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The Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report released by NITI Aayog
i. On June 25, 2019, The National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog released the Second Edition of “Healthy States, Progressive India” Report. It ranked States and Union territories (UTs) innovatively on their year-on-year incremental change in health outcomes and their overall performance.
ii. It was developed by NITI Aayog with technical assistance from the World Bank in consultation with the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW).
iii. The Health Index was based on 23 indicators grouped into the domains of Health Outcomes, Governance and Information, and Key Inputs/Processes. Each domain was assigned weights based on its importance and was equally distributed among indicators…………………………………..Click here to Read more
Central Government move to set up Krishi Vigyan Kendras to double farmers’ income by 2022
The Minister of Agriculture and Farmers Welfare, Narendra Singh Tomar announced that central Government has decided to use digital technology in rural India to double farmers’ income by the year 2022. For this, the Government has set up 713 Krishi Vigyan Kendras (KVK) and 684 Agricultural Technology Management Agencies (ATMA) at the district level in the country for dissemination of technologies among the farming community.
i. Artificial Intelligence, Big Data Analytics, and Block Chair Technology, Internet of Things(IoT), etc are the technologies which will be used.
ii. The space technology helps to forecast agricultural output, agro-meteorology and land-based observations, horticulture assessment and management, drought assessment and monitoring system.
iii. The government has set up an Inter-Ministerial committee and suggested a strategy to achieve the goal by 2022.
iv. About 100 mobile apps have been compiled by the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) which will provide valuable information regarding farming, sending crop related advisories through SMS to the farmers developed by the state’s Agricultural Universities, ICAR, and Krishi Vigyan Kendra.
v. Apart from this, the information will be given to the farmers through Publicity Campaign, Kisan Call Center, Agri-Clinic and Entrepreneur’s Agri-Business Center, Agriculture related Exhibition, Kisan SMS.
Japan gifts Imphal Peace Museum to Manipur, built on WWII memories
On June 22, 2019, Japan gifted Imphal Peace Museum to Manipur to mark the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Imphal, one of the fiercest battles of the Second World War, at Maibam Lokpa Ching popularly known as Red Hill (about 20 km southwest of Imphal). The inauguration was attended by Manipur Revenue minister Karam Shyam, Japanese Ambassador to India Kenji Hiramatsu, High Commissioner of United Kingdom Dominic Asquith and TNF Chairman Yohei Sasakawa among others.
i. It is funded by a private, non-profit grant-making organization based in Japan named The Nippon Foundation (TNF).
ii. The Museum is the symbol of reconciliation between Japan & Britain and Japan & India. It will act as a living memory of the fiercest war with a message that history changes and will make the world learn from the past.
iii. The main attraction of the museum is a framed calligraphy by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan with the word ‘Peace’ or ‘Heiwa’ in Japanese which means an unfaltering hope for a peaceful future.
About the Battle of Imphal 1944
Battle of Imphal took place in the region around the city of Imphal (Manipur’s capital) from March to July 1944. Japanese armies with an attempt to destroy Allied forces at Imphal invaded India but were driven back into Burma (Myanmar) with heavy losses. The Battle of Imphal together with simultaneous Battle of Kohima (also known as Stalingrad of the East) on the road by which encircled Allied forces at Imphal were relieved, was the main turning point of the Second World War’s Burma Campaign. About 70,000 Japanese soldiers, alongside those of Indian National Army (INA) of Subhash Chandra Bose, died in battles with British-led Allied forces in areas around Imphal and Kohima. The last of these battles was fought at Red Hill in Imphal.
Government schools to introduce Self Defence Training for girls under Samagra Shiksha
Integrated Scheme for School Education ‘Samagra Shiksha’ was launched by the Department of School Education and Literacy which comes under the Ministry of Human Resource Development, effective from the academic year 2018-19. The activity of Self Defence training for girls comes under Samagra Shiksha.
i. This scheme was launched to ensure the safety and security of girls keeping in mind the rising number of crimes against girls and women.
ii. Training will be given to girls of class VI to XII of Government Schools.
iii. It will also be given in Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBVs) which are residential schools and to those girls belonging to disadvantaged groups.
iv. States will be given funds through the Nirbhaya Fund under Ministry of Woman = and Child Development, Government of India or with other State Government schemes for three months at Rs. 3000/- per school per month.
