Current Affairs January 31 2019

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Current Affairs January 31 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0 held in NewDelhi
On 29th January 2019,Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi discussed ways to handle the exam pressure in the second edition of “Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0” at Talkatora Stadium in New Delhi.The Programme was organized by Ministry of Human Resource Development(MHRD).

Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0PM interacts with students, teachers and parents at “Pariksha Pe Charcha 2.0”
On 29th January 2019, Prime Minister interacted with students, teachers and parents and shared his personal experiences with students and suggested means to handle exam stress.
Key Points
i. 2200 students, parents,teachers and college students from 24 states and Union Territories took part in the event.
ii. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi answered the queries of Students, teachers and parents and motivated the students with his personal experiences.
iii. A 10 minute cultural programme was also performed by the winners of the Kala Utsav Contest Winners, their parents and teachers.
iv.Rini Bhattacharjee(differently abled student of class XI) from West Bengal enthralled the audience with her performance on the keyboard with the help of her feet only.
v.For the first time, Indian students residing abroad from countries like Bangladesh, Ethiopia, Indonesia, Russia, , Japan, Libya, Kenya, Malaysia, Oman, Tanzania, Thailand, UAE, Ghana, Liberia Nigeria, Iran, Nepal, Doha, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and Singapore were connected to the programme live.
About Delhi:
♦ Lt. Governor: Anil Baijal
♦ Chief Minister: Arvind Kejriwal
♦ Deputy Chief Minister: Manish Sisodia

Indians could live up to 3 years more if there’s a 25% reduction in air pollution
On 30th January 2019,According to a study titled “The Potential Benefits of India’s ‘War Against Pollution’ — Longer Lives”,by Air Quality Life Index (AQLI) says the life expectancy of people in Delhi can go up by nearly three years if the air pollution is reduced by 25%.

Indians could live up to 3 years more if there’s a 25% reduction in air pollutionKey Points
i. To reduce particulate pollution by 20-30 per cent by 2024,Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan declared a “war against pollution” and launched the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP).
ii. The programme takes 2017 as the base year to improve air quality.The study by Energy Policy Institute at University of Chicago (EPIC) uses the same base year as its parameters.
iii. They says the programme could pay off extensively in bringing the life expectancy up by an average of 1.4 years.
iv. Delhiites could gain around 2.8 years to their life, people in Kanpur would live 2.4 years longer and people in Kolkata could live 1.1 years longer.
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change
♦ Union Minister: Dr. Harsh Vardhan
♦ Minister of State: Mahesh Sharma
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

First meeting of Lokpal search committee headed by Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai held in New Delhi
On 29th January 2019,An eight member Lokpal search Panel headed by former Supreme court Judge Ranjana Prakash Desai to select the first anti-corruption ombudsman held its first meeting in New Delhi.
Key Points
i. The committee discussed modalities related to the appointments of the chief and members of Lokpal without along further details.
ii. The meeting was held after the Supreme Court set up February end deadline for the search committee to send a panel of names who could be considered.
iii. The committee was constituted to appoint chairman and members of Lokpal.The committee will send a panel of members to be considered.
iv. The Lokpal and lokayuktas will look into cases of corruption against certain categories of public servants.The committee of selection is formed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
v. The Lokpal and Lokayuktas Act,2013 is an anti-corruption act of Indian Parliament in India which seeks to provide for the establishment of the institution of Lokpal to inquire in to allegations of corruption against certain public functionaries.

