Weekly Current Affairs March 2019
We are sharing Weekly Current Affairs 22 March - 31 March 2019. This file of Weekly Current Affairs is a collection of important news and events that occurred in the week 22 March - 31 March 2019. These News are highly important for various competitive exams and interviews.
1. Rustom Irani
Hitachi Payment Services Pvt. Ltd. (Hitachi Payments) announced the appointment of Rustom Irani as its new managing director. He will also be inducted into the company’s Board effective 1st April 2019. Loney Antony, an industry stalwart, has led Hitachi Payments as the Managing Director from its inception. Rustom has been with the company for over 8 years and served as the Chief Operations Officer of Hitachi Payment Services.
2. Justice (Retd.) DK Jain
The Committee of Administrators, COA running Indian cricket has said that the newly appointed ombudsman by the BCCI, Justice (Retd.) DK Jain will also be its ad-hoc Ethics Officer. The COA, in its 10th Status Report filed on October 28, 2018, had requested the Supreme Court to appoint an Ethics Officer in addition to an Ombudsman for looking into the matters of Conflict of Interest. The three-member COA requested Justice Jain to take over as Ethics Officer on an ad-hoc basis till a permanent appointment takes place. Justice Jain, who is already looking into Hardik Pandya-KL Rahul chat show controversy, agreed to the request.
3. Kenichi Ayukawa
The country's largest carmaker Maruti Suzuki India (MSI) has re-appointed Kenichi Ayukawa as Managing Director and CEO for a period of three years with effect from April 1, 2019. The company's board, which met on March 27, re-appointed Ayukawa on the existing terms and conditions including remuneration. This would be Ayukawa's third three-year term as MD and CEO of MSI. He had taken over for the first time in March 2013.
4. RBI appoints a five-member committee to deepen digital payments
Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has appointed the 5-member committee to further deepen digital payments and enhance financial inclusion through Fintech. The committee will work under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani. The RBI has requested the committee to give recommendations in 3 months in this regard. Mr Das introduced it at the inaugural event of Financial Technology (Fintech) Conclave being organized by NITI Aayog in New Delhi.
4. Neha Upadhyaya
A social entrepreneur from India is among 16 persons selected by Yale University as the 2019 World Fellows. Neha Upadhyaya, based in New Delhi, founded GUNA Organics in 2014 that provides ethically-sourced organic food products grown by rural female Indian farmers. Upadhyaya's work has also focussed on working with children suffering from various health issues including diabetes, autism, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). She has been the recipient of Future Leaders Connect (2018) and Social Impact India (2017) awarded by the British Council and has won several prototype grants and awards, including Entrepreneur Excellence award by I.I.T. Delhi (2017).
5. Former SC judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose
President Ram Nath Kovind administered the oath of office to the former Supreme Court judge Pinaki Chandra Ghose as Lokpal chairperson. The oath was administered at a ceremony held at Rashtrapati Bhavan. Justice Ghose, the former Supreme Court judge, was on March 19 appointed as the country's first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman. President also appointed four Judicial members and four Non-Judicial members in Lokpal.
6. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh
Vice Admiral Karambir Singh has been appointed as the next Navy Chief. He will succeed Admiral Sunil Lanba who retires on 31st of May this year. Vice Admiral Karambir Singh is currently serving as the Flag Officer Commander -in- Chief of the Eastern Naval Command. He has been decorated with the Param Vishisht Seva MMedal and the Ati Vishisht Seva Medal.
7. Aamir Khan
PhonePe has appointed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as the face of its brand. PhonePe is also an official co-presenting sponsor for the television broadcast of VIVO IPL 2019. Aamir’s presence in the TV ads and his mass appeal as a national icon will help PhonePe create awareness about the benefits of digital payments for users across India.
Points to Remember : PhonePe
PhonePe Parent organization: Flipkart
CEO: Sameer Nigam
6. Dr. Rajendra Kumar Joshi has been awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman
RUJ Group's founder and chairman, Dr Rajendra Kumar Joshi, has been awarded the Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award. He has been awarded for his contributions in the field of science, education and medicine, promoting the honour and prestige of India. Dr Joshi, who belongs to Rajasthan, is a scientist of Indian origin and is based in Switzerland. The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honour conferred on Non-resident Indians by the President of India.
7. Turing Award honours pioneers of AI
Three trailblazers in artificial intelligence have been honoured with the 2018 Turing Award. Yoshua Bengio, Geoffrey Hinton and Yann LeCun were named the recipients of the award by the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM). The three developed conceptual and engineering foundations for AI by making deep neural networks a critical component of computing. The recipients will be awarded a $1 million prize, with financial support provided by Google.
8. Nobel laureate Amartya Sen honoured with Oxford University's Bodley Medal
Nobel Prize-winning economist Amartya Sen has been awarded the prestigious Bodley Medal. It is the highest honour bestowed by the University of Oxford's world-famous Bodleian Libraries. The Medal is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the fields in which the Bodleian is active, including literature, culture, science and communication. Past winners of the honour include physicist Stephen Hawking, novelist Hilary Mantel and inventor of the World Wide Web Tim Berners-Lee.
