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Awards Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

Chinthala Venkat Reddy from Telangana won Padma Shri in Agriculture field:

Farmer Chinthala Venkat Reddy won the Padma Shri award from Telangana. The awards were announced by the government on 71st Republic Day. He was awarded for attaining an international patent for his technique in soil swapping and soil fertility. He is the first independent farmers in India to win the international patent for the technique. 

Chinthala Venkat Reddy:

Chinthala Venkat Reddy entered into farming during the period 1979-80. He is from Alwal in Secunderabad. He has established a research farm in Alwal. Mr.Reddy is the first organic farmer to grow seedless grapes. He used the old method of rejuvenating the topsoil to obtain double crop production, instead of using fertilizers. He has a grape farm at Kundanpally in Keesara. He grows black grapes, rice, wheat, and vegetables.

Padma Shri award:

Padma Shri award is the fourth highest civilian award in India. The award was instituted in 1954. The award recognizes the significant contribution of individuals in various fields including literature, science, arts, education, industry, sports, medicine, social service, and public affairs.

Note:

Padma Shri is the 4th highest award after the Bharat Ratna, the Padma Vibhushan and the

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Science & Technology Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

China to launch its Mars probe in 2020 July:

China has announced that it is to launch its Mars probe in July 2020. The spacecraft will be launched onboard the Long March-5 Y4 carrier rocket. 

Long March-5 Y4 rocket:

The China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation (CASC), China`s space agency, will send a probe to orbit and land and deploy a rover on Mars. It also states that the Long March-5 Y4 rocket has completed its 100-second test, which was the last engine test before the final assembly. It was tested for its high thrust hydrogen-oxygen engine. Also, the Long March-5 rocket of China is to have several missions in including the Mars probe launch and the lunar sample return. 

In November 2020, China started the process of a probe hovering avoiding obstacles and descending to land on Mars. After many tests, CASC is now ready for a safe landing on Mars. CASC also simulated the gravity of Mars to test the design of the lander.

Mars:

Mars, also known as the Red Planet, is the 4th planet from the Sun. The red colour of the planet is due to the high concentration of iron oxide compounds in the rocks of the surface of the planet. The planet is covered with craters, channels, mountains, polar ice caps, and lowlands. The two moons of the planet are Phobos and Deimos. These rocky objects look like asteroids.

China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation:

Founded on: 1 July 1999

Headquarters: Beijing, China

Chairman: LEI Fanpei

CASC is the main agency for the Chinese space program. CASC indigenously designs, develops and manufactures launch vehicles, spacecraft, strategic and tactical missile systems, and ground equipment.

 

 

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Memorandum of Understanding Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

India, World Bank sign USD 210 mn loan agreement for Maharashtras Agribusiness:

Government of India (GoI) and the World Bank signed a $210 million loan agreement for the State of Maharashtra. The loan was aimed to support Agribusiness and Rural Transformation projects in the state. The loan amount from the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD) has a grace period of six years and a maturity period of 13.5 years.

Aim:

The project aims to support smallholder farmers to participate in competitive agriculture value chains and facilitate agri-business investments in the state. The main objective of the agreement is to increase market access and productivity in focus commodities

Agreement:

♦ The agreement will support to build the resilience of crops to recurrent floods or droughts in Maharashtra.

♦ The project will be implemented in all 36 districts of Maharashtra.

♦ It is expected that around 1 million farming households will directly benefit from the project. 

♦ At least 43% of farmers and farm-workers participating in project activities are expected to be women. 

♦ Specific focus will be given to women-led enterprises and the participation of women in the decision-making processes of farmer producer organizations.

♦ It focuses on enhancing the capacity of the state to effectively manage and deliver agricultural technical support and services and increase credit linkages to formal financing institutions

♦ It will improve Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) standards and investing in business development services which will help small holder farmers in the state.

Centre to sign an accord with Bodo militant group NDFB:

The government of India signs an accord with the banned Assam-based insurgent group Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB) on 27 January 2020. The agreement will be signed by the Joint Secretary in the MHA, Satyendra Garg, and Assam Chief Secretary Kumar Sanjay Krishna with the leaders of the four factions of the NDFB. It will be presided over by the Union Home Minister Amit Shah and Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

Accord highlights:

♦ The accord will provide a great deal of political and economic leverage without their key demand of separate Bodoland either in the form of a state or a Union Territory (UT).

♦ It will provide for some political rights to the Bodo tribals living in Assam. It will be a special economic package for the community.

Bodo tribals:

The Bodo tribals are an ethnolinguistic group present in Assam. The people of the tribe are a part of the Bodo-Kachari family. The people speak the Bodo language. The Bodo tribal people are active in the Bodoland Territorial Council and in districts of Kokrajhar, Baksa, Udalguri, and Chirang of Assam. 

 

 

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Defence Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

DRDO to display indigenously-developed military systems in 2020 DefExpo:

Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) is to display various indigenously-developed military systems and technologies in the forthcoming DefExpo 2020. It aims to bring alive the spirit of self-reliance and national pride. 

DefExpo2020:

The 11th edition of the biennial Defexpo has been scheduled to be held at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from 5-9 February 2020. The theme of the DefExpo2020 is "Digital Transformation of Defence". The DefExpo is to be set up to showcase the combined strength of DRDO, public and private sector in defence manufacturing.

DRDO in DefExpo 2020:

♦ DRDO is to showcase a live demonstration of Main Battle Tank (MBT) Arjun MK IA, Advanced Towed Artillery Gun System (ATAGS), Counter Mine Flail, Wheeled Armoured Platform (WhAP), 15m Advanced Composite Modular Bridging System (ACMBS) and modular bridge.

♦ It will exhibit more than 500 products from all technology clusters in the five-day mega expo in line with the theme of the event. 

♦ DRDO will showcase around 23 products in the India Pavilion at DefExpo.

DRDO:

Formed on: 1958

Headquarters: New Delhi

Parent agency: Ministry of Defence

Minister responsible: Rajnath Singh, Minister of Defence

Chairman: Dr. G. Satheesh Reddy

DRDO is responsible for the military`s research and development in the defence sector in India.

India test-fired K-4 nuclear-capable from an underwater platform for the second time:

India successfully test-fired the K-4 nuclear-capable submarine-launched ballistic missile from Visakhapatnam coast, Andhra Pradesh. This is the second time the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has conducted the test, just after its test on 19 January 2020. It is a major milestone to add to the strategic arsenal and delivery systems.

Missile Test:

♦ K-4 ballistic missile will be equipped on indigenous INS Arihant class nuclear-powered submarines of the Indian Navy.

♦ The missile has a range of around 3,500 km.

♦ The test included the capability to launch nuclear weapons from air, surface and underwater platforms.

♦ K-4 missile is one of the two underwater missiles that were being developed by DRDO. The other underwater missile is the over 700 km strike range BO-5 missile.

K-4 ballistic missile:

 

K-4 ballistic missile is an Intermediate-range submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM). It is developed by DRDO and manufactured by Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL). The maximum range of the missile is 3,500 km. The developmental test for the missile began in January 2010. On 31 March 2016, the missile was successfully tested from INS Arihant. On 19 January 2020,  the missile was successfully tested from an underwater platform.

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National Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

India took over the chairmanship of FEMBoSA from Bangladesh:

Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Sunil Arora assumed Chairmanship of the Forum of the Election Management Bodies of South Asia (FEMBoSA) on 24 January for the year 2020. India took over the Chair of FEMBoSA from KM Nurul Huda, CEC of Bangladesh. Mr.Huda handed over the Logo of FEMBoSA to Mr. Arora at the 10th Annual Meeting of  FEMBoSA held in New Delhi 24 January.

FEMBoSA: 

FEMBoSA was established at the 3rd Conference of Heads of Election Management Bodies of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Countries held at New Delhi in May 2012. FEMBoSA is a regional association Election Management Bodies (EMBs) of SAARC Countries. The forum has eight members. FEMBoSA is an active regional association of EMBs.