Maharashtra Government launched Special Scheme to Curb infant deaths
On 30th January 2019,A special scheme is launched by Maharashtra government with an aim to curb infant deaths.Child development Minister Pankaja Munde  distributed baby care kits to the children born in Primary health centre and Government Hospitals.
Key Points
i. The baby care kit contains a blanket, a small mattress, a towel, a thermometer, baby oil, shampoo, toys, nail cutter, gloves, socks, among other items. The kit costs around Rs.2000
ii. The scheme is applicable only for first child of the parents. It will be beneficial for around 4 lakh women across Maharashtra.
iii. The government allocated Rs.20cr for the scheme. Similar scheme launched by Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Tamil Nadu were successful in bringing down the infant mortality.
iv. Infant mortality is the death of young children under one year. India is among the countries having highest number of deaths among newborns.
About Maharashtra
♦ Capital : Mumbai
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor: C Vidyasagar Rao

K J Alphons Inaugurated first Swadesh Darshan Project in Sikkim
On 28th January 2019, Union Tourism Minister K J Alphons Inaugurated first Swadesh Darshan Project in Sikkim. It was inaugurated in the presence of Minister of Tourism and Civil Aviation for Sikkim Ugen T Gyatso in Zero Point, Gangtok, Sikkim.

K J Alphons Inaugurated first Swadesh Darshan Project in SikkimKey Points
i.  The project is named as ‘Development of North East Circuit : Rangpo – Rorathang – Aritar – Phadamchen – Nathang – Sherathang – Tsongmo – Gangtok – Phodong – Mangan – Lacliung – Yumthang – Lachey – Thangu-Gurudongmer-Mangan-Gangtok-Tuminlingee-Singtam’.
ii. This project was sanctioned by the Ministry of Tourism in June 2015 for Rs. 98.05 Crores.
iii. Under the scheme, the government will develop quality infrastructure in the country with an objective of providing better experience and facilities to the visitors. It will also promote a economic growth.
iv.  The Ministry will develop tourism infrastructure facilities like tourism information centre, meditation centre, walkways, cafeteria, public toilets, etc. under the scheme.
Projects and Funds allocated for Swadesh Darshan Project:
The scheme was launched in 2014 -15 and the Ministry has sanctioned 77 projects worth Rs. 6121.69 Crore to 30 States and UTs and the ministry has also sanctioned 16 projects for Rs. 1349.04 crores covering all North Eastern States.
About Sikkim
♦ Capital- Gangtok
♦ Chief Minister- Pawan Kumar Chamling
♦ Governor- Ganga Prasad

UttarPradesh Government approves construction of World’s longest expressway-Ganga expressway to connect Prayagraj with Western UP
On 29th January 2019,UP government approved construction of world’s longest expressway between Prayagraj and Meerut with the aim of connecting Prayagraj with Western UP.It will have a length of 600 km.

Uttar Pradesh Government approves construction of Ganga express way to connect PrayagrajUttar Pradesh Government approves construction of Ganga express way to connect PrayagrajKey Points
i. Ganga expressway will start from Meerut and will touch Amroha-Bulandshahr-Budaun-Shahjahanpur-Kannauj-Unnao-Rae Bareli-Pratapgarh and end at Prayagraj.
ii. The estimated cost of the project will be around Rs.36,000 Crore on a stretch of 6,556 hectares of land.
iii. Another express way project is upcoming for UP namely the Budelkhand expressway. It is a four lane access controlled highway.
iv. Budelkhand expressway will start from Jhansi and passes through Chitrakoot, Banda, Hamirpur, Auraiya, Jalaun, Etawah, Naseempur and joins the Agra-Lucknow Expressway.The expressway will pass through 182 villages and will have a total length of 296. 26 km.
v. It amounts to Rs.640 crores to make payment to the land owners. The Industrial Development Department issued order for the land acquirement.
vi.This was decided in the Cabinet Meeting led by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath in Kumbh,which is the second Cabinet Meeting held outside the Capital of UP.The First meeting which held outside the cabinet took place in the year 1962 in Nainital led by then Chief Minister Govind Vallabh Pant.
About Uttar Pradesh
♦ Chief Minister: Yogi Adityanath
♦ Governor: Ram Naik
♦ Capital : Lucknow

Centre reconstitutes tribunal to adjudicate ban imposed on 8 Manipur insurgent groups
On 24th January 2019, The Central government reconstituted a tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Judge Justice G.S. Sistani for another 5 years to adjudicate the extension of ban imposed on the eight insurgent groups in Manipur which were involved in 756 violent and unlawful incidents in the last five years.
i. The Tribunal had been set up under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act 1967 and the tribunal will adjudicate whether there is sufficient cause for declaring these insurgent groups of Manipur as “Unlawful Associations”.
ii. Earlier, a tribunal headed by Delhi High Court Judge Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal was set up on 12th December 2018 but Justice Sangita Dhingra Sehgal left the tribunal.