Amartya Sen is an Indian economist. In 1998, Sen was awarded the prestigious Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences for his work in welfare economics.
9. Croatia honours President Kovind with the highest civilian award
President Ram Nath Kovind was honoured with Croatia's highest civilian award - the Grand Order of the King of Tomislav. The civilian order is awarded to heads of state for their important contribution towards the development of state relations between Croatia and their respective countries. Kovind is in Croatia as part of his eight-day three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile. Kovind is on the first-ever Indian head of state to visit Croatia.
10. A teacher from remote Kenya village conferred with Global Teacher Prize for 2019
A maths and physics teacher, Peter Tabichi from a secondary school in a remote village in Kenya’s Rift Valley has won the $1 million Global Teacher Prize for 2019. He gives away 80 per cent of his income to help the poor in the remote village of Pwani where almost a third of the children are orphans or have only one parent. He received the prize at a ceremony Saturday in Dubai hosted by Hollywood star Hugh Jackman. He has become the first ever African male to have won the award. Two Indian teachers, Arti Qanungo and Swaroop Rawal were also nominated for the award. Both of them had made it to the top 50 finalists.
11. 64th Filmfare Awards 2019
The 64th Vimal Filmfare Awards 2019 kicked off at the Jio Garden in BKC, Mumbai.
Here’s a list of important winners across several categories:
- Best Actor: Ranbir Kapoor for Sanju
- Best Actress: Alia Bhatt for Raazi
- Best Film: Raazi
- Best Director: Meghna Gulzar for Raazi
- Best Playback Singer (Male): Arijit Singh for Ae Watan - Raazi
- Best Playback Singer (Female): Shreya Ghoshal for Ghoomar - Padmaavat
- Best Music Album: Sanjay Leela Bhansali for Padmaavat
12. Indian Fiscal Federalism: N.K. Singh
Shri N.K. Singh, Chairman, 15th Finance Commission launched the book “Indian Fiscal Federalism”. It has been written by Dr Y. V. Reddy, former Governor of RBI and Chairman of the 14th Finance Commission of India along with Dr G. R. Reddy, Advisor (Finance) to the Government of Telangana.
13. Every Vote Counts : Navin Chawla’s
Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Navin Chawla’s book ‘Every Vote Counts’ was launched by former Vice President of India, Hamid Ansari in New Delhi. This book is about how the electoral machinery works in India. The book explains about India is on the cusp of change, and with its parliamentary elections coming up.
Well-known Malayalam writer and poet Ashita passed away at the age of 63. As many as twenty books including poems, translations and children's literature were published on Ashita's name. Some of her noted works include 'Apoorna Viramangal, 'Vismaya Chhihnangal and Ashithayude Kathakal. Ashita has been the recipient of several awards including the prestigious Padmarajan Award - Thathagatha (2000), Lalithambika Antharjanam Award (1994) and Edaserri Award (1986).
15. Valery Bykovsky
Pioneering Soviet-era cosmonaut Valery Bykovsky, who made the first of his three flights to space in 1963, has died at age 84. Bykovsky was one of 20 Soviet military pilots in the first group picked to prepare for space. He first flew to space in June 1963 as a member of the Vostok-5 crew. He underwent training for a moon mission before the United States won the race to the moon and the Soviet Union canceled its plans to go there. Bykovsky made his second space flight in 1976 and his third in 1978. He spent nearly 21 days in orbit in all.
16. C S.Shivalli
Karnataka Municipalities Minister C. S. Shivalli passed away in a hospital in Hubballi. He was 58. For the past three days, he was monitoring the rescue operation at the building that had collapsed in Dharwad. Shivalli was elected thrice from Kundgol constituency in Dharwad district. Shivalli will be remembered for his service to Karnataka.
17. Sarabjot Singh, Esha Singh win gold in junior Air Pistol
Sarabjot Singh won the 10m Air Pistol men's junior event and Esha Singh women's junior event. Their victories bolster India's overall gold haul to eight at the end of day four of the 12th Asian Airgun Championships in Taoyuan, Taipei. Sarabjot also partnered Arjun Cheema and Vijayveer Sidhu to win the junior team gold. India has so far won eight gold, four silver and two bronze medals with two days of competition left.
18. South Korea defeat India in Azlan Shah Cup final
India has lost to South Korea in the final of Sultan Azlan Shah Hockey tournament at Ipoh in Malaysia. South Korea lifted the title, defeating India in a shootout 4-2. Till the stipulated time both the teams had a score of 1 goal each. Hosts Malaysia defeated Canada 4-2 and secured the 3rd place.
