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Current Affairs January 26 2019

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Current Affairs January 26 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Dharmendra pradhan launches new reforms to strengthen Jan Shikshan Santhans
On January 24,2019,Dharmendra Pradhan,Minister of skill development implemented new reforms  for Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSS) to enhance skill ecosystem and entrepreneurship in most of the remotest areas of India under centre’s flagship programme Skill India at the National Conference for Jan Shikshan Sansthan (JSSs) in NewDelhi.

Dharmendra pradhan launches new reforms to strengthen Jan Shikshan SanthansGuidelines  made:
i. Aligning of JSS program and curriculum to Nationwide Talent Qualification Framework (NSQF) to enhance teaching.
ii. Decentralisation of powers for JSSs by supplying additional accountability and independence to district administration
iii. To identify and endorse common skills in the district
iv. Evidence  based evaluation procedure
v. Straightforward online certification
vi. Linking JSS to Community Finance Administration program (PFMS) to manage transparency and accountability of the ecosystem
vii. School for trainers to enhance their capacity through Countrywide Capabilities Coaching Institutes (NSTIs).
New portal:
The Ministry also released the new JSS site ( which will furnish information and facts on action ideas, databases of beneficiaries and stakeholders, details of finance and expenditure and other ongoing development projects that are on process.
About Jan Shikshan Santhans:
Previously known as Shramik Vidyapeeth was renamed as Jan Shikshan Santhans in april,2000.It is successful in providing skill development programmes to every remote areas of the country for past 50 years.

Centre decided to renovate 400 abandoned airstrips Jharkhand is the first state to develop one such strip
On January 25,2019, The Centre decided to renovate and develop around 400 abandoned airstrips across the country to strengthen air-connectivity,and Jharkhand is the first state to develop airstrip in Dhalbhumgarh .
i. Airports Authority of India prepared a Memorandum of Understanding with a motive to renovate air strips  and asked for support from all the 29 states and seven Union Territories.
ii. Modern airport at Dhalbhumgarh is to be renovated with the initial amount of 100cr and would be completed in 18 months
Important facts about Jharkhand:
♦ Capital: Ranchi
♦ Chief minister: Raghubar Das

Second edition of Tamil Nadu Global Investor Meet 2019 held in Chennai
On 23rd January 2019, the second edition of Tamil Nadu government’s ambitious two-day Global Investors Meet (GIM) 2019 which aimed at showcasing the state’s potential business opportunities and wooing investment was inaugurated at Chennai Trade Centre, Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The event was attended by over 250 companies from 10 countries. The Investors Meet Concluded on 24th January 2019.

Second edition of Tamil Nadu Global Investor Meet 2019 held in ChennaiKey Points:
i. The event was inaugurated by Tamil Nadu Chief Minister Edapadi Palaniswami in the presence of Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Deputy Chief Minister of Tamil Nadu O. Pannerselvam and Industries Minister of Tamil Nadu M.C. Sampath.
ii. This year focus will be given on key 12 sectors including automobile, textiles, aerospace, agro and food processing, pharmaceutical and chemicals, tourism, housing and construction, Electronics and hardware, Skill Development, Heavy Engineering, MSMEs and Information and Technology.
iii. The objective of the event is to position Tamil Nadu as the investor’s choice besides showcasing its potential business opportunities. Rs.75 crore had been allocated by the state government to conduct the two-day event.
iv. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu attended the valedictory session on 24th January, 2019.
v. The event had managed to exceed the target investment of Rs 2 lakh crore and has witnessed the signing of 304 Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) worth Rs 3.4 lakh crore with promise of job opportunities for about 10.5 lakh people in the state.
vi. There was special focus on MSMEs this year for which over 32,206 crore rupees of investment has been committed.
vii. Besides an Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) arm has committed an investment of Rs 27,450 crore for a project and power PSU NLC is investing Rs 23,800 crore.
viii. Some of the other investment commitments are explained below:

    • CPCL will invest Rs 7,400 crore in Nagapattinam district for a petroleum refinery.
    • Automobile giant Hyundai to invest Rs 7,000 crore for the expansion and to commence the manufacture of electric cars in Tamil Nadu.
    • MRF will invest Rs 2,100 crore to expand the existing establishments in Perambalur and Vellore districts.
    • Foxconn agreed to invest Rs 2,500 crore to manufacture the premium brand smart phones in the state.
    • GSE Avigna has signed MoU for setting up a mega food park with an investment of 2,000 crore rupees.
    • Adani group has committed to invest Rs 10,000 crore for the expansion of Kattupalli Port, north of Chennai.
    • PSA France will invest Rs 1,250 crore for manufacturing of Peugeot cars in Tiruvallur district
    • Eicher Motor is planning an expansion plan worth Rs 1,500 crore.

Background Information:
The first edition of GIM held in 2015 had attracted 98 MoUs worth Rs 2.42 lakh crore.
About Tamil Nadu:
♦ Chief Minister: Edapadi Palaniswami
♦ Deputy Chief Minister: O. Pannerselvam
♦ Governor: Banwarilal Purohit
♦ Capital: Chennai.

Nigrani, Nireekshan and Nakabandi-Exervise Sea Vigil
From 22nd January 2019, India’s largest-ever Coastal Defence Exercise, Exercise Sea Vigil was conducted over an intense 36-hour period across all nine Coastal States and four Union Territories.The Exercise was concluded on 23rd January 2019.
Key Points:
i. The exercise which witnessed the utilisation of India’s entire Coastal Security apparatus was co-planned and led by the Indian Navy and Coast Guard.
ii. All the Central and State agencies including the MHA,MoD,Customs,CISF,Dept of Fisheries,DGLL,DG Shipping,Port authorities and the Coastal police of all participating states participated and supported the exercise.
iii. The exercise was planned in two Phases. In Phase –I, Nigrani (a near-unbroken surveillance net along the entire coast of India and outlying islands) and Nireekshan (multi-agency teams deployment to check and audit important landing points including Fish Landing Centres and Vulnerable areas and important installations along the coast as well as in the hinterland) was conducted.
iv. The Phase II of the exercise saw attempts to penetrate and land dummy explosives by designated ‘RED’ forces comprising teams drawn from the Navy Coast Guard, Police and CISF. 
v. In Phase II of the exercise Nakabandi was undertaken in which many attacks were allowed to go-through to test robustness of Police.
vi. The exercise Sea Vigil 2019 which saw the largest mobilisation of maritime and coastal security machinery in India would now be conducted every two years besides the Sagar Kavach series of exercises.
About Indian Navy:
♦ Chief of the Naval Staff (CNS): Admiral Sunil Lanba
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
About Indian Coast Guard:
♦ Director General: Rajendra Singh
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi


Health research money increased by Rs 147 crore in India
On January 23,2019, G-Finder a project tracked on global investments into research and development (R&D) for neglected diseases by Indian Council of Medical Research was (ICMR) increased by Rs 147 crore.
i. India attained 4th position,US become the largest funder,on research and development,which is followed by UK.
ii. Indian Council of Medical Research (ICMR) increased its funding for research and development for dengue and leptospirosis by Rs 6.5 crore and Rs 9.1 crore respectively.
iii. Over all the amount invested on research and development reached the height of USD 3.5 billion this year.


BIS in Collaboration with IAF Releases New Standard for Bio-Jet Fuel
On 24th January 2019, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) in collaboration with Indian Air Force (IAF) released a new standard for Aviation Turbine Fuels (ATF) which can be used as bio-jet fuel on all military and civilian aircraft.

