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8th Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol began in Port Blair
The 8th Indo-Myanmar Coordinated Patrol (IMCOR) has started at Andaman and Nicobar Command in Port Blair which will be held from May 20 to 28, 2019. Myanmar Navy Ship UMS King TabinShweHtee (773) and UMS Inlay (OPV-54) and Indian Naval Ship Saryu have participated in coordinated patrol (CORPAT). The CORPAT initiative was first started in 2013.
i. The Myanmar delegation was led by Commodore Htein Win, Ayeyarwady Naval Command and Indian delegation was led by Cmde Ashutosh Ridhorkar, VSM, Naval Component Commander.
ii. The ships of both countries will patrol along the International Maritime Boundary Line (IMBL) of two countries covering a distance around 725 km in 4 days.
iii. The objective of the CORPAT is to address issues of terrorism, illegal fishing, drug trafficking, human trafficking, etc. and to enhance the mutual understanding and fostered improved professional interaction between the two navies for maritime interoperability.
♦ Capital: Naypyitaw
♦ Currency: Burmese Kyat
♦ President: Win Myint
National Training Workshop of Master Trainers for 7th Economic Census was held in New Delhi
As a run-up to the 7th Edition of Economic Census (7th EC), its Master trainers (enumerators and supervisors) were imparted training during the “National Training Workshop of Master Trainers” which was organized by Ministry of Statistics and Program Implementation (MoSPI) in New Delhi. The objective of the training was to provide a thorough knowledge of key concepts, processes, digital platform and application to be used for the enumeration in the field.
i. In the month of May and June, similar kind of exercise will be undertaken through 6000 State and District level training workshops as the fieldwork for the 7th EC will commence in June 2019.
ii. The 7th Economic Census -2019 is being conducted by MoSPI in partnership with Common Service Centres, CSC e-Governance Services India Limited, a Special Purpose Vehicle under the Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology as the implementing agency.
About Economic Censuses (EC):
- It provides disaggregated information on various operational and structural aspects of all establishments in the country.
- In 1976, the Government of India launched a scheme called Economic Census and Surveys.
- Initiated in 1977, the Second EC was carried out in 1980 followed by third in 1990, fourth in 1998, fifth in 2005 and 6th in 2013.
Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA) plans to introduce artificial intelligence system in MCA 21 portal
Ministry of Corporate Affairs(MCA) has rolled out its plan to introduce Artificial Intelligence(AI) system in MCA 21 portal. The Union ministry will introduce Version 3 in MCA portal. This is introduced in order to make the compliance process easier and ensure that enforcement activities are done regularly on autopilot basis.
i. The Ministry aims to rationalize all the forms and follow the principle of a single source of truth. It means that one is not required to fill in the known details as it is automatically updated.
ii. It will also interlink the databases so that routine enforcement is done 24×7 on autopilot basis.
About MCA 21:
The MCA 21 is one of 31 Mission Mode Projects (MMP) of National e-Governance Plan (NeGP) of Government of India. It was started in the year 2006. It allows electronic filings of various documents under the Companies Act, 2013. The first phase of the e-governance initiative was implemented by Tata Consultancy Services and the second phase is implemented by Infosys for the period from January 2013 to July 2021. It provides information to its concerned stakeholders including the investors, regulators and corporates and offers important services.
About Ministry of Corporate Affairs:
♦ Minister: Arun Jaitley (Additional charge)
♦ Secretary: Injeti Srinivas
In order to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade, a campaign “Not all animals migrate by choice” launched
On May 20, 2019, a campaign “Not all animals migrate by choice” was launched by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India and UN Environment India in order to raise awareness on illegal wildlife trade ahead of the International Day of Biological Diversity which is observed on May 22.
i. The campaign is aimed at creating awareness among the general public for the protection and conservation of wildlife, prevention of smuggling and reduction in demand for wildlife products. It complements worldwide action on illegal trade in wildlife through UN Environment’s global campaign, Wild for Life.
ii. It is to be displayed at major airports across the country.
iii. This campaign was inaugurated by UN Environment Goodwill Ambassador and recently appointed Secretary-General’s SDG Advocate, Dia Mirza in presence of officials from the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, Wildlife Crime Control Bureau of India, UN Environment, UN agencies and GMR (Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao) Group.
iv. The campaign will operate in 2 phases. For Phase I campaign, Tiger, Pangolin, Star Tortoise and Tokay Gecko are chosen as they are highly endangered due to illegal trading in international markets. Phase II will include more threatened species and will explore other routes of trafficking.
