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Current Affairs October 10 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview of the Health System Strengthening Conditionality Report of States 2018-19
On October 9, 2019, Health System Strengthening Conditionality Report of States 2018-19 was released by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MOHFW). 14 states and union territories (UTs) were penalised under National Health Mission (NHM) for their worst performances on various health parameters in 2018-19.
i. Top 5 states/UTs: Dadra and Nagar Haveli, Haryana, Assam, Kerala and Punjab were the top five states/UTs which performed well.
ii. Result based funding: Union Ministry of Health and Family Welfare runs this initiative and the penalised states will lose funds from the central government due to their poor performance………………………………..Click here to Read more

Harsh Vardhan launches ‘Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan’ (SUMAN) initiative at 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family in New Delhi
On October 10, 2019, Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare (MoHFW) Dr.Harsh Vardhan inaugurated the 13th Conference of Central Council of Health and Family Welfare (CCHWF) for 2019 in New Delhi.
i. Objective: To build a consensus on National wealth priorities.
ii. SUMAN: A new initiative – ‘Surakshit Matritva Aashwasan (SUMAN)’ for Zero Preventable Maternal and Newborn Deaths, its website and the grievance redressal portal was launched on the occasion.
iii. The goal of healthcare spending of the National Health Policy (NHP) 2017 is to reach 2.5% of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) by 2025……………………Click here to Read more

PM Modi releases postage stamp in honor of Marshal of IAF, Arjan Singh
On October 9, 2019, Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi has released a commemorative stamp of Marshal of the Indian Air Force (IAF) late Arjan Singh in honor of his exemplary service to our nation. The stamp was issued at an event of the ‘at home’ program of the IAF to mark its 87th raising day in New Delhi.PM Modi releases postage stamp in honor of Marshal of IAFKey points:
i. Modi also witnessed the IAF exhibition on ‘Self Reliance Through Innovation and Indigenisation’ at Air Force Chief RKS Bhadauria’s residence in New Delhi.
ii. Arjan Singh DFC (Distinguished Flying Cross) was the senior-most Indian Air Force officer who served at various key positions, namely, Chief of the Air Staff from 1964 to 1969 & India’s Ambassador to several countries.
iii. He became the first and only officer of the Indian Air Force in 2002 to be promoted to five-star rank as Marshal of the Indian Air Force, equal to the army rank of Field Marshal. He was awarded the Padma Vibhushan for his excellent leadership to a young IAF during the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.
About IAF:
♦ Founded
: 8 October 1932
♦ Headquarters :New Delhi
♦ Motto: Touch the sky with glory

Health minister Harsh Vardhan launched WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023 in New Delhi
On October 9, 2019 the Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare(MOHFW) DrHarsh Vardhan launched ‘The WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023: A Time of Transition’ in New Delhi. This Country Cooperation Strategy(CCS) paves the way for World Health Organisation(WHO) to work with the Indian govt. in achieving the goals of health sector.WHO India Country Cooperation Strategy 2019–2023Key points
i. Strategic cooperation areas: 4 areas for strategic cooperation were identified. They are accelerating Universal Health Care(UHC), promoting health and wellness, protecting the population against health emergencies and enhancing the nation’s leadership in health.
ii. India CCS: It lies in line with the adopted WHO 13th general programme of work and its ‘triple billion’ targets, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and WHO South-East Asia Region’s (SEAR) eight Flagship Priorities.It works on the United Nations(UN) Sustainable Development Framework for 2018–2022.
iii. Members present: Health secretary Preeti Sudan, DrHenkBekedam, WHO Representative to India, Ms. Payden,Deputy WHO Representative to India, Mr. Alok Kumar- Director of NITI Aayog and other officials were present during the event.
About WHO:
♦ Founded- 7 April 1948.
♦ Headquarters- Geneva, Switzerland.
♦ Director General-TedrosAdhanom.