19. Breakdancing makes next move to Olympic status at Paris 2024
The Executive Board of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) has recommended adding breakdancing, skateboarding, sport climbing and surfing to the 2024 Paris Olympic Games. All four sports will be assessed in terms of how they are managed, judged, before being finalized for Paris. The 2024 summer Olympic games are scheduled to take place from 26 July to 11 August 2024 in Paris, France. Having previously hosted the 1900 and 1924 Summer Olympics, Paris will become the second city to host the Olympic Games three times, along with London (1908, 1948, and 2012). The United States leads the world by hosting 8 Olympic Games including 4 Summer Olympics and 4 Winter Olympics (1904, 1932, 1984, 1996, 1932, 1960, 1980, 2002).
20. Manu Bhaker-Saurabh Chaudhary bag Gold medal in 10m Air Pistol Mixed event at 12th Asian Airgun Championship
Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary have bagged a Gold medal in the 10-metre Air Pistol Mixed team event at the 12th Asian Airgun Championship at Taoyuan in Taipei. The teenage Indian duo went on to win the five-team final with a score of 484.8 points. The pair made it to the Final after smashing the world record in the qualification. 17-year-old Manu and 16-year-old Saurabh shot a combined score of 784, breaking the record set by Russians Vitalina Batsarashkina and Artem Chernousov at the European Championships.
21. Suresh Raina becomes the first cricketer to score 5000 IPL runs
Chennai Super Kings star Suresh Raina created history as he became the first cricketer in Indian Premier League (IPL) to complete 5000 runs. He gained this title in the first match of the season against Royal Challengers Bangalore. Suresh Raina leads the way with Virat Kohli at the second spot. Mumbai Indians’ skipper Rohit Sharma completes the illustrious top three list.
22. Kohli's coach Rajkumar Sharma in charge of Malta National team
Virat Kohli's childhood coach Rajkumar Sharma has been appointed the head coach of the Malta national cricket team for an ICC qualifying tournament. There is a three-nation divisional tournament of the ICC from March 29 to 31 in Spain. Malta, Estonia and hosts Spain will take part in the tournament. He is a cricket coach and a former Ranji Trophy player and a Dronacharya award winner.
23. India bag 368 medals at Special Olympics World Games
India won 368 medals (85 gold, 154 Silver, and 129 Bronze) at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, held at Abu Dhabi, UAE. The tournament which started on March 14 ended on March 21. In the 2015 Special Olympics that took place in the US, India managed to grab 173 medals. The next Special Olympic Games are set to take place in Sweden in 2021.
24. FIFA bans former Ecuador football chief for life
FIFA slapped a lifetime ban on the disgraced former head of Ecuador's football federation, Luis Chiriboga, after finding him guilty of taking bribes. Chiriboga was one of the executives arrested in 2015 amid a massive US-led crackdown on corruption in world football. FIFA's ethics judges banned Chiriboga from all football-related activities for life and fined him 1 million Swiss francs ($1 million, 887,000 euros). Chiriboga led Ecuador's football federation for 18 years before his arrest.
25. India clinch SAFF Women's championship for the fifth time
India has clinched the SAFF Women's Championship for the fifth time in a row. Indian team defeated hosts Nepal 3-1 in the final at Biratnagar in Nepal. This was India's 5th victory in the championship since its inception in 2010.
26. Zuzana Caputova set to become 1st female President of Slovakia
In Slovakia, the government critic and anti-corruption activist Zuzana Caputova is set to become the first female President. Caputova got over 58 per cent of the ballot after results from 91 per cent of polling stations were counted. EU energy commissioner Maros Sefcovic garnered nearly 42 per cent.
Points to Remember : Slovakia
27. Earth Hour 2019: 30 March
Cities around the world marked Earth Hour on 30 March by turning off lights at 8:30 p.m. local time. Like every year, Earth Hour 2019 falls on the last Saturday of March. It Organised each year by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF). The Earth Hour was started in 2007 as a lights-off event in Sydney, Australia. Theme: #Connect2Earth
28. Tesla builds its 'largest energy storage system in Asia'
In a bid to reduce energy demand and provide emergency backup power to trains in Japan, Tesla has claimed to develop its largest power storage system in Asia. According to Tesla, it has installed a bank of 42 Powerpacks at a train station in Japan's Osaka. It can provide sufficient backup power to safely move a train and its passengers to the nearest station in the event of a power outage. The 7 megawatt-hours (MWh) system is its largest energy storage project in Asia and the fourth largest in the greater Asia-Pacific (APAC) region.
29. Germany adds six months to Saudi arms export ban
Germany has extended by six months an embargo on weapons exports to Saudi Arabia, instituted last October. Government spokesman Steffen Seibert said in a statement ordered to halt authorised weapons exports to Saudi Arabia is extended by six months from March 31 to September 30, 2019. Berlin reacted to Khashoggi's murder at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul last October by declaring a freeze on weapons sales to Saudi Arabia and other countries involved in the Yemen War. At least 10,000 people are estimated to have been killed in the Yemen war since March 2015.
