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Current Affairs May 15 2019

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NMCG, HCL Foundation and INTACH inked MoU for Rudraksh Plantation in Uttarakhand
National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG), HCL Foundation and Indian National Trust for Art and Culture Heritage (INTACH) signed tripartite Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Plantation of Rudraksh Trees in Uttarakhand under the ‘Namami Gange’ Programme. The objective is to create a greener ecosystem in the Ganga Basin along the stretch of 97 towns and 4,465 villages.
Key Highlights
i. Under the project, the aim is to plant 10,000 Rudraksh trees in the catchment area of Ganga River in Uttarakhand.
ii. This project will also help to generate income for people residing in those areas.
About Uttarakhand
♦ Capital: Dehradun
♦ Governor: Baby Rani Maurya
♦ Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries: Corbet National Park, Rajaji National Park, Binsar Wildlife Sanctuaries, Valley of Flowers National Park etc.
♦ Dance Forms: Barada Nati, Langvir Nritya, Pandav Nritya etc.

The Indian Navy’s Service Selection Board was inaugurated at Diamond Harbour, Kolkata
The Chief of Naval Staff, Admiral Sunil Lanba inaugurated Indian Navy’s first full-fledged Service Selection Board (SSB) at Diamond Harbour, near Kolkata.

The Indian Navy’s Service Selection BoardVice Admiral Karambir Singh, the Flag Officer Commanding-in-Chief, Eastern Naval Command, has attended the inauguration.
Key Points:
i. This is the fifth SSB- Service Selection Board of the Indian Navy.
ii. It selects both Permanent and Short Service Commission officers.
iii. The other Boards are located in Bhopal, Bengaluru, Visakhapatnam, and Coimbatore.
iv. SSB (Kolkata), sprawling over 27 acres on the Hooghly river-bank can screen an estimated 5000 officer-candidates annually.
v. Various facilities are available at the board which includes GTO ground, Testing Hall, Conference Room, staff accommodation and a Medical Inspection Room. These cater to the comfort of the candidates.


6th Session of Global Platform for DDR started in Geneva, Switzerland from 13th May to 17 May 2019
The 6th Session of the biennial Global Platform for (DDR) Disaster Risk Reduction (GP2019) has started in Geneva, Switzerland from 13th May to 17 May 2019 and is co-chaired by Switzerland and UNISDR.

Global Platform for (DDR) Disaster Risk ReductionKey Points:
i. The session is summoned under the theme, ‘Resilience Dividend: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societies’.
ii. The agenda of the session is to represent the next key opportunity for the international community to enhance the implementation of the Sendai Framework, related Sustainable Development Goals of the 2030 Agenda, and commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement.
iii. The session has been hosted by Switzerland’s Government and has been summoned and organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNISDR).
iv. For all stakeholders this session is the last global gathering before the deadline for the achievement of Target E of the Sendai Framework: Substantially increase the number of countries with national and local disaster risk reduction strategies by 2020.
v. The Science and Policy Forum for the Implementation of the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR) will be summoned in parallel with the Global Platform for DRR 2019.
vi. The Global Platform will discuss the following issues:

  • risk-informed public and private investments, investments in infrastructure
  • steps taken on climate and disaster risk, integrated national policies, preparedness during disasters and community resilience
  • monitoring the progress in implementation of the Sendai Framework for DRR
  • improve the integration of disaster risk management (DRM) in other relevant sectors

