August 22, 2019



  1. India’s new e-Tourist visa programme
  • India will introduce a flexible e-tourist visa regime for more than 160 countries based on tourist footfall.
  • There will be no visa fee for tourists from belonging to Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC), which consists of 14 Pacific Island nations.
  • Tourists from all countries to which India has extended e-visa facility will pay USD 10 for 30-day e-visa during lean season and will have to pay USD 25 during peak period.
  1. India holds 9th Session of India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee in New Delhi
  • The two day organised 9th session of India-Kenya Joint Trade Committee (JTC) was held on 19th – 20th August 2019 in New Delhi. Union Minister of Commerce & Industry and Railways, PiyushGoyal led the Indian delegation, whereas the Kenyan delegation was led by Peter Munya, Minister of Industry, Trade and Cooperatives, Government of the Republic of Kenya.
  • MoU(Memorandum of Understanding) between the Ministry of Housing and Urban Affairs, the Government of the Republic of Kenya on cooperation in the field of National Housing Policy Development and Management signed on 11th July 2016 was expanded.
  1. National Conference of Tourism Ministers organised by the tourism ministry in New Delhi
  • The one-day National Conference of Tourism Ministers organised by the Union Ministry of Tourism was held in New Delhi. It was inaugurated by Shri Prahlad Singh Patel,Union Minister of State for Tourism & Culture (Independent Charge).
  • Three new Memorandum of Understandings (MoUs) and five new Letters of Intent (LoIs) to the prospective ‘Monument Mitras’(private sector companies, public sector companies and individuals that adopt tourist sites become monument mitras) were handed over.
  • Hindi version of the new Incredible India portal was launched. it was further announced that the Arabic, Chinese and Spanish versions of the new Incredible India website would be launched next month.
  1. Indian President launches plantation drive in New Delhi as part of Van Mahotsav celebrations
  • The President of India, Shri Ram NathKovind planted Maulsari sapling in the RashtrapatiBhavan Estate(New Delhi). It was done as part of the ‘Van Mahotsav’ celebrations.
  • The President’s Secretariat, will be planting 3,252 trees and 2,962 shrubs for the next few weeks in the President’s Estate which is spread over 330 acres, as part of this Van Mahotsav drive. Many Ornamental and fruit trees will be planted in the upcoming weeks.

About Van Mahotsav

♦Van Mahotsav is an annual tree planting movement in India which began in the year 1950.

  1. ‘Housing for All’ will be achieved 2 years in advance by 2020: Hardeep Singh Puri
  • Union Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs, Hardeep Singh Puri stated that the central Government is committed to achieve its target of providing ‘Housing for all’ under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (PMAY) in two years before the deadline by 2020. He made this announcement during 15th National Real Estate Development Council’s (NAREDCO) convention in New Delhi.

Key points:

♦A total of  48 lakh houses which are currently constructed, but this number will rise to 75 lakh. 24 lakh houses have been sanctioned over to beneficiaries under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana (Urban) till date& it will be increased to 50 lakh.

♦The central government decided to build 1.12 crore houses by 2022, of these around 84 lakh houses have been sanctioned to date & the remaining will be sanctioned by the end of 2019.

♦As per the estimation, about 600 million people would be residing in cities by 2030, the year in which India is expected to meet the sustainable development goals set by the UN (United Nations).

♦Puri also pointed out that the enactment of RERA(Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016) has removed many abnormalities in the real estate sector successfully.


  1. Himachal Pradesh breaks 70 years record of receiving highest ever rainfall in last 24 hours
  • The local Indian Meteorological Department(IMD) announced that Himachal Pradeshrecorded highest ever rainfall in last 24 hours by breaking the last 70 years’ record.Extremely heavy rains were reported from Shimla, Bilaspur, and Hamirpur.

Key points

♦Himachal witnessed a 102 mm of rainfall in last 24 hours after which the IMD made announcement.

♦The highest rainfall was recorded at Naina Devi in Bilaspur district of Himachal at 360 mm whereas Shimla recorded 153 mm.

♦Previously extremely heavy rainfall were reported in August 2011 with recorded 74 mm of rains.


  1. Three-year extension to Pak Army Chief
  • Pakistan’s PM Imran Khan has recently extended the term of the Army Chief General Bajwa for another 3 years.
  • According to the report published in Pakistani media that the decision has been taken in view of the regional security environment.
  • Pakistani Army Chief General Bajwa (58) was expected to retire this year. Now, he will retire in 2022.
  1. Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina & Tennis Legend Sania Mirza will co-chair WEF’s India Economic Summit 2019 to be held in New Delhi
  • The World Economic Forum(WEF) in collaboration with Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) will organize 2-day India Economic Summit 2019 scheduled to be held in New Delhi from October 3 – 4, 2019 with the aim of promoting strong collaboration between South Asia and ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations ) nations. The theme of the event will be ‘Innovating for India: Strengthening South Asia, Impacting the World’.

