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Current Affairs March 9 2019

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Current Affairs March 9 2019INDIAN AFFAIRS

Ordinance on reservation in Teacher’s Cadre gets President’s approval
President Ram Nath Kovind approved Central Educational Institutions (Reservation in Teacher’s Cadre) Ordinance 2019 which will restore 200-point roster system for faculty recruitment.
i. The decision will allow filling up of more than 5000 vacancies by direct recruitment in Teachers’ cadre duly ensuring that the Constitutional provisions of Articles 14, 16 and 21 are complied with and reservation criteria for the Scheduled Castes/Scheduled Tribes and Socially and Economically backward classes are met with.
ii. It is expected to improve the teaching standards in the higher educational institutions to attract all eligible talented candidates.

High Gender Pay Gap observed in India as Women earn 19% less than Men: MSI Survey
As per Monster Salary Index (MSI) Survey, a high gender pay gap (GPG) is observed in India, as women earn 19% less than men, where men earn Rs 242.49 and women earn Rs 196.3, that is Rs 46.19 lesser than men.
i.The gap in 2018 was 20% and has narrowed by only 1% in 2019.
ii. Semi-skilled work shows no gender pay gap, however, the gap touches 20% for skilled women and 30% for highly skilled occupations.
It increases with experience and is highest at 15% in favour of men for talent with 10 and more years of experience.
iii. This index is complemented with the key findings from the third annual survey titled ‘Women of India Inc’ undertaken by
The survey witnessed maximum share of participation from Mumbai at (24%), followed by Bengaluru (23%) and Delhi/NCR at (18%). The participation from non-metros was only at about 29%.
iv. Sectoral analysis of the GPG showed that wage inequalities in favour of men are present in all the relevant sectors including IT/ITES services (26%)manufacturing (24%)healthcare, caring services and social work (21%)Financial servicesbanking and insurance is the only industry where men earn just 2% more.

Dr Alok Srivastava to head committee on Comprehensive Insurance Scheme for Advocates
5-member committee to examine issues related to framing of a proper and structured scheme for providing of insurance cover to the advocates and to suggest modalities for the implementation of such a scheme has been set up by the Union Minister for Law & Justice, Ravi Shankar Prasad under the chairmanship of Secretary Legal Affairs, Dr Alok Srivastava.
i. Other members of the committee will include a senior representative from the Department of Financial Services and representative of the Department of legal affairs. The committee will also have one representative each from Bar Council of India and State Bar Councils.
ii. The committee has to submit its reports within 3 months.

$3bn deal inked between India & Russia for new nuclear power submarine 
On 7th March 2019, India entered into a deal with Russia for leasing of a nuclear – powered attack submarine for Indian Navy worth USD 3 billion for a period of 10 years.

India- Russia sign USD 3 billion deal for new nuclear- power submarineKey Points
i. Under the pact, Russia will deliver Chakra III, a Akula class submarine to the Indian Navy by 2025. It will be the 3rd Russian submarine to be leased to Indian Navy.
ii. India earlier leased christened INS Chakra which is the first Russian nuclear powered submarine in 1988 under a 3 year lease. The second lease was INS Chakra in 2012 for a period of 10 years.
iii. The lease period as per the agreement for Chakra II will expire in 2022 and the Indian government is looking at extending the lease period.
About Russia
♦ Capital – Moscow
♦ Currency- Ruble
♦ President – Vladimir Putin
About Indian Navy
♦ Chief of Naval Staff- Admiral Sunil Lamba

Inaugural Space Dialogue of India and Japan held in New Delhi
On 8th March 2019, The first ever Space Dialogue of India and Japan was held in New Delhi.It aimed at providing a platform for both the countries to explore ways to enhance cooperation between the space agencies of both the nations.
i. Indra Mani Pandey, Additional Secretary for Disarmament and International Security Affairs, Ministry of External Affairs headed the Indian delegation while Kansuke Nagaoka, Deputy Assistant Minister, Foreign Policy Bureau, and Shuzo Takada, Director General, National Space Policy Secretariat jointly led the Japanese delegation.
ii. Topics discussed during the event were: collaboration between Japanese Exploration Space Agency (JAXA) and Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), global navigation satellite systems, space situational awareness (SSA), norms related to space security, etc.

Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue – 2019 organised in New Delhi
On 5th and 6th March 2019, the 2nd edition of Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD) – 2019 was organised in Manekshaw Centre, New Delhi. It focused on involving the global strategic community in reviewing India’s opportunities and challenges in the Indo-Pacific region.

Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue – 2019 organised in New DelhiThere are 5 new themes for this edition:
i. Practical solutions for achieving cohesion in the region through maritime connectivity
ii. Measures to attain and maintain a free-and-open Indo-Pacific
iii. Adopting a regional approach to the region’s transition from a ‘Brown’ to a ‘Blue’ economy
iv. Analysing opportunities and challenges arising from the maritime impact of ‘Industry 4.0’
v. How the twin conceptualisations of ‘SAGAR’ and ‘SAGARMALA’ might best be made mutually-reinforcing on a regional level.
13 countries of the Indo-Pacific, namely Australia, Bangladesh, Canada, China, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Sri Lanka, the United Kingdom, and the United States of America participated in the event.
About Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue (IPRD)
♦ It was started in 2018.
♦ It is a conference of the Indian Navy and is conducted by the National Maritime Foundation which acts as the knowledge partner of Navy.
♦ It provides a chance to discuss issues related to the geopolitical developments that pertain to the maritime domain of the Indo-Pacific.

Maharashtra government launches ‘Atal Aahar Yojna’ for construction workers
On 7th March 2019, Maharashtra government launched a special scheme ‘Atal Aahar Yojna’ for construction workers in the state which will provide good quality food at a highly subsidised rate.

Maharashtra government launches 'Atal Aahar Yojna'Key Points
i. The target is set to cover 20000 workers and provide them with good quality food at a nominal cost of Rs.5 in the first phase of the scheme.
ii. The government is already providing a Subsidy of Rs.4.5 lakh to labourers for house construction and is planning to provide help in education, income and health as well.
iii. Maharashtra government also launched Shramev Jayate Yojana under which a pension of Rs.3000 is given to construction workers above the age of 60 years. If the worker died, the pension will be given to his widow.
About Maharashtra
♦ Capital – Mumbai
♦ CM – Devendra Fadnavis
♦ Governor – C Vidhyasagar Rao

New NCLT benches to be set up in Andhra Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh
The Government approved the establishment of two new benches of National Company Law Tribunal (NCLT), at Amaravati in Andhra Pradesh and Indore in Madhya Pradesh in view of the increasing caseload, especially under the Insolvency & Bankruptcy Code 2016. The creation of new benches will enable faster disposal of cases.
i. The jurisdiction of the Bench at Amaravati will be the state of Andhra Pradesh and that of Indore will be the state of Madhya Pradesh.
ii. Currently, Andhra Pradesh comes under the Jurisdiction of NCLT Bench at Hyderabad and Madhya Pradesh comes under the jurisdiction of NCLT BenchAhmedabad.
iii. The NCLT, which has been set up under the Companies Act, 2013, has provided an effective and time-bound adjudication mechanism to deal with matters related to the Companies Act, 2013, the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code (IBC)2016 and theLLP Act, 2008.
iv. Presently, 14 numbers of NCLT Benches have been established, including the Principal Bench in New Delhi, and three recently set up benches at JaipurKochi and Cuttack.

UIDAI to charge Rs 20 from Business Organisations for using Aadhar Services
The Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) in the official gazette notification, the Aadhaar (Pricing of Aadhaar Authentication Services) Regulations 2019 put forth that business organisations using Aadhaar services will now have to pay Rs 20 for each customer verification and 50 paise for authentication of each transaction carried out by the entities.
i. Government entities and the Department of Posts are exempted from authentication transaction charges.
ii. The entities shall be required to deposit the authentication transaction charges within 15 days of issuance of the concerned invoice based on the usage and any delay in payment beyond 15 days shall attract interest compounded at 1.5% per month and discontinuation of authentication and e-KYC services.
♦ Chairman – J Satyanarayana
♦ Headquarters – New Delhi

Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential (UNNATEE) launched
Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) has released a document called UNNATEE (Unlocking NATional Energy Efficiency potential) which aims at improving the energy efficiency in India. It consists of a framework and a strategy of implementation which enables to formulate a relationship between energy supply-demand scenarios and energy efficiency opportunities.
BEE had collaborated with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) for development of this document.

NCSM & Google Arts and Culture collaborated for “Once Upon a Try”, an online exhibition 
On 7th March 2019,  The National Council of Science Museums (NCSM) collaborates with Google Arts and Culture for largest interactive online exhibition on inventions and discoveries.
Key Points
i. NCSM is an organization under the Ministry of Culture. The largest online exhibition ‘Once Upon a Try’: Epic journeys of invention and discovery is an attempt to explore humanities greatest inventions and discoveries in an interactive online exhibition.
ii. NCSM contributes interactive stories that has some key insights into the long and glorious science and technology heritage of India.
iii. The six sections in the exhibition are historic beginnings, ayurveda, susruta samhita, rasashata, Itr – ancient Indian knowledge of perfumery and musical instruments from the Indian subcontinent.
iv. NCSM is a premiere institution in the field of science communication under the Ministry of Culture, Government of India. It is also an autonomous organization.
About National Council of Science Museums
♦ Headquarters – Kolkata
♦ Director General – A D Choudhury


USD 26 million loan agreement for Assam signed by ADB and GoI
For improving drainage infrastructure in Dibrugarh town of AssamAsian Development Bank (ADB) and Government of India signed a loan agreement of USD 26-million in New Delhi.

USD 26 million loan agreement for Assam signed by ADB and GoIi. It was signed by Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary in Department of Economic Affairs and Hoe Yun Jeong, India Resident Mission of ADB.
ii. The loan provided is additional financing under the ongoing loan of USD 51 million under Assam Urban Infrastructure Investment Program (AUIIP) which is helping to improve water supply infrastructure in major cities of Assam like Guwahati and Dibrugarh.
iii. ADB approved the Multi-tranche Financing Facility (MFF) for the AUIIP for an amount of USD 200 million comprising of two Tranches on 30 September 2011.
iv. The ADB’s ongoing India portfolio comprises of 80 projects worth USD 4.3 billion in the public sector and USD 1.6 billion in the private sector.

RBI notifies 2% interest subsidy through “Interest subvention scheme” for short-term crop loans
On 7th March 2019, The Reserve Bank of India notified a 2% interest subvention or Subsidy for short-term crop loans during 2018-19 and 2019-20.
Key Points
i. RBI decided to offer guaranteed financial support of 2% per annum for short term crop loans upto Rs.3 lakhs for farmers at an interest rate of 7%.
ii. Interest subvention is calculated on the crop loan and from the date of its disbursement upto the date of actual repayment of the crop loan by the farmer or upto the due date of the loan fixed by the banks whichever is earlier. The maximum period is one year.
iii. For those farmers who are repaying loans promptly will get an additional 2% interest subvention under the scheme. Then the effective rate of short term crop loans to be 4% per annum.

RBI relax rules for White – label ATM providers
On 7th March 2019, The Reserve Bank of India has eased business guidelines for white label ATMs by allowing companies that manage these machines to source cash directly from the central bank.
Key Points
i. The guidelines released by RBI include managing machines to source cash directly from RBI offices,  offer non bank services like bill payment and advertise even non financial products in their premises.
ii. As per the statement,  RBI has allowed the operators to source cash from any Scheduled banks in India including cooperative and rural banks.
iii. RBI allowed White Label ATM Operators (WLAO) to offer bill payment and deposit services depending on the technical feasibility of the device as determined by NPCI.
Additional Information:
The ATMs setup, owned and operated by non-bank Entities are called White Label ATMs (WLAs). They provide banking services to customers of banks based on the debit/credit/prepaid cards issued by banks.

AU Small Finance Bank partnered with Acko General Insurance
India’s first digital insurer, AU Small Finance Bank Ltd. announced its partnership with a new age insurtech company, Acko General Insurance Limited and is now able to provide customized insurance products to its customers.

AU Small Finance Bank partnered with Acko General Insurancei. AU Small Finance Bank is working on offering customers access to financial services and products directly through their digital channels and building a robust digital banking platform to offer best in class products in Digital Loans, Deposits, and Investment segments.
ii. Acko‘s solution is designed to offer contextual insurance, enabling AU to deliver tailor-made policies that offer the right coverage when the customer needs it.
iii. Acko is a licensed digital-only general insurance company that aims at redefining insurance by making it more transparent and providing hassle-free access to policies directly to the end user.
About AU Small Finance Bank
♦ Chairman – Mannil Venugopalan
♦ Headquarters – Jaipur, Rajasthan


