Current Affairs Today 17th & 18th March 2019 | Current Affairs

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Daily Current Affairs PDF of 17th &18th March 2019


National Immunisation Day

  • India observes National Immunization Day ( NID ) on 16th March every year.
  • National Immunization Day was first observed on 16th March 1995 when first dose of Oral Polio Vaccine was given.
  • The observance of National Immunization Day is an attempt to enhance awareness for the eradication of polio from planet earth. Every year on this day, millions of children are immunized with the polio vaccine


Bandhan Bank gets RBI approval for acquisition of Gruh Finance

  • Bandhan Bank has received no objection from the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) for the proposed acquisition of Gruh Finance.
  • Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC Ltd, was taken over in January by Kolkata-based Bandhan Bank in a share-swap deal.
  • As part of the deal, Bandhan Bank has to transfer 14.9 per cent stake to HDFC for merging Gruh with itself.
  • The deal will allow Bandhan Bank’s promoter Bandhan Financial Holdings to come down to about 61 per cent from about 82 per cent, and HDFC to hold around 15 per cent in the merged entity from about 57 per cent in Gruh.
  • The swap ratio for the amalgamation will be 568 shares of Bandhan Bank for every 1,000 shares of Gruh Finance.
Bandhan Bank HQ Kolkata
Tagline Aapka Bhala Sabki Bhalai
CEO Chandra Sekar Ghosh

SBI customers can withdraw cash without ATM cards

  • The State Bank of India has launched the YONO Cash service for its customers which will allow them to withdraw cash from ATMs without their debit cards.
  • A part of SBI’s digital banking platform, You Only Need One (YONO), the cardless cash withdrawal service will be available across 16,500 ATMs of the bank in the country. Such SBI ATMs will be called YONO Cash Point.
  • SBI customers can use the YONO app on their smartphones to withdraw cash from SBI ATMs, or YONO Cash Points, without using their debit and credit cards.
  • After installing the YONO app on their phones, SBI account holders will have to set a 6-digit YONO PIN for withdrawing cash.
  • Once a request for withdrawing cash is placed, a 6-digit code will be sent to the user’s phone via SMS, which will then have to be entered into a YONO Cash Point.
SBI HQ Mumbai
Tagline Banker to every Indian
CEO Rajinish Kumar


Swati Shingade bags DD Mahila Kisan Award 

  • Swati Shingadeof Pune, Maharashtra has bagged the first prize of DD Mahila Kisan Award for 2018-19.
  • As many as110 women farmers participated in the award competition, out which five were selected for the grand finale.
  • Prasar Bharati Chairman A Surya Prakash gave away the award to Ms. Shingade at a grand finale event organized by DD Kisan Channel in New Delhi.
  • The Kisan Channel has provided a platform to the women farmers and the aim of the channel is to make aware the people about the various schemes of the government.

Arun Jaitley gets Changemaker of the Year Award from ManMohan Singh for implementing GST

  • Former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh presented the BusinessLine Changemaker Of The Year award to Union Minister Arun Jaitley for successfully introducing the Goods and Services Tax (GST).
  • The awards were given in five categories:
  • Social Transformation
  • Digital Transformation
  • Young Changemaker
  • Iconic Changemaker
  • Changemaker of the Year
Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley
Constituency Gujarat, Rajya Sabha

Tata, Reliance and Airtel emerge best Indian brands of 2019

  • Tata, Reliance and Airtel emerged as the top three Indian brands of 2019 published by Interbrand, part of the Omnicom Media Group, an advertising and public relations conglomerate.
  • Tata continued to hold the top position in the best Indian Brands ranking as its brand value grew by 6%, mainly due to Tata Consultancy Services (TCS).
  • Knocking its competitor Airtel off from the second spot, Reliance’s brand value grew by 12%, bolstered by the success of Jio. This also explains the 13% degrowth in Airtel’s brand value.
  • Following Airtel at number three, HDFC Bank, LIC, State Bank of India, Infosys, Mahindra, ICICI Bank and Godrej rounded off the top 10 list.


