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Ministry of HRD constitutes a task force to look into the issue of JNV suicides
On 3rd January 2019, the Ministry of Human Resource Development constituted a task force to look into the circumstances of reported suicides of 49 students, including Dalits and Adivasi students, of residential Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) between 2013 and 2017.
i. The task force, to be headed by psychiatrist Dr. Jitendra Nagpal, has been constituted to look into the circumstances leading to the suicidal deaths of students residing in the hostels of JNVs.
ii. The task force will also suggest ways and means to arrest the trend of suicides by students of JNVs.
iii. Furthermore, a proposal to engage two full time counselors (one male and one female) in each of the 630 functional JNVs has also been sent to the Department of Expenditure for approval from the HRD Ministry.
About Ministry of Human Resource Development:
♦ Minister: Prakash Javadekar
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Satya Pal Singh, Shri Upendra Kushwaha
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
Government notifies High-Level Committee for implementation of Clause VI of Assam Accord
Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has notified a High-level committee of nine members under the chairmanship of Shri M.P. Bezbarauah for implementation of Clause VI of the Assam Accord.
What is Clause VI?
The Clause VI of Assam Accord envisaged that appropriate constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards should be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the people of Assam.
i. The Committee will submit its report within 6 months from the date of notification.
ii. The 9 member Committee headed by retired IAS M.P. Bezbarauah includes eminent Assamese persons from different fields.
iii. The State Government of Assam will provide necessary administrative and logistics support to the committee.
iv. The effectiveness of actions since 1985 will be examined to implement clause 6 of the Assam Accord.
v. The Committee will assess the required quantum of reservation of seats in the state Assembly and local bodies for the people of the state.
vi. The Committee is also tasked to assess the requirement of measures that needs to be taken to protect Assamese and other indigenous languages of Assam.
♦ Capital: Dispur
♦ Governor: Jagdish Mukhi
♦ Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ National Parks (NP): Kaziranga NP, Dibru-Saikhowa NP, Manas NP, Nameri NP, Orang NP
Andhra CM Chandrababu Naidu unveils schemes for marginalized Brahmins
On 4th January 2019, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Chandrababu Naidu unveiled various welfare scheme for the marginalized and economically backward Brahmins through AP Brahmin Welfare Corporation such as distribution of Cars to the Unemployed Brahmin youths, loans and subsidies.
i. Brahmin youths who had undergone training as drivers were given Maruti Suzuki Swift Dzire for the first time.
ii. 30 cars were distributed on 4th January to the Brahmin youths. Youth bore 10% of the total on-road cost the diesel run cars.
iii. Government has started at least half dozen schemes for Brahmins and around 10000 poor Brahmins have been given loans and subsidies.
iv. Andhra Pradesh is the first state of the country which has established a Brahmin Corporation which aims to help poor people of Brahmin families by providing financial assistance for education, coaching, entrepreneurship, skill development and welfare and culture.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital: Amaravati (de facto), Hyderabad (de jure)
♦ Governor: E.S.L. Narasimhan
♦ Chief Minister: N Chandrababu Naidu
♦ National Parks (NP): Papikonda NP, Sri Venkateswara NP
Zero percent interest for loans upto Rs. 3 lakhs for Self Help Groups (SHGs) under the Mission Shakti scheme: Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik
On January 5, 2019, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik announced interest-free loans of up to Rs.3 lakh for six lakh women self-help groups (WSHGs) benefitting about 70 lakh women in Odisha.
i. This was announced at the ‘Mission Shakti’ convention attended by about 50,000 women.
ii. In the convention, the chief minister did the following:
- He distributed financial assistance of Rs. 3,000 each to six lakh WSHGs to digitally empower women.
- Launched a scheme to distribute Rs. 15,000 seed money per group to three lakh new self-help groups.
- He also handed over revolving fund of Rs. 25 lakh to 338 block federations.
- Also announced incentives of Rs. 500 per month for anganwadi workers and Rs.200 for helpers.
iii. Also the Odisha government decided to build ‘Mission Shakti Home’ in each gram panchayat across the state, as a part of ‘Mission Shakti’ initiative.
The ‘Mission Shakti’ programme was launched in 2001.
♦ Chief Minister: Naveen Patnaik.
♦ Governor: Prof. Ganeshi Lal.
♦ Lakes : Chilika Lake, Kanjia Lake, Anshupa Lake, Balimela Reservoir.
30th Edition of 9-day long International Kite Festival kicks off in Ahmedabad,Gujarat
On 6th January 2019,30th Edition of the nine-day long international kite festival inaugurated ahead of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti, the day when winter season starts changing to summer and farmers welcome the approaching harvest season, at Sabarmati River Front in Ahmedabad, Gujarat.
i. This year’s Kite festival is inaugurated by Gujarat Governor O P Kohli,in which Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, Ahmedabad Mayor Bijal Patel and State Revenue Minister Kaushik Patel also addressed.
ii. This year’s kite festival is participated by about 500 kite fliers from 19 cities of Gujarat and 13 different states of the country are participating. Besides more than 150 kite fliers from 45 different countries are also taking part in the festival.
iii. This year, the Gujarat government has also decided to organise a kite festival at Kevadia, the site of the Statue of Unity, a memorial to Sardar Patel and the also the world’s tallest statue.Other Venue’s are Vadodara, Kevadiya, Dwaraka, Surat, Rajkot, Jetpur, Songadh, Saputara and Dhordo in which the Kite festivals are planned to take place in the coming days.
♦ Capital: Gandhinagar
♦ Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli
♦ National Parks (NP) in Gujarat: Gir Forest NP, Blackbuck NP, Marine NP and Vansda NP
Secunderabad Railway Station: the first Railway station to hoist Tricolour National flag on a 100 feet tall pole under Railway’s order
On January 2, 2019, Secunderabad Railway Station, in Hyderabad, became the first railway station of South Central Railway (SCR) zone to hoist a huge tricolour on a 100-foot tall pole.
i. This was done according to the Railway Board’s order to hoist the national flag at 75 A1 category railway stations.Kacheguda, Hyderabad became the 2nd and 3rd railway Stations to hoist the100-foot tall pole.
ii. The flag would be guarded by the Railway Protection Force (RPF).
iii. Furthermore according to the order, SCR has taken the initiative to hoist the National Flag at 2 other ‘A1’ category Railway Stations they are Vijaywada and Tirupati.
AAI signed MoU with SAMEER for boosting R&D in the field of communication
On January 4, 2019, Airport Authority of India (AAI) signed MoU with Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) for joint research programs in the field of Communication Navigation and Surveillance (CNS).
i. The MOU is under government of India’s ‘Make in India’ concept to indigenously design and develop CNS systems.
ii. SAMEER is an autonomous research and development (R and D) institute under Ministry of Electronic and Information Technology (MeitY).
Iran approved anti-money laundering bill for ease of business
On January 5, 2019, Iranian council known as the Expediency Council approved an anti-money laundering bill to ease trade
i. This bill will be in line with the standards set by the Financial Action Task Force (FATF).
Iran is alone with North Korea on the FATF’s blacklist — although the Paris-based organisation has suspended counter- measures since June 2017 while Iran works on reforms.
♦ Capital: Tehran.
♦ Currency: Iranian rial.