Points to Remember : Yemen
- Yemen Capitals: SanaÊ½a
30. Singapore airport named world's best, New Delhi's IGI gets 59th
Singapore's Changi Airport has been crowned the world's best aviation hub for the seventh time in a row. New Delhi's Indira Gandhi International (IGI) Airport featured at number 59, according to the Skytrax World Airport Awards. The list has been compiled by the UK-based Skytrax, a consultancy firm which runs an airline and airport review and ranking site, featuring 100 airports. The prestigious accolade was awarded at the Passenger Terminal Expo 2019 in London. The Skytrax World Airport Awards are voted for by customers in a global airport customer satisfaction survey.
31. Comoros President Azali Assoumani re-elected
Comoros President Azali Assoumani was re-elected as president according to results published by the electoral commission. He was way ahead of his closest rival Mahamoudou Ahamada, who garnered only 14.62 per cent of the ballots cast. Comoros is a volcanic archipelago off Africa’s east coast, in the warm Indian Ocean waters of the Mozambique Channel.
Points to remember: Comoros
- Capital: Moroni
- Currency: Comorian franc
32. Pakistan approves the proposal to open Sharda Peeth corridor
The Pakistan government approved a proposal to establish a corridor that will allow Hindu pilgrims from India to visit Sharda Peeth. It is an ancient Hindu temple and cultural site in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. The Sharda Peeth corridor, when opened, will be the second religious tract after Kartarpur corridor in Pakistan-controlled territory that will connect the two neighbouring nations. After Partition in 1947, the temple went under the control of Pakistan. It is about 130km from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir. Kashmiri Pandits consider Sharada as their “kuldevi” or principal deity.
33. World's largest e-waste recycling hub opens in Dubai
The world's largest e-waste recycling facility has opened in Dubai. It is located at the Dubai Industrial Park and will process Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE), IT asset disposition (ITAD), refrigerant gas and specialised waste. It has a processing capacity of 100,000 tonnes of total integrated waste per year, of which 39,000 tonnes is e-waste. The facility can process the entire range of WEEE from consumer and industrial to commercial and military.
34. Syria asks UN Security Council to hold a meeting on Golan Heights
Syria has asked the United Nations Security Council to hold an urgent meeting on the US decision to recognize the Golan Heights as Israeli territory. President Donald Trump signed a proclamation in which the United States recognized Israel's annexation of the strategic plateau. Five European countries in the UN Security Council have rejected US President Donald Trump's decision to recognize the Golan as Israeli territory. Belgium, Britain, France, Germany and Poland have insisted that the European position has not changed and that the Golan remains Israeli-occupied Syrian territory. Israel seized Golan from Syria during the 1967 Six-Day War.
35. India, Bangladesh to start cruise service
India and Bangladesh will start a cruise service that would take passengers through the Sunderbans to Dhaka. The move aims to strengthen inland waterway routes between the two countries. Other than road and rail, India and Bangladesh also have very strong power connectivity through waterways. As the movement of goods starts using inland waterways, goods from India can go in the cheapest possible form up to Narayanganj and Dhaka in Bangladesh. Apart from it, people would have the option to travel through the Sunderbans on luxury vessels up to Dhaka.
36. Italy, China signs new 'Silk Road' protocol
Italy has signed a non-binding protocol with China to take part in Beijing's new Silk Road of transport. Italy became the first G7 country to sign up for the project. Chinese President Xi Jinping and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte both attended a ceremony in Rome.
37. World Tuberculosis Day: 24th March
World Tuberculosis Day is observed on 24th March every year It is observed every year to raise public awareness about the devastating health, social and economic consequences of TB, and to step up efforts to end the global epidemic. The theme this year is, 'It's time'. It focuses on the urgency to act on the commitments made by global leaders to scale up access to prevention and treatment of the disease.
38. Jimmy Carter becomes the longest living chief executive in American history
Former US president Jimmy Carter has created a record. Elected as the 39th President, Carter is now the longest living chief executive in American history. He is the 172nd day beyond Carter's 94th birthday. It exceeds by one day the lifespan of former President George H.W. Bush, who died last November at the age of 94 years, 171 days.
39. World Water Day: 22 March
World Water Day is celeberated every year on 22 March, it highlights the importance of freshwater. The first World Water Day, designated by the United Nations, was commemorated in 1993. The theme for World Water Day 2019 is ‘Leaving no one behind’.
40. Evidence of water found on asteroid Bennu
Scientists have discovered evidence of abundant water-bearing minerals on the surface of the near-Earth asteroid Bennu. Using early spectral data from NASA's OSIRIS-REx spacecraft orbiting the asteroid, the team identified infrared properties similar to those in a type of meteorite called carbonaceous chondrites. Bennu has a more rugged surface than expected. This posed a challenge for the mission team and forced it to alter its flight and sample collection plans. Few of the particles ejected out of Bennu orbited it as satellites before returning to the asteroid’s surface.
