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Current Affairs March 10 2019

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Current Affairs March 10 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview Of PM Narendra Modi’s Visit To Uttar Pradesh
On 8th March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi embarked on a visit to Kanpur, Ghaziabad and Varanasi in Uttar Pradesh. He laid foundation stone for various development projects and schemes during his visit.

  • PM laid foundation stone of two Thermal Power Projects, one at Khurja, Uttar Pradesh and other at Buxar, Bihar. Both the plants will have power generation capacity of 1320 MW.
  • Modi laid foundation stone of Panki Thermal Power Plant and unveiled plaques to mark the launch of various projects in Kanpur.
  • PM laid the foundation stone of Kashi Vishwanath Mandir Vistarikaran- Saundarayakaran Yojana (Kashi Vishwanath Temple Extension and Beautification Plan). The work will be rolled out in four phases.
  • Modi laid foundation stone of Integrated Traffic Management System (ITMS) and inaugurated an extension of Delhi Metro’s Red Line……………………….Click here to Read more

A 3-member mediation panel created by SC to settle Ram Mandir-Babri Masjid Case
For the amicable settlement of Ayodhya’s Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid land dispute case, the five-judge bench, headed by the Chief Justice of India (CJI) Ranjan Gogoi, constituted a three-member mediation panel headed by former Supreme Court (SC) judge Justice F. M. Kalifullah to resolve the issue.
i. The other members of the panel include spiritual guru Sri Sri Ravi Shankar and Senior Advocate Sriram Panchu.
ii. The proceedings in the case will be held in Faizabad.
iii. The panel of mediators will file a progress report of the mediation proceedings within 4 weeks and the process will be completed within 8 weeks.
iv. They may co-opt more members and in case of any difficulty, inform the Supreme Court registry.
v. 14 appeals have been filed in the Supreme Court against the 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment, delivered in civil suits, that the 2.77-acre land in Ayodhya be partitioned equally among the 3 parties – the Sunni Waqf Board, the Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lala.

Government succeeds in achieving the target of 87 per cent of 8 crore free LPG connections
On 9th March 2019, the government allotted its 7-croreth free cooking gas (LPG) connection, as a part of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY).
Key Points:
i. 7 crore free LPG connections have been issued in the past 34 months which approximates to almost 69,000 connections per day.
ii. This scheme was launched on 1st May, 2016 with the aim of issuing 5 crore connections to women from poor families.
iii. 42% of the total connections have been issued to SC/ST.
iv. The highest number of connections have been issues in Uttar Pradesh (1.26 crore), followed by West Bengal (78 lakhs) and Bihar (77.51 lakh).


Loan agreement of $137 Million signed between Government of India, the World Bank and the representatives of Five States for the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP)
On 8th March 2019, a loan agreement worth $137 million was signed in New Delhi, between the World Bank, the Government of India and representatives of 5 States of Government of India and Implementing Agencies, for the Additional Financing of the Dam Rehabilitation and Improvement Project (DRIP). The project involves more than 220 selected large dams in Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.

worldbankKey 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. Junaid Ahmad, Country Director, World Bank India, on behalf of the World Bank, and the representatives from the State Governments of Karnataka, Kerala, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttarakhand.
ii.This is an additional financing to the earlier approved loan of $350 million.
iii. This fund shall be utilised for the construction of an additional spillway for Hirakud DamOdisha and to facilitate rehabilitation and improvement of other dams including strengthening the institutional, legal and technical framework for dam safety assurance within the Government of India and in the participating States.
iv. This from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), has a 3-year grace period and a final maturity of 16 years.

Korea Exim Bank extends loan worth Rs. 4,100 crores for Vizag Metro
On 7th March 2019, the Export-Import Bank of Korea (KEXIM) proposed to provide a soft loan worth Rs.4,100 crore for the Visakhapatnam (Vizag) metro rail project. The matter was discussed in a meeting involving a delegation led by KEXIM Director (Operations) Yang Dong, Chief Secretary Anil Chandra Punetha, Amaravati Metro Rail Corporation Limited (AMRCL) Managing Director N.P. Ramakrishna Reddy and other officials at the Secretariat.

