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Important Current Affairs 24th February 2020

INTERNATIONAL NEWS

US to become India’s top trading partner, surpasses China:

• The United States has surpassed China to become India’s top trading partner. According to the Commerce Ministry data, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at nearly 88 billion dollars in 2018-19 fiscal. During the period, India’s trade with China was at 1 billion dollars.

• Similarly, during April-December 2019-20, the bilateral trade between the US and India stood at 68 billion dollars against a nearly 65 billion dollars trade with China in the same period.

NATIONAL NEWS

ASKDISHA : AI based chatbot launched by Indian Railway:

• Indian Railways had introduced the services of Artificial Intelligence based ASKDISHA chatbot in October 2018 for the benefit of the users of the ticketing website www.irctc.co.in and tourism website www.irctctourism.com of its PSU, Indian Railways Catering & Tourism Corporation Limited (IRCTC).

• The ASKDISHA Chatbot was initially launched in English language but in order to further enhance the customer services rendered and to further strengthen the services of the chatbot, IRCTC has now powered voice enabled ASKDISHA to converse with customers in Hindi language also in the e-ticketing site www.irctc.co.in. The customers can now ask queries to ASKDISHA in Hindi language by voice as well as text.

• The first-of-its-kind initiative by IRCTC is aimed at facilitating accessibility by answering users’ queries pertaining to various services offered to railway passengers. Since its initial launch, more than 150 million passengers have been benefited by ASKDISHA with 10 billion interactions for seeking help on reservation of tickets, cancellation, enquiry of refund status, fare, PNR search, train running status, enquiry about retiring rooms and tourism products.

• IRCTC plans to launch ASKDISHA in more languages along with many other additional features in the near future.

‘Thal Sena Bhawan’: New Army Headquarters foundation Laid by Rajnath Singh:

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh laid the foundation stone of a new army headquarters building in Delhi Cantonment recently. This complex will be named as ‘Thal Sena Bhawan’. It will be constructed over 39 acres of land. 

• Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said that this army building will represent the Indian soldiers. He also said that these soldiers wanted India to become capable and empowered. Now their sacrifice has made India a powerful country and this building is dedicated to them. He also said that the building was needed for many years.

• This army building, to be built in 7.5 lakh square meters that will have 6014 offices that will include 1684 offices for military and civilian officers and 4330 offices for sub-staff. The new Army headquarters will also provide employment opportunities to the youth of India. It will be constructed as per the Green Rating for Integrated Habitat Assessment (GRIHA) norms.

‘Happiness Class’ to be attended by Melania Trump:

• US First Lady Melania Trump along with the US President Donald Trump, on their maiden visit to India, will attend a ‘Happiness Class’ at a Government School based in Delhi. Arvind Kejriwal led AAP Government’s flagship scheme of ‘Happiness Curriculum’ has won commendations from different corners of the globe.

• What is Happiness Curriculum?

Happiness Curriculum was launched in 2018 as a scheme to reinvent school education sector in Delhi Government Schools. With school education in India primarily focused on competitive testing model, which lays prime emphasis on scoring marks in order to succeed; AAP Government felt the need to provide a more fulfilling education and learning experience. In line with this, Happiness Curriculum was launched which aims at promoting development of cognition, language, literacy, numeracy and the arts. This in turn aids the mental growth well-being and happiness of students.

‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ : Chhattisgarh organises agricultural festival to cater to future farming practices:

• A three-day mega agricultural festival organised in Raipur called ‘Krishi Maha-Kumbh’ was inaugurated by Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. Also known as the National Agriculture Festival, this mela boasted of going beyond the traditional dominant practices of farmers by encouraging the agrarian community to experiment with non-conventional farm activities, adopt modern technologies and secure quality organic produce.

Goa carnival : World famous carnival to begin in Panaji:

•  The world-famous Goa Carnival will begin in the capital Panaji. The festival, which displays Goan art and culture, is celebrated with fun, frolic, pomp and splendor.

• The mood in Panaji city is quite festive and all the preparations are done for the float parade that is going to take place. The floats carry different messages and themes and there is also a band of music and troupes of artists on each float vehicle.

