October 14, 2019

National

  1. India and Japan to hold bilateral military exercise
  • A joint military exercise between India and Japan will be organized in Mizoram from 19th of October to 2nd of November, 2019. It will be a two-week-long exercise.
  • The objective of this joint military exercise is to increase the interoperability between the two forces and enhance coordination in dealing with various security challenges including counter-terrorism.
  • The Indian Army and Japanese Ground Self Defence Forces (JGSDF) comprising 25 soldiers each, will participate in the exercise aimed at sharing experience gained during various Counter-Terrorism Operations in respective Countries.
  1. First Global DXB Challenge 2019 by Dubai
  • A large gathering for creative young minds in the fields of robotics and artificial intelligence will be witnessed in the first Global DXB Challenge 2019 in Dubai.
  • The theme of the event will be ‘Ocean Opportunities’. This theme has been chosen to connect youth with environmental issues.
  • The participants are coming from 191 countries and the event will bring together about 1500 young minds.
  1. Deadline to generate 175 GW renewable energy by 2022 in the country: MNRE
  • As per the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy (MNRE), the target date for achieving the cumulative 175 GW (gigawatt) renewable power installed capacity is December 31, 2022, with 100 GW of solar, 60 GW of wind, 10 GW of bio-power and 5 GW of small hydro power.

Key points:

♦This clarification given by the government comes after Crisil (formerly Credit Rating Information Services of India Limited) report , which highlighted that the country is likely to miss the renewable energy target of 175 GW by 2022 by a wide margin of 42 % due to many a regulatory challenge, policy flip-flops and also a steep fall in tariffs.

♦The country has an installed capacity of 81.3 GW of power generation.

♦Renewable energy is an important component of India’s energy planning & it is one of the major FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) earners with the sector attracting $4.8 billion foreign capital since 2014.

♦During the recently held United Nations Secretary-General (UNSG) Climate Action Summit in New York, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that India aims to have 450 GW renewable energy capacity.

  1. 10th edition of Indo-US joint military exercise ‘Vajra Prahar 2019 ‘ begins in Seattle, US
  • The joint military exercise ‘Vajra Prahar’ between India and the US (United States) begins at Seattle’s (in Washington ,US) Joint Base Lewis-McChord (JBLM) . This is the 10th edition of the joint exercise, which will run until 28 October, 2019. It is held alternately in India and America. In 2018,the practice took place in Jaipur, Rajasthan.

Key points:

♦A 45-member Special Forces contingent of the Indian Army has reached the US to participate in this military exercise on behalf of India.

♦The military of the two countries will share their best practices and experiences during the exercise. Bilateral military exercises and defense exchanges will further enhance defense cooperation between India and the US.

♦Earlier on September 19, 2019, soldiers from both countries underwent joint military training exercise  ‘Yudh Abhyas 2019 ‘ at the Lewis-McCord base. During the exercise, the US Army played the tune of ‘Jana Gana Mana’.

  1. SARAS Aajeevika Mela 2019 begins in New Delhi
  • The Sale of Articles of Rural Artisan Society (SARAS) Aajeevika Mela 2019 is underway at India Gate Lawns in New Delhi. It had begun on October 10 and will conclude on October 23, 2019. The mela is an initiative by the Deendayal Antyodaya Yojana-National Rural Livelihoods Mission (DAY-NRLM), Ministry of Rural Development (MoRD) and was inaugurated by Rural Development Minister Narendra Singh Tomar.

Key Points:

♦Aim: To bring the rural women Self Help Groups (SHGs) formed with the support of DAY-NRLM, under one platform which will help to show-case their skills, sell products and help them build linkages with bulk buyers.

♦Organisers: It is organized by the marketing arm of MoRD, Council for Advancement of People’s Action and Rural Technology (CAPART).

♦Participants: In over 200 stalls, 500 rural SHG craftswomen from 29 States and Union Territories (UTs) will display a different range of products.

♦The attraction of the Mela is the tamarind value chain from Jharkhand.

♦The concept of Aajeevika India Food court at the mela was pioneered by Kudumbashree, the state poverty eradication Mission of Kerala.

State

  1. Jammu and Kashmir government to start tele-medicine service
  • The state government has recently announced that they will start tele-medicine services in Srinagar to improve medical facilities. All medical institutes will be connected under the scheme.
  • The telemedicine service is one important component which is the introduction of smart healthcare in Srinagar.
  • Sher-e- Kashmir Institute of Medical Sciences and Government Medical College Srinagar will be upgraded under the scheme. All other health institutes and health service providers will be connected.

International

  1. Netherlands King and Queen to arrive in New Delhi on 5-day visit
  • The Netherlands King Willem-Alexander’s trip would be his first state visit to India, following his ascension to the throne in 2013.
  • King Willem-Alexander and Queen Maxima will hold meetings with the top Indian leadership to boost bilateral economic and political cooperation.
  • They will visit New Delhi, Mumbai, and Kerala during their visit. Experts are expecting to boost economic and political cooperation between the two countries.
  1. Donald Trump releases USD 50 Million aid to Syria
  • US President Donald released 50 million dollars as stabilisation assistance for Syria to protect persecuted ethnic and religious minorities and advance human rights.
  • US officials said that this assistance will give emergency financial aid to Syrian human rights defenders, civil society organisations reconciliation efforts directly supporting ethnic and religious minority victims of the conflict.
  • Trump administration believes that ensuring freedom and safety of ethnic and religious minorities remains a top priority for them.

Banking & Finance

  1. ADB signs $190 million worth loan agreement for improving road connectivity in Rajasthan
  • The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the Government of India (GoI) has signed the Tranche 2 loan agreement worth $190 million to upgrade 754 kilometres of Rajasthan state highways and major district roads (MDRs) to two-lane or intermediate-lane standards.

Key points:

♦This move will benefit about 26 million people in 14 districts of Rajasthan & and will help improve access to health, education facilities and markets leading to increased job opportunities.

♦The project consists of constructing over 200 bus stops, 70 km of hard shoulder, and 2 km of raised sidewalk on project roads that will benefit commuters and pedestrians, especially women and children.

♦The construction of roads will be based on public private partnership (PPP) with the participation of Hybrid Annuity Mode and engineering procurement construction (EPC)

♦Earlier in July 2017,The tranche 1 loan of $220 million under the Programme, signed to upgrade about 1,000 km of Rajasthan roads.

♦The loan agreement has been signed in the presence of Shri Sameer Kumar Khare, Additional Secretary (Fund Bank and ADB), Department of Economic Affairs in the Ministry of Finance, on behalf of the Government of India, and Mr Kenichi Yokoyama, Country Director of ADB’s India Resident Mission, who signed for ADB.

Business & Economy

  1. World Bank slashes India’s growth projection to 6 % for 2019 , down from 7.5%
  • World Bank in its report, “South Asia Economic Focus, Fall 2019 : Making (De)centralization Work”, has lowered India’s growth forecast to 6 % for 2019 (down from 7.5 %) for the second consecutive year ,after a wide decline in the initial quarters. In 2018, India’s GDP (Gross domestic product) growth stood at 6.8 %, down from 7.2 % in 2017.

Key points:

♦Expectation:  As per the report, if monetary policy is moderate then it is expected to grow gradually to 6.9 per cent in 2021 and 7.2 per cent in 2022.

♦Reason for sluggishness:  Growth in construction  & manufacturing activities led to growth of industrial production to 6.9 percent, while growth in agriculture and services sector was limited to 2.9 and 7.5 percent respectively.

♦CAD: The current account deficit (CAD) had increased to 2.1 percent of GDP in 2018-19 from 1.8 percent a year earlier(i.e 2017), reflecting a mostly deteriorating trade balance.

♦Background:  On June 5, 2019, World Bank in its report “Global Economic Prospects report” retained  India’s growth forecast at 7.5% for the two Fiscal years, FY2019 and FY20 (April 1, 2019 to March 31, 2020).

Sports

  1. Overview of World Youth Chess Championship 2019 held in Mumbai, India
  • World Youth Chess Championship 2019 was held in Renaissance Mumbai Convention Centre Hotel in Mumbai, India from 1st to 13th October, 2019. The Championship was organized by the Fédération Internationale des Échecs(FIDE) or International Chess Federation.India bagged seven medals(higgest medals than any other country) in the Championship including 1 gold, 3 silver and 3 bronze medal. Russia won 5 medals in the Championship and followed by India. Medals won by Indian Players in the World Youth Chess Championship 2019:
Indian Player Event Medal
Praggnanandhaa R Open U18 Gold
Agrawal Vantika Girls U18 Silver
Srihari L R Open U14 Silver
Deshmukh Divya Girls U14 Silver
Ghosh Aronyak Open U16 Bronze
Sreeshwan Maralakshikari Open U14 Bronze
Ravi Rakshitta Girls U14 Bronze

Key Players to be noticed in this event:

♦R Praggnanandhaa coveted gold in the U-18 Open category in the World Youth Chess Championships.

♦Polina Shuvalova defended her title in the Girls Under 18 category and became the two-fold champion.

Books

  1. Book titled, “The Great Game in the Buddhist Himalayas: India and China’s Quest for Strategic Dominance”penned by Phunchok Stobdan released
  • A distinguished academician, diplomat, author and foreign policy expert, Phunchok Stobdan’s new book “The Great Game in the Buddhist Himalayas: India and China’s Quest for Strategic Dominance”,published by Penguin Random House India,describes the several unknown insights into the India-China, India-Tibet and China-Tibet relationships.
  • The author describes the dalai Lama factor which caused the Buddhist Himalayas to be in a state of flux, especially in the current India-China relationship.
  • Stobdan, who worked as India’s ambassador to the Kyrgyz Republic, describes the long-term presence of Tibetan refugees in India ,the future of the institution of the Dalai Lama & China’s ‘Buddhist diplomacy have created a sense of uncertainty in Himalayan regions of Ladakh, Arunachal Pradesh and Sikkim, which have sizeable Buddhist populations

Important Days

  1. International day for disaster reduction observed on October 13, 2019
  • International Day of Disaster Risk Reduction (IDDRR) has been observed to promote global culture towards risk awareness and disaster reduction.The theme for the year 2019 is “Reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services”.

Key points:

♦In 1989, the International Day for Disaster Reduction was started by the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA).

♦According to the UN ,the primary objective is to focus on the target of the Sendai Framework, which highlights “Substantially to reduce disaster damage to critical infrastructure and disruption of basic services, among them health and education facilities, including through developing their resilience by 2030.

♦The 2019 edition continues as part of the “Sendai Seven” campaign, which was launched in 2016 by UNDRR (United Nations Office for Disaster Risk Reduction) which is centered on the seven targets of the Sendai Framework (2015 – 2030). It has 38 indicators for measuring progress on reducing disaster losses.

♦Sendai Framework was adopted by the UN at the World Conference on Disaster Risk Reduction that was held at Sendai, Japan.

January 26, 2020

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