Korea Exim Bank extends loan worth Rs. 4,100 crores for Vizag MetroKey points:
i. The State government had sent a proposal to Central government for asking KEXIM Bank to provide loan at 8-10% rate of interest. No firm decision has been taken on this yet.
ii. The estimated cost of the project is Rs. 8300 crores and it constitutes 3 corridors spread over 42 km.
About Andhra Pradesh
♦ Capital- Amaravati (de facto)
Hyderabad (de jure)
♦ Chief Minister- N. Chandrababu Naidu
♦ Governor- E. S. L. Narasimhan

IBBI inks cooperation deal with International Finance Corporation (IFC)
On 7th March 2019, The Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India (IBBI) signed an agreement with the International Finance Corporation (IFC)in cooperation. IFC is a member of the World Bank Group.
Key Points
i. The cooperation agreement provides a technical assistance by IFC to IBBI until 30th June, 2021.It will provide training of insolvency professionals and trainers by the IFC to IBBI.
ii. IBBI provides a platform for re-organization and insolvency resolution of corporate persons, individuals and partnership firmsin a time bound manner for maximization of the value of assets.
iii. IFC would help IBBI to effectively implement the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code, 2016 and its allied rules and regulations for the purpose of the bankruptcy code.
About Insolvency and Bankruptcy Board of India
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi
♦ Chairperson – M S Sahoo

SBI links savings account, short-term loan interest rates to RBI repo rate
On 8th March 2019, the State Bank of India (SBI) became the first bank to link its interest rate on savings account with balance above Rs. 1 lakh and short-term loans to the repo rate of the Reserve Bank of India. This shall be effective from 1st May 2019.This means that savings account interest rates and interest rate on a few loans will change as and when the regulator changes its repo rate.
Key Points:
i. The current repo rate of RBI is 6.25%.
ii. The bank will link savings accounts with balance greater than Rs. 1 lakh to repo rate at current effective rate of 3.5% (2.75 percentage points lower than the current repo rate of 6.25%).
iii. All cash credit accounts and overdrafts having limits greater than Rs. 1 lakh shall also be linked to the benchmark policy rate, plus a spread of 2.25%—amounting to 8.5%.
iv .A risk premium, above 8.5%, will be charged on these loans on the basis of the risk profile of the borrower.
v. The interest rate on home loans will continue to be determined by MCLR (marginal cost of funds-based lending rate).


CII released ‘Suggested Election Manifesto’ for political parties
Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) released a ‘Suggested Election Manifesto‘ for political parties to achieve an average growth rate of 8% per annum in the next 5 years.
i. The manifesto provides an economic roadmap for the upcoming government covering a range of subjects like agriculture, education, health, infrastructure, manufacturing, technology as well as environment.
ii. The industry grouping has called for compressing Goods and Services Tax (GST) rate slabs to 2% or 3% and lowering corporate income tax to 18% with no exemptions to make Indian tax rates globally competitive.
On electoral reforms, it suggests devising a model for simultaneous elections of Parliament and state legislatures from 2024.
iii. It has suggested raising public expenditure on education to 6% of the GDP, making vocational training part of curriculum and incentivising better performance of teachers with upgraded digital school infrastructure, especially, in rural schools and linking the universities with industries and increase government funding for Research and Development to 1% of the GDP.
iv. It suggests increasing health spends to 3% of the GDP, granting infrastructure status to the sector and reducing India’s maternal and infant mortality ratios on a top priority.
v. For the agriculture sector, it has called for introducing a comprehensive National Agriculture Mission in partnership with the state governments and suggested a ranking of Ease of Doing Agriculture for states.
vi. It identifies retail, tourism, media and entertainment and other labour-intensive sectors as labour-intensive sectors requiring specific actions and sustainable development with water management and air pollution mitigation are highlighted.