About Goa:

  • Governor: Satya Pal Malik
  • Chief minister: Pramod Sawant
  • Capital: Panaji (Executive Branch)

4 railway stations in Uttar Pradesh get new names:

• A move aimed at reviving the identity of the ancient city, Allahabad Junction will now be Prayagraj Junction, Allahabad City will now be known as Prayagraj Rambag, Allahabad Chhioki has been changed to Prayagraj Chheoki and the name of Prayagghat has been changed to Prayagraj Sangam.

• The names of the stations were changed by the central and the state government.

About Uttar Pradesh (UP)

  • Capital- Lucknow
  • Chief Minister (CM)- Yogi Adityanath
  • Governor- Anandiben Patel

Mobile app for employees  launched by Indian Railways:

• Indian Railways, Railway Board Chairman Vinod Kumar Yadav launched the HRMS (Human Resource Management System) mobile app, in which the employees can see the data related to their service and communicate with the administration for any changes.

• The app has been developed by the Centre for Railway Information System (CRIS).

• The mobile app allows employees to view their historical data since their date of joining, including details related to increments, promotions, awards, transfers, postings, leave, training and retirement benefits.

• Scanned copies of their physical service record are also available in the app, which is an important milestone in computerisation of HR related functionalities in Indian Railways.

About Ministry of Railways:

  • Formed– 16 April 1853
  • Headquarters– New Delhi
  • Union Minister– Piyush Goyal

BANKING, FINANCE AND ECONOMICS

ACQUISITIONS, MERGERS, BUSINESS AND MOU’S

Central government approves merger of Bharti Infratel, Indus Towers: Sources:

• The Department of Telecom (DoT) on approved the merger of the country’s largest mobile tower company Indus Towers with Bharti Infratel,

• The combination of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers will create a pan-India tower company with over 163,000 towers, operating across all 22 telecom service areas.

• The combined entity will be the largest tower company in the world outside China. Bharti Infratel and Vodafone hold 42 per cent stake each in Indus.

• Vodafone Idea holds 11.15 per cent stake in the mobile tower firm.

• As per the plans, the combined company, which would fully own the respective businesses of Bharti Infratel and Indus Towers, would change its name to Indus Towers Ltd and will continue to be listed on Indian stock exchanges.

Microsoft collaborated with SBI Foundation to upskill youth with disabilities for BFSI jobs:

• Microsoft has collaborated with SBI Foundation to create opportunities in the banking and financial services and insurance (BFSI) sector, for youth with disabilities.

• Under the initiative, the two organisations will upskill 500 youth for BFSI jobs across Bengaluru, Mumbai, Chennai, Hyderabad and Delhi-NCR. The programme will be driven in collaboration with various government agencies, industry skilling bodies and non-profits. As a part of this effort, both the companies will develop an AI-powered marketplace that will enable the BFSI industry to better connect with people having disabilities (to upskill them).

AWARDS AND RECOGNITION

Dr. Niti Kumar receives SERB Women Excellence Award-2020:

• Dr. Niti Kumar, Senior Scientist of Molecular Parasitology and Immunology Division, CSIR-CDRI, Lucknow, has received the SERB Women's Excellence Award-2020. She will be awarded by the President of India, Ram Nath Kovind during the National Science Day celebration at Vigyan Bhawan on February 28, 2020.

• The award is given to women scientists under the age of 40, who have received honors from various national academies. Women researchers will be assisted by Science and Engineering Research Board of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India, with a grant of Rs 5 lakh per year for 3 years.

• Dr. Niti Kumar’s research group is trying to understand the protein quality control machinery in malaria parasites to explore alternative drugs for malaria. Dr. Niti Kumar has received several awards and honors like Innovative Young Biotechnologist Award (DBT-IYBA 2015), INSA Medal for Young Scientist (2010) by Indian National Academy of Sciences and Marie Curie Early Stage Research Fellowship by European Union under 6th Framework Programme (2005-2006).

• What is SERB?

Science and Engineering Research Board (SERB) is a constitutional body works under the Department of Science and Technology (DoST), Government of India. It was established in 2009 through an Act of the Parliament of India.