vii. The meeting’s outcomes will contribute to the proceedings of the UN High-level Political Forum on Sustainable Development (HLPF), UN General Assembly (UNGA), the UN 2019 Climate Change Summit.
viii. The world’s very 1st gathering of the Global Platform for Disaster Reduction was held in 2007.
ix. Prior to the establishment of the Global Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction, an Inter-Agency Task Force (IATF) led by UNISDR, on Disaster Reduction, met regularly between 2000-2005.
India has been chosen to co-chair the Consultative Group (CG) of GFDRR
For the fiscal year 2020 (FY20), India was chosen as the Co-chair of the Consultative Group (CG) of Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) during the session of the GFDRR in Geneva, Switzerland.
i. India expressed its interest to co-chair the meet, at the 5th session of GFDRR held in October 2018.
ii. India became a Member of the Consultative Group (CG) of GFDRR in 2015 and this will be India’s 1st time in co-chairing the CG meeting of GFDRR which will, in turn, help India in working with the member countries and organisations in advancing the disaster risk reduction agenda during its tenure.
iii. Kumar Jindal, the Joint Secretary of Disaster Management and Kamal Kishore, member of the National Disaster Management Authority attended the meeting.
iv. The main theme for India’s engagement with the GFDRR partners and stakeholders will be “Disaster Resilient Infrastructure”.
v. The Consultative Group Meeting 2019 was co-chaired by the European Union (EU), Africa Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) Group of States and World Bank. 
About Global Facility for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR):

  • It’s a global partnership that helps the developing countries to better understand climate change, the natural calamities and decrease their effects.
  • It works on a grant-funding policy that supports disaster risk management projects worldwide with World Bank managing the funding.
  • Presently GFDRR is working with around 400 local, national, regional and international partners.

Global Influence of Asian Civilizations Forum has begun in Beijing
The opening ceremony of the Global Influence of Asian Civilizations forum was held in the China National Convention Center, Beijing, where Xi Jinping, Chinese President delivered a keynote speech.

Global Influence of Asian CivilizationsKey Points:
i. The Forum on Global Influence of Asian Civilizations is 1 of the 6 parallel forums of the “Conference of Dialogue on Asian Civilizations”.
ii. The Forum on Global Influence of Asian Civilizations is organized by the National Radio and Television Administration of the People’s Republic of China.
iii. The representatives from 47 Asian and other invited countries attended the Conference on Dialogue of Asian Civilizations event. The theme of the event was “Exchanges and Mutual Learning among Asian Civilizations and a Community with a Shared Future.”
iv. The conference included thematic forums, an Asian culture carnival and Asian Civilization Week.
v. The vice minister of the National Radio and Television Administration of the People’s Republic of China, Fan Weiping hosted the opening ceremony of the forum.
vi. The theme of the forum was “Asian Values for the World” where the speakers discussed the rich and contemporary values of Asian civilizations.
vii. A supporting activity termed as the “Dialogue on Asian Internet Audio-Visual Broadcasting Policy and Release of Cooperation Results,” will be held in line with the forum.


HDFC collaborated with IMGC (India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation) for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan
HDFC has collaborated with IMGC (India Mortgage Guarantee Corporation) for a mortgage guarantee-backed home loan.

HDFC collaborated with IMGCKey Points:
i. Mortgage guarantee is a financial product which compensates lending institutions for the losses that may occur when a home owner defaults on a mortgage loan.
ii. In ‘mortgage guarantee’, the risk of the home loan gets transmuted from the bank/FIs (financial institution) to the mortgage guarantee company.
iii. This collaboration will help HDFC provide more loan to a home loan customer on an improved eligibility.
iv. This initiative will also support the government’s mission under Prime Minister ‘Awas Yojana Scheme‘ to provide Housing for all by 2022.
v. The main objective of the collaboration is to address middle age-salaried customers, self employed customers and young salaried customers.
About HDFC
CEO                    :   Aditya Puri
Headquarters :   Mumbai
Tagline              :   We Understand Your World

Nanital Bank fined Rs 1 crore by RBI
Mumbai-based Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has imposed Rs 1 crore fine to Nanital Bank. The reason behind this monetary penalty was because of Nanital Bank’s failure to fully automate the non-performing asset (NPA) identification process, despite specific directions issued in this regard.

