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Important Current Affairs 4th January 2020

NATIONAL NEWS

Central Ministry Sanctions 2,636 Charging Stations Across 62 Cities

• On January 3, 2020 the Department of Heavy Industries had sanctioned 2636 EV (Electric Vehicles) charging stations in 62 cities across 24 State/UTs under FAME India (Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles in India) scheme phase II to clean the mobility in Road Transport Sector.

• It aims to increase the electric vehicle users and also encourage Original Equipment Manufacturer’s (OEM) to launch new electric models.

• A total of 317 EV charging stations have been allotted in Maharashtra which is highest among 24 states.Under FAME India scheme, the Department of Heavy Industries invited the “Expressions of Interest (EoI) “from various cities across the country and received 106 proposals for 7000 EV charging station. Out of which 2636 EV charging stations were selected with the help of Project Implementation and Sanctioning Committee (PISC)

About FAME India II:

To promote the Electric vehicle in the country Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi implemented the Faster Adoption and Manufacturing of Electric Vehicles II scheme in India.

With the effect from April 1, 2019 this scheme was implemented with the total outlay of Rs 10000 crore for a period of three years.

About Ministry of Heavy Industries:

Founded- April 2015

Headquarters- New Delhi

Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises– Prakash Javadekar    

MEA sets up new emerging technologies division(NEST)

• The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) has set up a New, Emerging and Strategic Technologies (NEST) division which helps to deal with new and emerging technologies. NEST helps to partner with 5G and artificial intelligence areas of other countries.

About MEA:

External Affairs Minister of India- Subrahmanyam Jaishankar (Constituency- Gujarat)

House- Rajya Sabha

About NEST:

• Under NEST, central government allows data sharing of various network makers in which Huawei shares its customer details with Chinese government under 5G trails.

• This division acts as the intermediate agency within the Ministry for issues pertaining to new and emerging technologies.

• It Create’s HR capacity within MEA for technology diplomacy.

• NEST also negotiates “technology governance rules, standards and architecture” in multilateral frameworks.

• India’s national security goal and developmental priorities will also be aligned with this policy.

Narendra Modi paid a 2 day visit to the state of Karnataka

• PM paid visit to Karnataka to attend events in Tumakuru and Bengaluru cities of the state. He arrived at the yelahanka air base.

• PM Shri Modi released the 3rd installment of PM Kisan scheme i.e., Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana of Rs.2000 for the December2019- March 2020 period.

• PM Modi inaugurated 5 new scientific DRDO (Defence Research Development Organisation) laboratories in Bengaluru. In this laboratory only scientists under the age of 35 years will be deployed.

• Prime Minister was inaugurating the 107th Indian Science Congress (ISC) at the University of Agricultural Sciences (UAS) in Bengaluru. The theme of ISC for the year 2020 was “Science and Technology: Rural Development”.

• Prime Minister also launched the Indian Science Technology and Engineering facilities Map (I-STEM) Portal during ISC

KVIC opened first silk processing plant in Gujarat to boost production of signature Patola Saree.

• On January 3, 2020 Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) opened its first Silk Processing Plant in Surendranagar district of Gujarat to increase the production of Gujarat Patola Sarees.

• The Plant was set up at a cost of Rs 75 lakh by Khadi institution where RS 60 lakh was contributed by KVIC. Patola Sarees are the trademark of Gujarat.

• The Plant helps in reducing the production cost of silk yarn this helps in increasing the availability of raw materials for Gujarat Patola sarees.

• 90 local women were employed in the plant.

• Patola sarees are costly because raw materials of silk yarn were purchased from Karnataka and West Bengal.

• According to KVIC, cocoons will be brought from Karnataka and West Bengal to the plant and silk yarn will be processed, this helps in reducing the cost of Patola Sarees.

About KVIC:

Chairman- V K Saxena

Headquarters- Mumbai

• About Gujarat:

Chief Minister- Vijay Rupani

Governor- Acharya Devvrat

State Animal- Asiatic lion

State Bird- Greater flamingo

State Tree- Banyan

State Flower- Marigold

First-of-its kind turtle rehab centre comes up in Bihar

• rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles is to be inaugurated in January 2020 in the Bhagalpur forest division of Bihar.

• This centre spread over half a hectare will be able to shelter 500 turtles at a time.

• The centre will also treat turtles that are sick, severely injured or smuggled, and then be returned safely into its natural habitat. The turtles will be properly monitored before being released back.

• According to a report by the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) and Wildlife Institute of India (WII) , the turtle species are under threat due to loss through dams and barrages, pollution, illegal poaching, accidental drowning through fishing nets and threats to their nesting habitats etc.

• According to a recent study conducted by Traffic India, nearly 11,000 turtles are being smuggled in India annually which makes 1,10,000 turtles in the past 10 years.

