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Current Affairs March 12 2019

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Current Affairs March 12 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

ABLF gave momentum to India-UAE ties
The Asian Business Leadership Forum (ABLF), a global leadership platform in partnership with the United Arab Emirates (UAE)‘s Federal Government has decided to give further momentum to India-UAE ties.
i. 2019 has been declared as UAE’s Year of Tolerance by the UAE Government to underline the commitment to make compassion, inclusion and acceptance a part of everyday life.
ii. ABLF has released a special edition magazine that spotlights India and the global influence of contemporary Indian business leadership in Asia, as a part of the endeavour to bring India and UAE closer.
iii. The magazine announces the ABLF theme, ‘Inclusive Leadership in an Interconnected World: Driving Progress and Sustainability Through Tolerance’.
The ABLF Awards 2019 is scheduled for 2nd October 2019 as it marks the birth anniversary of India’s Mahatma Gandhi, an icon of peace, compassion and tolerance and it will have India as Guest Nation.
The ABLF will go on a prelude roadshow in India in association with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) to announce the week-long initiatives to celebrate the India-UAE connect at the ABLF Awards Ceremony.

India and Saudi Arabia plan to revive the USD 44 bn West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra
In a meeting between Petroleum Minister Dharmendra Pradhan and his Saudi counterpart and the chairman of Saudi Aramco,Khalid A Al-Falih, in New Delhi, it was decided that India and Saudi Arabia will revive and expedite the implementation of USD 44 billion West Coast refinery project in Maharashtra, in which Saudi Aramco will be holding a considerable stake.

India and Saudi Arabia plan to revive the USD 44 bn West Coast refinery project in Maharashtrai. The ministers reviewed various Saudi investment proposals in the Indian oil and gas sector, including the urgent steps to be taken to expedite the implementation of the first joint venture West Coast Refinery and Petrochemical Project in Maharashtra, estimated to cost the USD 44 billion, which will be the largest greenfield refinery in the world.
ii. Saudi Aramco and Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc) had formed a joint venture with Indian state-run oil marketing companies — Indian Oil Corporation (IOC)Bharat Petroleum Corporation (BPCL) and Hindustan Petroleum Corporation (HPCL) — to hold 50% stake in Ratnagiri Refinery and Petrochemicals (RRPCL).
iii. The progress of the project had faced issues after 42,000 notices for land survey and acquisition were served to families in 17 villages of Ratnagiri district and were put on hold by the State Government.
iv. It is still not clear whether the government may be looking for alternate location, outside Ratnagiri for the project.

India’s first LGBTQ Clinic and HIV treatment centre inaugurated by Humsafar Trust in Mumbai
The first HIV (Human Immunodeficiency Virus) treatment centre and holistic clinic for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) launched by Humsafar trust in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Key Points
i. The founder of Humsafar Trust, Ashok Row Kavi announced that the center will be open for all and it will provide counselling.
ii. The centre will also offer Anti-Retroviral Therapy (ART) which is a HIV medicine to treat infection.


Overview of Vice President’s 2 Nation visit to Paraguay and Costa Rica
On 11th March 2019, Vice President of India, M Venkaiah Naidu is on a 2 Nation visit to Paraguay and Costa Rica. He was accompanied by a high-level delegation including the Minister of State for Tourism K J Alphons, the Members of Parliament and Senior Officials.

  • Venkaiah Naidu attended India-Paraguay Business Forum
  • Venkaiah Naidu along with Vice President of Paraguay Hugo Velazquez unveiled a special commemorative postage stamp on Mahatma Gandhi and remembered his contributions on the occasion of the 150th birth anniversary of the Mahatma Gandhi.
  • President of Costa Rica and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu made a joint press statement. Vice President also conferred and honorary doctorate by the University of Peace founded by the United Nations for his contributions “to the Rule of Law, democracy and sustainable development in India”………………………….Click here to Read more

PM Modi and Sheik Hasina unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladesh
Prime Minister Narendra Modi along with the Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladesh, through video conferencing.

PM Modi and Sheik Hasina unveiled e-plaques for development projects in Bangladeshi. The e-plaques are for the following projects:

  • Supply of buses and trucks
  • Inauguration of 36 community clinics
  • 11 water treatment plants
  • Extension of National Knowledge Network to Bangladesh

ii. The National Knowledge Network will connect scholars and research institutes in Bangladesh to India and the world.
iii. The buses and trucks will assist the efforts towards affordable public transportation and the water treatment plants will help supply clean water.
iv. The community clinics will benefit about 2 lakh people in Bangladesh.

