Current Affairs June 12 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Clean Drinking water to all by 2024: Centre
On June 11, 2019, The minister of Jal Shakti, Gajendra Singh Shekhawat announced that central Government committed to provide clean drinking water to all citizens by 2024, which is one of the polls promises given by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Clean Drinking water to all by 2024Key points:
i
. The ministry assured that there are over14 crore households will be benefitted by the plan.
ii. Present Status: Now only 18 per cent of rural households have accessed drinking water.
iii. Drinking water coverage: This is less than 5 percent in the states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand and Odisha, while Sikkim has 99 percent.
iv. Recently, The scheme “Nal se Jal” launched by the Jal Shakti ministry, which aims to provide drinking water by 2024.
v. Background: During 17th Lok Sabha election campaign, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had promised to create an integrated ministry to deal with water-related issues.

IRSDC signed a Tripartite Agreement with SNCF and AFD
Indian Railway Station Development Corporation (IRSDC) entered into a Tripartite Agreement with French National Railways (SNCF)and French Development Agency (AFD). Under this agreement, a grant up to 7 lakh euros will be provided to boost capacity building for railway station development program in India.
Key Points:
i. It was signed in the presence of Suresh Angadi, Minister of State of Railways, and Jean Baptiste Lemoyne, Minister of State for Europe and Foreign Affairs of France, Alexandre Ziegler, Ambassador of France in India and other senior officers of French Embassy and Indian Railways.
ii. AFD, a French agency, will finance up to 7,00,000 EURO, through French National Railways (SNCF)-Hubs and Connexions as a Technical Partner to IRSDC.
iii. There will be no financial liability on IRSDC or on Indian Railways.
About ISRDC:
ISRDC was incorporated under the Companies Act, 1956 on 12 April 2012.
Minister of Railways: Piyush Goyal
About SNCF/ French National Railways:
SNCF stands for Société nationale des chemins de ferfrançais.
Headquarters: Saint-Denis, France
About AFD:
AFD stands for Agence française de développement.
Headquarters: Paris, France

Kazakh-Indian Investment Forum held in Ahmedabad
Kazakh-Indian Investment Forum was held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on June 7, 2019, to attract investments. It was organized by the Embassy of Kazakhstan in India with the support of the Honorary Consulate of Kazakhstan in the state of Gujarat Dilip Chandan, the National Company- Kazakh Invest and Jain International Trade Organization.
Key Points:
i. The event witnessed the participation of the leaders of more than 30 Indian companies.
ii  Preliminary agreements were given during the B2B (business-to-business), also known as e-biz, meetings.
iii. Forum participants were provided with detailed information on business opportunities in Kazakhstan, conditions, state support, and competitive advantages for attracting foreign investments. Details of the priority investment projects were also given.
iv. Indian companies were encouraged to participate in the implementation of investment projects in Kazakhstan.
About Kazakhstan:
Largest City: Almaty
Official Languages: Kazakh, Russian

Bancha became the first solar kitchen village in India
Bancha in Betul district of Madhya Pradesh became the first village in India to have zero wooden stoves. There was no use for Liquified Petroleum Gas (LPG) cylinders as all 75 houses relied on solar-powered stoves to meet their cooking needs. The solar-powered stoves were developed by Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai. The project of installing plates, solar-powered batteries and stoves in all the houses was started in September 2017 and was completed by December 2018.

first solar kitchen only village in India

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

India ranked 113 out of 176 countries in End of Childhood Index 2019
According to the 3rd End of Childhood Index, a part of Changing Lives in Our Lifetime – Global Childhood Report 2019, India was ranked 113 in 176 countries on the wellbeing of children with 769 score out of 1000. The Index was released on May 28, 2019 by ‘Save the Children’, a United Kingdom (UK) based non-profit organisation which works for child rights.

  • In 2018India was ranked 116 among 172 countries.
  • The Index was topped by Singapore with the score of 989 and 8 European countries figured among the top 10. South Korea stood at the 10th position……………………………..Click here to Read more

G20 Finance Ministers meeting and Central Bank Governors meet held in Fukuoka, Japan
As a part of setting the stage for 2019 G20 Summit, to be held in Osaka, Japan, from 28-29 June 2019, a G20 Finance Ministers and Central Bank Governors Meet was held in Fukuoka, Japan on 8-9 June. It was one of the 8 ministerial meetings taking place in Japan before 2019 G20 summit. This is for the first time that Japan is hosting the G20 Summit & Ministerial Meetings at its eight different locations.