BIS in Collaboration with IAF Releases New Standard for Bio-Jet FuelKey Points:
i. The new specifications will allow Indian standards of bio-jet fuel to align with current international standards.
ii. A committee comprising of domain experts was tasked to originate the required standards. It formulated Indian Standard IS 17081:2019 Aviation Turbine Fuel (Kerosene Type, Jet A-1) containing Synthesised Hydrocarbons, after a series of deliberations over the past nine months.
iii. The new standards were released by Air Marshal RKS Shera AVSM VSM, Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance, Indian Air Force and Mrs Surina Rajan, Director General Bureau of Indian Standards, at Air HQs.
iv. With the new standard, the oil companies would be enabled to manufacture bio-jet fuel for the Indian aviation industry. 
v. This standard could reduce the carbon emissions and help India become a green fuel production hub in line with the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation (CORSIA) which is released by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) and is to be adopted by 2027.
About India Air Force:
♦ Chief of the Air Staff: Birender Singh Dhanoa
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
About International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO):
♦ Headquarters: Montreal, Canada
♦ Secretary General: Dr. Fang Liu
♦ President: Dr. Olumuyiwa Benard Aliu

China to become world’s biggest retail market in 2019: Research firms eMarket
On 24th January 2019, Research firm eMarket predicted that China will become world’s biggest retail market in 2019. According to the report, the sale boom is a result of China’s rising incomes and thriving e-commerce.
Key Points
i. The report says China will overtake US in 2019 and total retail sales will grow 7.5% to reach 5.636 trillion USD in 2019, while US will grow 3.3% to 5.529 trillion.
ii. One- fifth of the country’s total sales in 2018 was from e-commerce which is a major driver of China’s retail economy.
iii. As per predictions US share of the global e-commerce market is expected to drop to 15 percent by 2022. By the end of 2019, China will have 55.8 percent of all online retail sales globally which is also expected to exceed 63% by 2022.
About China:
♦ Capital- Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi
♦ President- Xi Jinping


NRL receives Best Miniratna PSU award
On 25th January 2019 Numaligarh Refinery Limited (NRL) received best Miniratna PSU in strategic performance financial category award at an award function held In New Delhi.
Key Points
i. Numaligarh Refinery Limited is a mini ratna company in Assam owned by Bharat Petroleum. It is a joint venture between Bharat Petroleum, Oil India and Government of Assam.
ii. The award was declared at the Sixth PSU awards held at New Delhi. The awards are given out in recognition to the effect of Public Sector Undertakings (PSU) who have played a key role in Country’s growth.
iii. NRL received award in strategic performance under financial category. It is evaluated by a two phase rigorous process by data science agency MT6 Analytics. The performance are measured using Moody’s methodology.
iv. The award presented to Managing Director of NRI by members of parliament (MP) Manoj Tiwari and veteran actress and social activist Poonam Dhillon.


Sultan Abdullah elected new Malaysian King
On 24th January 2019, The Leaders of Malaysia’s royal houses, known as the “Conference of Rulers” elected 59 years old Sultan Abdullah who is the ruler of the Malaysian state of Pahang as new King for the period of 5 years under a system of rotational monarchy which is unique to Malaysia following the abdication of previous monarch Sultan Muhammad V after 2 years on the throne.

Sultan Abdullah elected new Malaysian KingKey Points:
i.Malaysia has an Unique Constitutional Monarchy where Rulers are elected from nine hereditary state rulers every 5 years.
ii. Sultan Nazrin Shah of Perak state was named as the deputy king as per the statement issued by the keeper of the Rulers’ Seal Syed Danial Syed Ahmad.
iii. For the first time in Malaysian history Sultan Muhammad V of Kelantan abdicated after just 2 years on the throne in January 2019.
iv. The sworn in ceremony is expected to be held on 31st January 2019. Sultan Abdullah sworn as Sultan of Pahang earlier this month.
About Malaysia:
♦ Capital- Kuala Lumpur, Currency- Ringgit
♦ Prime Minister- Mahathir Bin Mohamad

IndiGo appoints Ronojoy Dutta as CEO
On January  24, 2019,Aviation veteran and former president of United airlines Ronojoy Dutta was appointed CEO of Indigo airlines.He succeeds Aditya Ghosh.
i. IndiGo also appointed former Securities and Exchange Board of India (Sebi) chairman M Damodaran as chairman of the board and non-executive independent director.
ii. Ronojoy Dutta will remain as the company CEO for the next five years.

