Current Affairs

1 January, 2020

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National

Railways renames Railway Protection Force as Indian Railway Protection Service

The Ministry of Railway (MoR) has accorded Organised Group ‘A’ status (OGAS) to Railway Protection Force (RPF) and also renamed RPF as Indian Railway Protection Service (IRPS). The notice of renaming was issued by the Joint Director of Railway Board Amitabh Joshi on December 30, 2019.
IR creates Passenger Friendly Information System at Anakapalle Station, AP:
The Indian Railways (IR) has introduced new Passenger Information System at Anakapalle Railway Station of Vijayawada Division of Andhra Pradesh(AP) in South Central Railway (SCR). The system has been introduced to provide better features and an easy guidane to the passengers and also to enhance satisfactory user experience. The cost of the equipment is Rs 10 lakhs including supply, installation, commissioning and onsite warranty of 3 years.

‘Dhanu Jatra’ the 11-day long festival begins at Bargarh in Western Odisha

‘Dhanu Jatra’ the famous 11-day long open-air theater festival begins on 31 December 2019 at Bargarh in western Odisha. Jatra’s drama is based on the story of Lord Krishna and his uncle Kansa. It is the world’s longest open-air drama named in the Guinness book of records. To celebrate Indian’s Independence and to symbolize the victory of good over evil this festival was celebrated from 1947-1948. Government of India gave the National Festival Status to Dhanu Jatra in November 2014.
About Odisha:
Chief Minister- Naveen Patnaik
Governor- Ganeshi Lal
Capital City- Bhubaneswar

MyGov platform reached 1 crore registered users

Central government’s citizen engagement platform, MyGov has reached the milestone of having 1 crore registered users. The platform was founded by the Govt.of India to promote active participation of Indian citizens in their country’s governance and development. .

HM Amit Shah lays foundation stone of Directorate General building of CRPF in New Delhi

Union Minister of Home Affairs, Shri. Amitabh Anilchandra Shah has laid the Foundation stone of the Directorate General Building of CRPF(Central Reserve Police Force) built with a cost of Rs 280 crore in New Delhi.
He also launched a new logo with a “Garuda”, sword and shield, for security branch of CRPF that will give a new identity to them, who provides security to common man and VIP’s (very important person). The insignia bears the motto of the force – “Always, Aware, Alert”.
About CRPF:
Motto– Service and Loyalty
Formation– 27 July 1939
It played an important role in wiping out terrorism, in which they made supreme sacrifices for internal security duties, including at the war theatres with China in October 1959 and with Pakistan at Sardar Post, Kutch in Gujarat in 1965. CRPF received 75 bravery medals are the highest for any force.

Vice Prez attends 27th National children’s science congress 2019 held for the 1st time in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala

The Vice President of India, Shri Muppavarapu Venkaiah Naidu has attended the 27th edition of National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC) 2019 based on the theme “Science, Technology and Innovation for a clean, green and healthy nation” held for the 1st time at Mar Ivanios College in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala from December 27 -31,2019.
National Children’s Science Congress (NCSC):
It is a nationwide Science Communication programme started in the year 1993.
It is the programme of the National Council for Science and Technology Communication (NCSTC), Department of Science and Technology, Government of India.

Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a web portal to tracing of stolen mobiles in Delhi

The Department of Telecom Minister Mr. Ravi Shankar Prasad launched a web portal www.ceir.gov.in to trace the stolen mobiles for Delhi subscribers. This was launched in Mumbai in September 2019, and has been rolled out for Delhi now, it will be extended to other states too in the following year.

Government of India signed MoU with Flipkart under DAY-NULM scheme

Government of India signed MoU with Flipkart for selling the products made by women self-help groups under Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Urban Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NULM) on the e-commerce platform.
High-lights of the DAY-NULM
i.Employment through Skill Training and Placement.
ii.Social Mobilization and Institution Development.
iii.Subsidy to urban poor.
iv.Shelters for urban homeless.

Biometric enabled Centralised Access Control System & e-BCAS Module launched in New Delhi

The Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Civil Aviation Shri Hardeep Singh Puri,launched the biometric-enabled Centralised Access Control System (CACS) and ‘e-BCAS Project Training Module’ in New Delhi. These 2 projects were launched to enhance security and to improve ease of doing business at airports.

e-BCAS Project Training Module: Through this module, more than 1.5 lakh employees will be migrated from manual to digital platform. e-BCAS project has the objective of making all the activities in the BCAS transparent, user-friendly, and efficient. All Aviation Security Training Institutes (ASTIs) which is currently 29 in number, have been registered as user entities.

16th ISFR-2019 by FSI released in New Delhi; Total forest & tree Cover rises to 24.56%

The Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change(MoEFCC), Shri Prakash Javadekar released the biennial “India State of Forest Report (ISFR)”, in New Delhi. The report assesses forest and tree resources in India biennially and is published by the Forest Survey of India (FSI). The ISFR-2019 is the 16th report in the series since 1987.

