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January 2019 Daily News Current Affairs

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  1. Jan 15, 2019
    1. Global Aviation Summit 2019 held in Mumbai, with theme “Flying for all”, organised by Ministry of Civil Aviation (MoCA) and FICCI.
    2. Jan 15 - Indian Army day. It is in recognition of Kodandera M. Cariappa taking over as first Commander-in-Chief of Indian Army from Francis Butcher, last British Commander-in-Chief of India.
    3. Private Bank Yes Bank appointed Brahm Dutt as its non-executive part-time chairman.
    4. Nitin Wakankar appointed as new Chief Information Officer and spokesperson of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
    5. USA Firm SpaceX launched its Falcon 9 rocket carrying 10 Iridium Communications satellites , as 8th and final payload of Iridium satellites, meant to replace its entire globe-circling fleet with next-generation orbiters.
    6. Web-based single-window system Parivesh (Pro-Active and Responsive facilitation by Interactive, Virtuous and Environmental Single-window Hub) for environmental clearances has been rolled-out at state levels.
      1. Parivesh provides for an automated system for submission, clearance and monitoring, ending clearance issues faced by entrepreneurs.
      2. Parivesh has already been implemented at the Central level. It speeds up the clearance process by huge margin.
    7. General Conferences (Jan 11 - 20, 2019)
      1. A 2+2 Inter-Sessional meeting between USA and India held in New Delhi, focusing on the progress of defence and foreign policy issues.
      2. 29th biennial Indian Paint Conference held in Agra (Uttar Pradesh) with theme Paints Pe Charcha – Naye Aayaam.
      3. 27th edition of New Delhi World Book Fair 2019 held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi, with theme Books for Readers with Special Needs'. Ahmad bin Rakkad Al Ameri, Chairman of Sharjah Book Authority was Guest of Honour.
      4. Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation organized 9th International Micro Irrigation Conference on Modern Agriculture at Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
      5. 25th edition of Partnership Summit 2019, a global platform for dialogue, debate, deliberation and engagement among Indian and global leaders on economic policy and growth trends in India, held in Mumbai.
      6. 64th National Symposium (Sarva Bhasha Kavi Sammelan) organized by All India Radio for first time in Chennai (Tamil Nadu).
    8. Visits from India (Jan 11 - 20, 2019)
      1. 1st India-Central Asia Dialogue held in Samarkand (Uzbekistan), attended by External Affairs Minister (EAM) Sushma Swaraj on India'a Behalf. Foreign Minister of Afghanistan participated in dialogue as a special invitee. Five Central Asian nations are Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan.
    9. Visits to India (Jan 11 - 20, 2019) -
      1. Purna Chandra Thapa, Chief of Nepal Army visited India.  Based on an age old tradition between India and Nepal armies, Mr. Thapa was conferred with Honorary Rank of ‘General of Indian Army’.
  2. Jan 14, 2019
    1. 6th ‘Women of India Organic Festival’ held in Chandigarh, organized by Ministry of Women and Child Development, to promote women farmers and entrepreneurs in organic sector from remote parts of India.
    2. Jan 14 - Armed Force Veterans Day, observed to honour legends of Army, Navy and Air Force.
    3. Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI) and Commerce ministry organized a mega food international event named Indus Food Meet 2019, at India Exposition Mart of Greater Noida (Uttar Pradesh). Odisha participated as ‘Partner State’.
    4. Prayagraj Ardh Kumbh Mela 2019, a 55 days cultural event inaugurated in Prayagraj (Uttar Pradesh). It is one of oldest traditions globally. Kumbh Mela has been named by UNESCO as an Intangible Cultural heritage for humanity.
      1. North Central Railway launched a mobile application named Rail Kumbh Seva Mobile App to help navigate attendees of Kumbh Mela in Prayagraj city from January 15- March 4, 2019.
    5. Supreme Court formed a 5-Judge Constitution Bench to hear Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Case, headed by Chief Justice Ranjan Gogoi.
      1. In Ram Janmabhoomi-Babri Masjid Case 14 appeals were filed against 2010 Allahabad High Court judgment.
      2. Verdict of Allahabad HC partitioned 2.77-acre land equally among Sunni Waqf Board, Nirmohi Akhara and Ram Lalla.
    6. National award-winning filmmaker Buddhadeb Dasgupta conferred Lifetime Achievement Award, in name of Satyajit Ray, by West Bengal Film Journalists Association (WBFJA).
  3. Jan 13, 2019
    1. PM Narendra Modi release a commemorative coin on Guru Gobind Singh ji, on occasion of His 352nd birth anniversary celebrations.
    2. Mohammed Ali Qamar appointed as India's chief coach for female boxers. He had won India’s first Commonwealth Games gold medal in boxing, in 2002 (Manchester) Commonwealth Games.
    3. Detained Chinese rights lawyer Yu Wensheng won a Franco-German human rights award for his ‘exceptional contribution’ to the protection and promotion of human rights.
    4. Government launched ‘Womaniya on Government e Marketplace (GeM)’ initiative to enable women entrepreneurs and Women Self-Help Groups (WSHGs) to sell handicrafts, handloom, accessories, and other products directly to Government entities, to develop women entrepreneurship on the margins of society to achieve gender-inclusive economic growth.
    5. A study at National Chemical Laboratory Pune indicated levels of free albumin and albumin attached to glucose molecules in blood can be a better diagnostic test for diabetes. Most tests at present, use levels of glycated (or glucose-bound) haemoglobin in blood for diagnosis of diabetes. This is subject to large variations due to factors like stress levels, time of collection, diet and medications taken previous day etc.
    6. Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change approved Sita Rama Lift Irrigation Project of Telangana, to be completed in 3 years and would lead to submergence of about 1,930-hectare area and 157 villages. It aims to divert Godavari river water to irrigate 2.72 lakh hectares in three districts of Bhadradri Kothagudem, Khammam and Mahabubabad districts of Telangana. It would cost approx INR 13384 Crores.
    7. Pune Traffic Police will introduce robot named ‘Roadeo’ which would move around city roads, functioning as a quasi-traffic policeman and cautioning commuters about traffic rules and offences. Its developed by SP Robotics Maker Lab, a Pune based laboratory.
    8. Hindu Literary Prize 2018 awarded during The Hindu Lit for Life 2019 -
      1. Fiction - Neelum Saran Gour for Requiem in Raga Janki
      2. Non-fiction - Manoranjan Byapari for Interrogating my Chandal Life: An Autobiography of a Dalit
      3. Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Book Fiction - Venita Coelho for Boy No: 32.
      4. Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Book Non-Fiction - Mamta Nainy for A Brush with Indian Art.
      5. Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Picture Book (Story) - Vinayak Varma for Angry Akku.
      6. Young World-Goodbooks Award for Best Picture Book (Illustration) - Rajiv Eipe for Ammachi’s Amazing Machines
    9. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment drafted National Action Plan for Drug Demand Reduction (2018-2023) for addressing drug abuse in country, dumping a long-pending draft policy on the same. It focuses on preventive education, awareness generation, counselling, treatment and rehabilitation of drug-dependent people, besides training and capacity-building of service providers.
      1. Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment in collaboration with the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre (NDDTC) under the AIIMS, is conducting a national survey on the extent and pattern of substance abuse.
    10. Department of Biotechnology (DBT) and Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) signed MoU to increase emphasis on multi-disciplinary research and development activities and nurturing innovations in agricultural biotechnology research and education.
    11. Housing and Urban affairs Ministry launched Global Housing Technology Challenge under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana Urban (PMAY-U). GHTC aims to fast-track construction of affordable housing and meet the target of constructing 1.2 crore houses by 2022.
      1. GHTC focuses on identifying and mainstreaming proven demonstrable technologies for lighthouse projects and spotting potential future technologies for incubation and acceleration support through ASHA (Affordable Sustainable Housing Accelerators) - India.
    12. Madras High Court has set up a committee to find a solution to root out invasive species of plants from Western Ghats. It will be headed by Cherukuri Raghavendra Babu.
    13. India's largest startup ecosystem inauguarated in Kerala with launch of a 1.8-lakh-square-feet facility housing incubation set-ups across a string of segments in modern technology.
    14. Narasimhan Ram appointed as President of Alliance for Media Freedom (AFMF), a cross-media advocacy and action group of media organization, promoters, and journalists.
    15. Russia’s space agency Roscosmos lost control of its only radio telescope satellite Spektr-R. The satellite, used to study radio sources within and outside Earth’s galaxy, was launched into space in 2011.
    16. Government made an additional allocation of Over INR 6000 crores to rural employment scheme MGNREGA, taking total allocation to Rs 61,084 crores, which is highest ever in a financial year.
    17. International Cricket Council (ICC) appointed India's Manu Sawhney as its new Chief Executive Officer. He will replace current CEO Dave Richardson in July after ICC men’s World Cup.
    18. RBI imposed penalty of INR 3 crores on Citibank India for not complying with directions regarding the ‘fit-and-proper criteria’ for directors of bank.
    19. Madhya Pradesh CM Kamal Nath launched INR 50,000 crores farm debt-waiver scheme named ‘Jai Kisan Rin Mukti Yojana’. It would benefit 55 lakh small and marginal farmers.
  4. Jan 12, 2019
    1. Jan 12 - National Youth Day in India, marking birth anniversary of Swami Vivekananda. It was declared by Government in 1984.
      1. Minister of State (I/C) for Youth Affairs and Sports Rajyavardhan Rathore launched National Youth Parliament Festival 2019, as 2nd edition of same, with theme “Be The Voice of New India” and “Find solutions and contribute to policy”.
      2. Youth in age bracket of 18-25 years are invited to participate in District Youth Parliaments. This is done to hear youth in this age bracket who are allowed to vote but cannot contest in elections.
      3. National Youth Parliament Festival 2019 will be conducted at District, State and National Levels.
        1. Upto 50 speakers from Digital screening and 50 best speakers from Walk-in process, will participate in District Youth Parliaments. Best 3 speakers from each District Youth Parliament will participate at State Level. 2 best speakers selected from each State Youth Parliament will participate as speakers in National Youth Parliament.
        2. Process will continue up to 24th February.
        3. Best 3 speakers at National Youth Parliament will be awarded 2 Lakhs, 1.50 Lakhs and 1 Lakh respectively.
    2. Department of Science and Technology (DST) and Doordarshan (DD) launched 2 science communication initiatives - DD Science and India Science. DD Science is an one-hour slot on Doordarshan National channel, to be telecast Monday to Saturday from 5 - 6pm. India Science is a internet-based channel, and will offer live, scheduled play and video-on-demand services.
    3. 7-Member Group of Ministers (GoM) constituted for boosting Real Estate Sector under GST regime, as suggested in recent 32nd Meeting of GST Council. It will be headed by Nitin Patel (Deputy CM of Gujarat).
