Current Affairs June 28 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Cabinet approved bill to fine people with Rs 10,000 for blocking ambulances
On June 24, 2019, The Union Cabinet chaired by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi approved the bill to fine people with Rs 10,000 for blocking ambulances. The rule is the part of Motor Vehicles (Amendment) Bill.
i. The Bill was approved as several cases were reported where ambulances were stuck for hours either due to agitation on roads, traffic or due to a minister’s visit, which sometimes caused patients to lose their lives.
ii. The proposals were based on the recommendations of transport ministers from 18 states and they were assessed by the Standing Committee of Parliament……………………Click here to Read more

Government forms 18-member working group headed by Ramesh Chand, NITI Aayog member, to revise current series of WPI
On June 27, 2019, Government formed a 18-member working group headed by Ramesh Chand, member of NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog, to revise current series of Wholesale Price Index (WPI) with base year 2011-12 and come up with a new Producer Price Index (PPI).
i. The revision of the base year 2011-12 will help to describe a more realistic picture of the price situation and its impact on people. It will draft a roadmap to switch over from WPI to PPI.
ii. The current series of WPI with 2011-12 as base year was introduced in May 2017…………………………………..Click here to Read more

MoA signed between Ministry of Shipping and IIT Kharagpur to set up CICMT
On June 26, 2019, A Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) was signed between Ministry of Shipping and IIT (Indian Institute of Technology), Kharagpur to set up Centre for Inland & Coastal Maritime Technology (CICMT) at IIT Kharagpur. CICMT is the first of its kind centre in India with the focus on indigenisation of ship designing, building, and testing. Key Points:
i. The MoA was signed by IIT Kharagpur Director, Professor Partha P Chakraborty, and Joint Secretary in the Ministry of Shipping, Kailash Kumar Aggarwal in the presence of Shipping Minister Mansukh L Mandaviya in New Delhi.
ii. The cost of the project is Rs.69.20 crore and it is funded under Sagarmala programme. The funding for the project is for 5 years after which revenues generated from the end users will be used.
iii. At present, 4 European countries namely Germany, the Netherlands, Russia and Belgium have model testing facilities for ships.
iv. CICMT, under the Make in India initiative, will focus on ship design for coastal or inland waterways, shipbuilding technology, and structural design, transport systems & logistics, cryogenic cargo handling, green/renewable energy harvesting from coastal and inland waters and automation and artificial intelligence (AI) for maritime operations.
v. It will provide technical support, testing, research and experimentation facility to agencies involved in inland water transport, shipbuilding, ports etc.
About Sagarmala programme:
♦ It is an initiative by the government of India to enhance the performance of the country’s logistics sector.
Launched:  July 31, 2015

Go Tribal campaign by Tribes India launched in New Delhi
On June 28, 2019, “Go Tribal Campaign” by Tribes India was launched by Minister of State for Tribal Affairs, Smt. Renuka Singh in the presence of Shri R.C. Meena, Chairman, Tribal Cooperative Marketing Development Federation of India  (TRIFED), Shri Deepak Khandekar, Secretary, Ministry of Tribal Affairs and Shri Pravir Krishna, Managing Director, TRIFED in New Delhi.Go Tribal campaignKey Points:
i. TRIFED organized this event to institutionalize collaborations and partnerships with different organizations to promote tribal products. It is an organization under Ministry of Tribal Affairs and is engaged in marketing development of tribal products under the brand name “TRIBES INDIA”.
ii. Tribes India in association with Amazon Global Marketing launched TRIBES India products globally through Amazon platform. It also collaborated with Central Silk Board for development, promotion, marketing of tribal silk products.

The 32nd edition of ISTA Congress takes place in Hyderabad
An eight-day event of the 32nd edition of International Seed Testing Association (ISTA) Congress has started in Hyderabad, Telangana. The Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare and the Telangana government have jointly hosted the event which is being held for the first time in South Asia.32nd edition of ISTA CongressKey points:
i. Inauguration: Kailash Choudhary, Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare inaugurated the event.
iii. Aim: Focusing on modern technologies to increase quality seed production and seed export-import policies.
iv. Partakers: Over 600 delegates including seed experts, policy makers and representatives of international companies from nearly 70 countries like the UK, South Africa, New Zealand, Canada to take part in the event to discuss developments in seed research and in technology related to seeds.
v. Exhibition and Workshops: Stakeholders & seed testing laboratories and associated organizations showcase their products &services. Several pre and post-event workshops are also being held as a part of the event.
About Telangana:
♦ Founded: 2 June 2014
♦ Chief minister: K. Chandrashekar Rao

