January 05, 2020

National

  1. 3-day capacity building programme for J-K officers begins in Jammu
  • A three-day capacity building programme on general fund rules , e-procurement and government e-market place (GeM) for officers of Jammu and Kashmir was inaugurated by Union Minister Jitendra Singh.
  • The programme is organized by DARPG, National Centre for Good Governance and National Institute of Financial Management in collaboration with the Department of Finance, J&K Government and J&K Institute of Management, Public Administration & Rural Development (IMPARD).
  • The capacity building programme is a part of outreach programme launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi after reorganization of J&K.
  1. Tiger deaths hit the 100-mark again, but number down from previous year
  • For the third straight year, the number of tiger deaths in India have touched the 100-figure mark.
  • According to data from the Ministry of Forest Environment and Climate Change (MoEFCC), there were 84 cases of tiger deaths in the country and 11 cases of seizures (in which a tiger is presumed dead on the basis of body parts seized by authorities). Both put together, the number of tiger deaths is in 2019 is 95.
  • According to the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), the country’s nodal body working on welfare and protection of tigers, at least 100 tiger deaths, including seizures, were recorded in 2018.
  • In 2018, the number of tiger deaths recorded was 100 (93 mortalities and seven seizures). The number of tiger deaths in 2017 was 115 (98 mortalities and 17 seizures), and the number of tiger deaths in 2016 was 122 (101 mortalities and 21 seizures).
  • Of the 100 tiger death cases, 93 were of mortality and seven of seizures, which are cases where a tiger is presumed dead on the basis of the body parts seized by authorities. The reasons for death of tigers ranged from natural deaths, electrocution, poisoning to poaching and in-fighting. In69 cases, the exact cause of the death is yet to be ascertained as investigation details are awaited.
  • Madhya Pradesh topped the list with 27 tiger deaths and was followed by Maharashtra with 20 and Karnataka with 14 deaths. Together, the three states accounted for 61 percent of the total tiger deaths in the country in 2018.
  • An endangered animal, the tiger (Panthera tigris)is also India’s national animal. To keep a check on its dwindling population, the Indian government had launched a tiger conservation programme, Project Tiger, in 1973. The tiger also has highest degree of protection under India’s wildlife laws

State

  1. Telangana govt declares 2020 as AI year, signs 8 MoU
  • Telangana state government declared 2020 as the year of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and signed eight Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) with various companies and educational institutes to pave way for upcoming technological advancement in the state.
  • Artificial Intelligence can address complex problems beyond the capability of traditional methods and AI holds significance for the government for its potential to transform citizens’ live.
  • US-based tech major NVIDIA will partner with the state government to setup a High-Performance AI Computing (HPAIC) Centre in Telangana. They will also assist in startup incubation, host AI training sessions to support women & minority groups and organise hackathons among many other things.
  • IIT-Kharagpur has also signed MoU to set up a centre of excellence in AI and research and Development Park.
  1. Kerala CM launches K-RERA to bring transparency in real estate sector
  • With an aim to boost the confidence of customers and bring in more transparency in the real estate sector, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan launched the Kerala Real Estate Regulatory Authority (K-RERA)
  • Passed by the Parliament, the Real Estate (Regulation and Development) Act, 2016, had directed the state governments to establish RERA for effective regulation of the real estate sector and also for speedy dispute redressal.
  • As per the Act, buildings with more than eight apartments and real estates projects with 500 square metres of land or more will have to be registered with RERA.
  1. KVIC opens first silk processing plant in Gujarat
  • Khadi and Village Industries Commission (KVIC) inaugurated the first silk processing plant at Surendranagar in
  • This would help cut down the cost of production of silk yarn drastically and increase the sale and availability of raw material for Gujarati ‘Patola’ sarees locally.
  • The plant has been set up by a khadi institution at a cost of Rs 75 lakh, in which KVIC has contributed Rs 60 lakh.
  • Patola, the trademark saree of Gujarat, is considered to be very costly and worn only by royals or aristocrats. The reason high cost of Patola sarees is that the silk yarn used to make them is purchased from Karnataka or West Bengal, where silk processing units are situated. This increases the cost of the fabric manifolds.

Business & Economy

  1. Reliance to venture in e-commerce with Jio Mart, initial roll-out in Mumbai
  • Reliance is all set to venture into the e-commerce segment with the launch of Jio Mart.
  • The company is rolling out an offline-to-online commerce platform that will provide retail packaged consumer goods (PCG) and kitchen supplies to the customer in select locations across
  • Jio Mart is currently live in Navi Mumbai, Thane and Kalyan.
  • Powered by kirana stores, that have signed up onto Jio using its internet-enabled point-of-sale (PoS) and inventory management device, the mart will offer a selection of over 50,000 grocery products, no-charge deliveries, low prices, and easy returns.
  • A dedicated mobile application for Jio Mart is expected to be launched in the coming weeks, which will also be integrated with My Jio and Jio Money applications.

Sports

  1. Manav Thakkar becomes world no.1 in latest International Table Tennis Federation rankings
  • Young Indian paddler Manav Thakkar became world no.1 in the latest International Table Tennis Federation (ITTF) rankings in the Under-21 men’s singles category.
  • Thakkar became the fourth Indian to achieve the feat after Harmeet Desai, G Sathiyan and Soumyajit Ghosh.
  • Among other Indians, Sathiyan has managed to retain his 30th spot in the senior category. Achanta Sharath Kamal has climbed a spot to 33rd position. Top woman paddler, Manika Batra was static at the 61st position.
  • Thakkar was also world no. 1 in the Under-18 category in February 2018. He was part of the Indian men’s team which won a bronze medal in the 2018 Asian Games in Jakarta.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Govt appoints AIIMS’ Prof Suresh Chandra Sharma as first chief of NMC
  • The chief of Delhi AIIMS’ ENT head-neck surgery department, Professor Suresh Chandra Sharma, was appointed the chairman of National Medical Commission.
  • Rakesh Kumar Vats, the secretary general in the board of governors of the Medical Council of India (MCI), has been appointed as the secretary of the Commission for the similar term.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind had on August 8 given assent to the National Medical Commission (NMC) Act, 2019, which provides for a system that improves access to quality and affordable medical education and ensures availability of adequate and high quality medical professionals in all parts of the country, among others.
  • The Act replaces Indian Medical Council Act, 1956.
  • The new law provides for setting up of an NMC in place of the Medical Council of India for development and regulation of all aspects of medical education, profession and institutions.

Award & Honors

  1. Britain’s Prince William unveils prize for climate innovation
  • Prince William announced the most prestigious environment prize in history to encourage new solutions to tackling climate change.
  • The Earthshot Prize will be awarded to five people every year over the next decade, and aims to provide at least 50 answers to some of the greatest problems facing the planet by 2030.
  • They include promoting new ways of addressing climate change and issues surrounding energy, nature and biodiversity, the oceans, air pollution and fresh water.
  • The prize, inspired by US president John F. Kennedy’s ambitious “Moonshot” lunar programme in the 1960s, promises “a significant financial award”.
  1. 14 Indian scientists get Swarna Jayanti Fellowship
  • Fourteen Indian scientists under 40 years of age, including three from the Indian Institute of Science (IISc), Bengaluru, were awarded the prestigious Swarna Jayanti (SJ) Fellowships for 2018-19.
  • The fellows, selected on the basis of their past work, innovative research idea and the potential to make an impact on R&D in the respective disciplines, will get a monthly fellowship of Rs 25,000 and a annual research grant of Rs 5 lakh, for the next five years, in addition to their salary.
  • Mathematician Apoorva Khare, physicist Anindya Das and computational data scientist Yogesh Simmhan are the new SJ Fellows from the IISc.
  • The Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Bombay will have two new SJ fellows in chemist Gopalan Rajaraman and climate scientist Subimal Ghosh.
  • Cryptography researcher Shweta Agrawal of IIT Madras and Arjun Bagchi, a theoretical physicist at IIT Kanpur are other two SJ fellows from IITs.
  • Mahender Singh and Vishal Rai, the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER) Mohali and IISER Bhopal have one fellow each.

Obituary

  1. Qassem Soleimani, top Iranian military commander passes away
  • Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds military force and one of the most powerful figures in the Islamic Republic, was killed in a US airstrike in Baghdad.
  • Atleast 8 people were killed in the attack.

Important Days

  1. World Braille Day
  • World Braille Dayis on 4 January and celebrates awareness of the importance of braille as a means of communication in the full realization of the human rights for blind and visually impaired people.
  • The day is marked remembering the birth anniversary of Louis Braille, the inventor of Braille – for people with visual disabilities. Louis Braille was born on 4th January 1809 in the town of Coupvray in northern France.
April 15, 2020

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