Pakistan became OIC body’s deputy chairman
On 11th March 2019, Pakistan elected as deputy chairman of the general body of the Parliamentary Union of the OIC member States (PUIC) in Rabat, Morocco. PUIC conference also adopted two resolutions presented by Pakistan related to Kashmir.
Key Points
i. Parliamentary Union of Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is an influential group of 57 countries and majority of them are Muslim-dominated.
ii. External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj made history by becoming the first Indian invitee to an OIC summit, attended the inaugural plenary of the 46th session of the Council of Foreign Ministers (CFM) of the OIC in Abu Dhabi where Pakistan was elected.
iii. PUIC was established in Iran on 17th June, 1999, composed of parliaments of member states of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation with its head office situated in Tehran.
About Pakistan
♦ Capital- Islamabad
♦ Currency – Rupee
♦ President – Arif Alvi

WHO released the Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030
World Health Organization (WHO) released a Global Influenza Strategy for 2019-2030 aimed at protecting people in all countries from the threat of influenza, one of the world’s greatest public health challenges.

WHO released the Global Influenza Strategy 2019-2030i. The aim of the strategy is to prevent seasonal influenza, control the spread of influenza from animals to humans, and prepare for the next influenza pandemic.
ii. Every year across the globe, there are an estimated 1 billion cases, of which to 5 million are severe cases, resulting in 290000 to 650000 influenza-related respiratory deaths.
iii. WHO recommends annual influenza vaccination as the most effective way to prevent influenza, which is especially important for people at higher risk of serious influenza complications and for health care workers.
iv. For more than 65 years, the Global Influenza Surveillance and Response System (GISRS), comprised of WHO Collaborating Centres and national influenza centres, have worked together to monitor seasonal trends and potentially pandemic viruses and this system serves as the backbone of the global alert system for influenza.
v. Supporting countries to strengthen their influenza capacity will have collateral benefits in detecting infection in general, since countries will be able to better identify other infectious diseases like Ebola or Middle East respiratory syndrome-related coronavirus (MERS-CoV).


Rise in Banks’ reliance on bulk deposits predicted by India Ratings and Research
India Ratings and Research (Ind-Ra) predicted that the dependence of Scheduled commercial banks on bulk deposits shall witness an increase if credit growth is higher than deposit growth.
Key Points:
i. The system level credit growth of 12.9% year-on-year continues to be greater than 9.3% deposit growth and thus banks are keen on harnessing more deposits.
ii. These figures are sourced from RBI’s quarterly statistics on deposits and credit of scheduled commercial banks for December 2018.
iii. State-owned banks have witnessed a credit growth of 8.4 % and deposit growth at 4.9% as compared to the previous year.
iv. In the period between April 2018 to February 2019, deposits raised by banks were greater by 24.6% in comparison to previous year and the outstanding amount greater by merely 3.6% at Rs 1.78 lakh crore.
v. Private banks witnessed an increase of 235 bps to 26.2 per cent and 234 bps to 31.4 per cent in market share in deposits and credit, respectively, in the last one year while PSBs saw a 274 bps decline to 65.7 per cent in deposits and a 253 bps decline in credit to 60.9 per cent.

Bank of Baroda becomes the first PSBs to launch creche/day-care facility for employees’ children
Bank of Baroda has become one of the first public sector banks to launch a crèche/child day-care facility for children of its employees.
i. The day-care facility has been launched at its Mumbai corporate office in Bandra Kurla Complex and is being mulled further on being implemented at the head office in Vadodara, Gujarat.
ii. The bank will bear 60% of the cost incurred every month and rest 40% will be borne by the parents.
iii. The bank has tied up with Klay Prep Schools and Daycare for launching this facility.


Saudi Arabia became the world’s largest importer of weapons, the position held by India for a decade: SIPRI
India lost its position as the world’s largest importer of weapons, which it held for over a decade, with Saudi Arabia topping the global share of arms imports between 2014 and 2018, as per the data published by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), the leading Stockholm-based think tank that measures weapons imports over five-year periods.

The world’s largest importer of weaponsi. Saudi Arabia accounted for 12% of the global share of arms imports between 2014-2018, followed by India with a 9.5% share.
ii. Indian arms imports fell 24% between 2009-13 and 2014-18 because of delays in deliveries of fighter jets and submarines produced under licence from Russian and French original equipment manufacturers.
iii. India’s top arms supplier, Russia, accounted for 58% of India’s arms imports during the last 5 years, compared to 76% in the previous five-year period.
iv. USIsrael and France increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18.