BANKING & FINANCE

India and World Bank sign USD 400M loan agreement to eliminate TB
On June 28, 2019, The World Bank and the Government of India signed a loan agreement of $400 Million for the Program Towards Elimination of Tuberculosis(TB), which kills approximately half a million people in India every year. The program will cover nine States of India.
i. It will also support the government’s National Strategic Plan to end TB in India by 2025.
ii. The $ 400 Million loan from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a 19-year maturity which includes a 5-year grace period…………………………..Click here to Read more

India inks loan pact worth of $328M with World Bank for Andhra Pradesh
On June 28, 2019, The World Bank, Government of India and State Government of Andra Pradesh signed a loan agreement worth of $328 million with the World Bank (WB) for improving health services of Andhra Pradesh.
Key points:
i. 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, World Bank on behalf of the World Bank.
ii. It will help improve the health care of the citizens of Andra Pradesh, especially pregnant women(93%), who now opt for institutional deliveries in the state and those at risk of non-communicable diseases(60% burden) like hypertension, diabetes and cervical cancer.
iii. The International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) loan has a 23.5-year maturity and includes a grace period of 6-year.
About Andra Pradesh:
♦ Capital:
Amaravati
♦ Chief minister: Y. S. Jaganmohan Reddy
♦ Governor: E. S. L. Narasimhan
♦ National parks: Sri Venkateswara National Park , Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Papikonda National Park.

RBI sets average base rate at 9.18% for NBFC-MFI borrowers for the quarter beginning July 1, 2019
On June 28, 2019, The Reserve Bank of India set an average base rate of 9.18% for Non-Banking Financial Companies (NBFCs) and Micro Finance Institutions (MFIs) to be charged from their customers. It will be charged for the quarter beginning July 1, 2019.
Key Points:
i. On February 7, 2014, the Apex bank in a circular had informed the NBFCs and MFIs regarding the pricing of credit on the last working day of every quarter.
ii. It sets the average base rate on the basis of an average of the base rate of the 5 largest commercial banks.
iii. The rate was reduced for Q2 (9.18%) from 9.21% in Q1 FY2020.
About Reserve Bank Of India:
Headquarters: Mumbai
Governor: Shaktikanta Das

Indian Crypto Exchange Koinex Shuts down its operation
India’s Largest cryptocurrency exchange, Koinex (Mumbai) terminating its digital asset trading services and other crypto-related operations citing regulatory uncertainty and disruption.Indian Crypto Exchange KoinexKey points:
i. Problem: It was facing problems with its payment services and gateways, along with non-crypto related transactions like payment of salaries, rent, and purchase of equipment.
ii. It started its digital assets exchange services in August 2017
iii. Record: It executed over 20 million orders, and recorded $3Biilion+ in trading volume on its platform so far.
iv. Background:  In April 2018, the country’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), barred banks from serving companies dealing in cryptocurrency exchanges.
v. Similar Shutdown: Earlier in 2019, two other exchanges operating in the country, Coindelta & Coinome also stopped offering crypto trading services.
About Koinex:
♦ Founders: Rahul Raj, Rakesh Yadav, Aditya Naik
♦ Sector: Digital assets

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

India the Lowest Cost Producer of Solar Power; beats China, UK, US among others
According to a report, “Renewable Power Generation Costs in 2018” by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), India leads in producing solar power at lowest cost globally and is far ahead of other nations in low average production costs.India the Lowest Cost Producer of Solar Power. Key points:
i. Even India beats China(cheapest manufacturer of everything,) it also left behind the countries of the UK, Canada, and France among others.
ii. India’s report: India has the lowest total installed cost for new utility-scale solar PV projects that were commissioned in 2018 at $793/Kw(kilowatt), which is 27% lower than in 2017.
iii. High cost: Canada($2,427/kW) Russian($2,302/kW) Japan($2,101/kW) South Africa($1,617/kW) and Australia($1,554/kW) are charging high for setting up solar projects.
iv. Low cost:  China, Italy , France($1,074/kW) and Germany($1,113/kW)  have the lowest installation cost.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Nirmala Sitharaman, Union finance & Corporate Affairs minister, among ‘100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women’ list 
On June 24, 2019, To mark ‘India Day’ in the Houses of Parliament in London, United Kingdom (UK), Sajid Javid, Home Secretary of UK, released the ‘100 most Influential in UK-India Relations: Celebrating Women’ list. Finance & Corporate Affairs Minister of India, Nirmala Sitharaman, was one among the 100 most influential women driving the UK-India relationship forward.100 Most Influential in UK-India Relations Celebrating Women' listKey Points:
i. It credited her for playing a “pivotal” role in the bilateral relationship between the countries as the former Defence Minister of India and now as the finance minister.
ii. The list included Britain’s Secretary of State for Defence Penny Mordaunt, along with other prominent names such as Priti Patel, Baroness Sandy Verma, filmmaker Gurinder Chadha, Indian law firm chiefs Zia Mody and Pallavi S Shroff, Apollo Hospitals’ managing director Suneeta Reddy, Nasscom President Debjani Ghosh, Aarthi Subramanian, Group Chief Digital Officer of Tata Sons and Ruchi Ghanashyam, the Indian High Commissioner to the UK.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Narinder Batra, IOA and FIH chief, elected as the member of IOC
On June 26, 2019, Narinder Batra, President of Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and Fédération Internationale de Hockey (FIH) was elected as a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in the IOC Session. He received 58 votes out of 62. With the election of 10 new members, the total number of IOC members rose to 105.Key Points:
i. Batra became the first Indian to have the rare distinction by becoming a member of the IOC while heading a National Olympic Committee and the international federation.
ii. With this, the number of Indians who are currently active members of the IOC raised to 2, first being Nita Ambani, Reliance Foundation Chairperson, who was elected as an individual member of the IOC in 2016. She was the first Indian woman to be elected to IOC.
iii. Former IOA Secretary General Randhir Singh, an honorary member now,  had served as a member of the IOC from 2001 to 2014.
About IOC:
President: Thomas Bach
Founders: Pierre de Coubertin, Demetrius Vikelas
Founded: 23 June 1894; Paris, France
Headquarters: Lausanne, Switzerland