India & ASEAN shows faster growth in e-commerce and digital trade sectors
On 10thMarch 2019, According to ‘India and ASEAN: Co-creating the Future’ report  by industry body Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and consulting major KPMG, India and 10 member ASEAN are among the fastest growing economies in the world.
Key Points
i. India and ASEAN shows a faster growth rate even for e-commerce and digital trade sectors. Global E-commerce Sector topped by China.
ii. Global e-commerce sales are expected to reach 4.5 trillion dollars from 1.3 trillion dollars by 2021.
iii .By 2025,the e-commerce market in India is expected to reach a volume of 90 billion dollars as per the report
iv. The speed of the growth everywhere is led by rising internet penetration and smart phone use by young population and expanding middle class. China’s e-commerce market will expand to 672 billion dollars by 2025.
About Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry
♦  Headquarter : New Delhi
♦  Secretary General : Dilip Chenoy

India’s Data Usage forecasted to rise at 73% CAGR by 2022
On 10th March 2019, According to the Assocham – PwC Study,India’s data consumption is expected to grow at a Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about 72.6% by 2022.
Key Points
i. Internet consumption is clearly on the rise in India. It is expected that Video on Demand (VoD) mark will show a significant development as per the study.
ii. In 2013 the average monthly spend on voice services was Rs.214 compared to Rs.173 spend on data which became Rs.124 on voice and Rs.225 on data in 2016.
iii. Instead of content creators and packagers, social media and technology platforms emerged as the primary beneficiaries of the increase in user time and spending.
iv. As per the study internet penetration shows an increase in India with mobile internet penetration is set to reach 56.7% in 2022 from 30.2% in 2017. But connectivity and consistency in speed issues are badly needed to be addressed.

Total liabilities of govt mounted to Rs 83.40 lakh crore in Q3
On 8th March 2019, according to Finance Ministry Report during the period October to December 2018, the total liabilities of the government increased to Rs.83.40 lakh crore from 82.03 lakh crore in the previous quarter of the current fiscal.
Key Points
i. Public debt accounted for 89.5%  of total outstanding liabilities at the end of December 2018 with an internal debt accounting for 83.3% share.
ii. In the third quarter of the fiscal G-Sec yields have shown a softening trend with the decrease in weighted average yield of primary issuances to 7.82% from 8.01% in the last quarter.


India claims the First Prize at The International ‘Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019’ in the category of ‘TV Cinema Spot’ at ITB, Berlin
The Ministry of Tourism, Government of India was awarded the First Prize in the category- TV Cinema Spot at the International Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019 held at Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB), Berlin. The awards were received by Shri Yogendra Tripathi, Secretary, Tourism.

India claims the First Prize at The International ‘Golden City Gate Tourism Awards 2019’ in the category of ‘TV Cinema Spot’ at ITB, Berlini The awards were given for the following promotional films and TV commercials produced under the Incredible India 2.0 Campaign:

  • Yogi of the Racetrack
  • The Reincarnation of Mr. and Mrs. Jones
  • Sanctuary in Paris
  • Maharani of Manhattan
  • The Masala Master Chef

ii. The Incredible India 2.0 Campaign was started by the Ministry of Tourism in September 2017.

Maneka Gandhi felicitated the 30 winners of the ‘Web Wonder Women’ contest
The Union Minister for Women and Child Development, Maneka Gandhi, felicitated the 30 winners of the ‘Web Wonder Women’ contest organized by the Ministry of Women and Child Development in New Delhi.

wwwi. Maneka Gandhi, along with a panel of 10 judges, finalized the names of 30 women who have impacted and influenced society through social media.
ii. The women were selected from over 240 nominations received under the categories media, awareness, legal, health, governmental, food, environment, development, business and art.
About Web Wonder Women
Organised in collaboration with Twitter India and Breakthrough India, the event is aimed to recognise the fortitude of Indian women stalwarts from across the globe who have used the power of social media to run positive campaigns to bring a change in the society.

ACKO General Insurance honoured with Golden Peacock Award 2019
The new-age digital insurance company, ACKO General Insurance was awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovative Product Award – 2019, for their contextual micro insurance product -“Ola Ride Insurance“.

ACKO General Insurance honoured with Golden Peacock Award 2019i. The award was presented to Biresh Giri, Appointed Actuary & CRO, Acko at an event in Dubai.
ii. Launched in March 2018, Ola Ride Insurance is a first of its kind insurance in the Indian market where Acko partnered with the leading ride-sharing company, Ola.
iii. The Re. 1 Ola ride insurance is a contextual microinsurance solution that protects the user against any unfortunate mishaps while commuting, providing benefits in cases of loss of baggage/laptops, missed flights, accidental medical expense, ambulance transportation cover, etc.