Parthasarathi Mukherjee t reappointed as the MD of Lakshmi Vilas Bank for another two years
On january 24,2019, Lakshmi Vilas Bank got approval from RBI and  reappointed Parthasarathi Mukherjee as its managing director for next two years. Mukherjee’s extended term will begin January 25 2019.
i. Previously,he served in Axis Bank and SBI in several position.
Important facts about Lakshmi Vilas Bank:
♦ MD & CEO- Parthasarathi Mukherjee
♦ Headquarters – Chennai, Tamil Nadu
♦ Tagline-  The Changing Face of prosperity


India enters $100 billion M&A club in 2018:Grant Thornton’s (GT) annual Dealtracker
As per the Grant Thornton’s (GT) annual report titled ‘Dealtracker’, India has entered the $ 100 billion club in the merger and acquisition (M&A) space in 2018.
Key Points:
i.  In the year 2018, for the first time 1,200 deals worth around $ 110 billion or Rs 71,000 crore were concluded in India in a year.
ii. As per the report, the deals in 2018 showed an 80% jump in value over 2017. In 2017 deals worth $ 60 billion were concluded while in 2016 it touched $ 57 billion.
iii. The rise in the value of M&A is expected to be the result of on-going capital market and regulatory reforms, constant amendments to reforms like Goods and Services Tax (GST), Real Estate Regulatory Authority (RERA), Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC), and efforts to improve ease of doing business in the country.
iv. The consolidation activity driven by expanding the market share, buying technology and diversifying market presence also helped in the surge in the M&A deal activities.
The growth in the deal space is expected to come down for the first two quarters in the current year.


DRDO launches Long Range Surface to Air Missile off Odisha coast
On 24 January 2019, Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) successfully launched Long Range Surface to Air Missile (LR-SAM) jointly developed by DRDO and Israel Aerospace Industries from INS Chennai off the coast of Odisha.
Key Points:
i. The missile was test launched from a mobile launcher at the Integrated Test Range (ITR) in Chandipur, Odisha. It was the result of a joint venture between India and Israel.
ii. LR-SAM will improve air defence capabilities. It also had a system which includes a Multi-Functional Surveillance and Threat Alert Radar (MF-STAR) for detection, tracking and guidance of the missile.
iii. MF-STAR will provide the users the capability to neutralise any aerial threats. The missile directly hit a low flying aerial target.
About Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO):
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi
♦ Secretary- G. Satheesh Reddy

ISRO’s PSLV C44 launched Kalamsat and imaging satellite Microsat R
On 25th January 2019, Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) successfully launched PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) C44 carrying Kalamsat V2 and imaging satellite Microsat R from Sathish Dhawan Space Centre, Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh.

ISRO's PSLV C44 launched Kalamsat and imaging satellite Microsat RKey Points :
i. Imaging satellite Microsat R will be used for military purposes. It is a small Indian earth observation satellite.
ii. Kalamsat is a communication satellite with one kilogram weight and a life span of 2 months. It is the lightest ever satellite launched by India.
iii. Space Kidz India- a group of college students and the members of a Chennai based organization built Kalamsat. Kalamsat is the first to use PS4 (the fourth stage of the vehicle) as a platform to orbit around the earth.India thus became the first country,which uses fourth and final stage of a rocket as an orbital platform for experiments.
iv. PSLV C44 which was assembled in 30 days was the first mission of a new variant of PSLV called the PSLV-DL.
v. PSLV C44 is the first launch for the India’s space agency in 2019. ISRO for the first time used only two boosters for the mission which was usually launched without any boosters.
About Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO):
♦ Headquarters- Bengaluru
♦ Director- Kailasavadivoo Sivan

