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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Overview of the visit of the King and Queen of the Netherlands to India
King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima of the Netherlands paid a 5 day official visit to India at the invitation of Indian President Shri Ram Nath Kovind, from October 13-17 2019 to boost bilateral and political cooperation between the two nations. This was the first visit to India by the king since his ascension to the throne in 2013.
i. 25th edition of two day organised DST (Department of Science & Technology)-CII India Netherlands Technology Summit was held in New Delhi.
ii. Indian govt and institutes of India have announced a partnership with the Netherlands on 8 projects during the CII India Netherlands Technology Summit.
iii. The 2nd phase of the Indo-Dutch project called Local Treatment of Urban Sewage Streams for Healthy Reuse, or LOTUS-HR was launched at India-Netherlands water laboratory Barapullah drain in New Delhi by Dr. Harsh Vardhan and the Netherlands King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima…………………Click here to Read more

1st edition of CII’s Asia Health- 2019 conference held in New Delhi
The 1st edition of Asia Health-2019 conference with the theme Serving the World’s Fastest Growing Region through Healthcare Convergence, organized jointly by the National Health Authority and CII (Confederation of Indian Industry) held in New Delhi from 16 – 19 October 2019 with the aim to bring multiple stakeholders together to discuss the future of Health.
i. Dr. Jitendra Singh,the Minister of State for Development of North Eastern Region (I/C), Prime Minister’s Office, Personnel, Public Grievances & Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space has chaired the Asia Health-2019 conference in New Delhi .
ii. With the theme for 2019-20 as ‘Competitiveness of India Inc – [email protected]: Forging Ahead’, CII will focus on 5 priority areas (employment generation, rural-urban connect, energy security, environmental sustainability and governance) which would make India to stay on a better growth track……………………Click here to read more

Defence forces organises 2nd edition of  DANX- 2019 at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands
A 5-day long 2nd edition of large joint exercise Defence of Andaman & Nicobar Islands 2019 (DANX-19) was successfully conducted under the aegis of the Andaman and Nicobar Command (ANC)  from October 14-18, 2019 at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar islands. The main objective of the exercise was to practice and strengthen the procedures and drills of all command forces.DANX- 2019Key points:
i. The exercise has all the resources and forces of the Army, Navy, and Airforce.
ii. All 3 defence forces carried out mobilisation and field maneuvers to validate defensive plans of ANC.
iii. It was also attended by main ground accretive forces, ships, and aircraft, Special Forces from the newly formed Armed Forces Special Operations Division (AFSOD).
iv. The 1st edition was held in 2017 at Andaman, and Nicobar Islands.
About ANC:
♦ Formation
: 2001
It is the first and only tri-service command of the Indian Armed Forces based at Port Blair, Andaman and Nicobar Islands.
The Andaman and Nicobar Islands:
It is a Union territory of India comprising 572 islands of which 37 are inhabited, are a group of islands at the juncture of the Bay of Bengal and Andaman Sea.

India to host the 91st Interpol General Assembly in 2022
India will host the 91st International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) General Assembly in 2022. The proposal was made by Union Home Minister Amit Shah to the Interpol Secretary General Jürgen Stock during a meeting in New Delhi during Mr Stock’s official visit in August 2019.
Key Points:
i. The last Interpol general assembly hosted by India was in 1997.
ii. The 88th General Assembly of Interpol was held in Santiago, Chile from October 15 – 18, 2019.
iii. Indian delegation: Rishi Kumar Shukla, director of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) represented Interpol in India as the country’s national central bureau. He was accompanied by Delhi police commissioner Amulya Patnaik and Madhya Pradesh police chief V K Singh.
About INTERPOL:
Motto: Connecting police for a safer world
Established: 1923 (As International Criminal Police Commission)
Renamed as INTERPOL: 1956
Headquarters: Lyon, France
Members: 194 countries
India joined the organisation in 1949.

2019 Army commanders’ conference held in New Delhi
The 2019 biannual event of the Army Commanders conference was held in New Delhi from October 14-18 2019. Defence minister Rajnath Singh addressed the army officers. During the conference procurement of slow-moving Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) for the Indian Army(IA) was decided. More than 40 companies showcased military equipment during the event.
Indian Army launched “OASIS”
The Indian Army launched a new program called OASIS (Officers Automated Structures Information System). The purpose of this programme is to digitize the official records of the army officers. The IAs intranet will be hosting the software. Previously the records were preserved manually at the Manpower Planning Directorate(MPD) in New Delhi.