Key points:

♦Key leaders: Sheikh Hasina (Prime Minister of Bangladesh), Sania Mirza (Sportsperson and UN –United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia), Heng Swee Keat (Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance of Singapore), Shobana Kamineni (Executive Vice Chairperson, Apollo Hospitals Enterprise), and Shailendra Singh (Managing Director, Sequoia Capital India) will be the co-chairs for the Summit.

♦Thematic pillars: The meet will resolve strategic issues of regional significance through 4 thematic pillars, which include the new geopolitical reality and new social, ecological and technological systems.

♦Focus: The meet facilitates dialogue on policy tools, business models, industry standards, norms and guidelines for promoting the dynamism of India to meet its growth potential & accelerates the adoption of 4th Industrial Revolution technologies.

♦Participants: Top leaders from government(Nitin Gadkari, Piyush Goyal, Smriti Irani, Dharmendra Pradhan, and Hardeep Singh Puri, Punjab Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar and NITI Aayog CEO Amitabh Kant), Industry leaders (Rahul Bajaj, Sanjiv Bajaj, Kumar Mangalam Birla, Arundhati Bhattacharya, Adi Godrej, Ajay Singh, Sunil Mittal and Nandan Nilekani)are expected to  attend the meet.

  1. Iceland commemorates first glacier lost due to climate change
  • Iceland has marked its first-ever loss of a glacier to climate change.The glacier lost was,Iceland’s Okjokull glacier. People commemorated this loss with a plaque(An ornamental tablet, typically of metal, porcelain, or wood, fixed to a wall or other surface in commemoration of a person or event).

Key points

♦The plaque unveiling ceremony was attended by scientists and locals at the Okjokull glacier in west-central Iceland, as it failed to fulfill the criteria to be classified as a glacier after melting throughout the 20th century.

♦The plaque bears the inscription “A letter to the future”.

♦Glaciologists stripped Okjokull of its glacier status in 2014, a first for Iceland, as the glacier ice covered that 16 square kilometres but by 2012, measured just 0.7 square kilometres in 2017.

Key members in the event:

♦Iceland’s prime minister- KatrínJakobsdóttir,

♦The former UN human rights commissioner- Mary Robinson.

♦Former Irish President- Mary Robinson.

About Iceland

♦Capital- Reykjavík.

♦Currency- Icelandic króna.

♦President- GuðniThorlaciusJóhannesson.

♦Country also known as- Land of fire and ice.

Business & Economy

  1. Mahindra Finance to acquire up to 58.2% stake in Sri Lanka’s Ideal Finance for LKR 2 billion
  • Rural NBFC (Non Banking Financial Company) Mahindra & Mahindra Financial Services Ltd has signed a joint venture(JV) with Ideal Finance Ltd(IFL), a subsidiary of the leading Sri Lankan conglomerate, Ideal Group for the acquisition of up to 58.2 % stake in the Ideal Finance for LKR-(Sri Lankan Rupees) 2 billion (nearly Rs 80 crore).

Key points:

♦Investment: Mahindra Finance will invest LKR 2 billion till March 2021 to acquire the stake.

♦Benefits: The joint venture with Ideal Finance will create  a market-leading financial services business in Sri Lanka for Mahindra.

♦Mahindra Finance: It has over 6.2 million customers in over 3,70,000 villages in India and its assets under management (AUM) is recorded at over $10 billion. It will expand its business model in Sri Lanka with this joint venture.

♦IFL: It is a non-banking financial Institution registered with Central Bank of Sri Lanka, caters financial services to the individual needs of its clients. Its assets base is recorded at LKR 4.4 billion and an equity base of LKR 1.1 billion and as many as 10 branches. The partnership will help IFL to emerge as a tier-1 category in a short period of time.


  1. Indian para-swimming team crossed Catalina Channel of US in 11 hours 34 min
  • Indian para-swimming team comprising Para swimmer Satendra Singh Lohia from Gwalior (Madhya Pradesh) have created history by becoming the 1st Asian swimmer team to cross the Catalina Channel (42 km )of US(United States) in just 11 hours 34 minutes.

Key points:

♦The temperature of water in the channel was around 13 degrees Celsius.

♦Satendra was the recipient of “ Vikram Award”(2014), the highest sports award from Chief Minister, Madhya Pradesh government in recognition of excellence in sports. He has crossed the English Channel in 12 hours 26 minutes in 2018 & entered Limca Book of Records with his best effort.

♦Besides Satendra, others in the Indian team include, Rimo Saha (Bengal), Jagdish Chandra (Rajasthan), Chetan (Maharashtra), Anjani Patel (Chhattisgarh) and Gita Choudhary (Maharashtra) were involved to cross the channel.

Award & Honors

  1. IIT-D start-up bags 2019NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award
  • Ankita Gulati, founder ofTouchVision which is an Indian Institute of Technology-Delhi(IIT-D) incubated startup, won the 2019 NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award.

Key points:

♦The award was given for developing a multisensory kit for the visually impaired people which was developed at Assistive Technologies Lab of IIT-Delhi.

♦About the multi-sensory kit: The device explains about the content in a picture when a visually impaired person touches it.


♦NCPEDP stands for National Centre for Promotion of Employment for Disabled People.

♦Founder- Sonia Gandhi.

♦Established- 1996.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. Chandrayaan-2 successfully completed second Lunar Orbit Maneuver
  • Chandrayaan-2 spacecraft has successfully performed second lunar bound orbit maneuver on August 21, 2019.
  • The duration of the maneuver was 1228 seconds. The orbit achieved is 118 km x 4412 km. All spacecraft parameters are normal.
  • ISRO released the information that the next Lunar bound orbit maneuver is scheduled on August 28, 2019, between 0530 – 0630 hrs IST.
  1. DRDO hands over MMR design to the Indian army
  • The Defence Research and Development Organisation(DRDO) chairman, and Secretary of the Department of Defence (Research& Development- R&D) G.Satheesh Reddy handed over the design of the Mobile Metallic Ramp(MMR) to the Indian army in an event held at the DRDO bhawan in New Delhi.
  • The MMR with load bearing capacity of 70 metric tonne(MT), was handed over to Vice Chief of Army Staff, Lt Gen DevrajAnbu.
  • It has been designed and developed by the Centre for Fire, Explosive and Environment Safety (CFEES), which is DRDO’s premier research laboratory.
  • MMR:The MMR is designed and developed for the Indian Army for reducing Strategic Mobility time of mobilisingArmoured Fighting Vehicles (AFV). Portable modular design with easy assembling and disassembling are the features of MMR.


  1. Former Madhya Pradesh CM Babulal Gaur passed away
  • Former Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Babulal Gaur passed away on Wednesday morning at the age of 89 following a prolonged illness
  • He was the CM of Madhya Pradesh from August 2004 to November 2005.
  • He was born on June 2, 1930. He was senior Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader in the state and he was credited with expanding BJP’s footholds in Madhya Pradesh.

Important Days

  1. 2nd International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism observed on 21 August 2019
  • The 2nd International Day of Remembrance and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorismhas observed with the aim to focus on the resilience of victims and their families.
  • UN Secretary-General, António Guterres informed General Assembly that Terrorism continues to pose a major threat to individuals, families, and communities. The UN has been working to provide resources, mobilize the international community and better address the needs of victims of terrorism by sensitizing the States.

Key points:

♦The UN has an important role in supporting the States to implement Pillars I (addressing the conditions conducive to the spread of terrorism) and IV (measures to ensure respect for human rights for all and the rule of law as the fundamental basis for the fight against terrorism) of the UN Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy through standing in solidarity.

♦The General Assembly, in its resolution 72/165 of 2017, established 21 August as the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism in order to honour and support the victims and survivors of terrorism and to promote and protect the full enjoyment of their human rights and fundamental freedoms.

  1. World Senior Citizen Day observed on August 21, 2019
  • The World Senior Citizen Day was observed on August 21, 2019 across the world. The day is recognized to create awareness of the condition of elder people and support them through senescence.
  • This day is observed to thank and acknowledge elders for all that they have done for their children. They sacrifice their entire life in nurturing their relationships.
  • The day was first announced on 14th of December in the year 1990, by the United Nations General Assembly(UNGA) & it was celebrated for the first time on October 1, 1991.
  • The day originates from the time of 1988. It was formally settled by the former president of the United States of America i.e. Ronald Reagan. He had marked the 5847 declarations on August 19, 1988, which showed August 21 as the National Senior Citizens Day.
  • As per the 2017 census, 47 million senior citizens from India live in the United States of America.
  • Several programs are held throughout the world where elders’ life studies, personal experiences are shared and solutions are offered to fight the factors that affect their well-being.


August 23, 2019

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