    4. India Manufacturing Barometer 2019 Report prepared by Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) -
      1. Report is prepared based on survey of companies which contribute 12 % to manufacturing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of countryF
      2. India would witness faster growth in next 12 months driven by expanding domestic market, technology and increased spending.
      3. India’s economy is projected to grow between 7.3 - 7.7 % and domestic market would be a major demand driver for India.
      4. Business Groups asked India to concentrate on improving at logistics front, as Logistics cost is about 15 % of overall cost, while it should ideally be under 10 %.
    5. As per Govt. Data, Tamil Nadu topped states in implementation of Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) Yojana, by completing 378 projects.
      1. With only a year to the deadline, only 20 % of total projects were completed, utilising 3 % of funds approved under AMRUT.
      2. West Bengal is 2nd with Gujarat at 3rd position. While Bihar and Assam were not able to complete even a single project.
      3. AMRUT was launched in 2015, aiming to establish an infrastructure that could ensure adequate robust sewage networks and water supply for urban transformation. Mission period is up to March 2020.
    6. National Wildlife Board approved Trishna Gas project of ONGC, which falls in the Trishna Wildlife Sanctuary in Gomati district of Tripura.
      1. ONGC discovered 10-12 gas bearing wells in Trishna Wildlife sanctuary. Tripura unit of ONGC has also committed to provide Rs 25 crore to state government for carrying out Swacch Bharat Abhiyan.
    7. Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling announced One family one job scheme, which entitles one government job for every family in state. Sikkim is first state to launch such programme which entitles every family in state with a government job.
    8. Parliament of Macedonia has passed resolution to amend constitution of country to rename it as Republic of Northern Macedonia. Renaming is in line with a landmark agreement with Greece to end decades-long naming dispute.
      1. Use of name Macedonia was disputed between Greece and Republic of Macedonia. After independence of Macedonia from Yugoslavia, country named it as Republic of Macedonia.
      2. Dispute was due to ambiguity in nomenclature between Republic of Macedonia, adjacent Greek region of Macedonia and ancient Greek kingdom of Macedonia. Greece opposed use of name “Macedonia” by Republic of Macedonia.
      3. Due to conflict over name, Greece vetoed Macedonia’s attempt to join Nato in 2008 and even blocked its EU membership ambitions. Even UN was forced to refer Macedonia as former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.
      4. Finally, an agreement was reached between Greece and Macedonia, referred to as Prespa Agreement. As per agreement, Republic of Macedonia would be renamed as Republic of North Macedonia.
    9. Minister for Electronics and IT (MeitY) Ravi Shankar Prasad launched National Informatics Centre (NIC)’s Command and Control Centre (CCC) and its Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence. CCC will increase agility of NIC’s nationwide ICT infrastructure, which hosts over 100000 Govt. websites.
      1. Centre for Excellence in Artificial Intelligence has been established with motto ‘Inclusive AI’ for responsive governance, to work towards improving Govt. service delivery to citizens.
    10. Puducherry UT government will ban single-use plastic products from March, due to its harmful environmental effects.
    11. GST Council has set up a seven-member committee to look into revenue shortfall being faced by states after the GST roll-out, and suggest steps for augmenting collections. It would be headed by Deputy CM of Bihar Sushil Modi.
    12. RBI made changes with Gold Monetisation Scheme (GMS) to allow charitable institutions, central government entities and state government entities to deposit gold under GMS. It aims to bring out unaccounted gold with charitable institutions. Also, government will issue new series of sovereign gold bonds between January 14 - 18, 2019 at INR 3214 per gram.
    13. Atal Tinkering Lab Handbook Nayee Dishayen, Naye Nirman, Naya Bharat released by NITI Aayog’s Atal Innovation Mission, During announcement of 10 Month Student Entrepreneurship Programme to help top six innovations across six crucial theme.
      1. Atal Innovation Mission (AIM) is Government’s flagship initiative to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the country.
      2. Atal Tinkering Laboratories under AIM are aimed at creating innovators and Atal Incubation Centres would provide support to these innovations to scale up to market and helps to create enterprises around these innovations.
    14. RBI raised concerns on spike in non-performing assets (NPAs) under government’s flagship scheme Pradhan Mantri Mudra Yojana, which supports micro-enterprises by providing them capital betwen INR 50000 - 1000000.
      1. Total disbursements under the scheme stood at Rs 2.46 trillion, benefitting over 4.8 Crores Small businesses. Bad loans under scheme have increased to Rs 11,000 crores.
    15. 2nd edition of India-Myanmar bilateral army exercise IMBEX 2018-19 begun at Chandimandir Military Station (Haryana). Objectives of IMBEX 2018-19 are to Train Myanmar delegation for participation in United Nations peacekeeping operations under UN flag.
  5. Jan 11, 2019
    1. President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to 124th constitutional Amendment Bill (which is now Constitution 103rd amendment Act), to provide 10 % reservation in Government jobs and educational institutions to economically backward section in general category, which are deprived of benefits of reservation due to not belonging to reserved categories.
      1. Government has decided 14th January 2019 as Date on Which Provisions of Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act 2019 shall come in to force.
      2. Gujarat became first state to implement 10% reservation for economically weaker sections of general category, mandated as per Constitution (One Hundred and Third Amendment) Act 2019.
    2. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been awarded first ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award by World Marketing Summit.
      1. WMS previously gave awards to recognise achievements in advertising and marketing. It has been named after noted marketing and management guru Philip Kotler, who is also founder of World Marketing Summit (WMS) Group.
    3. Tourism Ministry sanctioned projects worth INR 85 crores for development of Spiritual Circuit III for Kerala under Swadesh Darshan Scheme. Sites identified under circuit are across all 14 districts of state, covering 133 religious places.
    4. West Bengal government decided to exit from Central Government's Ayushman Bharat- Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana. State Govt. stated that letters sent to beneficiaries has photos of PM Narendra Modi, which is violation of MOU as State and Centre have 60:40 partnership in scheme and state government should get similar space on documents.
      1. WB Govt. chose to keep its own Swasthyasathi scheme, instad of PMJAY.
      2. Earlier, 5 states had chosen to not implement PMJAuY. States are - Telangana, Odisha, Delhi, Kerala and Punjab.
    5. Bengaluru Raptors won their first Premier Badminton League title, defeating Mumbai Rockets.
    6. Nicolas Maduro started his second term as President of economically troubled south american nation Venezuela.
    7. Su Tseng-chang has been appointed as new Prime Minister of Taiwan (East asian nation officially known as Republic of China.
    8. Jaideep Govind has been appointed as New Secretary General of National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
    9. Writer Namita Gokhale won Sushila Devi Literature Award for her novel ‘Things to Leave Behind’, in ‘Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman Author’ category at inaugural edition of Bhopal Literature and Art Festival (BLF).
    10. World Economic Forum recognised Tata Steel’s plant at IJmuiden in Netherlands as Manufacturing Lighthouse with state-of-the-art production facilities, which will successfully adopt and integrate cutting-edge technologies of future.
      1. WEF organizes a network of leading intelligent production companies as Manufacturing Lighthouses under its ‘Shaping the Future of Production’ initiative, to allow exchange of knowledge in area of ‘Fourth Industrial Revolution’ in production.
    11. Ministry of Information and Broadcasting released draft amendment bill to amend Indian Cinematograph Act 1952, to counter piracy.
      1. Piracy would be a punishable offence with imprisonment of three years and fines of up to Rs 10 lakh or both.
    12. Supreme Court has given its nod to Chardham Development Plan which connects holy places of Yamunotri, Gangotri, Kedarnath and Badrinath by all-weather roads.
      1. Construction of all weather roads in environmentally critical zone of Himalayas was questioned in National Green Tribunal (NGT). NGT cleared Chardham Project and formed an oversight committee to monitor environmental safeguards during construction. This NGT order was questioned in Supreme Court, which refused to stay order of NGT.
    13. Delhi government will open six World-Class Skill centres (WCSCs), to prepare students to acquire different professional skills. These centres would be opened at Institute of Basic Business Studies (Pusa), Integrated Institute of Technology Dwarka, Delhi Pharmaceutical Sciences and Research University, Society for Self Employment (SSE) Wazirpur, SSE Jhandewalan, and RIT Rajokari.
    14. Supreme court Collegium recommended appointment of Dinesh Maheshwari and Sanjiv Khanna as judges of Supreme Court. It will take number of sitting supreme court judges to 28, out of maximum strength of 31.
    15. Odisha government launched Ama Ghare LED scheme to provide LED bulbs at free of cost to about 95 lakh families in state, those who have registered under National Food Security Act (NFSA) and State Food Security Scheme (SFSC).
  6. Jan 10, 2019
    1. Jan 10 - World Hindi Day. It marks first World Hindi Conference which held in 1975. It has been observed on Jan 10 since 2006.
      1. Note That similar Sounding National Hindi Diwas is celebrated every year on September 14, marking adoption of Hindi as Official Language of India, in 1949.
    2. Cabinet Approvals (Jan 10, 2019) -
      1. MOUs -
        1. Denmark - Maritime issues
        2. Japan - development of ‘Advanced Model Single Window’ and its operationalization in Central and State Governments in India for taking administrative procedures necessary for business operations, to promote Ease of Doing Business.
        3. Swaziland (now known as Eswatini) - Approved Terms of Reference (TOR) for engagement of designated Indian Expert to provide tax assistance to Tax Inspectors Without Borders Programme between India and Eswatini.
        4. France - technical cooperation in new and renewable energy.
        5. Bilateral Swap Arrangement (BSA) with Japan, for maximum amount of USD 75 billion.
      2. General Approvals -
        1. Approved Establishment of new AIIMS at Vijaynagar (Jammu) at cost of INR 1661 crores, Awantipura (Kashmir) at cost INR 1828 crores and Rajkot (Gujarat) at cost of INR 1195 crores. These AIIMS will be set up under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojana (PMSSY).
        2. Approved re-issuance of an ordinance making instant triple talaq a criminal offence. The earlier ordinance is to expire on January 22. Bill named The Muslim Women (Protection Of Rights on Marriage) bill 2017 was passed by Lok Sabha in December 2017. An ordinance has a vaildity of six months. Accordingly, instant triple talaq (talaq-e-biddat) will be illegal and void and will attract a jail term of 3 years for husband.
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Interim budget for 2019 will be presented on 1 February during budget session of parliament, to be held from 31 January to 13 February.
    3. Visits To India (Jan 01 - 10,2019) -
      1. Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, Member of Malaysian Parliament, and Leader of Parti Keadilan Rakyat Party of Malaysia Visited India.
      2. Christophe Prazuck, Chief of French Navy Visited India.
      3. Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan Visited India.
      4. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister of Norway Visited India.
