Current Affairs Daily Digest – January 29 2020
1. Cabinet approves Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020
Union Cabinet has approved the Medical Termination of Pregnancy (Amendment) Bill, 2020. The bill will amend the Medical Termination of Pregnancy Act, 1971. It will be introduced in the budget session of the Parliament.
Briefing media in New Delhi, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said, for Medical termination of pregnancy, permission will be needed, from two doctors and one of them must be a government doctor. The limit of termination of pregnancy has been increased from 20 weeks to 24 weeks.
2. Cabinet approves 30 per cent of North-Eastern Council’s allocation for new projects
Cabinet has approved allocation of 30 per cent of the North-Eastern Council’s allocation for new projects. This will help in focused development of deprived areas, neglected sections of society and emerging priority sectors.
The Cabinet has also approved extension of Productivity-Linked Reward Scheme for the employees and workers of the Major Port Trust and Dock Labour Board for the period beyond 2017-18.
3. Harsh Vardhan Shringla takes charge as new Foreign Secretary
Harsh Vardhan Shringla today took charge as new foreign secretary succeeding Vijay Gokhale. Mr Shringla is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Foreign Service.
Speaking to reporters, Mr Shringla said, he is very clear about the fact that foreign service is a public service and its every effort should be dedicated to contributing towards the nation in the form of its security and prosperity through external engagements.
4. Ten more wetlands in India declared as Ramsar sites
India added ten more wetlands to sites protected by the Ramsar Convention, Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar. The 10 new ones are Nandur Madhameshwar, a first for Maharashtra; Keshopur-Miani, Beas Conservation Reserve and Nangal in Punjab; and Nawabganj, Parvati Agra, Saman, Samaspur, Sandi and Sarai Nawar in Uttar Pradesh. The other Ramsar sites are in Rajasthan, Kerala, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Assam, West Bengal, Jammu and Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh, Manipur, Gujarat, Tamil Nadu and Tripura.
A total of 37 sites in the homeland recognized under the international treaty. Wetlands declared as Ramsar sites are protected under strict guidelines. The Convention signed in 1971 in the Iranian city of Ramsar is one of the oldest inter-governmental accords for preserving the ecological character of wetlands. The main aim is to develop a global network of wetlands for the conservation of biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
5. Indian Javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra qualifies for Tokyo Olympics
Star Indian javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra qualified for the Tokyo Olympics with a throw of 87.86 meters at the Athletics Central North East meeting in South Africa. The 22-year-old Asian Games and Commonwealth Games gold medallist breached the Olympic qualification mark of 85 meters in his fourth attempt. Neeraj missed the IAAF World Championships, the Diamond League and the Asian Championships due to an elbow injury.
6. Indian Navy launches Operation Vanilla to provide disaster relief at Madagascar
Indian Navy launches Operation Vanilla to provide humanitarian assistance and disaster relief at Madagascar.
Operation Vanilla –
Operation Vanilla launched to provide assistance to the affected population of Madagascar post devastation caused by Cyclone Diane.The port call, the ship in coordination with Embassy of India and Government of Madagascar is planned to undertake relief operations to assist the flood-affected populace.
7. Alok Kansal appointed as new general manager of Western Railway
Alok Kansal appointed as the General Manager of the Western Railway (WR). Kansal is a 1983-batch officer of the Indian Rai way Service of Engineers (IRSE). Kansal was working as the principal executive director, civil engineering (Planning) at Railway Board. Central Rai way (CR) General Manager Sanjeev Mittal was holding the additional charge as WR GM. The post held by Anil Kumar Gupta, who retired in November 2019.
8. Central Banks approve reduced fees for UPI RuPay Payment
Central Banks in India approve that they will not charge a part of the fees on Unified Payments Interface UPI and RuPay card transactions as long as the merchant discount rate MDR remains zero following the government announcement. The move was discussed and approved in the NPCI steering committee meeting. NPCI to remove multiple charges like interchange fees, payments service provider (PSP) fee, and switching fees.
9. Tech Mahindra set up Google Cloud Centre of Excellence in Hyderabad
IT services major Tech Mahindra to set up a dedicated Google Cloud Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Hyderabad. Aim To drive the digital transformation of enterprises globally. It will provide enterprises with access to the technology and services and deliver solutions to help them move critical workloads to Google Cloud, develop their Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data analytics solutions, and improve workplace productivity.
10. Indian environmental economist Pavan Sukhdev won 2020 Tyler Prize
Renowned Indian environmental economist and UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Goodwill Ambassador Pavan Sukhdev won the 2020 Tyler Prize. He won the Nobel Prize for the environment for his groundbreaking green economy work. He acknowledged for his work on bringing the economic consequences of environmental degradation and loss to the attention of corporate and political decision-makers.
11. Indian Railways commissions first waste to energy plant
Indian Railways commissioned the country’s first governmental waste to energy plant at Bhubaneswar. The national transporter has put in place the governmental Waste to Energy plant in Mancheswar Carriage Repair Workshop, which falls under East Coast Railway.
The waste to energy plant been constructed in three months by the railway ministry. The new plant installed at the cost of ₹1.79 crores while the maintenance cost will be ₹10.4 lakhs per year, and the estimated income from the byproducts will be ₹17.5 lakhs per year.
12. Odisha CM Naveen Patnaik launches Virtual Police Station
Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik launched a Virtual police station along with two other transformational projects of the Odisha Police. To reduce human interface with government offices.
The three projects include Virtual Police Station, Road Accident Case Documents Module, and Medico-Legal Opinion System. These projects at a function at Lok Seva Bhawan. These initiatives would effectively reduce the necessity of citizens to visit police stations. This is the first transformation project under the 5T initiative, which the police department is going to implement. The main objectives under the 5T is to reduce the necessity for the public to go to government offices.
13. Union Cabinet approves official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill
The Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi got its approval to the official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill 2019 for amending the Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973. The Bill is pending in Rajya Sabha.
The amendments will:
- Ensure necessary regulatory reforms in the field of Homoeopathy education.
- Enable transparency and accountability.
- The Commission will promote the availability of affordable healthcare services in all parts of the country.
14. Samvidhaan is Oxford Hindi Word Of The Year 2019
Oxford University Press (OUP) named Samvidhaan as the Oxford Hindi Word of 2019 received widespread attention in the year witness to the spirit of the Indian Constitution being embraced across segments of the society. The Samvidhan Oxford Hindi word of the year and reflects the ethos, mood, or preoccupations of the past year.
Samvidhaan means a body of fundamental principles or established precedents according to which a state or other organization is acknowledged to be governed.
15. Britain unveils 50-pence coin minted to mark Brexit
Britain unveiled on Sunday a new 50-pence coin minted to mark the country’s departure from the European Union, which bears the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the Brexit date of “31 January 2020.
16. Dr Jitendra Singh launches Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 Web portal
The Union Minister of State (I/C) Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, MoS PMO, Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space, Dr Jitendra Singh launched the Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 web portal in Bengaluru.
Speaking after inaugurating the National Workshop on “Space Based Information Support for Decentralised Planning Update”, the Minister appreciated the ISRO’s effort in developing the portal and also said that Space technology has reached the houses of the common man.
17. UK launches 4-mn pound Innovation Challenge Fund in India
The UK government has launched 4 million pound (about Rs 37 crore) fund in India to support collaborative research into emerging technologies. Innovation Challenge Fund will encourage industry and academia to collaborate and develop tech solutions for social, economic and environmental challenges in India, a statement said.
The initiative is focused on two major tech clusters: artificial intelligence/ data in Karnataka and future mobility in Maharashtra.
18. 16th edition of Mumbai International Film Festival to be inaugurated at Nehru Centre Auditorium
The oldest international event for non-feature films in South Asia is getting off to a start, providing a wonderful opportunity for film-lovers to be entertained and inspired by the finest documentary, short and animation films.
Much awaited by cinephiles across India and the world, the 16th MIFF 2020 (Mumbai International Film Festival for Documentary, Short Fiction and Animation films), will be inaugurated on 28th January, 2020 at 5.00 pm at Nehru Centre Auditorium, Worli.
19. NCCS scientists find new microbial species, name it after DBT Secretary
The Sambhar Lake in Rajasthan is India’s largest inland salt lake. Being a hypersaline ecosystem — one with very high salt concentrations, it is likely to harbour hitherto unknown microbial communities.
The dearth of studies on archaea from the Sambhar lake prompted scientists at the National Centre for Cell Science (NCCS), Pune, to take on the challenge of exploring this lake for archaea, which led them to discover a novel archael species, Natrialba swarupiae.
They named the species after Renu Swarup, Secretary, Department of Biotechnology, Government of India, for her role in simplifying provisions of the Biodiversity Act, 2002 to ease the deposition of microorganisms in repositories for microbes(culture collections) located outside India.
20. Mangaluru Smart City, IGBC ink pact
The Indian Green Building Council (IGBC) and Mangaluru Smart City Ltd (MSCL) have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for sustainable development in Mangaluru. Mohammed Nazeer, Managing Director of MSCL, and DB Mehta, Chairman of the Mangaluru chapter of IGBC, signed the MoU in Mangaluru.
21. Mizoram defeats Sikkim in the North East Dr T Ao Football Trophy 2020
Mizoram defeats Sikkim in the North East Dr T Ao Football Trophy 2020. The Northeast Dr. T Ao Football Trophy 2020 was held at Indira Gandhi Stadium in Kohima, Nagaland on 28 January 2020. Two times champion Mizoram defeated Sikkim by 1-0 goal to emerge as the champion. Mizoram midfielder David Lalrinmuana scored the lone goal to secure the title for the team.
22. Janak Raj to succeed Michael Patra at RBI’s monetary policy department
The Reserve Bank of India has appointed Janak Raj, principal advisor to the monetary policy department, as executive director. He succeeds Michael Patra effective January 24. With this, the RBI will have 12 EDs, its full strength.
Patra will be part of the six-member monetary policy committee (MPC) as a deputy governor, and so will be Raj as an ED of the department. Raj would be part of MPC as an internal RBI member.