About Ministry of Human Resource Development:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 26 September 1985
♦ Minister In-Charge: Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’
Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine in Jammu to have its own disaster response force by September 2020
The Mata Vaishno Devi shrine, a religious pilgrimage atop the Trikuta hills in Reasi district of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) will get a dedicated in-house disaster response force by September 2020.
i. The MoU (Memorandum of Understanding ) was signed between the Shri Mata Vaishno Devi Shrine Board (SMVDSB) and National Disaster Response Force (NDRF) to impart advanced disaster management training to the shrine board staff in batches to prepare a dedicated disaster response force for the shrine.
ii. They are planning to train 180 employees by September 2020 to build the temple’s own disaster response force.
iii. An emergency operation centre will also set up as part of its disaster preparedness by the shrine board.
♦ Governor: Satya Pal Malik
♦ Capitals: Jammu (Winter), Srinagar (Summer)
BANKING & FINANCE
RBI launches new complaints portal for filing online complaints against banks, NBFCs
On June 24, 2019, The Reserve Bank of India Governor Shaktikanta Das has launched a Complaint Management System (CMS) for lodging complaints against banks and NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) on its website. The online portal aims at improving customer experience in timely redressal of grievances.
i. CMS, a software application accessible on desktop as well as on mobile devices, which designed to file complains online and it sends acknowledgment receipts directly to the customers’ mobile numbers.
ii. The public can use the portal (https://cms.rbi.org.in), to lodge complaints against any regulated entity with a public interface such as commercial banks, urban cooperative banks, Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) which would be directed to the appropriate office of the Ombudsman/Regional Office of the RBI.
iii. RBI also plans to introduce a dedicated Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system for tracking the status of complaints.
iv. The processing of complaints has been digitalized with the launch of CMS in the offices of Banking Ombudsman (BO) and Consumer Education and Protection Cells (CEPCs) of RBI.
Government of Jharkhand to get $147 Million Loan from World Bank
On June 25, 2019, To provide basic urban services to the people and help improve the management capacity of the urban local bodies (ULBs) in Jharkhand, the World Bank approved a $147 million loan agreement to the state.
i. The State Government will invest in urban services such as water supply, sewerage, drainage, and urban roads and also strengthen the capacity of the Jharkhand Urban Infrastructure Development Company (JUIDCO). Urban population growth in nine districts of Jharkhand is above India’s overall urbanization pace of 2.7 percent.
ii. The Loan Agreement was signed by Mr. Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary, Department of Economic Affairs, Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India and Mr. Shanker Lal, Acting Country Director (India), the World Bank, on behalf of the World Bank.
iii. Jharkhand Municipal Reform Programme will strengthen the urban services in the state and also be a boost to economic growth.
♦ Capital: Ranchi
♦ Chief minister: Raghubar Das
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
NTPC and PGCIL sign MoU to form a joint venture to enter Power Distribution Business
On June 21, 2019, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) and PowerGrid Corporation of India Limited (PGCIL) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to set up a Joint Venture (JV) the National Electricity Distribution Company Limited (NEDCL). It will undertake the business for distribution of electricity in distribution circles in various states and Union Territories (UTs) and other related activities.
i. NEDCL will be owned by NTPC and PGCIL on 50:50 equity basis.
ii. JV was announced at a time when the existing reform scheme UDAY (Ujwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana) has been declared as a failure by several agencies.
iii. It will lead to the separation of content and carriage businesses in power distribution which means that the infrastructure builder for power supply and the supplier to consumers would be two separate entities.
iv. These measures are suggested in the latest amendments to the Electricity Act, 2003 and they are yet to be tabled in Parliament.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 7 November 1975
♦ Headquarters: Gurugram, Haryana
♦ Founded: 23 October 1989
Ujjwal DISCOM Assurance Yojana (UDAY) is the financial turnaround and revival package for electricity distribution companies of India (DISCOMs) launched by the Government of India in November 2015 with the intent to find a permanent solution to the financial mess that the power distribution is in.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Rachna Khaira of The Tribune won RedInk Award for ‘Journalist of the Year 2019’ for Aadhaar expose
Rachna Khaira of The Tribune News Service won RedInk Award for ‘Journalist of the Year 2019’. The award was bestowed for her expose on the functioning of the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) and its Aadhaar data cache in 2018.
i. The article was published in The Tribune edition dated January 4, 2018, and the leads provided in the article became a part of Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
ii. At present, Khaira works for The Huffington Post.
iii. The RedInk Awards for Excellence in Journalism, founded by The Mumbai Press Club in 2010, awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award for 2019 jointly to two retired senior journalists, Dinu Ranadive (aged 94) who retired from the Maharashtra Times, and photojournalist Sebastian D’Souza, who had served as photo editor of Mumbai Mirror.
iv. The RedInk ‘Star Mumbai Reporter’ award for 2019 was given to Mid-Day reporter Ranjeet Jadhav.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Pankaj Razdan, CEO of Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance quits
On June 24, 2019, Pankaj Razdan stepped down from his position as the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) of Mumbai based Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance (ABSLI). The present managing director(MD) of the retail arm of Kotak Securities Kamlesh Rao will replace Razdan as CEO.
i. Razdan also resigned from his other position as deputy chief executive officer of financial services firm, Aditya Birla Capital.
ii. Razdan joined Aditya Birla Capital in 2007 and he took over as head of Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance in 2013.
iii. Before joining Aditya Birla Capital, Razdan was the CEO of ICICI Prudential Mutual Fund.
iv. He produced a Marathi film while working with Aditya Birla Group.
Aditya Birla Sun Life Insurance Company Limited (ABSLI) is a joint venture between the Aditya Birla Group and Sun Life Financial Inc. It was founded in 2000.
World Archery appointed Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra to sort AAI trouble
On June 20, 2019, World Archery appointed Olympic gold medallist Abhinav Bindra as an independent person to sort out the ongoing trouble in the Archery Association of India (AAI).
i. AAI, headquartered at New Delhi, had violated the constitution by unanimously electing two parallel bodies in Chandigarh and New Delhi.
ii. Abhinav Bindra will be part of the selection panel which consists of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) secretary general Rajeev Mehta and a representative of Sport Ministry to select the national teams till a new AAI body takes charge.
ACQUISITIONS & MERGERS
Sundaram Finance to acquire stakes of its partner BNP Paribas held in two JVs
On June 20, 2019, India’s leading Non-Banking Financial Company(NBFC) Sundaram Finance Ltd (SFL) has announced that it set to acquire the stakes held by BNP Paribas in their two joint venture (JV) companies for a total of around Rs 1,000 Cr.
i. SFL has agreed to acquire a 49.9 % stake of BNP Paribas held in Sundaram BNP Paribas Home Finance limited (SBPHFL) for about Rs.999.66 crore. SFL currently holds 50.1 percent in the home finance company which is increased to 100% after the acquisition.
ii. The company has also acquired a 49% equity stake of BNP Paribas Securities Services held in Sundaram BNP Paribas Fund Services (SBFS) for about Rs. 1.50 crore. SFL currently holds a 51 percent stake in the company.
ii. With the acquisitions, the two joint ventures would become a wholly owned subsidiary of Sundaram Finance.
iii. SFL is currently trading at Rs1,570 surged by Rs37.2 or 2.43% from its previous closing of Rs1,532.80 on the BSE(Bombay Stock Exchange).
About Sundaram Finance
♦ Managing Director: T T Srinivasaraghavan
♦ Founder: T.S.Santhanam
♦ Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
SpaceX launched hefty rocket with 24 research satellites
On June 25, 2019, Space Exploration Technologies Corp (SpaceX) launched a hefty rocket with 24 payload military and scientific research satellites with a deep space atomic clock, solar sail, clean and green rocket fuel, and even human ashes, including an astronaut.
i. The third flight of a Falcon Heavy rocket (first ordered by the military) was launched from NASA’s (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, the US.
ii. The Defense Department mission will provide data to certify the Falcon Heavy and reused boosters for future national security launches.
iii. NASA had signed up for the rocket along with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Air Force Research Laboratory and the Planetary Society and Celestis Inc.
iv. The Falcon Heavy’s first-stage booster has nine engines each, for a total of 27 firings simultaneously at liftoff from NASA’s Kennedy Space Center. It was first launched in February 2018.
♦ Headquarters: Hawthorne, California, US
♦ Founded: 6 May 2002
♦ CEO: Elon Musk
‘Bumble’ became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space
On June 14, 2019, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Astrobee Robot “Bumble” became the first Astrobee robot to fly under its own power in space. It will help researchers in examining the new technologies in zero gravity and assist astronauts to perform routine work in the International Space Station (ISS).
i.‘Bumble’ and a second Astrobee named ‘Honey’ were launched to the space station in April 2019.
ii.‘Queen’, a third robot, will be launched in July 2019.
Wind and solar to deliver half the world’s power by the year 2050: BNEF report
According to a “New Energy Outlook (NEO) report 2019 ”released by Bloomberg NEF, Wind and solar power are the new power in two-thirds of countries around the world and they will make up almost half of the electricity system by 2050.
i. The electricity demand set to increase 62 percent, which in turn will attract $13.3 trillion in new investment, of which wind will take $5.3 trillion and solar will take $4.2 trillion.
ii. It forecasts that many nations can cut power sector emissions through 2030 in line with goals set in Paris climate agreement, to limit the increase in world temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius.
iii. Wind and solar grow from 7 percent to 48 percent by 2050, while, coal in the global power mix will plunge from 37 percent to 12 percent by 2050.
iv. Europe will take the lead to decarbonize its grid, with 92% of its electricity supply in 2050.
v.The U.S (United States) will get 43% of power by 2050, while India and China are still adding coal plants to their grids.
Veteran freedom fighter Mohan Ranade dies at 90
Veteran freedom fighter Mohan Ranade passed away in Pune, Maharashtra at the age of 90. He participated in the Goa Liberation Movement. He was born in 1929 at Sangli in Maharashtra.
i. In 1995, he was arrested by Portuguese Police and spent 14 years in prison in Lisbon. After the liberation of Goa in 1961, he was released in 1969.
ii. He was inspired by leaders like Ganesh Damodar Savarkar and Vinay Damodar Savarkar.
iii. He was a lawyer by profession, was awarded the Padma Shri in 2001.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Veteran Actor Anupam Kher pens an Auto-Biography “Lessons Life Taught Me, Unknowingly”
Veteran Actor Anupam Kher, aged 64, has penned an Auto-Biography titled “Lessons Life Taught Me, Unknowingly”. It will be launched on August 5, 2019. It will look into the life and times of the actor.
i. The book will be published by Hay House in partnership with Penguin Random House.
ii. Kher is the winner of two National awards, eight Filmfare awards and a BAFTA nomination. He is a recipient of the Padma Shree Award in 2004 and Padma Bhushan Award in 2016.
iii. He has acted in more than 530 films in several languages, both in India and the West, 100 plays and numerous TV shows.
At Gwalior Air Base, IAF commemorates 20 years of Kargil war
On June 24, 2019, The Indian Air Force (IAF) commemorated 20 years of Kargil war at Gwalior Air Base which turned into a war theater with reforming some of the air operations in 1999.
i. Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa was the chief guest of the event.
ii. IAF used Mirage 2000 fighter aircraft to reenact Tiger Hill attack and displayed aircraft used during ‘Operation Vijay’ in Madhya Pradesh’s Gwalior during the event.
iii. Five Mirage 2000, two MiG 21s and one Sukoi 30 MKI were showcased at the base. One of the Mirage 2000s showcased the Spice bomb carrier which was used in the Balakot airstrike in February 2019.
Day of the Seafarer observed on June 25, 2019
On June 25, 2019, Day of the seafarer was celebrated throughout the world. The day recognizes the unique and vital role of seafarers in the global community. The theme for Day of the Seafarer 2019 is, “Get on board with gender equality”. The 2019 campaign is dubbed as “I Am On Board with gender equality”.
i. The International Maritime Organization (IMO) is calling on everyone in the maritime world and beyond to get on board with this year’s theme of gender equality and declare their support.
ii. June 25 was declared as the Day of the seafarer in a resolution adopted by the 2010 Diplomatic Conference in Manila to adopt the revised STCW (Standards of Training, Certification, and Watchkeeping for Seafarers ) Convention.
iii. The Day of the Seafarer was designated by International Maritime Organisation (IMO) in 2010.
iv. The resolution encourages governments, shipping firms, companies associated with sea trade and others, to promote and uphold sea trade and seafarers through the Day of the Seafarer.
About International Maritime Organization (IMO):
♦ Secretary-General: Kitack Lim
♦ Headquarters: London
Rajasthan’s BJP Chief Madan Lal Saini passed away at AIIMS, Delhi
On June 25, 2019, President of the Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) Rajasthan unit Madan Lal Saini, aged 75, passed away at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), New Delhi. He was diagnosed with infection in lungs.
i. He hailed from Sikar district of Rajasthan.
ii. He was a former Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer and held various posts in the Bhartiya Kisan Morcha.
iii. Saini was appointed as the chief of the Rajasthan unit of the BJP in June 2018. He was also a member of Rajya Sabha.
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