Current Affairs Daily Digest – March 14 2019
1. President Confers Gallantry and Distinguished Service Awards
The President and Supreme Commander of the Indian Armed Forces Shri Ram Nath Kovind conferred three Kirti Chakras and fifteen Shaurya Chakras to Armed Forces Personnel for displaying conspicuous gallantry, indomitable courage and extreme devotion to duty at a solemn ceremony at the Rashtrapati Bhawan . Two Kirti Chakras and one Shaurya Chakra were given posthumously.
The President also conferred fifteen Param Vishisht Seva Medals, one Uttam Yudh Seva Medals and twenty-five AtiVishisht Seva Medals to senior officers of the Armed Forces for distinguished service of an exceptional order.
2. World Kidney Day being observed today
Today is World Kidney Day. The day is observed annually on the second Thursday in March to create awareness on the importance of kidneys and reducing the frequency and impact of kidney diseases.
The theme this year is, ‘Kidney Health for Everyone Everywhere’. It calls for universal health coverage for prevention and early treatment of kidney diseases. Several events are being held across the country on the occasion to raise awareness about kidneys and highlight that diabetes and high blood pressure are key risk factors for Chronic Kidney Diseases.
3. National Company Law Appellate Tribunal reserves its order on petition by Reliance Communications
The National Company Law Appellate Tribunal has reserved its order on a petition by Reliance Communications which has approached the tribunal seeking the release of income tax refunds to clear dues of Ericsson.
Lenders of RCom opposed the plea, saying that it will lead to outgo of public money for settling payment of a private party. After hearing both the sides yesterday, the Tribunal bench headed by Chairperson S J Mukhopadhaya reserved the order in the case.
The tribunal was hearing the petition of RCom to release of more than 259 crore rupees received from the Income Tax refund held with the State Bank of India.
4. United States to set up six nuclear power plants in India
India and the United States have committed to strengthen bilateral security and civil nuclear cooperation, including the establishment of six US nuclear power plants in India.US reaffirmed its strong support of India’s early membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group. This commitment was made at the 9th round of the India-US Strategic Security Dialogue held in Washington DC yesterday.
India and US also exchanged views on a wide range of global security and nonproliferation challenges. They reaffirmed their commitment to work together to prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and their delivery systems and to deny access to such weapons by terrorists and non-state actors.
5. RBI to infuse Rs 12,500 crore via OMOs
The Reserve Bank of India will infuse 12,500 crore rupees into the system through open market operations (OMOs). The purchase will happen through multi-security auction using the multiple price method. OMOs are money market tools to infuse or suck out liquidity from the system.
6. Industrial growth slows to 1.7% in January 2019
Industrial output growth stood at 1.7 per cent in January this year on account of slowdown in the manufacturing sector.
According to the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation data , factory output as measured in terms of the Index of Industrial Production (IIP) had grown by 7.5 per cent in January last year.
During April-January 2018-19, industrial output grew at 4.4 per cent as against 4.1 per cent in the same period previous fiscal.
7. Special Olympics World Games 2019 to begin today at Abu Dhabi in UAE
Special Olympics World Games 2019 begin at Abu Dhabi in UAE . The event has already made history by welcoming a record-breaking 200 nations at the Games. Of the 200 nations, 195 will compete in the Games and five will observe.
Held in the West Asia for the first time, 7,500 athletes will take part in 24 Olympic-style sports over seven days. With the highest number of women taking part and the largest number of Unified teammates on board, the World Games will capture the attention of the globe.
More than 2,500 women will fly the flag for their nation, with almost half of them performing in athletics competitions. Saudi Arabia will send female athletes for the first time, with 14 women participating.
Hosts UAE will field its largest-ever squad of athletes at a World Games, followed by India and the United States.
8. Indo-Oman joint military exercise commences
A joint military exercise between India and Royal Army of Oman commenced at Jabel regiment headquarters, Nizwa, in the Arab country. A 60-member strong Indian Army contingent, based in northern command headquarters at Udhampur in Jammu and Kashmir, is taking part in the military exercise ‘Al-Nagah III’.
