Current Affairs September 30 2019

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INDIAN AFFAIRS

NITI Aayog releases School Education Quality Index (SEQI) 2019
A policy think tank of the Government of India (GoI) , NITI Aayog (National Institution for Transforming India) has released its first edition of School Education Quality Index (SEQI) 2019 with the aim to evaluate the performance of States and Union Territories (UTs) in the school education sector with the reference year 2016-17. West Bengal did not participate in the Niti Aayog exercise.
i. Overall performance for large and Small states & UT

  • Large states category: As per the Index , Kerala has emerged at the top with 76.6 percent points in overall performance in large states category in 2016-17. Uttar Pradesh ranked at the bottom with 36.4 % points.
  • Small states category: Among Small States , Manipur has claimed the top spot with 68.8%  & Arunachal Pradesh ranked at the bottom with 24.6 percent points.
  • UT (Union Territory) category : In UTs list, Chandigarh got 1st place in the overall performance  with 82.9 percent & Lakshadweep is at the bottom position with 31.9 %…………………………….Click here to Read more

6th edition of MASCRADE for 2019 held in New Delhi
The 6th edition of International Conference Movement Against Smuggling and Counterfeit Trade (MASCRADE) for 2019 was held at the Hyatt Regency, New Delhi on September 26-27, 2019 under the theme “Containing Counterfeiting, Smuggling and Piracy: A Winning Strategy”. This annual flagship event was organized by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry’s (FICCI) Committee Against Smuggling and Counterfeiting Activities Destroying the Economy (CASCADE).
i. A detailed report titled – Invisible Enemy – Impact of Smuggling on Indian Economy and Employment 2019 was released. The study was commissioned by FICCI CASCADE and conducted by Thought Arbitrage Research Institute (TARI) for the first time in India…………………….Click here to Read more

PIO cards along with foreign passport will continue as valid travel document till March 31, 2020
On September 29, 2019, The Indian Consulate in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) stated that, the Bureau of Immigration (BoI) will now accept Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards as valid travel document till 31 March 2020 along with valid foreign passport. The Immigration Check Post(s) in India will continue to allow all PIO cards valid for exit/entry into India till 31 March 2020.
Key points:
i. However, the extension of time limit is subject to the condition that if in the meantime any deadline is notified by the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) thereby making handwritten PIO cards invalid, then PIO cardholders may have to obtain an appropriate visa from the Indian missions/posts.
ii. Background: GoI (Government of India) had earlier advised that the conversion of all Persons of Indian Origin (PIO) cards to Overseas Citizenship of India (OCI) cards had to be done by September 30, 2019.
About PIO card:
It was a form of identification issued to a Person of Indian Origin who held a passport in a country other than Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, China, Iran, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.It was first implemented in 2002 as a benefit to foreign nationals who could establish at least a third generation tie to Indian origin.
OCI card :
It was implemented in 2005, carried more expansive benefits than the PIO card, and was valid for the holder’s lifetime. In 2014, Prime Minister(PM) Narendra Modi had announced that the two types of cards would be merged and the Indian diaspora would be given the maximum possible benefits.

West bengal’sMidnapore railway station became the 5000th railway station to be Wi-fi enabled
On September 28, 2019 the Midnapore railway station of West Bengal became the 5000th railway station to be enabled with Wi-fi. The project for providing Wi-fi was started by RailTel in 2016, with Mumbai central railway station being the first for wifi implementation.
Key points
i. The RailTel roped in Tata trust in providing the wifi facilities to B, C, D, E category railway stations across the country, where Mumbai central railway station was the first to have fast and free RailWire.
About RailTel:
i. It is a Public Sector Unit(PSU) under the Ministry of Railways.
ii. It is the largest neutral telecom services providers in the country owning a Pan-India optic fiber network.
iii. It covers areas of 70% of India’s population.

INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS

64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference for 2019 held in Kampala, Uganda
The 64th Commonwealth Parliamentary Conference (CPC) for 2019 was held in Kampala, Uganda from September 22- 29, 2019 under the theme ‘Adaption, engagement, and evolution of parliaments in a rapidly changing Commonwealth’.
i. It was organized by the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) Uganda Branch and the Parliament of Uganda and hosted by the CPA President Designate (2018-2019), Rt Hon. Rebecca Kadaga, Speaker of the Parliament of Uganda.
ii. It was led by Lok Sabha Speaker Om Birla………………………Click here to Read more

Nepal’s biggest hindu festival named Bada Dashain begun
On September 29, 2019 the greatest and longest hindu festival of Nepal named as Bada Dashain formally began. The first day of this Dashain marks the beginning of Navaratri festival too.
Key points
i. Seeds of maize, wheat, barley, etc are sowed in a “Ghada” (earthen pot) and kept in houses or temples as part of the vedic tradition. The sprouts are taken on 10th day which is observed as vijayadashami.
ii. This festival is also simply called as Dashain.
About Nepal:
♦ Capital- Kathmandu.
♦ Currency- Nepalese rupee.
♦ Prime minister- Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli (KP Oli).

BANKING & FINANCE

Paytm  & Aegon Life Insurance  signed corporate agency agreement
On September 27, 2019, Indian life insurance provider, Aegon Life Insurance has signed a Corporate Agency Agreement with Paytm, an Indian e-commerce payment system to offer comprehensive life insurance products.
Key points:
i.
As per this agreement, Paytm will distribute Aegon Life products to its customers. The product portfolio comprises existing and co-created tailor-made propositions.
ii. Through this partnership, Aegon Life will deepen the penetration of its product offers and enable more policy holders to access their risk solutions.
About Paytm  :
♦ Founded
: 2010
♦ Headquarters :Noida, Uttar Pradesh
♦ CEO and MD: Pravin Jadhav
About Aegon Life Insurance :
♦ Founded :2008
♦ Headquarters : Mumbai
♦ MD & CEO : Mr. Vineet Arora

BUSINESS & ECONOMY

SEBI relaxes norms to allow smart cities raise funds through ‘Muni Bonds’
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) eased its norms to allow smart cities raise funds through ‘Muni Bonds‘. The entities working in areas of city planning and urban development work, including municipalities, special purpose vehicles (SPVs) set up under the central government’s ambitious ‘Smart Cities Mission’ can also raise funds through debt securities.
i. Background: SEBI had issued its Issue and Listing of Debt Securities by Municipalites (ILDM) Regulations nearly 5 years ago and since then 7 municipalities have raised nearly Rs 1,400 crore by issuing their debt securities, which are commonly known as ‘Muni Bonds’.
ii. SEBI has allowed this route for other structures where a group of municipalities pool their resources together to jointly raise funds through issuance of bonds. These structures are generally known as Pooled Finance Development Funds (PFDF)……………………………Click here to Read more

SEBI eases buyback rules for companies with housing finance, NBFC arms
Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) eased its norms for buyback (repurchase) of shares by listed companies, which is governed by the Buyback Regulations of SEBI & Companies Act, especially those having subsidiaries in housing finance and Non-Banking Financial Company (NBFC) segments.
i. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs had permitted the government companies carrying out non-banking finance and housing finance activities to launch buybacks resulting in up to 6:1 debt to equity ratio post the share repurchase.
ii. The buyback offer cannot exceed 25% of the aggregate paid-up capital and free reserves of the company and an approval from the shareholders is required through a special resolution in case the size exceeds 10%………………………………Click here to Read more

AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS

Scientist Thanu Padmanabhan receives 2019 MP Birla Memorial Award
On September 29, 2019 Scientist Thanu Padmanabhan (Physicist) received 2019 M P Birla Memorial Award for his contributions in the field of cosmology. The award was given in M P Birla Planetarium in Kolkata, West Bengal. The award that comprises a citation, a trophy and a cheque for Rs 2,51,000 was given by H V Lodha, Chairman of Madhav Prasad(MP) Birla Group.Scientist Thanu Padmanabhan receives 2019 MP Birla Memorial AwardKey points
i. During the event, ThanuPadmanabhan also gave a lecture on ’Gravity and the Cosmos’, about the role gravity has played in shaping the Universe.
ii. Thanu is currently serving as a professor of Inter-university Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics in Pune, Maharashtra. He had received 1996 Shanti SwarupBhatnagar Prize, Padma Shri award in 2007, INSA(Indian National Science Academy)Young Scientists Award etc.
iii. The previous awardees of the 1993 instituted MP Birla Memorial Award were former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam, Prof JV Narlikar, Prof Ashok Sen, Prof GovindSwarup, Prof K Kasturirangan etc.

APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNS

Jai Bhagwan Bhoria appointed as the new administrator of PMC Bank by RBI
The Reserve Bank of India (RBI ) appointed Jai Bhagwan Bhoria as the new administrator of the Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank Ltd, Mumbai succeeding S.Waryam Singh and it superseded the existing Board.
Key Points:
i. RBI provided a toll-free number- 1800223993 for enquiries to be used by customers for grievances & redressal and they can also report it through the website www.pmcbank.com.
ii. RBI had recently increased the amount of withdrawal allowed to the depositors from Rs 1,000 to Rs 10,000 and the directives will remain in force for a period of six months.

SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY

Land attack version of BrahMos supersonic cruise missile test fired by DRDO from Chandipur coast of Odisha
On September 30, 2019 the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), successfully test fired the land attack version of the BrahMos supersonic cruise from Chandipur coast in Odisha in its Balasore district. Having a strike range of 290 km, this missile can be fired from both land and sea based platforms and also adds strength to the “Make in India” flagship programme.
Key points
In March 2017 the first extended version of the BrahMos missile, with a strike range of 450 km, was successfully tested.
About BrahMos missile:
i. The BrahMos missile is a joint venture between India’s DRDO and Russia’s NPOM(NPO Mashinostroyeniya)
ii. It is the world’s fastest anti-ship cruise missile in operation.
iii. The name BrahMosis coined from the names the Brahmaputra river of India and the Moskva river of Russia.
About DRDO:
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi.
♦ Founded- 1958.
♦ Chairman- Dr G. Satheesh Reddy.
♦ Motto-“Strength’s Origin is in Science”.

Pandit Jasraj becomes first Indian Musician to have a minor planet 2006 VP32 named after him
On September 23, 2019 the International Astronomical Union (IAU) has named minor planet 2006 VP32 (number -300128), located between Mars and Jupiter, as “Panditjasraj”after Indian classical vocal musician PanditJasraj. By this he became the first Indian musician to have a minor planet named after him.Pandit Jasraj becomes first Indian Musician to have a minor planetKey points
i. The announcement was made by IAU followed by a citation.
ii. A permanent number to the minor planet is given by IAU’s Minor Planet Centre(MPC). ‘Panditjasraj’ minor planet, discovered in 2006 with number 300128, denotes the musical maestro’s date of birth in reverse order (28/01/30).
iii. PanditJasraj, the Padma Vibhushan recipient, joins the galaxy of immortal composers like Mozart, Beethoven and Tenor Luciano Pavarotti to have a planet named after them

ENVIRONMENT

Keezhadi excavation in Tamil Nadu leads to a major turning point in the cultural historiography of the ancient Sangam Age
As per the report,  Keeladi-An Urban Settlement of Sangam Age on the Banks of River Vaigai ’published by the TNAD (Tamil Nadu Archaeology Department), One of the 6 samples from cultural deposits unearthed during excavation at Keeladi in Sivaganga district of Tamil Nadu (TN)at a depth of 353 cm and sent for carbon dating test in the Beta Analytic Lab, Miami, Florida,U.S (United States) ,goes back to 580 BCE(Before the Common Era).Keezhadi excavation in Tamil NaduKey points:
i. Inference
: Urban settlement on the banks of river vaigai (in Tamil Nadu) had happened in TN around the 6th century BCE as happened in Gangatic plains around the same time.
The fourth excavations (2018) findings pushes back the date of Tamil-Brahmi script to 6th century BCE.
ii. Background: In 2017, carbon dating of charcoal found at Keeladi had established that the settlement there belonged to 200 BC. This was the concurrence with established time period of sangam age (300 BCE-300 CE).
iii. Significance of Keezhadi: It is the 1st intact habitation centre to be unearthed in Tamil Nadu . Urbanization of Tamil land had begun to happen by the sangam era(sophistication of tamils depicted in the sangam literature).
History of excavation: In 2014, ASI (Archaeological Survey of India) conducted a survey of the banks of river vaigai & Archaeological evidence were discovered at 293 location.Of those about 90-100 sites showed signs of habitation & of theses 3 were chosen & studied(One was excavated i.e . Keezhadi.
About Tamil Nadu:
♦ Capital
: Chennai
♦ Chief minister: Edappadi K. Palaniswami
♦ Governor: Banwarilal Purohit