First of its Kind:Western Railway provides ‘segway’ to RPF personnel
On 29th January 2019, the two-wheeled,self-balancing and battery powered electric vehicles- Segway provided by Western Railway to Railway Protection Force (RPF) personnel posted in all major railway stations in Mumbai.

Western Railway provides ‘segway’ to RPF personnelKey Points 
i. The vehicle will help RPF in keeping an eye on every nook and corner of the railway station. It will be helpful in railway stations having long platforms.
ii. At present, Segways are used by Marine Drive Police in South Mumbai. The officials need sufficient training to operate these vehicles.
iii. Segways will help the security personnel to carry out their duties more efficiently. They will be able to move faster in the premises of the railway station.
iv. It was launched on the 70th Republic Day function where Western Railway General Manager A K Gupta inaugurated 6 segways at  Churchgate Railway Station.
About Railway Protection Force 
♦ Under Ministry of Railways
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi
♦ Union Minister of Railways- Piyush Goyal

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Capacity Augmentation to Successfully Deliver the G20 Presidency
India is to host the G20 annual summit in 2022 when it celebrates its 75th year of independence and in order to exploit it to the full extent, capacity augmentation of available resources and efficient addressal of organizational challenges must be done on time to fill the infrastructure, management and intellectual gap.
i.India needs to augment its intellectual capacity to be able to deliver inter-disciplinary research on the international monetary system, global financial architecture, global trading system, global climate, energy and sustainability issues.
ii.Indian Prime Minister, Narendra Modi requested Italy to host the 2021 G20 summit instead of 2022 summit which was accepted by Italy.
Important Facts:
2018 G20 Summit(Buenos Aires summit) held in Argentina
2019 G20 Summit(Osaka Summit) to be held in Japan.
2020 G20 Summit(Riyadh summit) to be held in Saudi Arabia.

India Ranked at 78th Position in Global Corruption Index,Denmark Topped  
On January 30, 2019,According to the Corruption Perception Index (CPI) released by the Transparency International, India has moved up to 78th position in 2018,with a Score of 41 out of 100.India was ranked 81st in 2017.

Global Corruption Index Released, India Ranks 78i. Denmark topped the chart with a score of 88,which is followed by New Zealand with a Score of 87.Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are ranked bottom in the index.
ii. United States has dropped out of top 20 countries for the first time since 2011.
iii. While China ranked 87,while the Rank of China is 77 in the year 2017 and Pakistan Retained its rank 117 in the index.
About Transparency International
♦ Transparency International  headquarters: Berlin ,Germany
♦ Director:Patricia Moreira

Italy,United Nations launch Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable Development
On 29th January 2019,Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte along with United Nation(UN) representative launched Africa Centre for Climate and Sustainable development near Food and Agriculture Organization headquarters in Rome.
Key Points
i. The major objective is to boost the agricultural sectors and promote rural development in Africa.It will ensure a better future for the youth in the Continent who can be the drivers of development.
ii. It will help in implementing the goals of the UN’s 2030 Agenda and the landmark 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to stop depending fossil fuel and cap global warming.
iii. A discussion on how G7 countries can fight environmental degradation and promote Africa’s sustainable economic growth was held by ministers.
iv. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) is a specialized agency of UN that leads international efforts to defeat hunger.
About Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
♦ Headquarters- Rome, Italy
♦ Director General – Jose Graziano da Silva

BANKING & FINANCE

UAE, Saudi Central banks launch common digital currency called ‘Aber’
On 26th January 2019, Central banks of UAE and Saudi Arabia launched common digital currency called ‘Aber ‘. UAE central bank will establish an additional means for the central financial transfer systems of the two countries and enable bankers to directly deal with each other.It was announced during their Executive Committee’s First Meeting,which held in Abu Dhabi.