UK to support nitrogen research in India
United Kingdom (UK) government has made an announced of a research project to study Nitrogen pollution in India and South AsiaSouth Asian Nitrogen Hub will be led by United Kingdom’s “Centre for Ecology and Hydrology” under the new partnership programme.
Key Points
i. The Project will include 50 organizations from across the United Kingdom (UK) and South Asia.
ii. The Research Project which is a five year programme with estimated worth of 19.6 million pounds (182 crore) is established by the funding from United Kingdom Research and Innovation ((UKRI).
iii. India is the only South Asian country which has completed its Nitrogen Assessment and now India is Co-leading the South Asian Assessment for the United Nations (UN) Environment.
iv. The Indian Institutes are that included in the project are as follows:

      • National Institute of Oceanography
      • Guru Gobind Singh Indraprastha University
      • Indian Institute of Tropical Meteorology
      • Jawaharlal Nehru University
      • Aligarh Muslim University
      • National Physical Laboratory
      • TERI University

About Nitrogen Pollution
Nitrogen pollution is one of the emerging environmental problem and it is caused by emissions from chemical fertilizers, livestock manure and burning of fossil fuels. The Nitrogen Pollution is linked with biodiversity loss, Ozone Depletion, Air pollution, pollution of rivers and seas. Nitrogen Pollution may leads to problems related to respiratory system and heart.
About United Kingdom
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound Sterling
♦ Prime Minister: Theresa May


Johan Botha retired from all forms of cricket
On January 24.2019, Former South African all-rounder Johan Botha announced his immediate retirement from all forms of cricket because of his physical illness.

ISRO's PSLV C44 launched Kalamsat and imaging satellite Microsat Ri. He played for south African national team from 2005 -2012.
ii. After 2012,he moved on to Australia and played in domestic country league,he took part under the team Hober Hurricanes


Jnanpith awardee, acclaimed author Krishna Sobti passes away at 93
On 25th January 2019,Demise of Hindi fiction writer and essayist,Jnanpith awardee as well, Krishna Sobti passed away,in New Delhi at the age of 93.She was born on 18th February, 1925 in Gujarat Punjab, British India.

ISRO's PSLV C44 launched Kalamsat and imaging satellite Microsat R

i.Her writings insinuate Punjabi, Urdu, and afterwards Rajasthani languages. Her works mainly underscores the issues of female identity.
ii. Notable writings- Mitro Marajani, Daar se Bichuchuri, Surajmukhi Andhere Ke
iii. Notable Awards- Sahitya Akademi Award (1980) for her novel ‘Zindaginama‘ , Sahitya Akademi Fellowship (1996) for her novel ‘Mitro Marajani’, Jnanpith Award (2017) for her contribution to Indian literature.

Ex-Goa governor Bhanu Prakash Singh died
On January 24, 2019, Former ex Goa Governor and head of the Narsinghgarh royal family Bhanu Praksh Singh passed away due to physical illness in Indore.
i.Singh was elected as an MP from the Rajgarh Lok Sabha seat in 1962 as an independent candidate. He later became close to former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, and joined the Congress in 1964.
ii.In 1991, he became the Governor of Goa.


Indian  Diplomat launches bilingual anthology in Brazil
On January 24, 2019, A new anthology titled ‘New Brazilian Poems’, translated and edited by Indian poet-diplomat Abhay Kumar was launched at the National Association of Writers of Brazil

i. He was  also honoured with the SAARC Literary Award 2013 for his contribution to contemporary South Asian Poetry.
ii. Some other works  of Abhay K. are The Seduction Of Delhi,The Eight-Eyed Lord of Kathmandu ,  The Prophecy of Brasilia , CAPITALS ,100 Great Indian Poems
iii. He also penned the SAARC anthem which was also accepted by 8 members and was also translated into different languages
Some facts about Brazil
♦ President: Jair Bolsonaro
♦ Capital: Brasília
♦ Currency: Brazilian real


Himachal Pradesh celebrates its 49th full Statehood day-25th January
On 25th January, 2019 Himachal Pradesh celebrates its 49th full Statehood Day at Kunihaar in Solan, in lieu of 18th state of India with the sterling presence of Prime Minister, Narendra Modi. At this occassion, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jairam Thakur encores for the speedy development along with an emphasis on backward classes and mass areas.
Discussed Issues:
i. 1 lakh 20 thousand people will get gas connections under the Ujjawala Yojana in the next 5 months.
ii. 5 lakh rupees health cover under the HIMCARE project having premium of Rs 1000.
iii. 10% reservation to general economically weaker sections.

