Daily Current Affairs | 30th & 31st January 2020
Indian Navy launched ‘Operation Vanilla’ to aid the cyclone-hit Madagascar
The Indian Navy(IN) launched ‘Operation Vanilla’. The purpose of this operation is to support and provide assistance to Tropical Cyclone Diane & flood-hit Madagascar. The Indian Navy Ship(INS) Airavat has been deployed to this mission. Indian Navy is the first responder for Humanitarian and Disaster Relief (HADR) in the Indian Ocean Region (IOR).
Capital- Antananarivo (also the largest city).
Currency- Malagasy ariary.
President- Andry Nirina Rajoelina.
Prime Minister- Christian Louis Ntsay.
10 more wetlands from India declared as Ramsar sites
In an effort to improve the conservation, restoration and rejuvenation of wetlands, the Ramsar Convention has declared 10 more wetland sites from India as sites of national importance. Ramsar sites are those which are declared under the Ramsar Convention signed in 1971 to preserve wetlands of national importance. Thus India now has a total of 37 Ramsar sites covering an area of 1,067,939 hectares.
PM Modi Addressed 3rd Global Potato Conclave held in Gandhinagar, Gujarat
The Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi addressed the 3rd edition of the Global Potato Conclave at Gandhinagar, Gujarat through video conference. The 4-day conclave from January 28-31 is being organised by Indian Potato Association (IPA) in collaboration with Indian Council of Agricultural Research(ICAR), New Delhi, and ICAR-Central Potato Research Institute, Shimla, Himachal Pradesh and International Potato Center (CIP), Lima, Peru.
3 major events are also being witnessed in the event. They are Potato Conference, Agri Expo and Potato Field Day.
World’s largest meditation centre opened in Hyderabad, Telangana
The World’s largest meditation centre was inaugurated at Kanha Shanti Vanam in Hyderabad, Telangana to mark the 75th anniversary of the formation of Shri Ram Chandra Mission (SRCM) and Heartfulness Institute. The center is dedicated to the first guide of Heartfulness Lalaji Maharaji. It can accommodate 1 lakh practitioners at a time.
Chief Minister- K. Chandrashekar Rao
Governor- Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan
State Flower- Senna auriculata
State Tree- Jand
State Animal- Chital
State Bird- Indian roller
Government to release the report of 100 Smarts Cities in June 2020
The Government of India (GoI) is to release the report card of 100 selected smart cities in June, 2020 as the Smart Cities Mission completes its five year. This report will be released in three categories, namely ease of living index, municipal performance index and climatic index.
SC allows govt to bring African cheetah to suitable wildlife habitat in India
The Supreme Court(SC) has allowed the govt. to introduce African Cheetah in a suitable wildlife habitat in India including Kuno-Palpur (Kuno National Park) in Madhya Pradesh. The decision was taken after a petition was filed by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) to introduce the African Cheetah from Namibia as the rare Indian Cheetah that has become almost extinct in India.
About National Tiger Conservation Authority(NCTA):
Founded- December 2005.
Chairperson- Prakash Keshav Javadekar (Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change).
MGNREGA scheme faces fund crunch as 96% funds been spent
As per Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) scheme’s financial statement, the govt is on the verge of running out of funds for the MGNREGA scheme. It has been announced that more than 96% of the allocated money to the fund has been spent and is still needed to pay the pending dues. Less than Rs. 2500 crore is left to sustain the scheme for the next two months.
Country’s 1st and biggest ‘walk-through’ aviary inaugurated at Byculla Zoo in Maharashtra
Chief Minister of Maharashtra Uddhav Thackeray inaugurated the country’s first and biggest ‘walk-through’ aviary in Veermata Jijabai Bhosale Udyan and Zoo also known as Byculla Zoo in Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Chief Minister- Uddhav Thackeray
Governor- Bhagat Singh Koshyari
Capital City- Mumbai
State Animal- Indian giant squirrel
State Bird- Yellow-footed green pigeon
State Tree- Mangifera indica
State Flower- Pride of India
ICG commissioned high-speed interceptor boat C-448 in Mangaluru, Karnataka
The Indian Coast Guard (ICG) has commissioned a 3rd high-speed interceptor boat C-448 in Mangaluru, Karnataka. The boat will be operational under the administrative control of Commander of the Coast Guard Region (West) Inspector General AP Badola. Apart from this, it was also announced that Karnataka govt through its Karnataka Industrial Area Development Board (KIADB), had sanctioned 160 acres of land in Kenjar for the Indian Coast Guard Academy (ICGA) in Mangaluru at a total cost of Rs 1,010 crore.
Overview of Cabinet Approval on Jan 29, 2020
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) Chaired by the Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has approved the following proposals on January 29, 2020.
Official amendments in the National Commission for Homoeopathy Bill, 2019 approved:
The CCEA has approved for the official amendments in the National Commission for Homeopathy Bill (NCH)2019. This bill which is currently pending in the Rajya Sabha, will amend the Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973.