Nanital BankKey Highlights
i. Under the provision of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949 RBI has imposed the penalty because Nanital Bank has failed to adhere to the aforesaid direction issued by the RBI.
About Nanital Bank
♦ Headquarter: Nanital
♦ Tagline: Banking with Personal Touch


Infosys Foundation’s registration cancelled over FCRA Violation
The Home Ministry has cancelled the registration of NGO Infosys Foundation under the Foreign Contribution (Regulations) Act (FCRA) for violating the norms of receiving foreign grants. Under the FCRA Act, all non-government organisations (NGOs) have to mandatorily register under the act.

Infosys Foundation’Key Highlights
i. Infosys Foundation had not submitted annual income and expenditure statement on foreign funding for the last 6 years. Due to this reason, the registration of Infosys Foundation was cancelled by Home Ministry.
ii. Under the FCRA Act, there are guidelines according to which registered associations are required to submit annual report of income and expenditure statement, receipts and payment account, balance sheet etc. electronically. This submission should be done within the 9 months of the closure of the financial year.
iii. The NGOs who have not received any foreign grants during a particular year are also required to furnish a ‘NIL” return for that financial year within the aforesaid period.
Infosys Foundation
Chairperson     :  Sudha Murthy
Headquarters  :  Bengaluru,Karnataka


Nepali Sherpa Kami Rita climbs Mt. Everest for the 23rd time; Broke his own record
On May 15, 2019, 49 year old Sherpa climber from Nepal, Kami Rita climbed Mt. Everest for the 23rd time and broke his own record for most summits on Mt. Everest. He successfully climbed the mountain from the Nepal side.

Nepali Sherpa Kami RitaKey Points:
i. Rita resides in Thame village of Solukhumbu district, Nepal.
ii. For the first time, he had scaled the mountain in the year 1994.
iii. In 2017, he became the third person to climb the highest peak for 21 times along with the record held by Apa Sherpa and Phurba Tashi Sherpa.
iv. Rita has also climbed other world’s highest peaks including K-2, Cho-Oyu, Manaslu, and Lhotse.
About Nepal:
Capital: Kathmandu
Currency: Nepalese Rupee
President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari
Prime Minister: KP Sharma Oli

Captain Aarohi Pandit from Mumbai became 1st woman in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a LSA
A 23-year-old pilot from Mumbai, Captain Aarohi Pandit, became first woman in the world to cross the Atlantic Ocean solo in a Light Sports Aircraft (LSA).

Captain Aarohi PanditKey points:
i. She had started her journey from Wick, Scotland (United Kingdom) and landed her aircraft at Iqaluit Airport, Canada, post a 3,000 km long flight, under extremely bad weather conditions, with short stopovers in Greenland and Iceland.
ii. This mission is a part of her ongoing 1-year-long global circumnavigation flight launched with her friend Keithair Misquitta.
iii. Aarohi Pandit will return to India by July 30, 2019.
iv. Social Access is the not-for-profit-communications firm which organised and sponsored the expedition.
v. Aarohi has set another world record as the 1st woman pilot to fly solo above the dangerous Greenland ice-cap in a LSA.
vi. This is part of the ‘Women Empower (WE) Expedition’ and the name of the tiny aircraft is ‘Mahi’.
vii. It is a tiny, single-engine Sinus 912 weighing 400 kg. It was manufactured by Pipistrel of Slovenia, and is also the first LSA registered by Directorate-general of Civil Aviation (DGCA) India.


Sanjiv Puri appointed as New Chairman of ITC
A 56-year old Sanjiv Puri, Managing Director of ITC Limited has been appointed as the chairman of ITC. Now Sanjiv Puri became the Chairman and Managing Director (CMD) of ITC. Previous Manager of ITC Yogesh Chander Deveshwar has passed away recently on May 11, 2019.

Sanjiv PuriAdditional Information
Sanjiv Puri was appointed as a Managing Director of ITC in 2018 and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in February 2017.
About ITC Limited
♦ Headquarter: Kolkata
♦ CEO: Sanjiv Puri

Major General A K Dhingra appointed as the first Chief of Armed Forces Special Operations Division
Major General AK Dhingra has appointed as the first chief of Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD) which comprised of commandos from all the three service. The government has set up AFSOD which comprised of Special Forces commandos from Army’s Parachute Regiments, Navy’s Marine Commandos (MARCOS) and Air Force’s Garud commandos. The aim of this division is to undertake joint operations by three services.

