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INDIAN AFFAIRS

Rajasthan becomes first Indian state to launch policy on Pneumoconiosis
On October 3, 2019, Chief Minister of Rajasthan Mr Ashok Gehlot launched ‘Policy on Pneumoconiosis Detection, Prevention, Control and Rehabilitation’. With this, Rajasthan became the first state in India to launch such a policy and in January 2015, it had became the first Indian state to notify Pneumoconiosis as an epidemic. Pneumoconiosis is a disease of the lungs due to inhalation of dust, characterized by inflammation, coughing, and fibrosis.

  • People having pneumoconiosis will be declared permanently disabled, and all benefits under the Persons with Disability Act, 1995, will be accrued to them and their families.
  • A standing committee under the chairmanship of Rajasthan’s chief secretary D B Gupta has been formed to monitor and periodically review progress of implementation of the policy…………………Click here to Read more

NHSRC re-designated as the WHO Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy
The National Health Systems Resource Centre (NHSRC) was redesignated as the World Health Organization (WHO) Collaborating Centre for Priority Medical Devices and Health Technology Policy. It was announced by the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) of Government of India in collaboration with the WHO.
Key Points:
i. The mandate of the Division of Healthcare Technology at NHSRC is to assist in policy and strategy development in the provision and mobilization of technical assistance to improve health outcomes.
ii. In 2019, NHSRC and WHO’s country office jointly developed a guidance document for the MoHFW’s free diagnostics initiative to strengthen the agenda of Universal access to affordable diagnostics.
About NHSRC:
♦ It has been set up under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) of Government of India to serve as an apex body for technical assistance.
Established: 2007
Chairperson: Ms. Preeti Sudan

Railways renamed the Lohian Khas-New Delhi Intercity Express as ‘Sarbat da Bhala Express’
On October 4, 2019, Railway Minister Mr Piyush Goyal flagged off the newly renamed ‘Sarbat Da Bhala Express’ at New Delhi Railway station along with the Minister for Health and Family Welfare, Science and Technology and Earth Sciences, Dr. Harsh Vardhan and Minister for Food Processing Industries, Smt. Harsimrat Kaur Badal . It was previously called Lohian Khas-New Delhi Intercity Express or New Delhi-Ludhiana Intercity Express and was renamed as a tribute to Guru Nanak Dev on the occasion of the 550th birth anniversary celebrations (November 12, 2019).New Delhi- Lohian Khas New Delhi Intercity Express as ‘Sarbat da Bhala Express’Key Points:
i. It runs from Delhi to Lohian Khas in Jalandhar, Punjab via holy city Sultanpur Lodhi.
ii. The request to rename the train was made by Union Food Processing Industries minister Harsimrat Kaur Badal.
iii. Rs 22 crore was sanctioned by the railway ministry to upgrade Sultanpur Lodhi railway station and to launch 14 new trains.
About the train:
The train will run on Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday (five days a week). The composition of the train is Air Conditioner (AC) Chair Car coaches- 2, Second class sitting coaches- 6, General Coaches- 7.

Andhra Pradesh Government launches India’s first Village secretariat system
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy of Yuvajana Sramika Rythu Congress Party (YSRCP) launched the first of its kind Village Secretariat system at Karapa village near Kakinada, Andhra Pradesh. It has set up village and ward secretariats which act as a bridge between the government and the people by rendering over 500 types of services at their doorstep.Village Secretariat system launched in Andhra Pradeshi. Grievance lodged or petition from the people would be addressed within 72 hours.
Other schemes
i. ‘YSR Rythu Bharosa scheme’ will also be implemented from October 15, 2019 under which Rs 15,000 per annum will be given to families of farmers in the state.
ii. Under ‘YSR Vahan Mitra’ scheme, auto-rickshaw and cab owners will be provided Rs 10,000 per annum as financial assistance.
About Andhra Pradesh:
National Parks: Sri Venkateswara National Park, Rajiv Gandhi National Park, Papikonda National Park
Wildlife Sanctuaries: Coringa WLS, Gundla Brahmeswaram WLS, Kambalakonda WLS, Kolleru WLS, Nagarjuna Sagar-Srisailam WLS, Rollapadu WLS etc