9. Arecanut gets ‘Sirsi supari’ geographical indication tag
Arecanut (also known as supari or betel nut) is the latest entrant in the list of agricultural produce with a GI (geographical indication) tag. the Registrar of Geographical Indications, Government of India, accorded a GI tag, ‘Sirsi Supari’, to arecanut grown in Sirsi, Siddpaur and Yellapur taluks of Uttara Kannada district in Karnataka.
The Totagars’ Cooperative Sale Society (TSS) Ltd, a Sirsi-based agri cooperative, is the registered proprietor of the GI ‘Sirsi Supari’.
The World Intellectual Property Organisation defines GI as a sign used on products that have a specific geographical origin and possess qualities or a reputation that are due to that origin.
10. Sona Yukti gets global award for equipping youth with skills
City-based skill development and training institute Sona Yukti has been given the social enterprise network (SEN) sustainability award for education. Sona Yukti is the only Indian organisation to be selected as part of the SEN awards for 2018.
The award was presented by Young Presidents Organisation to CEO of Sona Yukti Chockalingam Valliappa at its annual event held in Cape Town, South Africa.
The award is given in recognition of helping over 55,000 economically disadvantaged individuals, majority of them women, by training them to land highly skilled jobs in marginalised communities.
Till date, Sona Yukti runs 50 vocational schools in rural India providing a skilled workforce for companies and opportunities for those workers to lift themselves from poverty.
11. GoDaddy becomes official sponsor of ICC World Cup 2019
GoDaddy Inc., the company that manages internet names and registrations announced that it had signed a partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC) as official sponsor of the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup 2019. This is GoDaddy’s first sponsorship deal with the 12th edition of the global sports event scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales between 30 May and 14 July.
Sports marketing experts estimate the size of GoDaddy’s sponsorship deal to be $2-3 million.
12. ‘India ranks 11th in gold holding’
India, which is the world’s largest consumer of gold, has the 11th largest gold reserve, with the current holding pegged at 607 tonnes, as per the latest report by the World Gold Council (WGC).
India’s overall position in terms of total gold holding would have been tenth had the list included only countries. Whereas, International Monetary Fund (IMF) is included and is third on the list with total gold reserves of 2,814 tonnes.
The numero uno slot is occupied by the U.S., which boasts of gold reserves of 8,133.5 tonnes, followed by Germany with 3,369.7 tonnes. Italy and France complete the top five list with reserves of a little over 2,400 tonnes each .
13. RBI to take steps to infuse liquidity
In a move to infuse liquidity into the market, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) said it will conduct a three-year buy-sell swap for the rupee through an auction process. RBI will buy $5 billion on 26 March for a period of three years and reverse it through sales at pre-determined rates fixed via auction.
Authorised dealers are allowed to participate in the auction . In the first leg of the transaction, the central bank will buy dollars in the spot market from them in exchange for rupees.
During the current fiscal year, RBI has injected more than Rs2.36 trillion worth of liquidity through open market operations (OMOs).
14. M R Kumar appointed LIC chairman
M R Kumar was appointed the Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC), according to a Personnel Ministry order. Kumar was Zonal Manager (in-charge) of North Zone and will hold the post of the LIC Chairman for five years.
T C Suseel Kumar and Vipin Anand have been appointed as Managing Directors of the LIC for five years.
Suseel Kumar is Zonal Manager (in-charge), LIC South Central Zone. Anand is Zonal Manager (in-charge), Western Zone.
15. SC appoints P.S. Narasimha as mediator to resolve disputes of cricket administration in BCCI
The Supreme Court appointed senior advocate P.S. Narasimha, who is assisting the apex court as an amicus curiae in the BCCI matter, as mediator for resolving various disputes related to cricket administration in the country.
A bench of Justices S.A. Bobde and A.M. Spare was informed by Mr. Narasimha that former apex court judge Justice (retd) D.K. Jain has assumed charge as the ombudsman of Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI).
16. Infosys to open digital centre in Romania
Infosys would open a digital innovation centre at Bucharest in Romania to develop software for clients based on cloud, big data, artificial intelligence and machine learning.