A K DhingraKey Highlights
i. Major Dhingra is from elite 1 Para Special Forces Regiment. He was also the part of Indian Peacekeeping Force Operations in Sri Lanka from 1987 to 1990.
ii. This new division will work under the tri-services Integrated Defence Staff and headquarter of the division will be either in Agra or Bengaluru as per the ongoing discussion in the Defence Ministry.

A K Sikri, former Supreme Court judge appointed as the chairperson of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority
The News Broadcasters Association (NBA) notified that Arjan Kumar Sikri, former Supreme Court judge has been appointed as the chairperson of the News Broadcasting Standards Authority.

A K SikriKey points:
i. The News Broadcasting Standards Authority (NBSA) is an independent self-regulatory body of 24×7 news channels (who are members of the NBA). It implements the Code of Broadcasting Ethics in the news industry.
ii. Justice (retd) Sikri’s predecessor is Justice (retd) R V Raveendran.
iii. Justice Sikri’s immense experience in the judiciary is estimated to help the news broadcasters.

Kumar Tuhin appointed as the next Ambassador of India to Bosnia & Herzegovina
On May 14, 2019, the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, announced the appointment of Shri Kumar Tuhin (Indian Foreign Service:1991) as the next Ambassador of India to Bosnia & Herzegovina with residence in Budapest. He is currently serving as the Ambassador of India to the Republic of Hungary. He succeeds Rahul Chhabra.
About Bosnia & Herzegovina:
Capital: Sarajevo
Currency: Bosnia and Herzegovina convertible mark

R Gandhi, former RBI Deputy Governor, appointed as the Additional Director to Yes Bank for two years
Under Sub-section (1) of Section 36 AB of the Banking Regulation Act, 1949, The Reserve Bank of India announced the appointment of Rama Subramaniam Gandhi, former Deputy Governor of RBI, as an additional director on the board of Yes Bank for two years.

R GandhiKey Points:
i. He will serve Yes Bank as the additional director with effect from 14 May 2019 to 13 May 2021 or till further orders.
ii. Yes Bank had reported a loss of Rs.1,507 cr for March quarter. Rating agencies like ICRA and India Ratings have downgraded the bank’s rating. As a result, RBI has appointed R Gandhi to the board of Yes Bank as a precautionary measure and this will strengthen the governance of the bank.
iii. Gandhi served RBI as the Deputy Governor between April, 2014 and April, 2017.
About RBI:
Governor: Shaktikanta Das
Headquarters: Mumbai
About Yes Bank:
MD & CEO: Ravneet Gill
Headquarters: Mumbai
Tag Line: Experience our Expertise

Jet Airways top executives CEO, CFO, CS and CPO resign
On May 14, 2019, Jet Airways’ four top Executives- Chief Executive Officer Vinay Dube, Chief Financial Officer and deputy CEO Amit Agarwal, Chief People’s Officer Rahul Taneja and Company Secretary and Compliance Officer Kuldeep Sharma resigned from their positions with immediate effect. They have resigned after finding the possibility that Etihad’s offer to invest in the airlines may not be sufficient to run the operations of the airlines.
Key Points:
i. At present, Jet Airways is a debt-laden company. The total debt is above Rs.14,000 crores and it is bearing huge losses. As a result, it had stopped its operations from April 17.
ii. State Bank of India is the lead lender for Jet Airways.
iii. It is estimated that Rs. 8,000 crore will be needed to re-start its operations.