        1. India and Norway agreed to collaborate closely on the ocean economy and achieve global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)., with an MOU signed MoU on India – Norway Ocean Dialogue.
      5. Stephen Harper,Former Prime Minister of Canada vsisited India.
    4. General Conferences (Jan 1 - 10, 2019)
      1. Indian Panorama Film Festival held at Siri Fort Auditorium in New Delhi, organized by Directorate of Film Festivals (Ministry of Information and Broadcasting).
      2. 4th edition of Raisina Dialogue held in New Delhi, with theme A World Reorder: New Geometries; Fluid Partnerships; Uncertain Outcomes". Global Innovation Policy Center (GIPC) of United States Chamber of Commerce has launched a new innovation initiative Fair Value for Innovation at Raisina Dialogue in New Delhi.
      3. Rail Kumbh Seva Mobile App launched by North Central Railway (NCR) to help devotees arriving in Allahabad for Ongoing Kumbh Mela 2019. It will provide valuable information to devotees and will assist them navigate through city.
      4. National Conclave on Accomplishments and Way Forward for Textiles Sector held in New Delhi, during which 17 persons were honored for contribution in different fields of textiles sector.
      5. Women & Child Development Minister Maneka Sanjay Gandhi conferred National Awards to 97 Anganwadi Workers(AWWs) for Exceptional Achievements for 2017-18, under Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) in New Delhi.
      6. 4th Australia-India Education Council Meeting (AIEC) held at Adelaide (Australia), with 7 agreements/MoUs signed between Indian and Australian Institutions.
      7. 27th edition of New Delhi World Book Fair 2019 held at Pragati Maidan (New Delhi) with theme Readers with special needs. UAE’s third largest emirate Sharjah is guest of honour.
      8. First national workshop on agri export policy held in New Delhi.
      9. First ‘National Consultation on Child Protection’ 2019 held at India Habitat Centre (New Delhi).
      10. Around 30 lakh women in Kerala formed Vanitha Mathil (women’s wall) that ran across state, spanning 620 Kms. It aimed to uphold values of Kerala’s renaissance, ensure gender justice, and counter moves to turn state into a lunatic asylum.
      11. PM Narendra Modi inaugurated Gangajal Project in Agra (Uttar Pradesh), aiming to improve supply of drinking water. It aims to bring 140 cusecs of Ganga water to Agra to help in meeting drinking water demands in city. Project was launched in 2005 in collaboration with Japan International Cooperation Agency and was scheduled to be completed by March 2012. It has missed several deadlines.
      12. Coimbatore (Tamil Nadu) city traffic police launched a mobile application ‘Police-E-Eye’ for public to report on traffic violations to police and to keep a check on the same.
      13. Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) launched a new platform called ‘Samwad with Students’, to constantly engage youngsters across India in activities concerning space science to capture their scientific temperament.
    5. CAG report on Fiscal Responsibility and Budget Management presented. Highlights are -
      1. CAG recommended government to put in place a policy framework for off-budget financing which would specify objective, quantum nd sources of off-budget financing. As Off-budget financial arrangements create future liability and increase cost of subsidy due to interest payment.
    6. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) released Global Report on Trafficking in Persons 2018.
      1. Human trafficking has become horrific as terrorists are using it to spread fear and gain victims to offer as incentives to recruit new fighters. There has been steady increase in number of victims since 2010.
      2. Trafficking for sexual exploitation is most prevalent in European countries and in sub-Saharan Africa and Middle East.
    7. Kerala High Court has set a seven-day notice period for political parties and individuals to call for hartal and general strike in State, to enable courts to examine legality of hartal call on request of citizens.
    8. Khelo India Youth games 2019 (Previously called Khelo India School Games) began at Shree Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex in Pune (Maharashtra).
      1. The games are held in two categories- under-17 years school students and under-21 college students.
      2. These are part of Khelo India programme, which was introduced to revive sports culture in India at grass-root level.
      3. Khelo India programme has been divided into 12 verticals. Selected atheltes will be provided annual assistance of INR 5 lakh per annum for 8 years.
    9. IIT Madras Researchers recreated space fuel by simulating interstellar conditions in laboratory, as a big breakthrough in exploration of cleaner and sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel.
      1. The discovery has potential to convert atmospheric carbon dioxide into a next-generation energy source to curb greenhouse gases and global warming.
      2. Team created methane-containing clathrate hydrates in ultra-high vacuum (1000 billion times below atmospheric pressure) and at a temperature close to -263oC. i.e. conditions at deep space. This discovery of hydrates at extremely low pressures and ultra-cold temperatures is highly unexpected.
    10. Sikkim Government assured implementation of universal basic income in Sikkim by 2022, making Sikkim first state to implement UBI.
      1. Under UBI, people will be provided with a fixed amount of money irrespective of their income, resources or employment status. Revenue Resources Include Power Surplus generated by Sikkim as it produces 2200 MW and requirement of state is only 200-300 MW.
      2. 2017 Economic Survey had proposed UBI as a conceptually appealing idea which could be a possible alternative to social welfare programmes targeted at reducing poverty.
    11. Arunachal Pradesh CM Pema Khandu inaugurated India’s longest single-lane steel cable suspension bridge over Siang River in Upper Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh. Bridge is 300-metre-long and is known as byorung bridge. It will reduce distance between Yingkiong and Tuting in Arunachal Pradesh by almost 40 km.
    12. Guatemala asked UN to terminate the agreement which established International Commission against Impunity in Guatemala (CICIG), which had mandate till 3rd September 2019.
      1. Guatemala Govt reasoned that CICIG has put at risk the nation’s security, governance, and sovereignty at risk.
      2. CICIG was set up as an international body to investigate serious crime in Guatemala, established in response to a request for assistance from Guatemala to investigate illegal security groups and clandestine security organizations there.
    13. Supreme Court suggested setting up of a three-member panel comprising of Nandan Nilekani (Infosys Co founder) and Vijay P Bhatkar to suggest reforms for conducting of competitive examinations fairly by government bodies.
    14. World Economic Forum released report ‘Future of Consumption in Fast-Growth Consumer Market – India’. Highlights -
      1. India would become the world’s third largest consumer market behind only USA and China by 2030.
      2. Consumer spending in India will grow from USD 1.5 trillion at present to nearly USD 6 trillion by 2030.
      3. India’s top 40 cities will form a USD 1.5 trillion opportunities by 2030 and thousands of small towns will also drive equally large spend.
      4. There will also be an opportunity to unlock nearly USD 1.2 trillion of spending in developed rural areas by improving infrastructure.
    15. Henley Passport Index (covering 199 passports and 227 travel destinations).
      1. Japan retained top spot as world’s most travel-friendly passport due to its access to 190 jurisdictions.
      2. India bettered from 81st in 2018 to 79th in 2019
      3. Top 5 - Japan (190 countries), Singapore, South Korea (189), France, Germany (188), Denmark, Finland, Italy, Sweden (187), and Luxembourg, Spain (186)
      4. Bottom 5 - Eritrea (38), Yemen (37), Pakistan (33), Somalia, Syria (32)and Afghanistan, Iraq (30).
    16. Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) has released Democracy Index, which ranks 167 countries by 60 indicators across five categories -
      1. Index classifies countries among full democracy, flawed democracy, hybrid regime or authoritarian.
      2. Index notes that threats to democracy around world have become increasingly obvious.
      3. Australia and New Zealand are only full democracies in Asia-Pacific region. Only 4.5% of world’s people live in a full democracy.
      4. 8 countries - Algeria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Timor-Leste, Ethiopia, North Korea, Laos, Nepal and Sri Lanka which have word democratic in full titles are not fully democratic.
      5. India ranked 41st and placed in flawed democracies category.
    17. World Bank Global Economic Prospects report 2019 titled “Darkening Skies” -
      1. Growth among advanced economies expected to drop to 2 % in 2019 , amid Slowing external demand, rising borrowing costs and persistent policy uncertainties.
      2. South Asia expected to grow at 7.1 per cent in 2019 driven by strengthening investment and robust consumption. Much of contribution would come from India.
      3. GDP Growth prjections for Neighbours in 2018-19 - Pakistan (3.7 %), Bangladesh (7 %), Sri Lanka (4 %) and Nepal (5.9 %).
      4. Report warns sharper-than-expected tightening of global financing conditions, or a renewed rapid appreciation of US dollar, could exert further downward pressure on activity in EMDEs (Emerging Market and Developing Economies).
      5. About India -
        1. India’s GDP is expected to grow at 7.3 % 2018-19, and 7.5 per cent in the following two years.
        2. India would continue to be the fastest growing major economy in the world.
        3. China’s growth will slow down to 6.2 % each in 2019 and 2020 and 6 % in 2021.
        4. Domestic demand has strengthened as benefits of structural reforms such as GST harmonisation and bank recapitalisation take effect. Strong domestic demand may further widen the current account deficit to 2.6 % of GDP in 2020.
        5. Inflation is projected to be above the midpoint of the Reserve Bank of India’s target range of 2 to 6 %.
        6. Public sector banks in India, which represent 70% of banking sector assets, still report low profitability and high non-performing assets.
    18. Standard Chartered Plc Global Economic forecasts -
      1. China would become largest economy by 2020, based on purchasing power parity exchange rates and nominal GDP.
      2. Indonesia will break into the top 5 economies by 2020.
      3. India’s growth would accelerate to 7.8% by 2020s. China’s growth would moderate to 5% by 2030 reflecting a natural slowdown given size of the economy.
      4. Share of Asia in global GDP which is about 28% would further increase to 35% by 2030.
    19. Jammu and Kashmir Law Department set up a State law commission for three years, under chairmanship of M K Hanjura.
    20. NABARD incorporated venture capital entity called NABVENTURES Ltd, to launch its early stage capital fund offer to agriculture and rural enterprises. It aims to support agriculture and rural enterprises and fill gap of adequate institutional support to them.
    21. International Cricket Council (ICC) announced USA Cricket as its 105th member. USA Cricket came into existence after USACA was expelled in June 2017 for poor administration of sport in USA. USA Cricket became 93rd Associate member of ICC.
    22. RBI granted NBFC – P2P (Non-Banking Financial Company – Peer to Peer) Certificate to IndiaMoneyMart, enabling it to expand operations. IndiaMoneyMart offers loans between 10 thousands to 10 Lakhs for tenure between 3 - 36 months.
    23. Jana Small Finance Bank launched a new Current Account with Auto-Sweep facility that will enable bank’s customers to auto sweep-in and sweep-out idle funds in current account to Sweep Fixed Deposit and earn high interest. Customers will be able to earn interest of 8.5 percent for a tenor of 365 days on sweep deposit.
    24. Civil Aviation Ministry stated that islands in Andaman will soon be connected by airplanes that can land on or take-off from water. Government approved flight operations on 13 water aerodrome routes under Ude Desh ka Aam Nagrik (UDAN) scheme.