About United Nations Environment Programme (UN Environment):
♦ Headquarters: Nairobi, Kenya
♦ Formation: June 5, 1972
♦ Executive Director: Erik Solheim
About Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB):
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Motto: “Fighting Transboundary Environmental Crime”
♦ Executive: Tilotama Varma (Additional Director)
TAPI (Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India) gas pipeline meet held in Turkmenistan
The Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) gas pipeline meeting was held in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan. The Pakistani delegation led by Special Assistant to Prime Minister Imran Khan on Petroleum, Nadeem Babar attended the meet to finalize the groundbreaking of the project, which will be held in Pakistan in October, 2019.
i. The TAPI gas pipeline project is expected to be completed by 2022 in Pakistan, after which, Pakistan will receive 1.320 billion cubic meters (bcm) of natural gas.
About TAPI Gas Pipeline Project:
- Initiated in December 2015, TAPI aka Trans-Afghanistan Pipeline, is a natural gas pipeline being developed by the Galkynysh-TAPI Pipeline Company Limited. It is supported by the United States and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
- It is 56-inch diameter 1,680 KM pipeline has a design capacity of 3.2 billion cubic feet of natural gas per annum.
- After completion, the natural gas will be transported from the Galkynysh Gas Field in Turkmenistan through Afghanistan into Pakistan and then to India.
BANKING & FINANCE
Ola launches Ola Money SBI Credit Card
Transport Company, Ola Cabs has launched Ola Money SBI Credit Card in partnership with SBI Card to provide a flexible and convenient payment system to its customers. The credit card is powered by Visa.
i. This partnership will enhance the co-brand card portfolio and also enable SBI Card to access Ola’s vast customer base to make new acquisitions.
ii. There is no joining fee as Ola users will be able to apply, view and manage their credit card directly on the Ola app.
iii. Ola is targeting 10 million Ola Money SBI Credit Cards by 2022.
♦ CEO – Bhavish Aggarwal
♦ Headquarters – Bengaluru
♦ MD and CEO – Hardayal Prasad
♦ Chatbot/Live Assistant – ILA
World Bank and CBA joined hands for World’s first Blockchain Bond Transaction
International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD, World Bank) in partnership with Commonwealth Bank of Australia (CBA) enabled recording of secondary market bond trading using blockchain technology. With this, Bond-i become the first bond whose issuance and trading is recorded on a blockchain platform.
i. This also marked the next phase of the bond-i (blockchain operated new debt instrument) project.
ii. Bond-i, first issued in August 2018 by World Bank, is the world’s first bond entirely based on blockchain, a type of Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT). CBA was the sole arranger of the bond. That experiment phase of 2018 helped the World Bank to raise $81 million at the time.
iii. The blockchain platform was built and developed by the Commonwealth Bank’s Blockchain Centre of Excellence on top of the ethereum network and was reviewed by Microsoft regarding its architecture, security, and resilience.
♦ Headquarters – Sydney, Australia
♦ CEO – Matt Comyn
About World Bank
♦ Headquarters – Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Membership – 189 countries (IBRD); 173 countries (International Development Association, IDA)
♦ CEO – Kristalina Georgieva
RBI data marked 27% rise in Debit card PoS swipes
In accordance with the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) data, debit card swipes on Point of Sales (PoS) terminals have been increased over 27% in March 2019 in comparison to the same period of 2018. While, withdrawals from ATM hiked at a low rate of 15%.
Key Highlights of Data:
i. Debit card payments for merchant transactions have gone up more than 250% between March 2019 and 2016.
ii. The usage of Credit cards for PoS transactions mounted 22% versus 2018, as there were 162 million PoS transactions in March 2019 against 127 million in March 2018.
iii. While ATM withdrawals remained stagnant at 890 million in March 2019 in comparison to 869 million in October 2018 meanwhile UPI grew by 62% to 781 million in March 2019.
- People using their debit cards not only for merchant payments directly, but they are also not withdrawing cash to pay each other. This results in the acceleration of digitization.
Reason behind the increase of debit card payments:
- Demonetization – In November 2016, government sucked out more than 85% of the cash from the domestic economy, which was the biggest push to debit card payments for merchant transactions.
♦ Establishment – 1 April 1935
♦ Governor – Shaktikanta Das
♦ Headquarters – Mumbai
RBI directed bigger NBFCs to appoint Chief Risk Officer
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has directed Non-Banking Finance Companies (NBFCs) which have assets over Rs 5000 crore to appoint a chief risk officer (CRO). The rationale behind this direction is to improve standards of risk management practices of NBFCs.
i. RBI’s direction to appoint a CRO is a result of ongoing rating downgrades of NBFC which has raised fears of another liquidity crisis.
ii. According to RBI direction, the primary role of the CRO is to identify, measure and mitigate risk and all credit products shall be assessed by CRO with an objective to control risks.
iii. The CRO of NBFCs shall be a senior officer and shall have professional qualification or experience in the area of risk management and required to function independently so that CRO can have ensure the highest standards of risk management.