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Sports Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

World Archery lifted its ban on AAI:

World Archery lifted its ban on the Archery Association of India (AAI) to boost Indian archers` preparations for the Tokyo Olympics. World Archery has instructed to make changes in its constitution regarding athlete membership, resolve governance issues and develop a strategic plan. The move comes after the elections held in New Delhi on 18 January. 

Ban:

On 5 August 2019, the World Archery suspended the AAI for defying its guidelines by electing two parallel bodies. The two factions of the AAI had held separate elections simultaneously in New Delhi and Chandigarh on 9 June 2019 to elect two presidents namely Munda and Rao. Because of this, the Indian archers failed to compete at the South Asian Games in Nepal in December 2019. They were allowed to participate at the Asian Championships in Bangkok as `neutral athletes`.

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International Current Affairs January 4th Week 2020

EU leaders signed UK withdrawal deal:

The heads of the European Commission and Council, Ursula von der Leyen and Charles Michel, signed the Withdrawal Agreement of the UK. The move comes ahead of the UK`s exit from the EU on 31 January 2020. Brexit ended 46 years of run in the European Union club.

Queen Elizabeth II gave her assent to the Brexit on 23 January. It was also signed by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson on 25 January. 

After its exit, the country has agreed to abide by EU rules during a transition period until the end of 2020. By 2021 the UK aims to have agreed to a deal on future ties. With its exit, the UK will be able to strike trade deals with other countries in the future.

Government sets up 24x7 helpline number for queries on Coronavirus:

Government has launched a 24x7 helpline number to provide support regarding queries on novel coronavirus. Under the directions of Health Minister Dr. Harsh Vardhan, the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) call centre, 91-11-23978046, has been made operational. 

Coronavirus:

Coronavirus causes an infection in the nose, sinuses, or upper throat. Most viruses in this family are not dangerous. But some types of the virus are serious and may lead to death. Coronavirus was first identified in the 1960s. This virus can infect both humans and animals. The virus spreads from the infected people through coughing, sneezing, touching an infected person`s hands or face, or by touching things that infected people have touched.

In 2003, over 774 people died from a Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) outbreak. In 2012, about 858 people have died from Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). MERS and SARS are types of coronaviruses. In 2020, a new type of coronavirus, 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), was identified by the World Health Organization (WHO) in China.

Agni Sapkota elected speaker of House of Representatives of Nepal:

Agni Sapkota was elected as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, the lower house of Parliament in Nepal. Being the senior-most candidate of the house, Sapkota was elected unopposed. 

Agni Sapkota`s win:

His name was proposed by Subhash Chandra Nembang of the Nepal Communist Party. The election to choose the speaker was held in a meeting of the House of Representatives in Kathmandu on 26 January. The meeting was chaired by the Rashtriya Janata Party Nepal leader Mahantha Thakur.

Mr. Sapkota will take the oath of office and secrecy on 27 January 2020 from President Bidya Devi Bhandari. The post of Speaker was vacant since October 2019 after Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara resigned following allegations of attempted rape.

Nepal:

President: Bidhya Devi Bhandari

Vice President: Nanda Kishor Pun

Prime Minister: Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli

Capital: Kathmandu

Official language: Nepali

Currency: Nepalese rupee (NPR)

 

 

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Business & Economy Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Amazon to invest 1 billion USD in India:

Amazon.com chief Jeff Bezos announced USD 1 billion over Rs 7,000 crore investment in India to help bring small and medium businesses online and committed to exporting USD 10 billion worth of India-made goods by 2025. The online retail giant committed USD 5.5 billion investments in India - Amazon`s most important market outside of the US and a key growth driver.

Amazon - India 

The long-term partner of India and actions speak louder than words. Amazon will invest an incremental USD 1 billion to digitize micro and small businesses across India, helping them reach more customers than ever before. This initiative will use Amazon`s global footprint to create USD 10 billion in India exports by 2025,. The millions of more people into the future success of India and, at the same time, expose the world to the Make in India products that represent India`s rich, diverse culture. The company previously said it expected e-commerce exports from India to reach USD 5 billion by 2023 under its global selling program.

SMBhav summit 

The SMBhav summit - an Amazon India gathering for small and medium businesses. The Competition Commission of India initiated a formal investigation into alleged deep discounts, preferential listing, and exclusionary tactics adopted by Amazon and Flipkart, and small store owners demonstrating on the streets against online retailers driving them out of business by offering discounted products sharply. The Confederation of All India Traders, an association of about seven crore brick-and-mortar retailers, has said it will protest across 300 cities during his visit.

The government tightened rules for e-commerce marketplaces with foreign investment. These rules barred such platforms from offering products of sellers in which they hold a stake and banned exclusive marketing arrangements among other clauses. Amazon is pumping millions of dollars across various operations like a marketplace, payments, infrastructure, and supply chain management as well as marketing and promotion as it looks to strengthen its position in the fledgling Indian e-commerce market. Amazon invested over Rs 1,700 crore into its payments and commercial business units in India, while in October it had infused over Rs 4,400 crore (more than USD 600 million) in its various groups in India, including marketplace and food retail. Bezos last visited India in 2014 when he presented Amazon`s Indian unit with a giant cheque for USD 2 billion. Amazon has pledged a further USD 3.5 billion to expand in the country, and the USD 1 billion investment announced Wednesday would take the total committed investment to USD 6.5 billion. The USD 1 billion investment would be to digitize 10 million micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) and traders across India, including manufacturers, resellers, local offline shops, and brands. Amazon will establish 100 Digital Haats in cities and villages throughout India. More than 5,50,000 sellers on the Amazon India marketplace, and more than 60,000 Indian manufacturers and brands are exporting them Make in India products to customers worldwide on Amazon.

Microsoft vows to be carbon negative by 2030:

Microsoft Corporation is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond Washington.Microsoft announced that it would become carbon negative by the year 2030. The announcement made in the form of its increased efforts to combat climate change. The company announced that it vows to eliminate all the carbon emissions created by the company since its inception in 1975. Microsoft announced its investment of $1 billion in a climate innovation fund for technology for carbon capture and removal.
 
RBI asks issuers to provide facility to switch on, off cards to prevent frauds:
 
Reserve Bank of India has asked banks and other card-issuing companies to provide facility to customers to switch on and off their debit or credit cards, a move aimed at enhancing security for digital transactions.
The RBI said that at the time of issue or re-issue, all cards (physical and virtual) should be enabled for use only at contact based points of usage ATMs and Point of Sale (PoS) devices within India.
 
The central Bank said issuers should provide cardholders a facility for enabling card not present (domestic and international) transactions, card present (international) transactions and contactless transactions.
It said, the channels should include mobile application, internet banking, automated teller machines, or interactive voice response.
The RBI further said that for existing cards, issuers may take a decision, based on their risk perception, whether to disable the card not present (domestic and international) transactions, card present (international) transactions and contactless transaction rights.
 
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Sports Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Maharashtra lead tally with 18 medals in Khelo India Youth Games:

Uttar Pradesh Jatin Kumar kanojiya continues his golden performance in the Khelo India youth games with 3 Gold medals. He won his third gold in under 17 artistic gymnastics. Madhya Pradesh`s Vivek kumar got gold in under 17 jevlin throw. In under 17 girls long jump Telengana`s Nandini won gold medal. Maharastra`s Arjun got gold in 3000 meter race of boys under 17 and Gujarat Ajit won gold in 5000 meter race of boys under 21.
So far Maharashtra is leading the medal tally with 18 medals including 4 Gold followed by Tripura with 4 Gold. With 3 gold and UP is third in the list.
 
3rd ODI: India defeat Australia by 7 wickets; clinch series 2-1:
 
India beat Australia by 7 wickets in the third and final ODI cricket in Bengaluru and clinched the series2-1. Opting to bat first, Australia posted a competitive total of 286 for nine in the stipulated 50 overs. Former skipper Steve Smith top-scored for the visitors with 131 as he managed to get his first ODI century after three years. For India, Mohammed Shami claimed four wickets while Ravindra Jadeja scalped 2.
 
Sania Mirza won women doubles title of WTA International trophy at Hobart:
 
Sania Mirza lifted the WTA Hobart International trophy with partner Nadiia Kichenok after edging out Shuai Peng and Shuai Zhang in the final. The unseeded Indo-Ukrainian pair pipped the second seed Chinese team 6-4 6-4. Sania begun well in the Olympic year warmed up for the Australian Open. Sania`s 42nd WTA doubles title and first since Brisbane International trophy in 2007. Sania did not compete on the WTA circuit in the entire 2018 and 2019 seasons to start a family with Pakistani cricketer husband, Shoaib Malik. The second set could not have started better for them as they broke the Chinese rivals to take early lead and consolidated the break with an easy hold.The game of the Chinese was falling apart as they dropped serve again in the third but broke back immediately to repair some damage.Sania and Nadiia were now feeling the heat at 0-30 in the sixth game but Peng and Zhang let them hold serve for a 4-2 lead. The Chinese though kept fighting and made it 4-4 with another break in the eighth game.The Indo-Ukraine team raised its game when it mattered as it broke Peng and Zhang for one final time in the ninth and served out the match in the next game.Sania and Nadiia split USD 13580 as prize money and earned 280 ranking points each for their winning effort.
 
2019 Hobart International
 
The 2019 Hobart International a women tennis tournament played on outdoor hard courts. It was the 26th edition of the Hobart International and part of the WTA International tournaments of the 2019 WTA Tour.
 
Anshu Malik won silver in 2020 Rome Ranking Series:
 
Indian teenage wrestler Anshu Malik won in the women`s 57kg freestyle event of the season `s first major competition, the Ranking Series in Rome. She lost to Nigeria`s Odunayo Adekuoroye for the score 10-0. 
 
Rome Ranking Series 2020:
 
Rome Ranking Series 2020 was announced by the United World Wrestling. The event is being held from 15-18 January 2020.  The event included all three wrestling styles: freestyle, women`s wrestling, and Greco-Roman and will influence seeding for the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo. The Series will influence the top four seeds at the Tokyo Olympic Games.

India beat Sri Lanka by 78 runs in final T20 International to clinch three match series:

In Cricket, India beat Sri Lanka by 78 runs in the third and final T20 International to win the three-match series 2-0 in Pune. Earlier, India scored 201 for six in the stipulated 20 overs. Openers K L Rahul and Shikhar Dhawan scored fifty each for India. Sandakan scalped 3 wickets for Sri Lanka. Defending the total, the Indian bowlers, led by right-arm pacer Navdeep Saini, Shardul Thakur, dished out a disciplined effort to bundle out Sri Lanka for 123 in 15.5 overs.
 
Khelo India: Arunachal Pradesh`s Golom Tinku wins gold in U-17 weightlifting:
 
In the Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati, Arunachal Pradesh`s Golom Tinku won gold in Under-17 boys weightlifting in 55 kilogram Prabal Pratim Gogoi got silver in this category. Maharashtra boy Sanket Mahadev won gold in 55 kilogram event in Under-21 category.
Maharashtra is leading the medal tally with 35 gold and 37 silver medals on the eighth day today followed by Haryana with 28 golds. Delhi is in third place with 20 gold medals.
 
 
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Awards Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Prof. MS Swaminathan & Dr. G Muniratnam chosen for Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu National Awards:

Dr.Swaminathan chosen for his contribution to agriculture & Dr Muniratnam for social service Awards meant to inspire others to emulate the awardees – Vice President attends the Sankranti Celebrations organized by Swarna Bharat Trust.Each award carries a cash prize of Rupees Five Lakh and citation.

Priya Prakash won the 2019 Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award:

Priya Prakash won the Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award for 2019. She is the founder and CEO of India-based HealthSetGo. The award recognizes her school health program that aimed to provided 360-degree healthcare support to children.

Priya Prakash:

In her childhood, Priya suffered weight-related bullying that eventually affected her mental health. After shifting her own eating habits and discovering weightlifting in college, Priya was inspired to help others lead healthier lifestyles. Priya works to end childhood obesity in schools. She also works to prevent children from experiencing mental and physical health issues through her organization HealthSetGo.

Global Citizen Prize: Cisco Youth Leadership Award:

 

The award honours individuals aged between 18 to 30 who are bringing about a positive change in the world by solving some of its biggest global challenges. The award includes a cash prize of $250,000 to the individual`s organization to which the individual contributes. The cash prize aims to further promote the mission of the organization to accelerate global problem-solving.

Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi to received the 29th Saraswati Samman:

Sindhi writer Vasdev Mohi has conferred with 29th Saraswati Samman for his short stories collection `Chequebook`. The short stories collection talks about the agonies and sufferings of marginalized sections of the society.

Vasdev Mohi:

Vasdev Mohi was born in 1944 in Mirpur Khas. Mohi`s repertoire includes 25 books of poetry, critical pieces, translated works, and short stories. His critical essays and papers have appeared in national and international literary seminars. He has also received several awards, including the Sahitya Akademi Award, Gangadhar Mehar National Award, Sindhi Sahitya Academy Award, and Lifetime Achievement Award of Sindhi Academy. He has authored 25 books of poetry, stories, and translations. 

Saraswati Samman:

Saraswati Samman is given annually by the KK Birla Foundation. It carries a cash award of Rs.15 lakh rupees, a citation, and a plaque.

 
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National Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the exhibition on Indian Heritage in Digital Space:

Union MoS Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) Prahlad Singh Patel inaugurated the exhibition on Indian Heritage in Digital Space and First International Heritage Symposium at National Museum, New Delhi The exhibition will be open till 15 February 2020.

Organized by:

The exhibition was organized by Ministry of Culture and Tourism in collaboration with the Indian Institute of Technology, New Delhi. 

Indian Heritage in Digital Space:

♦ The visitors will be able to see the recreations of the socio-cultural life and traditions of Hampi, architectural and conjectural reconstructions of several important structures and experience demystification of many murals in the exhibition. 

♦ The initiative of the use of technology in heritage is very important as it should not be limited to research only

♦ The exhibition aims to reach people in a way that they get a chance to know and understand the unseen aspects of heritage sites easily.

♦ It also introduces the history and features of heritage through the use of technology.

♦ A person who comes to the museum is guided by the use of technology so that it enriches their experience of the visit.

♦ This special exhibition showcase adaptation and infusion of technologies being developed under the Indian Digital  Heritage (IDH) initiative of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Government of India in the cultural heritage domain of the country. 

SC refuses to stay operation of CAA; asks centre to file reply within 4 weeks:

Supreme Court has refused to stay the operation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). A bench headed by Chief Justice SA Bobde said that it cannot grant any stay on CAA without hearing Centre. The apex court asked the Centre to file its reply within 4 weeks on petitions challenging the CAA. The apex court also said that it will constitute a larger constitution bench to hear the matter. Appearing for the Centre, Attorney General KK Venugopal said that the government has been given copies of around 60 petitions out of the 143 and it needs time to respond to pleas which have not been served on it. Some of the petitioners urged the apex court to put on hold operation of CAA and postpone exercise of National Population Register (NPR) for time being.

The CAA seeks to grant citizenship to migrants belonging to Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Christian, Jain and Parsi communities who came to the country from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan on or before December 31, 2014.

 

President Ram Nath Kovind gave assent to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 on December 12, turning it into an Act.

Cabinet approves agreement between India and Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters:

PM Shri Narendra Modi-led Union Cabinet approved the Agreement between India and the Federative Republic of Brazil on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has to be signed.

Agreement Provision:

♦ The Agreement aims to enhance the effectiveness of both the countries in investigation and prosecution of crime through cooperation and Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. 

♦ The Agreement will provide a broad legal framework for bilateral cooperation with the Federative Republic of Brazil in investigation and prosecution of crime and in tracing, restraint and confiscation of proceeds and instruments of crime and the fund meant to finance terrorist acts.

Current AffairsGujarat ranked top for water efficiency, Delhi among worst performing states:

Gujarat has been ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets in the review of state and Central government water departments by the ministry of Jal Shakti. Rajasthan is the third best and Delhi is among the worst performing states, according to the ranking for 2019 circulated to different state governments recently.

Among the seven Central departments reviewed, the Survey of India has got the top billing followed by the National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and Central Water Commission. The Central Pollution Control Board, the country’s pollution watchdog, has got the lowest rank, in the ranking for the year 2019.

Nationwide programme to administer polio drops to children organized on National Immunization Day:

The National immunization day was observed on Jan 19th 2020. With an aim to maintain the `NO POLIO` status, a nationwide programme to administer polio drops to children below 5 years was organized throughout the country.

President Ram Nath Kovind launched the Pulse Polio Programme for this year by administering Polio drops to children below the age of five at Rashtrapati BhavanAround 82,000 children were administered polio drops through 452 centres throughout the union territory.

Government mandates hallmarking of gold jewellery:

The government has notified that it is to mandate hallmarking of gold jewellery and artefacts with effect from 15 January 2021. The jewellers have been given time for the implementation of this notification. Jewellers who violate this will be punished under the provisions of the Bureau of Indian Standards Act, 2016.

New rules:

♦ The notification state that only registered jewellers will be allowed to sell the hallmarked gold articles through certified sales outlets.

♦ As per the notifications, the registered jewellers will be allowed to sell jewellery and artefacts only in three grades of gold, 14, 18 and 22 carat, instead of ten grades earlier.

♦ The mandatory hallmarking is not required for gold that is meant for exports.

♦ The new rules are not applicable to any article which is intended to be used for dental, medical, veterinary, scientific or industrial purposes

Gold hallmarking:

Gold hallmarking is a purity certification of the gold and is voluntary in nature at present. Since April 2000, the Bureau of Indian Standards (BIS) is already running a hallmarking scheme for gold jewellery. Also, around 40% of gold jewellery is currently being hallmarked. 

Hallmarked gold jewellery will have four components namely BIS mark, purity in carat and fineness, assaying and hallmarking centre`s identification mark/number, and jeweller`s identification mark/number.

Dr. M M Kutty inaugurated fuel conservation mega campaign Saksham in New Delhi:

Secretary, Petroleum and Natural Gas Dr. M M Kutty inaugurated fuel conservation mega campaign `Saksham` in New Delhi on 16 January 2020. The campaign was organized by the Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA). The campaign will be held for a month.

Aim:

The annual event of Saksham aims at creating mass awareness among the public about conventional fuel conservation.

Saksham:

♦ GoI has set to double to 11% by 2040.

♦ The campaign is aimed to address the target and India`s share of primary energy demand not only petroleum conservation but the creation of a sustainable development model.

♦ It highlights the major advantages of fuel conservation, and help in a progressive reduction of carbon footprint

♦ The campaign leads to fulfilling government`s commitment to a greener environment.

♦ The Secretary also flagged-off the publicity vans of PCRA which will visit states and spread the message of fuel conservation. 

 

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Memorandum of Understanding Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

India signed MoU with Finland to deepen defence cooperation:

India signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Finland on 15 January 2020. The MoU was signed by Defence Secretary Dr. Ajay Kumar and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Defence of Finland Mr. Jukka Juusti. The MoU is signed on the sidelines of Raisina Dialogue 2020.

MoU Highlights:

♦ The MoU is aimed at further defence cooperation between India and Finland.

♦ It will enhance co-operation in the field of Production, Procurement, Research and Development (R&D) of Defence-related Equipment and Industrial cooperation. 

♦ The MoU will induce cooperation between Finnish companies and Indian Defence Public Sector Undertakings. 

♦ Since DefExpo 2018, a draft MoU between the two countries in the field of defence cooperation was under discussion. It has now been approved in the run-up to DefExpo 2020.

Background:

In 2019, Mr. Jukka Juusti led a delegation to Aero India in Bengaluru to participate in the Make in India vision. His visit formalized an arrangement for Defence Industrial cooperation through an MoU. Also, a delegation from Finland had visited India between 29 November and 2 December 2018, to explore new business opportunities for Finnish companies.

Previously, on 13 February 2016, Prime Minister of Finland Mr. Juha Sipila visited India for the inauguration of the Make in India week and held bilateral discussions with Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi during his visit to India. On 17 April 2018, Prime Minister Modi held a bilateral meeting with Mr. Sipila during his first India-Nordic Summit held in Stockholm, Sweden.

Note: DefExpo 2020 is has been scheduled to be held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from 5-9 February 2020.

GoI signed agreements to end Bru-Reang refugee crisis:

Union Minister for Home Affairs Amit Shah headed the signing of an agreement between the Government of India, Governments of Tripura and Mizoram and Bru-Reang representatives in New Delhi 16 January 2020. The agreement will end the 23-year old Bru-Reang refugee crisis. This historic agreement is in line with PM Modi`s vision for the progress of the North East and the empowerment of the people of the region. 

Background:

In 1997, around 5,000 families comprising around 30,000 Bru-Reang tribals were forced to flee Mizoram and seek shelter in Tripura due to ethnic tension. These people were housed in temporary camps at Kanchanpur, in North Tripura. Since 2010, the Central Government took efforts to permanently rehabilitate these refugees and it has been assisting the two State governments to take care of the refugees. Until 2014, 1622 Bru-Reang families returned to Mizoram in different batches. 

On 3 July 2018, an agreement was signed between the GoI, the two State governments and representatives of Bru-Reang refugees and 328 families comprising of 1369 individuals returned to Mizoram.

 

 

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Environment Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Arunachal Pradesh signs MoU with IUCN to red List Orchids:

Arunachal Pradesh has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the IUCN on 13 January in Arunachal Pradesh. The MoU was signed by Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Manmohan Singh Negi and the IUCN’s country representative Dr. Vivek Saxena. The environment & forests department is the nodal department for executing the project.

MoU Highlights:

♦ According to the MoU, the Arunachal Pradesh state government will collaborate with the IUCN and carry out a red-list assessment of the orchids in the state.

♦ The state has become the first state to initiate the International Union for Conservation of Nature`s (IUCN) red listing at the state level.  

♦ The project will be spread across the state in 12 months

♦ Many workshops on red list assessment will be conducted by experts from the IUCN.

IUCN:

Founded on: 5 October 1948

Located at: Gland, Switzerland

Director-General: Grethel Aguilar

President: Zhang Xinsheng 

IUCN aims to conserve nature and work for the sustainable use of natural resources. It collects data and conducts research, analysis, field projects, advocacy, and education.

IUCN Red List:

The IUCN`s Red List of Threatened Species is a critical indicator of the health of the world`s biodiversity. The list has been acting as a powerful tool to inform and catalyze action for biodiversity conservation and policy change. IUCN has projected that it is complexities to protect natural resources. 

Arunachal Pradesh:

Governor: Brig. (Dr.) B.D. Mishra (Retd.)

Chief Minister: Pema Khandu

Capital: Itanagar

Literacy rate: 66.95%

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Science & Technology Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Russia to begin Gaganyaan space astronauts training by 2020 January:

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER), Atomic Energy and Space, Dr. Jitendra Singh announced that the training for Gaganyaan space astronauts will start their training from the third week of January 2020. 

Space Astronauts training:

♦ The training of the Indian astronauts for India`s first human space mission will take place in Russia. 

♦ India has selected four astronauts for the human space mission.

♦ The astronauts shortlisted for the mission will receive training for 11 months. All four astronauts selected for the mission are male candidates. Their identity was not revealed. 

♦ The astronauts will receive module-specific training in India. 