Homoeopathy Central Council (HCC) Act, 1973:
The act was enacted to constitute Central Council of Homoeopathy for regulation of education and practice of Homoeopathy inorder to maintain the central register of homeopathy and the matters concerned with it.
UK Govt launches £4 Million pound Innovation challenge fund in India
The government of UK (United Kingdom) has launched a £4 Mn (about Rs 37 crore) ‘Innovation Challenge Fund’ in India at an event in Pune, Maharashtra. The fund is focused on 2 main tech platforms including artificial intelligence (AI) and big data in Karnataka and future mobility in Maharashtra.
About UK (United Kingdom):
Prime Minister– Boris Johnson
Head of the UK-India tech partnership– Karen McLuskie
British Deputy High Commissioner to India– Jan Thompson
India’s crude steel production rose by 1.8 % to 111.2 MT in 2019: WSA
According to World Steel Association (WSA), the international trade body for the iron and steel industry , India’s crude steel production increased to 111.2 million tonne (MT) in 2019, showing a 1.8 % hike over 2018 (109.3 MT).
India ranked 2nd in top 10 steel-producing countries as Asian steel producers leads as key drivers behind a 3.4 % surge in global crude steel output to 1 1,869.9 MT in 2019.
China ranked 1st as the largest steel producer in 2019 at 996.3 MT, up by 8.3 % on 2018. Hence, China’s share of global crude steel production increased from 50.9% in 2018 to 53.% in 2019. China was followed by India (2nd ), Japan (3rd), which produced 99.3 MT in 2019, a decrement of 4.8 % as against 2018.
Britain unveils new 50 pence coin to mark its departure from EU
Britain has unveiled the new 50 pence coin to mark the country’s departure from the European Union (EU). The coin bears the inscription “Peace, prosperity and friendship with all nations” and the Brexit date of 31 January 2020.
Currency- Pound Sterling
BANKING & FINANCE
NTPC to develop 300 MW solar power projects in West African country Togo
According to the Power Ministry, Government of India (GoI), West African country Togo has appointed NTPC ( formerly known as National Thermal Power Corporation Limited), India’s largest energy conglomerate, as its project management consultant (PMC) for about 300 MW (MegaWatt) of solar power projects in Togo. Togo has identified 2 different plots of land- one each of 70 and 500 acres in Dapaong (Dalwak region) & Mango (Savanes region ) respectively, that will combine to produce 283 MW.
AWARDS & RECOGNITIONS
Abhijit Banerjee conferred D Litt by Alma mater Calcutta University
Nobel Prize winner in economics Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee conferred with the honorary D Litt (Doctor of Literature) by his alma mater Calcutta University in Kolkata, West Bengal. Abhijit was awarded Nobel Prize in 2019 for an “Experimental approach to alleviating global poverty”. He is one of the directors of Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), United States of America (USA) founded in 2003.
Environmentalist Pavan Sukhdev and Prof. Gretchen C. Daily won the Tyler Prize 2020 for Environmental Achievement
The Indian environmentalist and Goodwill Ambassador of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Pavan Sukhdev won Tyler Prize 2020 for Environmental Achievement for his groundbreaking “green economy” work along with conservation biologist Gretchen C. Daily from United States (US).
Noted Theatre artist Sanjna Kapoor gets French honour ‘Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters’ in New Delhi
Sanjna Kapoor (52), an Indian theatre personality and former British film actress of Indian and British descent, was awarded the prestigious French honour of ‘Chevalier dans l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres (Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters) for her outstanding contribution to the field of theater.
About Chevalier dans lOrdre des Arts et des Lettres:
French government instituted this award in 1957 to honor people who have distinguished themselves by their creativity in the fields of art or literature, or for their contribution to promoting the arts and literature in France and throughout the world.
Past recipients of this award include Shahrukh Khan, Hariprasad Chaurasia, Aishwarya Rai, Raghu Rai,etc.
APPOINTMENTS & RESIGNATIONS
Vakrangee appoints Ramesh Joshi as its Non-Executive chairman as per Kotak committee recommendations
Vakrangee Limited, a technology company, has appointed Mr. Ramesh Joshi (EX-RBI (Reserve Bank of India & EX-SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) ED- Executive Director) as its Non-Executive Chairman on the lines of Kotak’s board constituted Nomination & Remuneration Committee chaired by Mrs. Farida Khambata. The company also appoints Mr. Dinesh Nandwana, Executive Chairman as its Managing Director (MD) and Group CEO, replacing Mr. Anil Khanna.
About Vakrangee Limited:
Headquarters– Mumbai, Maharashtra.
Diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu appointed as India’s Ambassador to US
Diplomat Taranjit Singh Sandhu has been appointed as India’s Ambassador to the United States of America (USA). He succeeded Harsh Vardhan Shringla who will take charge as the next foreign secretary. The appointment was confirmed by the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA).
Capital- Washington D.C
Currency- United States Dollar
President- Donald Trump
About Ministry of External Affairs:
Founded- September 2, 1946
Headquarters- New Delhi
Ministry- Subrahmanyam Jaishankar
Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani appointed as new PM of Qatar
Tamim bin Hamad AI Thani, Emir of Qatar appointed Sheikh Khalid bin Khalifa bin Abdulaziz Al Thani as new Prime Minister (PM) of Qatar, Doha. He is the successor of Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani who has resigned from the post. Sheikh Khalid is currently serving as the chief of the Amiri Diwan, the emir’s office.
Currency- Qatari riyal.
England’s Alastair Cook and ex-West Indies team manager Ricky Skerritt appointed as the members of MCC’s World Cricket Committee
Former England opener Alastair Nathan Cook and ex-West Indies team manager Richard ‘Ricky’ Skerritt were appointed as the new members of Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC), World Cricket Committee. The pair will replace former West Indies fast bowler Ian Raphael Bishop and Bangladesh all-rounder Shakib Al Hasan.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Researchers at IIT-H develops essential-oil-based drug carrier to treat fungal diseases
Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Hyderabad (IIT-H), Telangana has developed a new essential-oil-based system of delivering medicines to the body for the treatment of fungal infections such as vaginal infections, diaper rash, athletes foot and nail fungus caused by the Candida family of fungi.
Dr Jitendra Singh launched ISRO’s Bhuvan Panchayat V 3.0 Web portal
Dr. Jitendra Singh, Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, MoS PMO (Minister of State for Prime Minister’s Office), Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, Atomic Energy and Space launched the Bhuvan Panchayat Version V 3.0 web portal in Antariksh Bhavan Bengaluru, Karnataka to support Gram Panchayat Development planning in the country.
The Minister also released the technical documents related to SISDP (Space Based Information Support for Decentralised Planning Update)- Update Project.
New mission launched by NASA & ESA to take first pics of Sun’s poles
NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration) and ESA (European Space Agency) will jointly launch a new spacecraft- “The Solar Orbiter Spacecraft” to take first pictures of Sun’s north and south poles. It’s outlay is $1.5 billion. The spacecraft will be launched from Cape Canaveral, United States (US) on Feb 7, 2020 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V Rocket.
Mission: The solar orbiter mission has 7 year lifetime and will reach 24 degrees above the sun’s equator increasing to 33 degrees with additional 3 years extended mission operations. The spacecraft will pass within 26 million miles (42 million kilometers) of the sun which is the nearest approach. Solar Orbiter will pass inside the orbit of Mercury carrying 4 in-situ instruments and six remote sensing imagers.
About NASA (National Aeronautics & Space Administration):
Founded- 29 July 1958.
Headquarters- Washington, D.C.,United States (US).
Founder- Dwight D. Eisenhour.
71st International Boxing tournament Strandja 2020 held in Sofia, Bulgaria; India bags 3 medals
The 71st edition of International Boxing Tournament “Strandja”2020 was held in Sofia, Bulgaria from January 19-26, 2020. India ranked 9th in the medal tally with 3 medals (1 Silver, 2 Bronze). The list was topped by Ukraine with 10 medals (4 Gold, 1 silver, 5 Bronze).
List of Indian winners:
About International Boxing Association (AIBA):
Headquarters– Lausanne, Switzerland
President– Gafur Rakhimov
New Zealand spinner Todd Astle announces first-class retirement
Todd Duncan Astle, 33 years old from New Zealand, Wellington, leg-spinner had announced his retirement from first-class cricket to focus on the limited-over cricket (one day cricket). Astle scored more than 4000 runs in his 119 first-class matches.
For the 2nd straight year, India to host Barca Academy Cup – Asia Pacific 2020 in Gurgaon, Haryana
For the 2nd time, India to host Barca Academy Cup – Asia Pacific 2020, hosted by Barca Academy, scheduled to be held in Gurgaon, Haryana from January 30 -February 2, 2020, which will see the participation of more than 650 football players from 7 countries (India, Australia, Turkey, China, Singapore, Japan and Spain).
Indian squash player Saurav Ghosal loses in Pittsburgh Open 2020 final held in US
Indian squash player Saurav Ghosal missed out on winning his first title in the Professional Squash Association (PSA) World Tour event 2019-20. He suffered a 7-11, 4–11, 9–11 defeat to Fares Dessouky of Egypt in the finals of the Men’s Pittsburgh Open 2020 held in Rivers Club, Pittsburgh,United States (US).
India won the T20 series during ‘2020 Sri Lanka tour of India’ held in Indore, Guwahati and Pune
The Indian Men’s cricket team played T20I (twenty twenty International) bilateral series against Srilanka during the 2020 Sri Lanka tour of India. India defeated Sri Lanka in final T20I to win three-match T20I series for 2-0. The three T20I matches were held in Guwahati(Assam), Indore (Madhya Pradesh) and Pune(Maharashtra). The first match was in Guwahati but was abandoned due to rain. The highlights of the match are as follows: