January 01, 2020

National

  1. Indian Railways introduces New Passenger friendly Information System at Anakapalle Station in Vijayawada Division
  • Indian Railways introduced a new Passenger Information System at Anakapalle Railway Station of Vijayawada Division in South Central Railway. The Passenger Information system comprises both “At a Glance Display Board” (which gives a glance of the status of various train timings at the Station) and “Coach Guidance Display Board” (which provides the Coach Composition position of a train)
  • The objective of this application is to provide better features and easy guidance to the passengers and thereby providing satisfactory user experience.
  • In the new Passenger Information System provided at Anakapalle Station, new technology has been adopted by which the estimated arrival of the trains at the station is taken based on the real time location of the trains. This is done by taking continuously updated data sourced automatically from the Centralized Railway Information System (CRIS) server from time to time.
  • The system provides automated display information about the trains expected at the station in the next two hours in Trilingual form i.e. Telugu, English and Hindi.
  • In addition, the system also provides facility for operator to modify the data instantly in case of any emergencies. The cost of the equipment is Rs 10 lakhs including supply, installation, commissioning and onsite warranty of 3 years.
  • Apart from providing better guidance to rail users about running of trains, coach position and platform number, this new system can also be used for displaying additional information for traveling public about various amenities available at the station and about their location on the platform.
  1. CCTV in all railway stations and coaches by March 2022: Railway Board Chairman
  • The Indian Railways has floated tenders for installing CCTV cameras at all the stations and in all the coaches by March 2022.
  • By December this year, the railways has installed CCTVs at 503 railway stations across the country.”
  • The railways received Rs 500 crore under the Nirbhaya Fund for installing CCTV cameras on the railway premises across the country.
  • The railways has also allotted Rs 2,000 crore for the installation of CCTV cameras at over 6,100 stations and in over 58,600 coaches.
  • The railways will also be using facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence to identify culprits
  1. PM Modi to inaugurate Science Congress in Bengaluru
  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate the 107th Indian Science Congress, organised by the University of Agricultural Sciences.
  • More than 15,000 participants, including Nobel laureates, scientists, intellectuals, academicians, policymakers, students and delegates from various institutions of 24 countries are expected to participate in the six-day event whose focal theme is ‘Science and Technology: Rural Development’.
  • Discussions on 14 contemporary science areas will be the highlight of the conference. The other important parts of event are ‘Women Science Congress’, ‘Children Science Congress’ and ‘Science Communicators Meet’. For the first time, ‘Farmers’ Science Congress’ is included.
  • There will also be a science exhibition, titled Pride of India, where technologies, equipment and science models will be on display. The entry for the exhibition is free from January 4-7.

State

  1. Annual Flamingo Festival at Pulicat Lake
  • The annual Flamingo Festival is to be held in January at Pulicat lake in Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh.
  • The Pulicat lake supportsrich biodiversity and high biomass of fishes and planktons which is utilised as food resources by visiting birds. Thus about 75 aquatic and terrestrial bird species visit the sanctuary every year.
  • The number of birds is much higher than usual due to abundant rains in 2019.
  • It is thesecond-largest brackish water ecosystem in the country after the Chilika Lake (Odisha).
  1. Kerala startup mission to organise second Scalathon for start-ups
  • After holding an accelerator programme for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) this month, the Kerala Startup Mission (KSUM) is all set to conduct a similar Scalathon on January 7, 2020.
  • The programme is expected to focus on women entrepreneurship, startups and entrepreneurship education by mentoring select SMEs to accelerate business growth in Kerala by generating jobs.
  • The programme is for entrepreneurs with an annual business turnover between `5 crore and `350 crore. Led by experienced consultants such as strategic advisers, coaches, and investors from across the country.
  • Scalathon will provide business owners with expert advice on improving industry ventures.The first edition of the Scalathon was held on December 17 and 18 at KSUM’s Integrated Startup Complex in

International

  1. Brazil fines Facebook $1.6 mn for improper sharing of user data
  • Brazil’s Ministry of Justice had found that data from 4,43,000 Facebook users was improperly made available to developers of an App called ‘thisisyourdigitallife’
  • Brazil’s Ministry of Justice stated that it fined U.S. tech giant Facebook Inc 6.6 million reais ($1.6 million) for improperly sharing user data.
  • The ministry stated that the world’s largest social network failed to provide users with adequate information regarding default privacy settings, particularly related to data of “friends” and ”friends of friends.”
  1. Sri Lankan govt says Batticaloa airport to be developed as an international airport
  • Sri Lankan government has stated that it will develop Batticaloa airport in eastern province as an international airport with Indian assistance. The Indian government has extended its fullest cooperation to develop the domestic airport and it has been discussed with the Indian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka Taranjit Singh Sandhu recently.
  • The Government of India would like to extend its air services to Batticaloa airport as well. Currently, airline services to India are available to Bandaranaike International Airport near Colombo and Jaffna international Airport in Tamil-majority north.
  • Jaffna airport got operationalized in August after the landing of the inaugural flight from Chennai. Eastern province also has a majority of Tamil population along with other communities.
  • Batticaloa Airport was established in 1958 but due to the war situation, the Sri Lanka Air Force took over the airport in 1983 and operated as a base for the Sri Lanka Air Force.
  • The current services from Chennai to Jaffna is proposed to be extended to Batticaloa when the airport is operationalized.