SPORTS

Shooters now permitted by Home Ministry to keep upto 12 firearms for shooting practice:

• The Union Home Ministry has amended Arms Act, 1959 and the Arms Rules, 2016 to increase the number of firearms and ammunition kept by the Indian shooters for their practice during the year. As per the Home Ministry, shooting is an important Olympic sport in India and Indian shooters have excelled in international competitions.

• Key Amendments in Arms Act, 1959

  • According to the new rules, international medalists and renowned shooters are now allowed to have additional weapons up to a total of twelve under the exempted category. Earlier they were allowed to keep only seven weapons.
  • In case a shooter is renowned in one event, he will be allowed to keep a maximum of eight weapons. If he is renowned in two events then he can keep maximum ten weapons. Earlier, the permit was four and seven respectively.
  • If a shooter is known in more than two events, then he will now be allowed to keep a maximum of twelve firearms unlike earlier seven.
  • For junior target shooters or aspiring shooters, the Home Ministry has decided to amend the rules to allow them to possess two firearms of any category, as against earlier one.
  • The shooters will now also be entitled to possess two firearms as normal citizens under provisions of the Arms Act, 1959.

• Key Amendments in Arms Rules, 2016

  • The Home Ministry has amended the provision under Rule 40 of the Arms Rules, 2016, as per which, the quantity of ammunition that can be purchased by the shooters for practice during a year has been increased considerably.
  • Under the amended provisions, the quantity of ammunition that shooters can purchase for .22 LR rifle/pistol has been increased to 5000 instead of 1000, for Pistol/Revolver the quantity has been increased to 2000 instead of 600 and for shotgun calibers, the quantity has been increased to 5000 instead 500.
  • The Ministry has also made other necessary amendments in the Arms Rules, 2016 by amending the Arms Act, 1959, under the Arms (Amendment) Act, 2019.
  • The amendments clarify that no license will be required for Indian citizens for acquisitions and possession of small arms falling under the category of curio.
  • However, the shooters will be required to carry appropriate licenses, as prescribed to use, carry or transport such small arms. No ammunition can be sold for use without the endorsement of such firearms in the prescribed license of the owner.
  • Further, the maximum number of firearms to be possessed by any person has been reduced to two from earlier three.
  • Those who have three firearms have been given the facility to retain any two of them and deposit the remaining firearm by December 13, 2020.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS

Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad resigns:

• Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad Resigns: Mahathir Mohamad – the Prime Minister of Malaysia, submitted his resignation to the country’s king, Sultan Abdullah Sultan Ahmad Shah on February 24, 2020, as per media reports.

• Mahathir’s PPBM has also pulled out of the ruling Pakatan Harapan (Alliance of Hope) coalition, throwing the country into renewed political turmoil. The resignation of 94-year-old veteran politician and two-time Prime Minister comes following an on-going rift with his presumptive successor Anwar Ibrahim. Following his resignation as the PM, Mahathir also resigned as the chairman of PPBM.

• Resignation of Malaysian PM Mahathir Mohamad comes in the wake of long going battle in the ruling coalition which comprises many stakeholders. The key parties in the Pakatan Harapan coalition include Mahathir’s Parti Pribumi Bersatu Malaysia i.e. PPBM or United Indigenous Party of Malaysia; Anwar Ibrahim‘s Parti Keadilan Rakyat (PKR) and Democratic Action Party (DAP) which commands ethnic Chinese as its vote bank.

USIBC appoints Vijay Advani as new Chairman of Global Board:

• The US-India Business Council (USIBC) has appointed Vijay Advani as new Chair of its Global Board of Directors. Prior to this, he served as Executive Chairman of the Board in January 2020. The council also announced two new members of the Global Board of Directors Lockheed Martin International Senior Vice President Tim Cahill and GE South Asia President & CEO Mahesh Palashikar. US India Business Council (USIBC) represents top global companies operating across the United States, India, and Indo-Pacific.

• Important:

  • Headquarters of US-India Business Council: Washington, D.C., United States.
  • US-India Business Council founded: 1975.

IMPORTANT DAYS

24 February – Central Excise Day:

• Central Excise Day is observed in India on 24 February every year to encourage the employees of the excise department to carry out the central excise duty in a better way to prevent corruption in the manufacturing business and to carry out the best possible exercise services in India.

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Important Current Affairs 23rd February 2020

National

Namaste Trump to be held at Motera Stadium on 24 February

• The mega event Namaste Trump is to be held at cricket stadium Sardar Patel Stadium, also known as Motera Stadium,  in Ahmedabad on 24 February 2020.

• The Donald Trump Nagarik Abhivadan Samiti (Citizen Felicitation Committee for Donald Trump) will organize the high-profile public event which will feature cultural performances.

Vice President inaugurated 2nd Edition of Exhibition and Conference on Agri-technology and Innovation

• Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu inaugurated the 2nd Edition of Exhibition and Conference on Agri-technology & Innovation at Prof. Jayashankar Telangana State Agriculture University in Hyderabad on 22 February 2020.

• It emphasized the need for post-harvest management and providing support to the farmers.The conference highlighted e-NAM should be expanded to all regions in every state.

Haryana government to open Atal Kisan-Majdoor canteens to provide meals

Haryana state government is to open Atal Kisan-Majdoor canteens in all mandis and sugar mills across the state. The announcement was made by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya at the Budget Session of State Assembly which commenced in Chandigarh.

 The aim of the move is to provide affordable and cheap meals to farmers and labourers at a concessional rate of Rs.10 per plate.25 Atal Kisan-Majdoor canteens will be established in 2020 in the state.

Banking and Economy

NCAER pegs GDP growth at 4.9% for current fiscal

• Delhi-based think tank National Council of Applied Economic Research (NCAER) has pegged the economic growth of India for 2019-20 at 4.9 percent.

• For 2020-21, the Indian economy is expected to improve to 5.6 percent.

Obituary

Former MP Krishna Bose passed away in Kolkata

• Academic-turned-politician, Krishna Bose, passed away in West Bengal due to cardiac arrest. She was 89 years old.

• She served as a Member of Parliament elected from the Jadavpur constituency in West Bengal as an All India Trinamool Congress (TMC) candidate.

Creator of LEGO Minifigure, Jens Nygaard Knudsen Passed Away

• Jens Nygaard Knudsen, the chief designer of the iconic Lego minifigure with interchangeable legs and torsos has passed away. He was 78-year old.

• Nygaard Knudsen was also responsible for developing some of Lego’s classic themes, such as Lego Space and Lego Pirates.

• The LEGO Group is a Danish toy production company located in Billund, Denmark.

Sports

India finishes with 20-medals in in Asian Wrestling Championships

• The 2020 Asian Wrestling Championships was held at the KD Jadhav Indoor Stadium, Indira Gandhi Arena, New Delhi from February 18 to February 23.

• China was not allowed to participate in the competition due to coronavirus outbreak.

• India won total 20 medals including 5 Gold, 6 Silver and 9 Bronze to be placed at third spot in the medal table.

• Japan stood first with 16 medals (8-4-4) while Iran was second with 17 medals (7-3-7).

• The Championship was held in three categories:

1. Men’s freestyle

2. Men’s Greco-Roman

3. Women’s freestyle

Appointments and Resignations

Rajalaxmi Deo re-elected as Rowing Federation of India President

• Mrs Rajlaxmi Singh Deo has been re-elected as the president of the Rowing Federation of India (RFI) on 22nd February 2020.

• Rowing Federation of India headquarter – Mumbai

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Important Current Affairs 17th February 2020

National

CDS Gen Bipin Rawat announces to create Peninsula Command

• Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat said on February 17, 2020, that the Navy is planning to form the Peninsula Command on the Eastern and Western Command.

• General Bipin Rawat was talking to the media. He said that India wants to establish two to five theater commands in the country. He clarified that IAF’s Air Defence Command will be released by the beginning of 2021 while peninsula command will be established soon.