Human Resource Minister launches Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme – DHRUV in Bengaluru, Karnataka
On October 10, 2019, Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’ has launched 14-day long ambitious Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Program- ‘DHRUV’ from Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) headquarters at Bengaluru, Karnataka in presence of Dr K Sivan, Chairman, ISRO, Wing Cdr. Rakesh Sharma, AC (Retd.) among others.Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Programme – DHRUVKey points:
i. The prime objective of the program (named after a pole star called DHRUV TARA) was to allow talented students to realize their full potential and contribute to society. 60 outstandingly talented students (from Class 9 – Class 12), 30 each from Science and Performing Arts discipline, have been selected in the first batch.
ii. The program begins with a tour at ISRO & will conclude on October 24, 2019 at IIT( Indian Institutes of Technology) Delhi, where the selected students will be mentored by an advisory committee headed by the Principal Scientific Advisor (PSA) in consultation with the Department of Science and Technology, Atal Innovation Mission, NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog and NCERT(National Council of Educational Research and Training).
iii. Earlier, HRD ministry has launched the world’s biggest project for teacher training named NISHTHA (National Initiative on School Teachers Head Holistic Advancement) on August 22, 2019 & On August 28, 2019, the ministry launched “Shagun” which is one of the world’s largest Integrated Online Junction for school education to improve the school education system.
About ISRO:
♦ Formation
: 15 August 1969
♦ Headquarters :Bengaluru, Karnataka
About MHRD:
♦ Founded
: 26 September 1985.
♦ Headquarters : New Delhi.
♦ Constituency of Ramesh Pokhriyal:  Haridwar, Uttarakhand.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

Overview of defence minister Mr Rajnath Singh’s visit to France 
Defence minister of India Mr Rajnath Singh visited Paris, France from October 7-9, 2019. He was received by a military guard of honour at Hotel de Brienne, the headquarters of the French Armed Forces ministry in Paris. During the visit, he received the first of the 36 Rafale aircrafts.
i. The first squadron of the aircraft will be deployed at Ambala air force station, Haryana and the second at Hasimara base in West Bengal.
ii. Mr Rajnath Singh held a second India-France Ministerial level Annual Defence Dialogue 2019 with his French counterpart Florence Parly in Paris.
iii. He extended an invitation to the French firms to participate in DefExpo 2020, which will be held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from February 5-8, 2020 under the theme ‘India: The Emerging Defence Manufacturing Hub’………………………..Click here to Read more

Overview of Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel Shri Dharmendra Pradhan 3-day visit to Mongolia
Shri Dharmendra Pradhan who is the Minister of Petroleum & Natural Gas and Steel, accompanied by an official and business delegation, paid a 3-day official visit to Mongolia on 7-9 October 2019. This is a follow up of the recent visit by Mongolian president Khaltmaagiin Battulga to India.
i. On October 8, 2019 Shri Dharmendra Pradhan participated in the ceremony for commissioning the infrastructure facilities constructed to support the proposed 1.5 MMT(million metric tonnes) oil refinery project in Mongolia. It is the largest project undertaken by India under Lines of Credit (LoC) programme.

  • LoC of USD 236 million: During the ceremony, Shri Pradhan announced India’s additional US $ 236 million Line of Credit(LoC) to Mongolia from its previous committed value of US$ 1 billion. This project once completed, will boost Mongolia’s economic development and will meet 3/4th of oil requirement of Mongolia……………………………Click here to Read more

India ranked 82nd in 2019 Henley Passport Index ranking, Japan and Singapore top the list
On October 9, the latest 2019 Henley Passport Index ranking was released. In the report, India is currently ranked at 82nd place in 2019, which is one place down from its previous rank of 81 in 2018. Japan and Singapore both hold the most powerful passport by ranking 1st in the list. The study was conducted by Henley & Partners.Henley_and_passport_indexKey points
i. Index: The index measures the strength of all the passports around the world, based on mobility scores which denotes the number of destinations that could be accessed by the passport-holders of a specific country, without a pre-departure visa. Japanese and Singaporean passport holders can visit a total of 190 countries without a prior visa, thus its mobility score is 190. India’s mobility score is 59. Afghanistan ranks last at 107th position in the list.
ii. Ranking: The ranking is done based on the data of the International Air Transport Association (IATA) that contains most accurate travel information data.
Ranks: 

Rank  Country 
1 Japan and Singapore
2 South Korea, Germany and Finland
3 Denmark, Italy and Luxembourg
4 France, Spain and Sweden
5 Austria, Netherlands and Portugal
82 India


About Henley Passport Index:
It was started in 2005 as the Henley & Partners Visa Restrictions Index (HVRI).
It was then modified and renamed in January 2018.
About IATA:
Formation- 19 April 1945.
Headquarters- Canada.

WHO launches its first world report on vision
On October 8, 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched its first report on vision. According to the report, nearly 2.2 billion people live with vision impairment or blindness globally, in which over one billion cases could have been prevented or have yet to be addressed. It aims to address these challenges and galvanize action.WHO launches its first world report on vision Key points
i. Other reports on vision: the vision impairment was mainly due to aging populations, changing lifestyles with limited access to eye care, particularly in low- and middle-income countries. Globally, 65 million people are blind or have impaired sight when their vision could have been corrected by just a cataract operation, and over 800 million people lack access to a pair of glasses.
ii. NPCB: The National Programme for Control of Blindness (NPCB) of India in 2016-17, has provided cataract surgery to a total of 6.5 million people in India, achieving a cataract surgical rate of over 6,000 per million population and also 1.5 million management / treatment procedures were performed for other eye conditions.