    25. India allowed an Iranian bank, Pasargad Bank, to open a branch in Mumbai. Alongside, India’s UCO Bank will open a branch in Iran.
    26. Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) will offer insurance of up to 50 lakh for free for air passengers who book their tickets through IRCTC portal, in tie up with Bharti-Axa. IRCTC’s service charge of INR 59 is cheapest compared with other travel aggregators.
    27. MoU signed between Indian Army and Punjab National Bank on Defence Salary Package. Salient features of improved MoU are free ‘RAKSHAK PLUS’ Scheme for serving pers and veterans, overdraft facility range from Rs 0.75 to 3.0 lakhs etc.
  7. Jan 09, 2019
    1. Jan 9 - Non Resident Day or Bharatiya Pravasi Day in India, celebrated since 2015. It commemorates return of M K Gandhi from South Africa to Mumbai on 9 January 1915.
    2. Winter Session 2018 - 19 (January 2019) concluded -
      1. Session Summary -
        1. Productivity of Lok Sabha was approx 47% and that of Rajya Sabha was approx 27% during the current session. 17 Bills (12 in Lok Sabha and 05 in Rajya Sabha) were introduced. The Lok Sabha passed 14 Bills and while Rajya Sabha passed 04 Bills. 05 Bills were passed by both Houses of Parliament.
        2. It was planned to end on Jan 08, 2019 but was extended by one day to enable passage of 124th Constitutional amendment bill by Rajya Sabha.
      2. Bills Passed by Lok Sabha -
        1. Lok Sabha passed DNA Technology (Use and Application) Regulation Bill 2019, recognizing need for regulation of use of Deoxyribonucleic Acid (DNA) technology, for establishing identity of missing persons, victims, offenders, under trials and unknown deceased persons.
          1. Bill aims to expand application of DNA-based forensic technologies to strengthen justice delivery system of country.
          2. Bill includes establishment of DNA Regulatory Board, accreditation of DNA laboratories undertaking DNA testing etc.
          3. Bill also envisages establishment of National and Regional DNA Data Banks. Every Data Bank is required to maintain - crime scene index, suspects’ or undertrials’ index, offenders’ index, missing persons’ index AND unknown deceased persons’ index.
        2. Lok Sabha passed Companies (Amendment) Bill 2018, to amend Companies Act 2013 and replace ordinance promulgated in November 2018. Features Include -
          1. It re-categorises 16 offences including issuance of shares at a discount, and failure to file an annual return as a civil offence. It provides for a penalty equal to amount raised by issue of shares at a discount or 5 lakh rupees (whichever is lower).
          2. Bill increases ceiling up to which regional director can compound (settle) offences with a penalty of up to 25 lakhs from 5 lakh rupees.
        3. Lok Sabha passed New Delhi International Arbitration Centre Bill to set up a revamped International Arbitration Centre at New Delhi, aiing to make India an arbitration hub. New Delhi International Arbitration Centre will take over undertakings of International Centre for Alternative Dispute Resolution (ICADR). Chief justice of India is ex-officio chairperson of ICADR.
          1. New Delhi International Arbitration Centre is being set up as per the recommendation of the Justice B N Srikrishna committee formed to identify roadblocks in the development of institutional arbitration in India.
        4. Lok Sabha passed Personal Laws (Amendment) Bill 2018, that seeks to remove leprosy as a ground for divorce in five personal laws – Hindu Marriage Act, Dissolution of Muslim Marriages Act, Divorce Act (for Christians), Special Marriage Act and the Hindu Adoptions and Maintenance Act.
        5. Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2019 has been passed by Lok Sabha, which makes minority immigrants from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan who have entered India before December 31, 2014 eligible for Indian citizenship.
        6. Lok Sabha passed Indian Medical Council (Amendment) Bill 2018, which will allow a panel of eminent professionals to run scam-tainted Medical Council of India (MCI) so that medical education can be regulated in best manner.
          1. Bill will vest powers of council in a Board of Governors (BoG), which will have eminent medical personalities.
          2. Bill seeks to replace an ordinance issued in September 2018. A separate Bill to replace MCI with National Medical Commission is pending in Parliament.
        7. Lok Sabha passed Muslim Women (Protection of Rights on Marriage) Bill, known as Triple Talaq Bill. It would replace the ordinance passed in September 2018. It makes all types of declaration of triple talaq to be void and illegal. Declaration of Triple Talaq would be a cognizable offence, attracting up to three years’ imprisonment with a fine.
          1. Cognizable offence is one for which a police officer may arrest an accused person without a warrant.
          2. A Muslim Women against whom the triple talaq is pronounced is entitled to seek subsistence allowance from her husband for herself and for her dependent children and the amount of the allowance will be determined by Magistrate.
        8. Lok Sabha passed Surrogacy (Regulation) Bill 2016, banning commercial surrogacy and allowing only altruistic surrogacy. It protects rights of the surrogate mother and child born from surrogacy and promotes ethical surrogacy.
          1. Surrogacy is defined as an agreement between a couple who cannot conceive and a surrogate mother to carry their child.
          2. The bill is applicable to all Indian states, except Jammu and Kashmir.
          3. Bill provides for constitution of National Surrogacy board and State Surrogacy board for regulation of surrogacy process.
          4. It bars couple who already have children, to go for surrogacy.
          5. Women can only surrogate once in her lifetime and her age should be in between 25 to 35 years.
          6. Couple who intend for surrogacy should be aged between 23 to 50 years and married for at least 5 years.
        9. Lok Sabha passed Transgender Persons (Protection of Rights) Bill 2016, which seeks to empower the transgender community in the country by providing them a separate identity.
        10. Lok Sabha passed Consumer Protection Bill 2018 -
          1. It aims to protect consumers' interests through a redressal mechanism that would ensure timely and effective settlement of disputes.
          2. It seeks to establish a Central Consumer Protection Authority (CCPA) to protect consumer rights and look into the issues related to false or misleading ads. It calls for strict punishment and fines for misleading advertisements and food adulteration.
          3. District Commissions will have mandate to hear complaints having claim worth one crore rupees. In the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 this limit was 20 lakh rupees. Limit of Commissions’ at State level enhanced from 1 to 15 crore rupees. Complaints above 15 crore rupees worth of claim will be settled by National Commission.
        11. Lok Sabha Passed National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Central Palsy, Mental Retardation

          and Multiple (Disabilities) Amendment Bill 2018.

        12. The Appropriation (No. 6) Bill 2018.
        13. Lok Sabha passed Aadhaar amendment bill, which aims to provide legal backing for voluntary seeding of biometric Aadhaar ID for mobile SIM card and bank account authentication purposes.
          1. It seeks to amend Aadhaar (Targeted Delivery of Financial and Other Subsidies, Benefits and Services) Act 2016, Indian Telegraph Act 1885 and Prevention of Money-laundering Act 2002.
          2. It permits children, who would turn 18 years old, to opt out of the system.
          3. It makes sharing of Aadhaar details voluntary for opening bank accounts, school admissions and procuring mobile SIM cards.
          4. It bans storing of core biometric information as well as Aadhaar number by service providers.
        14. 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019.
      3. Bills Passed by Rajya Sabha -
        1. Rajya Sabha Passed National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Central Palsy, Mental Retardation

          and Multiple (Disabilities) Amendment Bill 2018.

        2. Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill, 2019
        3. National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill 2019
        4. 124th Constitutional Amendment Bill 2019.
      4. Bills passed by Parliament (Both Houses - Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha) -
        1. Parliament Passed National Trust for Welfare of Persons with Autism, Central Palsy, Mental Retardation

          and Multiple (Disabilities) Amendment Bill 2018.

        2. Parliament passed National Council for Teacher Education (Amendment) Bill 2018, after approval by Rajya Sabha. It seeks to amend National Council for Teacher Education (NCTE) Act 1993.
          1. It aims to grant retrospective recognition to Central and State institutions which had conducted teacher education courses without approval by Council. This will ensure that the future of about 17 thousand students having degrees from such institutions is secured.
          2. All institutions running teacher education courses (B.Ed etc) have to obtain recognition from Council. Around 23 State and Central universities and colleges offering B.Ed courses were found not recognised by Council.
        3. Parliament passed Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education (Amendment) Bill 2018, that seeks to remove no-detention policy in schools and bring accountability in elementary education system. Under current provisions, no student can be detained up to class VIII.
        4. One Hundred And Twenty-Fourth Amendment Bill 2019 -
          1. It seeks to provide 10 % reservation in jobs and educational institutions to economically backward section in general category, which are deprived of benefits of reservation due to not belonging to reserved categories.
          2. 10 % reservation will be in addition to existing cap of 50 % reservation for SC / ST / OBCs, taking total reservation to 60%. Thus It triggers need for a Constitution amendment Bill.
          3. New clauses would be added to Articles 15 and 16 of Constitution which presently allow State to make reservation for only SC / ST / OBCs.
          4. Proposed amendment Bill will define Economically Weaker Section (EWS) as one having -
            1. Annual household income below Rs 8 lakh
            2. Agriculture land below 5 acres
            3. Residential house below 1000 sqft
            4. Residential plot below 100 yards in notified municipality
            5. Residential plot below 200 yards in non-notified municipality area
          5. An amendment of Constitution can only be initiated when bill is passed in both houses of parliament. Since this bill has been passed by both houses, it will now be presented to the President who shall give his assent to the Bill.
          6. If amendment seeks to make any change in any of provisions mentioned in provison to article 368, it must be ratified by Legislatures of not less than one-half of the States.
          7. Although Winter Session of Parliament was supposed to end on Jan 08, 2019, it was extended by a day, to enable passage of this bill by Rajya sabha.
          8. Previously -
            1. In 1991, P V Narasimha Rao government proposed 10 % reservation for poor among the forward castes. But in 1992, while upholding reservation for OBCs as per Mandal Commission recommendation, Supreme Court, in Indra Sawhney & Others vs Union of India case, directed that reservation be restricted to maximum 50 %.
            2. SC also said that separate reservation for economically poor among forward class was invalid as Article 15(4) provided for only socially and educationally backward classes and not economically backward classes.
      5. Bills Introduced and Pending -
        1. Bill titled Women's Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill 2018 has been introduced in Lok Sabha -
          1. It proposes to make marital rape a crime and gives more decisional autonomy to women in termination of pregnancy.
          2. It proposes deletion of exception 2 to Section 375 of Indian Penal Code, which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape.
          3. Bill proposes amendments to Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act 1971, renaming act to 'Legal Termination of Pregnancy Act'. Section 312 punishes anyone who causes a voluntary miscarriage including the woman herself.