  • The records would be digitized within 5-6 months. To prevent fraudulent activities, OASIS will also bear photographs of dependents of the army officers.
  • Once the army officer retires, the data in the OASIS will automatically be transferred to the Retired Officers Digital Records Archive (RODRA) which holds pension details of officers. The programme also lets the officers to check salary slips and other details instantly.

About IA:
♦ Founded- 1 april 1895.
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi.
♦ Chief of the Army Staff(COAS)- General Bipin Rawat.
♦ Motto- service before self.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

2019 edition of the Global Tuberculosis (TB) Report released by WHO; Maximum TB cases are in India
On October 17, 2019 the World Health Organisation(WHO) has released the 2019 edition of Global Tuberculosis(TB) report. The aim of the report was to provide data on TB (mycobacterium Tuberculosis)  assessments and the progress in prevention and diagnosis of the disease in all regional and country level.

  • 8 countries reported for 2/3rd of global TB. Among them India topped the list in high burden TB reported countries. India reported for 27% of total TB cases around the world. It was followed by China(9%), Indonesia(8%), Pakistan(6%) and Bangladesh(4%). It also had 27% of total drug resistant TB of total 130,000 such cases. China reported 14% of drug resistant cases.
  • The govt plans to end TB completely by 2025 , 5 years ahead of the global TB elimination as part of Sustainable Development Goals(SDG)  by 2030.
  • globally 3 million TB cases were unreported to the national TB programme. TB is also reported to be the leading killer of people living with AIDS(Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome)/HIV(Human Immunodeficiency Virus)……………………Click here to Read more

2nd edition of the Indo-French knowledge summit 2019 held in University of Lyon ,France
In order to promote higher education, research and innovation, a two-day 2nd edition of the Indo-French Knowledge Summit 2019, organised by the Embassy of France in India in association with the Ministry of Science and Technology and the HRD(Human Resource Development) Ministry, held at the University of Lyon ,France from October 17-18, 2019.
Key points:
i.Participation:
The event , involved a series of interactive sessions, witnessed more than 300 participants from the Indian and French academia, research organisations, corporate houses, competitive clusters and start-ups, as well as public authorities.
ii. About 15 agreements have been signed between French & Indian participants during this summit.
iii. Benefits: The event will develop cooperation between the two countries in education and research, research and industry, mobility of students and scholars & deepen scientific and academic cooperation.
iv. The 1st edition of Knowledge Summit was held during the 2018 state visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to India.
About France:
♦ Capital
: Paris
♦ Currencies: Euro, CFP franc

BANKING & FINANCE

No charges on digital payments to large businesses with an annual turnover over Rs 50 crore from Nov 1, 2019
On October 18, 2019, The Ministry of Finance notified that banks will not levy charges or merchant discount rate (MDR) on digital payments to the customers or merchants of the businesses with an annual turnover of more than Rs 50 crore from 1 November 2019. This move is to encourage digital payments and they will have to mandatorily offer electronic mode of payments to their customers from the said date.
Key Points:
i. In this regard, amendments have been made in the Income Tax Act 1961 and in the Payment and Settlement Systems Act 2007.
ii. The circular was issued by the Central Board of Direct Taxes (CBDT).
iii. CBDT has also invited applications from banks and payment system providers who are willing that their payment systems may be used for the purpose.
iv. This proposal was made by the Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in the Budget speech of 2019-20.
About CBDT:
Parent Organization: Ministry of Finance
Chairman: Pramod Chandra Mody

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

US astronauts Christina Koch and Jessica Meir creates history by embarking on the first ever all-female spacewalk
On October 18, 2019, The United States (US) Space agency, National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) astronauts Christina Koch (40) & Jessica Meir (42) have created history by taking a walk outside the International Space Station  (ISS). This is the 1st time that only a team of women astronauts has walked outside the ISS. The spacewalk is known as extra-vehicular activity (EVA).US astronauts Christina koch and Jessica meirKey points:
i.
Both were to replace the ISS malfunctioning power controller ‘battery charge-discharge unit’ during this campaign. The device was defective since October 11, 2019.
ii. It was Christina Koch’s fourth spacewalk. At the same time, Jessica Mir was involved in such a campaign for the first time.
iii. There have been a total of 221 spacewalks so far for repairing the ISS and the equipment involved.
iv. This mission becomes even more important because NASA  is taking steps towards sending the first woman to the moon by 2024.
About NASA:
♦ Formed :July 29, 1958
♦ Headquarters:Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Motto: For the Benefit of All

PV Sindhu ranked 13th in Forbes list of the highest-paid women athletes for 2019;  Serena Williams tops
In the Forbes list of the highest-paid women athletes 2019, Indian badminton player PV (Pusarla Venkata) Sindhu was ranked 13th with a total earning of $5.5 million, comprising total prize money of $500,000 and endorsements worth $5 million. She is India’s most marketable female athlete having endorsements with Bridgestone, JBL, Gatorade, Panasonic, and more.World’s highest paid women athletesi. She was the first Indian to win the season-ending BWF (Badminton World Federation) World Tour finals in 2018.
ii. The earnings from a period extending from June 1, 2018 to June 1, 2019 were taken into consideration.
Top 3 world’s highest paid women athletes:

NameEarning
Serena Williams (Tennis- America)$29.2 million
Naomi Osaka (Tennis- Japan)$24.3 million
Angelique Kerber (Tennis- Germany)$11.8 million
About Forbes:
First published: September 15, 1917
Editor in Chief: Steve Forbes

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

SBI chairman Rajnish Kumar elected as chairman of Indian Banks Association 
On October 18, 2019, the chairman of State Bank of India(SBI) Shri Rajnish Kumar was appointed as the new chairman of the Indian Banks’ Association(IBA) for a period of 2019-20. He succeeds Sunil Mehta, the former Managing Director(MD) & Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of Punjab National Bank (PNB).Rajnish Kumar elected as chairman of Indian Banks AssociationSecretary of IBA:
Rakesh Sharma, MD & CEO of Industrial and Development Bank of India(IDBI) will serve as an honorary secretary of IBA for 2019-20.
About IBA:
♦ Formed- 26 September 1946.
♦ Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.

Upender Singh Rawat concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Nicaragua
On October 18, 2019, The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) of the Government of India notified that Mr Upender Singh Rawat was concurrently accredited as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Nicaragua, with residence in Panama city. He is the Ambassador of India designate to the Republic of Panama. The Indian Foreign Service (IFS) Officer of 1998 batch, will succeed Mr Ravi Thapar.
About Republic of Nicaragua:
Capital: Managua
Currency: Nicaraguan córdoba

Anup Kumar Singh appointed as the new Director-General of National Security Guard (NSG)
On October 18, 2019, The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) under the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) of the Government of India notified that Ahmedabad city Police Commissioner Anup Kumar Singh, aged 59, was appointed as the Director-General (DG) of the National Security Guard (NSG) aka “black cats commando” succeeding Sudeep Lakhtakia. He is the 1985-batch Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Gujarat cadre. The appointment was approved by the Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC).Anup Kumar Singhi. He will serve as DG from the date of joining the post and up to September 30, 2020.
ii. He has vast experience in the police force for 34 years.
About NSG:
Motto: Omnipresent omnipotent security
Formed: 1984
Headquarters: New Delhi

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

NASA’s hubble space telescope observes 1st Confirmed Interstellar Comet-2I / Borisov
On October 12, 2019, An independent space agency of the United States(US), NASA’s(National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Hubble Space Telescope has observed 2nd interstellar comet named 2I/Borisov passing through the solar system. It is also the 1st Confirmed Interstellar Comet.
Key points:
i. This is the 2nd interstellar object observed after Oumuamua in 2017. Oumuamua was a rock while Borisov is an active comet, which will give information related to the chemical composition, structure, and dust characteristics of stars it is a part of.
ii. About Borisov:

  • It is around 260 million miles distance from Earth and will be closest to the sun on December 7, 2019.
  • Moving at a speed of 110,000 miles per hour, Its distance when closest to the sun will be equivalent to twice the distance between the Sun and Earth.
  • It is said to be streak off into interstellar space after mid-2020, moving on for millions of years before striking into another star system.

Comets :
These are icy bodies of dust and gas. They are often called dirty snowballs because when they pass near the sun they become very hot from the sun’s temperature and icy gases and dust start coming out of it.
Interstellar medium:
It is the place where the effect of the sun is not observed. Its starting point is called heliopause.
About NASA:
♦ Formed
: July 29, 1958
♦ Headquarters:Washington, D.C., United States
♦ Motto: For the Benefit of All

ENVIRONMENT

World’s fastest ant known as Saharan silver ant has been discovered
The Saharan silver ant (Cataglyphis bombycina) of the world’s 12,000 known ant species, has been discovered as the world’s fastest ant. A team of German researchers from the University of Ulm and Freiburg(Germany) discovered the ant in Douz area of Tunisia. The desert living ant hits speeds of nearly one meter per second, and covers 2.8 feet per second 108 times its body length per second.
Key points
i. The scientists also discovered that during its fastest navigation, the ant  switches from running to a gallop, with all six feet off the ground at regular intervals. The report has been published in Journal of Experimental Biology.

SPORTS

Indian cyclist Ronaldo Singh won the gold medal in 2020 Asian Track cycling championship held in Jincheon, South Korea
The 2020 Asian Track Cycling Championships was held from 17 to 21 October 2019 at the Jincheon National Training Center Velodrome in Jincheon, South Korea organized by Asia Cycle Federation (ACC). It consisted of 40th Asian Cycle Track Championships and 27th Junior Asian Cycle Track Championships. The event was planned to held in 2020 but it was preponed because of the 2020 Summer Olympics qualification timeline.
Overall India won 5 medals but all of them won in Junior Events.
Key Points:
i. Indian cyclist Ronaldo Singh Laitonjam won a gold medal in men’s junior Keirin event.
ii. James Singh from India also won a bronze medal in the same event.
iii. Among girls, Triyasha Paul won the bronze medal in Women junior 500m Time Trial.
iv. India also won 2 bronze medals in men’s as well as women’s junior sprint team.
v. Ronaldo was also a part of Men Junior Team Sprint. Currently, he is World No 1 in both the Junior Events.

OBITUARY

Ekushey Padak awardee, Bangladeshi painter Kalidas Karmakar passed away in Dhaka at 73
On October 18, 2019, renowned painter Kalidas Karmakar of Bangladesh passed away at his residence in Dhaka at the age of 73 due to cardiac arrest.Bangladeshi painter Kalidas Karmakar Key points
Karmakar was born on January 10, 1946, in Faridpur district of south-central Bangladesh. He received Shilpakala Padak in 2016, and Ekushey Padak in 2018, the second-highest civilian award by the Bangladesh Govt. His paintings had been distributed across the world in countries like India, United States(US), Japan, Hong Kong etc.

Socio-Political Dalit writer & Sahithya Akademi Award winner KB Siddaiah passed away at the age of 65
On October 18, 2019, renowned Socio-Political philosopher, poet and social activist K.B. Siddaiah passed away at the age of 65. A month ago, he met with an accident and was under treatment until his death at Manipal Hospital in Bengaluru, Karnataka. He was the recipient of the Sahithya Akademi Award in the year 2004.
Key points
i. Born on March 2, 1954, in Karnataka Siddaiah taught English at Sri Siddhartha PU college in Tumakuru, Karnataka.  His famous literary works were in Kannada, including Bakaala, Daklakathadevi Kavya, Anatma, and Gallebaani etc.
ii. He also held a strong voice in the Dalit movement. He was in favour of internal reservation for the Scheduled Castes(SC) and fought for the implementation of the A.J. Sadashiva Commission recommendations. He was one of the founder members of Dalitha Sangharsha Samithi (DSS) during the 80s.

STATE NEWS

Mamata Banerjee presented  Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman to 79 community Durga Pujas in West Bengal
On October 17, 2019, The West Bengal (WB) Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee presented the Biswa Bangla Sharad Samman (BBSS) (first started in 2013) at the state secretariat in Kolkata, West Bengal to 79 community Durga Pujas in 11 categories.
Key points
i. BBSS is an event to recognise and appreciate the brilliance and innovation in organising Durga Puja.
ii. The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation(UNESCO) has agreed to recognize Durga Puja as World Cultural Heritage.
About West Bengal:
♦ Capital- Kolkata (also the largest city)
♦ Governor- Jagdeep Dhankhar.