India’s Smallest Orchids “Lecanorchis Taiwaniana” discovered in Assam
India’s Smallest Orchids named “Lecanorchis Taiwaniana”, a parasitic bloom, was discovered in Assam by a forest officer Jatindra Sarma who is a Member Secretary of State Medicinal plants Board. It is small in terms of size as well as its tenure of bloom.
Key Points:
i. It is a mycoheterotroph, a parasitic plant that has deserted the process of photosynthesis.
ii. The discovery was published in a Japanese Journal named Journal of Botany.
iii. For the first time, this small variant of Japanese Orchid is found in India. It was earlier discovered in Japan, Taiwan and Laos.
About Assam:
Capital: Dispur
Chief Minister: Sarbananda Sonowal
National Parks: Dibru-Saikhowa National Park, Kaziranga National Park, Manas National Park, Nameri National Park, Rajiv Gandhi Orang National Park

White-throated rail, extinct bird of 136,000 Years Ago is “Back From the Dead”
The white-throated rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri) which was extinct for more than 136,000 years reappeared on Indian Ocean Island. This new finding was published in the Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society. It is now the last species of flightless bird left in the Indian Ocean.
Key Points:
i. This rare evolution of this extinct bird is called iterative evolution.
ii. White-throated rails are originally from Madagascar, an island country lying off the southeastern coast of Africa, after that they migrated to Aldabra Atoll, Seychelles, where they lost their ability to fly due to the absence of predators. Then a new subspecies formed known as the Aldabran rail (Dryolimnas cuvieri aldabranus).
iii. The fossil evidence was of 100,000 years ago and the evidence for the claim comes from a fossil study at the University of Portsmouth and Natural History Museum of UK.

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Manchester City defeated Brighton to retain Premier League title
Recently, Manchester City defeated Brighton by 4-1 at the Amex Stadium, UK in Premier League title match. Manchester City became the first team to retain the title in last 10 years since Manchester United had done the same in 2009.

Manchester City defeated BrightonKey Highlights
i. Manchester City was one point ahead of Liverpool to win the title. Pep Guardiola has become one of the successful manager who gave eight league championship over 10 years in three countries.
About United Kingdom (UK)
♦ Capital: London
♦ Currency: Pound Sterling


International Day of Families observed on May 15 , 2019 with theme Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13
As proclaimed by the UN (United Nations) General Assembly in 1993 with resolution A/RES/47/237, the International Day of Families or IDF is observed on May 15 every year since 1996, and it lays stress on the importance attached to families. Its theme for 2019 is: “Families and Climate Action: Focus on SDG 13”.

Family-dayKey Points:
i. The main event of the International Day of Families took place at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, which was organized by Division for Inclusive Social Development (DISD) of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA).
ii. The key SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) 13 targets are:
SDG 13 target 13.3: To enhance education, awareness, human and institutional capacity on curbing climate change and adaptation.
SDG 13 target 13.2: To incorporate climate change measures into national schemes, strategies and planning.
iii. This particular holiday is represented by a  heart-symbol extending upwards which becomes the roof of a house. This symbol symbolises the heart and home which are the basics of family life. This is generally drawn in red and is either used alone or placed in a green circle.


Thrissur Pooram festival was celebrated in Kerala and was attended by around 10,000 people
The opening of the popular Thrissur Pooram festival in Kerala was attended by around 10,000 people along with 54-year-old tusker, Kerala’s tallest elephant ‘Thechikottukavu Ramachandran’ after it has cleared the fitness test.  Earlier, a ban had been imposed on the elephant after it killed two people during an event in Guruvayur, Kerala.
Key points:
i. In high security, ‘Thechikottukavu Ramachandran’ was paraded at the Vadakkumnathan Temple and this ceremony is also known as ‘Pooram Vilambaram’.
ii. The ‘pooram’ festival is annually celebrated and is considered as the mother of all temple festivals in Kerela.
iii. The festival was started in the late 18th century in 1798 through a royal edict of the erstwhile Raja Rama Varma, popularly known as Sakthan Thampuran, the Maharaja of the then Kochi state.
iv. The edict entrusted two local temples: Paramekkavu and Thiruvambady as the 2 major sponsors of the festivities.
v. This year, the most pompously celebrated event of the festival was the parading of more than 50 elephants and display of crackers.

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