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CURRENT AFFAIRS: INTERNATIONAL
Israel unveils world’s longest salt cave
- Israeli researchers say they have discovered the world’s longest salt cave near the desert site.
- The total length of the cave is around 10 km (6.2 miles).
- Malham Cave is located under Mount Sodom (Israel’s largest mountain located southwest of the salty Dead Sea).
- The new discovery has taken away a 13-year record held by the Cave of the Three Nudes (3N Cave) since 2006. It is a 6.85 km (four miles) salt cave in Iran’s Qeshm Island.
|Israel Currency||Israeli new shekel|
|Israel President||Benjamin Netanyahu|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: NATIONAL
Government declares next census of India in 2021
- The Home Ministry announced that the next census of India will be carried out in 2021 with March 1 of that year.
- The decision has been taken by the central government under the powers conferred by section 3 of the Census Act, 1948 (37 of 1948).
- For Jammu and Kashmir and snowbound non-synchronous areas of Himachal Pradesh and Uttarakhand, the reference date shall be the first day of October, 2020.
- India’s last census was carried out in 2011 when the country’s population stood at 121 crore.
- The Census of India 2011 represents the 15th such operation (since 1872) and the seventh after Independence.
Government launched Blockchain Powered E-Marketplace for Coffee sellers
- The Commerce Ministry launched a blockchain-based coffee e-marketplace in New Delhi.
- India has become the first country in the world to have a blockchain-based marketplace app for coffee trading launched by the Coffee Board of India and developed by Eka Software.
- The platform aims to “premium-ise” coffee, add “bean-to-cup traceability” and cut the role of middlemen.
- Around 20 coffee farmers, exporters, roasters, importers and retailers are already registered on the platform.
Tashigang in Himachal Pradesh is world’s highest polling station
- Tashigang, a small Himachal Pradesh village at an altitude of 15,256 feet, is now the highest polling station in the world.
- Located around 29 km from the India-China border, this polling station covers two villages of Tashigang and Gete.
- As per the revised electoral rolls, the two villages have 48 voters, of which 30 are men and 18 women.
|Himachal Pradesh Capital||Shimla|
|CM||Jai Ram Thakur|
|Governor||Acharya Dev Vrat|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: STATE
Assam CEO Mukesh Sahu launches ‘Enajori’ initiative in Guwahati
- Assam Chief Electoral Officer Mukesh Sahu launched the Enajori initiative in Guwahati.
- It is a special initiative for persons with disabilities with an aim that ‘No Voter to be Left behind’.
- It is a joint initiative of CEO Assam and Social Welfare Department with an objective to make Lok Sabha Elections accessible to Persons with Disability, PwD voters.
- Section 11 of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act, 2016 states that Election Commission of India and State Election Departments shall ensure that all polling stations are accessible to persons with disabilities and all materials related to the electoral process are easily understandable by and accessible to them.
Tripura has second highest number of child marriages
- Tripura ranks second second position with respect to the highest prevalence of child marriage among girls aged 15 years to 19 years at 21.6 per cent which is significantly higher than the national average of 11.9 per cent.
- Also found that more than 80 per cent of child marriages were registered in three districts of the state.
- The four districts include Dhalai, South Tripura, North Tripura, and West Tripura have the highest number of child marriage.
- A report released by the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), Young Lives – an international study on childhood poverty.
|CM||Biplab Kumar Deb|
|Governor||Kaptan Singh Solanki|
CURRENT AFFAIRS: BANKING AND FINANCE
RBI raises FPI investment limit in G-Secs
- The Reserve Bank of India upped the investment limit for FY2019-20 for foreign portfolio investors (FPI) in Central government securities (G-Secs) to 6 per cent of outstanding stock of securities from 5.5 per cent in FY2018-19.
- The limit for FPI investment in State development loans (SDLs) and corporate bonds has been left unchanged at 2 per cent and 9 per cent of outstanding stocks.
- The current limit of 6,49,900 crore, the revised limit for FPI investment in debt for FY2020 has been set atRs. 6,98,300 crore for the first half, and Rs. 7,46,500 crore for the second half of the financial year.
|RBI Governor||Shaktikant Das|
RBI Deputy Governor
|BP Kanungo, N S Vishwanathan, Viral Acharya and Mahesh Kumar Jain|
Small savings schemes’ interest rates to remain unchanged for Apr-Jun quarter
- Interest rates on small saving schemes such as National Savings Certificate and Public Provident Fund will remain unchanged for the April-June quarter.
|Senior Citizen Savings Scheme (SCSS)||8.7%|
|Public Provident Fund Account (PPF )||8.0%|
|National Savings Certificates (NSC)||8.0%|
|Kisan Vikas Patra (KVP )||7.7% (maturity- 112 months)|
|Sukanya Samriddhi Accounts||8.5%|
PNB sells stake in PNB Housing Fin for Rs. 1,851.60 crore
- Punjab National Bank (PNB) will sell its stake in PNB Housing Finance to General Atlantic and Varde Partners for 1,851.60 crore,
- Varde Partners and General Atlantic will buy 1.09 crore shares each. The shares will be acquired at Rs. 850 per share, valuing the purchase at Rs. 925.80 crore each for the buyers.
- After the transaction, PNB will continue to hold a 19.78 per cent stake in the housing finance arm, and will remain the promoter and strategic shareholder of the company
|Punjab National Bank CEO||Sunil Mehta|
|Tagline||The name you can bank upon|
India’s April-February fiscal deficit at 134% of FY target
- The country’s fiscal deficit touched 134.2 per cent of the full-year revised budgeted estimate at the end of February 2019
- The fiscal deficit target for FY19 was revised upwards to 3.4% of GDP in the interim budget for FY20 presented on February 1 from 3.3% estimated initially.
- The fiscal deficit for April-February 2018-19 was Rs. 8.51 lakh crore as against the revised estimate (RE) of Rs. 6.34 trillion for the entire year, according to Controller General of Accounts (CGA) data.
- The government’s tax revenue stood at Rs. 10.94 trillion and non-tax revenue was Rs 1.7 trillion.
- Total expenditure incurred by the government during April-February 2018-19 was Rs. 21.88 trillion (89.08 per cent of RE), of which Rs. 19.15 trillion was on revenue account and Rs. 2.73 trillion on capital account.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: AWARDS AND HONOURS
Dr Rajendra Joshi conferred with ‘Pravasi Bhartiya Samman’
- Swiss-based NRI scientist Dr Rajendra Joshi has been conferred with the Pravasi Bhartiya Samman Award by the President of India Ram Nath Kovind
- The Indian Ambassador to Switzerland Sibi George handed over the award citation signed by the President to Dr Joshi at his residence in Switzerland
- The Pravasi Bharatiya Samman Award (PBSA) is the highest honour conferred on Non-resident Indians by the President of India for their significant contributions towards bringing honour and glory to India.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: MOU
PFC completes REC acquisition pays Rs 14,500 crore to government
- State-owned Power Finance Corporation (PFC) completed the acquisition of majority stake in (REC) Rural Electrification Corporation Ltd by transferring Rs. 14,500 crore to the government.
- The transaction has helped the government meet its disinvestment target of Rs 80,000 crore for the current financial year.
- The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs had approved the strategic sale of the government’s 52.63 percent shareholding in REC to PFC, along with the transfer of management control in December 2018.
- PFC has raised money from Bank of Baroda, Life Insurance Corporation and State Bank of India, among others, to make the payment.
IIT-Kharagpur partnered with Wipro for advanced research in 5G and AI
- IT services major Wipro has partnered with IIT Kharagpur to collaborate on industry-focused applied research in the areas of 5G and artificial intelligence (AI).
- The two organisations will focus on AI research applicable in the healthcare, education and retail sectors as well as in domains such as climate change and cybersecurity.
- In addition, subject matter experts from Wipro and IIT-Kharagpur will promote knowledge sharing through guest lectures, workshops and seminars on 5G and AI.
- Wipro and IIT Kharagpur will jointly take up applied research projects on industry challenges related to the design, planning and operations of 5G networks and cognitive information processing for the automation of these processes and 5G use cases.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APPOINTMENTS AND RESIGNATION
Aeronutrix’s Fast&Up Ropes in Cricketer Mayank Agarwal as Brand Ambassador
- Indian Test Cricketer, Mayank Agarwal, appointed as Brand Ambassador of Aeronutrix’s Fast&Up Rope for the growth of the fast-moving healthcare goods business in India.
- Fast&Up is the flagship sports nutrition brand of Aeronutrix Sports Products Private Limited. Backed by innovative Swiss technology.
Australia’s Graham Reid to be appointed as India men’s hockey coach
- Australian Graham Reid is set to be named as the Indian men’s hockey team chief coach till the 2022 World Cup after the national federation.
- The Indian men’s team is without a chief coach after the unceremonious sacking of Harendra Singh in January following a less-than-impressive quarterfinal exit at the World Cup in Bhubaneswar last year.
- A veteran of 130 international matches, Reid was a member of the Australian team that won the silver medal in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics.
- He was Australia’s coach at the 2016 Rio Olympics but quit after the Kookaburras failed to finish on the podium.
Australia legend Tim Cahill retires from all forms of football
- Australia’s all-time top goalscorer Tim Cahill announced his retirement, bringing an end to one of the country’s greatest football careers.
- The 39-year-old who scored 50 goals in 108 appearances for the Socceroos and played in four World Cups.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: DEFENCE
Second joint logistics node become operational in Mumbai
- The second joint logistics node of tri-services has become operational at Naval base in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
- It will provide logistical support to all three defence services and improve utilisation of resources, manpower and remove duplication.
- The first JLN consisting of the three services was set up at Andaman and Nicobar Islands in 2018.
- The third logistic node is in process and is likely to come up in Guwahati, Assam and it will only be among Indian Army and Air Force.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: APP
Hyper local connectivity app ‘Bhonga’ launched by Linkus Infratech
- The launch of hyper-local connectivity app titled ‘Bhonga’. The app is an initiative by Linkus Infratech Private Limited.
- The app is designed keeping in mind the connect beyond family and friends. It is designed to connect people within the same locality without worrying about whether they know each other or not.
- Bhonga is a simple app which once downloaded allows the user send a message to all those who have this app in the 1 km radius.
- The user can use the app to reach out to everyone around for posting messages which may be an emergency, an offer, a query or even an opinion or information which he believes may be of help to people around him.
- Bhonga is a Marathi word which means megaphone or loudspeaker.
CURRENT AFFAIRS: OBITUARIES
Veteran Journalist Prafulla Rajguru passed away
- Veteran journalist and academician Prafulla Rajguru has passed away
- Rajguru had retired as the head of the department of English from DCB Girls College in Jorhat in 1997.
- Rajguru authored four books and was a member of several social organisations like the Asom Sahitya Sabha
- He was also the founder president of Jorhat Press Club and was its adviser till his death.