“We will invest in training our current employees and new hires for competencies, including user experience, cloud, big data, digital offerings, core technology skills and computer science skills,” said the city-based company .
The $11-billion outsourcing firm also tied up with the University of Bucharest and the University Politehnica Bucharest for innovation and Romanian workforce development, including joint training courses, scholarships and research.
17. Swedish activist nominated for Nobel Peace Prize
Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old Swedish activist who is a prominent voice in the fight against climate change, has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize this year.
Last year, Thunberg stopped going to school every Friday and instead protested in front of the Swedish Parliament to demand more effective measures against climate change. After her speeches at the UN climate change conference in Poland and at the Davos forum, she became an example for many young people all over the world, who since have promoted similar initiatives.
Pakistani activist Malala Yousafzai in 2014 became the youngest winner of the prize, at the age of 17.
This year’s Nobel Peace Prize has 304 candidates, of which 219 are individuals and 85 organisations, the Norwegian Nobel Committee reported last month. The Nobel prizes are awarded each year on December 10, coinciding with the anniversary of the death of its founder Alfred Nobel.
18. India’s February WPI rises to 2.93%
India’s annual rate of inflation based on wholesale prices rose to 2.93 per cent in February from 2.74 per cent reported for the corresponding month of 2018, official data showed .
Even on a sequential basis, the Wholesale Price Index (WPI) data for February, furnished by the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, showed that wholesale prices rose on a faster rate than the rise of 2.76 per cent reported for January 2019.
19. M Ravi Kanth gets extension for six months as HUDCO chief
Tenure of M Ravi Kanth as the Chairman and Managing Director of Housing and Urban Development Corporation (HUDCO) Ltd was extended for six months, according to a Personnel Ministry order.
Kanth, a 1986 batch IAS officer of Kerala cadre, joined as the CMD of HUDCO on April 11, 2014.
20. Skill varsity launches ‘Abhinandan’ reservation scheme
To honour Indian Air Force Wing Commander Abhinandan Vartham and celebrate his safe return from Pakistan, Shri Vishwakarm Skill University (SVSU), Haryana has launched a new reservation scheme for children and widows of soldiers killed in the line of duty and the gallantry award winners. The scheme will enable army kids to pursue skill and formal education.
21. Sanjana Singh Becomes The First Transgender To Get A Government Job In Madhya Pradesh
Sanjana Singh, a transgender woman, has been appointed the Personal Secretary (PS) to Krishna Gopal Tiwari, Director, Department of Social Justice and Disabled Welfare (DSJDW), Madhya Pradesh government.
With this incredible feat, Singh has singlehandedly broken all stereotypes and has set a great precedent for the transgender community.
Sanjana, known for proactively participating in social events in the city, has become the first transgender in the state to get a government job.
22. First Workshop on India Energy Modelling Forum Held
The NITI Aayog and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) organized the first workshop on development of the India Energy Modelling Forum (IEMF), which has been envisaged as a pan-stakeholder platform for debating ideas, scenario-planning & discussing the India’s energy future.
The two-day workshop, being held with the support of the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), was organized under the Sustainable Growth Pillar of the India-U.S. Strategic Energy Partnership. The inaugural session of the workshop was chaired by Dr Rajiv Kumar, Vice-Chairman, NITI Aayog and Mr Mark A. White, Mission Director, USAID India.
The IEMF seeks to provide a platform for leading experts and policy makers to study important energy and environmental issues and ensure induction of modelling and analysis in informed decision making process. The Forum aims to improve cooperation and coordination between modeling teams, the Government of India, knowledge partners and think-tanks, build capacity of Indian institutions, and identify issues for joint modeling activities and future areas of research.
23. DRDO test fires successfully Man Portable Anti-tank Guided Missile
In a major boost for Army, Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired indigenously developed, low weight, fire and forget Man Portable Anti-Tank Guided Missile (MPATGM) for the second time in the ranges of Rajasthan desert.
MPATGM is incorporated with advanced features including state-of-the-art Imaging Infrared Radar (IIR) Seeker with integrated avionics. The first test was conducted on 13th March 2019. In both the missions, the missiles hit the designated targets precisely at different ranges. All the mission objectives have been met.