• Current Affairs, 18th January 2020

    • January 25, 2020
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    NATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. Prime Minister addresses at the international conclave on “Globalizing Indian Thought “at Kozhikode through video conference.

     

    • Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi today unveiled a life size statue of Swami Vivekananda at IIM Kozhikode through video conference.
    • He was participating in the international conclave on “Global Indian Thought” that is being organised by IIM Kozhikode.
    • Addressing the gathering the Prime Minister said, “Indian thought is vibrant and diverse.  It is constant and evolving. It is too vast to be put in a lecture or a seminar or even books. But, broadly, there are certain ideals that have remained central to Indian values. They are- compassion, harmony, justice, service and openness”.
    • Peace, Harmony & Brotherhood
    • Referring to what draws the world to India, the Prime Minister said, “First and foremost, what comes to the mind is- the virtues of peace, unity and brotherhood. “
    • He said because of harmony and peace our civilization prospered and survived where many have failed.
    • “So many states. So many languages. So many dialects. So many faiths. So many customs and traditions. So many food habits. So many lifestyles. So many ways of dressing. Yet, for centuries we have lived in peace. For centuries we have welcomed the world to our land. Our civilization has prospered when many could not. Why? Because one finds peace and harmony here.”
    • He said our strengths is that our thoughts have become living traditions guided by simplified and relatable practices.
    • “These practices are neither rigid nor unidimensional. Their beauty lies in the fact that they can be practiced differently,” he said.
    • He said India is land that gave vibrant faiths such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism and Sikhism.
    • “In this land the Sufism flourished”, he said.
    • Saying that Non-Violence is at the core of all these, he said Mahatma Gandhi “championed these ideals” that led to India’s freedom.
    • “The Indian way of conflict avoidance is not by brute force but the power of dialogue,” he said.
    • Love for Environment:
    • “When I say India believes in peace and harmony, this includes harmony with Mother Nature and our environment, “he said.
    • Prime said the traces of this spirit can be seen in several steps being taken now.
    • He said India led the world in forming the “International Solar Alliance, to harness solar energy for a cleaner tomorrow.”
    • Prime Minister said in the last 5 years 36 Crore LED  bulbs were distributed and over 1 Crore Street lights replaced with LED making a saving of Rs 25000 Crore and reducing CO2 emissions by 4 Crore Tonnes.
    • Protecting the Tiger and the Lion
    • He said India’s tiger population doubled since 2006. “Today, India is home to almost 2970 tigers. Three quarters of the world’s tiger population stays in India. We are one of the most secure tiger habitats. Back in 2010, the world had agreed to double tiger population by 2022. We achieved it way in advance” he said.
    • Similarly the lion population has grown up 30% from 2010 to 2015, he said.
    • Increasing Forest Cover
    • Prime Minister also pointed out that the country’s forest cover is growing.
    • “The number of protected areas stood at 692 in 2014. This increased to more than 860 in 2019. There were 43 community reserves in 2014. Now, there are over 100. These facts are drawing many environment and wildlife lovers to India”.
    • Welfare of Women
    • Prime Minister said, “One of the most remarkable aspects of this land is the respect, importance and dignity given to women. Women are manifestation of divinity.”
    • He lauded the efforts of the Bhakti saints, Raja Ram Mohun Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Mahatma Phule and Savitri Bai Phule in this direction.
    • Prime Minister said Indian constitution gave voting rights to women from the very first day even as western countries took centuries to do so.
    • He said, “today, more than seventy percent of Mudra loan beneficiaries are women.
    • Women are making an activecontribution to our armed forces. A group of women navy officers went around the entire world by sea! That was historic. India has the highest number of women MPs today.  Women turnout in the 2019 Lok Sabha polls was highest”.
    • Celebration of Openness
    • Prime Minister said that India celebrates openness. Where there is openness, respect for different opinions, innovation is natural. The innovative zeal of Indians is drawing the world to India. He said that Indian thought has given a lot to the world and has the potential to contribute even more. It has the potential to solve some of the most leading challenges our planet faces, he concluded

     

    1. Sardar Patel’s Statue of Unity place in ‘8 Wonders of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’

     

     

    • The 182-meter tall Statue of Unity in Gujarat has been included in the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation’s ‘8 Wonders of SCO’ list. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in October 2018 on the occasion of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s 143rd birth anniversary.
    • Among the eight wonders Daming Palace in China, Navruz Palace in Tajikistan, Mughals Heritage in Pakistan, Tamgaly Gorge in Kazakhstan, Po-i-Kalan Complex in Uzbekistan, The Golden Ring of Russia and Kyrgyzstan’s Issyk Kul..
    • The Statue of Unityin Gujarat,India has been included in the SCO’s “8 wonders of SCO” list.
    • India’s membership with SCO: India became a member of the SCO at the SCO summit held in Astana (now renamed as Nur-sultan), Kazakhstan in the year 2017 along with Pakistan. Before becoming a member of SCO, India was granted with the observer status from 2005.
    • SCO members:The members of the SCO include China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, and Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan. Thus there totally 8 member nations of SCO

     

     

     

     

    1. 19th edition of ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ exercise

               

     

    • the Japan Coast Guard (JCG) Ship ‘Echigo PLH08’has arrived Chennai on a five-day goodwill visit and it will participate in the 19th edition of Annual Joint Exercise ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ which will be begin on January 16, 2020 with the Indian Coast Guard (ICG) off in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
    • Admiral Takahiro Okushima, Commandant, Japan Coast Guard and Director General (DG) Krishnaswamy Natarajan, DG of Indian Coast Guard will witness the 19th edition of ‘Sahyog-Kaijin’ exercise.
    • It is aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties and mutual understanding between the two Coast Guards and to enhance interoperability in communication and Search and Rescue procedures and sharing of best practices.
    • First edition of ‘Sahyog- Kaijin’ exercise between two coast guards took place in 2000.
    • Four Indian Coast Guard Ships, their aircraft and a vessel from National Institute of Ocean Technology will be participating along with Japan Coast Guard Ship.
    • Activities like Official calls, reciprocal visit Onboard ships, sporting, cultural interactions and professional interactions between personnel of both the Coast Guards will take part in the exercise.

     

    1. 6th IDA meeting

                 

     

     

    • the Union Minister of Home Affairs (MoHA) Shri Amit Shahchaired the 6th meeting of Island Development Agency (IDA) in New Delhi. During the meeting progress made towards “Holistic development of islands” were reviewed. It is also for the first time in India, under the IDA’s guidance an initiative of sustainable development has been undertaken with scientific assessments.

    26 islands selected to promote tourism:
    A total of 26 islands i.e, 16 from Andaman and Nicobar Islands and 10 from Lakshadweep islands have been identified for promoting tourism.

    • Digital connectivity by June 2020:In order to strengthen the infrastructure improving air, sea and digital connectivity are also being implemented. Port Blair (Andaman & Nicobar) and 7 islands of Andaman & Nicobar will be digitally connected through submarine optical fibre cable by June, 2020.
    • Communication services:  Information Technology (IT) based and other Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in the islands would be set up through Lakshadweep and Andaman & Nicobar Islands Industrial Development Scheme (LANIDS), 2018 notified on 1st January, 2019.
    • Airport development in Great Nicobar Island of Andaman & Nicobar and Minicoy Island of Lakshadweep have been proposed

     

    1. India’s communication satellite GSAT-30 launched successfully

     

     

     