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

PM Modi and Mauritius PM Pravind Jugnauth Jointly inaugurated Metro Express and ENT hospital in Mauritius
On October 3, 2019 the Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Mauritius PravindJugnauth, jointly inaugurated the phase 1 of Metro Express and new ENT(ears, nose and throat) Hospital in Mauritius through a video link. This ENT hospital is also the first paperless E-Hospital in Mauritius.PM Modi and Mauritius PM PravindJugnauth Jointly inaugurated Metro ExpressKey points
i. The event was first such occasion bringing both national leaders together through a video link across the Indian Ocean. The Light Rail Transit metro express project will help transform efficient, faster and cleaner mode of transport while the ENT hospital will expand quality healthcare in the nation.
ii. PM Modi also conveyed Government of India’s decision in supporting Mauritius by constructing a Renal unit as well as Medi-Clinics and Area Health Centres through its grant assistance.
About Mauritius:
♦ Capital- Port Louis (also the largest city).
♦ Currency- Mauritian rupee.
♦ President- BarlenVyapoory

BANKING & FINANCE

Overview of the 4th Bi- monthly Monetary Policy rates for 2019-20
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) announced its 4th Bi-Monthly Monetary Policy Rates for 2019-20. The three-day policy review meeting held on October 1, 3, 4 of 2019 consisting of 6 members of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) was headed by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
i. Repo Rate was reduced by 25 basis points to 5.15% from 5.40% with immediate effect.
ii. The household income limit for borrowers of Non-Banking Financial Company-Micro Finance Institution (NBFC-MFIs) has been increased from the current level of Rs 1.00 lakh for rural areas and Rs 1.60 lakh for urban/semi urban areas to Rs 1.25 lakh and Rs 2.00 lakh, respectively.
iii. Recommendations of the Task Force on Offshore Rupee Markets headed by Smt. Usha Thorat were accepted………………………..Click here to Read more
Current rates:

Policy Rates under Liquidity Adjustment Facility (LAF)
Repo Rate5.15%
Reverse Repo Rate4.90%
Marginal standing facility (MSF) Rate5.40%
Bank Rate5.40%
Reserve Ratios
Cash reserve Ratio (CRR)4%
Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) (18.50% from October 12, 2019

It will again change on January 4, 2020)

18.75%

Government reduces interest on house building advance to 7.9% from 8.5%
To overcome the sluggishness of the real estate sector & boost housing demand, the government has reduced the interest rate on House Building Advance (HBA) from 8.5% to 7.9% for one year.
As per the Union Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry, the new interest rate was effective from October 1, 2019 & will apply to all loan amounts.Government reduces interest on house building advance to 7.9% Key points:
i. All permanent employees are eligible for House Building Advance. Also, temporary employees serving five years of continuous service can also avail this facility.
ii. In September 2019, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman has announced in this regard that the interest rate on the house building advance would be reduced and would be linked to the returns of 10-year government securities (G-Sec).
iii. About HBA: It is provided to the Central and State Government employees. Under this, employees can get an advance payment for building a house on their land. Under it, advance payment is also available for the purchase of a new house or flat, which can be used in repayment of housing loan.
About Housing and Urban Affairs Ministry:
♦ Formed: 1952
♦ Headquarters :New Delhi

UCO Bank launches UCash, Digilocker and an app in Kolkata, West Bengal
A major government-owned commercial bank of India, UCO Bank’s (United Commercial Bank) managing director (MD) and CEO, A K Goel has launched three new digital products called , UCash, Digilocker and an app in Kolkata,West Bengal.A new current account facility has also been launched by the bank.
Key points:
i. UCash : It allows the UCO bank Customers to withdraw money from ATMs (Automated Teller Machine) through mobile banking services without using debit card.
ii. Digilocker : It is designed to enable sharing of verified electronic documents without the use of physical documents.
iii. Mobile app: It comes with the integration of four existing apps of the bank – UCO Mbanking, UCO UPI, UCO Mpassbook and UCO Secure in a single platform.
iv. Tax Deducted at Source (TDS) certificate can be downloaded through online.
About UCO bank:
♦ Founded
: 6 January 1943
♦ Headquarters :Kolkata, West Bengal
♦ Tagline: Honors Your Trust

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

President of India presented “VayoshreshthaSamman – 2019” to Senior Citizens & Institutions in New Delhi 
On October 3, 2019 the president of India Shri Ram NathKovind presented “VayoshreshthaSamman – 2019” in New Delhi, as an honour to senior citizens and institutions for their services towards the cause of the elderly persons to mark the October 1 annual commemoration of ‘International Day of older Persons’, at a function organised by the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment presided by Union Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment Shri ThaawarchandGehlot.
Key points
i. VayoshreshthaSamman: Instituted by the Ministry of Social Justice & Empowerment, this scheme of awards gradually upgraded to National Awards status, for institutions. The Awards are given to institutions /organisations / individuals from any part of the country with nominees invited from from governmental as well as non-Governmental Agencies like National Association of Software and Services Companies (NASSCOM) etc…………………………Click here to Read more