  • The Indian side was led by Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Nirmala Sitharaman which was comprised of Subhash C. Garg, Finance Secretary & Secretary Economic Affairs, Dr. Viral Acharya, Deputy Governor of RBI and other officers
  • The ministers have called for the creation of a digital tax for multinational technology companies in order to prevent tax evasion and to modernise policies. Its details will be finalized in 2020………………………….Click here to Read more

Gandhi peace rally held in Saudi Arabia
On Jue 7,2019, To mark the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, Indian Embassy organized the ‘Gandhi Cycle Rally for Peace’, in Saudi Arabia. The rally was organized in association with the Diplomatic Quarter Authority and Saudi Cycling Federation.

Gandhi Cycle Rally for PeaceKey points:
i. The rally was flagged off by the Ambassador of India to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Dr.Ausaf Sayeed.
ii. The Saudi nationals, diplomats, Indian Diaspora attended the rally.
iii. This was the first time this kind of rally held in Diplomatic Quarters in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
About Saudi Arabia:
♦ CapitalRiyadh
♦ CurrencySaudi riyal
♦ KingSalman of Saudi Arabia

2nd Global Disability Summit held at Buenos Aires,Argentina
The 2nd Global Disability Summit was held at Buenos Aires, Argentina from June 6 to June 8, 2019. The objectives of the summit were to deliberate on issues across the world concerning empowerment and inclusion of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) and to work out a mechanism for enabling them to live an independent and dignified life.
Key Points:
i. Indian delegation was headed by the Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri Thaawar chand Gehlot and it comprised of Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities (DEPwD), Smt Shankutala Gamlin, Joint Secretary, DEPwD, Dr. Prabodh Seth and Shri Neeraj Semwal, Private Secretary to Union Minister.
ii. The Global leaders at the summit expressed their commitments towards eliminating stigma and discrimination against PwDs. They also committed to working towards promoting inclusive education, economic empowerment, technology and innovation in assistive devices, data desegregation for them.
iii. On June 9 and 10, 2019, the Indian delegation also participated in the bilateral discussions with the Government of Argentina in order to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between 2 countries.
iv. The 1st Global Disability Summit, hosted by UK Department for International Development (UK DFID)along with the co-hosts International Disability Alliance (IDA) and Government of Kenya, was held at London, United Kingdom (UK) in 2018.
About International Disability Alliance (IDA):
It is an umbrella organization focused on improving awareness and rights for individuals with disabilities around the globe. It was created in 1999. At present, the Chairman of IDA is Ana Lucía Arellano.

BANKING & FINANCE

RBI formed a committee headed by VG Kannan, IBA Chief to review ATM pricing
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted 6-member committee headed by VG Kannan, Chief Executive of Indian Banks’ Association (IBA) to review ATM pricing.
i. It will review the existing interchange fee and pricing structures to reduce prices for customers on Automated Teller Machines (ATM) transactions with a broader objective to improve rural penetration of teller machines.
ii. According to RBI guidelines, the savings bank account holders can make 5 free transactions in a calendar month after which they will be charged a particular amount for each transaction that varies from bank to bank…………………………………..Click here to Read more

NPAs decreased to 9.30% in FY’19, below RBI estimate
As per the Crisil report, the overall non-performing assets (NPAs) stock has declined at a great pace to 9.3% in March 2019 in comparison to the 11.5% in March 2018. This decline is more than the RBI’s (Reserve Bank of India) estimate.
i. This shows a positive sign of recovery from the Non-performing asset load as the NPA ratio of both public and private sector banks showed a half-yearly decline, for the first time since March 2015.
ii. The decline is supported by the RBI’s asset quality review and also with the enactment of the bankruptcy law for resolving the cases.
About CRISIL
♦ Former name:  Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited
♦ CEO: Ashu Suyash
♦ Parent organization: Standard & Poor’s International, LLC

Centre has extended the Rs 1.6 Billion aid to Nepal for Rebuilding Earthquake-hit Houses
The Indian government has extended the financial aid of 1.6 billion Nepalese rupees to Nepal for the rebuilding of houses in Nuwakot and Gorkha districts, which were damaged in the devastating earthquake in 2015.