    • India’s  latest  communication  satellite  GSAT-30  was  successfully  launched  from the  Spaceport  in  French  Guiana  during  the  early  hours  today. The  launch  vehicle  Ariane  5  VA-251  lifted  off  from  Kourou  Launch  Base,  French Guiana  at  2:35  am  IST  carrying  India’s  GSAT-30  and  EUTELSAT  KONNECT  for Eutelsat,  as  scheduled.
    • After  a  flight  lasting  38  minutes  25  seconds,  GSAT-30  separated  from  the Ariane  5  upper  stage  in  an  elliptical  Geosynchronous  Transfer  Orbit.
    • With  a  lift-off  mass  of  3357  kg,  GSAT-30  will  provide  continuity  to  operational services  on  some  of  the  in-orbit  satellites.  GSAT-30  derives  its  heritage  from ISRO’s  earlier INSAT/GSAT  satellite  series  and  will  replace  INSAT-4A  in  orbit.
    • “GSAT-30  has  a  unique  configuration  of  providing  flexible  frequency  segments and  flexible  coverage.    The  satellite  will  provide  communication  services  to Indian  mainland  and  islands  through  Ku-band  and  wide  coverage  covering  Gulf countries,  a  large  number  of  Asian  countries  and  Australia  through  C-band” ISRO Chairman  Dr K Sivan  said. Dr.  Sivan  also  said  that  “GSAT-30  will  provide  DTH  Television  Services, connectivity  to  VSATs  for  ATM,  Stock-exchange,  Television  uplinking  and Teleport  Services,  Digital  Satellite  News  Gathering  (DSNG)  and  e-governance applications.  The  satellite  will  also  be  used  for  bulk  data  transfer  for  a  host  of emerging  telecommunication  applications.”
    • ISRO’s  Master  Control  Facility  (MCF)  at  Hassan  in  Karnataka  took  over  the command  and  control  of  GSAT-30  immediately  after  its  separation  from  the launch  vehicle.  Preliminary  health  checks  of  the  satellite  revealed  its  normal health.
    • In  the  days  ahead,  orbit-raising  manoeuvres  will  be  performed  to  place  the satellite  in  Geostationary  Orbit  (36,000  km  above  the  equator)  by  using  its  onboard  propulsion  system.   During  the  final  stages  of  its  orbit  raising  operations,  the  two  solar  arrays  and  the antenna  reflectors  of  GSAT-30  will  be  deployed.    Following  this,  the  satellite  will be  put  in  its  final  orbital  configuration.    The  satellite  will  be  operational  after  the successful  completion  of  all  in-orbit  tests.

     

    1. MoU with RailTel for Phase 2 execution of e-office

                         

     

    • Indian Railways signs Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with  RailTel, a miniratna Public Sector Undertaking (PSU) under the Ministry of Railways for Phase 2 project of e-office execution. Under this project, RailTel will register 39,000 users over 34 divisions on National Informatics Centre (NIC) e-office platform by June 30, 2020.
    • MoU was signed by Executive Director (ED/TD), Railway Board, Shri Umesh Balonda, and General Manager (GM)/Information Technology (IT) project/RailTel, Smt. Haritima Jaipuriar.
    • Under the Phase 1 execution of e-office, RailTel trained more than 50,000 users in 58 divisions of Indian Railways.
    • e-office is a paperless culture which helps to reduce the operational cost and carbon footprints. Thus 58 units of Indian Railways became paperless under Phase 1 execution of e-office.
    • NIC e-office  is a cloud enabled software based on Central Secretariat Manual of e-Office Procedure (CSMeOP). It contains four modules namely File Management System (eFile), Knowledge Management System (KMS), Collaboration & Messaging Services (CAMS) and Personnel Information Management System (PIMS).
    • Participants: Chairman, Railway Board, Shri Vinod Kumar Yadav, Member S&T, Railway Board, Shri Pradeep Kumar, CMD, RailTel, Shri Puneet Chawla and other senior officials of Railways and RailTel.

     

    1. 11-member panel headed by K. Rajeswara Rao to chair royalty rate issues on minerals

                         

     

     

    • the centre has decided to set up an 11-member panelthat will look into the issues related to revision of royalty rates for minerals (other than coal, lignite, sand for stowing and minor minerals). The panel will be headed by additional secretary of the mines ministry  K. Rajeswara Rao. Mines secretaries from states of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh and Odisha will be the members of the panel.
    • Report submission:The members will have to submit the report within 1 month to the Mines ministry after examining the issues raised by stakeholders.
    • Previously in February 2018, the mines ministry had set up a study group to revise royalty rates and dent rent for minerals. The group submitted its report in July 2019.