• General Bipin Rawat said that a study has been ordered to start the Air Defence Command under the chairmanship of the Vice Chief of Air Force. It will be helpful in situations like aerial attacks.

Indian Railways zone becomes 1st in India to have energy-neutral stations

• Indian Railways takes a huge leap towards environmental sustainability. The Indian Railways South Central Railways (SCR) zone has become the first zonal railway in the country to have functional “energy neutral” railway stations on the network.

• The anticipated energy generation from these energy neutral stations is coming to be around 3 lakh units annually. The SCR zone expects that solar power generated at these stations will lead to savings of Rs 13 lakh per year.

• The total capacity of all the solar panels installed at the 13 energy neutral stations is 99 kWp

All India Conference of Central Administrative Tribunal 2020 held in New Delhi

• The annual All India Conference of the Central Administrative Tribunal (CAT) was held in New Delhi.

• The one day conference was attended by Judicial and Administrative Members from all 17 Benches of CAT from across the country, members of the CAT Bar Association and eminent Jurists, who deliberated on key issues related to the functioning of the Tribunal and priorities for 2020.

• The Conference was presided over by Union Minister for Law and Justice, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad.

Maharashtra starts first intercity electric bus service

• The first intercity electric bus service between Mumbai and Pune was started on February 14, 2020. Union Transport Minister Nitin Gadkari inaugurated this electric bus service.

• This bus has a seating capacity of 43 people. This bus can cover a distance of 300 km on a single charge.

• The Government of India will also start this type of bus service in other parts of Maharashtra. This bus will be run under the public-private partnership model.

International

India, Norway to strengthen bilateral cooperation to contain marine pollution

• Union Minister for Environment Forests and Climate Change Prakash Javadekar stated, the year 2020 will be a Super Year for Environment.

• He stated, India has initiated Ocean dialogue with Norway to address the problem of Marine Plastic litter. Both countries decided to strengthen the bilateral cooperation in the field of environment and climate change particularly in the field of marine pollution.

• Both countries discussed ways to ensure that the coming decade will be of rapid global action on the Environment. India and Norway have formed joint working groups on Blue economy with sustainable development.

Banking and Economy

DMart’s Radhakishan Damani is second richest man in India: Forbes

• Riding on the ongoing stock rally of Avenue Supermarts, founder Radhakishan Damani has become the second most richest in India, behind Reliance Industries’s Mukesh Ambani ($57.4 billion).

• According to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires Index, the total net worth of Damani is at $17.8 billion.

Moody’s lowers GDP growth rate for 2020 to 5.4 per cent

• Coronavirus dents optimism just as global economy was starting to show signs of stabilisation

• Amidst indications of the deadly coronavirus hitting global growth, international rating agency Moody’s Investors Service lowered the estimate for India’s economic growth rate for 2020 by 120 basis points (100 basis points make up one percentage point).

Sports

Koneru Humpy wins Cairns Cup chess tournament

• Grandmaster Koneru Humpy recorded another win in the Cairns Chess tournament. Humpy and Grand Master Drona Valli Harika drew in the ninth and final round in St. Louis, USA.

• Humpy scored six points and won the title. World champion Zu Wezun finished second with five and a half points Drona Valli Harika secured fifth place with four and a half points.

• She will get five ELO rating points that will take her to the second position in the world rankings. She became World Rapid Champion in December 2019.

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Important Current Affairs 5th February 2020

National

India’s biggest rural technical festival ‘Antahpragnya 2020’ held in Telangana

• Collector of Nirmal inaugurated National Level India’s Biggest Rural Technical Festival titled Antahpragnya 2020 in the state of Telangana at Rajiv Gandhi University of Knowledge Technologies-Basar (RGUKT-Basar).

• Rural areas cannot afford to miss the development bus. Most of the developments in the two lakh years have taken place in the last century.

• The fest showcases 300 prototypes, working models, exhibits and technologies such as automatic switch for water, homemade electricity, smoke absorber, automatic street lighting system, smart dustbins, zero budget farming, automatic irrigation and others.

India hosts Defence dialogue between India and South Korea

• Ministerial-level Defence dialogue between India and South Korea was held in New Delhi today. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and Minister of National Defence of South Korea Jeong Kyeong-doo held the meeting.