Centre has extended the Rs 1.6 Billion aid to Nepali. The cheque for the same was handed over by India’s ambassador to Nepal Manjeev Singh Puri to Finance Secretary of Nepal Rajan Khanal.
ii. India is maintaining its commitment regarding the completion of post-earthquake reconstruction projects in the Himalayan nation.
iii. As of now, India has granted Nepal a total of 4.5 billion Nepalese rupees under the housing reconstruction projects.
iv. India has also partnered with United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS) for providing socio-technical facilitation to the house owners to ensure that they rebuild their homes as per Nepal government’s earthquake resilient norms.
Background
In February 2016, India and Nepal inked Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for USD 100 million grant to support the reconstruction of 50,000 private houses in the earthquake affected districts of Nepal.
About Nepal
♦ Capital: Kathmandu
♦ Currency: Nepalese rupee
♦ National Bird: Danphe also known as Himalayan monal (Lophophorus impejanus)
♦ National Animal: Cow
♦ National Flower: Rhododendron also known by its Nepalese name “Laliguras”

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Imports from Pakistan to India declined by 92% in March 2019 to $2.84 million
Imports from Pakistan to India declined by 92% in March 2019 to $2.84 million due to the imposition of 200% customs duties on all products after Pulwama terror attack.

  • India had hiked the customs duty to 200% on all goods imported from Pakistan including cotton, fresh fruits, cement, petroleum products and mineral ore on February 16, 2019. It had also revoked the MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status which was given to Pakistan in 1996.
  • The main commodities imported during the month of March 2019 from Pakistan included knitted fabrics, wool, articles of apparel and clothing, preparation of vegetable spices, chemicals, man-made filaments and plastics………………………….Click here to Read more

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Amazon beats Apple and Google to become the world’s most valuable brand: Survey
According to the report, “BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brand ranking 2019”, compiled by WPP research agency Kantar states that American multinational technology company, Amazon has overtaken Apple and Google to become the world’s most valuable brand at $315.5 billion.

AmazonKey points:
i
. The brand value of Amazon grew 52% between 2018 and 2019, while Apple (2nd place) grew 3% to $309.5 billion, Google (3rd place )at $309 billion grew 2%.
ii. Microsoft is at fourth place with a value of $251bn.
iii. Google stood at the top rank in 2018 but in 2019, Amazon jumped from third to top to replace Google.
iv. Payments specialist Visa is in fifth place with $178 billion, while Facebook was the sixth with $159 billion.
v. For the first time, Alibaba (7th) overtakes Tencent (8th) to become the most valuable Chinese brand.
About Amazon:
Founder: Jeff Bezos
Founded: 5 July 1994

Mahindra wins Gold Award in South Africa 
On June 10, 2019, The automobile Giant Mahindra Group won the Gold Award in South Africa. It clinches the top spot among 29 vehicle brands for the award.

Mahindra wins Gold Award in South AfricaKey points:
i.
Mahindra Group received the Gold award from National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA).
ii
. Satisfaction among its dealers and being fair and responsive in the way allocated vehicles to its dealers gave the Mahindra group at the top honor.
iii. It has 60 dealers in South Africa.
About Mahindra Group
CEO: Anand Mahindra
Headquarters: Mumbai
About the National Automobile Dealers Association (NADA)
It is an American trade organization established in 1917.
It was founded in Chicago, Illinois, U.S.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Sharad Kumar named interim CVC
On June 11,2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi headed selection panel has named Vigilance Commissioner Sharad Kumar as interim Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) for a term of four years or till he attains the age of 65. The move comes after the Central Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) KV Chowdary completed his tenure at anti-graft body.

Sharad Kumar named interim CVCKey points:
i. Mr. Sharad  Kumar was a former head of the National investigation agency (NIA).
ii. He was appointed as the Vigilance Commissioner on June 2018 and his tenure will end on October 2020.
About Central Vigilance Commission
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
It is the apex vigilance institution. It was created via executive resolution (based on the recommendations of Santhanam committee) in 1964 but was conferred with statutory status in 2003. It submits its report to the President of India.
♦ Composition: Presently, the body consists of central vigilance commissioner along with 2 vigilance commissioners.
♦ Term: Their term is 4 years or 65 years.

Kassym-Jomart Tokayev won Kazakhstan’s presidential election
On June 11, 2019, the interim president, Kassym-Jomart Tokayev, aged 66, was elected as Kazakhstan’s president with 70.76% votes. He won the elections among 7 candidates. He is the successor of veteran ruler Nursultan Nazarbayev.

Kassym-Jomart TokayevKey Points:
i. The Election Commission of Kazakhstan revealed that Amirzhan Kossanov of the Ult Tagdyry United National Patriotic Movement received 16.02% votes, Daniya Yespayeva of the Ak Zhol Democratic Party bagged 5.2% votes, Toleutai Rakhimbekov of the Auyl (Village) Party secured 3.2% votes, AmangeldyTaspikhov of the Kazakh Trade Unions Federation got 2.07% votes, Zhambyl Akhmetbekov of the Communist People’s Party of Kazakhstan secured 1.82% vites and Sadybek Tugel of the Uly Dala Kyrandary (Eagles of the Great Steppe) Public Association got 0.92% votes.
ii. Kassym-Jomart Tokayev belonged to Nur Otan party.
About Kazakhstan:
Capital: Astana/ Nur-Sultan
Currency: Kazakhstani tenge

Nripendra Misra and P K Mishra to continue as PS, Addl PS to PM
On June 11, 2019, Nripendra Misra and Pramod Kumar Mishra were re-appointed as Principal Secretary (PS) and Additional Principal Secretary (Addl PS) respectively to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with cabinet minister rank. The approval was given by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) with effect from May 31, 2019.

Nripendra Misra and Pramod Kumar MishraKey Points:
i. On May 28, 2014, Nripendra Misra, 1967-batch retired IAS officer of Uttar Pradesh cadre, was appointed as the Principal Secretary to the PM. He had served in various departments of the government and in 2009, he retired as the chairman of the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI). He succeeded Pulok Chatterji in 2014.
ii. P K Mishra, a 1972-batch retired IAS officer of Gujarat cadre, had served as the Principal Secretary to PM Modi when he was the chief minister of Gujarat between 2001 and 2004. He was the Secretary in the Ministry of Agriculture between December 1, 2006, and August 31, 2008, and was also appointed as the chairman of the Gujarat Electricity Regulatory Commission for a five-year-term after his retirement.
About ACC:
ACC decides the appointments to several top posts under the Government of India. The committee is composed of the Prime Minister of India who is the Chairman and the Minister of Home Affairs.

Union Minister Thawarchand Gehlot named as leader of Rajya Sabha succeeds Arun Jaitley
Union Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment, Thawar Chand Gehlot was named as the leader of Rajya Sabha succeeding former Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs, Arun Jaitley. Meanwhile, Union Minster Piyush Goyal was appointed as the Deputy Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha succeeding Union Telecom minister Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Thawarchand GehlotAbout Thawar Chand Gehlot :
i. He was born in Nagda, Ujjain, Madhya Pradesh.
ii. He was elected to Lok Sabha as Member of Parliament for Shajapur from 1996–2009.
iii. He served as the Minister of Social Justice and Empowerment from 2014 to 2019.
iv. He became a Rajya Sabha member in 2012 and was re-elected to Rajya Sabha from Madhya Pradesh in 2018.
Some Facts:
Gopalaswami Ayyangar was the 1st Leader of the House in Rajya Sabha.

Virendra Kumar will be the pro-tem Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha
Virendra Kumar(65), has been named as the Pro-tem Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha. He is the Member of Parliament (MP) of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Madhya Pradesh.

Virendra Kumari. He was a seven-time member of Parliament. He won the Lok Sabha election from Tikamgarh constituency in Madhya Pradesh.
ii. He was elected to 11th Lok Sabha for the first time in 1996 and became the member of Standing Committee on Labour and Welfare, after that he was continuously re-elected to the Lok Sabha.
iii. Between 1977 to 1979, he served as the Union minister of state for women and child development and minority affairs.
iv. He will administer the oath in Rashtrapati Bhavan on June 17.
About Virendra Kumar:
He represented the Sagar constituency of Madhya Pradesh between 1996-2009.
He was the Chairperson of Standing Committee on Labour and Member of General Purpose Committee.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

India successfully launched new Technology Demonstrator Missile in Odisha
On June 12, 2019, India successfully launched new Hypersonic Technology Demonstrator Vehicle (HSTDV) off the coast of Odisha by using Agni 1 missile platform. Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) had carried out the trials from Dr. Abdul Kalam Island in the Bay of Bengal. HSTDV will help DRDO to develop technologies for futuristic missions. With this launch, India has joined the US, Russia, and China that possess this technology.
Key Points:
i. The test was conducted by the Premier Defence Research Agency in the presence of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Secretary (Defence Production) Ajay Kumar at the test firing range in Balasore, Odisha.
ii. HSTDV, developed by DRDO with help from Israel and the UK, will be mounted on a solid rocket motor to take it to the required altitude. After the required altitude is reached and the Mach is achieved, the cruise vehicle will be ejected out of the launch vehicle.
iii. It is a dual-use technology Project with civilian applications.
iv. It has a flight duration of 20 seconds at an altitude of 32 km and can cruise up to a speed of Mach 6 (or six times the speed of sound)
About DRDO:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 1958
♦ Motto: “Strength’s Origin is in Science”
♦ Chairman:  Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy

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SPORTS

Track body IAAF to rebrand as World Athletics
The international governing body for the sport of athletics, International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) is to change its name as World Athletics.