     

    1. India’s under-5 mortality of girls exceeds that of boys: UN Child Mortality report 

    • the United Nations(UN) inter agency group for child mortality has produced a report titled “Levels and Trends in Child Mortality”. As per this report India is among 5 countries where in 2018, the mortality of girls underthe age of 5 exceeds that of the boys. Half of all under-5 deaths in 2018 occurred in the following five countries: India, Nigeria, Pakistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo(DRC) and Ethiopia.
    • Gender gaps:Considering overall states and Union Territories(UTs), Jharkhand, Bihar and Uttarakhand showed largest gender gaps in under-5 age mortality.
    • India and Nigeriaalone accounted for about 1/3rd of under 5 age deaths.
    • Highest newborn deaths:Considering the burden of child mortality, Uttar Pradesh highest number of newborn deaths in India as per information released by UNICEF(United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund). This is because of the high neonatal mortality rate and because of the large cohort of births.
    • Madhya Pradeshwitness highest under 5 mortality while the least was witnessed in Kerala.
    • India’s 2017 SRS:As per 2017 Sample Registration System (SRS), Indian states of Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, with 32, 33 and 30 neonatal deaths per 1,000 live births, respectively, had the highest burden of neonatal mortality.
    • India’s neonatal mortality rate is 23 per 1,000 live births.

     

    Si.No Category  State 
    1 State with largest gender gap Jharkhand.
    2 State with highest newborn deaths Uttar Pradesh.
    3 State with highest under 5 mortality rate Madhya Pradesh.
    4 State with least under 5 mortality rate Kerala.

     

     

     

    1. IAF Rescues More than 107 Individuals from the Frozen Zanskar River in the UT of Ladakh

     

     

     

    • 50 trekkers including nine foreign nationals and approximately equal number of local guides and porters, who were a part of the ongoing ‘Chadar Trek’, got stranded when some portions of the frozen Zanskar River melted.
    • The melting caused the flow of the water to become too strong, for the trekkers to continue across the river on foot. The stranded trekkers managed to move to Niraq, a small camp site upstream and were awaiting to be rescued. To carry out a rescue by helicopters, a makeshift helipad was prepared along the river bank. ALH helicopters were immediately pressed into action from AF Stn Leh.
    • IAF’s helicopters have rescued 107 individuals during the last two days.The rescued trekkers include one male and one female from France and four male and three females from People’s Republic of China, who as per the information were rescued from Padum. IAF will continue the ongoing rescue operation till all the stranded trekkers, guides and porters are evacuated and brought to safety.
    • Additionally, in order to provide medical facilities to the stranded trekkers a medical officer and a medical assistant were also flown from AF Stn Leh to Niraq. The team has setup a medical assistance camp at Niraq and are providing basic medical assistance to the stranded trekkers.
    • The operations were undertaken by IAF in close coordination with Ladakh’s newly formed Civil Administration, nearby Indian Army units and local Disaster Relief Teams.

     

    INTERNATIONAL NEWS

     

    1. China dropped from US currency manipulator list

                               

     

    • The US Treasury department has dropped the designation of China as a currency manipulator.
    • It is a gesture that aims to ease tensions with Beijing ahead of this week’s signing of a deal to halt their trade war.
    • In August 2019, China was labeled officially as “currency manipulator” by the United States and also accused China of using yuan to gain “unfair competitive advantage” in trade.

     

    1. India believes in Multilateralism and Strengthening WTO;

    • India strongly believes in multilateralism and will work for the strengthening of the WTO with other stakeholders said Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways,Piyush Goyal, in New Delhi today. He was part of a panel discussion at the Raisina Dialogue being held in the National Capital on 14-16 January 2020.
    • India has been at the receiving end of unfair trade practices for a very long time and therefore believes in the creation of a far more reformed rules based trading system said the Minister.
    • He further stated that India also believes in the strengthening of the WTO and is one of the first four countries to pay all its dues to the World Trade Body.
    • Commerce and Industry Minister stated that it is the right time now to make trade policies that are people centric to be sustainable, to eliminate poverty and raise prosperity levels for all citizens.
    • Piyush Goyal informed that India has not imposed any curbs on imports from either Malaysia or Turkey or any other country and it believes in fair play and equal terms for all trading partners and if curbs are imposed,they apply to all countries.
    • On the issue of the import of goods in the ‘others’ category, the Commerce and Industry Minister clarified that one out of four items valued at USD 130 billion are in the ‘others’ category. Right classification of these imports under HSN code will only lead to greater transparency and establish fair trading practices and make India a fair place to do business and trade and also provide equal opportunity to all.
    • Commerce and Industry Minister also clarified that India allows e-commerce companies to work on the marketplace model where buyers and sellers are free to buy and sell and follow the rules of the marketplace and laws of the country which clearly say that FDI in multi-brand retail willonly be allowed up to 49%. Surreptitious entry by e-commerce companies into multi-brand retail, that is being investigated by the authorities is welcome said the Minister.
    • Commerce and Industry Minister informed that India is in dialogue with EU and the US to sort out pressing trade issues and further expand engagement with them.