Shanti Raghavan & Dipesh Sutariya felicitated with 10th India Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2019
Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (IC) of Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs and Minister of State of Commerce and Industry of India presented the 10th Edition of India Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award 2019 to Shanti Raghavan & Dipesh Sutariya of EnAble India alongside the 33rd India Economic Summit for 2019 in New Delhi for building an ecosystem of skilling, employment and entrepreneurship for persons with disabilities (PwDs).India Social Entrepreneur of the Year Award for 2019About the award:
The award, jointly established by Jubilant Bhartia Foundation and Schwab Foundation for Social Entrepreneurship in 2010, recognizes promising social entrepreneurs who implement sustainable solutions.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Tourism Ministry launches “Audio Odigos” app for 12 sites of India during “Paryatan Parv 2019” in New Delhi
On October 3, 2019, the second day of nationwide 3rd edition of  “ParyatanParv 2019”, the tourism ministry secretary Shri YogendraTripathi launched an audio guide facility app “Audio Odigos” for 12 sites of India inclusive of iconic sites in New Delhi for benefiting tourists. A Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) for Delhi’s GolGumbad(15th century domed tomb from the Lodi dynasty period) with Government of Delhi and Resbird Technologies were signed in developing the tourism amenities in presence of Director General(DG) of Archaeological Survey of India(ASI) Smt. Usha Sharma.
Key points
i. 12 sites: The 12 sites for which the AudioOdigos can be used are Amer Fort in Rajasthan, ChandniChowk, Red Fort, PuranaQuila, Humayun’s tomb in Delhi, FatehpurSikri, Taj Mahal in Uttar Pradesh, Somnath and Dholavira, Gujarat, Khajuraho in Madhya pradesh, Mahabalipuram in Tamilnaduand Mahabodhi Temple in Bihar……………………………..Click here to Read more

Union Ministers RK Singh and Shri Pralhad Joshi jointly launched PRAKASH portal in New Delhi for coal supply transparency
On October 3, 2019 Shri RK Singh, the Minister of State(MoS) for Power and New & Renewable Energy (IC) and Skill Development & Entrepreneurship and Shri Pralhad Joshi, the Union Minister for Coal, Mines and Parliamentary Affairs, jointly launched portal named “PRAKASH” (Power Rail Koyla Availability through Supply Harmony) in New Delhi. This portal was launched in bringing transparency as well as better coordination in coal supplies to power plants. The link for the portal is https://mapp.ntpc.co.in/prakash .
Key points
i. PRAKASH portal: The portal is developed byNTPC ltd (formerly National Thermal Power Corporation Ltd) and data sources from Central Electricity Authority (CEA), Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS) and coal companies. The portal also provides a graphical representation of reports.
ii. Portal reports: The portal provides reports on daily power plant status, periodic power plant status, plant exception report and coal dispatch report…………………..Click here to Read more

Indian Army inducts Israeli Spike anti-tank guided missiles
On October 4, 2019, the Indian Army inducted a limited number of small Spike anti-tank guided missiles (ATGM) of Israel in order to meet the operational requirements till the Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) develops indigenous man portable ATGM (MP-ATGM). As part of the Army’s vice chief’s emergency procurement powers, the first lot of 210 spike missiles, along with one dozen launchers arrived in India.
Key points
i. This MP-ATGM is of third-generation category and will have features like a missile range of 250kms, with advanced avionics and night vision capabilities. The procurement from Israel is done as currently there is nearly a 50% shortage of authorized holding of different types of ATGMs.
ii. The Army bought the initial amount of the fire-and-forget Spike ATGMs, which have a strike range of up to 4-km, for around Rs 280 crore.
iii. Currently, the Indian Army has second-generation Milan-2T (2-km range) and Konkurs (4-km) ATGMs, produced by Bharat Dynamics Ltd (BDL) under licence from French and Russian companies. These ATGMs do not have night vision capabilities.
About Indian Army:
♦ Founded- 1 April 1895.
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi
♦ Motto- “Service Before Self”.
♦ Commander-in-Chief- President Ram NathKovind.

SPORTS

Virat and Bumrah retain top position in latest ICC / ODI rankings 2019
As per the recently released ‘MRF (Madras Rubber Factory)Tyres International Cricket Council (ICC) Men’s ODI (One Day International ) Player Rankings 2019’ as of October 3, 2019, Indian captain Virat Kohli and fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah have retained their top positions. This ranking has been released after the recently played one-day series between Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
i. Rohit Sharma held on to his number two position in the batsmen list…………………...Click here to Read more
ii. Top 3 players of batsmen rankings:

RankPlayer NameCountryRating pointsAverage
1Virat KohliIndia89560.31
2Rohit SharmaIndia86348.52
3Babar AzamPakistan83454.17

Maj AQ Khan won silver medal in 53rd Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship 2019 in Indonesia
On October 2, 2019, Maj Abdul Quadir Khan of the Indian Army Corps of Signals, won a silver medal in the 53rd Asian Bodybuilding and Physique Sports Championship 2019 that held in Batam, Indonesia in his maiden event.Maj AQ Khan won silver medal Key points
i. Khan participated in the Indian Body Building Federation (IBBF) selection trials held at Khammam, Telangana in July 2019 and was selected to represent India.
About Indian Army Corps of Signals:
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi.
♦ Founded- 15 February 1911.
♦ Motto- “TeevraChaukas” (“Swift and Alert”).

India’s first floating basketball court opens in Arabian Sea in Mumbai, Maharashtra
For the first time, a floating basketball court was brought to India in the Arabian Sea near the Bandra Worli Sealink in Mumbai, Maharashtra. It has been brought for the National Basketball Association (NBA) game 2019, which features the Sacramento Kings and Indiana Pacers, who play two pre-season games on October 4 & 5 , 2019 at the Dome, NSCI (National Sports Club of India), Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel (SVP)Indoor Stadium in Mumbai, Maharashtra.India's first floating basketball court opensKey points:
i.
On 20 December 2018, NBA India has announced the first NBA game in the country would be held in Mumbai on October 2019.
ii. It’s the first time teams from a North American sports league have ever played in India.
About NBA:
♦ Founded :June 6, 1946
♦ Headquarters: New York City,US.
♦ It is a men’s professional basketball league in North America, composed of 30 teams (29 in the United States and 1 in Canada).
♦ It is an active member of USA (United States of America) Basketball which is recognized by FIBA (also known as the International Basketball Federation) as the national governing body for basketball in the United States(US).

Italian former professional footballer, Claudio Marchisio announces retirement
Italian former professional footballer & Juventus midfielder, Claudio Marchisio (33) has announced his retirement from football following persistent knee injuries.Claudio Marchisio announces retirementKey points:
i. Nicknamed ‘Il Principino – the little prince”, Marchisio has joined Juventus at the age of just seven & played almost 400 matches.
ii. Marchisio won 55 caps for Italy & was also took part at UEFA(Union of European Football Associations) Euro 2012, winning a runners-up medal, and at the 2013 FIFA (Fédération Internationale de Football Association)Confederations Cup, where he won a third-place medal.
iii. He played his first professional game for Juve in 2006 and, except for one year he spent on loan at Empoli, remained with the club for the next 12 seasons.
iv. In 2016, he suffered a serious knee injury & left the Juventus in August 2018.

OBITUARY

Farook Khan, an Indian-origin journalist in South Africa passed away
On October 3, 2019, Indian-origin journalist in South Africa and cultural activist who received fame for his investigative reporting during apartheid, Farook Khan, aged 77, passed away in Durban, South Africa after battling cancer. His ancestors were from Maharashtra. He had started the Miss India South Africa Pageant as part of the Miss India Worldwide Pageant.

Centenarian philatelist & coin collector Krishna Gopalkrishna Kadekodi passes away in Belagavi, Karnataka
Well-known philatelist and coin collector Krishna Gopalkrishna Kadekodi passed away at his residence in Sadashiv Nagar in Belagavi, Karnataka. He was 102.Krishna Gopalkrishna Kadekodi passes awayi. Kadekodi, who established the Society of Philatelists in Belagavi in 1975, started his career as a revenue inspector.
ii. He has a collection of coins made of gold/silver from the period of Mughals and Peshwas & currency notes dating back from the year 1860 . The United States had released 41 cents stamp in his honor, on his 90th birthday.
iii. He has been awarded gold medal from the central government for collecting stamps released in 64 different countries with the picture of Mahatma Gandhi.The gold mohur coin released by the East India Company in 1765 was his precious possession.

IMPORTANT DAYS

World Space Week is celebrated from October 4-10, 2019 
The World Space Week (WSW), proclaimed on 6 December 1999 by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly is observed annually from October 4-10 under the resolution (A/RES/54/68). The week commemorates the launch of the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I on October 4, 1957, and its entry into force, on 10 October 1967, based on the Treaty on Principles governing the activities of use of outer space including the moon and other celestial bodies in states’ exploration. The theme for the year 2019 is “The Moon: Gateway to the Stars”, celebrating the 50th anniversary of humankind’s first step on the Moon on 20 July 1969.World Space WeekKey points
i. World Space Week is the largest annual space event in the world that helps in inspiring students, educating the public about space activities, and fostering international cooperation in space outreach and education. Every year the theme for the world space week is selected by the WSW Association Board of Directors(A-BoD) in close coordination with the UN Office of Outer Space Affairs.
ii. At least 25 UN entities and the World Bank(WB) Group routinely use space applications in making important and essential contributions to the work of the United Nations, like the implementation of world conferences and those of the Third United Nations Conference on the Exploration and Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UNISPACE III).
iii. The annual inter-agency meeting on outer space activities is held since 2004, regarding space-related developments in the United Nations system.
About UN:
♦ Headquarters- New York City, United State(US).
♦ Secretary‑General-AntónioGuterres.
♦ General Assembly President- Tijjani Muhammad-Bande.

STATE NEWS

President appoints Chief justices to seven high courts
On october 3, 2019 the president of India Shri Ram NathKovind has appointed chief justices (CJ) for 7 High courts(HC). Out of the 7 CJs, 4 of them will fill the vacancies left by justices of Himachal Pradesh, Punjab and Haryana, Rajasthan, and Kerala High Courts who were appointed to the Supreme court recently……………….Click here to Read more

Name High court in which appointed
Lingappa Narayana SwamyHimachal Pradesh High Court
Ravi ShankerJhaPunjab and Haryana High Court
IndrajitMohantyRajasthan High Court
Arup K. GoswamiSikkim High Court
AjaiLambaGauhati High Court
J.K. MaheshwariAndhra Pradesh High Court
S. ManikumarKerala High Court

ECI appoints 2 special expenditure observers for bye-elections of Telangana and Sikkim
On October 4, 2019, Election Commission of India (ECI) appointed an ex-Indian Revenue Service (ex IRS 1983) officer Mr. B. R. Balakrishnan and a serving IRS officer, Mr Suresh Kumar (IRS 1988) as Special Expenditure Observers for the Bye-Elections to the Legislative Assemblies of Telangana and Sikkim, respectively. They were appointed according to the powers conferred under Article 324 of the Constitution and Section 20B of The Representation of the People Act 1951. They will supervise and monitor the election work.

Inter-state ration portability launched between the states of Rajasthan & Haryana
On October 1, 2019, An Inter-state ration portability has been implemented for distribution of ration to the beneficiaries of the National Food Security Scheme of the states of Rajasthan and Haryana. Under this, the beneficiaries of these 2 states can take wheat from any ration shop.
Key points:
i. This system has been successfully trialed before interstate portability was implemented. Through this, wheat was distributed at the ration shop of Subhaseri village in Rewari district of Haryana state to the beneficiaries of Ramchandrapura village of Neemrana block in Rajasthan’s Alwar district. Similarly, wheat was distributed through a point of sale (PoS) machine at a ration shop in these two states.
ii. As per the Ministry of Food and Public Distribution, National Portability will also be implemented in the coming days, under which the beneficiaries of any National Food Security Scheme of the country will get ration any state of the country.
iii. Earlier on August 10, 2019, the inter-State portability was started in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana & Gujarat and Maharashtra.

CM Jagan Mohan Reddy launched ‘YSR Vahana Mitra’ in Eluru, Andhra Pradesh
On October 4, 2019, The Chief Minister (CM) of  Andhra Pradesh state government Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy has launched ‘YSR Vahana Mitra scheme’ in Eluru ,Andhra Pradesh (AP), under which the government will provide a financial assistance of Rs 10,000 per annum to owner-driver of an auto-rickshaw, or taxicab with the aim to meet their insurance premium, licence fee and other recurring expenses.YSR Vahana Mitra Key points:
i. For this welfare scheme, the state has allocated Rs 400 crore in the annual budget, of which, SCs (Scheduled Castes) would get Rs 68 crore, STs (Scheduled Tribes)₹20 core and the balance amount for others.
ii. As part of the scheme, 1,73,102 applications were cleared of a total of 1,75,352.
iii. Visakhapatnam topped the chart of beneficiaries with 24,512 followed by Krishna with 20,333 and East Godavari with 19,209 autos in the state.
iv. In the past on May 14, 2018, CM Mr. Reddy, during his padayatra in Eluru had promised to help auto drivers in the city.
About Andhra Pradesh:
♦ Capital: Amaravati
♦ Governor: Biswabhusan Harichandan
♦ National Parks: Sri Venkateswara National Park ,Rajiv Gandhi National Park,  Papikonda National Park.

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