          4. Bill grants women right to terminate pregnancy merely by request until 12th week of pregnancy, along with conditional right to terminate pregnancy until 20th week. Bill also grants a limited right of abortion until 24th week of pregnancy.
        2. Government proposed a bill to amend Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order 1950to amend list of Scheduled Tribes in Karnataka and Assam. In Karnataka, it aims to grant ST status to communities namely Parivara and Talawara. In Assam, it aims to grant ST status to communities, namely Matak, Moran, Koch Rajbongshi, Chutiya, Tai Ahom and states’ 36 tea tribes.
        3. A private members bill named Right to Disconnect Bill introduced in Lok Sabha by MP Supriya Sule.
          1. Bill empowers employee with right to not respond to employers’ calls, texts or emails after office hours. It aims to reduce work-related stress and strive for a better work-life balance. It applies to companies with over 10 employees.
          2. It stipulates that no disciplinary action can be taken against you if you choose to not respond to your employer after stipulated work hours.
          3. France has already provided Right to disconnect since 2017 in companies with more than 50 employees with an aim to re-build boundary between professional and personal life. Spain also has similar law which provides Right to Disconnect without any minimum employee criterion.
      6. Bills Withdrawn -
        1. Nalanda University (Amendment) Bill, 2013
        2. Indian Medicine Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2005
        3. Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2005
        4. Homeopathy Central Council (Amendment) Bill 2015
    3. Agreement signed between 6 states for Renukaji Dam Multipurpose Project. Included states are Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Delhi, Rajasthan and Uttarakhand.
      1. Renukaji Dam project has will be storage project on Giri River (tributary of river Yamuna) in Sirmour District of Himachal Pradesh. The project envisages construction of 148 M high rock filled dam for supply of 23 cumec water to Delhi and other basin states. It will also generate 40 MW of power during peak flow.
      2. Three storage projects are proposed to be constructed on Yamuna and two of its tributaries - Tons and Giri in Uttarakhand and Himachal Pradesh of Upper Yamuna Basin.  These include  Lakhwar project on river Yamuna in Uttarakhand , Kishau on river Tons in Uttarakhand and  Himachal Pradesh and  Renukaji on river Giri in Himachal Pradesh.
      3. Cost of project on Price Level 2015 is 4596 Crores. 90% cost of irrigation/drinking water component will be provided by Central Govt. and 10% to be provided by States of Haryana, UP/UK, HP, Rajasthan & Delhi.
    4. Ministry of Women and Child Development launched online campaign #www :  Web- WonderWomen, aiming to discover and celebrate exceptional achievements of women, who have been driving positive agenda of social change via social media.
    5. Agriculture & Farmers Welfare Minister Radha Mohan Singh released recombinant Enzyme-linked immune sorbent assay (ELISA) kits for Glanders and other Equine Infectious Anaemia. Glanders is a fatal infectious and notifiable disease of equines including horses, donkeys and mules. ELISA technology will prove to be a milestone in the control and eradication of glanders from India.
    6. Bureau of Energy Efficiency (BEE) and Central Public Works Department (CPWD) signed MoU to cooperate in promoting construction of Energy Conservation Building Code (ECBC) compliant new buildings, star rating of CPWD managed buildings with no registration or renewal fee, awareness on energy efficiency in building sector and support for capacity building of CPWD officials in ECBC.
      1. Recently, ECO Niwas Samhita 2018 an Energy Conservation Building Code for residential buildings, to push for energy efficiency in residential sector was launched on December 14, 2018. It aims for promoting design and construction of homes including apartments and townships to give benefits of energy efficiency to the occupants.
    7. Committee under chairmanship of Umesh Sinha (Deputy Election Commissioner) to suggest modifications in provisions of the Section 126 and other sections of Representation of PeopleS Act 1951, provisions of Model Code of Conduct and any other ECI instruction in this regard has submitted its report.
      1. Committee recommendations will help in minimizing possible interference of activities which aim at indirectly influencing voters during valuable silence period of 48 hours provided to them.
    8. 32nd GST Council Meeting held in New Delhi, under Chairmanship of Finance & Corporate AffairsMinister Arun Jaitley -
      1. To give relief to MSME (including Small Traders), Increase in Turnover Limit for the existing Composition Scheme to INR 1.5 crores.
      2. Higher Exemption Threshold Limit for Supplier of Goods - There would be two Threshold Limits for exemption from Registration and Payment of GST for suppliers of Goods i.e. Rs 40 lakhs and Rs 20 lakhs. States will decide about one of the limits within a week.
      3. A Composition Scheme shall be made available for Suppliers of Services (or Mixed Suppliers) with a Tax Rate of 6% (3% CGST +3% SGST) having an Annual Turnover in the preceding Financial Year up to Rs 50 lakhs.
      4. Revenue Mobilization for Natural Calamities - Levy of Cess on Intra-State Supply of Goods and Services within Kerala at a rate not exceeding 1% for upto 2 years. It was suggested by Group of States’ Finance Ministers (GoFM) led by Bihar Deputy CM Sushil Kumar Modi.
    9. Meghalaya CM Conrad K Sangma inaugurated project Development of North East Circuit: Umiam (Lake View) - U Lum Sohpetbneng- Mawdiangdiang - Orchid Lake Resort implemented under Swadesh Darshan Scheme of Ministry of Tourism, as Swadesh Darshan project in Meghalaya.
    10. Sino-Indian Digital Collaboration Plaza (SIDCOP), an initiative to bring Indian and Chinese enterprises closer to each other on a single AI enabled platform has been launched. Its a partnership between India's NASSCOM with Municipal Governments of Guiyang and Dalian in China.
      1. This platform could be useful to connect with top providers from India and help Chinese enterprises source the right solution providers for their projects.
      2. SIDCOP Dalian is accessible at
      3. SIDCOP Guiyang is accessible at
    11. Government's commenced inter-State trade between mandis of two different States, on Flagship Program e-NAM. Earlier trade used to happen either within the APMC or between two APMCs situated within same state. Very first Inter State transactions carried out between e-NAM APMC of Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.
      1. This will helps farmers get better market access, more buyers/ traders & realise better prices for their produce.
      2. E-NAM (National Agriculture Market) is a pan-India e-trading portal which seeks to network existing physical regulated wholesale market (known as APMC market) through a virtual platform to create a unified national market for agricultural commodities.
      3. e-NAM promotes better marketing opportunities for farmers to sell their produce through online competitive and transparent price discovery system and online payment facility.
    12. Government launched National Clean Air Programme (NCAP), to tackle Air pollution in 102 selected highly affected cities -
      1. Tentative national target of 20%–30% reduction of PM2.5 and PM10 concentration by 2024 is proposed under NCAP, taking 2017 as base year for comparison of concentration.
      2. NCAP will be a mid-term, five-year action plan with 2019 as first year. It may be extended as significant outcomes will be visible only in long-term.
      3. There will be use of Smart Cities program to launch NCAP in 43 smart cities falling in list of 102 non-attainment cities.
    13. Egyptian Footballer Mohamed Salah conferred with 2018 Confederation of African Football Player of Year award for second time.
    14. Book titled We Are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World, written by Pakistani Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai has been released.
    15. Polavaram project of Andhra pradesh placed in Guinness book of world record, by pouring 32,315.5 cubic meters of concrete non-stop in 24 hours. It surpassed record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib project.
    16. Security and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) constituted a Research Advisory committee which will assist in formulating policy to undertake research relevant for development and regulation of capital markets. It will be headed by Sankar De.
    17. Sri Lanka Central Bank stated that Reserve Bank of India (RBI) agreed to provide USD 400 million under a swap arrangement to boost Sri Lanka's reserves.
    18. India's Pranav R Mehta appointed as president of Global Solar Council (GSC), becoming first Indian to hold this post.
    19. Kallakurichi created as 33rd district of Tamilnadu, made by bifurcating Villupuram district.
    20. Chhattisgarh government withdrawn general consent accorded to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to probe cases in state, under Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946.
      1. Section 6 of Delhi Special Police Establishment Act 1946 makes consent of states mandatory for CBI to exercise its powers in states.
      2. Chhattisgarh joined West Bengal and Andhra Pradesh that have earlier withdrawn general consent for CBI to undertake investigations.
  8. Jan 08, 2019
    1. Egypt opened West Asia’s largest cathedral near its Capital Cairo, on eve of Coptic Christmas on Jan 07. Unlike December 25, Coptic Christians celebrate birth of Jesus Christ on January 7, following Coptic calendar.
    2. Brisbane International Tennis 2019 (Australia)-
      1. Men's Singles - Kei Nishikori (Japan)
      2. Women's Singles - Karolína Plíšková (Czech Republic)
      3. Men's Doubles - Marcus Daniell (New Zealand) AND Wesley Koolhof (Netherlands)
      4. Women's Doubles - Nicole Melichar (USA) AND Květa Peschke (Czech Republic)
    3. Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) aSked Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to legalize Indian currency notes of denominations higher than INR 100 in Nepal, through a written declaration. Nepal Economy holds Indian currency denominations of 500 and 1000 worth INR 4.8 crores.
      1. Before demonetisation of INR 500 and 1000 bank notes in November 2016, RBI issued a FEMA notification allowing Nepali citizens to carry Rs 25,000 worth of such bank notes.
      2. After demonetisation, circulation of new bank notes of denominations 200, 500 and 2000 was started by Indian government but they were not legalized in Nepal which led to government of Nepal to ban usage of notes of higher denominations.
    4. Andhra Pradesh Govt unveiled various welfare scheme for marginalized and economically backward Brahmins through state Brahmin Welfare Corporation such as distribution of Cars to Unemployed Brahmin youths, loans and subsidies.
    5. 30th Edition of nine-day long international kite festival inaugurated ahead of Uttarayan or Makar Sankranti (day when winter season starts changing to summer and farmers welcome the approaching harvest season) in Ahmedabad (Gujarat).
    6. IRDAI has put penalty of INR 5 lakh on United India Insurance Co for violating norms regarding settlement of motor claims.
    7. United Bank of India (UBI) and Srei Equipment Finance signed agreement for financing Micro, Small and Medium enterprises (MSME) and agriculture sector. UBI plans to leverage co-lending model to offer credit at blended interest rate of 11-12 %.
    8. Japanese Investment firm SoftBank Group renamed its subsisdiary SoftBank Ventures Korea as SoftBank Ventures Asia, to focus on finding artificial intelligence-related startups globally, with an emphasis on Asia.
    9. Scientists from Washington University (USA) launched a telescope (X-Calibur instrument) from McMurdo Station in Antarctica that will analyze X-rays arriving from distant neutron stars, black holes and other exotic celestial bodies.
      1. Neutron stars are object of very small radius around 30 km and a very high density composed of closely packed neutrons.
    10. 2019 Maharashtra Open Men's Tennis (Pune) -
      1. Singles - Kevin Anderson (South Africa), defeated Ivo Karlović (Croatia)
      2. Doubles - India's Rohan Bopanna AND India Divij Sharan (They Defeated British pair of Luke Bambridge and Jonny O’Maara)
  9. Jan 07, 2019
    1. 106th Session of Indian Science Congress held at Lovely Professional University in Phagwara (Punjab). The theme of 5 day ISC 2019 is Future India: Science and Technology. It included Children’s Science Congressm 2 day Science Communicators’ Meet, ‘Women’s Science Congress’ on 5th January. Nobel Laureates who participated included -
      1. German-American biochemist Thomas Sudoph, who was awarded 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology / Medicine.
      2. Hungarian-born Israeli biochemist and Nobel laureate in Chemistry Avram Hershko (awarded in 2004).
      3. British born physicist Frederick Duncan Michael Haldane who was awarded 2016 Nobel Prize in Physics.
      4. DRDO pavilion received ‘Exhibitor of the Year Award’ at the conference.
    2. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting launched sharing of All India Radio News with private FM broadcasters, on free of cost basisn and on trial basis till 31st May, 2019. Private FM broadcaster will first have to register with News Services Division : All India Radio.
    3. Airports Authority of India (AAI) signed MoU with Society for Applied Microwave Electronics Engineering and Research (SAMEER) for joint research in Communication Navigation and Surveillance (CNS). It will enable transfer of skill by SAMEER in areas of Radio Frequency, Millimetre Wave and Antenna-related solutions to AAI domain experts.
    4. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik announced interest-free loans of up to Rs. 3 lakh for approx 6 lakh women self-help groups (WSHGs) operating in state. He also launched a scheme to distribute INR 15,000 seed money per group to 3 lakh new self-help groups. These Provisions are made under Mission Shakti.
    5. Government amalgamated 3 Regional Rural Banks from Punjab into one - Punjab Gramin Bank, Malwa Gramin Bank and Sutlej Gramin Bank.
    6. Noted journalist Dinu Randive conferred with lifetime achievement award by Mantralaya and Vidhimandal Vartahar Sangh, an association of journalists covering Maharashtra legislature and secretariat.
    7. Kerala Forest Department allowed women to trek Agasthyarkoodam, a pilgrimage centre within Neyyar Wildlife Sanctuary which had an unofficial ban on women entry until Kerala High Court in November 2018 ruled out gender-based restriction.
    8. Bengaluru Bulls beat Gujarat Fortune Giants in Pro Kabaddi Season 6 final in Mumbai, to win their 1st PKL trophy.
    9. Ministry of Human Resource Development approved establishment of a Centre for Classical Language at Thunchath Ezhuthachan Malayalam University at Tirur (Kerala).
    10. RBI constituted a high-level committee under former Infosys CEO and Aadhaar architect Nandan Nilekani to suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments in country.
    11. Haryana Govt. launched 11 projects aimed at revival of mythical Saraswati River and ensure regular flow of fresh water into it.
  10. Jan 06, 2019
    1. University Grants Commission (UGC) approved list of journals for “The Consortium for Academic and Research Ethics (CARE) Reference List of Quality Journals”. CARE is tasked to scrutinise and compile list of journals for social sciences, humanities, language, arts, culture, Indian Knowledge system etc. It would be headed by headed by the UGC Vice Chairman.
      1. UGC formed the Consortium as A research paper led by Professor Bhushan Patwardhan found that 88% of 1009 journals recommended by universities and included in white list were dubious and only 112 journals met criteria set by UGC to be included in list. This had adversely impacted image of UGC and India at international stage.
    2. NASA's Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered its 3rd new planet, named HD 21749b. Its outside our solar system and orbits a dwarf star 53 light years away, in constellation Reticulum. Its surface is around 300 degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively cool. Other planet discovered by TESS are Pi Mensae b and LHS 3844b.
    3. Government proposed renaming Indian Forest Service as Indian Forest and Tribal Service, after Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) initiated an inter-ministerial consultation note to rename the service.
    4. China passed a new law to regulate Islam and make it more compatible with socialism by Sinicizing (Informally called Chinification) Islam.
      1. China has around 2 crore Muslims and indifference of China towards Islam was garnering it criticism.
      2. Many heavy-handed measures like confiscating copies of Quran, issuing diktats to Muslims not to grow beards, and not choose names for their wards which sound “too Islamic” have been witnessed in China.
      3. To address the criticism, China brought in a law to Sinicise Islam.
    5. HRD Ministry launched 70-Point Grading Index to assess quality of school education in states -
      1. It will assess areas of deficiency in each state’s school education system so that targeted interventions can be made at every level.
      2. Iw will help states understand where they may be lagging and prioritise areas for intervention.
      3. The index will assess states on a 1,000 point grading system with 10-20 points per parameter.
    6. PM Narendra Modi laid foundation stone for the Mandal Dam Project on North Koel River, to help over one lakh eleven thousand hectares of agricultural land in Jharkhand and Bihar to get irrigation facilities.
      1. 24 MW of electricity will also be produced.
      2. It is to be completed in 30 months at estimated cost of Rs. 1622 crores. 60 % would be financed by central government as a grant from Long-Term Irrigation Fund (LTIF) under Pradhan Mantri Krishi Sinchai Yojana (PMKSY) and 40% to be borne by States through loan financed by NABARD.
      3. Construction of Mandal Dam began in 1972 and continued till 1993. It was stalled over concerns that it threatens to submerge portions of Palamau Tiger Reserve and Betla National Park. Central government has now approved diversion of forest under Palamu Tiger Reserve (PTR) for construction of Mandal Dam.
    7. Indian Railways will replace conventional coaches with modern LHB (Linke Hofmann Busch) design coaches in all long distance trains. Railways decided to stop manufacturing of ICF conventional coaches from 2018-19 and production of LHB coaches will be expedited from 2017-18.
      1. LHB coaches are equipped with modern technology to prevent capsizing of coaches during derailments, which caused more damage to life and property.
      2. LHB coaches provide advantages like anti-telescopic feature which do not penetrate into adjacent coaches in case of accidents. LHB coaches also wont climb on adjacent coaches, due to use of Center Buffer Coupling (CBC).
    8. Maharashtra Government launched Atal Solar Krishi Pump Yojana, to reduce losses to farmers due to non-payment of electricity bills and also promote solar energy. Government would provide solar pumps at subsidised rates for farmers.
      1. Farmers with less than 5 acres will have to pay 5 % of cost of a 3 HP solar pump while farmers with over 5 acres will get a 5 HP solar pump for 30000.
    9. National Green Tribunal imposed fine of INR 100 crores on Meghalaya government for its failure to curb illegal coal mining in the state, after a committee report found that majority of mines in state were operating without a lease / licence.
  11. Jan 05, 2019
    1. Ministry of Information & Broadcasting hiked advertisement rates for print media by 25% above existing rate structure for advertisement in print media by Bureau of Outreach and Communication (erstwhile DAVP). Last such revision was in 2013 when an increase of 19% was announced over and above rates of 2010.
    2. Typhoon Storm Pabuk struck Southeast asian nations Thailand, with impact in vietnam and malaysia too.
    3. Government appointed Kumar Rajesh Chandra as Director General in Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB).
    4. Government formed a High Level Committee (HLC) for implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord, to be headed by M.P. Bezbarauah. Committee will submit its report within 6 months.
      1. Govt. rceently Approved setting up a High Level Committee for implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord and measures envisaged in Memorandum of Settlement 2003 and other issues related to Bodo community.
        1. After Assam agitation of 1979-1985 (a popular movement against illegal immigrants in Assam), Assam Accord was signed on 15th August, 1985. Clause 6 of Assam Accord said that appropriate safeguards shall be provided to protect culture and heritage of Assamese people. However, it has been felt that Clause 6 of Assam Accord has not been fully implemented yet.
        2. The Committee shall examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord.
    5. An MoU for sale of FASTags through petrol pumps of leading Oil Marketing Companies signed between Indian Highways Management Company Limited and Oil Marketing Companies BPCL, HPCL and IOCL. It will expand FASTag program’s distribution network which is presently active at selected bank branches. Its a bank-neutral FASTag which can be linked to customers’ choice of bank accounts.
    6. Human Resource Development Ministry approved increase of 5000 seats in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya (JNV) for Academic Year 2019-20., taking total seats to 51000.
    7. As per First Advance Estimates of National Income 2018-19, released by Central Statistics Office (CSO) of Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation -
      1. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) at Constant Prices (2011-12) in 2018-19 is likely to become INR 139.52 lakh crores, up from GDP for 2017-18 of 130.11 lakh crores, showingh GDP Growth OF 7.2 % in 2018-19 as compared to the growth of 6.7 % in 2017-18.
      2. Real GVA (GVA at Basic Constant Prices (2011-12)) is anticipated to increase from 119.76 lakh crore in 2017-18 to 128.09 lakh crore in 2018-19. Anticipated growth of real GVA at Basic Prices in 2018-19 is 7 % as against 6.5 % in 2017-18.
      3. Per Capita Income in real terms (at 2011-12 prices) during 2018-19 is likely to become 91,921 as compared to 86,668 in 2017-18, with increase of 6.1 %.
      4. Per Capita Net National Income during 2018-19 is estimated to be 1,25,397, showing rise of 11.1 %.
    8. Persons Resigned / Retired (January 2019) -
      1. Malaysia’s monarch Sultan Muhammad V resigned, as 15th Yang di-Pertuan Agong. He resigned before completing his five-year tenure for first time in Malaysia’s history.
      2. World Bank President Jim Yong Kim will step down from his position on February 1, much before end of his term in 2022.
      3. Former CBI chief Alok Verma resigned from service -
        1. Govt. decided to remove him after an adverse report by Central Vigilance Commission (CVC). Govt. appointed him head of Fire Services, Civil Defence & Home Guards till January 31 but he refused to take the role.
        2. Govt. appointed M. Nageswara Rao as interim CBI Director till further notice. 
      4. Kevin Sweeney resigned as chief of staff of the US Department of Defence.
      5. Ashok Chawla resigned as chairman of National Stock Exchange of India Ltd (NSE).
      6. South African Cricketer Albie Morkel retired from all forms of cricket.
      7. Ananth Narayanan resigned CEO of Flipkart owned Myntra and Jabong. Amar Nagaram will now head Myntra and Jabong.
      8. Indian football team head coach Stephen Constantine Resigned.
      9. Harendra Singh removed by Hockey India as Indian men's hockey coach, offering him task of helming junior hockey squad.
    9. Noted actor-producer Sanjay Khan released his second book Assalamalaikum Watan.
    10. Vijay Mallya became first person to be named as a Fugitive Economic Offender, after being charged under a new anti-fraud law.