77 new patch reef areas and 62 new marine species found in Gulf of Mannar
During a recent baseline study of biological resources in the Gulf of Mannar, 62 new species and 77 new patch reef areas were discovered. This was recorded by the Suganthi Devadason Marine Research Institute (SDMRI), Tamil Nadu.
Key Points:
i.The study, held from May 2017 to March 2019, was conducted as part of National Adaptation Fund for Climate Change (NAFCC) under the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change (MoEFCC) and was done under the supervision of Environment and Forest Departments of Government of Tamil Nadu and National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD).
ii. The number of species recorded in the Gulf of Mannar increased from 4,223 to 4,285.
iii. The 62 newly recorded species in the study includes 14 species of hard corals (the number of coral species identified has increased from 117 to 131), 17 species of soft corals, 11 species of sponges, 16 species of mollusks and 2 species of seaweeds and fish each.
iv. Over 50 unidentified species were observed, which are believed to be new to Gulf of Mannar and a total of 39 new seagrass patches have been identified covering an area of 8.51 sq.km.

SPORTS

India lift 2019 SAFF U-18 football C’ship title for first time defeating Bangladesh in Nepal
On September 29, 2019, India won the 3rd edition of South Asian Football Federation Under-18 (SAFF U-18) football Championship 2019 title for the first time by defeating Bangladesh in the finals held in the host country Nepal, in Kathmandu’s Halchowk Stadium.  India’s Vikram Partap Singh and Ravi Bahadur Rana, each scored a goal to make up to the maiden championship title by defeating Bangladesh for 2-1.India lift 2019 SAFF U-18 football C’ship titleKey points
i India’s NinthoinganbaMeetei is adjudged as the most valuable player(MVP) of the tournament. Fair play award was given to team Bhutan.
ii. The most successful nation in winning the SAFF U-18 championship multiple times was Nepal (2times)
iii. Recently in the 2019 SAFF Women’s Championship held in March 2019, Indian women’s team emerged as the champions by defeating Nepal.
About SAFF:
♦ Motto-  Strength in Unity.
♦ Formation- 1997.
♦ Headquarters- New Delhi.
♦ President- Mr. Kazi Md. Salahuddin.

Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton won 2019 Russia F1 Grand Prix, surpasses Schumacher’s GP win counts
On September 29, 2019 Britain’s Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton commonly known as Lewis Hamiltonof Mercedes, won the 2019 Russia F1 Grand Prix (Formula 1 GP) at Sochi Autodrom race track in Russia. Mercedes ValteriBottas(Finland) and Ferrari’s Charles Lecrec (Monaco) won the second and third spot respectively. By this win, Hamilton became all-time record holder, winning his 143rd Grand Prix totally, surpassing Michael Schumacher’s(Germany) mark which he held for 18 years.Hamilton won 2019 Russia F1 Grand Prix

Indian fencer Bhavani Devi wins silver in the 2019 Tournoi Satellite Fencing competition in Belgium
On September 29, 2019 Indian fencer CA Bhavani Devi (Chennai, Tamilnadu) won silver medal in women’s sabre individual category in the 2019 Tournoi Satellite Fencingcompetition (World level)at Ghent, Belgium. She lost to Azerbaijan’s Bashta Anna who won the gold medal in the event.Indian fencer Bhavani Devi wins silver in the 2019 Tournoi Satellite Fencing competitionKey points
i. Bhavani Devi currently ranks 44th in the world rankings.

Overview of Challenger Buenos Aires 2019 (Tennis) held in Buenos Aires, Argentina
The 9th edition of Challenger Buenos Aires 2019 (Tennis) was held at Racket Club, Buenos Aires, Argentina from September 23-29, 2019. It was a part of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Challenger Tour and was played on outdoor red clay courts. The total prize money of the tournament was $54,160.
Key Points:
i. In men’s singles, Indian tennis player Sumit Nagal, aged 22, defeated Argentina’s Facundo Bagnis and clinched the title by 6-4, 6-2. He is currently ranked 135.
ii. In men’s doubles, Argentina’s Guido Andreozzi and Andrés Molteni defeated Bolivia’s Hugo Dellien and Federico Zeballos and clinched the title by 6–7, 6–2.

Overview of Korea Open 2019 held in Incheon, South Korea
The Korea Open 2019, a badminton Super 500 tournament was held at Incheon International Airport Skydom in Incheon, South Korea from September 24 – 29, 2019. It was the 19th tournament of the 2019 Badminton World Federation (BWF) World Tour and a part of the Korea Open championships.
Key Points:
i. It was organized by the Badminton Korea Association (BKA) with sanction from the BWF.
ii. The total prize money of the tournament was US$400,000.
iii. Indian player Parupalli Kashyap lost to Japan’s Kento Momota in the semifinals.
List of Winners:

CategoryWinnerRunner
Men’s SinglesKento Momota (Japan)Chou Tien-chen (Taiwan)
Women’s SinglesHe Bingjiao (China)Ratchanok Intanon (Thailand)
Men’s DoublesFajar Alfian & Muhammad Rian Ardianto (Indonesia)Takeshi Kamura & Keigo Sonoda (Japan)
Women’s DoublesKim So-yeong & Kong Hee-yong (South Korea)Lee So-hee & Shin Seung-chan (South Korea)
Mixed DoublesDechapol Puavaranukroh & Sapsiree Taerattanachai (Thailand)Zheng Siwei & Huang Yaqiong  (China)
About BWF:
Formation: 1934
Headquarters: Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
President: Poul-Erik Høyer

OBITUARY

Veteran Bollywood actor, Viju khote passed away in Mumbai, Maharashtra
Bollywood veteran actor Viju Khote, best known for playing the role of ‘Kalia’ in the film Sholay, has passed away at his home in Mumbai , Maharashtra due to multiple organ failure. He was 77.Bollywood actor, Viju khote passed awayi. Born on 17 December 1941, khote was most remembered for his work in more than 440 films in Hindi and Marathi cinema.
ii. The several popular feature films that Khote was a part of also included , Robert in Andaz Apna Apna (1994), Maan Singh in Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988),Shirish Appa in Ventilator (2016) & TV (Television ) show Zabaan Sambhalke (1993).
iii. He was the brother of Bollywood’s famous actress Shubha Khote.

INA veteran from Tamil Nadu V Ganesan passed away at the age of 94 
On September 29, 2019, Indian National Army (INA) veteran V Ganesan, aged 94, passed away in Tamil Nadu. He had joined Nethaji’s INA at the age of 18. He hailed from Sembodai village near Vedaranyam in Nagapattinam district of Tamil Nadu.
i. He was honoured by the President of India in 2012 at a function in Rashtrapati Bhavan and is a recipient of Copper Plaques from the central and state governments.
ii. He is the founder of the Nethaji Hospital, at Sembodai village, Tamil Nadu.

BOOKS & AUTHORS

Book titled “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Politics and Beyond” authored by Sandeep Shastri set to be released
Book titled “Lal Bahadur Shastri: Politics and Beyond” authored by political analyst Sandeep Shastri commemorating Late Shashtri’s 113th birth anniversary on October 2, 2019 is set to be released. It is published by Rupa Publications. It depicts the early influences, political associations and historical decisions of Lal Bahadur Shastri, India’s second prime minister.Lal Bahadur Shastri Politics and Beyond

IMPORTANT DAYS

International Translation Day observed on 30th September 2019
The International Translation Day by the United Nations (UN) is observed annually on the 30th of September, under the resolution A/RES/71/288, adopted in 24 May 2017 at the General Assembly. This day is observed as a tribute to the work of language professionals playing an important role in uniting the nations, contributing to the development and strengthening world peace and security. The theme for 2019 is “Translation and Indigenous Languages”.International Translation DayKey points
i. 30th September is celebrated as the feast of St. Jerome, who was the Bible translator and is considered as the patron saint of translators.
ii. Since 2005, the UN invites all the UN officials and students from select partner universities to compete in the UN St. Jerome Translation Contest, that rewards best translations in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian, Spanish as well as German, with the aim of celebrating multilingualism and highlighting the important role of translators and other language professionals.

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