got its approval to appoint Deutsche Bank India head Ravneet Singh Gill as the successor to Rana Kapoor.His tenure will begin from March 1,2019.
Important Facts:
i. Yes Bank ‘s hunt for new CEO ended up in Ranveet Gill as RBI rejected Rana Kapoor’s query extend to next three years.
ii.  Though Kapoor’s CEO position ends up on January 31, 2019,He will still hold 10 percent in the bank share and will be entitled as the ‘Indian Partner’
iii. Kapoor’s term at the bank ends on Jan. 31, after which there will be a month-long gap before Gill takes over,so the board of directors have decided to appoint a interim head to hold the post for that period.
Important facts about Yes Bank:
♦ Headquarters Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
♦ Rana Kapoor is the longest serving MD and CEO in the private banking sector


Reliance Industries gets CCI nod to acquire Hathway, DEN
On January 22, 2019,The Competition Commission of India gave approval to Reliance Industries for the acquisition of Den Networks and Hathway Cable and Datacom
Reliance acquired 66% in DEN and 51.3% in Hathway for total cost of Rs 5,230 crore.Out of which,In DEN, RIL is making a primary investment of Rs 2,045 crore through a preferential issue and secondary purchase of Rs 245 crore from existing promoters. In Hathway, RIL is investing Rs 2,940 crore .


Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba Commissioned new Naval Air Base ‘INS KOHASSA’ at Diglipur, Andaman
On 24th January 2019, Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba commissioned new Naval Air Base ‘INS KOHASSA’ at Diglipur, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
Key Points 
i. The air base is situated at the northernmost part of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. It will be used for both defence and civil aircraft.
ii. The air base will function as an independent unit and will be used to handle operations of helicopters and small aircrafts like the Dornier.
iii. INS Kohassa being the third air base in Andaman and Nicobar Islands will be used for surveillance of Chinese ships and submarines entering the Indian Ocean through Malacca Strait.
iv. The probable reason behind INS Kohassa is a Chinese submarine docked on Colombo port in Sri Lanka in 2014 which drew an alarm and India government raised the issue to Sri Lankan authorities.
About Andaman and Nicobar Islands 
♦ Capital: Port Blair
♦ National Parks (NP): Saddle peak NP, Rani Jhansi NP, Mount Harriet NP

Online inter-state trade through the e-NAM portal started
On 19th January 2019, the inter-state trade through e-NAM was initiated with the first trade of 8.46 quintal of groundnut between a farmer from Gadwal Mandi in Telangana and a trader from Kurnool in Andhra Pradesh.
Key Points
i.  The e-NAM, a pan India electronic trading portal aims to network the existing physical regulated wholesale market also known as APMC market thorough a virtual platform in order to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
ii. the e-NAM portal has integrated the 585 Regulated markets in 16 states and 2 Union Territories with trading in 124 commodities on the common e-market platform.
iii. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi launched the e-NAM portal on 14th April 2016 in 21 Mandis across 8 states with for trading in 24 commodities.
iv. The Government plans expand the e-NAM project and integrate 415 more mandis by Marsh 2020.
v. As of now, 2.29 crores market trades with value more than Rs 60000 crore has been initiated on the e-NAM portal.


Bengali writer Atin Bandyopadhyay passes away
On January 19, 2019,Veteran Bengali writer Atin Bandyopadhyay passed away in kolkata due to brain stroke.
i. He received Sahitya Akademi award for his compilation of short story “Panchashati Galpo
ii. Some of other ficition written by him are ‘Aloukik Jaljaan’, ‘Nil Timi’, ‘Ekti Jaler Rekha’
iii.His masterpiece was a four part tetra-logy on the partion : Nilkantha Pakhir Khonje,”Manusher Gharbari” Aloukik Jalajan and Ishwarer Bagan.  
iv. He was also entitled with the Bankim Puraskar (1998) for his work Dui Bharatbarsho.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Russell Baker Died At 93
On January 23, 2019,Pulitzer winning author yet well known for his columns in The New York Times passed away at the age of 93 due to severe health complications.

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Columnist Russell Baker DiedBaker won Pulitzers in 1979 for the “Observer,” the Times column , and in 1983 for his autobiography “Growing Up”


Ministry of women and Child Development to celebrate National Girl Child Day-24th January
On 24th January 2019, the nation celebrated National Girl Child Day 2019 through various programmes including awareness campaign on save girl child, child sex ratios and creating a healthy and safe environment for a girl child throughout the country.

National Girl Child DayKey Points:
i. The theme for National Girl Child Day 2019 is “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow”.
ii. On the occasion the Ministry of Women and Child Development (MWCD) organised an event at Pravasi Bharti Kendra, Chankyapuri, New Delhi.
iii. The event which was graced by Union Minister, MWCD, Maneka Sanjay Gandhi as Chief Guest and Minister of State MWCD, Dr. Virendra Kumar as the Guest of Honour also observed the anniversary of Beti Bachao Beti Padhao (BBBP)Scheme.
iv. During the event a compilation of 38 Innovative Activities titled “Innovations under BBBP” from districts across the country was also released.
v. The WCD Minister Maneka Gandhi also felicitated the Principal Secretaries and Commissioners of the 5 States for their overall support, guidance and monitoring of the Scheme.
About Ministry of Women and Child Development:
♦ Minister: Maneka Sanjay Gandhi
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Virendra Kumar

Uttar Pradesh celebrates it’s 69th foundation day
on January 24, 2019,Uttar Pradesh celebrated it’s 69th foundation day in Lucknow as “UP DIVAS”.
Uttar Pradesh earlier known as United Province, got its name as Uttar Pradesh on January 24, 1950.

International Day of Education: 24 January
24th January is observed as International Day of Education
i. On 3 December 2018, the United Nations General Assembly decided to celebrate 24 January as International Day of Education, in a way to appraise the role of education for peace and development.
ii. The right to education is represented in article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
Important news about January 24
24th of January is also celebrated as National girl child day with the theme for 2019 as “Empowering Girls for a Brighter Tomorrow”