41. Braille-enabled ballot papers at all polling booths in Meghalaya
For the first time, Meghalaya will witness Braille-enabled ballot papers at all polling booths to ensure wider participation of voters in Lok Sabha elections. Chief Electoral Officer of Meghalaya, FR Kharkongor, said all efforts are being made to ensure a more inclusive election. It has mapped over 4,500 persons with disabilities to make sure that they get a priority at polling booths. The ballot papers posted on the EVMs will have the names and symbols of candidates in Braille alphabet.
42. Dhanbad best city for 4G availability in India
In terms of 4G availability, Dhanbad in Jharkhand has topped the list of 50 cities in India, according to London-based wireless coverage mapping company OpenSignal. Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand, came second after scoring 95 per cent in 4G availability. Srinagar came third with a score of 94.9 per cent. New Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and Kolkata did not make it to the top 10 in the list. Dhanbad scored 95.3 per cent in OpenSignal's measurements.
43. India & Bolivia sign 8 MoUs in various fields including culture, mining, space
India and Bolivia have signed eight MoUs on the second day of President Ram Nath Kovind’s three-day visit to that country. These MoUs were signed in the fields of culture, Visa waiver arrangement for diplomats, the exchange between diplomatic academies, mining, space, traditional medicine, the establishment of Centre of Excellence in IT and Bi-Oceanic Railway project. President is in Bolivia on the second leg of his three-nation tour. He is on a three-nation visit to Croatia, Bolivia and Chile from March 25th to April 4th.
44. Bongaigaon dist admin develops 'Sankalp' app to reach out to 1st-time voter
In Assam, the Bongaigaon district administration has developed a mobile app Sankalp to particularly reach out to the first-time voters.
- Bongaigaon Deputy Commissioner Adil Khan said that a special initiative has been taken to encourage the first-time voters.
- Mr Khan said that the NIC team has developed the app and it will be launched soon.
- He said messages will be sent to the first-time voters on their mobile phones, requesting them to download the ‘Sankalp’ app.
45. India, Canada conclude comprehensive counter-terror joint action plan
India and Canada have concluded an agreement on a Joint Action Plan outlining activities to further strengthen counter-terrorism collaboration, including through joint capacity building, information and technology sharing. This was decided at the 16th meeting of the Canada-India Joint Working Group on Counter-Terrorism and its Expert Sub-group was held in Ottawa. The Joint Working Group reviewed threats posed by terrorist groups worldwide and in their respective countries and regions.
46. Wipro, IIT-Kharagpur partner for advanced research in 5G and AI
IT services major Wipro has partnered with IIT Kharagpur to collaborate on industry-focused applied research in the areas of 5G and artificial intelligence (AI). Research outcomes from this partnership will be leveraged by Wipro to develop solutions for its customers, across industry verticals. Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Kharagpur, on the other hand, will benefit from the commercialisation of the joint research insights and Wipro's industry expertise. The two organisations will focus on AI research applicable in the healthcare, education and retail sectors as well as in domains such as climate change and cybersecurity.
47. UGC prohibited distance learning degree courses in agriculture
The University Grants Commission (UGC) has prohibited imparting distance degree programmes in agriculture. The decision was taken by the higher education regulator at its last meeting on the ground. It states that a degree programme in agriculture is technical in nature as it requires practical or laboratory courses. As per UGC Open and Distance Learning Regulations, 2017, professional programmes such as medicine, engineering, architecture, nursing, dental, pharmacy and physiotherapy are not permitted to be offered in distance mode. Nasik-based Yashwant Rao Chavan Maharashtra Open University, Annamalai University, IGNOU, Kuvempu University and Nalanda Open University are among the institutions offering programmes in agriculture science.
48. India, Australia to hold a joint exercise on maritime security from 2 April
India and Australia are set to further deepen defence and strategic relationship with the third edition of the biennial, bilateral exercise AUSINDEX 19 from April 2 to April 16 at Vishakhapatnam. The upcoming exercise will focus on anti-submarine warfare and will see Australia's largest defence force deployment in India. This exercise is part of the strong and growing Australia-India strategic partnership. More than 1,000 Australian defence force personnel comprising Navy, Army and Air force assets will work together with their Indian counterparts in military training activities
49. India successfully conducts an anti-satellite missile test
Defence Research and Development Organisation, DRDO successfully conducted an Anti-Satellite (A-SAT) missile test, under Mission Shakti from Dr APJ Abdul Kalam Island in Odisha. A DRDO-developed Ballistic Missile, Defence Interceptor Missile successfully engaged an Indian orbiting target satellite in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) in a Hit to Kill mode. He assured the international community that India's capability will not be used against anyone but is purely a defence initiative for its security. The successful launch of an anti-satellite missile, the country has emerged as a space superpower in the world. After the US, Russia, and China, India is the fourth country to acquire this space capability.