 About Bihar

Capital- Patna.

Chief Minister- Nitish Kumar.

Governor- Phagu Chauhan.

National parks- Valmiki National park.

India, Pakistan exchange list of nuclear installations

• Continuing a 29-year unbroken practice, India and Pakistan on Wednesday exchanged a list of their nuclear installations under a bilateral arrangement that prohibits them from attacking each other's atomic facilities.

• This was done simultaneously through diplomatic channels in New Delhi and Islamabad.

• The agreement was signed on December 31, 1988 and came into force on January 27, 1991.

• The pact mandates the two countries to inform each other of nuclear installations and facilities to be covered under the agreement on the first of January of every calendar year.

• This is the 29th consecutive exchange of the list with the first one taking place on January 1, 1992.

BANKING AND ECONOMICS

India extends USD 75 mn line of credit for solar parks in Cuba

• Export-Import (Exim)Bank, the premier export finance institution of India has given a $75 million (over Rs 500 crore) line of credit (LoC, a soft loan / loan with low interest rate) to Cuba for financing 75 MW (megawatt) Photovoltaic Solar Parks.

• The Agreement in this regard between Exim Bank & Banco Exterior De Cuba, a nominated agency of the Government of Cuba, signed on July 16,2019 & is effective from December 12,2019.

• Out of the total assistance by Exim Bank under the agreement,financing of eligible goods, works and services of the value of at least 75 % of the contract price shall be supplied by the seller from India and the remaining 25 % of goods and services may be procured by the seller for the purpose of eligible contract from outside India. It will be subject to the eligibility for export under the Foreign Trade Policy of India.

• As per the agreement,the terminal utilisation time is 60 months period after the scheduled completion date of the project.

About Exim Bank:

Founded– 1 January 1982

Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra

Managing Director- David Rasquinha

About Cuba:

Capital– Havana

Currency– Peso (CUP)

President– Miguel Díaz-Canel

Prime Minister- Manuel Marrero Cruz

CSC inks pact with Paytm Payments Bank for sale of FASTags

• CSC e-Governance services India ltd has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Paytm Payments Bank ltd (PPBL) for selling FASTags.

• Through this MoU, FASTags will be sold through the last mile network of 3.6 lakh CSCs (Common Service Centres).

• This will help in enhancing govt’s vision of cashless and smoot transit at toll plazas in the country.

• CSC will integrate its platform with PPBL to carry out the transactions. Village level entrepreneurs will be trained on conducting online sales which are cashless and paperless.

• CSCs have been providing FASTag services since 2 years. It initially partnered with Equitas bank in September 2017 and later with State Bank of India (SBI) and HDFC (Housing Development Finance Corporation) bank.

• Since March 2019, CSCs tied up with National Highways Authority of India (NHAI) also for selling FASTags.

• Fastags have been mandatory in the country at toll gates on national highways (NH). It allows toll payments directly from prepaid or savings account linked to it. The FASTags work on Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) technology

Forex reserves hit record high at $457.46 bn

• According to the “ Bulletin Weekly Statistical Supplement – Extract” released by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI), India’s foreign exchange (Forex) reserves rose by $ 2.520 billion to a record $ 457.468 billion during the week ended 27 December,2019.

• During the previous week,Forex reserves had increased by $ 456 million to $ 454.948 billion.

• The main reason for increase in foreign exchange reserves is the increase in foreign exchange assets, which is the main component of forex.

• Foreign Currency Assets (FCA): Foreign currency assets rose by $ 2.203 billion to $ 424.936 billion during the week.

FCA’s include the effect of appreciation or depreciation of non-US units like the euro, pound and the yen held in the forex reserves.

• Gold Reserve: The country’s gold reserves also increased by $ 260 million to reach $ 27.392 billion during the week.

• SDR:The country’s special drawing rights (SDR) with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) declined by $ 2 million to $ 1.441 billion.

• Reserve Position in the IMF: India’s reserve position with the IMF Fund increased by $ 58 million to $ 3.7 billion.

Note: Total Reserves = Foreign Currency Assets +Gold + SDRs + Reserve Position in the IMF

• Foreign exchange reserves:

These are assets held on reserve by RBI in foreign currencies. These reserves are used to back liabilities and influence monetary policy. It includes any foreign money held by a central bank, such as the U.S. Federal Reserve Bank.

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Sucheta Satish: 13-year-old Indian girl wins Global Child Prodigy Award in Dubai

• A 13-year-old Indian girl in Dubai has won the 100 Global Child Prodigy Award for singing in most languages during one concert and the longest live singing concert by a child, according to a media report on Friday.

• Sucheta Satish, a student in Dubai Indian High School, can sing in 120 languages.