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI limits customer liability in fraudulent PPI transactions
On 4th January 2019, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) issued a notification for all authorised non-bank Prepaid Payment Instrument (PPI) Issuers in order to limit the liability of Customers in unauthorised electronic payment transactions in Prepaid Payment Instruments (PPIs) comprising mobile wallets, prepaid payments cards, and paper vouchers such as Sodexo.
i. The RBI said frauds due to third-party breach where neither the customer nor the PPI issuer is at fault, there cannot be any liability for the customer, in case the incident in reported within three days.
ii. If the fraud is reported between three and seven days, customer liability will amount to the transaction value or Rs.10,000, whichever is lower whereas for fraud reported over seven days, the liability of the customer will be according to the board-approved policy of the PPI issuer.
iii. The PPI issuer has to credit the amount involved in the unauthorised transaction to the customer’s PPI within 10 days, after the customer reports the fraud.
iv. Also the burden of proving customer liability in case of unauthorised electronic payment transactions shall lie on the PPI issuer.
v. Furthermore there will be no liability to the customer if fraud is due to negligence or deficiency of the PPI issuer, irrespective of whether or not the transaction is reported by the customer.
vi. However in cases where the loss is due to negligence by a customer, such as where he/she has shared the payment credentials, the customer will bear the entire loss until he/she reports the unauthorised transaction to the PPI issuer.
vii. Besides if the PPI issuer is not able to resolve the complaint of fraud within the stipulated period of 90 days, the customer will have to be compensated “irrespective of whether the negligence is on the part of the customer or otherwise”.
About Reserve Bank of India (RBI):
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai
♦ Founded: 1 April 1935
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Veteran journalist Dinu Randive conferred with lifetime achievement award: Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh
On January 6, 2019, Veteran journalist Dinu Randive was conferred with the lifetime achievement award for his lifelong contributions in journalism, who started his journalistic career in 1956.
i. He also participated in the freedom struggle, the Sanyukta Maharashtra movement and the Goa liberation movement.
ii. The award was given by the Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh which is an association of journalists covering Maharashtra legislature and secretariat.
iii. Award winners in other categories included Vishwas Waghmode, Mahesh Tiwari and Prajakta Pol.
♦ Capital: Mumbai.
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis.
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao.
♦ National Parks: Tadoba Andheri Tiger Reserve, Chandoli National Park, Sanjay Gandhi National Park, Navegaon National Park
National Awards conferred to 97 Anganwadi Workers under ICDS Scheme by Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi in NewDelhi
On January 7, 2019,Ministry of Women & Child Development,Union Minister Smt. Maneka Sanjay Gandhi conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi Workers(AWWs) for Exceptional Achievements for the year 2017-18, under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in New Delhi.
About the selection:
i. National Level awards to AWWs are given to the awardees nominated by States/UTs out of the State/UT Level awardees.
ii. The nominations received from the States/UTs are screened and recommended by a Screening Committee headed by Rakesh Srivastava,Secretary, MWCD.
iii.The selection of awardees is made by the Selection Committee headed by Hon’ble Minister for Women & Child Development.
About the Award:
i. The awards of National Level will comprise of cash prize Rs. 50,000, which has been increased from Rs. 25,000, and a citation.
ii. The number of awards has also been doubled.
iii. State Level award comprises of a cash prize of Rs. 10,000 and a citation.
The scheme of awarding AWWs was formulated by the government in the year 2000-2001.
Ministry of Women and Child Development:
♦ Union Minister: Smt Maneka Gandhi.
♦ Minister of State: Dr. Virendra Kumar.
♦ Secretary: Shri Rakesh Srivastava.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Pentagon chief of staff Kevin Sweeney resigned
On January 6, 2019, Kevin Sweeney, the chief of staff of the US Department of Defence, resigned from his position.He held his post for two years from January 2017.
i. Kevin Sweeney retired as a Rear Admiral from the US Navy in 2014.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
China: Lunar rover named ‘Yutu-2’, lands on the far side of the moon
On January 4, 2019, Lunar rover Yutu-2 or Jade Rabbit-2 of the Chang’e-4 spacecraft made the first-ever soft landing on the far side of the moon.
i. Images were sent back to the Earth via the relay satellite ‘Queqiao’.
ii. In Chinese folklore, Yutu is the white pet rabbit of Chang’e, the moon goddess who lent her name to the Chinese lunar mission.
iii. China’s lunar probe is a part of its ‘Made in China 2025’ project.
iv. It follows a homegron Chinese Global Positioning System named BeiDou Navigation Satellite System.
♦ Capital: Beijing.
♦ Currency: Renminbi.
16-year-old Indian Footballer Rohit Danu became I-League’s youngest ever goal-scorer
On January 5, 2019, 16-year-old Indian Footballer Rohit Danu became I-League’s youngest ever goal-scorer while scoring a goal on the ongoing match against Aizawl FC at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium, Aizawl, Mizoram.
i. He defeated his team mate Jitendra Singh in this title.
ii. Earlier,Arrows’ Jitendra,was the youngest goal-scorer at the age 16 years, six months and 13 days when he scored against Shillong Lajong on December 26, 2017.
Hopman Cup: Roger Federer & Belinda Bencic retain title for Switzerland
From 29 December 2018, the Hopman Cup which is an annual international eight-team indoor hard court tennis tournament was held in Perth, Western Australia. It is a mixed competition in which male and female players are on combined teams and represent their countries. The Event was concluded on 5th January 2019.
i. This year Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic secured a 2-1 victory over Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev to win the Hopman Cup for the second year in a row. It was Switzerland’s fourth title overall, behind only the United States with six.
ii. This year’s tournament is the 31st edition of the Hopman Cup and potentially be the final edition of the tournament as it will be replaced by an ATP tournament from next year.
iii.In this year’s tournament for the first time in history, Roger Federer and Serena Williams faced each other in a competitive event in which Federer came out victorious alongside Bencic by defeating the pair of Serena Williams and Frances Tiafoe in a mixed doubles round robin match.
Roger Federar first person to win Hopman Cup thrice
Twenty-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer is the first player to win three Hopman Cups, twice with Bencic and once with Martina Hingis.
♦ Capital: Canberra
♦ Currency: Australian Dollar
♦ Capital: Bern
♦ Currency: Swiss Franc
ATP World Tour tennis tournament (Maharashtra Open 2019)
From 31st December 2018, 24th Edition of ATP World Tour Tennis tournament, Maharashtra Open – 2019 also known as Tata Open Maharashtra organized by Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) was held in Pune, Maharashtra. The event concludes on 5th January 2019.
i.The total Prize money was US $527,880.
ii.The tournament is played on outdoor hard courts at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune, Maharashtra.
World number six Kevin Anderson of South Africa defeated Ivo Karlovic in Men’s Singles at the Maharashtra Open
On 5th January 2019, world number six Kevin Anderson of South Africa won the three-set finals against Ivo Karlovic of Croatia to clinch the Tata Open Maharashtra singles title in Pune.
i. It was Anderson’s fourth victory in five meetings against Karlovic and sixth career title overall.
ii. Karlovic became the oldest player at 39 to play a tour-level final since 1977.
iii. In another record, Anderson at 6-foot-8 (2.03 meters), and Karlovic at 6-foot-11 (2.11 meters), combined to make it the tallest final in the Open era.
iv. The Maharashtra Open is viewed as a key warm-up event for the first Grand Slam of the year, the Australian Open, which starts in Melbourne on 14 January.
Indian tennis pair of Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan defeated the United Kingdom’s Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara and clinched the ATP tour title in men’s doubles event at the Maharashtra Open
On 5th January 2019, Rohan Bopanna and Divij Sharan, the Asian Games 2018 gold medallists, started the 2019 season by winning India’s only ATP 250 tournament, Tata Open Maharashtra in Pune after beating a British pairing of Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Mara in straight sets by 6-4, 6-3.
i. This was two-time champion Bopanna’s 18th tour-level trophy, while for Sharan it was his fourth trophy from five tour-level doubles finals.
ii. The winning pair will next participate in the Davis Cup, scheduled for February 1-2 at the South Club in Kolkata.
About Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP):
♦ The ATP is the governing body of the men’s professional tennis circuits – the ATP Tour, the ATP Challenger Tour and the ATP Champions Tour.
♦ Chairman & President: Chris Kermode
♦ Headquarters: London, United Kingdom
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis