Current Affairs

22 January, 2020


Lok sabha speaker Om Birla attends 25th conference of speakers and presiding officers 2020 in Ottawa, Canada

A parliamentary delegation headed by Lok Sabha speaker Om Birla has attended the 25th edition of the Conference of Speakers and Presiding Officers of the Commonwealth (CSPOC) 2020 held in Ottawa,Canada from January 6 -January 10,2020. The conference aimed at topics of parliamentary engagement: openness, transparency and accountability, and on Parliamentarians as effective legislators and representatives.
About Canada:
Capital– Ottawa
Currency– Canadian dollar
Prime Minister– Justin Trudeau

Highlights of NSA Ajit Doval’s visit to Sri Lanka; $50mn assistance pledged to SL

The National Security Advisor (NSA) of India Shri Ajit Doval paid a day-long visit to Colomo in the Island nation of Sri Lanka (SL). On his visit, Shri Doval met the President of SL Shri Nandasena Gotabaya Rajapaksa and held talks on various bilateral issues. The highlights of the visit in detail are as follow

WEF’s 1st Global Social Mobility Index 2020: India ranks 76th & Denmark tops the list

The World Economic Forum (WEF) released 1st edition of a report titled “The Global Social Mobility Report 2020: Equality, Opportunity and a New Economic Imperative”. The global social mobility index (GSMI) of 82 countries were launched in this report. As per the Index, India ranked at the 76th position with a score of 42.7while Denmark topped the list. The key findings in the report are as follows:

India is among the 5 countries namely China, the United States(US), Japan and Germany which stands to gain most from boosting social mobility score. India ranks 41st in lifelong learning while it ranks 53rd in working conditions. It has the second-highest level of workers in vulnerable employment behind Saudi Arabia.


Union HRD Minister inaugurated 28th New Delhi World Book Fair 2020 in New Delhi

The 28th edition of the New Delhi World Book Fair 2020 (NDWBF 2020) was held at Pragati Maidan in New Delhi from January 4-12, 2020. It was inaugurated by Union Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD) Shri Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Nishank’. The theme of NDWBF 2020 book fair was ‘Gandhi: TheWriters’ Writer’ celebrating 150 years of Mahatma Gandhi. Since 2013, the NDWBF is organised by National Book Trust (NBT) in association with India Trade Promotion Organisation (ITPO), Ministry of Commerce(MoC) under Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with ITPO.

1st of Krishi Manthan 2020 begins in Ahmedabad, Gujarat

The 1st edition of the Krishi Manthan 2020 which is a Food, Agri-business and Rural Development Summit of Asia was held in Ahmedabad, Gujarat on December 28-29, 2019. The event was organised by the Food and Agribusiness Committee of the Indian Institute of Management Ahmedabad (IIMA).
About Gujarat:
Capital- Gandhinagar.
Largest city- Ahmedabad.
Chief Minister- Vijay Ramniklal Rupani.
Deputy Chief Minister- Nitin Patel.
Governor- Acharya Devvrat.

Magh Bihu festival celebrated in Assam

Magh Bihu, an auspicious harvest festival is being celebrated in Assam. Magh Bihu falls in the local month of ‘Magh’ during mid-january. It is also called ‘Bhogali Bihu’ or ‘Maghor Bihu’ as it is celebrated with community feasts after the annual harvest takes place.
About Assam:
Capital- Dispur
Chief Minister (CM)- Sarbananda Sanowal
Governor- Jagdish Mukhi
National Parks (NP)- Kaziranga NP, Manas NP, Dibru Saikhowa NP, Nameri NP, Orang NP

Centre to cut wasteful expenditure on travel and food by 20 % to control fiscal deficit

In a major step to avoid fiscal downfall, the central Government has decided to reduce wasteful expenditure on items such as travel, food and conferences by 20%.
The decision was taken in a meeting of the newly- formed Cabinet Committee on Investment and Growth (CCIG) chaired by Prime Minister (PM) Narendra Modi with the members Home Minister Amit Shah, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari, and Railways Minister Piyush Goyal.