     

    1. India, Bangladesh ink MoU for co-production of biopic on Sheikh Mujibur Rahman

     

    • India and Bangladesh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for the co-production of a biopic on Bangladesh’s founding father Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.
    • The biopic will be directed by acclaimed filmmaker Shyam Benegal and will be released in March 2021 as part of centenary celebrations of Banga Bandhu.
    • Sheikh Mujibur Rahman is often called the father of Bengali nation.
    • He served as the first President of Bangladesh and later as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh from 17 April 1971 until his assassination on 15 August 1975.

     

    SPORTS NEWS

     

     

    1. Hobart International

    • Sania Mirza cruises into women’s doubles finals of Hobart InternationalIndian tennis ace Sania Mirza today cruised into the women’s doubles final of the Hobart International with her Ukrainian partner Nadia Kichenok.
    • Sania and Kichenok sailed past the Slovenian-Czech pair ofTamara Zidansek and Marie Bouzkova 7-6 (3), 6-2 in the semifinal contest that lasted one hour and 24 minutes.
    • The fifth-seeded Indo-Ukrainian combination will lock horns withsecond seeds Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang of China. The Chinese pair got a walkover after Belgium’s Kirsten Flipkens and Alison Van Uytvanck conceded the other semifinal match because of injury.
    • The 33-year-old Sania is returning to WTA circuit after two years.During her time away from the game, she battled injury breakdowns before taking a formal break in April 2018 to give birth to her son Izhaan. Before the ongoing event, Sania last played at China Open in October 2017.

     

    1. ICC U-19 World Cup Cricket begins in South Africa

    • The ICC Under-19 World Cup Cricket begins in South Africa today. Indian team, under the captaincy of Priyam Garg, will look to defend the title when it begins its campaign against Sri Lanka at the Oval,Bloemfontein, on Sunday.
    • India are placed in Group ‘A’ and will face New Zealand, Sri Lanka andJapan, who will be making their first-ever appearance in any World Cup.
    • India is the most successful team in the tournament, having won fourtitles till date, including the last edition in 2018. After playing Sri Lanka in their first group game, India will facedebutant Japan in their next group match on the 21st of this month.
    • Intheir final Group Game, India will face New Zealand on 24th January. The top two teams from each group will qualify for the Super League stage. The final of the tournament will be played at Oval on the 9th of next month.

     

    1. MS Dhoni dropped from BCCI’s central contracts list

    • Mahendra Singh Dhoni was today dropped from the Board of Control for Cricket in India’s list of centrally-contracted players.
    • The BCCI announced the central contracts for the period of October 2019 to September 2020.
    • The 38-year-old player was in the ‘A’ category, which fetches a player five crore rupees as annual retainership, until last year.
    • Skipper Virat Kohli, his white-ball deputy Rohit Sharma and top pacer Jasprit Bumrah were retained in the highest A bracket of seven crore rupees.
    • Among others, batsman K.L. Rahul has been promoted from ‘B’ grade to ‘A’ category.
    • Test opener Mayank Agarwal has been included in the Grade ‘B’ category, which also features Hardik Pandya and Yuzvendra Chahal along with two others.
    • Pacer Navdeep Saini and T20 specialist Washington Sundar are new entrants in Grade ‘C’ alongside Shreyas Iyer, Deepak Chahar and Shardul Thakur.
    • Veteran Cricketer Mithali Raj was demoted to Grade ‘B’ from ‘A’ while Radha Yadav and Taniya Bhatia were elevated to the middle bracket.
    • T20 skipper Harmanpreet Kaur retained her ‘A’ category contract alongside Smriti Mandhana and Poonam Yadav.
    • Players getting a central contract for the first time are 15-year-old opener Shafali Verma and Harleen Deol.

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