♦ Headquarter: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Governor: Shaktikanta Das
BUSINESS & ECONOMY
NITI Aayog proposed Rs 7,500 crore plan for Artificial Intelligence
Recently, a policy think tank NITI Aayog has proposed a plan for Artificial Intelligence (AI) by creating a cloud computing platform named AIRAWAT and research institutes. NITI Aayog has circulated a cabinet note to provide Rs 7,500 crore funding for a 3-year period and set up a high-level task force to oversee roll-out and implementation of Artificial Intelligence (AI). The task force will be headed by NITI Aayog member with representation from all ministries and states along with experts from different fields.
i. The important sectors like education, health, agriculture, urbanisation and mobility will get benefit due to the development of Artificial Intelligence in the country.
ii. Under this initiative, NITI Aayog has planned to open 5 research centres and 20 Artificial Intelligence adoption centres.
iii. According to some estimates, Artificial Intelligence has the potential to add USD 957 billion to India’s GDP by 2035 and to boost India’s growth by 1.3% by 2035.
About NITI Aayog
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ CEO: Amitabh Kant
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority reduced the prices of 9 Non-Scheduled Cancer Drugs by 87%
National Pharmaceutical Pricing Authority (NPPA) reduced the prices of 9 Non-Scheduled Cancer Drugs by 87%. This decision was brought out by NPPA’s May 15 memorandum in its price control framework. It has approved the proposal to cap trade margins of all medicines at 30%.
i. This is a major step to make the anti-cure drugs including chemotherapy injections for lung cancer treatments, available at affordable prices.
ii. As per the revised order, the maximum retail price of chemotherapy injection pemetrexed (500mg), sold under the brand name Pemxcel has come down from Rs 22,000 to Rs 2,800. A 100mg dose of the same injection will cost Rs 800 against Rs 7,700.
iii. The retail price of chemo drug, epirubicin (brand name Epichlor) will be Rs. 276.8 for a 10mg injection against Rs. 561. The price of erlotinib tablets, sold as Erlotaz will be Rs. 1,840 for a pack of 10 of 100 mg against Rs. 6,600. The price of everolimus (brand name Lanolimus) of strengths 0.25mg and 0.5mg have been reduced to Rs 406 and Rs 739 from Rs 726 and Rs 1,452 respectively.
iv. More than 390 brands and about 72 formulations have reduced the cost of medicines following the order of NPPA. This will benefit more than 22 lakh cancer patients and will save around Rs. 800 crores annually.
♦ Headquarters: New Delhi
♦ Founded: August 29, 1997
♦ Chairman: Shubhra Singh
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Pehal Charitable Trust (PCT), a Charity run by Indian in UAE enters Guinness World Records for holding longest iftar
On May 18, 2019, Pehal Charitable Trust (PCT), a Charity run by Indian Joginder Singh Salaria in the United Arab Emirates(UAE) entered Guinness World Records for holding longest Iftar. It set the new Guinness World Records for “Longest Line of Hunger Relief Package” in Abu Dhabi. Iftar is an evening meal with which Muslims end their daily Ramadan fast at sunset.
i. The vegetarian Iftar was organized daily at the premises of Pehal International, Dubai Industrial Park.
ii. This event was adjudicated by Douglas Palau, an American television writer and producer.
About Guinness World Records:
♦ Originally Published: 1955
♦ Subject: World Records
♦ Publisher: Jim Pattison Group
♦ Genre: Reference work
♦ Authors: Craig Glenday, Norris McWhirter
♦ Capital: Abu Dhabi
♦ Currency: UAE Dirham
UNESCO incorporated Indian part of Kailash Mansarovar in tentative list of World Heritage Sites
On May 19, 2019, Ministry of Culture, Government of India, reported that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) incorporated Indian part of Kailash Mansarovar popularly known as Mount Kailash in the tentative list of World Heritage Sites. It is categorized under natural as well as a cultural heritage.
i. In April 2019, the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) and the Ministry of Environment and Forests had sent a proposal to UNESCO to list Kailash Mansoravar into its world Heritage sites.
ii. Kailash Mansarovar is the highest peak in Kailash range located in Lake Mansarovar in the remote south-western portion of the Tibet Autonomous Region of China and adjacent districts in the far-western region of Nepal.
iii. The Kailash Mansorovar is expanded across an area of 6,836 sq km within India. The Indian site is part of the larger landscape of 31,000 sq km. Its portion in the state of Uttarakhand comprises four major watersheds. They are Panar-Saryu, Saryu-Ramganga, Gori-Kali and Dhauli-Kali.
iv. China and Nepal have also proposed the UNESCO to include the landscape in the world heritage site.
v. At present, UNESCO’s list of Heritage Sites has 845 cultural Heritage sites across the world, out of which 29 are from India.