Sharad Kumar Saraf appointed as the new President of FIEO
On June 27, 2019, Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) elected Sharad Kumar Saraf as its new President. He succeeded Ganesh Kumar Gupta.Sharad Kumar SarafKey Points:
i. He is the Chairman and Founder of Technocraft Industries (India).
ii. He had earlier served FIEO twice as Vice-President and Regional Chairman (west region) for 4 times.
iii. During his tenure as Vice President, he established Indian Exporters Grievance Forum to address exporters’ grievances through legal channels.
About FIEO:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founded: 1965
Founder: Ministry of Commerce and Industry

Sarada Kumar Hota took over as NHB MD
According to the Finance Ministry, Government of India, Canara Bank General Manager (GM)Sarada Kumar Hota has assumed charge as the National Housing Bank (NHB) Managing Director for a period of three years. He succeeds Sriram Kalyanaraman.Sarada Kumar Hota Key points:
i.  Prior to the appointment, Hota served as the managing director of Can Fin Homes, a subsidiary of Canara Bank.
ii. NHB, which is now wholly owned by the Government.
About NHB
♦ Founded: 9 July 1988
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

ESA and NASA test Lunar Evacuation System to save the lives of Astronauts
American Space Agency, NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) astronauts tested a prototype Lunar Evacuation System Assembly (LESA) designed by European Space Agency (ESA).It was tested as part of NASA’s NEEMO 23 (Extreme Environment Mission Operations) mission to assist in astronaut rescue missions on the surface of Moon.
Key points:
i. Testing: It was tested undersea as the bottom of the ocean floor is rocky, sandy terrain and warm salty water bear much more similarity with the lunar surface.
ii. LESA: It is a pyramid-like structure designed to be used by a single astronaut in the gravitational force of the moon for the rescue purpose.
iii. Recovery: In less than 10 minutes, astronauts can lift their crewmate on a mobile stretcher and get them on their way to a nearby pressurized lander.
iv.Advantage: LESA can be transported like a golf caddy and placed close to the fallen astronaut.

India successfully test-fired indigenously developed nuclear-capable missile Prithvi-II
On June 27, 2019, India successfully test-fired indigenously developed nuclear-capable missile Prithvi-II, a surface-to-surface missile, from a test range off the Odisha coast. Prithvi is the first missile developed by the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) under the Integrated Guided Missile Development Programme (IGMDP).Key Points:
i. The trial was carried out from a mobile launcher from Launch Complex-III of the Integrated Test Range (ITR) at Chandipur, Odisha.
ii. The launch activity was carried out by the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) of the Army monitored by the scientists of the DRDO.
iii. The missile with a strike range of 350 km is capable of carrying 500/100 kg of warheads. It is powered by liquid propulsion twin engines and uses an advanced inertial guidance system with maneuvering trajectory to hit its target.
iv. Prithvi-II was also successfully test-fired on February 21, 2018 from the ITR at Chandipur, Odisha.
v. Prithvi, a nine-metre-tall, single-stage liquid-fuelled missile, was inducted into the armory of the Indian defence forces in 2003.
About DRDO:
Headquarters: New Delhi
Founded: 1958
Motto: “Strength’s Origin is in Science”
Chairman:  Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy

BYPL, a power distribution company, launched energy saving app ‘Susthome’
BSES Yamuna Power Limited (BYPL), a power distribution company, launched energy-saving behavioral app ‘Susthome’. It is developed by BYPL and TERI-The Energy and Resources Institute, to bring about a behavioural change in how consumers use electricity and it will track energy consumption patterns.Susthome Key Points:
i. In the first phase of a pilot project, selected cooperative housing societies in Mayur Vihar will use this app. In the second phase, the initiative will cover around two lakh residential consumers.
ii. It has the potential to save nearly 72 MUs (Million Units) and over Rs 29 crore annually.
iii. BYPL has partnered with several private bodies like TERI, Panasonic India and Council on Energy, Environment and Water (CEEW) to launch three ambitious and novel initiatives like the behavioural energy saving app, green division concept and solar micro grids with battery storage.
About BYPL:
Founded: 4 July 2001
CEO: P R Kumar

SPORTS

Italy to host 2026 Winter Olympics
On June 24, 2019, In the final round of voting at the 134th session of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) in Lausanne, Switzerland, Italy’s Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo won the right to host the 2026 Winter Olympics, defeating Sweden’s capital Stockholm. Milan and Cortina d’Ampezzo received 47 votes from the IOC members and Stockholm secured 34 votes.Italy to host 2026 Winter Olympics. Key Points:
i. Italy will host the third Winter Games, after Turin hosted it in 2006 and Ski Resort Cortina hosted it in 1956.
ii. The organizational budget for the 2026 Winter Olympics is estimated at $1.7 billion. It is scheduled to take place from 6 to 22 February 2026.

Marcus Trescothick of England announced retirement from professional cricket
The former England opening batsman, Marcus Trescothick, aged 43, announced retirement from professional cricket. He will retire after the current county season ends which is Trescothick’s 27th season.Marcus TrescothickKey Points:
i. In his career of 27 years, he played 76 Tests with more than 5800 runs with an average of 43.79 and 123 One-Day Internationals (ODIs) scoring 4335 runs with an average of 37.37 since his debut for Somerset, a county in South West England, in 1993.
ii. He holds a record for the most first-class catches (445) for the county.

OBITUARY

Oldest Freedom fighter Mohammed Baji passed away at 103
Noted freedom fighter, Mohammed Baji (Md Bazi) passed away Sunari Sahi in Nabarangpur district of Odisha. He was 103.Key points:
i. He was born on January 20, 1917, and he had joined the Indian National Congress in 1936.
ii. He had taken part in Mahatma Gandhi’s Satyagraha movement in 1940 and was active in the Sarvodaya movement after freedom.
iii. He also joined the Quit India Movement and was held on August 19, 1942, and jailed for 30 months before he was released on June 25, 1947.
iv. He was the chairman of Utkal Gandhi Smarak Nidhi.

Legendary Bengal cricketer Shyam Sundar Mitra passes away at 82
Bengal‘s former Ranji Trophy cricketer Shyam Sundar Mitra passed away at the age of 82 due to heart ailment.Shyam Sundar Mitra Key points:
i. He was Born in 1936 in Kolkata and he was popularly known as ‘SS’.
ii. He was awarded the Karthick Bose Lifetime Achievement Award by CAB (Cricket Association of Bengal).
iii. He played his club cricket for Mohun Bagan(Football club), who honored him with the Lifetime Achievement award in 2017.

Veteran Telugu actress and director Vijaya Nirmala passed away
Veteran Telugu actor-film Maker G Vijaya Nirmala passed away following a brief illness in Hyderabad. She was 75.Vijaya NirmalaKey points:
i. She was born on February 20, 1946, in Tamil Nadu.
ii. Nirmala had over 200 films to her name with 25 each in Malayalam and Tamil, and the remaining in Telugu.
iii. In 2002, she holds Guinness Book of World Records as the female director with most films.
iv. In 2008, she received Raghupathi Venkaiah award from Andhra Pradesh government for her contribution to Telugu cinema.

IMPORTANT DAYS

Ministry of New and Renewable Energy successfully observed ‘ Swachhta Pakhwada’  
Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE) and institutions under it, successfully observed Swachhta Pakhwada (cleanliness fortnight) from June 1-15 2019. The campaign was inaugurated by Secretary, MNRE Shri Aanand Kumar by delivering a lecture on the importance of Swachhata in life.
Key Points:
i. On June 4, 2019, the Minister participated in tree plantation drive in CGO Complex, New Delhi.
ii. MNRE undertook various initiatives like Shramdan (cleanliness drive), “Swachhata Pledge”, organization of Seminar on Biogas/Biomass- Waste to Energy and other initiatives with an objective of disseminating the message of Swachh Bharat widely.
About MNRE:
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: 1992
♦ Minister In-Charge: Raj Kumar Singh

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