    11. 3 Journalists from Tamil Nadu in named for Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism Award 2018, Including M Gunasekaran, Sandhya Ravishankar and Vijay Kumar S.
    12. ICICI Bank signed MoU with NBFC Small Business FinCredit India, to jointly provide credit worth up to Rs 1 crore to MSMEs for a tenure of 15 years.
    13. Manohar Manoj’s book A Crusade against corruption has been released.
    14. Asia competitiveness institute (ACI) released Ease of Doing Business Rankings for Indian states.
      1. Andhra Pradesh topped the list, with Maharashtra and Delhi at 2nd and 3rd places respectively.
    15. Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Belinda Bencic won Hopman Cup Tennis for 2nd year in a row, defeating Germany’s Angelique Kerber and Alexander Zverev. It hosted in Perth (Australia). Federer became first player to win Hopman Cup thrice.
    16. 76th Golden Globe Awards -
      1. Best Motion Picture - Bohemian Rhapsody (Drama), Green Book (Musical or Comedy)
      2. Best Performance in a Motion Picture (Drama) -
        1. Actor - Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody
        2. Actress - Glenn Close – The Wife
      3. Best Performance in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy) -
        1. Actor - Christian Bale in Vice
        2. Actress - Olivia Colman in The Favourite
      4. Best Supporting Performance in a Motion Picture -
        1. Supporting Actor - Mahershala Ali in Green Book
        2. Supporting Actress - Regina King in If Beale Street Could Talk
      5. Best Director - Alfonso Cuarón for Roma
      6. Best Foreign Language Film - Roma (Mexico)
      7. Best Animated Feature Film - Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
      8. Best Television Series -
        1. Drama - The Americans
        2. Musical or Comedy - The Kominsky Method
  12. Jan 04, 2019
    1. Jan 04, 2019 - UN 1st World Braille Day. Day was proclaimed by UN General Assembly in November 2018, as a means of realizing human rights of visually-impaired and partially-sighted people.
    2. Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs launched 4th edition of Swachh Survekshan 2019, claimed as largest cleanliness survey. It aims to assess cities of India on their cleanliness quotient. Swachh Survekshan 2019 will continue till January 31, results of which will be announced in March 2019. Survey will be conducted across 4,237 towns and cities and 62 Cantonment Boards, impacting around 40 crore people.
    3. 25 states achieved 100 percent household electrification under Centre’s ‘Pradhan Mantri Sahaj Bijli Har Ghar Yojana’ (Saubhagya), upto end of 2018. Only about 10 Lakh households are left to be electrified in 4 States viz., Assam, Rajasthan, Meghalaya and Chhattisgarh.
    4. Indian Oil Corp (IOC) commissioned its INR 5151 crores worth Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) import terminal in Ennore (Tamil Nadu), as first LNG import terminal IOC has built on its own.
    5. Tropical Storm Usman hit Philippines’ Bicol region in Manila, causing huge losses.
    6. Odisha Govt. launched INR 10180 crores scheme,for overall development of small, marginal and landless farmers, dubbed as ‘The Krushak Assistance for Livelihood and Income Augmentation (KALIA)’ scheme.
      1. It consists of a life insurance of Rs.2 lakh for 57 lakh farmers and would grant them crop loans at zero percent interest.
      2. Assistance of INR 10000 per family per annum to around 30 lakh small and marginal farmers’ families.
      3. INR 5000 would be given to farmers for Rabi cultivation and equal amount will be given for Kharif Cultivation.
      4. It will be implemented in three phases. In first phase, 5000 would be disbursed to farmers between January 22 and January 25, 2019. 2nd second phase will be completed by February 15.
    7. According to RBI Report, number of complaints registered at banking ombudsman offices has increased to 25% owing to increased awareness and poor internal redressal mechanisms of banks. Also, jump of 159 % (almost 110 crores) was witnessed in volume of cyber fraud at banks in 2017-18.
    8. Dharwad-based paediatrician Rajan Deshpande received Shankar Vaidya Shree Award of Dr. P.S. Shankar Pratishtan.
    9. Misc. Sports Events (January 2019) -
      1. Indian cricketer Virat Kohli became fastest batsman to score 19000 international runs, getting past Sachin Tendulkar.
      2. Senior National Women's Judo Championship 2019 held at Visakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh).
      3. 80th National Table Tennis Championships held Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium in Cuttack (Odisha).
      4. Sri Lanka Cricketer Thisara Perera hit 13 sixes to set up new record of most sixes in an ODI Innings, getting past Sanath Jayasuriya's record of 11 sixes. Thisara Perera has set this record against New Zealand.
      5. Australian cities Sydney and Brisbane announced as first two host locations for newest team event in men’s tennis for ATP Cup from 2020. Third Australian city for the tournament is yet to be determined.
      6. Egypt won hosting rights for 2019 edition of African Cup of Nations Football Tournament.
      7. Noted Indian Boxer MC Mary Kom became World No 1 Boxer in 45-48 kg category in International Boxing Association (AIBA) Rankings.
      8. Indian cricketer Virat Kohli and coach Ravi Shastri received honorary membership of Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG).
      9. 1st National Level Sports Meet for students of Eklavya Model Residential Schools (EMRS) held at G.M.C Balayogi Stadium (Hyderabad).
      10. Shakil Ahmed has set up a world record in indoor rowing by completing 1 lakh metres of simulated distance in 10 hours, in above-40 years category, in Kolkata.
      11. India’s 8-year-old Kartik Singh has won under-8 category at Kids' Golf World Championship organized by US kids Golf in Malaysia, which makes him youngest Indian to win the title.
      12. MS Dhoni became 5th batsman to score 10000 runs in ODI cricket for India.
      13. Australia became first nation to have 1000 Victories across all formats of Cricket (ODI, Test, T20I), playing 1852 international matches. Australia's 1000th victory came as an ODI Victory against India. England are second with 774 wins in 1833.
      14. Tamil Nadu’s D Gukesh became India’s youngest and world’s second youngest Grandmaster, after achieving his 3rd and final GM norm at 17th Delhi International Open Chess tournament.
  13. Jan 03, 2019
    1. HDFC Mutual Fund went past ICICI Prudential MF to become India's largest asset management company, with HDFC MF managing assets to the tune of Rs 3.35 lakh crore, ahead of ICICI Prudential MF's 3.08 lakh crores.
    2. SBI Life Insurance signed bancassurance pacts with Syndicate Bank and Allahabad Bank, to offer a its insurance solutions to customers of these Banks.
    3. France introduced its own tax on large internet and technology companies, calling it GAFA tax, (named after Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon), to ensure these firms pay fair share of taxes on their massive business operations in Europe.
    4. Amitabh Chaudhry took charge as Managing Director and CEO of Axis Bank.
    5. Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) allowed custodial services in commodity derivatives market, enabling participation of institutional investors such as mutual funds and portfolio managers in commodity derivatives market. Existing custodians will be permitted to add commodities as an asset class and provide physical delivery of both securities and commodities.
    6. Veer Savarkar International Airport in Port Blair (Andaman and Nicobar Islands) declared as authorized Immigration Check post for entry into/exit from India with valid travel documents for all classes of passengers.
    7. RBI released 18th issue of Financial Stability Report (FSRM), stipulating Global and domestic macro-financial risks and current economic scenario. It says global growth outlook for 2018 and 2019 remains steady although underlying downside risks have risen.
      1. Asset quality of banks showed an improvement with gross non-performing assets (GNPA) ratio of SCBs declining from 11.5% in March 2018 to 10.8% in September 2018.
    8. RBI allowed Paytm Payments Bank to restart opening new accounts for its consumers after almost 6 months of ban. Paytm Payments Bank stopped enrolling new customers in June 2018, after an audit by RBI.
    9. Uttar Pradesh cabinet approved 0.5% cow welfare cess or ‘gau kalyan’ cess, to earn additional Rs 34 crore for constructing and maintaining cattle shelters to accommodate at least 1,000 stray cattle per district.
    10. Noted Odia Writer Manoj Das received Kabi Samrat Upendra Bhanja National Award for Lifetime Achievement in Literature.
    11. Deen Dayal Veterinary University in Uttar Pradesh will set up first goat fertility lab in state under Rashtriya Krishi Vikas Yojna at the cost of Rs 22 crores.
  14. Jan 02, 2019
    1. Cabinet Approvals (Jan 02, 2019) -
      1. MOUs -
        1. Morocco - Cooperation in Cyber Security.
      2. General Approvals -
        1. Approved introduction of a Bill named The Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order (Amendment) Bill 2018 in Parliament for certain amendments in Constitution (Scheduled Tribes) Order 1950, to modify list of Scheduled Tribes (STs) of Arunachal Pradesh.
        2. Approved continuation of Rastriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram Scheme for 2017-18 to 2019-2020 with budget outlay of 1160 crores. During 12th FYP, 8 schemes were brought under umbrella scheme of Rashtriya Yuva Sashaktikaran Karyakram, to achieve better synergies between Schemes and improve their effectiveness. Subschemes of RYSK -
          1. Nehru Yuva Kendra Sangathan(NYKS)
          2. National Youth Corps (NYC)
          3. National Programme for Youth & Adolescent Development (NPYAD)
          4. International Cooperation
          5. Youth Hostels (YH)
          6. Assistance to Scouting & Guiding Organizations
          7. National Discipline Scheme (NDS)
          8. National Young Leaders Programme (NYLP)
        3. Approved restructuring of existing National Health Agency as "National Health Authority" for better implementation of Pradhan Mantri - Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY).
          1. Existing society National Health Agency has been dissolved and will be replaced by National Health Authority as an attached office to Ministry of Health & Family Welfare.
        4. Approved Amendment to Trade Unions Act 1926 to make provisions regarding Recognition of Trade Unions. It will facilitate
          1. Recognition of Trade Unions at Central and State level.
          2. Ensure true representation of workers in tripartite bodies.
          3. Check on arbitrary nomination of workers’ representatives by the Government.
        5. Approved setting up of a High Level Committee for implementation of Clause 6 of Assam Accord and measures envisaged in Memorandum of Settlement 2003 and other issues related to Bodo community.
          1. After Assam agitation of 1979-1985 (a popular movement against illegal immigrants in Assam), Assam Accord was signed on 15th August, 1985. Clause 6 of Assam Accord said that appropriate safeguards shall be provided to protect culture and heritage of Assamese people. However, it has been felt that Clause 6 of Assam Accord has not been fully implemented yet.
          2. The Committee shall examine the effectiveness of actions since 1985 to implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord.
          3. Composition and Terms of Reference of Committee will be issued separately by Ministry of Home Affairs.
        6. Approved amalgamation of Bank of Baroda, Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank, with Bank of Baroda as transferee bank and Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank as transferor banks. It is first-ever three-way consolidation of banks in India, leading to formation of India's second largest Public Sector Bank after SBI.
          1. The scheme shall come into force on Apr 01, 2019.
          2. No impact would be on wages or ranks of employees of included banks.
          3. Strengths of individual banks - such as Dena Bank's relatively higher access to low-cost CASA deposits, Vijaya Bank's profitability and availability of capital for growth, and extensive and global network and offerings of BoB will translate into advantages for Amalgamated bank.
        7. Approved Uttar Pradesh government’s proposal to rename Allahabad as Prayagraj
      3. CCEA Approvals -
        1. Approved continuation of 5 schemes under Umbrella Scheme for Family Welfare and Other Health Interventions during 14 th Finance Commission period 2017-18 to 2019-20, with outlay of 2381 crores. All the five schemes are Central Sector Schemes with 100% funding from Central Government.  These are as follows -
          1. Swastha Nagrik Abhiyan(SNA) - For dissemination of information on health issues to create awareness among citizens.
          2. Free Supply of Contraceptives.
          3. MIS Scheme now proposed as Health Surveys and Health Research (HSHR).
          4. Social Marketing of Contraceptives.
          5. Population Research Centres (PRCs)
        2. Approved proposal of the Department of Commerce for including merchant exporters under Interest Equalisation Scheme (IES) for Pre and Post Shipment Rupee Export Credit by allowing them interest equalisation rate of 3% on such credit for export of products covered under 416 tariff lines identified under scheme. The proposal will entail benefits of around Rs 600 crore to exporters on interest equalisation, for the remaining period of the scheme.
    2. Pakistan decided to withdraw facility of on-arrival visas for Afghan nationals, citing suspected security risks. Now Afghan Nationals are required to apply for a visa from Pakistan embassy in Afghanistan.
    3. MSME Ministry established an Export Promotion Cell to create a sustainable ecosystem for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). Value of MSME-related export products was USD 148 Billion in 2017-18. Export Promotion Cell will aid MSME sector through several measures.
    4. Government launched Project Titled Green – Ag: Transforming Indian Agriculture for global environmental benefits and the conservation of critical biodiversity and forest landscapes in association with Global Environment Facility (GEF).
      1. It would be implemented in collaboration with Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) in Chambal Landscape (Madhya Pradesh), Dampa Landscape (Mizoram), Similipal Landscape (Odisha), Desert National Park Landscape (Rajasthan) and Corbett-Rajaji Landscape (Uttarakhand).
      2. Green-Ag project seeks to integrate biodiversity, climate change and sustainable land management objectives and practices into Indian agriculture.
    5. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) declared 6 monuments as Monuments of national importance in 2018 These are -
      1. Old High Court Building in Nagpur (Maharashtra)
      2. Haveli of Agha Khan in Agra (UP)
      3. Haveli of Hathi Khana in Agra (UP)
      4. Neemrana Baori in Rajasthan’s Alwar district
      5. Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail in Odisha’s Bolangir district
      6. Vishnu Temple in Kotali (Pithoragarh - Uttarkhand)
    6. USA approved ‘Asia Reassurance Initiative Act’, that aims at countering encroaching influence and growing threat from China, and to reinvigorate U.S. leadership in Asia.
      1. It aims to establish a multifaceted U.S. strategy to increase U.S. security, economic interests, and values in Indo-Pacific region.
      2. It authorises spending of $1.5 billion over 5 years to enhance cooperation with America’s strategic regional allies in region.
      3. It reiterates US commitment to all bilateral agreements with India.
    7. IIT Guwahati Researchers developed a paper kit to test freshness of milk and determine how well milk has been pasteurized. Filter paper is impregnated with chemical probes that preferentially react with Alkaline Phosphatase, which is an indicator of quality of milk.
    8. West Bengal government announced Krishak Bandhu scheme to address distressed farmers in state. State govt. will give annual assistance of INR 5000 per acre, with a life insurance cover of INR 200000. The scheme would cost approx INR 3000 Crores.
    9. RBI proposed a one-time loan restructuring scheme for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), to relief troubled small businesses. It is applicable to stressed accounts provided total exposure does not surpass Rs 25 crores. Restructuring has to be implemented by March 31, 2020.
    10. Panel headed by IIT-Hyderabad chairman B V R Mohan Reddy suggested All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) not to allow setting up of new Engineering colleges from 2020.
      1. It also Recommended to review creation of new capacity every two years.
      2. No additional seats should be approved in traditional engineering areas such as mechanical, electrical, civil and electronics and suggests that institutes should be encouraged to convert current capacity in traditional disciplines to emerging new technologies.
      3. Panel was formed after over 50 % B.TECH. seats remaining vacant in engineering colleges across coutry for past few years.
    11. Reserve Bank of India (RBI) constituted a Committee under chairmanship of U.K. Sinha (former Chairman of Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI)), with an aim to understand the structural bottlenecks and factors affecting the performance of the MSMEs.
    12. Five nations - Belgium, Dominican Republic, Germany, Indonesia and South Africa assumed charge as Non-Permanent Members of United Nations Security Council (UNSC), for 2 year terms. It is Dominican Republic’s first time on UNSC.
      1. UNSC has 5 Permanent and 10 Non-permanent members. 5 UNSC Permanent members are - China, France, Russia, UK and USA.
  15. Jan 01, 2019
    1. 3rd National Entrepreneurship Awards -
      1. Award includes trophy, certificate and cash prize of IRN 5 to 10 lakhs.
      2. This year, total 43 awards presented, including 39 awards for Young Entrepreneurs in different sectors and 4 awards for Entrepreneurship Ecosystem Builders.
      3. To be eligible for these awards, nominee age must be under 40 years, must be a first-generation entrepreneur and must hold 51% or more equity of business.
    2. Ministry of Human Resource Development constituted a Task Force under Chairmanship of Jitendra Nagpal, to inquire reasons of suicides reported in Javahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.
    3. MoU signed between IIT Bombay and PSU Oil Companies and EIL, for setting up Centre of Excellence in Oil, Gas and Energy, to meet needs of Mission Green by encouraging Research in sector and capacity building.
    4. Obituaries (Jan 2019) -
      1. Kader Khan - Noted Afghan-born Indian-Canadian Actor.
      2. C H Loknath - Noted Veteran Kannada.
      3. Ramakant Achrekar - Noted cricket coach who trained Sachin Tendulkar and Vinod Kambli.
      4. Dibyendu Palit - Noted Bengali writer and Sahitya Akademi awardee.
      5. Michael Atiyah - Noted British mathematician who received 1966 Fields Medal, also known as ‘Nobel for Mathematics’.
      6. Kishore Pradhan - Hindi and Marathi Actor.
      7. Rajesh Ghodge - Cricketer (Former Goa Ranji player).
      8. Mohammed Zulfiqar - Indian footballer. He was part of Indian football team that finished 4th in 1956 Melbourne Olympics.
    5. 3 Indian-origin women scientists among 60 Superstars of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) awards given by Australian government. 3 scientists are Onisha Patel, Devika Kamath and Asha Rao.
    6. US-based Kathak dancer Anindita Neogy Anaam honoured with National Nritya Shiromani award for promoting Kathak dance form across the world.
    7. Thottathil Bhaskaran Nair Radhakrishnan appointed as first Chief Justice of Telangana High Court.  Also, Praveen Kumar appointed as acting Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh High Court.
    8. Vinod Kumar Yadav appointed as Chairman of Railway Board, after Ashwani Lohani retired from post.
    9. USA and Israel officially quit United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) amid concerns that UNESCO fosters anti-Israel bias..
    10. AK Sikri appointed as Executive Chairman of National Legal Services Authority (NALSA).
    11. Jair Bolsonaro appointedas new President of South American Nation Brazil.
    12. Indian GDP Growth Projections (January 2019) -
      1. Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) stated that India will remain fastest growing major economy with GDP growth estimated to be 7.5% in FY19.
    13. Saurabh Kumar has been appointed as Director General of Ordnance Factories (DGOF) and chairman of Ordnance Factory Board (OFB). Indian Ordnance Factories organisation is a family of 41 Ordnance Factories, under Ministry of Defence.
    14. Hemant Bhargava is appointed as Acting Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC).
    15. Indian mountaineer Arunima Sinha became world’s first woman amputee to climb Mountain Vinson Massif (highest peak of Antarctica with Height 4892 Metres). In 2013, she became first woman amputee to climb Mount Everest.
    16. Misc. Appointments (January 2019) -
      1. Cholendra Shumsher J B Rana appointed as new Chief Justice of Nepal.
      2. Asif Saeed Khosa appointed as Chief Justice of Pakistan.
      3. P K Singh appointed as secretary in Competition Commission of India (CCI).
      4. President of Indian Weightlifting Federation (IWF), Birendra Prasad Baishya, named by government as Chef de Mission for 2020 Tokyo Olympics. Its first time that Weightlifting has been accorded with honor of Chef de Mission for Olympics.
      5. ICICI Bank appointed B Sriram and Rama Bijapurkar as independent directors.
      6. TCA Anant appointed as Member in Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). Arvind Saxena is current Chairman of UPSC.
    17. Solar Energy Corporation of India invited solar power developers to construct 7.5 GW grid connected projects in Leh and Kargil Districts in the Jammu & Kashmir. Out of 7.5 GW, 2.5 GW will be constructed in Kargil district and 5 GW in Leh district.
    18. Industrial Awards (January 2019) -
      1. IIT Roorkee professor Jayanta Kumar Ghoshhas been conferred National Geospatial Award for Excellence-2017 (Lifetime Achievement Award) at Space Application Centre in Ahmedabad.
      2. Andhra Pradesh government won Central Board of Irrigation and Power (CBIP) award for speedy execution of Polavaram multipurpose project on Godavari river.
        1. The Polavaram project also placed in Guinness book of world record, by pouring 32,315.5 cubic meters of concrete non-stop in 24 hours. It surpassed record of 21,580 cubic metres which was achieved by Abdul Wahed Bin Shabib project.
      3. Godrej Group Chairman Adi Godrej conferred the ICSIs Lifetime Achievement Award.
    19. China’s Chang’e 4 probe become first spacecraft to land on far side of moon, touching down on Von Kármán crater. Landers will aid in characterising the region’s geology and the composition of rock and soil. Chang’e-4’s instruments would examine whether impact which created South Pole Aitken Basin has punched through crust down to the Moon’s mantle layer. China named the lunar rover as ‘Yutu 2’.
    20. Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) provincial government of Pakistan declared ancient Hindu religious site of Panj Tirath in Peshawar of North Western Pakistan as national heritage.
      1. Site Panj Tirath derives its name from five pools of water in site which also has a temple. According to epic of Mahabharat, king Pandu belonged to this area and Hindus used to come to these pools for bathing during auspicious month of Karteek.