♦ Headquarters: Paris, France
♦ Formation: November 4, 1946
♦ Director General: Audrey Azoulay
♦ Capital: Dehradun
♦ Chief Minister: Trivendra Singh Rawat
♦ Governor: Baby Rani Maurya
♦ National Parks: Corbett National Park, Gangotri National Park, Govind National Park, Nanda Devi National Park, Rajaji National Park, Valley of Flowers National Park
♦ Wildlife Sanctuaries: Askot Musk Deer WLS, Nandhaur WLS, Binsar WLS, Govind Pashu Vihar WLS, Kedarnath WLS, Mussoorie WLS, Sonanadi WLS
Saray Khumalo became the first black African woman to conquer Mt. Everest in her fourth attempt
On May 16, 2019, Saray Khumalo aged 47 became the first black African woman to conquer Mt. Everest in her fourth attempt. She climbed the 8,848-metre mountain after three previous attempts as she was affected by bad weather, injury, and tragedy. She was born in Zambia and now is a Johannesburg resident, South Africa.
i. She has also conquered Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa, Aconcagua in Argentina and Mount Elbrus in Russia. She is on a hunt to conquer the highest peaks on each continent.
ii. In 2003, South African park ranger Sibusiso Vilane became the first black person to reach the top of Mount Everest.
iii. Sir Edmund Hillary and Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay were the first people to scale Mt. Everest on May 29, 1953.
About South Africa:
♦ Capital: Cape Town, Pretoria, Bloemfontein
♦ Currency: South African rand
♦ President: Cyril Ramaphosa
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS
Joko Widodo re-elected as President of Indonesia for the second term
Indonesia’s president Joko Widodo has been re-elected for the second term by winning 55.5% of the vote casted. He defeated his rival Prabowo Subianto, a retired general in 2019 Indonesian general election.
i. Joko Widodo belongs to PDI-P, a political party whereas his rival Prabowo Subianto belongs to Gerindra.
ii. Joko Widodo’s PDI-P finished first in the People’s Representative Council (DPR) election with 19.33%, followed by Prabowo’s Gerindra with 12.57%.
iii. First time in the Indonesian election history, the president, the vice president, members of the People’s Consultative Assembly (MPR), and members of local legislative bodies were elected on the same day with over 190 million eligible voters.
♦ Capital – Jakarta
♦ Currency – Indonesian rupiah
♦ President – Joko Widodo
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Helo becomes team sponsor of Indian Wheelchair Cricket Association for Asia Cup 2019
Helo, India’s social media platform became the team sponsor of Indian Wheelchair Cricket Association (WCA) for Team India for Wheelchair T20 Asia Cup 2019. It was scheduled from May 15 to 18 in Nepal.
i. Through this partnership with team India, Helo became the first social media app to host and promote Indian Wheelchair Cricket.
ii. Helo broadcasts the cricket updates, information, behind-the-activity and upcoming matches on its platform
iii. The Wheelchair Cricket Association(WCA) is affiliated to the Disabled Sporting Society. It has 16 state teams playing under it. The players are 70-90% physically challenged and did batting, bowling, fielding and running on wheelchairs only.
iv. Pakistan won the title defeating India in the finals of Wheelchair T20 Asia Cup.
Three time formula one world champion and aviation entrepreneur passed away at the age of 70 in Zurich, Switzerland
Austrian Formula One driver, Andreas Nikolaus Lauda passed away at the age of 70 in Zurich, Switzerland.He was born in Vienna, Austria.He was sometimes nicknamed as “the rat”, “SuperRat” or “King Rat” because of his prominent buck teeth.
i. Nikolaus Lauda won Formula one three time in 1975(Ferrari), 1977(Ferrari) and 1984(McLaren).
ii. He races in formula one for five companies viz- March, BRM, Ferrari, Brabham, McLaren.
iii. He was the only Formula one driver, who won for two most successful constructors, Ferrari and McLaren.
iv. After retiring from racing, he emerged as aviation entrepreneur and founded Lauda Air.
v. He was inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame in 1993.
vi. He has authored five books:
- The Art and Science of Grand Prix Driving (titled Formula 1: The Art and Technicalities of Grand Prix Driving in some markets) (1975);
- My Years With Ferrari (1978);
- The New Formula One: A Turbo Age (1984);
- Meine Story (titled To Hell and Back in some markets) (1986);
- Das dritte Leben (en. The third life)(1996).Lauda credits Austrian journalist Herbert Volker with editing the books.