Chameli Devi Jain Award won by BBC Journalist Priyanka Dubey
On 9th March 2019, a bilingual correspondent with the BBC at its Delhi bureau, Priyanka Dubey won the Chameli Devi Jain Award 2018 as outstanding women journalist.

Key Points
i. She was chosen for her multi-faceted, interrogative and investigative reports. She helped to uncover the reality underlying in the social and political issues.
ii. Chameli Devi Jain Award has been awarded to women journalist for upholding standards of excellence through a sustained body of work for the past 37 years. The award was presented at a function in Delhi.
iii. She was a freedom fighter. This award is the countries longest running media award for women.
iv. The jury  comprised Vandita Mishra, National Opinion Editor in Indian Express, Bharat Bhushan, former editor in NewsX and Sheela Bhatt, National editor of NewsX.


Economic Affairs Secretary Subhas Chandra Garg appointed as the Finance Secretary
Appointments Committee of the Cabinet has approved the appointment of Subhash Chandra Garg, an IAS officer from the 1983 batch of Rajasthan cadre as the Finance Secretary.

Subhas Chandra Garg appointed as the Finance Secretaryi. He has succeeded Ajay Narayan Jha, the former Finance Secretary who retired on February 28, 2019 and is a member of the 15th Finance Commission.
ii. Prior to this post he was serving as the Economic Affairs Secretary.

Ashu Khullar appointed as Citibank India head
Ashu Khullar has been appointed by the Citibank as its India head, w.e.f 1st April 2019. He currently holds the position of head of Asia-Pacific capital markets.
i. He succeeds Pramit Jhaveri who has been appointed as the Vice Chairman of banking, capital markets and advisory for Asia Pacific from April 1.
ii. Since the post of Vice Chairman of banking, capital markets and advisory has been specially created for Pramit Jhaveri, he has no predecessor.
iii. They’ll be required to report to Francisco Aristeguieta, CEO of Citigroup Asia Pacific.
About Citibank
♦ It is the largest foreign bank in India.
♦ Its loan assets amount to 1.64 trillion as on March 31, 2018.
♦ It serves 2.5 million customers through 35 branches.

Manpreet Vohra appointed as the next India’s Ambassador to Mexico
Shri Manpreet Vohra (IFS:1988), presently Additional Secretary in the Ministry has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Mexico and is expected to take up the assignment shortly.He will succeed Muktesh K. Pardeshi

Manpreet Vohra appointed as the next Ambassador of India to MexicoAbout Mexico
♦ Capital – Mexico City
♦ Currency – Mexican peso
♦ President – Andrés Manuel López Obrador

B.S. Mubarak appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of El Salvador
Shri B. S. Mubarak, (IFS:2001) presently Ambassador of India to the Republic of Guatemala, has been concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of El Salvador, with residence in Guatemala City.
About Guatemala
♦ Capital – Guatemala City
♦ Currency – Quetzal
♦ President – Jimmy Morales
About El Salvador
♦ Capital – San Salvador
♦ Currency – United States dollar
♦ President – Salvador Sánchez Cerén

India appoints Kishan Dan Dewal as the new ambassador to Armenia
Shri Kishan Dan Dewal, presently Deputy High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Mauritius, has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Armenia and is expected to take up the assignment shortly.He will succeed Yogeshwar Sangwan.
About Mauritius
♦ Capital – Port Louis
♦ Currency – Mauritian rupee
♦ Prime minister – Pravind Jugnauth
About Armenia
♦ Capital – Yerevan
♦ Currency – Dram
♦ President – Armen Sarkissian.

Asian Gymnastic Union named 5 Indians as members of it’s technical committees
5 Indians have been appointed as members of various Technical Committees of Asian Gymnastics Union for a period of 4 years, from 2019 to 2022.
i. The 5 Indians and the committees are:

  • Deepak Kabra – Men’s Artistic Gymnastics
  • Akshata Shete – Rhythmic Gymnastics
  • Sumith MR – Acrobatic Gymnastics
  • Makarand Joshi – Aerobic Gymnastics
  • Narayan Shashi – Gymnastics for All

ii. They are internationally qualified judges/coaches in their respective disciplines and have participated in several international tournaments as officials.