World AthleticsThe identity of the brand will be introduced in October 2019 after one last edition of the world championships in Doha, Qatar under IAAF.
Key points:
i. The decision was taken at IAAF council meeting in Monaco.
ii. IAAF president Sebastian Coe stated that the brand name ‘World Athletics’ builds upon the organization’s restructuring and governance reform agenda of the past four years. It is to represent a modern, more creative and positive face for the sport.
iii. IAAF was founded in 1912 as the International Amateur Athletic Federation then changed that to International Association of Athletics Federations in 2001.
About IAAF:
♦ HeadquartersMonaco
♦ Type of businessSports governing body

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Day against Child Labour 2019 celebrated on June 12
World Day Against Child Labour (WDACL) was observed on June 12, 2019. It was introduced to focus on the extent of child labour worldwide and the efforts required to eliminate it.
i. The theme for the year is “Children shouldn’t work in fields, but on dreams!”.
ii. In India, the Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Smt. Smriti Zubin Irani inaugurated the National Consultation Workshop on Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for Rescue and Rehabilitation of Child Labour in New Delhi. It was organised by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR)…………………………..Click here to Read more

STATE NEWS

Karnataka Government Launches “Pink Sarathi vehicles”
On June 9, 2019, The state government of Karnataka launched “Pink Sarathi vehicles” for women safety. This was launched by the Chief Minister of Karnataka, H.D.Kumaraswamy. The vehicles were procured by the Bangalore Metropolitan Transport Corporation (BMTC) under the ‘Nirbhaya’ scheme.

Pink Sarathi vehiclesKey points:
i
. The BMTC will use the 25 vehicles which are fitted with GPS and Public announcement systems to attend to the grievances of women passengers in city Buses.
ii. Under the ‘Nirbhaya scheme’, BMTC has received Rs.56.07 crore from the central Government.
iii. The state government has also taken up various measures for the safety of women passengers.
About Nirbhaya Fund
It is an Indian rupee 10 billion corpus announced by Government of India in its 2013 Union Budget to protecting the dignity and ensuring the safety of women in India.
About Karnataka:
♦ CapitalBengaluru
♦ GovernorVajubhai Vala
♦ Wildlife Sanctuary: Dandeli Wildlife Sanctuary, Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary, Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary, Brahmagiri wildlife sanctuary.

First meeting of Andhra Pradesh cabinet approves several key Decisions
On June 10, 2019, The new cabinet meeting chaired by the Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister YS Jaganmohan Reddy has approved some key decisions.
i. The cabinet approves hike of old age pension from 2,000 to Rs 2,250.
ii. It approves salaries of Aasha workers (health workers in rural areas) from Rs.3,000 to Rs.10,000 per month and also increased the salary of community health workers under the Tribal Welfare Department from current Rs 400 to Rs 4,000 a month.
iii. It gives nod to increase 27 percent IR (Interim Relief) increment to the government employees in the state.
iv. The cabinet decided to form the committee over the termination of contributory pension scheme (CPS) for State government employees.
v. It also decides to implement “YSR Rythu Bharosa” from 15th October to pay Rs.12,500 per annum to farmers.
vi. The Cabinet has also discussed on Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) with State Department merger.
About Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Governor: E. S. L. Narasimhan
♦ Districts: 13

Amasebailu becomes Karnataka’s first solar-powered Gram Panchayat
On June 11,2019, Amasebailu in Kundapura Taluk of Udupi district has been named as the Karnataka’s first solar-powered Gram Panchayat. The allocation of fund between the Centre and State Government in the ratio of 30: 20, and the rest is given by the Panchayat and charitable organizations.
Key points:
i
. About 1858  houses connected with the solar power at a total cost of 2.13 crore .
ii.
The lamps have the guarantee up to five years while the faulty one replaced by guarantee period.
About Karnataka:
♦ Chief minister: H. D. Kumaraswamy
♦ Capital: Bengaluru
♦ National parks: Nagarhole National Park, Bandipur National Park, Bannerghatta National Park

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