• Current Affair, 7th March 2020



    1. Notification issued for the Rajya Sabha elections


    • The notification for the biennial Rajya Sabha elections has been issued today. The election for 55 seats of Rajya Sabha from 17 states will be held on 26th of this month.
    • Nominations can be filed till 13th and scrutiny of nominations will be done on the 16th. The last date for withdrawal of candidatures is 18th of this month. Counting will be held on the same day an hour after the conclusion of polls.
    • Maximum seven seats are falling vacant in the Maharashtra followed by six seats in Tamil Nadu. Five seats each are falling vacant in Bihar and West Bengal and Four seats each in Odisha, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. Three seats each from Assam, Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh and Two seats each from Telangana, Haryana, Chaattisgarh and Jharkhand will also go to the polls.
    • One seat each from Himachal Pradesh, Manipur and Meghalaya will go to polls.


    1. Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been one of the biggest achievements towards women empowerment : Dharmendra Pradhan


    • Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan has said that Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana (PMUY) has been one of the biggest achievements towards women empowerment.
    • Speaking at a workshop in New Delhi today on PMUY, Mr Pradhan said in the last five years, the LPG coverage has increased from 55 per cent to over 97 per cent. He said, the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana has acted as one of the biggest catalyst of socio-economic change in the status of women in the country.
    • Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana(PMUY) was launched by Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi on 1 May 2016 to distribute 50 million LPG connections to women of BPL families.
    • A budgetary allocation of ₹800 billion (US$11 billion) was made for the scheme. In the first year of its launch, the connections distributed were 22 million against the target of 15 million. As of 23 October 2017, 30 million connections were distributed, 44% of which were given to families belonging to scheduled castes and scheduled tribes.
    • The number crossed 58 million by December 2018In 2018 Union Budget of India, its scope was widened to include 80 million poor households.21,000 awareness camps were conducted by oil marketing companies (OMC).
    • The scheme led to an increase in LPG consumption by 56% in 2019 as compared to 2014
    • The highly popular scheme has benefited over 14.6 million BPL families in Uttar Pradesh, 8.8 million in West Bengal, 8.5 million in Bihar, 7.1 million in Madhya Pradesh and 6.3 million in Rajasthan.[8] However, while access to LPG gas stoves and cylinders has increased in the scheme, the use of LPG cylinders remains low.







    1. Sri L ankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa calls for a two-third majority at the upcoming Parliamentary election


    • Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa has called for a two-third majority at the upcoming Parliamentary election saying that people of this country elected him with great expectations. Interacting with local media heads in Colombo last evening, the President said in order to fulfill their aspirations, there should be an environment where the President could function without any obstruction.
    • He said that the 19th amendment to the constitution had taken away that freedom and questioned the meaning of a constitution if the same constitution prevents a President elected by the people. President said the ‘Independent’ Commissions should truly be independent and commissions established under the 19th Amendment do not meet this criterion.    His comments came as 19th amendment brought by previous government has put a check on President in several areas.   President said the Geneva resolution of UNHRC is a challenge to the nation’s independence and dignity.
    • He said this is the only time in the history a country acknowledged that their own security forces have committed war crimes and it was necessary to withdraw from the co-sponsorship. Mr. Gotabaya said they must get to the root of the problem adding Uma Maheswaran started his political campaign by agitating over economic grievances. He said  this truth was concealed and separatism raised its head. Sri Lankan government withdrew from UNHRC resolution last week which was co-sponsored by previous government with an aim to address war crimes and address accountability issues.


    1. coronavirus death toll surges


    • In Iran, the total number of COVID-19 cases has reached 3,513, while the death toll from the infection has risen to 107, Health Minister Saeed Namaki
    • The French health ministry reported today two more deaths from coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total to six, and 92 new cases
    • According to the Saudi Ministry of Health, laboratory results have confirmed that a married couple and one another person have tested positive for COVID-19.
    • The Saudi health ministry added that a Saudi national coming from Iran via Bahrain had also contracted the virus. The new cases bring the total number of COVID-19 cases in Saudi Arabia to five, the ministry noted.


    1. UK court rejects Nirav Modi’s bail plea in PNB fraud case for 5th time



    • A UK court has rejected fugitive diamond merchant Nirav Modi’s bail plea in Punjab National Bank (PNB) bank fraud case for the fifth time.
    • Nirav was remanded to custody till March 24, 2020, after he appeared before a UK court yesterday via video link from his London prison.
    • Nirav Modi, the prime accused in 2 billion Dollar PNB fraud, is currently lodged at Wandsworth prison in south-west London. He was arrested in March last year by Scotland Yard in connection with the case. His five-day extradition trial is due to begin on May 11.