Singapore set to become the first country to ban ads for unhealthy sugary drinks
On October 10, 2019, The health ministry of Singapore notified that it will ban ads for unhealthy sugary drinks to combat rising diabetes rates. Thus, it will become the first nation in the world to do so.
Key Points:
i. It has requested the SSB (sugar-sweetened beverages) manufacturers to reformulate the drinks with less sugar content.
ii. As per the data from the International Diabetes Federation (IDF), 13.7% of adults suffer from diabetes in Singapore.
iii. IDF has estimated that the number of people suffering from diabetes in the world is expected to rise to 629 million by 2045 from 420 million people at present.

BANKING & FINANCE

Reserve Bank gives final approval for the formation of the proposed Kerala Bank
On October 10, 2019, The country’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has given its final approval of Kerala government’s long-pending proposal of setting up its own ‘Kerala Bank’, by amalgamating 13 district co-operative banks (DCBs) with Kerala State Co-operative Bank.
Key points:
i. With this merger, the ‘Kerala Bank’ will become the largest banking network in the state.
ii. The RBI given its nod subject to some conditions that setting up of the new bank would also be in accordance with the final verdict of some cases pending before a court.
About Kerala:
♦ Capital
:Thiruvananthapuram
♦ Governor: Arif Mohammad Khan
♦ Chief Minister :Pinarayi Vijayan
♦ National Parks: Anamudi Shola National Park ,Eravikulam National Park ,Mathikettan Shola National Park,Periyar National Park ,Silent Valley National Park.

RBI rejects merger of Lakshmi Vilas Bank and Indiabulls housing finance
On October 9, 2019, The country’s central bank, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has denied the proposed merger of Indiabulls Housing Finance and Lakshmi Vilas Bank (LVB), the flagship private sector bank. The merger was announced by Indiabulls in April, 2019 and sought approval from RBI on May 7,2019.
Key points:
i. The rejection comes after LVB was put into a prompt corrective action (PCA) framework in September 2019 by the RBI due to high NPAs (Non Performing Assets), not enough cash for risk management and negative returns on assets for two consecutive years.
ii. The Economic Offenses Wing of the Delhi Police is investigating allegations of fraud and criminal breach of trust against the directors on the board of the bank. An FIR (first information report) has been lodged against the directors on a complaint from Religare Finvest Limited (RFL), which stated that the bank has rigged its FD (fixed deposit) of Rs 790 crore.
iii. The bank’s stock closed at Rs 27, down 4.93% on the BSE (Bombay Stock Exchange) on October 9, 2019.
About PCA:
The objective of putting it in the PCA is to improve the performance of the bank and to keep it free from any adverse effect on daily functioning. The process under which such actions are taken is known as PCA.
About  LVB:
♦ Founded
:1926
♦ Headquarters: Chennai, Tamil Nadu
♦ Non – Executive Chairman: Shri. B K Manjunath
♦ Tagline: The Changing Face of Prosperity

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

Moody’s cuts India’s growth forecast to 5.8% from 6.2% for FY20 
On October 10,2019 the International rating agency Moody’s has reduced India’s gross Domestic Product(GDP) growth forecast to 5.8% for FY20 (Fiscal Year20) from its previous estimate of 6.2%. This downgrade in GDP was due to deceleration to an investment-led slowdown which has broadened into consumption, driven by financial stress among rural households and weak job creation.
Key points
i. It also estimated the GDP to pick up to 6.6% in FY21 and then to 7% later.
ii. Recently, the Reserve Bank of India has also reduced the growth forecast to 6.1% from its earlier prediction of 6.8% for FY20.
About Moody’s:
♦ Founded- 1909.
♦ Headquarters- New York City, United States(US).
♦ Founder- John Moody.
♦ Chief Executive Officer(CEO)- Raymond W. McDaniel Jr.

EESL, NIIF joined hands to install smart electricity meters in all households in India
Energy Efficiency Services Limited (EESL), a joint venture of PSUs (Public Sector Undertakings) under the Union Ministry of Power and National Investment and Infrastructure Fund (NIIF) have joined hands to formulate an electricity distribution plan to install smart electricity meters in all households. The two companies have formed a joint venture called IntelliSmart Infrastructure Pvt Ltd (IntelliSmart) which will execute, finance and operate the smart meter program.
Key points:
i. This joint venture has been formed at a time when the government is planning to install 25 crore smart electricity meters in the country in the coming few years.
ii. After the installation of these meters, the revenue of electricity distribution companies (discoms) will increase by Rs.1,10,400 crore.
iii. IntelliSmart will support the efforts of the Indian power sector as it will help in achieving the  goal of providing electricity to every citizen of the country 24*7.
iv. EESL has received contracts for IntelliSmart to install and maintain more than 1 crore smart meters across various state discoms. Till now, It has installed 6.25 lakh smart meters in India.
About NIIF:
♦ Founded
:February 2015
♦ Headquarters: Mumbai, Maharashtra
♦ Managing Director & CEO: Sujoy Bose
About EESL:
♦ Formation
: 2009
♦ Managing Director: Saurabh Kumar

GST Council forms a panel of officers to suggest measures to increase GST revenue 
The GST Council has formed a 12 member high-level committee of officers with 5 members from Centre and 5 commissioners, SGST (State Goods and Service Tax) from the states of Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and Punjab along with Joint Secretary of GST Council and Executive Vice President of GST Network (GSTN) to suggest measures to increase the revenue from Goods and Service Tax (GST) and to administer it.
Key Points:
i. ToR: The Terms of Reference (ToR) of panel includes making suggestions about systemic changes in GST; to give inputs on measures for the expansion of the tax base; Policy measures and relevant changes needed in the law; improved compliance monitoring and anti-evasion measures for better administrative coordination.
ii. It will submit its first report within 15 days to the GST Council Secretariat.

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Olga Tokarczuk and Peter Handke win the Nobel Prize for Literature for 2018 and 2019 respectively
The Swedish Academy’s Nobel Committee has decided to award 2018 Nobel Prize for Literature to Polish author Olga Tokarczuk “for a narrative imagination that with encyclopedic passion represents the crossing of boundaries as a form of life” and 2019 Nobel Prize in Literature to Austrian author Peter Handke “for an influential work that with linguistic ingenuity has explored the periphery and the specificity of human experience.”Nobel Prize for Literature for 2018 and 2019Key Points:
i. Each laureate receives over €825,000 in prize money.
ii. It is for the first time in 118-year history that 2 literature prizes are given in the same year.
iii. Ms. Tokarczuk became the 15th woman to win the Nobel Prize for literature in more than a century.
iv. The 2018 Nobel literature prize was cancelled after an exodus at the exclusive Swedish Academy following sex abuse allegations.
v. The Swedish Academy’s Nobel Committee is a new body consisting of 4 academy members and 5 external specialists to select the awardee.
About Nobel Prize:
It is a set of annual international awards bestowed for outstanding work in the fields of physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature, economics, and the promotion of peace.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Mastercard India appoints Vikas Varma as COO
Mastercard India, payment technology major, elevated Mr. Vikas Varma as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of the firm. He will take up the responsibility related to new partnerships and development of digital payment solutions and has been serving the firm since 2005.Mastercard India appoints Vikas Varma as COOi. Recently, Mastercard had announced an investment of USD 1 billion (around Rs 7,100 crore) in India over the next 5 years.
About Mastercard:
Founded: 1966
Headquarters:  New York, US

K Satish Reddy got appointed as Indian pharmaceutical alliance (IPA) president
On October 10, 2019, Indian Pharmaceutical Alliance (IPA) has appointed Chairman of Dr. Reddy’s Laboratories Limited, Kallam Satish Reddy as its President of the for 2019-2021. He succeeds Glenn Saldanha. Rajesh Jain, Managing Director of Panacea Biotec Limited will continue as Vice-President of IPA.
Key points:
i. Satish Reddy, the past president of IPA (2013-2015), played a major role in shaping policies concerning the pharmaceutical sector and the economy.
ii. Rajesh Jain is an active member of major industry associations ,Central Drug Research Institute (CDRI), Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh and government panels. He is Chairman of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), National Committee on Biotechnology for 2019.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Government launches GEMINI, a disaster warning device for fisherman
On October 10, 2019, Union Science and Technology Minister Dr Harsh Vardhan launched a disaster warning device and satellite based Gagan Enabled Mariner’s Instrument for Navigation and Information (GEMINI) system. It will help provide information related to disaster warnings when fishermen move away from the coast beyond 10 to 12 kilometres, Potential Fishing Zones (PFZ) and Ocean States Forecasts (OSF) to fishermen.
Key Points:
i. GEMINI is developed by Indian National Centre for Ocean Information Services (INCOIS), along with Accord, a private company in Bangalore.
ii. It utilizes the GAGAN (GPS- Global Positioning System Aided Geo Augmented Navigation) satellite system to transmit information to fishermen which is developed by Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and the Airports Authority of India (AAI).
iii. It relies on the positioning system by ISRO’s GSAT (Geosynchronous Satellite) (GSAT – 8 and GSAT – 10)……………….Click here to Read more

Indian scientists discovered plastic-eating bacteria namely ‘Exiguobacterium sibiricum strain DR11’ & ‘Exiguobacterium undae strain DR14’ in Greater Noida wetlands, UP
A team of researchers at Shiv Nadar University in Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP) have discovered two ‘plastic-eating’ bacterial strains namely Exiguobacterium sibiricum strain DR11 and Exiguobacterium undae strain DR14 from the wetlands of Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
Key points:
i. The strains have the great potential to decompose polystyrene (a synthetic aromatic hydrocarbon polymer), which is a  key component in Single-Use Plastic (SUP) items such as disposable cups, cutlery, toys, packaging materials etc
ii. Due to its high molecular weight and long chain polymer structure, Polystyrene is quite resistant to degradation.
iii. The findings will greatly benefit to mitigate the environmental pollution caused by plastics & to eliminate SUP by 2022, a goal set by the central Government.
iv. The study has been published in the journal Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) Advances.

First Satellite Servicing Spacecraft MEV-1 launched; developed by Northrop Grumman and NASA
On October 10, 2019, the first satellite-servicing spacecraft named “MEV-1” (Mission Extension Vehicle-1) was launched on the Russian Proton rocket that took off from Russia’s Baikonur Cosmodrome(launching site for spacecraft) in Kazakhstan. It was developed by Northrop Grumman, US (United States) for its wholly-owned subsidiary Space Logistics LLC, in partnership with NASA (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) through a no-funds exchanged NASA partnership called Collaborations for Commercial Space Capabilities.
MEV-1 Launched on Russian RocketKey points
i. The MEV functions in tracking down and connecting to any satellite in space that’s running low on fuel and replenish its supply. So, it’s aim to extend the life of commercial satellites that are currently in a geostationary orbit around Earth.

OBITUARY

Oldest French Open champion in the Open era, spanish player Andres Gimeno passes away at the age of 82
Andres Gimeno Tolaguera, the Spanish tennis player who became the oldest man to win the French Open in the professional era, has passed away at the age of 82 after a long illness. Born on 3 August 1937 Barcelona, Spain, Gimeno’s was 34 years and 9 months old when he achieved Roland Garros ( French Open) in 1972 and became the oldest first-time men’s Grand Slam champion/Male French Open champion in the Open era.Spanish tennis player Andres Gimeno passes awayi. In addition to this, Gimeno reached the Australian Open final in 1969. In 1970, he also reached the semifinals of Wimbledon.
Andres won 44 career titles and was a member of the International Tennis Hall of Fame since 2009. He appeared for Spain at the Davis Cup from 1958 – 1960 and 1972 – 1973.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Sight Day observed on 10th October, 2019
The World Sight Day(WSD) is observed annually on every second Thursday of October. This year, the world sight day was observed on October 10, 2019. Originally initiated by the SightFirstCampaign of Lions Club International Foundation in the year 2000, this day aims to raise awareness on blindness and vision impairment. The theme for the year 2019 is “Vision First”.World Sight DayKey points
i. The WSD is coordinated by the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness(IAPB) and it promotes VISION 2020: The Right to Sight, which is a joint initiative with the World Health Organization (WHO). The vision 2020 aims to eliminate avoidable blindness. 2019 is the last year of the WHO Global Action Plan.

World Mental Health Day observed on October 10, 2019
The World Mental Health Day (WMHD) is observed annually on the 10th of October in order to raise awareness on mental health issues and the efforts needed to support mental health. It is organized by the World Federation for Mental Health with the World Health Organisation’s support, the International Association for Suicide Prevention(IASP) and United for Global Mental Health (United-GMH). The theme for 2019 is “suicide prevention”.World Mental Health DayKey points
i.  According to the World Health Organization (WHO) report, every 40 seconds a person loses life to suicide. Also,  WHO has launched an awareness campaign called “40 seconds of action” to improve mental health, knowledge on suicide prevention and reduce stigma associated with suicide.
ii. In India, The Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disability(DEPwD), under the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment observed the WMHD.
iii. WMHD was first celebrated in 1992 by the initiative of the World Federation for Mental Health(WFMH), which is a global mental health organization.

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