Kotak Mahindra Bank elevates KVS Manian, Gaurang Shah as board directors

  • Kotak Mahindra Bank has appointed KVS Manian and Gaurang Shah as whole-time directors for a three-year term effective from the date of approval from the Reserve Bank of India.
  • Manian is currently working as the president – corporate, investment bank. Shah is the president- group chief risk officer of the bank.
  • The appointment of Manian and Shah is also subject to share­holders.
  • The board approved the re-appointment of Prakash Apte as Independent Director of the bank for a five-year period from March 16, 2019, to March 17, 2024.
  • The board also appointed Uday Shankar, President of 21st Century Fox, Asia, as Independent Director of the bank from March 16, 2019, for a period of five years.
Kotak Mahindra Bank – HQ Mumbai
Kotak Mahindra Bank – Tagline Lets Make Money Simple
Kotak Mahindra Bank – CEO Uday Kotak

Santosh Jha appointed as next ambassador of India to republic of Uzbekistan

  • Shri Santosh Jha has been appointed as the next Ambassador of India to the Republic of Uzbekistan.
  • Jha a 1993 batch Indian Foreign Service (IFS) officer presently Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India, Washington
Uzbekistan Capital Tashkent
Uzbekistan Currency Uzbekistani som
Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev

Padmaja appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Fiji

  • Padmaja has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Fiji.
  • She presently working as Deputy Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations
Fiji Capital Suva
Fiji Currency Fijian dollar
Fiji President George Konrote

Anurag Bhushan appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Malawi

  • Anurag Bhushan, a 1995 cadre Indian Foreign Service officer, presently Joint Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, has been appointed as the next High Commissioner of India to the Republic of Malawi.
Malawi Capital Lilongwe
Malawi Currency Malawian kwacha
Malawi President Peter Mutharika


Climate Vulnerability Index highest for Assam and Mizoram

  • The Department of Science and Technology (DST) commissioned a study to assess the climate risks faced by States in India. This follows an assessment of the global warming risks faced by 12 Himalayan States
  • On a scale ranging 0-1, 1 indicating the highest possible level of vulnerability, at the top of the scale were Assam with a score of 0.72 and Mizoram at 0.71,
  • Whereas Sikkim, with an index score of 0.42 was relatively less vulnerable.
  • Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) at Mandi and Guwahati, and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, coordinated with State authorities in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim, the hill districts of West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Jammu and Kashmir, to evolve a common methodology, and determine how districts there are equipped to deal with the vagaries of climate change.


IIT Roorkee collaborates with ISRO to set up Space Technology Cell

  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Roorkee in Uttarakhand tied up with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) to set up a Space Technology Cell at its campus.
  • The need to strengthen their institutional interactions and thereby enhance the scope of the activities pursued under STC commensurate with the programmatic goals of ISRO.
  • The activities of STC shall be directed to maximise the use of the research potential, infrastructure, expertise and experience that already exist in ISRO and IIT Roorkee.
  • IIT Roorkee will be responsible for overall management of Space Technology Cell by providing required infrastructure, administrative and other support.
ISRO HQ Bengaluru
Chairman K Shivan

FeFA Girls Inititiative – A New Collaborative Project with ICRISAT partnered with Telegana Govt

  • FeFA (Iron for Adolescent Girls), a new initiative to address malnutrition among adolescents was launched.
  • Through this project, ICMR-National Institute of Nutrition (NIN) and the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) will work in partnership with the Government of Telangana to address these important issues.
  • FeFA Girls includes two components: i) to establish diet-based approaches for improvement in haemoglobin and iron status in adolescent girls, and ii) to generate scientific evidence on nutritional benefits of groundnut and pearl millet (ICRISAT mandate crops) on human health.
  • The initiative will target girls in the age group of 16 to 19 years from social welfare hostels in Telangana.

IIT KGP is getting India’s first-of-its-kind supercomputer

  • The IIT Kharagpur has signed an MoU with Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (C-DAC) to set up a Petaflop high performance computing facility and data center funded under the National Supercomputing Mission.
  • The department of science and technology (DST), along with experts from Niti Ayog, DRDO and IISc, will help IIT Kharagpur develop this supercomputer.
  • A Petaflops is a unit of computing speed equal to 1,000 million million (1015) floating-point operations per second.
  • PetaFlop is the measurement of computing power based on the frequency of mathematical calculations that can be done per second.
  • The development of Centre for 1.3 PetaFlop High-Performance Computing facility will aid research in niche areas like healthcare, smart cities, geoscience, new material etc among others


First BRICS Sherpa meeting under Presidency of Brazil held in Curitiba

  • The first BRICS Sherpa meeting under the Presidency of Brazil concluded at Curitiba in Brazil.
  • Secretary, Economic Relations in the Ministry of External Affairs, T S Tirumurti led the Indian delegation
  • India conveyed its support for the priority areas set out by Brazil, particularly to take forward BRICS cooperation on counter terrorism in a meaningful and concrete manner with BRICS member countries.
  • BRICS countries – Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa

3rd edition of Namaste Thailand festival held in New Delhi

  • 3rd edition of Namaste Thailand festival, aimed at strengthening bilateral ties and increasing cultural exchange between India and Thailand, held in New Delhi
  • The three-day festival was organised by the Royal Thai Embassy
  • The festival will feature stage performances by Thai artistes including the much popular Thai folk-jazz band Asia-7.


