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Important Current Affairs of 22nd April

NATIONAL:

Navy launched guided missile destroyer INS Imphal under project 15B.

• Indian Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba launched the third ship of Project 15B, a guided missile destroyer Imphal, at Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders, Mumbai.

• The launch weighs 3,037 tonnes.

• Project 15B ships have been designed indigenously by the Indian Navy’s Directorate of Naval Design. Each ship spans 163 metres in length and 17.4 metres at beam and displaces 7,300 tonnes. These ships will be propelled by four gas turbines to achieve speed in excess of 30 knots.

P15B ships will be equipped to carry and operate two multiple role helicopters.

• The contract for the construction of four Project 15B destroyers was signed in 2011. The first ship was named INS Visakhapatnam (launched in April 2015) and the second was named INS Mormugao (launched in September 2016).

Reliance retail became 1st Indian retail company to cross Rs 1 lakh crore in annual revenues.

• The retail venture of Reliance Industries reported an income of Rs 1,30,556 crore for 2018-19, 89% more than the previous year’s Rs 69,198 crore, the company.

• Notably, Reliance Retail is the only Indian retailer to be in the top 100 global retailers list and the 6th fastest growing retailer globally as per the Global powers of retailing 2019, Deloitte.

• Mukesh Ambani led Reliance Retail also became the first Indian retailer to cross more than 10,000 stores. It operates 10,415 retail stores in more than 6,600 cities and towns, covering an area of over 22 million sq ft, as on March 31.

• For FY19, Reliance Retail added 81 new stores in the grocery consumption basket, taking the total count to 612 Reliance Fresh, SMART and Reliance Market stores as on March 31, 2019.

During the year, Reliance Retail opened 76 new Digital stores, 2,219 Jio stores. It operates more than 8,000 Digital and Jio stores as of March 31.

Compared to that, Future Group, the second biggest retail enterprise in the country, operates about 2,200 outlets nationwide with about Rs 35,000 crore of annual consolidated revenues.

INTERNATIONAL:

Saudi Arabia increased India's Haj Quota to 2 lakh.

• Saudi Arabia has issued a formal order increasing the Haj quota for India to two lakhs from one lakh seventy five-thousand.

• In February this year, the Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman at a meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced that Indian Haj quota would be increased by 25 thousand to two lakhs.

• This is the third hike in three consecutive years.

In 2017, the quota was increased by 35,000 while last year, it was raised by 5,000 to take the number to 1,75,000.

• A record number of two lakh Indian Muslims will perform Haj this year without subsidy.

• As many as 2,340 Indian Muslim women will go for the pilgrimage without male companion or Mehram.

• The GST on Haj pilgrimage has been reduced from 18 per cent to 5 per cent this year, which will ensure that about Rs 113 crore will be saved by pilgrims during the 2019 Haj.

Lankan President Sirisena appoints special committee to investigate serial blasts.

• Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena announced the appointment of a special committee led by retired Supreme Court judge to investigate the attacks and submit its report within two weeks.

• Thirteen local suspects have been arrested for their involvement in the serial blasts across the country yesterday which has claimed  207 lives.

At least 450 people were injured and hospitalized following the attacks targeting three five-star hotels in capital Colombo and three churches across the country.

• An Improvised Explosive Device was detected and diffused near the departure area of Bandaranaike International Airport last evening. Security has been tightened at all sensitive places.

• The government had intelligence inputs about such attacks and it will look into why adequate precautions were not taken.

• The names of suspects that have come up are local, but investigators will look into whether they had any overseas links.

• Meanwhile, curfew imposed across the country since last afternoon has been lifted.

Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy wins Ukraine presidential election.

• Ukrainian comedian Volodymyr Zelenskiy, who played president in a TV series, is set to become the new president of Ukraine.

He received 73.19% of the votes, while his opponent, incumbent President Petro Poroshenko saw support of 24.48%.

• Poroshenko, who was running for his second five-year term, has admitted defeat.

• Zelenskiy planned to continue European-backed talks with Russia on a so far largely unimplemented peace deal and would try to free Ukrainians imprisoned in Russia, which is holding 24 Ukrainian sailors among others.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Airtel Payments Bank joined hands with Bharti AXA General Insurance for two-wheeler insurance.

• Airtel Payments Bank joined hands with Bharti AXA General Insurance for a two-wheeler insurance product offering which is available on MyAirtel App and at over 40,000 Airtel Payments Bank points across India.

• They offer various benefits like 70 percent savings on an annual premium, personal accident cover, protection against third-party liabilities and inspection-free renewal through a paperless process.

• Customers can avail towing services at no extra cost on claim intimation, at the time of insured vehicle breaks down.

• In India, approximately 75 percent two-wheelers are uninsured, despite being mandatory by the Supreme Court order in 2018 which is mandatory for individuals to buy five-year motor third party insurance while buying a new two-wheeler.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Entrepreneur Sairee Chahal appointed to board of directors in Paytm Payments Bank.

• Sairee Chahal having extensive experience of customer service ecosystem appointed to Board of Directors in Paytm Payments Bank (PPB).

• Sairee Chahal is the founder and CEO of Sheroes which is a community platform for women.

PPB was incorporated in August 2016 and formally began its operations in 2017.

• The founder of Paytm, Vijay Shekhar Sharma holds 51% stake in PPB and One97 Communications holds the rest of the stakes.

Former Judo Federation of India chief Mukesh Kumar elected as Judo Union of Asia general secretary.

• Mukesh Kumar, chief of former Judo Federation of India was re-elected as general secretary of Judo Union, the Asian governing body, at its ordinary congress at Fujairah, UAE.

• He is also the Chairman of the Technical Conduct Committee of the 36th National Games that is allotted to Goa.

• The present President of Judo Federation of India, Partap Singh Bajwa was elected as Vice President of Judo Union of Asia and as president of South Asia Judo Federation.

Ravinder Kumar Passi appointed as a new Chairman of Export Promotion Council for Handicraft (EPCH).

• Export Promotion Council for Handicraft (EPCH) board appointed Ravinder Kumar Passi (previously a vice chairman of EPCH), to the post of Chairman of EPCH.

• He will take charge for the post of Chairman shortly from his predecessor O P Prahladka.

• Ravinder Kumar Passi served EPCH in various important position including the post of chairman during 2001-2002.

DAYS:

World Earth Day observed on April 22.

• On 22nd April 2009 the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution declaring 22nd April as the “International Mother Earth Day”.

The term ‘Mother Earth’ implies the interdependent relationship which exists between all the species of planet earth and to acknowledge earth’s role in sustaining them all.

• World Earth Day 2019 theme is ‘Protect Our Species’. It will mainly focus on saving species which are on the verge of extinction due to climate change, deforestation, pollution and illegal poaching.

• The founder of the Earth Day was Gaylord Nelson.

In 2005 the United Nations General Assembly declared 2008 as the “International Year of Planet Earth”. The day was adopted with a view to promote education of earth sciences, acknowledging its importance in sustainable use of natural resources as well as for sustainable development.

AWARDS:

Malayalam film Bhayanakam won best cinematography at 2019 Beijing International Film Festival.

• Malayalam film Bhayanakam (Fear) directed by Jayaraj won the best cinematography award at the Beijing International Film Festival.

The cinematography was done by Nikihil S Praveen.

• The film had also won the best cinematography award at the 65thNational Film Awards.

• The film portrays the visits of first World War veteran to a small village in the backwaters of Kerala's Kuttanand as a postman during the World War-II. He shares with the families the good and bad news of the soldiers who took part in the war.

• Bollywood actor Shah Rukh Khan-starrer Zero was screened at the end of the festival.

• The festival also screened five Indian films, including Satyajit Ray's "Pather Panchali", "Apur Sansar", "Aparajito", the romantic comedy "Love Per Square Foot", the 2018 Indian romantic comedy and the thriller "Ittefaq".

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Important Current Affairs of 21th April

NATIONAL:

Top IT firms under threat of cyberattack

• India’s leading tech players may be under serious threat from cybercriminals according to cybersecurity investigation website KrebsOnSecurity.com.

The website is run by former Washington Post staffer and cybersecurity writer, Brian Krebs.

• A fresh post on the website on Friday said the criminals responsible for launching phishing campaigns that netted dozens of employees and more than 100 computer systems last month at Wipro,

• India's third-largest IT outsourcing firm, also appear to have targeted a number of other competing providers including Infosys and Cognizant, as per new evidence available with the website.

Cipla chairman Hamied receives UK Royal Society honour

• Prominent scientist and businessman Yusuf Hamied is among a host of Indian-origin experts honoured in the 2019 list of new fellows of the UK's Royal Society.

• He is known for his effort to produce low-cost drugs to treat diabetes, cancer and other diseases.

• The Royal Society is an independent scientific academy of the UK and the Commonwealth, dedicated to promoting excellence in science.

His honorary fellowship of the world's oldest scientific academy came alongside 51 new fellows and 10 new foreign members as part of the 2019 cohort.

INTERNATIONAL:

US won WTO ruling against China grain import quotas

• The US has won a World Trade Organization (WTO) ruling against China's use of tariff-rate quotas (TRQ) for rice, wheat and corn.

• The case, lodged by the Obama administration in late 2016, marks the second U.S. victory in as many months in the country’s ongoing trade spat with China.

• TRQs are two-level tariffs, with limited imports allowed at the lower 'in-quota' tariff and subsequent imports charged an 'out-of-quota' tariff, which is generally much higher.

Singapore Changi airport got world's tallest 131-ft indoor waterfall

• The world's tallest indoor waterfall, 131-foot-tall, opened for the general public at Singapore's Jewel Changi Airport.

• The waterfall is housed inside a dome-shaped complex which has gardens growing over four storeys, more than 280 retail and food outlets, a hotel and a movie theatre.

• The structure also has a botanical garden with 120 species of plants.

BANKS AND ECONOMY:

ETMONEY becomes Indias first comprehensive financial services app to integrate UPI

• India’s largest app for financial services, ETMONEY has integrated Unified Payment Interface (UPI) as a payment method on its platform as it looks to double its monthly user base by the end of the year.

• The integration of UPI will simplify the mutual fund paymentexperience for millions of ETMONEY users as the company continues its journey to simplify the financial lives of new age Indians.

• In addition to this new payment feature, the platform will continue to support payments through Netbanking and Debit Card.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION:

Malis Prime Minister Maiga resigned over Ogossagou massacre

• Malian Prime Minister Soumeylou Boubeye Maiga resigned ahead of a no-confidence vote over his government’s failure to tackle a deadly rise in attacks from Islamist militants and clashes between ethnic communities.

• Mali has been struggling to restore stability since Islamist extremists linked to Al-Qaeda took control of the country's vast desert north in early 2012.

Last month, gunmen killed at least 157 people on Ogossagou, a village in central Mali populated by rival Fulani herders, in one of the deadliest attacks the country has experienced in years.

Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigns

• 21 April 2019 Current Affairs: Pakistan's Finance Minister Asad Umar resigned from the cabinet before securing a multi-billion dollar International Monetary Fund bailout package for the cash-strapped country.

• Umar recently returned after visiting the US in which the details of Pakistan's next IMF bailout were discussed.

• Pakistan is seeking USD 8 billion funding from the IMF to bail itself out from a severe balance-of-payments crisis that threatens to cripple the country's economy.

SPORTS:

Rathi lifts Maharashtra junior boys golf title in Pune

• 21 April 2019 Current Affairs: Gurgaon boy Saurav Rathi hit an impressive 5 under 66 on Day 4 of the IGU Maharashtra junior boys golf championship 2019 held at the Poona Golf Course in Yerwada to lift the category A (16 to18 years) and category B (13 to 15 years) titles with a four-day score of 3 under 281.

• The leader Aryan Roopa Anand, a phenomenal return on the front 9 saw him close the deficit before carrying his momentum on the back 9 to ensure he had his hands on the title at the end.

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Important Current Affairs 20th April 2019

NATIONAL NEWS

INS Shakti, INS Kolkata to take part in Chinese Navys 70th anniversary celebrations.

•   The two Indian Navy Ships (INS) are scheduled to visit Chinese port of Qingdao from 21 to 26 April to participate in an International Fleet Review to celebrate the 70th anniversary of People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy.

•  INS Kolkata is the lead ship of the Kolkata-class stealth guided-missile destroyers of the Indian Navy.

•  INS Shakti is tanker and supply ship.

•  Over 60 countries would join the commemorative event for the PLA Navy’s 70th founding anniversary on April 23.

INTERNATIONAL NEW

A Book of poem Khooni Vaisakhi on Jallianwala Bagh massacre, released in UAE.

• A book containing English translation of the 100-year-old classic Punjabi poem about Jallianwala Bagh massacre, ‘Khooni Vaisakhi’ released in Abu Dhabi.

• India’s Ambassador to the UAE Navdeep Singh Suri commended the launch of the book.

• The poem was translated by Mr. Suri whose grandfather, revolutionary poet and novelist Nanak Singh, a Jallianwala Bagh survivor, wrote it after witnessing first-hand the events of April 13, 1919.

Christina Koch To Set Record For Longest Spaceflight By A Woman.

• NASA astronaut Christina Koch going to have her mission on the International Space Station (ISS) extended to 328 days, which would set a record for the longest single spaceflight by a woman.

• Koch, who arrived at the space station on March 14 is scheduled to remain in orbit until February 2020 will eclipse the record of 288 days set by former NASA astronaut Peggy Whitson in 2016-17.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

India and France to hold their largest Naval Exercise VARUNA.

• India and France are all set to hold their largest-ever naval exercise with aircraft carriers, destroyers, submarines and fighters early May as part of their expanding strategic partnership.

• The exercise has been christened 'Varuna' and will take place off Goa and Karwar from 1 May 2019.

The conduct of Varuna exercise was reiterated in the Joint Statement made by the Prime Minister of India and the President of France, on the 10th of March 2018.

• The two countries will be deploying their aircraft carriers INS Vikramaditya and FNS Charles de gaulle with their Mig-29K and Rafale-M naval fighter jets.

• The Indian participation will also include the destroyer INS Mumbai, frigate INS Trikand with their integral helicopters, IN submarine Kalvari, P8-I aircrafts and Dornier Maritime Patrol aircraft.

• This comes after the successful operationalisation of the logistics support agreement between India and France under which Indian warships can access the French bases like Reunion Islands and in Djibouti.

Under the same pact, French anti-aircraft destroyer FNS Cassard had docked at the Mumbai naval port in January 2019. This was second such logistics support agreement signed by India after the one signed by it with United States (US) in 2016.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Cholamandalam MS General Insurance got ISO 31000:2018 certification.

• An insurance giant Cholamandalam MS General Insurance Company Limited has received ISO 31000:2018 certification by TUV India. Chola MS has received certification for applying risk management system which conforms to the prescribed standards.

The Certificate is valid for a period of 3 years from April 07, 2019, to April 06, 2022.

• ISO 31000:2018 certification:

ISO 31000:2018 is an international risk management standard. The standard provides guidelines, principles, framework, and a process for managing risk.

It can be used by any organization regardless of its size, activity or sector. The application of these guidelines can be customized to any organization and its context.

Bank of Maharashtra Joins M1X change TReDS Platform for MSME Bill Discounting.

• Bank of Maharashtra (BoM) partnered with M1Xchange Trade Receivables Discounting System (TReDS) platform for MSME bill discounting.

• TReDS is a digital platform to support micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) to get their bills financed at a competitive rate through an auction where multiple registered financiers can participate.

Mynd Solutions is a technology management firm which runs the TReDS platform of M1Xchange.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Shri N. Kashinath designated as Member (Signal & Telecom) of Railway Board.

• Shri N. Kashinath took over as Member (Signal & Telecom) of Railway Board.

• He was associated with Train Describer Project, Survey for the Mobile Train Radio Communication in Northeast Frontier Railway,

• Shri N. Kashinath belongs to the 1980 Batch of the Indian Railway Service of Signal Engineers (IRSSE).

Dubai based RAKEZ appointed Cricket Champion Ravi Shastri as a Corporate Ambassador.

• Former Cricketer Ravi Shastri appointed as Ras Al Khaimah Economic Zone (RAKEZ) exclusive Corporate Ambassador to the Indian Business Community. Brand Ambassador may attract more Indian business leaders to set up or expand their operations in UAE through RAKEZ. This first-of-its-kind approach is one of the many other initiatives that RAKEZ will be launching in the future to attract more investors from all over the world and boost the economic growth of Ras Al Khaimah.

ECI appointed Bihar Ex CEO AjayV Nayak as Special Observer for West Bengal.

• Election Commission of India (ECI) appointed Bihar's former Chief Electoral Officer (CEO).

• Ajay V. Nayak as a special observer for West Bengal

He is a retired IAS officer of the 1984-batch has been appointed as a special observer for West Bengal by ECI.

• The Commission has earlier appointed Vivek Dube as the special police observer for the state.

Deutsche Bank appoints Kaushik Shaparia as CEO For India.

• Deutsche Bank appointed Kaushik Shaparia as the chief executive officer for India He succeeds Ravneet Gill. Gill left the bank to head private lender YES Bank. Shaparia’s appointment will be effective from May 2019.

SPORTS:

Bajrang regained top spot in world wrestling rankings.

• India's Bajrang Punia has regained the world number one spot in the men's 65-kilogram Wrestling freestyle category rankings.

The rankings were released by United World Wrestling.

• Punia, who won Gold in the Asian Games and Commonwealth Games as well as a silver in the World Championships last year, secured 58 points ahead of Akhmed Chakaev of Russia.

• Bajrang, who is currently preparing for the Asian Wrestling Championship to be held in China from the 23rd of this month, had first reached the world number one spot in November last year.

• He won gold at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov tournament in Bulgaria last month.

• Punia secured 58 points ahead of Akhmed Chakaev of Russia.

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Important Current Affairs 19th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Norway topped and India ranked 140th in World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• Norway is ranked first in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 for the third year running while Finland (up two places) has taken second place from the Netherlands (down one at 4th).

• India dropped two places to be ranked 140th out of 180 countries in the global press freedom index analysis.

• Violence against journalists – including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters and reprisals by criminal groups or corrupt politicians – is one of the most striking characteristics of the current state of press freedom in India.

• At least six Indian journalists were killed in connection with their work in 2018.

Turkmenistan (down two at 180th) is now last in the World Press Freedom Index 2019.

• The index is released by Reporters Without Borders.

Top 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

1st       Norway

2nd      Finland

3rd       Sweden

4th       Netherlands

5th       Denmark

Bottom 5 countries in World Press Freedom Index 2019

Rank   Country

176th   Vietnam

177th   China

178th   Eritrea

179th   North Korea

180th   Turkmenistan

INTERNATIONAL:

Sri Lanka launched its first Satellite.

• Sri Lanka's first satellite Raavana l was launched into space from NASA's Flight Facility on Virginia's east shore. The satellite was designed and developed by two Sri Lankan engineers at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan. It will be shuttled to the International Space Station. The “Raavana 1” was launched into space with the assistance of the US rocket “Antares”.

• Raavana 1 weights around 1.05 kg and is 1000 cubic centimetres in size. The minimum lifespan of the satellite is around one and a half years and it is expected to be active for five years. Raavana 1 satellite's camera mission is to capture images of Sri Lanka and its neighbouring countries. The Raavana-l is expected to orbit 400 kilometres away from the earth. The satellite will achieve an active attitude stabilization which ensures that the satellite's attitude is stable under the influence of external talks. The launch of Raavana-l marks Sri Lanka's entry into the global space age.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

Saudi Arabia to host G20 Summit in 2020, first in Arab world.

• Saudi Arabia will host the annual G20 leaders' summit on November 21-22, 2020, in its capital Riyadh.

• This will be the first G20 Summit to be hosted in the Arab world.

Japan will host this year's G20 summit in Osaka, which will be held June 28-29, as well as ministerial meetings in eight cities.

• In 2018, the conference was held in Buenos Aries, Argentina and focused on the global economy, the future of labour markets and gender equality.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Canara Bank became the first PSB to meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced that Canara Bank has successfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs, is the first public sector bank to shift to EMV chip and PIN for card present transactions across the country’s vast ATM network.

• What is EMV Chip?

• EMV stands for Europay, MasterCard, Visa, the three Organisations that developed and established EMV as the global standard for chip-based credit and debit transactions. The EMVstandard helps to maximise security and global interoperability so that Visa cards can continue to be accepted around the world.

IMF and World Bank Launched Learning Coin For In-House Purposes.

• International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank have together launched a private blockchain with a pseudo-token.

The new token, called “Learning Coin” accessible within the IMF and World Bank the main purpose to teach relevant individuals within the organizations about block chain.

• Though the coin has no real value hence the description pseudo-token staff members who pass educational milestones will receive the tokens which can then be redeemed for certain rewards.

Canara Bank Becomes The First Public Sector Bank In India To Meet RBIs EMV Mandate.

• ACI Worldwide, a global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions Canara Banksuccessfully rolled out major new functionality to support EMV card acquiring across its ATM network and Aadhaar Authentication, leveraging ACI’s UP Retail Payments solution to achieve market firsts.

• Canara Bank, with nearly 6,300 branches and a network of more than 10,000 ATMs

Bandhan Bank Gets CCI Nod For Merger With Gruh Finance.

• Bandhan Bankreceived approval from the Competition Commission of India (CCI) for the proposed scheme of amalgamation of Gruh Finance with the bank.

• The approval has been made under sub-section (1) of Section 31 of the Competition Act, 2002.

• Bandhan Bank in January 2019, announced the merger of Gruh Finance with it.

DAYS:

International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April.

• The International Day for Monuments and Sites was observed on 18th April every year. In 1982, ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) established 18 April as the International Day for Monuments and Sites. UNESCO approved it the following year during its 22nd General Conference. Since then, 18 April has been a day to celebrate and promote cultural heritage, and an opportunity to raise awareness about its diversity, its relevance, how vulnerable it can be and what the needs and benefits of its conservation are.

• The theme for International Day for Monuments and Sites 2019 is Rural Landscapes, which is linked to the theme of the 2019 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium on Rural heritage to take place in October in Marrakesh, Morocco. The day offers the opportunity for National and International Scientific Committees to raise awareness about the relevance of rural landscapes, the challenges that encompass their conservation, the benefits that these efforts provide, and how rural landscapes are intrinsically related with sustainable development.

• Some of the main features that define rural landscapes are its fragility and use. While any changes in the conditions that sustain the living and evolving landscape might involve a dramatic transformation, or even a complete abandon or loss of a landscape, it is the conservation of its use which enables its tangible and intangible heritage to survive.

April 19 is observed as World Liver Day.

• The World Liver Day (WLD) is observed every year on April 19 to build awareness and understanding importance of liver in human body and how liver ailments are treated.

As per World Health Organisation (WHO), liver diseases are 10th most

• common cause of death in India.

AWARDS:

UN honoured Indian peacekeepers in South Sudan.

• United Nations honoured 150 Indian peacekeepers serving with the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) with medals of honour for their dedicated service and sacrifice. UNMISS is working to deter violence against civilians by providing a safe and secure environment for South Sudanese people who have fled violence and sought sanctuary at Protection of Civilian sites across the country. It aims to provide a safe and supported environment so that these people can return to their former homes and communities to live safely and with dignity.

• UNMISS peacekeepers are also working to facilitate the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, such as food, clean water, shelter and healthcare, to the millions of displaced people. It also protects, monitors, investigates, and reports on human rights violations and abuses with a strong focus on the most vulnerable, such as women and children and those who are subjected to sexual and gender-based violence.

• UNMISS is committed to helping build durable peace in South Sudan. It is working as a partner at a national and sub-national level with political, religious, traditional and community leaders as well as at grassroots with communities and individuals across the country to advance reconciliation efforts, to strengthen conflict resolution mechanisms and build national cohesion as well as to engage in regional and international peace initiatives.

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Important Current Affairs of 18th April

NATIONAL:

Indian Navy-Vietnam People's Navy Bilateral Exercise Concludes.

• The Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between the Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy, (IN – VPN BILAT EX) at/ off Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam.

• The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries. About Indian Navy Founded: 1612 Country: India Type: Navy Colours: Navy blue, white.

Jet Airways sought Rs.400 crore infusion to avert shutdown.

• The Jet Airways board authorised its management, headed by chief executive officer Vinay Dube, to engage with lenders to secure at least a few hundred crore rupeesof interim funding to continue operations till a new owner comes on board. The board also authorised the CEO to take the final call on the airline’s operations.

• Armed with this, the CEO approached the lenders to releaseRs.400 crore for the sake of the employees and to prevent a shutdown. Jet requires at least Rs.1,000 crore to meet its immediate needs.

• In view of the critical liquidity position of the company, its operations have been severely impacted. It is awaiting emergency liquidity support from the consortium of domestic lenders led by the State Bank of India.

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX to fly its DART planetary defence mission.

• NASA announced that SpaceX will fly its Double Asteroid Redirection Test (DART) planetary-defencemission. The total launch cost for NASA is estimated to be about $69 million.

• DART - Double Asteroid Redirection Test 

• It is a planned space probe that will demonstrate the kinetic effects of crashing an impactor spacecraft into an asteroid moon for planetary defense purposes. The mission is intended to test whether a spacecraft impact could successfully deflect an asteroid on a collision course with Earth.

First Earth-Size planet: HD 21749b discovered by NASAs TESS Exoplanet Mission.

• The Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) discovered an Earth-sized planet, HD 21749b and a “sub-Neptune” world, revolving around the star, HD 21749. The star lies 53 light-years from Earth.

• The research study has been published on 15th April, 2019 in ‘The Astrophysical Journal Letters’.

• TESS was launched to Earth orbit in April 2018 on a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

• One tool termed as ‘Planet Finder Spectrograph’ (PFS) on the ‘Magellan II telescope’ in Chile helped to confirm the planetary nature of the TESS signal and measure the mass of HD 21749b.

• HD 21749b is about 23 times heavier and 2.7 times wider than Earth. It is gaseous, has a substantial atmosphere but not as puffy as Uranus and Neptune. HD 21749b has an orbital period of 36 Earth days.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

IDRBT set up 5G Lab for Banking, Financial Sector.

• Institute for Development and Research in Banking Technology (IDRBT) launched the 5G Use Cases Lab for banking and financial sector along with blockchain technology.

• IDRBT is an arm of Reserve Bank of India.

It also released a white paper on 5G applications for banking and financial sector in India.

• The use of 5G will change a range of technologies and applications, including point of sale (PoS) machines in the banking sector, which are currently using 2G and are in the process of being phased out.

Since India is now the biggest user of mobile data in the world and the rates of devices and services have been dropping aggressively, 5G holds immense potential for the country.

IDBI Bank launched paperless account opening facility for NRIs.

• IDBI Bank has launched the ‘NRI-Insta-Online’ account-opening process for NRIs residing in Financial Action Task Force (FATF) member countries.

• The person will not be required to furnish physical documents and KYC proofs for opening an account with the IDBI bank.

• FATF- Financial Action Task Force

FATF is an inter-governmental body which devices policy and sets standards to promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures to combat money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The body has 38 member countries, including the US, UK, India, Japan, China and France, among others.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

PwC India names Padmaja Alaganandan as chief people officer, Jagjit Singh steps down.

• PwC India announced the appointment of Padmaja Alaganandan as the firm’s new Chief People Officer (CPO).

• She takes over the role from Jagjit Singh.

Padmaja associated with PwC for the last eight years.

• She was the Technology sector lead for PwC’s Advisory Line of Service.

The leader of the firm’s People and Organisation Consulting practice.

• Before joining PwC in 2011, Padmaja worked in leadership roles in different organisations such as Mercer Consulting and AF Ferguson.

• She is a member of CII’s National HR Committee and the Committee on Skill Development.

RedBus appoints Mahendra Singh Dhoni as brand ambassador.

• Bus ticketing platform redBus has appointed cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni as its brand ambassador.

• The cricketer will appear in a hockey player avatar in his first cameo for the brand, slated to be launched soon.

• Dhoni’s brand endorsement deals can be in the range of Rs. 3-10 crore.

At present, Dhoni is the brand ambassador of sports firm Dream11, Colgate, MasterCard, Orient Fans, BharatMatrimony, Indigo Paints, SRMB Steel, and health supplement brand Revital H.

• Recently, Fantasy sports platform HalaPlay Technologies has appointed cricketers Krunal and Hardik Pandya as its brand ambassadors.

Mithali Raj named goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup.

• Indian women's cricket team captain Mithali Raj has been named the goodwill ambassador of Team India at the Street Child Cricket World Cup (SCCWC).

• She, alongside Saurav Ganguly and Rajasthan Royals, joins in supporting the team as they gear up for the final match at Lords, just ahead of the ICC Cricket World Cup in May this year.

• India has over 20 lakh street connected children.

Ajay Kumar Dixit appointed as CEO of Cairn Oil.

• Cairn Oil & Gas, a division of Vedanta Ltd, has announced the appointment of Ajay Kumar Dixit as its Chief Executive Officer. Dixit succeeds Sudhir Mathur, who after seven successful years with the company, moves on to pursue personal endeavors.

• Dixit had joined Vedanta in 2015 from Siemens where he was CEO-Energy for South Asia. He is an alumni of Delhi College of Engineering and had served as the acting CEO of Vedanta’s Aluminium and Power business before being elevated to this new role.

• The company expects that his leadership will support Cairn’s vision to realize the full potential of Barmer block, grow the offshore business and appraisal of new blocks under OALP I and discovered small fields (DSF-II).

DAYS:

World Heritage Day observed on 18th April.

• World Heritage Day also known as International Day for Monuments and Sites is an annual event celebrated on 18 April every year.

In 2019, the theme is Rural Landscapes.

SPORTS:

FIFA ban former Brazilian football president Jose Maria Marin for life.

• Former Brazilian Football Confederation (CBF) president Jose Maria Marin has been banned for life from all football activities by FIFA.

• In August 2018, Marin who led Brazil’s organising committee for the 2014 World Cup, was sentenced to four years in prison for racketeering, money laundering and wire fraud.

• He became the first person to be imprisoned as the result of the US investigation into corruption at world football’s governing body.

Earlier Marin was arrested at a luxury Zurich hotel in May 2015. During US investigation, he was found to have taken bribes in exchange for the media and marketing rights to various tournaments which also include the Copa America.

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Important Current Affairs of 17th April

NATIONAL:

Centre sets up an Indo Pacific division.

• The Ministry of External Affairs has set up an Indo-Pacific division in the foreign office. The Indo-pacific division is intended to give a coherent architecture to theIndo-Pacific policy. The policy was articulated by PM Narendra Modi at the Shangri-La Dialogue in 2018. In India, the policy will be run by the MEA.

About Indo-Pacific Wing:

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is currently headed by joint secretary Vikram Doraiswami

• The Indo-Pacific Wing will integrate the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), ASEAN region and the Quad

• The Indo-Pacific Wing is expected to give thrust to the Indo-Pacific centred policymaking

• The US has recently renamed its Pacific Command to the Indo-Pacific Command as it seeks to give teeth to its Indo-Pacific policy

• In its Indo-Pacific diplomacy, India has repeatedly placed ASEAN at the centre of its policy.

India turns to net steel importer in Fiscal year 2018-2019.

• India became a net importer of steel in the fiscal year 2018-2019 that ended on 31 March for the first time in 3 years, as the 25% import duty on steel products imposed by the US diverted supplementary supplies to India.

• India’s steel imports increased by 4.7% to 7.84 million tonnes in 2018-19 from 7.48 million tonnes a year earlier.

• Exports fell by 34% to 6.36 million tonnes from 9.62 million tonnes over.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

PSEs gets 12 months to monetise non-core assets.

• The Union Cabinet announced that the Public Sector companies will have 12 months to monetise (convert something into or express in the form of currency ) non-core assets identified by a ministerial panel headed by the finance minister. On failing, the finance ministry may restrict budgetary allocations to the Central Public Sector Enterprises (CPSEs).

The Department of Investment and Public Asset Management (DIPAM) issued guidelines for monetisation of non-core assets of CPSEs and immovable enemy properties.

The New guidelines:

• According to the guidelines, an inter-ministerial group (IMG) chaired by the secretary of DIPAM will identify the non-core assets of the CPSEs on its own, and also on the basis of recommendations of the Niti Aayog.

• Once the panel, comprising the finance minister, road transport minister and the minister of the administrative ministry concerned, approves the assets for monetisation, it should be completed within 12 months from the date of approval

• This will be the target to be achieved by the CPSEs as part of the memorandum of understanding with the Department of Public Enterprises (DPE)

• The Department of Expenditure and Department of Economic Affairs may consider any proposal from the CPSE/administrative ministry for budgetary support only after looking at the achievement of asset monetisation target by the CPSE

• Performance of contract management will be considered before sanctioning any government budgetary support.

ADB committed highest-ever USD 3 billion in sovereign loans to India.

• Asian Development Bank (ADB) committed a total of USD 3.88 billion, including sovereign loans and co-financing to India during the year ended December 2018.

• This is the highest level of assistance since sovereign operations began in the country in 1986.

• Private sector operations reached USD 3.14 billion, a 37 per cent increase from 2017, which is 14.5 per cent of ADB's overall commitment.

RBI puts into circulation Rs 50 banknotes signed by Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• Reserve Bank of India put into circulation 50 rupees denomination banknotes signed by its Governor Shaktikanta Das.

• RBI in Mumbai approved the design of these notes is similar in all respects to 50 banknotes in Mahatma Gandhi new series.

UN owes India USD 38 million for peacekeeping operations.

• United Nations (UN) owes India USD 38 million, the highest it has to pay to any country, for the peacekeeping operations as of March 2019.

• In a report on improving the financial situation of the world body, as of March 31, 2019, the total amount payable to troop- and police-contributing countries with respect to active peacekeeping missions was USD 265 million.

• Of this, the UN owes USD 38 million to India, followed by Rwanda (USD 31 million), Pakistan (USD 28 million), Bangladesh (USD 25 million) and Nepal (USD 23 million).

The arrears to troop- and police-contributing (TCCs/PCCs) countries could increase to USD 588 million by June 2019 “in the worst-case scenario”.

• World body’s cash balance in negative:

UN had a positive cash balance of USD 412 million at the end of 2010 but finished 2018 with a negative cash balance of USD 323 million - a decrease of USD 735 million in an eight-year period.

• Regular budget assessments are issued at beginning of each year and member states are required to pay their contributions in full within 30 days.

• In 2017 and 2018, 73 member states had paid their contributions in full by the end of the first quarter, compared with 62 in 2016 and 67 in 2015. So far, 74 member states have paid in full in 2019

• US is responsible for 22 per cent of the USD 5.4 billion regular budget for 2018 and 2019 and more than 28 per cent of the USD 6.7 billion peacekeeping budget for the year to June 30.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Rajesh Yaduvanshi is appointed as Executive Director of Punjab National Bank.

• Punjab National Bank (PNB) appointed Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi as the Executive Director of the bank.

• Rajesh Kumar Yaduvanshi joined PNB as a management trainee in 1985.

He is equipped with an experience of 34 years in the banking career and is a certified associate member of Indian Institute of Bankers.

• In the past, he had worked with Dena Bank in the capacity of the Executive Director.

• He holds a doctorate in science from Indian Agricultural Research Institute, (IARI) New Delhi.

DAYS:

World Haemophilia Day observed on April 17.

• World Haemophilia Day was started in 1989 by the World Federation of Hemophilia (WFH) which chose to bring the community together on April 17 in honour of WFH founder Frank Schnabel’s birthday.

April 17, 2019, marks the 30th World Hemophilia Day.

AWARDS:

Fincare Small Finance Bank won the Celent Model Bank 2019 Award.

• Fincare Small Finance Bank (SFB)honoured with the prestigious Celent Model Bank 2019 Award in Financial Inclusion category, for ‘Redesigning Lending to Reach Small Businesses’.

• The award recognizes LAP (Loans against Property) D.Lite, which is a tab-based solution designed and developed in-house by Fincare SFB for instant underwriting of loans against property targeted at micro and small enterprises.

• The Award was announced on its 12th anniversary in 2019 and was organized by Celent in New York.

LAP D.Lite is one of the 22 initiatives from all over the world to receive this award, which featured 140 nominations from 80 institutions from 30 countries.

• The other banks to receive the award in other categories were Bank of America, CIBC, Fidor Bank, HSBC, Rabobank, and Santander.

The award is for best practices of technology usage in different areas critical to success in banking.

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Important Current Affairs of 16th April

NATIONAL:

India’s 1st indigenously made long-range missile Nirbhay successfully test fired

• Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) successfully test fired the India’s first indigenously designed and developed long-range sub-sonic cruise missile 'Nirbhay' from a test range in Odisha’s Chandipur.

• 'Nirbhay' is designed to carry conventional and 300-kilogram  nuclear warheads. The missile weighs 1,500 kg, width of 0.52 meters and has a wingspan of 2.7 metre. It is all-weather missile and can be launched from multiple platforms. It also has the capability to strike land targets at a distance of up to 1,000 kilometers.

• It has the ability to fly at low altitudes in order to avoid detection by enemy radar. The missile is armed with a Ring Laser Gyroscope (RLG) based guidance, control and navigation system. It is also equipped with a MEMS-based Inertial Navigation System (INS) and the GPS system.

• The organisation had conducted five trials since 2013 before this. The last successful trial of ‘Nirbhay’ cruise missile was conducted on November 7, 2017.

INTERNATIONAL:

China developed the world’s first armed amphibious drone attack boat named Marine Lizard.

• Marine Lizard was built by Wuchang Shipbuilding Industry Group under China Shipbuilding Industry Corporation (CSIC).

• It could be used in land and sea assault operations. The amphibious Marine Lizard can possibly form an unmanned sea-land-air integrated combat system with aerial armed reconnaissance drones and other drone ships.

•  It has a maximum operation range of 1,200 kms and can be remotely controlled via satellites.

•  In ship form, the 12-metre-long Marine Lizard is a trimaran propelled by a diesel-powered hydrojet and can reach a maximum speed of 50 knots while maintaining stealth.

AGREEMENTS, MOUS AND SUMMITS:

CMFRI Signs Agreement with ISRO To Save Coastal Wetlands.

• The Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) have joined hands to map, validate and protect smaller wetlands in coastal regions.

• The programme is aimed at restoring them through coastal livelihood programmes.

• The MoU was signed between the CMFRI and the Space Applications Centre of ISRO to develop a mobile app and a centralised web portal that will have a comprehensive database of wetlands that are smaller than 2.25 hectares in the country.

India to partner with Japan and UAE to set up two projects in Africa.

• India will build a cancer hospital in Kenya in collaboration with Japan. Also, India will partner with the UAE to set up an ICT centre (Information and Communications Technology center) in Ethiopia.

• Through this partnership, India has undertaken many projects like the ambitious Pan African e-network project on tele-education and tele-medicine which provides “integrated” satellite, fiber optics and wireless network between educational and medical institutes in Africa and India.

• Africa is the focus under the Narendra Modi government amid China's push in the continent and countries from Europe are also keen to partner India for projects in third countries in Africa.

The 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2019 started in New Delhi

• The 4th Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific Congress 2019 organised by the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI) and co-hosted by South Delhi Municipal Corporation started in New Delhi.

• It will conclude on 17th April 2019. It offers a lot of innovative solutions that build resilience to climate change at the sub-national level. Local governments in the Asia Pacific region are the main target of the event. The RCAP 2019 is a platform for discussing the opportunities and mechanisms of executing the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs).

• The proposed themes that have been recognised for RCAP 2019 are: Integrated climate resilience planning to manage risks and vulnerabilities Good governance and resilience Nature-based solutions to adaptation Climate knowledge brokering Opportunities for regional networking and collaboration Sustainable infrastructure development and green growth Urban Nexus Financing mechanisms for Asian cities About Resilient Cities Asia-Pacific.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

NBFCs, MFIs raised Rs.26,000 crore through Securitisation.

• Non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) and microfinance companies (MFIs) raised about Rs.26,200 crore through securitisation in FY19, despite tight liquidity conditions. It is a growth of 170% over FY18. In FY18, NBFCs and MFIs raised Rs.9,700 crore through securitisation. The sectors faced tight liquidity conditions in FY19 after a series of defaults by Infrastructure Leasing and Finance Services (IL&FS).

• A report by rating agency Icra stated that their reliance on the securitisation route to raise funds increased to help meet their growth targets in FY19. In FY18 and H1FY19, securitisation contributed to only 18-20% of the overall disbursements. However, this number leapfrogged to 37% and an estimated 50% in the third and fourth quarters of FY19, respectively.

•  Investors were also comfortable buying retail loan portfolios originated by these entities as opposed to taking direct on-balance sheet credit exposure, especially for small and medium sized entities. What is Securitisation? Pooling various types of contractual debt (such as residential mortgages, commercial mortgages, auto loans or credit card debt obligations) and selling their related cash flows to third party investors as securities, which may be described as bonds, pass-through securities, or collateralized debt obligations (CDOs). 

• Investors are repaid from the principal and interest cash flows collected from the underlying debt and redistributed through the capital structure of the financing.  Securities backed by mortgage receivables are called mortgage-backed securities (MBS), while those backed by other types of receivables are asset-backed securities (ABS).

Wholesale price inflation increased to 3.18 percent in March.

• Wholesale price inflation increased to 3.18% in March on costlier food and fuel. The Wholesale Price Index (WPI) based inflation was at 2.93% and 2.76% in February and January 2019, respectively, and 3.46% in December 2018. It was 2.74% in March 2018. Inflation in Category wise:

• Food articles: Inflation in the food articles basket hardened to 5.68% during March 2019 as against 4.28% in February, as prices of vegetables raised high. Vegetable inflation was at 28.13% in March, up from 6.82% in the previous month. However, inflation in potato cooled substantially to 1.30%, from 23.40% in February. Pulses and wheat witnessed some cooling in inflation at 10.63% and 10.13%, respectively. 

• In protein-rich items such as ‘egg, meat and fish’ saw inflation fall to 5.86% during March.

• Fuel and power: In this category, the inflation spiked to 5.41%, from 2.23% in February.  Inflation in diesel shot up to 7.33% during the month from 3.72% in February. In petrol, inflation was 1.78% in March, as against a deflation of 2.93% in February.

• Wholesale Price Index (WPI): The price of a representative basket of goods at the wholesale stage is referred to as the Wholesale Price Index. It consists of over 2400 commodities. Wholesale goods refer to goods which are sold in bulk and are traded between different corporations and not consumers. The price of goods traded between consumers is called the consumer price index. WPI is used by the Government of India and the Reserve Bank of India to frame the monetary and fiscal policies.