India celebrates 9th National Voters Day on 25th January 2019
On 25th January 2019, India celebrated its 9th National Voters Day (NVD) across the country for enhanced participation of citizens in the electoral process by encouraging the newly eligible voters. The theme of this year’s National Voters Day (NVD) is ‘No voter to be left behind’. It is focused on the upcoming Lok Sabha Elections.

India celebrates 9th National Voters Day on 25th January 2019Key points:
i. To mark the Foundation day of Election Commission of India, which was established on 25th January 1950, the National Voters’ Day is celebrated all over the country on January 25 every year since 2011.
ii. The main function is being organised by the Election Commission of India at Manekshaw Centre, Delhi Cantt. and President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind was the chief guest at the main function. The main function was also attended by Union Law Minister Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.
iii. During the event a quarterly magazine named ‘My Vote Matters’ was launched and the first copy was offered to the President.
iv. Table tennis player and Commonwealth medallist Manika Batra who has been chosen as an ambassador by the office of the Delhi Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) also participated in the programme.
v. Besides the NVD is also being celebrated in over six lakh locations covering about ten lakh polling stations all over the country. In the polling station functions new Voters shall be felicitated and handed over their Elector Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
vi. In the main event, the Officers who performed outstandingly for the conduction of polls were conferred The National Awards for the Best Electoral Practices. 
vii. The main event was also attended by Chief Election Commissioners and senior officials from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka.
viii. To encourage Indian citizens to register themselves with the Election Commission of India Facebook has designed a remainder called ‘Register Now’ button which will be rolled out in 13 Indian languages. Besides Google also is sending pushed reminders to Android users to register themselves on the occasion of NVD.

Mizoram launches helpline, mobile app
On 25th January 2019, The Governor of Mizoram Shri Kummanam Rajasekharan launched the Voters Helpline Number – 1950 and mobile app for people with disabilities on the occasion of National Voters Day.
Key Points
i. The Mobile will help the Persons with Disability (PwD) to cast their votes and this move is aimed to enhance participation of People with Disability in the in the upcoming elections.
ii. Mizoram governor appealed to all the voters to cast their votes in the Lok Sabha elections expected to be held in May-June 2019 and ensure peaceful conduct of the polls.
About Mizoram
♦ Capital: Aizawl
♦ Governor: Kummanam Rajasekharan
♦ Chief Minister: Zoramthanga

Election Commission of India hosts International Conference on ‘Making our Elections Inclusive and Accessible
On 24th January 2019, the Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted an International Conference on ‘Making Our Elections Inclusive and Accessible’ on the occasion of 9th National Voters Day which is observed on 25th January every year. The conference was inaugurated by the Chief Election Commissioner of India, Shri Sunil Arora and Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa.
Key Points:
i. The conference was focused on sharing experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrolment and active participation in inclusive and accessible voting exercise in various countries. 
ii. Several dignitaries from six Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Kazakhstan, Maldives, Russia and Sri Lanka and Heads/Senior Representatives of International Organisations like Malaysian Commonwealth Studies Centre, U.K.; International Centre for Parliamentary Studies, U.K. and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA) also attend the National Voters Day celebrations.
iii. The quarterly magazine of Election Commission titled VOICE International’ was also released during the conference.
iv. The ECI also renewed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the Election Commission of Bhutan on the side-lines of the Conference. 

Millennials will be eligible to vote for the first time in 2019 General elections
On 25th January 2019, India’s President, Shri Ram Nath Kovind said that Millennials will be eligible to vote for the first time in the Upcoming General elections and they will decide the fate and future of 21st Century.
About Election Commission of India (ECI):
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Chief Election Commissioner of India: Shri Sunil Arora