Banking & Finance

  1. RBI buys 10,000 crore worth government securities via OMO
  • In its second special open market operation (OMO), the Reserve Bank of India bought ₹10,000 crore of long-term government securities and sold ₹8,501 crore of three short-term bonds.
  • Last week, the RBI had stated that it would buy and sell government securities under OMO for ₹10,000 crore each, simultaneously.
  • Though the central bank offered to sell four securities in the auction, it accepted bids for only three. In the OMO purchase of 6.45% GS 2029, ie the 10-year benchmark security, the RBI received ₹25,698 crore worth of bids but accepted ₹10,000 crore worth. It also received 285 bids to purchase 6.45%-2029 security but accepted only 151 bids.
  • The cut-off yield at which bids were accepted was 6.4874%. The RBI offered to sell four government securities — 6.65% GS 2020; 7.8% GS 2020; 8.27% GS 2020 and 8.12% GS 2020 through the OMO sale. It accepted only ₹8,501 crore worth of bids for the three securities as against ₹38,551 crore bids it received for four securities.
  1. RBI proposes to tighten lending norms for UCBs
  • The RBI proposed reduction in loan amount an urban co-operative bank can lend to a single entity and a group of borrowers to 10 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, with an aim to prevent PMC Bank like scams caused by large exposure to one group.
  • Currently, primary (urban) co-operative banks (UCBs) are permitted to have exposures up to 15 per cent and 40 per cent of their capital funds to a single borrower and a group of borrowers, respectively.
  • Punjab and Maharashtra Co-operative (PMC) Bank collapsed because of its huge exposure totalling Rs 6,226.01 crore to Housing Development and Infrastructure Ltd (HDIL) Group companies.
  • Earlier this month, the RBI Central Board had reviewed functioning of the urban cooperative banks and the enforcement framework.
  1. Indian Bank to revise MCLR from January 3
  • Indian Bank stated that it would revise lending rates on marginal cost of funds from January 3. “The bank has revised the marginal cost of funds-based lending rate with effect from January 3, 2020.
  • Accordingly, the revised MCLR would be 90 per cent as against the existing 7.95 per cent for overnight tenors. For tenors of one month, the lending rates would be revised to 8.05 per cent from the current 8 per cent.
  • Lending rates for tenors of three months would be revised to 8.15 per cent from the current 8.20 per cent. For six months tenor, the lending rates would be fixed at 8.20 per cent from January 3 as against 8.25 per cent.
  • Lending rates for tenors of one year would be revised to 8.30 per cent from the current 8.35 per cent.

Sports

  1. Cristiano Ronaldo bags best men’s player at Dubai Globe Soccer Awards
  • Star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo ended the year by winning the best men’s player at the Dubai Globe Soccer Awards.
  • Ronaldo did not win the Ballon d’Or this year, finishing behind Lionel Messi who bagged it for the record sixth time and Liverpool’s Dutch defender Virgil van Dijk.
  • But the 34-year-old, widely regarded as one of the best footballers of his generation, got his fourth successive prize at the awards after helping his club Juventus claim the 2018-19 Serie A title in his first season in Italy while also playing a key role in Portugal winning the Nations League.
  • England international Lucy Bronze was awarded the best women’s player of the year, while Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp was named the best manager.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Bipin Rawat appointed India’s first tri-services chief
  • Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat was appointed India’s first Chief of Defence Staff with a mandate to bring in convergence in functioning of the Army, the Navy and the Indian Air Force and bolster the country’s military prowess.
  • Government has decided to appoint Gen Rawat as the Chief of Defence Staff with effect from December 31.
  • Gen Rawat will be able to serve as CDS for a period of up to three years after the government amended the rules extending the age of retirement to 65 years.

Award & Honors

  1. Noted writers Nemade, Gynanranjan get Akashdeep Sanman awards
  • Noted Marathi litterateur Bhalchandra Nemade and Hindi writer Gynanranjan were conferred the ‘Akashdeep Sanman’
  • The award, instituted by media house Amar Ujala and comprising a cash prize of Rs 5 lakh, was given to Nemade and Gynanranjan by noted lyricist-filmmaker Gulzar.
  • Astronaut Christina Koch sets new record for longest single space flight by a woman
  • Astronaut Christina Koch, launched to the International Space Station, marks her 289th day in space, breaking retired astronaut Peggy Whitson’s world record for the longest single space flight by a woman.
  • Along the way, Koch has participated in four spacewalks, joining astronaut Jessica Meir for history’s first all-female excursion in October.
  • She plans to venture back outside twice more in January, again teaming up with Meir, to complete the installation of new solar array batteries for the station’s solar power system.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. 100th Consecutively Successful Launch of Sounding Rocket RH-200 from TERLS
  • ISRO has developed a series of sounding rockets called Rohini series, important among them being RH-200, RH-300 and RH-560, number in the name indicating the diameter of the rocket in mm.
  • Vikram Sarabhai Space Centre (VSSC), Thiruvananthapuram has been pioneering the sounding rocket launch for scientific studies.
  • Large numbers of sounding rockets have been developed and launched from Thumba Equatorial Rocket Launching Station (TERLS).
  • 1545 RH-200 rockets have been launched so far. Wednesday, July 15, 2015 became a prestigious and memorable day in the history of sounding rocket programme of India as the RH-200 rocket had its 100th consecutively successful launch from TERLS. It demonstrated the high level of quality and reliability, which have been built into this tiny rocket.
  • The development and launch of sounding rockets was a prelude to the major launch vehicles of ISRO – PSLV, GSLV and GSLV MkIII.
April 15, 2020

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