UAE, Saudi Central banks launch common digital currency called ‘Aber’UAE, Saudi Central banks launch common digital currency called ‘Aber’Key Points
i. Aber will be used in financial settlement between the two countries through Block chains and distributed Ledger technologies.
ii. Both Saudi Arabian Monetary Authority (SAMA) and the United Arab Emirates Central Bank (UAEIB) are studying the impact on the improvement and reduction of remittance costs and the assessment of risks through Aber.
iii. The use of digital currency will be restricted to a limited number of banks in each Country. If the first phase is successful then economic and legal requirements for future uses will be considered.
About Saudi Arabia
♦ Capital: Riyadh
♦ Currency:Saudi Riyal
♦ King: Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Anti-dumping duty imposed on Chinese chemical import
On January 27, 2019,The Government imposed an anti-dumping duty on a chemical imports from China,which is used in photography and manufacturing of dyes, for five years to protect domestic producers of the chemical intermediate from cheap shipments .
i.The anti-dumping duty on Meta Phenylenediamine (MPDA) imported from China will be in the range USD 573.92-USD 1,015.44 a tonne.
ii. The duty is entrusted to ensure fair trading practices and to create field for domestic producers to interact with  foreign producers and exporters.
iii. This is  second time anti-dumping duty has been imposed on the import of the chemical from China as the first one is to expire in March 2019.

SEBI proposes relaxed norms for REITs,InvITs to increase access to investors
The Securities and Exchange Board of india (SEBI) proposed a new set of framework for REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts) and InvITs (Infrastructure Investments Trusts) in order to provide flexibility to issuers in terms of fund raising and increasing the access of these investment vehicles to investors because despite of various relaxations given by SEBI, these investment vehicles have failed to attract investors.
Key Points
i. SEBI had allowed the setting up and listing of REITs under REITs Regulations which was notified by SEBI in 2014.
ii. SEBI had sought comments from Public till 18th February 2019 on the fresh Consultation paper released to amend regulations pertaining to both REITs and InvITs.
iii.  The minimum allotment and trading lot for publicly issued REITs and InvITs is planned to be reduced under the new set of Framework.
iv. Leverage limit for InvITs is proposed to increase from existing 49% to 70%.
v. As per the new proposal, the minimum application and allotment lot should be of 100 units and value of one lot should in range of Rs. 15000 to Rs 20000 at the time of initial listing.
vi. For REITs, the prescribed lot for the purpose of trading of units on the stock exchange is Rs. 1 lakh whereas for InvIT, It is Rs 5 lakh.
vii. SEBI has proposed a separate framework to enable unlisted privately held InvITs as per which the number of investors should be determined by the issuers and minimum investment by an investor should not be less than Rs 1 crore.
viii. SEBI had also allowed the existing privately placed InvITs to migrate to the new proposed framework if they obtain approval from more than 90% of the unit holders by value.
The Securities and Exchange Board of india (SEBI)
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Chairperson: Ajay Tyagi

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Kleinman Center for Energy Policy at the University of Pennsylvania awards 4th annual Carnot Prize to Union Minister Shri Piyush Goyal
On January 30, 2019,Union Finance Minister Piyush Goyal received the Carnot prize for his work towards sustainable energy solutions from Kleinman Center for Energy Policy University of Pennsylvania in New Delhi.

Piyush Goyal to Receive Carnot Prize for Power Reforms, Rural Electrification i. This award rewards the works done by Piyush Goyal to reform the electricity sector and extended access to electricity to 19,000 villages.
 ii. Last year This award was skipped before being entitled to the former power minister ,because of the Amritsar tragedy in which over 60 people died after being moved down by a train.
iii. He has decided that the award money,which he will receive as part of the 2018 Carnot Prize, will be donated to the International Solar Alliance to institute the Diwakar Award.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Civil Aviation Secretary Rajiv Nayan Choubey Named UPSC Member
On January 29, 2019,Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) appointed Rajiv Nayan Choubey as the member of UPSC.
i. Chairman of UPSC, Aravind Saxena administered the Rajiv Nayan Choubey oath of office.
ii. UPSC can have a maximum of 10 members excluding the chairman,with Rajiv Nayan Choubey’ s appointment filled up UPSC’s complete strength.
iii.Choubey was named as the Civil Aviation Secretary in June 2015.
iv.A member of the UPSC can have a maximum of six-year tenure or till an incumbent attains the age of 65.

Sunjay Sudhir appointed as Ambassador of India to the Maldives
On January 28, 2019,Senior diplomat Sunjay Sudhir,a 1993 batch Indian Foreign Service officer was appointed as India’s Ambassador to the Maldives.He presently works as a Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas,which he will be resigning shortly.
Also,government appointed Vinay Singh Chauhan  as the Ambassador of India to Burkina Faso who is presently Consulate General of India.

Pakistan Appoints Suman Kumari,as Its First Ever Female Hindu Civil Judge
On January 29, 2019,Suman Kumari  became the first Hindu woman to be appointed as a civil judge in Pakistan after passing an examination for induction of judicial officers. .

Suman Kumari  became the first Hindu womani. The first judge from the Hindu community was Justice Rana Bhagwandas,who served in pakistan from 2005-2007.
ii. In the 2018,krishna Kumari Kohli,was also a non-Muslim female to win a place in Pakistan Senate.

Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar took charge as Vice Chief of Naval Staff
On January 30, 2019,Vice Admiral G Ashok Kumar assumed charge as Vice Chief of the Naval Staff.
i. He served as the Navigating Officer of Indian Naval Ships Beas, Nilgiri, Ranvir and Vikrantand as a Commanding Officer of INS Kulish and Ranvir, and Executive Officer onboard INS Brahmaputra.
ii. He holded as a deputy Chief of naval Staff from June 6,2016.

ENVIRONMENT

First Captive Elephant Survey:Ministry of Environment and Forests(MoEF)
On January 30, 2019,According to the first survey of elephants in captivity by Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),there were 2,454 elephants in captivity.
About 58 per cent of all captive elephants is concentrated in two states: 905 in Assam and 518 in Kerala.

Superbug gene’ – first detected in Arctic
On January 29, 2019,Scientist found a ‘Superbug’,- first detected in New Delhi over a decade back — in one of the last “pristine” places on Earth that is some 12,870 km away and coded as blaNDM-1(called New Delhi Metallo-beta-lactamase-1).
i. Superbug was  discovered in a Norwegian archipelago between mainland Norway and the North Pole — have now confirmed the spread of blaNDM-1.
ii.A total of 131 genes associated with resistance to antibiotics were discovered by the scientists, of which one of the genes first found in New Delhi in 2008.

SPORTS

ICC Rankings:Holder becomes first West Indies player since Garry Sobers to top all-rounder charts
On January 27, 2019,Jason Holder became the first West Indian cricketer since Garfield Sobers to be named as the world’s leading all-rounder in ICC Ranking.
i.Jason Holder surpassed Garfield Sobers with 202 not out off 229 balls in West Indies’ against England match.Sir Gary Sobers topped the list in 1974.
ii.Holder Succeeded Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and India’s Ravindra Jadeja to grab the number one spot for the first time in his career.