Turmeric from Erode, Tamil Nadu gets GI tagged after an 8-year process
On 6th March 2019, Geographical Indication (GI) tag was granted by the Geographical Indication Registry to Erode turmeric after a process spread over 8 years. The cultivar is known as Erode local (Chinnanadan).

Turmeric from Erode, Tamil Nadu gets GIUnique features of Erode Turmeric:
i. Average length of the fingers of turmeric is approximately 4.15 cm and average circumference is 3.03 cm.
ii. The average bulb length of the mother rhizome is about 4.54cm and the average circumference is 6.54cm
iii. It consists of 2.5-4.5% curcumin, has a golden yellow colour and is resistant to pests after boiling.


Ex-RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan received Yaswantrao Chavan National Award
Former Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Raghuram Rajan, for his contribution towards economic development, was awarded the ‘Yashwantrao Chavan National Award 2018‘ on March 12, 2019, which was the 106th birth anniversary of late Yashwantrao Chavan, the first chief minister of Maharashtra.
i.The award is given annually to individuals or institutions for their outstanding contribution towards national integration.
About RBI

  • Governor – Shaktikanta Das
  • Headquarters – Mumbai

Commonwealth Director Prajapati Trivedi wins Harry Hatry Performance Management practice award in US
The Harry Hatry Award for Performance Management has been awarded to Prajapati Trivedi, the Commonwealth’s Director of Economic, Youth and Sustainable Development, by the American Society for Public Administration (ASPA) and the Center for Accountability and Performance (CAP). The award was presented by Richard Greene, Chair of the Center for Accountability and Performance at a ceremony in Washington, USA.
Key Points:
i. It is awarded to someone who is exceptional in teaching, education, training and consultation in performance measurement and has hugely contributed to the practice of public administration.
ii. He is a visiting fellow at the IBM Center for the Business of Government in Washington DC and also a visiting faculty member at the Kennedy School of Government in Harvard.
iii. He earlier held the post of a Secretary to the Government of India in the Cabinet Secretariat, from 2009-14.
iv. He has also held the posts of a Senior Economist with the World Bank from 1995-2009 and Economic Adviser to Government of India from 1992-1994.


Veterinary professor & scientist, Aditya Kumar Misra appointed as new ASRB chief
The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC) has named Aditya Kumar Misra, a veterinary scientist specializing in economically significant diseases of goat, as the new chairman of the Agricultural Scientific Recruitment Board (ASRB) till 5th January, 2022.
i. The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet approved the his appointment and he will hold the new post till 5th January, 2022 from the date he takes the charge.
ii. He is the former Vice Chancellor of the GB Pant University of Agriculture & Technology, India’s first full fledged agricultural university, inaugurated by Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru in 1960.
iii. The former chairman Gurbachan Singh took voluntary retirement in May 2017, has been working without a chairman since then.
iii.He will succeed Gurbachan Singh, who took voluntary retirement in May 2017. Since then this post was vacant.


Guided Pinaka successfully test fired by DRDO at Pokhran Ranges
Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the Guided Pinaka weapons system from Pokhran ranges in Rajasthan.

Guided Pinaka successfully test fired by DRDO at Pokhran Rangesi. The two rockets, which were tested using the guided Pinaka system, succeeded in hitting the 90-km mark signalling a boost in the efficiency, as the rockets had touched the 70-km mark in their last trials, held in May, 2018.
ii. The weapon system is equipped with state-of-the-art guidance kit comprising of an advanced navigation and control system.
iii. The Telemetry Systems tracked and monitored the vehicle all through the flight path.
iv. The indigenously developed Guided Pinaka by DRDO will significantly boost the capability of the artillery to make precision hits.

NPPA reduced the prices of 390 Anti-Cancer Non-Scheduled medicines up to 87%
On 8th March 2019, National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) which is an independent regulator under the Ministry of Chemicals and Fertilizers, has reduced the prices of 390 non-scheduled cancer medicines which will result in annual saving of around Rs 800 crore for patients.
The revised prices has come into effect from 8th March 2019.
Manufactures and Hospitals have to revise the prices based on the trade margin formula.

Tutorial Video on IPR and GI Website launched by Suresh Prabhu in New Delhi
On 8th March 2019, Suresh Prabhu, The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry launched GI (Geographical Indication) website and tutorial video on IPR (Intellectual property Rights) in New Delhi.

Tutorial Video on IPR and GI Website launched by Suresh Prabhui. The tutorial video will form part of existing resource pool on , Official website of CIPAM (Cell for IPR Promotion and Management) and it will be available on the official YouTube channel of CIPAM.
ii.The video has been created by the CIPAM, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT) in collaboration with Qualcomm featuring “IP Nani” is India’s first Intellectual Property (IP) Mascot.
iii.The Geographical Indications (GI) of India website showcases Indian GIs products, classified state wise as well as product category wise.