• The theme of DefExpo-2020 in Lucknow is ‘Digital Transformation of Defence’ and India and South Korea recognize the influence of Artificial Intelligence and digital technology in defence sector.

Indian Government unveils new vaccine to control classical swine fever

• The government of India unveiled a new indigenously developed vaccine for controlling classical swine fever (CSF). CSF is a highly contagious fatal pig disease.

• The new vaccine, developed by Uttar Pradesh-based Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR)-Indian Veterinary Research Institute (IVRI), will be much cheaper than the existing one.

 Banking and Economy

Union Cabinet Approves Amendments to Banking Regulation Act to regulate co-operative banks

• The Union Cabinet has given its approval to bring cooperative banks under the regulatory mechanism of Reserve Bank of India.

• The cabinet approved amendments to the Banking Regulation Act on February 5, 2020, thus allowing multi-state cooperative banks to come under the regulation of the RBI.

• The announcement was made by Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadkar after a cabinet meeting.

• The 1,540 cooperative banks with 8.6 crore depositors’ money, with around Rs. 5 lakh crore deposits in the country and the proposed amendment will protect the depositors.

• a. The Banking Regulation Act, 1949 is legislation in India that regulates all banking firms.

b. Shaktikanta Das is the 25th governor of the Reserve Bank of India.

Union Govt plans to raise funds through LIC IPO

• Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman that union government plans to sell a partial stake in LIC through IPO or an initial public offer.

• The union budget she proposed that the government will sell its stake in IDBI Bank to private investors and also amend the Banking Regulation Act to strengthen co-op banks.

• The finance minister that the deposit insurance coverage against bank failure will be increased to Rs 5 lakh from Rs 1 lakh.

• She proposed to expand exchange-traded funds by floating a Debt ETF, consisting primarily of government securities.

LIC: Life Insurance Corporation of India is an Indian state-owned insurance group and investment corporation owned by the Government of India. The Life Insurance Corporation of India was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the insurance industry in India.

Headquarters: Mumbai

Owner: Government of India (100%)

Founder: Government of India

Founded: 1 September 1956

Awards

Vinod Shukla bags first Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award

• Noted Hindi poet-novelist and Sahitya Akademi honouree Vinod Kumar Shukla has bagged the inaugural Mathrubhumi Book of the Year award for his translated book “Blue Is Like Blue“.

• The stories in “Blue Is Like Blue”, translated into English by Arvind Krishna Mehrotra and Sara Rai, deal with common people and their daily struggles.

Obituary

Veteran Odia poet Rabi Singh passes away

• Renowned Odia poet Rabi Singh passed away. He was 89.

• The revolutionary poet had received many awards for his contribution to Odia literature.

• He received Atibadi Jagannath Das Samman in the year 2017.

Sports

Sourav Ganguly will be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020

• The recently appointed BCCI President, Sourav Ganguly has been invited by the Indian Olympic Association to be the 'Goodwill Ambassador' of India in the Tokyo Olympic Games 2020.

•  Sourav Ganguly, known in his hometown as the Prince of Calcutta is one of the most respected sports icons in the entire country

Appointment

Amitabh Bhatt the New CEO (Bangalore Complex) at HAL

• Amitabh Bhatt has taken over as Chief Executive Officer of Bengaluru-headquartered safeguard PSU, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited’s Bangalore Complex.

• Prior, he was serving as Executive Director of Light Utility Helicopter (LUH) venture in HAL.

• Bhatt is a Post Graduate in Management and earlier served in SKF India Limited for a long time before joining Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.

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Important Current Affairs 25th January 2020

National

India’s First War Memorial for Service Animals to come up in Meerut, Uttar Pradesh

•The Government of India has planned to set up a first-of-its-kind war memorial for service animals in Meerut city of Uttar Pradesh.

•The memorial will be set up at the army’s specialized breeding, rearing and training centre for animals: the Remount and Veterinary Corps (RVC) Centre and College in Meerut.

•It will be similar to the National War Memorial in Delhi, but on smaller scale.

•India’s first war memorial for animals including dogs, horses and mules will be dedicated to the contributions and heroics of animals who lost their lives in counter-insurgency operations in Kashmir and in the battlefield during the Kargil War, while helping the Army.

India & Brazil Signs 15 Pacts to Boost Strategic Ties

• President of Brazil Jair Messias Bolsonaro arrived in New Delhi on 24 January 2020 on four-day state visit to India.

• He is also the chief guest at the 2020 Republic Day of India celebrations.

• Brazilian President Jair Messias Bolsonaro and Prime Minister Narendra Modi inked 15 agreements on 25 January to boost cooperation in a wide range of areas between the two countries.

• List of MoUs Signed Include:

1) MoU on Bioenergy Cooperation

2) MoU for Cooperation in the field of Oil and Natural Gas

3) Investment Cooperation and Facilitation Treaty 

4) Agreement on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters

5) MoU in the field of Early Childhood

6) MoU on Cooperation in the field of Health and Medicine

7) MoU in the field of Traditional Systems of Medicine and Homeopathy.

8) Cultural Exchange Programme for the period 2020-2024

9) Agreement on Social Security

10) MoU on Cooperation between the Indian Computer Emergency Response Team (CERT-In), Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology (MEITY) of India and the General Coordination of Network Incident Treatment Centre, Department of Information Security, Institutional Security, Cabinet of the Presidency of Brazil (CGCTIR/DSI/GSI) on cooperation in the area of Cyber Security

11) Programme of Scientific and Technological Cooperation for implementing the agreement on scientific and technological cooperation for the period 2020-2023

12) MoU on Cooperation in the field of Geology and Mineral Resources

13) MoU between Invest India and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency

14) Joint Declaration of Intent (DoI) for Cooperation in the fields of Animal Husbandry and Dairying

15) MoU for establishing a nodal institution in India to carry out research on Bioenergy

CJI S.A. Bobde Inaugurates All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal in New Delhi

• The Chief Justice of India, Justice S.A. Bobde, inaugurated the All India Members’ Conference of the Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) in New Delhi on 24 January 2020.

• The two day event was held as a part of the 79th Foundation Day Celebrations of ITAT.

• India’s Income Tax Appellate Tribunal (ITAT) was set up on 25 January 1941.

• ITAT functions under the Department of Legal Affairs in the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Banking and Economy

World Bank Approves USD 210 Million Loan for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project

• The Government of India and the Government of Maharashtra has signed a USD 210 million loan agreement with the World Bank. The loan agreement has been signed for Maharashtra Agribusiness and Rural Transformation Project.

• The USD 210 million loan will be funded by the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD), having a 6-year grace period with a maturity period of 13.5 years.

Switzerland Mints World’s Smallest Gold Coin; Features Albert Einstein

• In Switzerland, State-owned Swissmint has minted world’s smallest gold coin measuring 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).

• The coin features the image of Albert Einstein sticking out his tongue.

• Swissmint has minted just 999 such coins.

• The size of the coin is 2.96-millimeter (0.12-inches).It weighs 0.063 grams (1/500th of an ounce).

• The coin has a nominal value of 1/4 Swiss francs (USD 0.26).

• It will be sold for 199 francs, along with a special magnifying glass so that owners can see the famous physicist on its face.

SUMMITS AND MOU’S

Election Commission of India to sign MoU with EC of Tunisia and Papua New Guinea

• The Election Commission of India has received the approval from the Union Cabinet to sign Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Papua New Guinea Electoral Commission and Independent High Authority for Elections of Tunisia. The MoU aims to enhance the cooperation in the field of electoral management and administration.

• The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has also approved the agreements in the field of mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters, cooperation in the field of early childhood care, oil and natural gas, and Geology and Mineral Resources between India and Brazil.

Ranking

India celebrates National Voters’ Day on 25th January

• In India, the National Voters’ Day is celebrated on 25 January every year in a bid to encourage more young voters to take part in the political process.

• The day is being observed since 2011 to mark the foundation day of Election Commission of India (ECI), formed on 25 January 1950, to overlook the smooth running of elections in India

• The theme of National Voters’ Day 2020 is ‘Electoral Literacy for a Stronger Democracy.’

National Tourism Day: 25 January

• The National Tourism Day is celebrated on 25th January in India every year to raise awareness about the importance of tourism for the country’s economy.

• The Indian government established the National Tourism Day to cultivate awareness among the global community on the importance of tourism and to demonstrate how it affects social, political, financial, cultural worth and economic values worldwide.

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Important Current Affairs 22nd January 2020

National 


Supreme Court forms committee to draft mediation law

•    The Supreme Court has set up a committee to firm up draft legislation to give legal sanctity to disputes settled through mediation. The panel, to be headed by mediator Niranjan Bhat.
•    The other members of the panel, appointed by the Mediation and Project Conciliation Committee (MCPC) of the Supreme Court, included Justice K Kanan, former ASGs AS Chandok and PS Narsimha, senior advocates Sriram Panchu and JP Singh, and senior mediators Susheela S, Sadhna Ramchandran, Laila Ollapally, and Anil Xavier.
•    Chief Justice of India: Sharad Arvind Bobde; Founded: 28th January 1950.

UP Govt launches Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana
•    Uttar Pradesh Government has launched Mukhyamantri Krishak Durghatna Kalyan Yojana. This scheme will provide financial assistance to the family of farmers who die or become handicapped while working in fields.
•    government has also decided to implement Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana to boost tourism in state. under Mukhyamantri Paryatan Samvardhan Yojana one tourist point will be developed with a fund of 50 lakh rupees in each and every assembly segment of the state.

Coronavirus Triggers Fear in India: All You Need to Know
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The deadly spread of Coronavirus in China has caused panic in surrounding countries including India and Bangladesh. 
•    The Indian government has issued an advisory to people travelling to and from China.
•    Proper checking is being undertaken for those coming from China. The deadly virus was first detected in Wuhan, China.


International


Greece elects Katerina Sakellaropoulou as first female President
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Katerina Sakellaropoulou has been elected as the first woman President of Greece. She received majority votes cutting across party lines. 
•    She will succeed Prokopis Pavlopoulos and will be the first President who does not belong to any party. 
•    She has also Greece’s traditional norm of men mostly taking senior government positions. 


World Economic Forum 2020: US joins One Trillion Trees initiative, Greta Thunberg says emissions have to stop
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US President Donald Trump affirmed during the first day of the 50th World Economic Forum that the United States harbours the cleanest air and drinking water on Earth.
•    He also announced that the US will be joining the One Billion Trees initiative and continue to work towards restoring and growing forests and trees. 


Banking and Economy

Telecom department approves FDI limit in Bharti Airtel to 100%

•    The Telecom department of India has approved the Bharti Airtel Ltd to increase Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in the company to 100%. 
•    The approval from the Telecom department will enable Singtel or Singapore Telecommunications Ltd to increase its stake in Bharti Airtel Ltd. Singapore Telecommunications Ltd currently owns 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.
•    Bharti Telecom is the single-largest shareholder in Bharti Airtel with about a 41% stake while Singtel owns 48% in Bharti Telecom, which provides it a 35% stake in Bharti Airtel.

RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops
•    On January 15, 2020 India’s central bank i.e., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad after it purchased 25.2 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2019 according to World Gold Council(WGC) report titled “Outlook 2020: Global economic trends and their impact on gold”. 
•    The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland have purchased more gold than India in 2019.

Sports

Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik inducted in AlCS

•    Celebrated wrestler Yogeshwar Dutt and Paralympian Deepa Malik are among the new inductees in the government's All India Council of Sports (AICS).
•    It is an advisory body to the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports which was formed in 2015 by the  then Sports Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
•    Its term has also been extended by three years and it will continue to be led by veteran sports administrator V K Malhotra as President.
•    Some other renowned new entrants in the Council are former shooter Anjali Bhagwat, footballer Renedy Singh, and mountaineer Bachendri Pal. Senior India off-spinner Harbhajan Singh has also been inducted in the council. 


 

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