♦ They will be trained in crew and service modules designed by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), learn to operate it, work around it and do simulations.  

♦ Bahubali GSLV Mark-III, India`s heaviest launch vehicle, will is expected to carry astronauts to space.

♦ The Union Cabinet approved Rs.10,000 crores for the Gaganyaan project. 

♦ Gaganyaan will be the first to ever human space mission conceived and developed in India.

Note: The first Indian to go into space was Rakesh Sharma in 1984 but the spacecraft in which he went was not Indian spacecraft.

France is to train Indian flight surgeons for Gaganyaan mission:

France is to train Indian flight surgeons to enable them to monitor the health of astronauts selected for the human space mission Gaganyaan. The announcement was released on 21 January 2020. A memorandum of understanding (MoU) regarding this is expected to be signed during French space agency CNES President Jean-Yves Le Gall`s visit to India in January.

Flight surgeon training:

♦ The training will be given for two-week. It is a critical aspect of the Gaganyaan project that is aimed at sending three Indians to space by 2022.

♦ The flight surgeons are the Indian Air Force (IAF) doctors specializing in aviation medicines and responsible for the health of astronauts before, during and after the flight

♦ The surgeons will be shortlisted soon.

♦ Those selected surgeons will undergo two weeks of training in France.

India-France relationship:

India and France share strengthened ties in the area of space. The two countries had signed a joint vision for space cooperation in March 2018. The agreement came even before Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced the Gaganyaan project.

India successfully test-fires K-4 ballistic missile:

India has successfully test-fired a 3,500 kilometre range nuclear capable missile that can be launched from a submarine.The test of the K-4 ballistic missile was conducted off the Vizag coast in Andhra Pradesh on 19 January, 2020.With this test, India has moved one more step towards the induction of this ballistic missile on the INS Arihant class of nuclear submarines.The missile was developed by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

The three-metre-tall missile carries a nuclear warhead of over one tonne with a circular error probability far lower than that of Chinese ballistic missiles.Only the US, Russia and China have submarine-launched ballistic missiles of 3,500-kilometre range.The submarine-launched ballistic missile is the most important part of the air, land and sea nuclear triad and is at the front of India’s second-strike capability.

ISRO launched GSAT-30 on 17 January from French Guiana: 
 
Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) successfully launched India`s communication satellite GSAT-30 onboard the Ariane-5 launch vehicle (VA 251) into a Geosynchronous Transfer Orbit (GTO) on 17 January 2020 from Kourou launch base, French Guiana.
 
GSAT-30:
 
♦ GSAT-30 weighs around 3,357kg
♦ The communication satellite aims to serve as a replacement to INSAT-4A spacecraft services with enhanced coverage
♦ The satellite is expected to provide coverage in Ku-band that covers Indian mainland and islands
♦ It has extended coverage in C-band that covers Gulf countries, a large number of Asian countries and Australia.
♦ The life span of the GSAT is 15 years
♦ The communication payload of GSAT-30 is specifically designed and optimized to maximize the number of transponders on the spacecraft bus. 
♦ The satellite will be extensively used for supporting VSAT network, DTH television services, television uplinking and teleport services, cellular backhaul connectivity, digital satellite newsgathering (DSNG), and many other applications. 
♦ One Ku-band beacon downlink signal is transmitted for ground-tracking purposes.
 
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Defence Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

Exercise Sahyog Kaijin began in Chennai port:

Indo-Japan joint-exercise Sahyog-Kaijin began on 16 January 2020 at the Chennai port. This is the 19th edition of the exercise that is being conducted between the two Coast Guards.
 
Aim:
The exercise is aimed at further strengthening bilateral ties and mutual understanding between the two coast guards. It also aims to enhance interoperability in communication, search and rescue procedures and sharing of best practices.  
 
Key highlights:
♦ During the exercise, various activities including official calls reciprocal visit onboard ships, sporting events like basketball matches, cultural interactions will be carried out.
♦ Professional interactions between personnel of both the coast guards will be organized.
♦ The exercise mainly focuses on search and rescue, anti-piracy and pollution response. 
 
Participants:
From the Japanese side, Japanese Coast Guard Patrol Ship Echigo and a 60-member crew and from the Indian side, a total of four ICG ships, their aircraft and a vessel from the National Institute of Ocean Technology (NIOT) are participating in the exercise.
 
Exercise Sahyog-Kaijin:
The exercise Sahyog-Kaijin is in line with the Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) signed between the Indian Coast Guard and Japan Coast Guard in 2006. Since then, there have been regular interactions including high-level visits, training exchanges, annual joint exercises, workshops, and seminars.
 
Rajnath Singh flagged off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from Larsen and Turbo Armoured System Complex in Gujarat:
 
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh flagged off 51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun from Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Armoured System Complex at Hazira, Gujarat on 16 January 2020. The participation of the private sector in defence manufacturing is toward fulfilling the government`s commitment to make India an arms manufacturing hub and net defence exporter. 
 
51st K9 VAJRA-T Gun:
 
♦ 51st K9 VAJRA-T gun weighs 50 tonnes
♦ It can fire 47kg bombs at 43 kilometre distant targets
♦ It can also turn around at zero radius.
♦ In 2017, L&T won the Rs.4,500 crore contract from the Ministry of Defence to supply 100 units of K9 Vajra-T 155 mm/52 calibre tracked self-propelled gun systems to the Indian Army.
♦ The K9 Vajra contract involves the delivery of 100 such systems in 42 months. This is the largest contract awarded to a private company by the Ministry of Defence (MoD).
 
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International Current Affairs January 3rd Week 2020

US Senate to begin impeachment trial against President Trump on January 21:

The United States Senate is likely to begin the impeachment trial against President Donald Trump on 21st of January after the House of Representatives last month impeached him for pressuring Ukraine to investigate a political rival
After holding it on for weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is expected to send its impeachment to the Senate sometime this week and that could be as early as today.
The impeachment in the Senate is unlikely to pass through given that Republican Party has majority in the 100-member Senate. Following submission of the articles of impeachment, the Senate is likely to take a few days to deal with logistics of the trial.
The Senate will also pass a resolution establishing the trial rules.
The 435-member House of Representatives, where Democrats enjoy a majority, last month charged Trump with high crimes and misdemeanours and impeached in the vote that was based on bitter political divide.
 
China reports 9 deaths due to Noval Coronavirus infection:
 
China has confirmed 9 deaths due to novel coronavirus which has spread to many cities in China including Wuhan, Beijing, Shanghai and southern Guondong province. A total of 440 cases of pneumonia caused by the novel coronavirus had been reported in China and neighbouring countries. 3 cases confirmed in Thailand and 1 each in Japan and South Korea. Authorities stepped up efforts to control the outbreak by discouraging public gatherings in Hubei province where outbreak started.
 
Meanwhile, Emergency Committee of World Health Organisation has convened a meeting today under in Geneva to determine whether the outbreak constitutes a “public health emergency of international concern”.
"As transmission of virus between humans is confirmed it has become a major cause of concern for the health officials. Among the major challenges, first is to find out the origin of the virus which is yet to be identified. And second is the new virus was adapting and mutating which has increased the challenges in controlling the outbreak. There are no medication or vaccine available for it as of now. China has shared the genome sequence to the WHO and scientists worldwide to get a probable vaccine for this. All eyes are now on WHO emergency meeting which will take place in few hours from now as to how the experts across the world see this problem and what kind of steps are needed.
 
Guyana took over the G77 chairmanship from Palestine:
 
Guyana under Ambassador Rudolph Ten-Pow took over the chairmanship of G77. It assumed the chairmanship of the Group from the State of Palestine. In 2020, Group of 77 will be celebrating the 75th anniversary of the United Nations. 
 
Group of 77:
♦ The Group of 77 (G77) is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations. 
♦ India is a member of the G77.
♦ G77 was established by 77 developing countries in 1964. It is located in Geneva. The group aims to provide the means for the countries of the South to articulate. It ensures to promote the collective economic interests and enhance the joint negotiating capacity on all major economic issues within the UN system. It also promotes South-South cooperation for development. G77 has played a pivotal role in shaping priorities and driving change on many challenges.
 
Guyana:
President: David A. Granger
Prime Minister: Moses V. Nagamootoo
Capital: Georgetown
Currency: Guyanese dollar (GYD)
Guyana is bordered by:
♦ The Atlantic Ocean to the north
♦ Brazil to the south and southwest
♦ Venezuela to the west
♦ Suriname to the east.
 
World leaders agree new push for Libya peace:
 
World leaders committed to ending all foreign meddling in Libya`s war and to uphold a weapons embargo at a Berlin summit on 19 January, 2020. This was part of a broader plan to end the spiralling conflict. The presidents of Russia, Turkey and France were among global chiefs signing up to the plan to stop interfering in the war. This includes through weapons, troops or financing.
 
But the talks failed to deliver serious dialogue between the warring parties strongman Khalifa Haftar and the head of Tripoli`s UN-recognised government Fayez al-Sarraj. It also failed to get both sides to sign up to a permanent truce.Berlin Summit host Chancellor Angela Merkel said that they have a very disparate situation in Libya, where ensuring that a ceasefire is immediately respected is simply not easy to guarantee.Libya has been torn by fighting between rival armed factions since a 2011 NATO-backed uprising killed dictator Moamer Kadhafi.
 
World Bank predicts Sri Lanka’s economic growth at 3.3 percent for 2020:
 
The World Bank has forecast Sri Lanka’s economic growth at 3.3 per cent for 2020 saying the growth is likely to remain below four per cent in next three years. The bank said, in its latest report of World Bank’s January 2020 Global Economic Prospects, that for 2021 and 2022, it maintains the same forecast of 3.7 per cent of economic growth in Sri Lanka.
 
Sri Lanka’s new government headed by President Gotabaya Rajapaksa said recently that one of its targets include achieving a 6.5 per cent economic growth per annum from 2020 and a GDP growth of 6,500 U.S. dollars per capita.
 
Sri Lanka’s growth had dipped below 3 per cent last year which was attributed to Easter attacks and policy uncertainty during the previous government.
 
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International Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

Ukrainian airliner was mistakenly downed by Iranian missile: US

US officials have said that the Ukraine airliner that crashed in Iran, killing all 176 people aboard, was most likely brought down accidentally by Iranian air defence missiles.
American satellites had detected the launch of two missiles shortly before the plane crashed, followed by evidence of an explosion.
Washington believes the downing of the plane was accidental. US President Donald Trump also said that the crash could have been a mistake.
Ukraine has outlined four potential scenarios to explain the crash, including a missile strike.
Iran has challenged international suggestions that the Ukrainian airliner was mistakenly downed by an Iranian missile.
Multiple intelligence sources indicate that Iran shot down the Boeing airliner after it took off from Tehran on 8 January, 2020.
 
2nd phase US-China trade deal may come after US elections: President Donald Trump:
US President Donald Trump has said that negotiations for the second phase of a pending US-China trade deal will begin promptly but the outcome may wait until after this year`s elections.
Mr Trump`s remarks come days before Beijing`s trade envoy is due in Washington to sign a phase one agreement, marking a pause in the two sides` nearly two-year trade war.
After efforts to reach a grand bargain proved elusive last year, the two sides agreed in December to a partial deal addressing only some of Washington`s grievances about Chinese trade practices.
As part of the Phase One deal, China has committed to a minimum of 200 billion US Dollars in increased purchases over the next two years from the United States.
US House of Representatives votes to curb President Trump war power on Iran:
The US House of Representatives has approved a symbolic resolution seeking to limit President Donald Trump`s ability to make war on Iran.
The measure passed the Democratic-run chamber 224-194 but faces an uphill task in the Republican-held Senate.
It aims to mandate congressional approval for any conflict with Iran except in cases of an imminent attack against the US.
 
Nepal is following recent developments in West Asian region with serious concern:
The Government of Nepal is following with serious concern the recent
Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued, the region hosts a large number of Nepali migrant workers and therefore, security and safety of Nepali people in the region becomes a matter of utmost priority for Nepal.
It has called upon all sides to exercise restraints from taking measures and actions that contribute to the escalation of tension and endanger peace and stability in the region.
It has been a principled position of Nepal that all disputes and differences must be resolved through peaceful means.
 
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National Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

MHRD has taken steps to transform the education sector:

The Government has initiated the process of formulating a New Education Policy. The policy aims to meet the changing dynamics of the requirements of the population with regard to quality education, innovation, and research. 

In the year 2019, Dr. K Kasturirangan Committee submitted the Draft National Education Policy to the ministry. The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) took a leap forward in transforming the education sector with the motto of Education for All and Quality Education.  

The programs mentioned in the draft launched by MHRD:

♦ MHRD has launched the Pradhan Mantri Innovative Learning Program, DHRUV, to identify and encourage talented children to enrich their skills and knowledge. 

♦ It also launched the National Initiative for School Heads` and Teachers` Holistic Advancement (NISHTHA) to improve learning outcomes at the elementary level through an Integrated Teacher Training Programme.

♦ MHRD launched many other new schemes in the Higher Education Department to boost research and Innovation culture in the country. 

♦ Department of Higher Education of HRD Ministry has finalized and released a five-year vision plan named Education Quality Upgradation and Inclusion Programme (EQUIP). SWAYAM 2.0, Deeksharambh and PARAMARSH are other major schemes of the Department of Higher Education launched in 2019.

♦ Also, under the Samagra Shiksha programme a total of 5930  Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas have been sanctioned in the country out of which 4881 such schools are operational. An outlay of over Rs.800 crore has been approved under sports grants for over 10 lakh government schools of different categories.

Chandigarh railway station gets navigation facilities for visually impaired:

Navigation facilities for visually impaired was inaugurated at Chandigarh railway station in Punjab on 5 January 2020. This facility has been introduced by the Indian Railway Stations Development Corporation through Bengaluru-based NGO Anuprayaas. Chandigarh is the fifth Railway station in the country and first in North India to have this facility.

Benefit:

This move aims to help visually impaired passengers to know about the passenger amenities at the Chandigarh Railway Station. The railway station is installed with Braille Tactile Map, signages for all the facilities and offices on the premise like Enquiry, Station Manager, waiting rooms, lifts, and toilets, etc.

With these applications, visually impaired people can identify these facilities independently. This will reduce the common challenges faced by visually impaired people at railway stations like missing trains because of wrong guidance. It will empower them to travel independently.

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi calls for suggestions ahead of Union Budget 2020-2021:

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has invited people to share their ideas and suggestions for this year’s Union Budget on MyGov. in.The Union Budget represents the aspirations of 130 crore Indians and lays out the path towards India’s development.
President Ram Nath Kovind lays foundation stone to Lakshadweep`s first Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti:
President Ram Nath Kovind laid foundation stone to Lakshadweep`s first Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti on 7 Janaury, 2020.President who is on two days visit to the union territory assured special focus for the development of Lakshadweep and directed Lakshadweep Administrator to give special attention for the completion of Super Specialty Hospital.Lakshadweep Administrator Dineshwar Sharma received the President at Agatti Airport. After the ceremonial reception, the President reached Kavaratti.President received guard of honour from a joint group of 160 different forces.
At the event in Kavaratti, President congratulated Rahmath Begum, the only woman who won Padmashri from Lakshadweep. He extended new year wishes and invited the people of Lakshadweep to visit Rashtrapati Bhavan.President reached Bangaram island of Lakshadweep, this evening. After spending a full day at Bangaram, he will return to Kochi on 9 January, 2020 and leave for New Delhi on the same day.
 