Discovery of new way of powering radio sources in universe by Indian scientists
For the first time ever, a team of Indian astronomers has discovered some sources in the universe that emit radio waves in a totally new mechanism, by using the Giant Metrewave Radio Telescope (GMRT) which is located at Khodad in Junnar, 80 kms away from Pune.
Key Points:
i. The team is headed by TIFR-National Centre for Radio Astronomy (NCRA) who is responsible for operating GMRT.
ii. They have discovered a rare source called ‘Extremely Inverted Spectrum Extragalactic Radio Sources’.
iii. GMRT is highly sensitive and has a low range feature. Emissions were captured at frequencies around 150 MHz (megahertz).


Indian Sundarbans became ‘Wetland of International Importance’
On 9th March 2019, The Indian Sundarban was accorded with the status of ‘Wetland of International Importance’ in the Ramsar Convention. Indian Sundarban which is also a UNESCO (The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) world heritage site, is home to the Royal Bengal Tiger.
Key Points
i. Indian Sundarban met four out of nine criteria required for the status, which are presence of rare species and threatened ecological communities, biological diversity, significant and representative fish and fish spawning ground and migration path.
ii. Ramsar status will help to highlight conservation issues of the Sundarbans at the international level at the time when concerns have been raised about natural ecosystems being changed for cultivation of shrimp, crab, molluscs and fish.
iii. International Importance also called Ramsar Convention, is an international agreement promoting the conservation and wise use of wetlands. It is the only global treaty which focus on a single ecosystem.


IAAF decided to uphold Russia ban over doping until further notice
The International Association of Athletics Federations (IAAF) had banned Russia in November 2015 because of evidence of state-sponsored doping and have decided to maintain it until samples and data from Moscow’s former anti-doping laboratory are made available.
i. It is the 10th time the IAAF has turned down Russia’s appeal for reinstatement, having requested the same assurances when it upheld the ban in December 2018.
ii. Other sporting bodies such as the World Anti-Doping Agency (Wada) and the International Olympic Committee (IOC), have revoked their suspensions of Russia.
About Russia
♦ Capital – Moscow
♦ Currency – Russian Ruble
♦ President – Vladimir Putin

Upamanyu Dutta won Bronze medal in the Asian Open Laser Sailing Championship, Singapore
Young sailor from MumbaiUpamanyu Dutta won Bronze medal, which is India’s first ever medal in the single-handed Laser Standard race for men in the Asian Open Laser Sailing Championship held in Singapore.

Upamanyu Dutta won Bronze medal in the Asian Open Laser Sailing Championshipi. He aggregated a total of 56 points to finish behind Thailand’s Keerati Bualong (28 points) and Hong Kong’s Nicholas Bezy (47 points) of Hong Kong.
ii. He has recently won the Euromed Championship in Malta and is currently training in Europe under coach Trevor Millar.
iii. Chennai’s Nethra Kumanan achieved 4th position in the Laser Radial event for women.

China’s Liu Hong broke 50 KM Race Walk World Record
China’s 2016 Olympic champion, Liu Hong, broke the world record in the 50 km race walk, finishing in 3 hours, 59 minutes and 15 seconds (3:59:15), at the Chinese Race Walk Grand Prix in Huangshan, to become the first woman to break the 4-hour barrier in the event.

China’s Liu Hong broke 50 KM Race Walk World Recordi. She clipped more than five minutes from the previous record of 4:04:36 set by China’s Liang Rui at the IAAF World Race Walking Team Championships in Taicang in 2018.
ii. She now holds the world record for both the 20 km and 50 km distances, having clocked 1:24:38 in La Coruna, Spain in 2015 for the 20 km distance.
About China
♦ Capital – Beijing
♦ Currency – Renminbi/Chinese Yuan
♦ President – Xi Jinping

Indian artistic gymnast, Dipa Karmakar honoured with barbie doll modelled after her
Ace gymnast Dipa Karmakar, hailing from Tripura had a Barbie doll modelled after her in the list of honours achieved which includes – Arjuna Award in 2015Rajiv Gandhi Khel Ratna Award in 2016Padma Shri award in 2017.

Dipa Karmakar honoured with barbie doll modelled after heri. On the 60th anniversary of Barbie, the makers has released a new line of dolls to honour 20 female role models across 18 countries speaking 14 different languages.


U.S. Olympic cycling medallist Kelly Catlin dies at 23
Kelly Catlin, who had thrice been the world champion and had been a member of the U.S. women’s pursuit team that won silver in 2016 Rio Olympics died at Stanford University after committing suicide.

U.S. Olympic cycling medallist Kelly CatlinShe was 23 and natively belonged to Saint Paul, Minnesota, United States.


50th Raising Day of Central Industrial Security Forces (CISF) observed on 10th March
On 10th March 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi attended the 50th Raising Day of Central Industrial Security Force (CISF) at CISF Camp at 5th Battalion Camp at Indirapuram in Ghaziabad.
Key Points:
i. He also presented the Police and Fire Service Medals for distinguished and meritorious services and laid wreath at the Martyr’s Memorial.
ii. President’s Medal for Distinguished Service and Jeewan Raksha Padak were awarded to Sudhir Kumar, IG (NCR), J S Negi, DIG (I&P), Inspector S Muthusamy and Constable R Surya.
iii. History Book of CISF “CISF: Force of the Future” and Annual Publication “Special Issue of Sentinel” were released by PM Narendra Modi.

34th Inception day of NCRB was observed on 11th March
On 11th March 2019, National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) celebrated its 34th inception day which was attended by Union Home Secretary, Rajiv Gauba as the chief guest.
i. NCRB is the Nodal Agency for authentic source of data on crime, accidents, suicides, and prisons for policy matters and research. It is headquartered in New Delhi and work under the aegis of Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).


Japan announces an investment worth Rs. 22 lakh for Rabindra Bharati Museum, Kolkata
On 11th March 2019, the Japanese government decided to provide Rs. 22 lakhs ($31,800) for the Rabindra Bharati Museum in Kolkata, West Bengal in order to establish deeper and stronger historical and cultural ties with India.

Japan announces an investment worth Rs. 22 lakh for Rabindra Bharati MuseumKey Points:
i.An MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed between the Masayuki Taga, Consul General of Japan in Kolkata, and Sabyasachi Basu Ray Chaudhury, the Vice Chancellor of Rabindra Bharati University, on 13th March 2019, for rebuilding the Japan Gallery of the museum.
ii.The Japan Gallery located in the Jorasanko Thakurbari campus of the University will play an important role in honouring Rabindranath Tagore’scontribution in the relations between both the nations.
iii. Jorasanko Thakurbari is an ancestral house of Rabindranath Tagore.
About West Bengal
♦ Capital- Kolkata
♦ Chief Minister- Mamata Banerjee
♦ Governor- Keshari Nath Tripathi
About Japan
♦ Currency- Japanese Yen
♦ Capital- Tokyo
♦ Prime Minister- Shinzo Abe

Namdev Tyagi appointed as Chairman of river trust by the Madhya Pradesh government
On 12th March 2019, the Madhya Pradesh government has appointed Namdev Tyagi, a self-styled godman who is also famous as Computer Baba, as chairman of ‘Ma Narmada, Ma Kshipra and Ma Mandakini Rivers Trust’ in the Madhya Pradesh.
i. He was appointed by the State Spiritual Department.
ii. He would work to prevent illegal mining and for rejuvenation of rivers.
About Madhya Pradesh
♦ Capital- Bhopal
♦ Chief Minister- Kamal Nath
♦ Governor- Anandiben Patel

C Lalsawta sworn in as the first Lokayukta Chairman of Mizoram
C Lalsawta, an IAS officer from 1981 batch of Bihar cadre, has been sworn-in as the first Chairman of the newly-constituted Lokayukta in Mizoram at the Raj Bhawan, Aizawl.

C Lalsawta sworn in as the first Lokayukta of Mizorami. The oath was administered to him by the Governor of Mizoram- Jagdish Mukhi.
ii. He had served as the Principal Secretary of Finance Department of Mizoram from 2008 to 2011 and later served as the Vigilance Commissioner of Bihar till 2015.
About Mizoram
♦ Capital- Aizawl
♦ Chief Minister- Zoramthanga
♦ Governor-Jagdish Mukhi

Delhi sets up a high-level committee for introducing reforms in higher education
17-member high-level committee has been constituted by the Delhi government’s Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) to “reform higher education” in the city.
Key points:
i. The committee will be headed by Jasmine Shah, the vice-chairperson of Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC).
ii. It will “recommend goals, metrics, policies, and actionable plans for reforming Delhi’s higher education system within a year”.
iii. Nalanda 2.0 which is a non-profit policy think tank will act as the knowledge partner of DDC under this initiative. This think tank is working upon making India’s higher education system world class.