50. IIT-Delhi develops an AI-based system to detect malaria and other diseases
Researchers at the Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi have developed an Artificial Intelligence-based electronic hardware system to detect malaria, tuberculosis, an intestinal parasite, and cervical cancer in milliseconds. The researchers said that their system can be used for healthcare access in resource-constrained areas with limited access to human specialists. The IITD researchers have demonstrated a proof-of-concept (PoC) low-power rapid AI hardware implementation based microscopy diagnostic support system for four different diseases: Malaria, Tuberculosis, Cervical Cancer and Intestinal Parasite Infection. The work was showcased at Rashtrapati Bhawan and also received the prestigious Gandhian Young Technology Innovation Award (GYTI) in 2018.
51. India, African Union ink MoU on health sciences cooperation
The Indian Council of Medical Research and the African Union (AU) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) which formalised the India-Africa Health Sciences Collaborative Platform (IAHSP) by establishing a framework. It will pave the way for cooperation in R&D, capacity building, health services, pharmaceutical trade, and manufacturing capabilities. The IAHSP was established after the first India-Africa Health Sciences Meet in 2016 in New Delhi. The IAHSP strengthens cooperation in the health sector in a structured and organized manner.
52. Government notifies Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules 2019
Health and Family Welfare Ministry have notified the Drugs and Clinical Trials Rules, 2019 with an aim to promote clinical research in the country. The new rules will change the regulatory landscape for the approval of new drugs and conduct of clinical trials in the country. These rules will apply to all new drugs, investigational new drugs for human use, clinical trial, bioequivalence study and Ethics Committee. It has reduced the time for approving applications to 30 days for drugs manufactured in India and 90 days for those developed outside the country. The ethics committee will monitor the trials and decide on the amount of compensation in cases of adverse events.
53. First Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu flagged off
First Indian Army Mountaineering Expedition to Mt Makalu (8485m) was flagged off by Director General Military Training on 26 Mar 2019. It comprises of five Officers, two JCOs and eleven OR. In furtherance of the objective of summiting all challenging peaks above 8000m, Indian Army is launching its maiden expedition to Mt Makalu in Mar-May 2019. Mt Makalu is considered amongst the most dangerous peaks and summiting the peak is considered extremely challenging due to inclement weather conditions and freezing temperatures. It is located in the Mahalangur Himalayas 19 km southeast of Mount Everest, on the border between Nepal and Tibet, China.
54. Admiral Sunil Lanba commissions ABHEDYA at INS Shivaji
Admiral Sunil Lanba, PVSM AVSM ADC, Chief of the Naval Staff commissioned a state of the art "Nuclear, Biological, Chemical Training Facility - ABHEDYA", at INS Shivaji, Lonavla. GSL had signed the contract with Indian Navy for construction of NBCTF on 31 Mar 2016. This unique facility will assist the Indian Navy in providing a realistic simulation of Nuclear, Chemical & Biological warfare to its personnel during their NBC damage control training. The steel structure of the simulator represents the relevant NBC compartment of the ship such as upper decks, citadels, cleansing stations, DCHQ, etc.
55. IAF inducts first four heavy-lift Chinook helicopters
Indian Air Force (IAF) formally inducted the four heavy-lift Chinook helicopters. Chinook helicopters will be deployed at Chandigarh's Air Force Station 12 Wing. These helicopters are capable of vertical lift and heavy lifting in hilly areas. Chinook has been procured with India-specific enhancements and can carry out military operations even at night. Chinook will be used to move troops, artillery, ammunition, supplies and equipment on the battlefield. Apart from military operations, they can also be used for medical evacuation, disaster relief, search and recovery, fire-fighting and civil development.
56. INS Kadmatt to participate in maritime and aerospace exhibition in Malaysia
Indian Navy's frontline corvette INS Kadmatt reached Malaysian archipelago Langkawi. It will participate in the 15th edition of Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace Exhibition, LIMA-19. INS Kadmatt is an indigenous stealth anti-submarine warfare corvette and was commissioned into the Indian Navy in January 2016. The ship is fitted with state-of-the-art weapons, sensors and machinery.
57. Indian-Sri Lankan armies military exercise- Mitra Shakti
The joint training exercise MITRASHAKTI - VI between Indian and Sri Lanka Army has been started at Diyatalawa in Sri Lanka. An Indian contingent of 120 Army personnel, including 11 officers will take part in the two-week long exercise. It is an annual event held in India and Sri Lanka alternatively. The exercise will help in building proficiency in tackling transnational terrorism, the conduct of joint tactical operations and building combat skills.
58. CBSE to introduce artificial intelligence, yoga as new subjects
The CBSE will introduce artificial intelligence (AI), early childhood care education and yoga as new subjects in the school curriculum from the upcoming academic session. A decision to introduce the three subjects was taken at a recent meeting of the board's governing body. The CBSE is introducing artificial intelligence as an optional 6th subject at Class IX from the session 2019-2020 onwards. The board has also decided to introduce yoga and early childhood education as elective subjects at senior secondary level. As per norms, a skill subject, at the secondary level, may be offered as additional sixth subject along with the existing five compulsory subjects.