China launches new communication satellite ‘ChinaSat 6C’, completes 300th launch
On 10th March 2019, China lifted its broadband communication system by launching a Long March – 3B carrier rocket with ‘ChinaSat 6C’ into a geostationary orbit in Sichuan province.
Key Points
i. The‘ChinaSat 6C’ was launched from Xichang Satellite Launch Center in Sichuan province. It is a 19 story tall rocket which is expected to provide high quality radio and television transmission services.
ii. It marked 300th launch of the Long March carrier rocket series which was developed by the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation and will be operated by China Satellite Communications Co. Ltd.
iii. The satellite will cover China, Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific Island Countries. Nearly 97% of China’s total launch missions was on Long March rocket series.
iv. China has built 17 types of Long March rocket with five of them being retired. The first carrier rocket A Long March-1 with first satellite Dong fanghong 1 launched by China in 1970.
About China
♦ Capital : Beijing
♦ Currency : Renminbi
♦  President : Xi Jinping


Pulse Polio programme for 2019 launched by President on the eve of National Immunisation Day
On 9th March 2019, the Pulse Polio programme was launched by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind. The launch took place by administering polio drops to children below five years at the Rashtrapati Bhawan, New Delhi.
The programme was launched on the eve of National Immunisation Day which was observed on 10th March 2019.

Pulse Polio programme for 2019Key Points:
i. Under this programme, more than 17 crore children aged below 5 years shall be administered with polio drops.
ii. The injectable inactivated polio vaccine has also been introduced under this programme.
iii. Mission Indradhanush has also been launched by the government for achieving an aim of 90% full immunisation coverage.
iv. Around 3.39 crore children and 87 lakh pregnant women received vaccination under Mission Indradhanush.
v. Mission Indradhanush has also played a significant role in decline of Infant Mortality Rate from 39 in 2014 to 32 per 1,000 live births in 2017.


Param Bir Singh appointed as DG of Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau
1988 batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Param Bir Singh appointed Director General (DG) of the Maharashtra Anti-Corruption Bureau.
i. He will replace Sanjay Barve who was appointed to the coveted post of Mumbai Police Commissioner.
ii. He has held posts like that of Thane Police Commissioner, Deputy Commissioner of Police (DCP) in several important zones in Mumbai, and also Superintendent of Police in districts like Chandrapur and Bhandara

Gondi Language to be included in primary education in MP’s tribal districts
Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Kamal Nath declared that Gondi language will be included in the primary education curriculum of the state’s tribal-dominated districts, due to the rising concern of a rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue.
i. The International Day of the World’s Indigenous Peoples, declared by the United Nations (UN), will be observed in the state on 9th August 2019 to redress the problems of the tribal community and it will be a State Government holiday.
About Gond Tribal Community
i. The Gondi or Gond people are Adivasi (indigenous people) of India listed as a Scheduled Tribe
ii. They are spread over the states of Madhya Pradesh, eastern Maharashtra (Vidarbha), Chhattisgarh, Uttar Pradesh, Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Bihar and Odisha.
About Madhya Pradesh
♦ Capital – Bhopal
♦ Chief Minister – Kamal Nath
♦ Governor – Anandiben Patel

Liquor Prohibition Bill approved by Mizoram Cabinet
The Mizoram Liquor Prohibition Bill, 2019 was approved by the Mizoram Cabinet on 9th March 2019. The approval meeting was headed by the Chief Minister of Mizoram Zoramthanga.
Key Points:
i. This bill will be introduced in the state Assembly during the Budget session which begins on March 20, 2019.
ii. Earlier, liquor was completely prohibited in Mizoram from 1997 to January 2015 under the Mizoram Liquor Total Prohibition Act.
iii. From March 2015, the Lal Thanwala government allowed re-opening of wine shops in the state.
About Mizoram
♦ Capital- Aizawl
♦ Chief Minister- Zoramthanga