All the ministers have been instructed to cut their unruly journeys, meals and conferences by up to20%. CCIG has also asked the Department of Expenditure of the Ministry of Finance to take necessary action in this regard.
Union ministers Prakash Javadekar, R K Singh inaugurated 14th edition of ELECRAMA 2020 held in Greater Noida, UP

Union Minister of Heavy Industries &Public Enterprises, Environment, Forest and Climate Change and Information & Broadcasting, Prakash Javadekar and Power Minister Raj Kumar Singh have inaugurated the 5-day long 14th edition of ELECRAMA 2020 being held at the India Expo Mart, Greater Noida, Uttar Pradesh (UP). The ELECRAMA 2020 chairman is Anil Saboo.
About IEEMA (Indian Electrical and Electronics Manufacturers’ Association ):
Motto– your link to electricity
Founded– 1948
President– Mr. R K Chugh

President Kovind lays foundation stone of Lakshadweep’s 1st super specialty hospital at Kavaratti

The President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind, who was on a first ever 2-day State Visit to the Union Territory of Lakshadweep, has laid the foundation stone for Lakshadweep’s 1st Super Specialty Hospital at Kavaratti.
About Lakshadweep:
Capital– Kavaratti
Formation– 1 November 1956
Administrator– Shri Dineshwar Sharma
Lakshadweep are a group of coral islands located south west off the coast of Kerala.

For the 1st time, Govt to collect data including families headed by transgenders for census 2021

According to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), the central government, for the 1st time, will collect data on households headed by a transgender and members living in the family for census 2021. Previously, the choice of the head of the household was gender – male or female.
New initiative in Census 2021:
The census 2021 will be done through a mobile phone application, deviating from the traditional pen and paper.
Usage of census monitoring & management portal as a single source for all officers involved in Census activities to provide multi-language support.
Background: The census has been conducted in India since 1872 without outbreak. It is conducted every 10 years. 2021 is not only the 16th census but also 8th after independence. The Census Act, 1948 and the Census Rules, 1990 provide the legal framework in conducting the Census.
About Ministry of Home Affairs(MHA):
Founded– 15 August 1947.
Headquarters– New Delhi.
Union minister– Shri Amit Shah.
Minister of State(MoS)- G.Kishan Reddy and Nityanand Rai.

Gujarat leads in water efficiency survey 2019 under National hydrology project, Delhi among worst performing states

According to the rankings of ‘Central and state governmental water departments based on their efficiency targets for 2019’ released by Ministry of Jal Shakti, Gujarat ranked the best for parameters on efficiency targets, while National Capital Territory of Delhi remains in the worst-performing state category.

Departments wise ranking:The Survey of India (SoI) received top spot among the 7 central government departments reviewed .It was followed by National Institute of Hydrology (NIH) and the Central Water Commission. Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) pushed to the last in the year 2019 ranking.

State wise ranking: However, Delhi improved its position by 6 places to get 35th rank in 2019 as against bottom 41 in 2018. Tamil Nadu (TN) ranked best among the states that significantly improved its ranking. It stood at 13th spot in 2019 as compared to 33 in 2018.

3rd International symposium on marine ecosystems challenges and opportunities (MECOS) 2020 held in Kochi, Kerala

The 3rd edition of the International Symposium on Marine Ecosystems Challenges and Opportunities (MECOS-3) was held at Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) in Kochi, Kerala from 7 – 10 January 2020 with an aim to address the concerns of marine ecosystem and will make new strategies for sustainable utilisation of marine wealth.
About Kerala:
Capital– Thiruvananthapuram
Governor– Arif Mohammad Khan
Chief Minister– Pinarayi Vijayan
National parks– Anamudi Shola National Park ,Eravikulam National Park, Mathikettan Shola National Park, Pambadum Shola National Park , Periyar National Park ,Silent Valley National Park.

About MBAI
It functions within the premises of the Central Marine Fisheries Research Institute (CMFRI) at Cochin, Kerala, India.
Formed– 1958
Journal– JMBAI
President– Gopalakrishnan. A

Law minister inaugurated NIC’s Centre of Excellence in Blockchain Technology in Bengaluru, Karnataka

The Union Minister of Law and Justice (MoL&J) Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad inaugurated the Centre of Excellence (CoE) in Blockchain Technology set up by the National Informatics Centre(NIC) in Bengaluru, Karnataka. The CoE has been set up with the aim of providing blockchain as a service and help all stakeholders to benefit from shared learning, experiences and resources.

CoE function: The CoE which has developed Blockchain based Proof of Concepts (PoCs), will facilitate govt buildings to use the blockchain technology for deployment of large scale applications. With the support of NIC, the CoE will also provide Blockchain as a Service (BaaS) for hosting the Blockchain network efficiently.


UN revises India’s GDP growth forecast for 2019-20 to 5% from 5.7%

According to the ‘World Economic Situation and Prospects (WESP) 2020’ report released by the United Nations (UN), it has revised India’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) growth forecast for the year 2019-20 to 5% from 5.7%.
Growth projection for 2020-21 has also been downgraded to 5.8-5.9 % from 6.6% in the report.
About United Nations (UN):
Founded– 1945
Headquarters– New York City, US
Secretary– General– António Guterres; Head of the UN Economic and social commission for Asia and the Pacific– Nagesh Kumar

WGC: RBI ranked 6th among central banks in buying gold abroad;China’s central bank tops

India’s central bank i.e., the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has been ranked 6th largest buyer of sovereign gold abroad after it purchased 25.2 tonnes in the first 10 months of 2019 according to World Gold Council(WGC) report titled “Outlook 2020: Global economic trends and their impact on gold”. The central banks of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Turkey and Poland have purchased more gold than India in 2019. The report in detail are as follows:

RBI gold purchase: In October 2019, 7.5 tonnes of gold was bought by RBI buttressing (supporting) its foreign exchange reserves(forex) to $450 billion.


Jacqueline Williams of Jamaica becomes the 1st woman third Umpire in men’s T20I

Jacqueline Williams of Jamaica becomes the first woman third umpire in men’s international cricket match. The 43-year-old Jamaican woman oversaw all 3 matches of the Twenty20 International (T20I) series in Grenada, West Indies between West Indies and Ireland.
About Jamaica:
Capital- Kingston
Currency- Jamaican dollar


Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw: 4th Indian to receive highest Australian civilian honour

Australia has conferred its highest civilian honour, the Order of Australia honour to Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, founder and chairperson of biopharmaceutical company Biocon and appointed as an honorary member in the general division of the Order of Australia by Australia’s High Commissioner to India Ms. Harinder Sidhu at a ceremony in Leela Palace, Bengaluru, Karnataka. She is the fourth Indian citizen to be awarded Australia’s highest civilian honour.
Award contribution: The award is given to foreign nationals who have extraordinarily contributed to Australia or for humanity.

‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline app’ won e-Governance Award of Excellence 2019 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha

Award of Excellence for the year 2019 was given by Computer Society of India (CSI) and Special Interest Group on e-Governance (CSI SIG e-Gov) at Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology in Bhubaneswar, Odisha during the CSI 2020, 53rd annual convention of CSI.

The two innovative Information and Communication Technology (ICT) applications developed by Election Commission of India (ECI), ‘cVIGIL’ and ‘Voter Helpline App’ has won the ‘Award of Excellence’ 2019.

Dr. Kushal Pathak, Director ICT & chief information security officer (CISO), ECI and Chief Electoral Officer of Odisha, Shri Sushil Kumar Lohani received the award on behalf of ECI.

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