59. NITI Aayog's FinTech Conclave organised in New Delhi
NITI Aayog organised a day-long FinTech Conclave at Dr Ambedkar International Center, New Delhi. The objective of the conference was to shape India’s continued ascendancy in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts, and to deliberate steps for comprehensive financial inclusion. The Conclave featured representatives from across the financial space - central ministries, regulators, bankers, startups, service providers and entrepreneurs. The Conclave was inaugurated by RBI Governor Shaktikanta Das.
60. Delhi's Indira Gandhi International Airport 12th busiest in the world
The national capital's Indira Gandhi International Airport (IGIA) has now become the world's 12th busiest airport, moving up four places from the 16th spot in 2017. The preliminary world airport traffic rankings for 2018 has been released by the Airports Council International (ACI). The ACI report said the IGI airport saw 6.9 crore domestic and international flyers in 2018, which is 10.2% points higher than the combined passengers of 2017. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in the US was named the busiest airport in the world.
61. India ranks 76th on WEF's global Energy Transition index
India has moved up two places to rank 76th on a global energy transition index. The index has ranked 115 economies on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability. Sweden remains on the top on this annual list compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF). Sweden is followed by Switzerland and Norway in the top three. It said India is amongst the countries with high pollution levels and has a relatively high CO2 intensity in its energy system.
62. Facebook announces AI for a social good summit
Facebook said it's ‘AI for India Summit' will be organised on March 26, 2019, in Bengaluru. The summit focused on discussing inclusive growth and solutions to the most enduring social challenges. The Summit will bring together key representatives from the AI (Artificial Intelligence) community in India such as policymakers start-ups, and the developer community. The one-day summit would also be attended by Facebook's global AI teams.
63. SAIL launches smart garbage bins
Steel Authority of India Ltd (SAIL) has launched smart garbage bins made of stainless steel. These smart garbage bins will be able to send a signal to the garbage collection vehicle about the ‘fill-up’ position of the bin, aiding better cleaning and lower human intervention. The environment-friendly garbage bins will be made of SAIL SALEM stainless steel. These will be installed in underground Reinforced Cement Concrete (RCC) pits at the Smart Garbage Station. This will help prevent the spread of stink and diseases.
64. NSEIT acquires cybersecurity company Aujas
NSEIT, the IT-services focused subsidiary of the National Stock Exchange has acquired Aujas Networks Ltd. Founded in 2008, Aujas has operations in India, the Middle East and North America. It employs about 400 cybersecurity professionals and has over 390 customers globally. NSEIT currently provides technology solutions across industries such as capital markets, financial markets, banking and insurance.
65. Indian Air Force to participate in LIMA 2019
Indian Air Force will participate in Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo, LIMA 2019. The expo will take place in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26th to 30th March. Indian Air Force is participating in the Expo for the first time and it will showcase its indigenously developed LCA fighter aircraft. The participation of Indian Air Force in LIMA - 2019 will provide an opportunity to air-warriors to interact with their Royal Malaysian Air Force
66. President Kovind to visit Croatia, Bolivia and Chile from Mar 25
President Ram Nath Kovind will visit Croatia, Bolivia and Chile from 25th of this month to 2nd of April. Mr Kovind will meet his Croatian counterpart and Prime Minister of Croatia and discuss the issues of mutual interest. In Bolivia, the President will hold restricted and delegation level talks with his counterpart. He will participate in India-Bolivia business forum meeting and interact with students. He will hold talks with Chile Counterpart and discuss issues of mutual interest.
Points to Remember
- Capital and currencies of the above-mentioned countries are as follows
- Croatia: Capital: Zagreb; Currency: Croatian kuna
- Bolivia: Capital: Sucre; Currency: Bolivian boliviano
- Chile: Capital: Santiago; Currency: Chilean peso
67. 22 March : Bihar's 107th foundation day
Bihar celebrated its 107th foundation day on 22 March. It was on this day in 1912 the state was carved out of United Bengal. A number of programmes were organised to mark the occasion. Bihar Foundation organised Bihar day abroad including in US, Britain, Germany, Mauritius and Trinidad and Tobago.
Points to Remember: Bihar
- Governor: Lalji Tandon
- Chief minister: Nitish Kumar
- Capital: Patna
- Districts: 38
- Legislative Council seats: 75
- Legislative Assembly seats: 243
68. CBSE launches new Shiksha Vani' app
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) launched a new podcast app 'Shiksha Vani'. This app will disseminate crucial information to students and parents in a timely manner. The board also mentioned that its first episode, on the evaluation process of Class 10 and 12 board examinations, has been released on the platform. As the examinations proceed, the episode helps students understand how their completed papers will be evaluated.
68. Social Media platforms to prevent violation of Code of Ethics during polls
Social Media platforms and Internet Mobile Association of India (IAMAI) have adopted a Voluntary Code of Ethics forthe forthcoming general elections. The code has been submitted to the Election Commission. According to it, IAMAI and Social Media platforms, including Facebook,WhatsApp, Twitter and Google, will create a high priority dedicated reporting mechanism and appoint dedicated teams during the polls for taking expeditiousaction on any reported violations. No political campaign will be allowed to run on major social media platforms in the last 48 hours before polling ends.
69. Piyush Goyal among 'World's 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019
Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Dr Harsh Vardhan are among the seven Indians who have been named in the 'World's 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019' for taking steps in order to combat climate change. Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal has led the fast track electrification of nearly 18,000 unelectrified villages, and been critical in the rollout of a drastic power sector reform and the world's largest LED bulb distribution programme He is a 2018 Carnot Prize Recipient for contributions to energy policy. Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan has focused on motivating scientists to develop new technologies that address social and environmental problems.
70. SpiceJet becomes first Indian low-cost airline to join IATA
SpiceJet has joined global airlines’ grouping International Air Transport Association (IATA) as a member, becoming the first Indian low-cost carrier to get the membership. The IATA represents more than 290 airlines, including Air India, Jet Airways and Vistara. The IATA membership is significant on account of SpiceJet’s plans for rapidly expanding its international footprint. SpiceJet is the first Indian low-cost carrier to be an IATA member and fifth member of IATA in India.
71. Fitch cuts India GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 6.8%
Fitch Ratings cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8% from its previous estimate of 7%, It predicted because of weaker than expected momentum in the economy. Fitch Ratings cut India’s FY19 GDP growth forecast to 7.2% from 7.8% on December 6. The rating agency has also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7% from 7.3% and 7.1 per cent from 7.3%, respectively.
72. PNB to sell part stake in housing finance arm for Rs 1,852 crore
State-run Punjab National Bank (PNB) is selling part of its stake in PNB Housing Finance to global private equity firm General Atlantic Group and alternative investment firm Varde Partners for Rs 1,851.60 crore. After the transaction, PNB will continue to hold a 19.78 per cent stake in the housing finance arm and will remain the promoter and strategic shareholder of the company. As of December 31, 2018, PNB held 32.79 per cent in PNB Housing Finance. PNB will sell 10.89 million equity shares each to General Atlantic and Varde Partners at Rs 850 per share, aggregating to Rs 1851.60 crore.
73. Govt decides to infuse around Rs 5000 Cr into Bank Of Baroda
The government has decided to infuse around five thousand crore rupees into state-owned Bank of Baroda ahead of the merger of two other public sector lenders Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda. The merger of Dena Bank and Vijaya Bank with Bank of Baroda would be effective from 1st Apri 2019. The Bank of Baroda, in a regulatory filing, said that the finance ministry through its notification conveyed its decision to infuse a capital of 5,042 crore rupees in the bank. The government in September last year had announced the merger of Vijaya Bank and Dena Bank with Bank of Baroda, aiming to create the third-largest lender after SBI and ICICI Bank.
74. ICICI Bank launches digital home loan products up to Rs 1 cr
ICICI Bank has launched two instant home loan products for up to Rs 1 crore. The instantaneous home loan facility enables customers to get final sanction letter for new home loans as well as for a top-up the loan in a fully-digital way. 'Instant Home Loan' enables pre-approved salaried customers of the bank to avail loans up to Rs 1 crore for a tenure of up to 30 years using internet banking facility. The facility helps the customers get the top up amount disbursed immediately in their account as compared to the industry practice of approving and disbursing a top-up a home loan in a few working days.
75. RBI slaps Rs 2 crore penalty on PNB
The Reserve Bank of India has slapped a penalty of Rs 2 crore on Punjab National Bank for non-compliance of regulatory directions with regard to SWIFT operations. SWIFT is a global messaging software used for sharing information on inter-bank transactions by financial entities. The Reserve Bank in a letter dated March 25 has informed the bank about the penalty. Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank had imposed penalties worth 71 crore rupees on 36 public, private and foreign banks for non-compliance of SWIFT operations.
76. Netmeds buys health tech start-up KiViHealth for $10 million
Online pharmacy Netmeds has acquired KiViHealth, a clinic management platform providing cloud-based, AI-powered tools for effective doctor-patient interaction, for $10 million in a cash and stock deal. The acquisition helps Netmeds to transform into a complete healthcare product and service company. KiViHealth is built around its unique "digital prescription pad" tool which allows doctors to generate digital prescriptions. Creating a prescription digitally not only rules out any possible misinterpretation of the medication or dosage but also creates an electronic historical health records storage for the benefit of the patient as well as the physician.
77. Govt exceeds disinvestment target for current fiscal by Rs 5,000 cr
The government has exceeded its disinvestment target for the current fiscal by Rs 5,000 crore, taking the total proceeds to Rs 85,000 crore. This is the second highest disinvestment proceeds in a financial year after the government last fiscal mopped up a little over Rs 1 lakh crore in 2017-18. Last year it was helped by ONGC acquiring government's entire 51.11 per cent stake in oil refiner HPCL for Rs 36,915 crore. In the current fiscal, the government is eyeing Rs 14,500 crore by way of sale of its 52.63 per cent stake in REC to state-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC).