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MoEFCC constituted a committee to implement National Clean Air Program
Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFCC) has constituted a committee to implement the National Clean Air Program (NCAP). The objective is to reduce the PM (particulate matter) 2.5 and PM 10 concentration by 20% to 30% in at least 102 cities by 2024. The committee will be headed by the Secretary, Union Environment Ministry. The headquarters of the committee will be in New Delhi.
i. The other members of the committee will be Joint Secretary (Thermal), Ministry of Power; Director General, The Energy Resources Institute (TERI) and Professor Sachidananda Tripathi, IIT Kanpur.
ii. The 102 cities, across 23 states and Union Territories will be identified by the Central Pollution Control Board (CBCB). The selection criteria will be based on their ambit air quality data between 2011 and 2015. The NCAP is envisioned as a five-year action plan with 2019 as the first year. There would be a review every five years.
About Central Pollution Control Board (CBCB)
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Chairman: S. P. Singh Parihar
Indo-French navies will hold their joint exercise off the Goa-coast from 1st May to 10th May, 2019
India and France will be holding their bilateral naval exercise, Varuna 19.1 Arabian Sea off the Goa coast from 1st May to 10th May, 2019.
i. In this 17th edition of the Indo-French naval exercise, the participants are:
- the French Navy’s aircraft carrier FNS Charles de Gaulle
- 2 destroyers, FNS Forbin, FNS Provence
- the frigate FNS Latouche-Treville
- the tanker FNS Marne
- a nuclear submarine
- from the Indian side, the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya
- destroyer INS Mumbai
- the Teg-class frigate, INS Tarkash
- the Shishumar- class submarine, INS Shankul
- the Deepak- class fleet tanker, INS Deepak
ii. The exercise will be conducted in 2 phases, stated as follows:
- The harbour phase: This exercise will be conducted at Goa and would include cross-visits, professional interactions, sports events and discussions.
- The sea phase: This exercise would comprise various exercises of the maritime operations.
iii. The 2nd part of the naval exercise, Varuna 19.2, will be held at May-end in Djibouti.
♦ The bilateral naval exercise started in 1983 and was termed as ‘Varuna’ in 2001.
♦ It forms a major part of the Indo-French strategic partnership, symbolising the strong relations between India and France.
♦ The Joint Strategic Vision of India-French Cooperation in the Indian Ocean Region was signed in March 2018 by President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Narendra Modi during president Emmanuel Macron’s State visit to India.
Pak named its retaliatory action against India on February 27 as ‘Operation Swift Retort’
The Pakistan Air Force announced that they will observe its retaliatory action against India on February 27 against the Balakot strike of Indian Air Force as ‘Operation Swift Retort’.
i. The Indian air strikes at Balakot terror camp on February 26 was response of Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) attack by a suicide bomber in Pulwama that killed 40 CRPF jawans.
ii. In response to Indian attack, Pakistan Air Force (PAF) retaliated and captured IAF Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman who was released by Pakistan on March 1.
♦ Capital: Islamabad
♦ Currency: Pakistani Rupee
BANKING & FINANCE
SBI’s new rules on saving accounts and short-term loans effective from May 1
India’s largest bank State Bank of India (SBI) has moved to a new interest rate regime on large savings account deposits with balance above Rs 1 lakh as well as short-term loans like overdraft and cash credit. In March 2019, SBI has announced that it will link its interest rate on large savings account deposits and short term loans to RBI’s repo rate which would be effective from May 1, 2019.
i. By this move, SBI became the first bank in the country which has linked deposit accounts and short term loans to an external benchmark.
ii. Currently, repo rate is 6%. So according to external benchmarking formula, the large savings account with balance above Rs 1 lakh earn less interest rate as compare to small savings account. However, if the repo rate increases and goes above 6.25% then large savings account will earn more interest rate than small savings account.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai
♦ Tagline: With you all the way, Pure banking Nothing Else, The Nation’s banks on us.
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
NASSCOM, GE Healthcare became strategic partner for health-tech innovation
IT industry body, The National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) has entered a strategic partnership with GE Healthcare. The objective is to bring digital healthcare solutions to the market. NASSCOM has announced this partnership through its Centre of Excellence-Internet of Things (CoE-IoT).
i. This partnership will also help to flourish the health-tech start-up ecosystem in the country which further help in co-creating solutions for real-world healthcare challenges in the areas of digital applications for early detection, productivity solutions and remote and connected care among others.
About Centre of Excellence-Internet of Things (CoE-IoT)
It is developed by NASSCOM. It is an innovation hub for start-ups. It provides a platform for collaborative innovation.
♦ Headquarter: Noida, U.P
♦ Chairman: Keshav R. Murugesh
GRSE to construct eight ASWSWCs for Indian Navy
Garden Reach Shipbuilders & Engineers (GRSE) Ltd. has signed a contract with defence ministry to build eight anti-submarine warfare shallow water crafts (ASWSWCs) for Indian Navy at the cost of Rs 6311.30 crore.
i. The first ship will be delivered to the Indian Navy in 42 months and subsequently, two ships will be required to deliver per year and the time of completion of the project will be 84 months.
ii. These vessels will have a deep displacement of 750 tonnes and speed of 25 knots and also capable of full-scale subsurface surveillance of coastal waters. It will also be capable of destroying subsurface targets in coastal waters.
iii. The ships will be equipped with a state-of-the-art integrated platform management system which includes propulsion machinery, power generation, auxiliary machinery, distribution machinery, and damage control machinery etc. The vessels will also conform to the latest Marine Pollution (MARPOL) Standards of the International Maritime Organization (IMO) and Safety of Life at Sea (SOLAS).
About International Maritime Organization
♦ Headquarter: London, United Kingdom
♦ Secretary-General: Kitack Lim
DCIL signed MoU with WAPCOS to jointly identify future projects
The Dredging Corporation of India Limited (DCIL) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with Water & Power Consultancy Services (WAPCOS) Limited, a mini-ratna PSU under Ministry of Water Resources, River Development, and Ganga Rejuvenation. The objective is to jointly recognize suitable future projects and carry out geo-technical investigation and engineering consultancy in the fields like water resources, power and infrastructure, port and harbour dredging.
i. The other areas which can be included in joint projects are shallow water dredging, beach nourishment, lake rehabilitation, flood management, erosion control, river morphology etc.
♦ Headquarter: Visakhapatnam, Andhra Pradesh
♦ Managing Director: Rajesh Tripathi
About WAPCOS Limited
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Chairman & Managing Director: R. K. Gupta
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
In 2019, Goldman Environmental Prize honoured 6 grassroots environmental activists for their exemplary work in protecting the nature
The Goldman Environmental Foundation honoured 6 recipients of the 2019 with the world’s eminent award for grassroots environmental activists, the Goldman Environmental Prize.
i. This prize is awarded every year to environmental activists from each of the global 6 inhabited continents.
ii. The Goldman Environmental Prize is also known as Green Nobel Prize and awards a cash prize of $200,000.
iii. The Prize was established by late philanthropists and civic leaders, Rhoda and Richard Goldman in 1989 in San Francisco, California to celebrate grassroots environmentalists. The year, 2019 marks the 30th anniversary of the Prize.
iv. Till date, the Prize has awarded 194 winners from 89 different countries.
iv. The Prize winners are selected by an international jury from confidential nominations which is submitted by a global network of individuals and environmental organizations.
v. This year, the award winners were presented the Prize at an invitation-only ceremony at the San Francisco Opera House. The former Vice President and legendary environmental champion, Al Gore presented the keynote address at the ceremony.
2019’s prize winners are as follows:
|Name of recipient||Country||Environmental work|
|Bayarjargal Agvaantseren||Mongolia||Bayarjargal Agvaantseren helped to create the 1.8 million-acre Tost Tosonbumba Nature
Reserve (in the South Gobi Desert) which is a critical habitat for the vulnerable snow leopard. She also persuaded the Mongolian government to take actions against mining within
|Alfred Brownell||Liberia||Environmental lawyer Alfred Brownell stopped the
clear-cutting of Liberia’s tropical forests by palm oil plantation developers. His effective
campaign helped to save 5,13,500 acres of primary forest. He was under violent threats during the entire noble campaign and now, for his safety, he is living in temporary exile in
the United States.
|Ana Colovic Lesoska||North Macedonia||Ana Colovic Lesoska protected the habitat of the nearly-extinct Balkan lynx (a wild cat with yellowish-brown fur found mostly in the northern latitudes of North America and Eurasia) by leading a 7-year campaign to chop off international funding for
2 large hydropower plants to be constructed inside North Macedonia’s Mavrovo
|Alberto Curamil||Chile||Alberto Curamil (jailed in 2018 due to his environmental activism) led his Mapuche community to stop the building of 2
hydroelectric projects on the Cautín River in Chile. The projects would have
diverted hundreds of millions of gallons of water each day and harmed the ecosystem drastically by worsening drought conditions.
|Jacqueline Evans||Cook Islands||Jacqueline Evans organized a 5-year campaign to protect the Cook Islands’ marine
biodiversity. Because of her persistency in activism, the Cook Islands passed a new law to create ‘Marae Moana’ on 13 July 2017 (a multiple-use marine protected area created), to sustainably manage and preserve 763,000 square miles of the nation’s marine territory by creating marine protected areas around all 15 islands.
|Linda Garcia||United States||Linda Garcia prevented North America’s largest
oil terminal, Tesoro Savage
oil export terminal, from being constructed in Vancouver, Washington, thus curbing the flow of 11 million gallons of crude oil
per day from North Dakota to Washington.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Emperor Akihito becomes the first Japanese monarch to abdicate in 200 years
On 30th April 2019, The 125th Emporer of Japan, 85-year-old, Emporer Emeritus Akihito abdicated after 30 years of ruling because of his declining health and age-related problems. His rule was known as Heisei. While his son Emporer Naruhito, 59 -year-old succeeded the Chrysanthemum Throne on 1 May 2019, ushering in the Reiwa era. This is the first time Japan’s modern History that the country has both an Emporer and Emeritus.
The ‘Ceremony of the Abdication’ took place in a state room of the Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Crown Prince Naruhito, and Crown Princess Masako were present in the function.
About Emporer Emeritus Akihito:
i. Akihito is the first Japanese Emporer to abdicate since Kokaku in 1817.
ii. He was born on 23 December 1933 in Tokyo, Japan.
iii. 30-year long Heisei Era started on 8 January 1989.
iv. Akihito is the eighth-oldest currently-serving state leader by age (85 years, 121 days).
♦ Capital: Tokyo
♦ Currency: Japanese yen
Archery Association of India chief BVP Rao steps down following Supreme Court ruling
On 1 May 2019, Archery Association of India (AAI) President B.V.P. Rao resigned after the Supreme Court’s ruling to set aside the constitution of the national body of the sport as amended by Delhi High Court-appointed administrator S.Y. Quraishi. The new election for AAI is expected to be held within four weeks.
i. Justices AM Khanwilkar and Ajay Rastogi ordered that fresh elections be held for Archery Association of India within four weeks.
ii. The new Indian archer’s administrative committee is expected to be constituted before the marquee World Championship from June 10.
iii. On December 22, 2018, Rao was elected as AAI president through the elections held under the supervision of Quraishi. He replaced Vijay Kumar Malhotra.
About Archery Association of India:
♦ Founded: 8 August 1973
♦ Sport: Archery
♦ Affiliation: World Archery Federation
♦ Secretary: Maha Singh
♦ Coach: Limba Ram
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
ICRISAT-led team collaborated with the BGI-Shenzhen to sequence genetic code to develop chickpeas resistant to vagaries of weather conditions
The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics’ (ICRISAT) team partnered with the BGI-Shenzhen, China, involving 39 scientists from 21 research institutes worldwide, notified that scientists have successfully completed the largest-ever exercise of entire-genome re-sequencing of chickpea, by sequencing 429 chickpea lines from 45 nations to identify genes that are resistant to various extreme factors. The study has been published in Nature Genetics online with the title, “Resequencing of 429 chickpea accessions from 45 countries provides insights into genome diversity, domestication and agronomic traits“.
The objective of this sequencing for the agricultural community will cater to the successful development of newer varieties of chickpea with better and large-scale production, with a yield that is tolerant to disease, pest, drought, heat (up to 38 degree Celsius ) and variable weather conditions. This will thus contribute to the sustainability of agricultural development in the developing countries.
i. The research study confirmed the fact that chickpea came to India from Fertile Crescent of Mediterranean through Afghanistan.
ii. The research also stated that since India, the biggest consumer of pulses globally (in 2016 India produced 64% of the world’s total chickpeas) is facing a rising production gap, thus, the new study could help India in attaining its previous level of pulse production.
i. In South Asia more than 90% of chickpea (Cicer arietinum ) cultivation happens.
ii. Chickpea is a cool season crop and suffers reduction in yield in higher temperature conditions. They perform optimally in 70° to 80°F day-time temperatures and 64° to 70°F night-time temperatures.
iii. Worldwide, drought and heat cater to more than 70% of yield loss in chickpea.
iv. Being a cool-season crop, in India chickpea is sown in September-October and harvested in January-February.
v. Chickpea is consumed as a dry pulse crop or as a green vegetable and the seeds contain about 20% protein, 5% fat and 55% carbohydrate. They are also used as livestock feeds due to their high protein content.
It is also known by name of gram, Bengal Gram, Garbanzo, Garbanzo bean, and Egyptian pea.
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‘Yeti’ footprints sighted claims Indian Army tweet
On 30th April 2019, The official Twitter account of the Indian Army’s Additional Directorate General of Public Information tweeted that an Indian Army mountaineering expedition team has sited mysterious footprints of mythical himalayan beast “Yeti” measuring 32×15 inches (81 centimeters by 38 centimeters) close to Makalu Base Camp,located in North-Eastern Himalayas on 09 April 2019.
i. The yeti also known as Abominable Snowman or Asian Bigfoot is a giant ape-like creature often figures in South Asian folklore. Yetis are believed to weigh anywhere between 91 to 181 kilograms with a height of above 6 feet.
ii. According to a report in the National Geographic, British explorer Eric Shipton captured the footprints of the Yeti in 1951 for the first time. It was found on the Menlyung Glacier which is located on the Nepal-Tibet border near the Makalu Barun national park.
US Judge and Civil Rights Icon Damon J. Keith died aged 96
On 28th April 2019, United States Sixth Circuit Judge, Damon Jerome Keith, a grandson of slaves passed away at the age of 96 in Detroit, the city where the prominent lawyer was appointed in 1967 to the US District Court. He served on the Sixth Circuit for over 40 years.
i. He was born on 4 July 1922 in Detroit, Michigan, United States.
ii. Keith served more than 50 years in the federal courts, and before his death still heard cases about four times a year at the 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati.
BOOKS & AUTHORS
Coffee Table book on Architecture & Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhawan presented to UAE Minister of Tolerance
Ambassador Navdeep Suri presented UAE Minister of Tolerance Sheikh Nahayan Mubarak Al Nahayan with the Coffee Table book on “Work of Beauty: Architecture and Landscape of Rashtrapati Bhawan”, which has been published by Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting.
i. The book was commissioned by President’s Secretariat and Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), Ministry of Culture, Government of India.
ii. UAE Minister had visited the India Pavilion of the ongoing Abu Dhabi International Book Fair 2019. India is the ‘Guest of Honour’ at the Book Fair.
International Labour Day is observed on May 1
International Labour Day or Workers day is observed annually on 1 May, It is also known as May Day.The day was promoted by the international labour movement, socialists and communists.The theme of International Labour Day 2019 is “Sustainable Pension for all: The Role of Social Partners”.
i. In India, the first Labour Day was celebrated on 1 May 1923 in Madras by Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan. Labour Day is also called Antarrashtriya Shramik Diwas or Kamgar Din in India.
ii. Workers day is observed to commemorate the happenings of May 4, 1886, the Haymarket affair (Haymarket Massacre) in Chicago.
iii. The Second International, a pan-national organisation of socialist and communist political parties, accorded 1 May as the Labour Day in 1891.
About Labour Kisan Party of Hindustan:
♦ Founder: Malayapuram Singaravelu Chettiar
♦ Founded: 1923
Maharashtra Day is celebrated every year on 1st May to mark the Maratha speaking region that attained statehood on 1st May 1960
Maharashtra Day is celebrated every year on 1st May to mark the Maratha speaking region that was founded on 1st May 1960.
i. This year, the state government of Maharashtra organized the main function in Mumbai and celebrated this red-letter day at Shivaji Park, central Mumbai.
ii. Most educational institutions like schools, colleges, offices remain closed on this day.
How is Maharashtra Day Celebrated?
i. The day is celebrated by organizing exhibitions, ceremonies, and parades in the public areas of Maharashtra.
ii. Private celebrations also take place around the city, including traditional Lavani performances, narration of poems written by Marathi saints and folk songs.
History of Maharashtra Day or Maharashtra Diwas
i. In 1956, the States Reorganisation Act was enacted that restricted Indian state boundaries according to language.
ii. When this act was enacted, it created the State of Bombay which then had a different language being spoken, namely, Kutchi, Konkani, Gujarati, and Marathi.
iii. The Sanyukta Maharashtra Samiti was then formed which strived for the division of the Bombay state in 2 halves. In 1 half would be the people who spoke Marathi and Konkani and in the other state would be the people who spoke Gujarati and Kutchi. This resulted in the proposal of the Bombay Reorganization Act.
iv. The official effect took place on 1st May 1960 and this is how Maharashtra attained its statehood in India.
Gujarat celebrates its foundation day on 1st May
Today is the 60th Foundation Day of Gujarat. Every year, 1st May is celebrated in different districts of Gujarat by launching various welfare schemes.
i. This year, there is no official celebration due to the model code of conduct (MCC).
ii. The state of Gujarat came into existence on 1st May 1960 after the division of Mumbai state under Bombay Reorganization Act.
iii. Ahmedabad (city in Gujarat) has featured in the Forbes list of ‘the world’s fastest-growing cities’ at rank number 3 after Chengdu and Chongqing from China.
♦ Foundation Day: May 1, 1960
♦ Capital: Gandhinagar
♦ Largest City: Ahmedabad
♦ Districts: 33
♦ Governor: Om Prakash Kohli
♦ Chief Minister: Vijay Rupani
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