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CURRENT AFFAIRS: DAYS
International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
- United Nation’s International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed annually on 21 March.
- The day aims to remind people of racial discrimination’s negative consequences. It also encourages people to remember their obligation and determination to combat racial discrimination
|Theme 2019||‘Mitigating and countering rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies’|
World Water Day
- On 22 March, World Water Day is observed annually to raise awareness about the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
- It was recommended to celebrate in 1992 at United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janerio. And then, in 1993 first World Water Day is celebrated.
|Theme 2019||Leaving No One Behind|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
High-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific cooperation held at Indonesia
- The Government of Indonesia has hosted the first everHigh-Level Dialogue on Indo-Pacific Cooperation (HLD-IPC) in its capital city Jakarta.
- The Dialogue themed “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous, and Inclusive Region,” was opened by Indonesia’s Vice President Jusuf Kalla.
- The dialogue was divided into two sessions of general debate and thematic debate. The general debate was chaired by Marsudi, with all delegation heads conveying the position of their respective countries.
- The delegates participated in the thematic debate under three themes: sustainable development goals, maritime cooperation, and infrastructure and connectivity.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
Deutsche Bank is to set up bad-loan buying unit in India
- Deutsche Bank AG is setting up a unit in India to buy and reorganize soured debt as it seeks to profit from an unprecedented bad-loan clean up in the nation with one of the world’s worst non-performing loan ratios.
- The German bank felt the need to have its own asset reconstruction company to buy and reorganize non-performing credit as current Indian rules restrict overseas investors from buying soured loans directly from lenders in the country.
- Bank of America Corp is also considering setting up a similar unit.
- More than 29 ARCs have been set up in India after parliament passed a law in 2002 to help banks clear their balance sheets by selling bad loans.
|Deutsche Bank CEO||Christian Sewing|
|Deutsche Bank Headquarters||Frankfurt, Germany|
Fitch cuts India GDP growth forecast for FY20 to 6.8%
- Fitch Ratings cut India’s economic growth forecast for the next financial year starting April 1, to 6.8 per cent from its previous estimate of 7 per cent, on weaker than expected momentum in the economy.
- The rating agency has also cut growth forecasts for FY20 and FY21 to 7 per cent from 7.3 per cent and 7.1 per cent from 7.3 per cent, respectively
- Fitch Ratings cut India’s FY19 GDP growth forecast to 7.2% from 7.8% on December 6
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BUSINESS AND ECONOMY
Indian Railways ICF becomes largest rail coaches maker in the world
- The Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in Chennai has manufactured as many as 301 coaches in the month of February, taking the total for this fiscal to 2,919. This puts the factory among the largest railcar builders in the world, beating top Chinese manufacturers who produce around 2,600 coaches a year.
- The ICF is now eyeing ending the financial year with over 3200 coaches.
- The ICF has also churned out the newly launched country’s fastest train Vande Bharat Express between the April-February period.
- Indian Railways-owned Modern Coach Factory (MCF) in Rae Bareli, Uttar Pradesh.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
Aamir Khan appointed as PhonePe’s Brand Ambassador
- PhonePe has appointed Bollywood superstar Aamir Khan as the face of its brand.
- It is also an official co-presenting sponsor for the television broadcast of VIVO IPL 2019, and will be launching a series of new TV ads featuring Aamir Khan during this season
- PhonePe is one of India’s fastest growing payment platform and is based on UPI. It is headquartered in Bengaluru.
Sardar Singh named in OCA standing committee
- Former India hockey captain Sardar Singh has been named in the Standing Committee of the Olympic Council of Asia (OCA) at its 38th General Assembly in Bangkok.
- Sardar, has been elected in the athletes standing committee, is part of a 10-member panel which has been nominated for a four-year term from 2019 to 2023.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: RANKING AND INDEX
Finland ranked happiest country for second Year
- Finland has topped a global happiness ranking for the second year in a row.
- It beat Nordic peers Denmark, Norway and Iceland in a ranking of 156 countries by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network.
- The ranking saw the US drop one place, to 19th, while people in South Sudan were the least happy. India dropped seven ranks to the 140th place.
- The Global Happiness Report published by the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, the report ranked 156 countries by happiness levels, assessing factors such as life expectancy, social support and corruption.
- The report is released annually, on 20 March, on International Day of Happiness.
Piyush Goyal, Harsh Vardhan in ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019’
- Union Ministers Piyush Goyal and Dr Harsh Vardhan are among the seven Indians who have been named in the ‘World’s 100 Most Influential People in Climate Policy for 2019’ for taking steps in order to combat climate change.
- Union Minister for Railways and Coal Piyush Goyal has led the fast track electrification of nearly 18,000 unelectrified villages, and been critical in the rollout of a drastic power sector reform and the world’s largest LED bulb distribution programme, according to his profile on the website.
- Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Dr Harsh Vardhan has focused on motivating scientists to develop new technologies that address social and environmental problems.
- Other five persons are Mukta Tilak (Pune Mayor), Jyoti Kirit Parikh (executive director of Integrated Research and Action for Development), Sunita Narain, (environmentalist and political activist), Vandana Shiva (environmental activist) and Upendra Tripathy (director general of the International Solar Alliance)
CURRENT AFFAIRS: MOU
ADB to invest USD 50 mn in solar project developer Avaada
- Asian Development Bank (ADB) has inked an agreement to invest USD 50 million in solar energy project developer Avaada Energy Pvt Ltd to help the company scale up rapidly.
- The investment will come equally from ADB’s Ordinary Capital Resources and Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP).
- LEAP is a funding arrangement provided byJapan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) which is administered by ADB.
- The project will contribute to the strategy of the government to increase the share of renewable energy generation capacity from about 20 per cent in 2018 to 40 per cent by 2030.
- It will also help to reduce India’s emission intensity of its gross domestic product by 33-35 per cent by 2030.
- The investment contributes to ADB’s goal to provide cumulative climate finance of USD 80 billion from 2019 to 2030.
|Asian Development Bank (ADB)|
|ADB President||Takehiko Nakao|
|ADB Headquarters||Mandaluyong, Philippines|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: DEFENCE
Terror camps on India-Myanmar border destroyed – Operation Sun Rise
- Indian and Myanmar armies carried out a military operation named `Operation Sunrise’ to wipe out insurgent camps who were planning to hit the Indian workers at the Kaladan Transit project.
- The Kaladan Multimodal Transit Transport Project aimsto connect seaports from India to Myanmar. The Joint operation was conducted from mid- February till mid- March.
- The target of these operations carried out by the armies of both countries was the Arakan Army, an insurgent group trained by the Kachin Independence Army (KIA), and reportedly trained by China.
Indian Navy to provide humanitarian aid to cyclone-hit Mozambique
- Three Indian Naval Ships namely INS Sujatha, INS Shardul & INS Sarathi have reached the port city of Beira in Mozambique to provide immediate Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR) to Central and Northern part of Mozambique affected by tropical cyclone ‘IDAI’
- Cyclone ‘IDAI’ made landfall at Beira, causing widespread damage and loss of human life in the Central and Northern provinces
- The IN ships are likely to set up medical camps and provide food, water, blankets and other necessary relief items, as required by the local authorities
Government clears procurement of 10 lakh hand grenades for Indian Army
- Ministry of Defence (MoD) has cleared the proposal to procure 10 lakh hand grenades for the Indian Army under its Make in India programme
- The new hand grenades will replace the existing inventory, HE-36 grenades manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board. The multi-mode grenades have been developed by the DRDO
- The project worth more than Rs. 500 crore
- Recently, the government also signed a contract worth Rs 700 crore for procurement of 70,000 Sig Sauer assault rifles with a US manufacturer. A JV has also been formed with Russia to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles
|Defence Minister||Nirmala Sitharaman|
|Constituency||Rajya Sabha, Karnataka|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
Flipkart introduces robot-based sortation technology
- Flipkart has introduced a robot-based sortation technology — Automated Guided Vehicles (AGVs) at its Soukya sortation center in Bengaluru.
- The Soukya set-up involves over 100 self-guided bots that automatically sort packages to the right customer pincodes by identifying encoded information on each package.
- It can process up to 4,500 shipments in an hour and can be scaled over five times with minimal changes.
- The AGVs will help Flipkart meet ever-growing customer and scale demands, ensuring faster delivery and an enhanced experience for online shoppers.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: SPORTS
India bags 368 medals in Special Olympics Games
- India returned with 368 medals, including 85 gold, at the Special Olympics World Summer Games, held at Abu Dhabi, UAE.
- The Indian team of 284 athletes also clinched 154 silver and 129 bronze medals in its highly successful campaign at the prestigious event.
- Medals are won in Judo, Athletics, Cycling, Aquatics, Powerlifting, Basketball Traditional, Table Tennis, Roller skating, Badminton, Handball Traditional and Football 7 Side Female competitions in the game.
- From the roller skating event, the country won 49 medals – 13 gold, 20 silver, and 16 bronze medals.
- Indian powerlifters bagged the maximum number of medals 20 gold, 33 silver and 43 bronze.
- India participated in Judo and Futsal for the first time. The next Special Olympic Games are set to take place in Sweden in 2021
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARIES
1971 war hero captain M N Samant passed away
- captain M N Samant, Veteran commander of Indian submarine in 1971 Bangladesh war, has passed away
- He was conferred with Maha Vir Chakra for his role in the 1971 war
- Samant had served as the first chief of staff of the Bangladesh Navy