    1. WHO urges governments across globe to step up fight against COVID-19 outbreak


    • World Health Organisation (WHO) has urged governments across the globe to step-up their fight against Novel Coronavirus-COVID-19.
    • WHO Chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said that it is high time to act strongly towards containing the outbreak as it is spreading 17 times faster outside China.
    • He also pointed out that several nations are not taking requisite measures to contain the virus. It has claimed over 3,300 lives and infected more than 98,000 people world over.



    1. BIMSTEC charter to be ready for adoption at next biennial summit meeting



    • BIMSTEC charter will be ready for adoption at its next biennial summit meeting scheduled to be held in Colombo later this year.
    • This was informed by BIMSTEC Secretary General Mohammad Shahidu Islam during his meeting with Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa last evening.
    • During the meeting, the two sides discussed possible dates for holding the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in Colombo.
    • The Secretary General said that he is grateful to Sri Lanka because it is under this period that BIMSTEC was able to finalize its charter. Sri Lanka is serving as chair of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) from 2018 to 2020.
    • During the upcoming summit, an agreement on cooperation in addressing criminal matters and another on cooperation between diplomatic training institutions are expected to be signed. A third agreement would establish a BIMSTEC technology transfer facility in Colombo. Other sectors to enhance cooperation in the Bay of Bengal region were also discussed, including sharing of intelligence, inter-regional trade, combating drug trafficking and promoting tourism.
    • Colombo hosted a meeting of senior officials from member countries earlier this week where sectoral priorities and programs were finalized.
    • Under the rationalizing of the sector, Sri Lanka will be the lead country for science, technology and innovation, India on security, Bangladesh will lead Trade and Investment, Bhutan on Environment and Climate Change, Myanmar on Agriculture and Food Security, Nepal on People-to-People Contact and Thailand on Connectivity.BIMSTEC was established in 1997 and comprises of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. The Secretariat is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh. The first Summit was held in 2004.





    1. Indian Archery team pulls out of Asia Cup world ranking tournament



    • The Archery Association of India (AAI) has pulled out its team from the upcoming Asia Cup world ranking tournament in Bangkok scheduled from March 8 to 15 owing to the coronavirus threat there.
    • This would have been India’s first international competition since their return from a five-month suspension in January which was lifted after the AAI’s election.
    • AAI Assistant Secretary Gunjan Abrol in a letter to World Archery Secretary informed India’s decision to withdraw after reviewing the current alarming situation on account of coronavirus and taking into consideration the travel advisories issued by Sports Authority of India and IOC.



    1. Story of Khushboo Kumari an international handball player


    • Story of Khushboo Kumari an international handball player from Nawada district of Bihar is source great inspiration for girls who belong to rural area. She is first player of handball from Bihar who got selected for National team.
    • Despite all odds Khushboo Kumari has successfully completed her sports journey and became captain of Bihar State Handball team. Talking about her sports journey Khusboo told AIR that supportive role of her Father and Mother helped a lot to excel at such height. She says now girls from rural parts of the state particularly of Nawada are inspired from her and they have become aspiring player of handball.
    • On this year’s International Women’s Day Khusboo hopes that  the more talent will come forward on sports horizon which seems to be real forum of women empowerment.


    1. Davis Cup: India to take on Croatia


    • In Tennis, Team India will take on Team Croatia in the first round of the Davis Cup Qualifiers’ 2020 at Zagreb today. In Single’s, India’s  132nd ranked Prajnesh Gunneswaran will take on 277th ranked Borna Gojo followed by 182nd ranked Ramkumar Ramanathan challenging the former world No. 3 Marin Cilic who had helped Croatia win the trophy in 2018.
    • ​In the doubles, Team India comprising veteran Leander Paes and Rohan Bopanna will take on the Croatian duo Mate Pavic and Franko Skugor. After having defeated Pakistan in the Asia-Oceania Group Qualifiers, India secured a match-up with Croatia as they seek a spot in the World Group of the Davis Cup Finals that will take place in November.