Tata steel masters:Magnus Carlsen won the title,Viswanathan Anand finishes Joint third
On 28th January 2019, Magnus Carlsen won the title and it is 7th Tata Steel Chess title after setting for a draw against Anish Giri in the final round.India’s Viswanathan Anand settled for joint third place in Tata Steel Masters Chess tournament held in Wijk aan Zee, The Netherlands.
Key Points
i. Anish Giri secured 2nd position with 8.5 points while Magnus Carlsen ended with 9 points. Anish who is ranking No.5 is a Russian born Dutch Grandmaster.
ii. Viswanathan Anand ended with 7.5 points with 3 victories, a lone loss and nine draws.Anand Share his third place with Ian Nepomniachtchi, Ding Liren in this tournament.Anand now ranked sixth in the world rankings.
iii. Vladislav Kovalev of Latvia won game in Challengers section to assure himself a place in the next year masters. The young Indian Grandmaster R Praggnanandhad ranked 11th when he settled for a draw with Dinara Saduakassova of Kazakhstan.
About Netherlands
♦ Capital : Amsterdam
♦ Currency : Euro, Dollar
♦ Prime Minister: Mark Rutte

Nagaland CM inaugurated State’s first Astro Turf Football Pitch
On 29th January 2019, Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio inaugurated first Astro Turf Football Pitch of the State at Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima, Nagaland.

Nagaland CM inaugurates State’s first Astro Turf Football PitchKey Points
i.  The pitch was inaugurated on the occasion of 100th birth anniversary of the legendary footballer Dr. T. Ao.
ii. The state government also planned to partner with Bhaichung Bhutia Football schools for a game development plan. It will begin with young-footballers in which under-16 footballers all over the state will receive an opportunity to be part of this program.
iii. The Astro Turf has size of 105×66 metres for playground which is FIFA approved size. An exhibition match was also played between Chief Minister XI and Chief Secretary XI.
iv. The government will work on strategic sports infrastructure development plan to provide quality sports facilities in every district.
About Nagaland
♦ Capital – Kohima
♦ CM- Neiphiu Rio
♦ Governor – Padmanabha Acharya

OBITUARY

Former Ranji player and Cricket coach Amrik Singh Nagra,died at 49
On January 25, 2019,Former Punjab Ranji cricketer and coach Amrik Singh Nagra died due to cardiac arrest in Ludhiana
In 1987,Amrik Singh Nagra was one of six players selected for under 19 championship from Ludhiana

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Leprosy Eradication Day 2019
30th January 2019, is celebrated as World Leprosy Eradication Day which stresses  the need of eradicating the disease.

World Leprosy Eradication Day 2019i. It also brings to light the discrimination and stigma that people suffer from society every day.
ii. Leprosy, also known as Hansen’s disease is a highly contagious infection caused by the bacterium Mycobacterium leprae
iii. This year’s theme for World Leprosy Day is ‘ending discrimination, stigma, and prejudice’.

National Martyr’s Day or Sarvodaya Day 2019
On 30th January 2019, National Martyr’s Day or Sarvodaya Day was observed to mark the death anniversary of our greatest Hero and father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi who was assassinated by Nathuram Dodse on 30th January 1948.
Key Points
i. Prime Minister, Narendra Modi paid tribute to Mahatma Gandhi in his first “Mann Ki Baat” address of 2019 on 30th January.
ii. A cultural programme named “Remembering the Mahatma” was organized by Indian Cultural Centre in Columbo, Sri Lanka
iii. In India, Martyr’s day is celebrated on five days every year to pay homage to the freedom fighters of India.

Martyrs DayPurpose
30th JanuaryDeath anniversary Mahatma Gandhi
23rd MarchDeath Anniversary of Bhagat Singh, Sukhdev Thapar, Shivaram Rajguru
21st OctoberObserved by Police Department nationwide
17th NovemberObserved in Odisha on the death Anniversary of Lala Lajpat Rai
19th NovemberBirthday of Rani Lakshmibai, observed as martyrs Day in Jhansi