• What is Inflation? An increase in the general level of prices in an economy is termed as inflation. If the price of one good has gone up it is not inflation, inflation occurs only when the prices of most goods have gone up. Inflation leads to a decrease in the purchasing power of the currency which means that the same amount of money will buy fewer goods. The modern economists say that inflation occurs as a result of the creation of extra purchasing power to the consumer over the same level of production. This means that extra money is generated in the economy without an increase in the level of production.

A unique proposition to pay electricity bill on EMIs launched by Bajaj Finserv

• A unique proposition to pay electricity bill on EMIs launched by Bajaj Finserv through its lending arm Bajaj Finance Ltd.

•  through the campaign of #BijliOnEMI.

• Customers can avail an Insta Credit loan in their Bajaj Finserv Wallet to pay their electricity bills on EMI. Bajaj Finance Ltd. financed the purchase of over 12 lakh air conditioners across our country in the year 2018.

• Bajaj Finance Ltd launched this campaign and customers buying air conditioners of Rs 20,000 and above will be eligible for Rs 5000 Instant Credit loan and for the air conditioners above Rs 40,000 will receive Rs 7000 Instant Credit loan to their Wallet.

• The Wallet facilitates the customer to access the EMI network card digitally, like tracking loan-related details online, transacting securely with EMIs on purchases, etc.

AWARDS:

Three teams from India are awarded in NASAs Human Exploration Rover Challenge

• NASA has awarded three teams from India as part its annual Human Exploration Rover Challenge, which invites high school and college students to build and test roving vehicles for future missions to the Moon, Mars and beyond. Nearly 100 teams took part in the competition.

• The team from KIET Group of Institutions in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, won the “AIAA Neil Armstrong Best Design Award”. The Mukesh Patel School of Technology Management and Engineering from Mumbai, Maharashtra, won the “Frank Joe Sexton Memorial Pit Crew Award”. A team from Lovely Professional University in Phagwara, Punjab, won the “STEM Engagement Award”.  

• NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge: The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge is to encourage research and development of new technology for future mission planning and crewed space missions to other worlds. The NASA Human Exploration Rover Challenge prior to 2014 referred to as the Great Moonbuggy Race. It is an annual competition for high school and college students to design, build, and race human-powered, collapsible vehicles over simulated lunar/Martian terrain. The competition was first held in 1994. NASA sponsors the competition since 1996, the U.S. Space & Rocket Center, hosts.

Crying Girl photo by John Moore won the World Press Photo of the Year Award.

• Veteran Getty Images photographer John Moore’s photograph of a young girl Yanela Sanchez crying as she and her mother are taken into custody by US border officials in McAllen, Texas, USA, after crossing into the US from Mexico won the World Press Photo of the Year and the first prize in the Spot News, Singles, category.

• He received €10,000 (£8,600) as prize amount. Dutch-Swedish photographer Pieter Ten Hoopen won the “World Press Photo Story of the Year Award” for the image of 2018 mass-migrant caravan to the US border. For 62 years, the World Press Photo Foundation has recognized the best contributions to visual journalism by professional photographers through its international World Press Photo Contest. This year's winners were selected from 78,801 images entered by 4,738 photographers world-wide.

Pulitzer Prize for New York Times and Wall Street Journal.

• The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal were awarded Pulitzer Prizes for their separate investigations of President Donald Trump and his family.  The Times won the prestigious journalism award for a probe of the Trump family’s finances that debunked his claims of self-made wealth and revealed a business empire riddled with tax dodges. The Associated Press won a Pulitzer for international reporting for its coverage of the war in Yemen. Reuters was honoured for international reporting for its coverage of atrocities committed against Rohingya Muslims in Myanmar.

SPORTS:

Golfer Tiger Woods won fifth green jacket and 15th major title.

• Golfer Tiger Woods won fifth Masters and 15th major title at Augusta National Golf Club. It was the 43-year-old American golfer’s first major title victory in 11 years and his first Master’s win since 2005. All-time leader, Jack Nicklaus is just three major titles ahead of the former world No.1.

Mumbai Shuttler Dani clinches Dutch International badminton title 2019.

• India’s Harsheel Dani, a former junior national champion, defeated Mads Christophersen of Denmark, world no 149, to clinch the 20th Victor Dutch International Badminton title in Wateringen, The Netherlands with a 15-21, 21-12, 21-13 victory in a 47-minute clash.

• It was the second win for Dani opposite Christophersen.  The 22-year-old won the Ghana international crown in 2018 second Karvy All India junior-ranking badminton tournament in 2012.

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Important Current Affairs of 15th April

NATIONAL:

Rotary Club of Madras North initiated Project Kannamma.

• Project Kannamma is the initiative of the Rotary Club of Madras North to provide sanitary napkins to the students. 

• Project Kannamma: 

♦ It was started in August of 2018 by providing free, biodegradable sanitary napkins to 82 students at the Government High School in Uthandi of Tamil Nadu

♦ Under the Project Kannamma, sanitary napkins are provided to over 300 students from across Government Schools in and around Chennai today 

♦ The sanitary napkins are provided by the Irula Tribal Women's Welfare Society (ITWWS)

♦ The project is also supporting the livelihood of the Irula Tribal Women 

♦ If the group sells 15,000 pads per month, it can sustain the families of 12 tribal women.

INTERNATIONAL:

Bhutan Government to place bill for ratification of BBIN initiative at its upper senate

• Bhutan government will place the bill for ratification of Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative for road and rail connectivity at its upper senate.

• Briefing media on the occasion of Bhutan’s Prime Minister Dr. Lotay Tshering's visit to Bangladesh, Foreign Secretary of Bangladesh Shahidul Haq told reporters that BBIN is a big initiative in the region for improving rail and road connectivity in the region and he expressed the hope that the bill will be passed by the Bhutanese Parliament soon.

• The Motor Vehicle Agreement of BBIN countries was signed in 2015 by the four member countries.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBI permitted Reinsurance Brokers to open Foreign Currency Accounts.

• Reinsurance brokers have been permitted to open non-interest bearing foreign currency accounts with banks for undertaking transactions.

•  Foreign currency account refers to a bank account held or maintained in currency other than the currency of India or Nepal or Bhutan.

• Earlier, the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority of India (IRDAI) had issued notification and then RBI issued Foreign Exchange Management (Foreign Currency Accounts by a person resident in India) Regulations, 2015 - Opening of Foreign Currency Accounts by Re-insurance and Composite Insurance brokers.

RBI granted 12 years to LIC to bring down its stake in IDBI Bank.

• The Reserve Bank of India (RBI), which classified IDBI as a private sector bank last month, has granted Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) with 12 years to cut its stake in the bank by 10 percent.

• RBI has stipulated that after 12 years LIC has to reduce stake in IDBI Bank by 10 per cent to 40 per cent.

• LIC is the major shareholder of IDBI Bank. It has a 51 per cent stake in the Bank. The government is the other major investor in IDBI Bank owning 46.46 per cent while the rest is with the public.

• As per the Insurance Regulatory and Development Authority (IRDAI), LIC can hold up to 15 percent stake in any bank which can go up to 30 percent as per the board approval. But the insurance regulator has allowed LIC to invest up to 51 percent in IDBI Bank last year.

HDFC Bank tops Forbes' list of best Indian banks 2019.

• Forbes has compiled a first-ever list of the World's Best Bank 2019 in terms of customer services and technological advancements.

• The private lender, HDFC Bank, was ranked at the top of the ‘Forbes Best Indian Banks 2019’ list. HDFC Bank claims to provide the best of its technological features to its 43 million customers.

• Another private lender ICICI Bank took the second spot, while DBS was at the third rank in Forbes list of Indian banks. Kotak Mahindra Bank and IDFC Bank had managed to gain the fourth and fifth spot respectively.

• Syndicate Bank, PNB, Allahabad Bank, Vijaya Bank and Axis Bank were ranked from sixth to tenth respectively.

• Forbes had partnered with Statista, a market research company, to measure the best banks in 23 countries.

• The survey compiled data from around 40,000 customers around the world for their opinions on their banking relationships.

• The banks were rated on the basis of 5 key attributes - trust, digital services, financial advice and fees.

Gargi Kaul appointed as Secretary of Defence Finance.

• The  Central government appointed Gargi Kaul as Secretary, Defence Finance.  She is a 1984-batch officer of the Indian Audit and Accounts Service (IA&AS). 

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

New Palestinian government sworn in a second time after botched oath

• Palestine’s New Prime Minister Mohammed Ishtayeh, a veteran peace negotiator and harsh critic of Gaza’s Hamas rulers, and his 22-member cabinet took the oath of office a second time, on April 14, 2019. The ministers neglected to include a clause pledging faithfulness “to the people and its national heritage” during ceremony on April 13.

• The 18th Palestinian government since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1995 was sworn in according to a presidential decree issued by Mahmoud Abbas.

• The new Cabinet replaces a technocratic government formed by Rami Hamdallah in 2014 after an agreement between Fatah and Hamas, the Islamic militant group that has run the Gaza Strip after ousting Fatah and evicting the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

• Ishtayeh faces challenges, with the Palestinian Authority in a deep financial crisis after U.S. sanctions and Israel's decision to withhold $138 million in tax revenue it collects on behalf of the Palestinians.

AWARDS:

Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar received Best Digital Agency award

• Digital Sukoon founder, Sudhanshu Kumar was honoured with the Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Nobel Award by International Human Rights Council at Hotel Sea Princess Juhu Mumbai.

•  Among the awardee, Digital Sukoon was the Best Digital Agency of the Year 2019 to receive the award.

• Yogesh Lakhani of Bright Outdoor Media, Actor Johnny Lever, Jasleen Matharu also received awards in various other categories.

Dr. A K Singh honoured with 2019 Lifetime Achievement Award.

• Dr. A K Singh, director at Life Sciences, DRDO has been honoured with Lifetime Achievement Award 2019 during 4th APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave at Chandigarh University, Mohali. 

• He has made notable contributions in Internal Decorporation of Fission Produced Radionuclides and Infection Imaging.

• He also discovered a Diagnobact Kit to detect the infectious lesion. He also introduced Pharmacosyntigraphy,  i.e. application of nuclear medicine imaging in drug research.

• 4th Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam Innovation Conclave: For Best Innovative Project Awards 2019, 965 innovative projects competed against each other. Pankaj Sharma bagged the first position and Best Innovation of the Year Award 2019, for Smart Trolley Bag project.  Pratul and Abhishek shared second place.

•  Pratul acquired award for Automatic Toilet Cleaner project. Abhishek won for prototype model for Accident Management System respectively.

• Third prize was jointly won by Vaibhav and Daniyal for treatment of textile affluent and plastic with bio-mass to help in controlling water and air pollution.

Telugu Poet K Siva Reddy Selected For Prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018

• Telugu poet K Siva Reddy selected for the prestigious Saraswati Samman 2018 for his collection of poetry titled Pakkaki Ottigilite. 

• The award carries a cash prize of 15 lakh rupees, a citation and a plaque. About Saraswati Samman 2018 Awards The Saraswati Samman is an annual award for outstanding prose or poetry literary works in any 22 Indian languages listed in Schedule VIII of the Constitution of India. 

• It is named after an Indian goddess of learning and is considered to be among the highest literary awards in India. Currently held by Sitanshu Yashaschandra.

SPORTS:

Meena Kumari bagged gold at the 2019 Boxing World Cup.

• Meena Kumari Maisnam from Manipur claimed the Gold medal in the 54 kg category at the Boxing World Cup at Cologne in Germany. She defeated Thailand’s Machai Bunyanut in the final. Meena was the 2014 Asian Championships bronze medallist. India bagged a Gold, two Silver and two bronze medals at the Boxing World Cup. Sakshi won Silver in 57 kg Category and Pwilao Basumatary in 64 kg category. Pinki Rani won bronze in 51 kgs and Parveen won bronze in 60 kgs category.

Inzamam-ul-Haq, Mark Boucher inducted as MCC Honorary Life Members

• Pakistan’s Inzamam-ul-Haq and South African Mark Boucher were inducted as the Honorary Life Members of the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), in recognition to their outstanding achievements in the game of cricket.

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Important Current Affairs 14th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders.

• On World Parkinson’s Day,11th April, Apollo Hospitals launched an advanced centre for movement disorders in Chennai, Tamil Nadu.

•  It will offer medical and surgical treatment for patients affected by various movement disorders including Parkinson’s Disease.

• The centre would offer Deep Brain Stimulation (DBS) surgeries and other services to treat a wide spectrum of diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease, cerebral palsy, dystonia, essential tremor, and intractable spasticity dyskinesia.

• Tremors, mainly on one side of the body, is the first manifestation of Parkinson’s disease.

• The initial management requires multidisciplinary care including physiotherapy, neurological support, psychiatric counselling, and nutrition. Surgery could be considered when the symptoms cannot be adequately controlled by medical management.

• The centre would offer DBS in which electrodes are implanted in the brain.

Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai.

• Essel World launched an interactive bird park in Gorai, Mumbai, Maharashtra. The first-of-its-kind rainforest-themed park spread across 1.4 acres is home to over 500 exotic birds from more than 60 species.

• The main motive is to set up a bird park that meets international standards and let the city dwellers peep into the birds’ world. The park is carefully designed to ensure appropriate living conditions for the birds.

• It is meant not only for entertainment but also to spread awareness of different types of birds. 

• The park is equipped with small ponds for aquatic birds, dense cover of trees for birds to incubate their eggs and a water stream that offers drinking water to birds. It also houses a special bird’s kitchen and healthcare centre.

IMF cut India growth forecast for 2019-20 to 7.3 per cent.

• According to the latest edition of World Economic Outlook (WEO), released by the International Monetary Fund (IMF) during 2019 Spring Meeting, India is expected to grow at 7.3 per cent in fiscal year 2019-20, as against China's 6.6 per cent.

• This is 20 basis points lower than January outlook and 10 basis points lower than October’s forecast.

• Though the growth is estimated to go up at 7.5% during 2020-21. India’s Current account deficit is seen at around 2.5% of GDP.

• Global growth fell to 3.6% in 2018 and is projected to decline further to 3.3% in 2019. China is forecast to grow 6.3% in 2019 and 6.1% in 2020.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

RBL Bank tied up with CreditVidya for improving customer experience.

• Through this partnership, the private sector lender - RBL Bank will be able to gain significant insights into its customer base.

• RBL Bank will leverage CreditVidya's big data underwriting platform across its credit card and mobile banking apps.

• The bank had first partnered with CreditVidya in 2018 for instant and automated verification of employment details of salaried card applicants.

• Founded in 2012, CreditVidya helps lenders and wallets assess risk of customers.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Jamia Millia Islamia gets its First Woman Vice-Chancellor.

• The Ministry of Human Resources and Development issued a statement about appointing Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islam about Professor Najma Akhtar as vice–chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia University (JMI) by the President of India.

• She is appointed for a period of five years. Professor Najma Akhtar will be the first woman to hold the post.

• Professor Najma Akhtar is a gold medallist from Aligarh Muslim University. She has a PhD in Education from Kurukshetra University.

• Professor Najma Akhtar a Commonwealth Fellow for University.

Murali Kartik named as the new brand ambassador of Fantasy 11.

• Funtasy11, a fantasy sports platform, has roped in former Indian cricketer Murali Kartik as its brand ambassador. Fantasy Gaming Space is rapidly growing and is expected to reach 100 million users by 2020.

• Karthik was the ‘Official Fan Management Partner’ for the recently conducted Premier Badminton league.

• Before Karthik, appointment of brand ambassadors made by famous online gaming industries are listed below:

♦ Dream 11 - MS Dhoni

♦ CricPlay - Gautam Gambhir

♦ HalaPlay - Hardik Pandya and his brother Krunal

♦ Fantain  - Suresh Raina

♦ Fanmojo - Prithvi Shaw

Jean Michel Lapin elected as Haiti's new prime minister.

• Haiti’s President Jovenel Moise announced that Jean Michel Lapin, who once served as a courier in the public administration, to be the new prime minister of the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country.

• He succeeds Prime Minister Jean-Henry Ceant. The former culture and communications minister, Lapin was named acting prime minister on March 21.

•  Lapin is the third head of government under President Moise, since he came to office in February 2017.

• The formation of a new government in Haiti is an International Monetary Fund (IMF) pre-requisite for the disbursement of the first tranche of a US$229 million loan to Haiti.

• In 2018, Haiti, the poorest country in the Americas, had a record US$290 million deficit, while its national budget was estimated at US$1.8 billion.

AWARDS:

Two schemes of West Bengal won WSIS awards.

• Two schemes, Utkarsh Bangla and Sabooj Sathi, of the West Bengal government for skill development and distribution of bicycles to students have won the prestigious World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS) awards of the United Nations. 

• The announcement was made by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. Utkarsh Bangla Scheme:

♦ The scheme is to give vocational training to school dropouts by providing training ranging from 400 to 1200 hours free of charge. 

♦ Under this scheme, beneficiaries will be trained in driving, tailoring, repairing television and other electronic equipment's, beautician courses, etc. 

Sabooj Sathi scheme:

♦ The objective of the scheme is to empower the students, especially the girls and reduce drop-outs in higher education. 

♦ Under the scheme, 34.94 lakh bicycles are already procured and distributed to target group students of class 9 to 12.

Alice G. Vaidyan awarded the Freedom of the City of London.

• Alice G. Vaidyan, Chairman and Managing Director of the General Insurance Corporation (GIC) of India, India’s reinsurance major awarded the Freedom of the City of London in recognition of her work to promote insurance ties between India and the UK. Alice G.

• Vaidyan holds post graduate degree in English literature trained at Harvard Business School, Boston, USA.

• She is a Fellow of the Insurance Institute of India. Alice G. Vaidyan was the first lady officer to assume the post of Chairman-cum-Managing Director of General Insurance Corporation of India.

• She was also the first lady chairman cum managing director of General Insurance Corporation of India. Freedom of the City is an honour bestowed by a City of London Corporation upon a valued member of the community, or upon a visiting celebrity or dignitary.

Russia honours PM Narendra Modi with its highest civilian award.

• Prime Minister Narendra Modi honoured with Russia’s highest state decoration, the Order of St Andrew the Apostle.

• The award has been given to PM Modi for “exceptional services in promoting a special and privileged strategic partnership between the Russian Federation and the Republic of India and friendly relations between the Russian and Indian peoples.

• This is the seventh award conferred on PM Modi by a foreign country.

• The award was established at the end of the 17th century by Tsar Peter I in honour of Apostle Andrew the First-Called.

• The award has been given to only 18 people, including weapons designer Mikhail Kalashnikov; writers Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II; doctors Valery Shumakov and Boris Petrovsky; singers Lyudmila Zykina and Irina Arkhipova; choreographer Yuri Grigorovich; and former Soviet president Mikhail Gorbachev.

Deepa Malik honoured with New Zealand Prime Ministers Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019.

• Rio Paralympics silver medallist Deepa Malik was named as the recipient of the New Zealand Prime Minister’s Sir Edmund Hillary Fellowship for 2019 in recognition of her “inspiring achievements“.

• She became the first Indian woman to win a medal at the Paralympic Games when she bagged a silver in shot put F 53 at the Rio Paralympics in 2016, scoring her personal best of 4.61m.

• She will work to promote sporting, cultural as well people-to-people relationship between India and New Zealand.

• The fellowship, awarded by Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, aims to strengthen the ties between India and New Zealand.

• Deepa Malik is the only Indian woman to have won medals in three consecutive Asian Para Games in 2010, 2014 and 2018.

•  Her tally of laurels stands at 58 national and 23 international medals.

• She is also the recipient of India’s civilian honour Padma Shri and the prestigious Arjuna Award for excellence in sports. Deepa has entered the Limca Book of World Records four times.

SPORTS:

Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament.

• Viswanathan Anand secured 5th place in the Shamkir Chess 2019 tournament, Shamkir, Azerbaijan. He drew with Veselin Topalov in the ninth round to finish fourth with 4.5 points, the same as Alexander Grischuk and Teimour Radjabov.

• However, Anand was placed fifth in the rankings behind Magnus Carlsen, Ding Liren, Sergey Karjakin, and Grischuk.

• The results (ninth round):

♦ Anand (4.5) drew with Veselin Topalov (4)

♦ David Navara (4) drew with Teimour Radjabov (4.5)

♦ Shakhriyar Mamedyarov (3.5) drew with Sergey Karjakin (5)

♦ Ding Liren (5) drew with Anish Giri (3)

♦ Magnus Carlsen (7) bt Alexander Grischuk (4.5).

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Important Current Affairs 13th April 2019

NATIONAL:

Indian Railways unrolls new quota for foreigners and NRIs to book tickets.

• Indian Railways is one of the leading railway systems in the world. With new enthusiasm, Indian Railways introducing new schemes for the betterment of services and exciting plans.

• Indian Railways lifted restrictions so that now Foreigners and NRIs can book tickets in all classes. The foreign tourists who travel in Indian trains are allowed to book tickets in the first AC, second AC and executive classes through IRCTC website up to 365 days in advance.

• Under the FTQ category, the Railways has allocated four berths per coach in a sleeper and 3rd AC classes while seats have been parked per coach in chair car classes.

Nizamabad Lok Sabha Seat May Enter Guinness Book With Record EVMs.

• Nizamabad Lok Sabha constituency in Telangana, which went to elections, may well get into the Guiness Book of World Record for the use of largest number of Electronic Voting Machines (EVMs). 

• With a high number of 185 candidates, including 178 farmers, in the contest, the Election Commission (EC) used 12 EVMs in each booth in the constituency. In any constituency, usually one or maximum four EVMs are used with one control unit in each booth, but in Nizamabad, 12 EVMs were linked to one control unit and the constituency has 1,778 polling centres.

• The EC used M3 type EVMs which can support up to 24 BUs (ballot Units). Each BU will have 24 names. Besides, large number of BUs, the EC used 2,200 Control Units and about 2,600 VVPATs for Nizamabad Constituency.

• This new version of EVMs was developed by the Electronics Corp of India Ltd (ECIL) and Bharat Electronics Ltd (BEL).

INTERNATIONAL:

SpaceX launched its first commercial mission.

• SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy, the most powerful operational rocket in the world, launched its first commercial mission from Florida in a key demonstration for billionaire entrepreneur Elon Musk’s Space Company in the race to grasp lucrative military launch contracts.

• The 23-story-tall Heavy, which previously launched Musk’s cherry red Tesla roadster to space in a 2018 debut test flight, blasted off from Florida’s Kennedy Space Center carrying its first customer payload.

AGREEMENTS AND MOUS:

Google partners with MMTC-PAMP India.

• Google has partnered with bullion refiner MMTC-PAMP India to allow Google Pay users to buy and sell gold through the app.

• Through this partnership with India’s only LBMA-accredited gold refinery, Google Pay users will be able to buy 99.99% 24-karat gold. This type of service is already offered by the likes of Paytm, Mobikwik, and PhonePe.

AITA signs MoU with STF to train Indian junior players.

• The All India Tennis Association (AITA) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Serbian Tennis Federation (STF) to train Indian junior players under world-renowned Serbian coaches at the R.K. Khanna Stadium, New Delhi.

• The MoU was signed on 10th April by AITA Secretary-General Hironmoy Chatterjee and STF CEO Dusan Orlandic. Trainers and coaches from Serbia will come to India for a week/ two-week camp in the under-12, 14, 16 and 18 categories.

Tata Trust and Microsoft signed MoU to support handloom weaving community.

• Tata Trusts and Microsoft India have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to jointly rejuvenate the handloom clusters in the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.

• Project ReWeave: Microsoft’s Project ReWeave will help preserve traditional weaving forms by upskilling workers, designing and marketing merchandise, and creating sustainable livelihood options.

• Microsoft will also enable digital training through Project Sangam, a Microsoft Azure-based Learning Management System, which provides necessary training and tools to weaving communities to help them realise their full potential. Antaran initiative: Tata Trusts’ initiative, Antaran, aims at rejuvenating ailing handloom clusters through an end-to-end programme.

•  Intensive work has been initiated in Odisha, Assam and Nagaland. The programme will benefit 3,000 artisans directly involved in pre-loom, on-loom and post loom processes, impacting the livelihood of weavers in six weaving clusters in these three States. Craft sector is the country’s largest source of employment after agriculture.

BANKS AND ECONOMICS:

Hong Kong’s stock market overtakes Japan to become worlds 3rd largest.

• According to Bloomberg,  Hong Kong has overtaken Japan as the world’s third largest stock market – after the U.S. and mainland China.

• Hong Kong’s market cap was $5.78 trillion as of April 2nd week, compared with $5.76 trillion for Japan.

•  Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd. has been the main driver with a 22 percent gain. Hong Kong’s Hang Seng Index climbed 17 per cent this year through Tuesday, when it closed at its highest since June 15. Japan’s Topix Index advanced 8.3 percent in that period.

APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATIONS:

Nitin Chugh likely to be appointed as MD & CEO of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank.

• Nitin Chugh, digital banking head of private sector lender HDFC Bank, is likely to succeed Samit Ghosh, the Managing Director and Chief Executive of Ujjivan Small Finance Bank. Mr.Ghosh, who is also the founder of Ujjivan SFB, will retire in November 2019.

• The Bengaluru-based small finance bank has already applied to the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for approval to appoint Mr.Chugh as the Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer. Mr.Chugh has over 23 years of experience.

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