As per the recent assessment made, the total forest and tree cover of the country now stands at 80.73 million hectare which is 24.56% of the geographical area of the country.

NITI Aayog Released 2nd SDG India Index 2019 in New Delhi; Kerala topped the index

NITI (National Institution for Transforming India) Aayog has released the 2nd edition of Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) India Index and dashboard for the year 2019 in New Delhi. Kerala topped the index with a score of 70. The index gives a brief analysis on the progress made by states and union territories(UTs) towards achieving the 2030 SDG targets.
SDG improvements by India: The composite score of India has improved to 60 in 2019 from 57 in 2018. Huge improvements were made in Goals 6 (clean water and sanitation), 9 (industry, innovation and infrastructure) and 7 (affordable and clean energy).

The 2019 index was based on 54 targets spread over 100 indicators out of 306 outlined by the UN, and these 100 indicators are drawn from the Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation’s (MoSPI’s) National Indicator Framework (NIF).

Economy

HDFC Life join hands with Paytm to expand its distribution

HDFC Life Insurance, a long-term life insurance provider has entered into the partnership with Paytm, an Indian e-commerce payment system to allow the latter’s 450 million registered customers to purchase insurance products from HDFC Life.
About HDFC Life Insurance:
Founded– 2000
Headquarters– Mumbai
MD & CEO– Ms. Vibha Padalkar
It is a joint venture between Housing Development Finance Corporation Ltd (HDFC), one of India’s leading housing finance institution and Standard Life Aberdeen PLC.
About Paytm:
Founded– August 2010
Headquarters– Noida, Uttar Pradesh(UP).
President– Amit Nayyar

Reserve Bank releases draft circular on loan exposure limits & PSL threshold for UCBs

In an effort to avoid frauds, India’s central bank, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has released draft circular on limits on exposure to single and group borrowers/parties, large exposures and revision in priority sector lending (PSL) targets for primary (urban) co-operative banks (UCBs).This move comes after depositors lost large sums of money following the crisis at Punjab and Maharashtra Cooperative (PMC) Bank.

Sports

Virat Kohli, Jasprit Bumrah placed in Wisden’s T20I team of the decade

Indian cricket team captain Virat Kohli and star bowler Jasprit Bumrah were only two Indians in Wisden’s T20I team of the decade. Kohli has found a place in Wisden’s Test and ODI team of the decade. Bumrah, who is the second-best in the world among quick bowlers also took place in Wisden’s T20I team of the decade.
Players in Wisden’s T20I team of the decade:
Aaron Finch of Australia (Captain), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Virat Kohli (India), Shane Robert Watson (Australia), Glenn James Maxwell (Australia), Joseph Charles Buttler (England), Mohammad Nabi (Afghanistan), David Jonathan Willey (England), Rashid Khan Arman (Afghanistan), Jasprit Jasbirsingh Bumrah (India), Separamadu Lasith Malinga (Sri Lanka).
About Wisden T20I:
Wisden is a cricket reference book published annually in the United Kingdom. According to the officials, there were 897 T20I’s played in the decade, in which there were 249,578 runs scored and 11,293 wickets were taken. Considering players from these matches, Wisden announced XI players as the Wisden T20I team of the decade.

Australia’s Peter Siddle has announced his retirement from international cricket

Australian pacer Peter Siddle has announced his retirement from international cricket on December 29, 2019, after 11 years in the game. He is 34-years-old. Siddle broke the news to his teammates at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG). He will continue to play domestic cricket for Victoria State and Twenty20 side Adelaide Strikers in the Big Bash League, along with English country cricket for Essex.

Miscellaneous

IIT Guwahati researchers developed materials to produce energy from water on a small scale

On 30th December 2019, Researchers from the Indian Institute of Technology, Guwahati (IIT-G) have developed materials that can produce energy from water to decentralizing energy generation for every household. The findings were recently published in ACS Applied Nanomaterials.
About IIT-G (Indian Institute of Technology Guwahati):
IIT-G is a public institution established by the Govt. of India in the year of 1994, located in Guwahati in the state of Assam. Prof. T. G. Sitharam is the present Director of IIT-G.

Harjeet Kaur appointed as 13th & 1st-ever woman CMD of SCI; Govt to sell 63.75% stake in SCI

Harjeet Kaur Joshi has been appointed as the full-time Chairperson and Managing Director (CMD) of privatization-bound Shipping Corporation of India (SCI). With this appointment, she became the 13th CMD and also the 1st ever woman CMD of SCI and will serve till her superannuation on May 31, 2022, or until further orders. Joshi has replaced Capt. Anoop Kumar Sharma who served as the CMD for the past three years.
Meanwhile, the government has also decided to sell its 63.75% stake in SCI, to a private strategic buyer and the stake sale is in process.
About Shipping Corporation of India (SCI):
Founded- 2 October 1961.
Headquarters- Mumbai, Maharashtra.

ITBP chief SS Deswal given additional charge of CRPF DG as RR Bhatnagar retired

ITBP (Indo-Tibetan Border Police) Director General (DG) Surjeet Singh Deswal has been given “additional” charge to head India’s as well as the World’s largest paramilitary force, the CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) as notified by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA). The additional charge has been given immediately after CRPF’s DG, Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar’s retirement.
About Central Reserve Police Force(CRPF):
Fact1- It came into existence as Crown Representative’s Police on 27 July 1939. After Indian Independence, it became the Central Reserve Police Force on enactment of the CRPF Act on 28 December 1949.
Fact2- it has 3.25 lakh personnel in its ranks and is categorized as the lead internal security, law and order maintenance and anti-Naxal operations conducting force of India.
Formed- 27 July, 1939.

Rohan shah designated as India’s representative & Governor on ERIA board for 3 yrs

Rohan Shah, a practicing counsel at the Supreme Court(SC) and various High Courts(HC), has appointed as India’s Representative and Governor on the board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for a period of 3 years. The ERIA board meets once every 6 months in Jakarta(Indonesia) & in Japan.
About ERIA:
Formation– 3 June 2008
Headquarters– Indonesia Jakarta
It is an international organization formed by the Governments of the ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries & leaders of 16 countries in the East Asian region focusing on research and policy formulation related to economic integration, cross border trade issues and closing development gaps in the ASEAN region.

SPG Director, IPS Arun Kumar Sinha gets 1-year tenure extension

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Government of India (GoI), has approved the extension in the deputation tenure of Special Protection Group (SPG) director, Arun Kumar Sinha. His term of deputation ended on 19 March 2020,which has been increased to 30 July 2021.
About SPG:
It is the highest tier of security, which was formed in 1985 to protect the Prime Minister of India after the assassination of late PM Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards in October 1984.
About SPG Act, 1988:
The act provides security to the Prime Minister(PM), former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for one year from the date they cease to hold the office.
The act security cover will be provided in cases where the threat emerges from a terrorist organization or it is of a grave & continuing in nature.

Rohan Shah, a practicing counsel at the Supreme Court(SC) and various High Courts(HC), has appointed as India’s Representative and Governor on the board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for a period of 3 years. The ERIA board meets once every 6 months in Jakarta(Indonesia) & in Japan. About ERIA: Formation– 3 June 2008 Headquarters– Indonesia Jakarta It is an international organization formed by the Governments of the ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries & leaders of 16 countries in the East Asian region focusing on research and policy formulation related to economic integration, cross border trade issues and closing development gaps in the ASEAN region.

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Government of India (GoI), has approved the extension in the deputation tenure of Special Protection Group (SPG) director, Arun Kumar Sinha. His term of deputation ended on 19 March 2020,which has been increased to 30 July 2021.
About SPG:
It is the highest tier of security, which was formed in 1985 to protect the Prime Minister of India after the assassination of late PM Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards in October 1984.
About SPG Act, 1988:
The act provides security to the Prime Minister(PM), former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for one year from the date they cease to hold the office.
The act security cover will be provided in cases where the threat emerges from a terrorist organization or it is of a grave & continuing in nature.

Rohan shah designated as India’s representative & Governor on ERIA board for 3 yrs

Rohan Shah, a practicing counsel at the Supreme Court(SC) and various High Courts(HC), has appointed as India’s Representative and Governor on the board of Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) for a period of 3 years. The ERIA board meets once every 6 months in Jakarta(Indonesia) & in Japan.
About ERIA:
Formation– 3 June 2008
Headquarters– Indonesia Jakarta
It is an international organization formed by the Governments of the ASEAN(Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries & leaders of 16 countries in the East Asian region focusing on research and policy formulation related to economic integration, cross border trade issues and closing development gaps in the ASEAN region.

SPG Director, IPS Arun Kumar Sinha gets 1-year tenure extension

The Appointments Committee of the Cabinet (ACC), Government of India (GoI), has approved the extension in the deputation tenure of Special Protection Group (SPG) director, Arun Kumar Sinha. His term of deputation ended on 19 March 2020,which has been increased to 30 July 2021.
About SPG:
It is the highest tier of security, which was formed in 1985 to protect the Prime Minister of India after the assassination of late PM Indira Gandhi by her bodyguards in October 1984.
About SPG Act, 1988:
The act provides security to the Prime Minister(PM), former Prime Ministers and their immediate family members for one year from the date they cease to hold the office.
The act security cover will be provided in cases where the threat emerges from a terrorist organization or it is of a grave & continuing in nature.

Sanjay Gupta of ‘Jagran’ to be honoured with Lokmanya Tilak journalism award

Sanjay Gupta, the editor-in-chief of ‘Jagran’ will be honored with “Lokmanya Tilak National Journalism Award” for his great contribution in the field of Journalism.
About Lokmanya Tilak National Journalism Award:

This was started by Lokmanya Tilak to promote courageous and idealistic journalists.

The award consists of Rs. 1 lakh cash prize and a memento. Earlier the award was conferred to well-known journalists such as Vir Sanghvi, N. Ram, H. K. Dua, Vinod Metha and Siddharth Varadarajan.

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