SCO members to hold joint anti-terrorism exercise ‘Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019’

  • India, Pakistan and the other members states of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) will take part in a joint anti-terrorism exercise to be held this year.
  • The decision to hold the joint exercise ‘Sary-Arka-Antiterror 2019’ was announced during the 34th meeting of the SCO’s Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure (RATS) council held in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
  • RATS is a permanent organ of the SCO which serves to promote cooperation of member states against the three evils of terrorism, separatism and extremism. It is headquartered in Tashkent.
  • The next meeting of the Council of the RATS SCO is scheduled to be held in Russia in September 2019.
  • SCO Member States: China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyz Republic, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan.

‘Vijit’ becomes the first Indian Coast Guard ship to visit Indonesia

  • Indian Coast Guard Ship ‘Vijit’ became the first-ever Coast Guard ship to visit Sabang, Indonesia to highlight the proximity between the two countries and the strengthening cooperation in maritime security and safety,
  • Crew of Vijit will hold interaction with officials of Bakamla (Indonesian Coast Guard), Indonesian Armed Forces and the civil administration at Sabang
  • Fastest in its category with a designed speed of 26 knots at a displacement of 2393 tons, this new generation ship is equipped with the advanced Navigational and Communicational equipment
  • This visit of the coast guard ship follows from the first-ever-visit of Naval Ship INS Sumitra to Sabang in July 2018.


Diksha Dagar becomes second Indian to win Ladies European Tour title

  • Eighteen-year-old Diksha Dagar became the second Indian women golfer to win an event on Ladies European Tour after clinching South African Women’s Open in Cape Town.
  • Aditi Ashok was the first Indian to win on the Ladies European Tour after clinching Hero Women’s Indian Open in Gurugram in 2016.
  • Dagar won silver at the 2017 Summer Deaflympics. She also had a stellar Amateur career during which she represented India at the 2018 Asian Games and won the 2018 Singapore Amateur title. She also won a Pro event on the Indian domestic Hero Women’s Pro Golf Tour, before turning pro at the start of this year.

Finland’s Valtteri Bottas wins Australian GP

  • Mercedes’ Valtteri Bottas beat his world champion teammate Lewis Hamilton to clinch the season-opening Australian Formula One Grand Prix.
  • Bottas, who claimed his first race win since Abu Dhabi in 2017, also claimed the extra point for the fastest lap in the race.
  • Hamilton finished the race in the second spot, while Red Bull’s Max Verstappen finished third.

Sai Praneeth Finishes With Silver at Swiss Open

  • India’s B Sai Praneeth lost to Shi Yuqi of China in the men’s single final clash of Swiss Open Badminton tournament in Basel.
  • Top seeded and world number two Shi Yuqi has lifted the title defeating Praneeth. Earlier, Praneeth won the first game and gave tough fight in the second one, but lost in the third game

K T Irfan becomes first Indian athlete to qualify for Tokyo Olympics

  • KT Irfan became the first Indian from athletics to qualify for the next year’s Olympics while finishing fourth in the 20 km event of the Asian Race Walking Championships in Nomi, Japan.
  • Irfan also holds a national record of 1:20:21 when he finished 10th in the 2012 Olympics.
  • He also qualified for this year’s World Championships (September 27-October 6) in Doha, Qatar


Goa CM Manohar Parrikar passed away

  • Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar passed away
  • He served as Chief Minister of the state during October 2000 to February 2005; and March 2012 to November 2014. From November 2014 till March 2017, he served as the Union Defence Minister.
  • Mr Parrikar returned to Goa in March 2017 as the State Chief Minister.
  • The popular leader would be remembered for his efforts in infrastructure and education development in the state and bringing the International Film Festival of India to Goa in 2004.

Senior Journalist and environmental activist Darryl D’Monte passes away

  • Senior journalist and environmental activist Darryl D’Monte, who worked with leading English dailies, has passed away
  • He had worked for ‘The Times of India’ and ‘Indian Express’. A book titled ‘Ripping the Fabric’ has been authored by him. He had taken some major initiatives for the solution of environmental issues too.

Pulitzer Prize-winning poet WS Merwin passed away

  • A Pulitzer Prize winner and former US poet laureate WS Merwin passed away
  • He won a National Book Award and two Pulitzer Prizes.
  • Merwin completed more than 20 books, his first book of poetry, A Mask for Janus, was published in 1952
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