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Sports Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

Manav Thakkar became world no.1 in ITTF rankings:

Indian paddler Manav Thakkar topped the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings and became world number 1 in the Under-21 men`s singles category. Thakkar became the fourth Indian to achieve the rank after Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Soumyajit Ghosh. He jumped nine places to etch his name in the history books.

The 19-year-old Thakkar achieved the rank after claiming the Under-21 men`s singles title at the ITTF Challenge Plus Benemax-Virgo North American Open in Markham, Canada in December 2019. Thakkar was also ranked world no. 1 in the Under-18 category in February 2018. He was also a part of the Indian men`s team which won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta. 

Other Indian Paddlers in the list:

♦ G.Sathiyan retained his 30th spot in the senior category. 

♦ Achanta Sharath Kamal has secured the 33rd position.

♦ Top woman paddler of India, Manika Batra was static at the 61st position.

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Memorandum of Understanding Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

India to sign MoU with Russia to procure AK-203 assault rifles:

The Indian Army is to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Russia for the procurement of over 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles. The rifles are to be manufactured locally by an India-Russia joint venture (JV). The MoU is expected to be signed in a month.

MoU provisions:

♦ As per the MoU, about 1 lakh rifles will come directly from Russia and the remaining will be manufactured by the JV in India.

♦ The rifles have been planned to be manufactured by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

♦ The facility will be set up between the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) from the Indian side, and Rosoboron Exports and Kalashnikov on the Russian side. 

♦ The OFB will own 50.5% equity and the Russian side will hold the remaining 49.5%. 

♦ The JV was formed after the Inter-governmental Agreement between India and Russia in February 2019. 

♦ The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has floated a Request For Proposal (RFP) to the JV for the supply of 6.71 lakh rifles.

 
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Environment Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

Bihar to inaugurate rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles:

Bihar`s Bhagalpur forest division is to inaugurate a first-of-its-kind rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles in January 2020. 

Rehabilitation centre for freshwater turtles:

♦ The rehab centre is spread over half a hectare. It will be able to shelter 500 turtles at a time. 

♦ The aim of the state government is because several turtles were found severely wounded and sick when rescued from smuggles by rescue teams. It is expected that this centre will play a significant role in treating these animals and their proper upkeep before being returned to their natural habitat.

♦ It is necessary as the eastern Bihar has been an ideal breeding ground for turtles.

 
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Awards Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

Sucheta Satish won the 2020 Global Child Prodigy Awards:

Dubai-based Indian girl Sucheta Satish, who can sing in 120 languages, won the Global Child Prodigy Awards 2020. The 13-year-old known is as the Dubai Indian High School`s nightingale. Along with Sucheta Satish, 100 other Global Child prodigies across the world were honoured at the award ceremony in different categories.

The award recognized her twin world records for singing in most languages during one concert and the longest live singing concert by a child. She had set as a 12-year-old two years ago in Dubai at the Indian Consulate Auditorium. During the concert, she sang in 102 languages over 6.15 hours.

Global Child Prodigy Awards:

The Global Child Prodigy Award celebrates the talent and power of children in different categories such as music, arts, dancing, modelling, writing, acting, innovation, science,  sports, etc.

The award is supported by the Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam International Foundation and music producer AR Rahman among others.

Innovation Awards Presentation Ceremony:
 
Innovation Awards Presentation Ceremony will be held on the 8th of January 2020.These awards will be conferred at the 12th edition of Global Intellectual Property Convention in New Delhi.Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and former Railway Minister, Suresh Prabhu will be the chief guests at the event.More than 500 delegates from about 25 countries will participate in 3 day conference. 
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Science & Technology Current Affairs January 2nd Week 2020

ISRO proposes to set up Human Space Flight Centre in Challakere:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed a Rs.2,700 crore master plan to create a top infrastructure that will house its young Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC). The HSFC was formally announced in January 2019. It currently works from a temporary place at the ISRO headquarters, Bengaluru, Karnataka. 

HSFC:

ISRO has announced to set up India`s world-class facility for training astronauts in three years at Challakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka. The announcement was made by K. Sivan, ISRO Chairman and Secretary, Department of Space. 

After establishing the centre, everything connected with events and planning of the Human Spaceflight Programme (HSP) will be moved to the Challakere campus. It is expected that the 400-acre ISRO land at Challakere will be the single-stop consolidating infrastructure and activities related to space travellers. 

Reason to set up HSFC:

India is currently paying a huge sum to Russia for the training of the first set of four astronaut candidates for the first Gaganyaan mission of 2022. Also, HSP work is split across various centres like Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre in Thiruvananthapuram and the U.R. Rao Satellite Centre in Bengaluru.

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ISRO’s astronaut training hub in karnataka:

The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) has proposed Human Space Flight Centre (HSFC) at Challakere in Chitradurga district of Karnataka.The facility is expected to become operational in 3 years.ISRO aims to establish a self-contained training facility.At present, astronauts part of Gaganyaan Mission, the Human Spaceflight Programme of ISRO are trained in Russia.
 
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International Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

Pakistan officially shares list of nuclear installations with India:

Pakistan shared a list of its nuclear installations with India under a bilateral agreement. The list handed over to an Indian High Commission official in accordance with Article-II of the Agreement on Prohibition of Attacks against Nuclear Installations and Facilities between Pakistan and India. The list of nuclear installations and facilities in Pakistan officially handed over to a representative of the Indian High Commission at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The Ministry of External Affairs in New Delhi handed over the list of Indian nuclear installations and facilities to a representative of the Pakistan High Commission at 1100 AM (IST). The agreement contains the provision that both countries inform each other of their nuclear installations and facilities on the 1st of January every year. This is being done consecutively since January 1, 1992.
 
Union Government strongly condemned vandalism at Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan:
 
India strongly condemned vandalism at Nankana Sahib Gurudwara in Pakistan. The Pakistan Government to take immediate steps to ensure the safety, security, and welfare of the members of the Sikh community. The New Delhi is concerned with the vandalism carried out at the Nankana Sahib Gurdwara.
 
Sikh community
 
The members of the minority Sikh community subjected to act of violence in the holy city of Nankana Sahib, the birthplace of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. The intense action was taken against the miscreants who indulged in the desecration of the holy Gurudwara and attacked members of the minority Sikh community. India asked Pakistan to take all measures to protect and preserve the sanctity of the holy Nankana Sahib Gurudwara and its surroundings.
 
 
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Arab League Chief concerned over developments in Iraq; calls for calm:

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit on 5th January, 2020 expressed his concern over developments in Iraq and Arab region and called for calm.
The region is currently in a dire need of calm, not escalation and extinguishing conflicts, not igniting and perpetuating them.
The Arab League is a union of Arab-speaking African and Asian countries. It has 22 members and four observer States.
Iran decides not to abide by any of restrictions imposed by 2015 nuclear deal:
Iran has declared that it will no longer abide by any of the restrictions imposed by the 2015 nuclear deal.
It will no longer observe limitations on its capacity for enrichment, the level of enrichment, the stock of enriched material, or research and development.
Under the 2015 accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in international inspectors in return for the lifting of crippling economic sanctions.
The announcement followed a meeting of the Iranian cabinet in Tehran. Tensions have been high over the killing of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani by the US in Baghdad.
EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell has invited Iran`s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to visit Brussels to discuss both the nuclear deal and how to defuse the crisis over the Soleimani assassination.
Earlier, Iraqi Parliament passed a non-binding resolution calling for foreign troops to leave the country after the general`s killing in a drone strike at Baghdad airport on Friday.
 
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Defence Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

Air Marshal Vibhas Pande VSM appointed as Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance:

Air Marshal Vibhas Pande VSM officially appointed as Air Officer-in-Charge Maintenance of Indian Air Force effect from 01 Jan 2020. Air Officer commissioned as Aeronautical Engineer (Mechanical) in IAF on 29 Aug 1984. He started a career as Engineering Officer in IAF with fighter aircraft and gained experience in maintenance operations on transport aircraft and helicopters.  Air Officer is a Post Graduate in Reliability Engineering from IIT Powai, Mumbai. Air Officer held the appointments of Senior Production Engineer at 11 Base Repair Depot, Commanding Officer of Air Armament Inspection Wing, Khamaria, Directing Staff at College of Air Warfare, and Command Engineering Officer at HQ WAC. He indigenisation drive in IAF as CO of 1 CIMD. The appointments held by command of a premier Base Repair Depot, Senior Maintenance Staff Officer at HQ EAC, and ACAS Eng (T&H).
 
Abhinav Kumar gets extension as BSF IG:
 
The appointments committee of the Cabinet approved the proposal of the Ministry of Home Affairs for extending the deputation tenure of IPS Abhinav Kumar, Inspector General. The appointment Committee of the Cabinet approved the plan of Ministry of Home Affairs for extension of deputation tenure of IPS Abhinav Kumar, Inspector General, Border Security Force (BSF) beyond 31.10.2019 and up to 27.07.2021 in relaxation of IPS Tenure Policy.
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National Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

Railway Protection Force renamed as Indian Railway Protection Force Service:

The Ministry of Railways accorded Organised Group `A` status to Railway Protection Force (RPF) and renamed it Indian Railway Protection Force Service. The Organised Group `A` status (OGAS) to RPF decision arising from Hon`ble Court`s orders. The RPF will be known as the Indian Railway Protection Force Service. The notice in this regard was issued by the Joint Director of Railway Board Amitabh Joshi on December 30.

Railway Protection Force

It is a security force, established by the Railway Protection Force Act, 1957

Founded: 27 July 1872.

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Sports Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

IOA withdraws boycott call for 2022 Commonwealth Games:

Indian Olympic Association (IOA) withdrawn its threat to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham over Shooting`s exclusion. It also announced that the country bid to host either the 2026 or the 2030 edition. The Commonwealth Games Federation (GCF) decided to submit a formal proposal to host a Commonwealth Shooting Championships before the main Games.GCF President Dame Louise Martin welcomed India confirming participation at the Birmingham Games. The country`s apex body for Olympic sports next approaches the government for the necessary clearances to host the multi-sport event. The country hosted the 2010 edition in the national capital.
 
Commonwealth Games Federation 
 
Commonwealth Games Federation branded as Commonwealth Sport is the international organization responsible for the direction and control of the Commonwealth Games.
Founded: 1932
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Business & Economy Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

Finance minister launches 102 trillion National Infra Pipeline plan:

Finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman launched a National Infrastructure Pipeline coordination mechanism with an investment plan worth ?102 trillion in the next five years. The economic affairs secretary Atanu Chakraborty submitted its first report after consultation with 70 different stakeholders for four months. The task force set up after prime minister Narendra Modi to roll out an ambitious infrastructure push worth ?100 trillion over the next five years to make India a $5 trillion economy.
 
Project Details
 
The projects spread across 21 ministries and 18 states and Union Territories. The center and states will contribute 39% each of the project cost; private sectors contribute 22% of the cost. The projects included in the pipeline, 43% are under implementation, 33% are at a conceptual stage, and 19% are under development. The projects belong to sectors such as power, including renewable, railways, urban development, irrigation, mobility, education, health, water, and the digital industry.This will include reforming the PPP-based contracts, enforcement of agreements, and dispute resolution process.
 
Adani to buy 75% stake in Krishnapatnam Port:
 
India’s largest private sector port operator agreed to buy a 75% stake in Krishnapatnam Port Co. Ltd (KPCL) at an enterprise value of ?13,500 crores, APSEZ.
 
Krishnapatnam Port
 
The Krishnapatnam Port is located in southern Andhra Pradesh and is a multi-cargo facility. It handled 54 million tonnes (mt) of cargo in the year ended 31 March 2019. The purchase will accelerate the Adani Ports plan to expand its cargo-handling capacity to 400mt by 2025. The acquisition will be funded internal accruals and existing cash balances.The credit metrics of APSEZ consolidated to change with this transaction. The net debt-to-Ebidta of consolidated APSEZ, including KPCL, in FY21, is expected to be around 3.2x. The acquisition is subject to regulatory approvals and the transaction to be completed within 120 days. The infrastructure and the distinct hinterland catered by KPCL, this acquisition will not just increase our market share to 27% add a remarkable value to our pan-India footprint. The APSEZ will look to expand cargo volume at KPCL to 100mt in around seven years and will double its Ebidta in about four years. This is the second acquisition by Adani Ports in the past seven days. On 27 December. The wholly-owned unit of Adani Ports will buy a 40.25% stake in Snowman from Gateway Distriparks Ltd.
 
 
No extra charge on digital payments via RuPay and UPI from 1st Jan 2020:
 
The central government decided to wave off the Merchant Discount Rate (MDR) to promote digital payments. Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman recently announced that the digital transactions using RuPay or UPI would not face additional charges from January 1, 2020. The central government amended two acts, Payments and Settlement Systems Act and the Income Tax Act. The Department of Revenue (DoR) will notify UPI and RuPay as the approved mode of payment for digital transactions without any Merchant Discount Rate (MDR).
 
MDR charge
 
When a person swipes card in any merchandise the shopkeeper has to pay to his service provider is called MDR Charge. The MDR charges can range from 0% to 2% of the transaction amount. MDR charge also has to be paid for online transactions based on QR Code.
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Science & Technology Current Affairs January 1st Week 2020

India commences worlds largest ever vaccination programme to control FMD:

The union Government launched a new scheme National Animal Disease Control Programme for FMD and Brucellosis with a financial outlay of Rs. 13,343.00 crore for five years (2019-20 to 2023-24) by vaccinating 100% cattle, buffalo, sheep, goat, and pig population for FMD and 100% bovine female calves of 4-8 months of age for brucellosis to prevent loss of Rs. 50,000 crores. This programme combined with providing unique PashuAadhar to 535 million animals.

NATIONWIDE ARTIFICIAL INSEMINATION PROGRAMME (NAIP)

Nationwide Artificial Insemination Programme district for 600 districts in the country was recently launched by the Government in September is one of the most extensive such programs with 100% central assistance for undertaking breed improvement. T600 districts so that India achieves 70% AI coverage.Under NAIP, more than 11 lakhs AI done on 31.12.2019.

QUALITY MILK PROGRAMME:

DAHD launched Quality Milk Programme on 24.07.2019 with the objectives to achieve Global(Codex)standards for domestic consumption of milk and ensuring traceability & increasing share of milk and milk products in world exports. The program during 2019-20, approval has been granted for the strengthening of 231 dairy plants under the National Programme for Dairy Development scheme to equip them to detect adulterants in milk. The total cost of the project was Rs.271.64 crore. The amount of Rs.128.56 crore released to States as the first installment during 2019-20. Once implemented in June 2020, all the cooperative dairy plants of the country will be able to supply Quality Milk tested on all microbiological, chemical and physical parameters to their consumers.

Fourteen scientists awarded Swarna Jayanti Fellowships:

Union Ministry of Science and Technology awarded as Swarna Jayanti Fellowships to 14 scientists to basic research in frontier areas of science and technology. The fellowship covers all the requirements for performing the research and includes a fellowship of 25 thousand rupees per month. The five lakh rupees for five years provided in addition to their salary. India`s 50th year of independence, Swaran Jayanti Fellowships awarded to young and brilliant scientists to pursue unfettered research with financial freedom and flexibility.

Swarna Jayanti Fellowships:

 

The Swarna Jayanti Fellowships scheme instituted by Government of India to commemorate India`s fiftieth year of independence. Under this scheme, a selected number of young scientists with proven track record. The awardees supported by Department of Science & Technology, for fellowship and research.The requirements for performing the research and include a fellowship of Rs 25,000/ per month as well as a research grant of 5 lakh Rupees for 5 years in addition to their salary.  Around 443 applicants, 14 scientists have been finally selected this time for this scientist specific fellowship. 

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