    1. Boxing Olympic Qualifiers: Ashish Kumar,Manish Kaushik and Sachin Kumar advance into the quarterfinals



    • In Boxing, Ashish Kumar (75kg), Manish Kaushik (63 Kg) and  Sachin Kumar (81kg) advance into the quarterfinals of  Asia/Oceania Olympic Qualifiers in Amman yesterday.  All  of them, now need one more win to secure their Tokyo Olympic tickets.
    • Asian Championships silver medallist Ashish Kumar (75kg) knocked out the fourth seed Bekzhigit Uulu Omurbek of Kyrgyzstan 5-0 while World Championships bronze medallist Manish Kaushik beat  Chinese Taipei’s Lai Chu-En by the same scoreline to move into the quarter-finals. Sachin Kumar (81kg)  thrashed Samoa’s Ioapa Dee by 5-0.
    • Ashish will next face Indonesia’s Maikhel Roberrd Muskita  while Manish Kaushik (63kg) next faces third seed and Asian Games silver medallist Chinzorig Baatarsukh of Mongolia for a place in the semifinals.
    • Commonwealth Games gold medallist Vikas Krishan (69kg) and Commonwealth Games bronze medallist Naman Tanwar (91kg) will start their quest.



    1. Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2019 


    • World champion shuttler PV Sindhu was today named Sportsperson of the Year at the fourth Times of India Sports Awards (TOISA) 2019  in New Delhi.
    • Rio Olympic silver medallist Sindhu, who won the world championship gold at Basel, Switzerland, last year also bagged the Unbreakable Spirit of Sports award.
    • Former India football captain Bhaichung Bhutia was given the Lifetime Achievement award, while hockey legend and three-time Olympic gold medallist Balbir Singh Sr was honoured with the Icon of the Century award.
    • National badminton coach Pulella Gopichand won the Mentor of the Year award, while former shooter Jaspal Rana was recognised as the Coach of the Year.
    • Sindhu bagged a hat-trick of awards when she was named as the Badminton Player of the Year in female category, while B Sai Praneeth got the recognition among male shuttlers.
    • India’s first world championship silver medallist pugilist Amit Phanghal won the recognition among male box     ers while Lovlina Borgohain bagged the award among female boxers.


    1. Sports Authority of India announces first edition of Khelo India Women’s Hockey League Under-21

    • Sports Authority of India, in association with Hockey India today announced the first edition of the Khelo India Women’s Hockey League Under-21.
    • It will be organized by Hockey India at three different venues in three phases between March to November.
    • While phase one will be held from 23rd to 29th of this month at the Major Dhyan Chand National Stadium in New Delhi, the second phase will be held from 13th to 19th at the SAI Centre in Bengaluru, followed by the final one from 22nd to 29th November at the Kalinga Stadium in Bhubaneswar.



    1. Sakshi Chaudhary advances to quarters of boxing’s Asian Olympic Qualifiers



    • Indian woman boxer Sakshi Chaudhary entered the quarterfinals of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers in 57 kg category in Amman, Jordan, today. Sakshi who is a junior world champion, stunned Asian silver-medallist and fourth seed Nilawan Techasuep of Thailand to make it to the quarterfinals.
    • Two-time youth world champion, Sakshi prevailed in a split verdict. She will next be up against Korea’s Im Aeji on Monday. Making the semifinals would assure Sakshi of a spot in the Tokyo Olympics scheduled in July-August this year.
    • The seasoned duo of Gaurav Solanki and Ashish Kumar advanced to the pre-quarterfinals of the men’s draw. Ashish will square off against Kyrgyzstan’s Omurbek Bekzhigit Uulu in 75 kg division while Solanki will be up against top-seeded Uzbek Mirazizbek Mirzakhalilov in the 57 kg category.


    1. Panghal gets top billing for Asian Olympic Qualifiers, Mary Kom seeded second among women



    • World silver-medallist Amit Panghal in the 52-kilogram category has been given the top billing in the men’s competition while the iconic M C Mary Kom in 51 kg seeded second in the women’s event of the Asian Olympic Qualifiers for boxing starting at Amman in Jorden.
    • Eight men and five women from India will be aiming to secure Tokyo Olympics berths at the continental event being conducted by the International Olympic Committee’s (IOC) Boxing Task Force.
    • While Panghal is the lone Indian man to be seeded, two-time world bronze-medallist Lovlina Borgohain in 69 kg and Pooja Rani in 75 kg category have been seeded second and fourth in the women’s competition.
    • The Indian team arrived in Jordan on Friday last week after a training stint in Assisi, Italy, a country battling the Novel Coronavirus outbreak which has claimed over 3,000 lives across the world since being discovered in Wuhan, China.
    • The tournament has 63 quota places on offer and a boxer will be assured for a Tokyo ticket on reaching the semifinals stage. In some weight categories, depending on the size of the draw, there could be box-offs between losing quarter-finalists to decide the Olympic berths.





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