Govt increased the income tax exemption for gratuity from Rs 10 lakh to Rs 20 lakh
On 7th March 2019, Union Labour Ministry decided to double the income tax exemption to Rs.20 lakh from the existing Rs.10 lakh for gratuity.
Key Points
i. The enhancement of gratuity under section 10 (10) (iii) of the Income Tax Act, 1961 to Rs.20 lakh will benefit employees who are not covered under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 and the employees of Public Sector Undertakings (PSUs).
ii. The ceiling amount of gratuity has been raised from time to time under the Payment of Gratuity Act, 1972 keeping in view overall economic condition and employers capacity to pay and the salary of the employees.
iii. The notification issued on March 29, 2018 followed by the latest enhancement of tax exemption limit on gratuity. Under this notification ceiling was increased from Rs.10 lakh to Rs.20 lakh which was effective from March 29, 2018.
About Ministry of Labour and Employment
♦ Union Minister –Santosh Gangwar


IGI Airport awarded the best airport in 40 MPPA category
The Indira Gandhi International (IGI) airport, New Delhi was declared as the best airport in the category of over “40 million passengers per annum (MPPA)” in Asia Pacific by Airports Council International (ACI) in the Airport Service Quality (ASQ) Programme for 2018.
i. It had maintained the position of World no. 2 from 2011 to 2013 and in 2014 went up to become the World no. 1 in the 25-40 MMPA category and stayed at that position in 2015.
ii. It stood World No. 2 in the highest category of more than 40 MPPA in 2016 and in 2017, it was adjudged as the best airport in the highest category of over 40 MPPA.

Bernard Arnault becomes the third richest person of the world, overtaking Warren Buffett: Bloomberg Billionaires Index
Bernard Arnault, the chairman of Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE (LVMH) has overtaken Warren Buffett, the chairman of Berkshire Hathaway to become the third-richest person of the world, on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Bernard Arnault becomes the third richest person of the worldi. His net worth is $83.1 billion, which is about $100 million more than that of Mr. Buffett.
ii. He is the second European to reach this position on the list, first being Amancio Ortega, the owner of Zara.

Kerala’s Marayoor jaggery gets GI tag
On 8th March 2019,Marayoor jaggery from Idukki, Kerala gets Geographical Indication (GI) tag from the central government.This jaggery is made from sugarcane and no chemicals are added during the manufacturing process which makes it a world class delicacy.

Kerala's Marayoor jaggery gets GI tagKey Points
i. Marayoor jaggery is made using only traditional methods. It is dark brown in colour with high sweetness and iron, less sodium content and insoluble impurities.
ii. The GI tag will help the traditional sugarcane farmers in Marayoor and provide them with more windows of opportunities.
About Kerala
♦ Capital – Thiruvananthapuram
♦ CM- PinarayiVijayan
♦ Governor – P Sathasivam

Japanese woman aged 116 years honoured as the oldest living person
Kane Tanaka, a 116-year-old Japanese woman born on January 2, 1903, who loves playing the board game Othello was honoured as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.

Japanese woman aged 116 years honoured as the oldest living personi. She was officially on records recognised by the global authority in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, Japan.
ii. Another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July 2018 at age 117 was the previous oldest person.
About Japan
♦ Capital – Tokyo
♦ Currency – Japanese Yen
♦ Prime Minister – Shinzo Abe


Padma Lakshmi named as Goodwill Ambassador of UNDP 
On 8th March 2019, On the evening of International Women’s Day United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) appointed Padma Lakshmi as its goodwill ambassador. Points
i. She will have the responsibility to support the agency’s fight against inequality and discrimination which can affect people in rich and poor countries alike.
ii. Padma Lakshmi is an Indian – American television personality, supermodel, food expert, author and executive producer of Top Chef.
iii. She is the co-founder of the Endometriosis Foundation of America, a visiting scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and an ambassador for the American Civil Liberties Union advocating for immigrants rights.
About United Nations Development Programme
♦ Headquarters: New York, US
♦ Administrator: Achim Steiner


All India Carrom Federation gained recognition as National Sports Federation
Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports has granted provisional recognition to All India Carrom Federation (AICF) as National Sport Federation with immediate in order to facilitate the participation of Indian Athletes in the forthcoming National/International competitions.
i. A major role has been granted to the AICF for development of the Carrom sport in India by the recognition.
ii. The recognition can be reviewed by the Government in case Memorandum of Association (MoA) of the AICF or its practices come into conflict with the Government guidelines as amended from time to time.
iii. The Carrom sport is placed in the ‘Others’ category.

New Olympics weight classes approved by AIBA, two categories dropped
AIBA (International Boxing Association) Technical & Competition Rules Commission and AIBA medical Commission has proposed certain changes in the rules after the Executive Committee Meetings in Moscow in October 2018 and Istanbul in February 2019.
Key Points:
i. New Weight classes –The 2020 Olympics shall have five weight classes for female boxers with the addition of two weight classes, featherweight (57 kg/125 lbs) and welterweight (69 kg/152 lbs) into the already existing flyweight, lightweight and middleweight.
ii.Dropped Weight classes – In males’s boxing, light flyweight, bantamweight and light welterweight have been dropped for 2020; instead men’s featherweight (57 kg) was added. With these changes 10 weight classes in men’s boxing has been reduced to eight.
iii. Certain rules such as change in nationality, seeding procedure, procedure involving disqualified boxers, option to review a bout, glove size and sensors for data have been changed while the world ranking rule remains the same.
iv. It is still not officially affirmed whether boxing will likely be a part of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo or not but AIBA made changes to streamline the sport.


Book on PM’s selected speeches “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas” released by FM Arun Jaitley 
On 8th March 2019, Union Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs Arun Jaitley released a book ‘Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas’ which is a compilation of selected speeches of Prime Minister Narendra Modi,during a function organised by Ministry of Information and Broadcasting in New Delhi.

A collection of selected speeches of Prime MinisterKey Points
i. The book has 5 volumes and has been released in Hindi as well as English. The book is brought out by Publications division of Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
ii. The 5 volumes is categorized in five segments each covering Prime Minister’s ideas on Good Governance, making India competent and efficient, hailing on bravehearts, annadata farmers and brilliant scientists, taking along people on an inclusive path of growth and hope and sharing the message of a resurgent India with international community.
iii. The book mainly revolve on the vision of the Prime Minister by seeing all citizens of the country as one and taking everyone along on the path of inclusive development.
About Ministry of Information and Broadcasting
♦ Minister of State – Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore

Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle in 1857-1947 released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi
On 7th March 2019, the Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle (1857-1947) was released by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, at Lok Kalyan Marg, New Delhi.

Dictionary of Martyrs of India’s Freedom Struggle in 1857-1947i.The dictionary comprises of 5 volumes and it has information about martyrs involved during 1857-1947, the period on India’s war of Independence.This is the first time that such a large-scale compilation of names of martyrs is being done.
ii.The project for compilation of “Dictionary of Martyrs” of India’s Freedom Struggle was commissioned by the Ministry of Culture, to the Indian Council of Historical Research (ICHR) to commemorate the 150th anniversary of uprising of 1857.

Amit Khare released the ‘Bharat 2019’ and ‘India 2019’ reference annuals
Secretary, Ministry of Information & Broadcasting, Shri Amit Khare released the popular Reference Annuals ‘Bharat 2019’ and ‘India 2019’, compiled by the New Media Wing and edited and published by Publications Division of I&B Ministry at New Delhi.
i. This is the 63rd Edition of the publication.
ii. The books will be carried along by the Indian Delegation participating in the London Book Fair.


An MoU on Additive Manufacturing Center of Excellence signed by HP and Andhra Pradesh government
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed between HP Inc. India (Hewlett-Packard) and Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS) and Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) for constructing a Center of Excellence (CoE) for additive manufacturing powered by HP’s 3D printing technology.
Key Points:
i. It aims to promote 3D printing in various sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defence, consumer goods, healthcare, apparel and construction .
ii. While HP will provide technical expertise to the project, Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS) will provide infrastructural support and provide necessary certifications and accreditations. Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) will promote the utilisation of the Center of Excellence by government departments, defence and public sector enterprises, start-ups, small and medium enterprises etc.

Govt of Assam presented awards in the field of culture
On 8th March 2019, Assam government announced various awards in the field of culture as a recognition for the talent and efforts on promotion of dance and music.
Key Points
i. Srimanata Sankardev Award 2017 conferred to noted Satriya exponent Basistha Dev Sharma of BarpetaSatra for his works on promotion of Satriya dance and music as well as folk culture of the state.
ii. Madhavdev Award 2016 would be given to Jugadananda Chandra Goswami of Mayamora Dinjoy Satra. He has taken remarkable steps for recognition of Satriya dance and music at National level and preservation of manuscripts in the Mayamora Dinjoy Satra.
iii. Madhavdev Award 2019 would be given to Dr. Sunil Kothari who is an eminent dance historian, critic and scholar. He enriched the cultural field of the country with his 12 books on different forms of Indian classical dance and allied forms.
iv. Kalicharan Brahma Award 2018 would be bestowed on Satradhikar of Borongajuli Srimanta Sankardev Satra of Udalguri Harekrishna Mahanta.
About Assam
♦ Capital – Dispur
♦ CM – Sarbananda Sonowal
♦ Governor – Jagdish Mukhi