• She made her double world record in January 2018Dubai at the Indian Consulate Auditorium, as a 12-year-old when she sings in 102 different languages over 6 hours and 15 minutes.

• Recently she released her second album ‘Ya Habibi’ in Arabic.

• About 100 Global Child Prodigy Award:

This award is a platform to showcase the talent of children in dance, music, art, writing, acting, modeling, science, sports etc. The award is supported by Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and Oscar Award winning music producer AR Rahman among others.

SPORTS

Shri Nityanand Rai inaugurates 4th All India Police Judo Cluster Championship 2019

• Union Minister of State for Home Affairs, Shri Nityanand Rai, inaugurated the 4th All India Police Judo Cluster Championship 2019, in New Delhi on 3rd January 2020.

• The five-day 4th All India Police Judo Cluster Championship has been organized this year by CRPF and will conclude on January 7.

• The sporting event is being attended by 34 participating teams consisting of 1207 sports persons from across the country, with a total of 15 Trophies and 214 Medals.

• This event is part of the Sports Calendar of All India Police Sports Control Board (AIPSCB) for the Year 2019-20. These are hosted on rotation basis by the members of the board.

• Earlier, this cluster were organized by Sashtra Seema Bal (SSB) in 2016, West Bengal Police in 2017 and Odisha Police in 2018.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Macedonian Prime Minister Zoran Zaev resigns

• North Macedonia Prime Minister (PM) Zoran Zaev submitted his resignation. His resignation paves a way to form a new caretaker government under the country’s former interior minister  Oliver Spasovski until  April 12, 2020 election.

• He was born on 8 October 1974 in Strumica, North Macedonia.

• Zaev was a member of North Macedonia’s parliament between 2003 and 2005 and mayor of Strumica between 2005 and 2016.

• He belongs to Social Democratic Union of Macedonia party.

About North Macedonia:

Capital- Skopje

Currency- Macedonian denar

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

ISRO inks pact with NITK to set up Regional Academic Centre for Space

• Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) sets its fourth Regional Academic Centre for Space (RAC-S) at the National Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK) at Surathkal in Mangaluru taluk.

• The centre helps for the advanced research in the areas of relevance to the future technological and programmatic needs of the Indian Space programme.

• It also helps in the promotion of space technology in southern regions like Tamil Nadu,Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Pondicherry and Lakshadweep.

• RAC-S encourages institutions to take part in advanced research technologies related to space technology.

• Joint Policy Management committee (JPMC) in RAC-S consists of experts from ISRO and NITK. These members will conduct activities in institutions on advanced space research technology.

• ISRO has set its first RAC-S in Jaipur, second at Guwahati and third at Kurukshetra.

• ISRO will provide Rs 2 Crore annually per year for the conduct of research and development project .

About ISRO:

Chairman- K Sivan

Headquarters- Bengaluru

ISRO CPBO director- Dr P V Venkitakrishnan

OBITUARY

NBA mastermind David Joel Stern New york,United States passes away at 77

• David Joel Stern born in New York,United States is a former commissioner of the NBA (National Basketball Association) passed away due to brain haemorrhage.

• He took the NBA’s growth into a global sports powerhouse.

• He served as commissioner of the NBA for 30 (1984-2014) years.

• David Stern retired on February 2014.

Centenarian Freedom fighter Bhim Chandra Jana passes away at 107

• Centenarian Freedom fighter Bhim Chandra Jana has died of old-age related ailments in West Bengal’s Howrah District at the age of 107.

• Bhim Chandra Jana was also known as ‘Nanu’ to other freedom fighters of Bengal.

• Jana was awarded by Government of India after Independence.

• About West Bengal:

Capital- Kolkata.

Chief Minister- Mamata Banerjee.

Governor- Jagdeep Dhankhar.

Districts- 23.

State Bird- White-throated Kingfisher.

State Animal- Fishing cat.

State Tree- Chatim tree.

State Flower- Night-flowering jasmine.

Former Tamil Nadu Assembly speaker, P.H. Pandian passes away at 74.

• On January 04, 2020, Paul Hector (PH) Pandian passed away at a private hospital in Chennai, Tamil Nadu after prolonged illness. He was 74.

• Born on 29 March 1945 in Cheranmahadevi town in Tirunelveli district of TN, Pandian joined AIADMK in 1972.He was the Speaker of the Tamil Nadu Legislative Assembly from February 27, 1985 – February 5, 1989.

• A lawyer by profession, Pandian was elected as an Member of the Legislative Assembly (MLA) from his native Cheranmahadevi assembly seat in 1977, 1980 and 1984 & he went on to be elected as Member of Parliament (MP) in 1999, from Tirunelveli constituency.

• He also served as former Chief Minister (CM) J Jayalalithaa’s legal advisor from 1996 – 1999.