Sri Lanka declared National Vesak week from May 15
On 15th May, Sri Lanka declared National Vesak week from May 15 to 21, 2019 to mark the celebrations of one of the most important events of Buddhists all over the world. The Festival held at the Thotagama Ranpath Viiharaya in Galle, Sri Lanka under the patronage of the President Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe. The Day of Vesak commemorates the birth anniversary of Gautama Buddha (or Lord Buddha) and it is celebrated on the day of May (Vaishakha) that has the full Moon (known as Purnima). Means this year it day coincided with May 18.
i. The objective of this year’s festival is to create a society of wise Buddhists making the village temple as the centre of spiritual development in order to realize the sustainable goals of development.
ii. During the festival, different programs will be held centering the Vihara and the Buddha Sasana Ministry will allocate 50 million rupees for the developmental activities of 200 Dhamma schools and 85 temples.
About Sri Lanka
♦ Capital: Colombo, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte
♦ Currency: Sri Lankan rupee
♦ President: Maithripala Sirisena
♦ Prime Minister: Ranil Wickremesinghe
May 21 observes as a National Anti-Terrorism Day
University Grants Commission (UGC) has asked all university in the country to observe May 21 as Anti-terrorism Day. The objective is to wean away the youth from terrorism and showing as to how it is prejudicial to the national interest of the country. This day is celebrated as a Anti-terrorism Day because on the same day in 1991, former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed by a woman operative of the separatist Lankan Tamil outfit Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE).
i. UGC asked universities to organize different programmes which include pledge-taking ceremony and other activities suggested by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA).
♦ Headquarter: New Delhi
♦ Chairman: D. P. Singh
May 21 observed as a World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development
World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development is celebrated on May 21 worldwide. The objective is to bridge the gap between cultures which is urgent and necessary for peace, stability and development.
i. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) had adopted the Universal Declaration on Cultural Diversity in 2001 and in 2002, the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in its resolution 57/24 declared May 21 as World day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.
♦ Headquarter: Paris, France
♦ Director General: Audrey Azoulay
♦ Headquarter: New York, US
♦ President: Maria Fernanda Espinosa
World Aids Vaccine Day (WAVD) observed on May 18, 2019
Since 1998, World AIDS Vaccine Day (WAVD) is observed every year on 18th May to spread awareness about the urgent need for a vaccine to prevent Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection and Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS). The day is also known as HIV Vaccine Awareness Day.
i. World AIDS Vaccine Day observance is headed by National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID), Washington DC, USA.
ii. In 1981, AIDS was first reported in the United States and since then becomes a worldwide epidemic.
iii. HIV originated in west-central Africa during the late 19th or early 20th century.
About National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease (NIAID):
♦ Director – Dr. Anthony S. Fauci
MMOPL tied-up with Instamojo for card payments
The Reliance Infrastructure promoted Mumbai Metro One Private Limited (MMOPL) has announced a tie-up with Instamojo, a payment gateway. The purpose of this tie-up is to enable card payments aimed at boosting cashless travel. The total 4.50 lakh commuters can now pay for all kinds of ticketing products by using debit or credit cards.
i. To pay for their tickets, commuters can scan the static QR code or type the Uniform Resource Locator (URL) at any Metro ticket counters and then enter the debit/credit card details and then make the payments.
About Reliance Infrastructure
♦ Headquarter: Navi Mumbai
♦ CEO: Punit garg
Maharashtra proposed single-window registration of land titles
Maharashtra government has proposed to introduce the Maharashtra Land Titling Act which will be used for a single-window mechanism for authenticating land titles. This initiative will be first implemented in Mumbai as linking of various departments and digitising records.
i. Under the Maharashtra Land Titling Act, the state government will first set up the Maharashtra Land Titling Authority which will undertake the implementation.
ii. Under the same act, state government will also set up one or more tribunals for land titling and one or more appellate tribunal and also appoint the title registration officer. The award provided by Appellate Tribunal can be challenged in a special bench of High Court.
♦ Capital: Mumbai
♦ Governor: C. Vidyasagar Rao
♦ Chief Minister: Devendra Fadnavis
♦ National Parks/Wildlife Sanctuaries: Tadoba National Park, Koyna Wildlife Sanctuary, Great Indian Bustard Wildlife Sanctuary etc.
♦ Dance Forms: Lavani, Koli, Tamasha, Dindi, Kala, Povadas etc.
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