September 22, 2019



  1. Statue of Lord Buddha unveiled at Gandan Monastery
  • PM Narendra Modi and President Khaltmaagiin jointly unveiled a statue of Lord Buddha at Gandan Monastery in Ulaanbaatar through video-conferencing.
  • This is for the first time when any Mongolian President is on a state visit to India in the last ten years.
  • Earlier, in 2015, PM Modi had announced to gift a statue of Lord Buddha to the Gandan Monastery during his visit.
  1. Indian diaspora, at 17.5 million, is the largest in the world, says UN study
  • The count of the Indian disapora has increased 10% from 15.9 million in 2015, making it the largest in the world, according to the UN’s International Migrant Stock 2019.
  • It now comprises 6.4% of the total global migrant population.
  • In 2019, Russia fell to the fourth position behind Indian, Mexico and China with 10.5 million migrants.
  • The United Arab Emirates (UAE) was the top destination of Indian migrants followed by the US, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and Oman, as per the data set compiled by the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs Division.
  • Bangladesh was a top source of migrants to India, followed by Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka and China.
  • In China’s case, the top source of migrants were from South Korea, Brazil, Phillpines and Indonesia. The number of migrants from India was not given by the UN though Indian ministry of External Affairs pegs the number at 35,500.
  • The ministry also puts the numbers of non resident Indians and people of Indian origin around the world at 31 million.
  • Globally, in 2019, the number of international migrants worldwide was nearly 272 million, up from 221 million in 2010 and 174 million in 2000. More than half of all international migrants lived in Europe (82 million) or Northern America (59 million).
  • In 2019, 38 million international migrants, equivalent to 14% of global migrant population, were under 20 years of age. Three out of every four international migrants are of working age (20-64 years) In 2019, 202 million international migrants, equivalent to 74 % of the global migrant population, were between the ages of 20 and 64. More than three quarters of international migrants were of working age in Eastern and South Eastern Asia, Europe and Northern America.
  1. MHRD announces NEAT scheme for better learning outcomes in higher education
  • Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) announced a new Public-Private Partnership (PPP) scheme- National Educational Alliance for Technology (NEAT) aimed at using technology for better learning outcomes in Higher Education.
  • The objective is to use Artificial Intelligence to make learning more personalised and customised as per the requirements of the learner.
  • MHRD has proposed to create a National Alliance with such technology developing EdTech Companies through a PPP model.
  • MHRD would act as a facilitator to ensure that the solutions are freely available to a large number of economically backward students. MHRD would create and maintain a National NEAT platform that would provide one-stop access to these technological solutions.
  • EdTech companies would be responsible for developing solutions and manage the registration of learners through the NEAT portal. They would be free to charge fees as per their policy.
  • All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) would be the implementing agency for the NEAT program
  • The scheme shall be administered under the guidance of an Apex Committee constituted by MHRD.
  1. NASSCOM’s DSCI, MeitY and Google India launched a nationwide ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan’
  • The National Association of Software and Services Company’s (NASSCOM) Data Security Council of India (DSCI), Ministry of Electronics & Information Technology (MeitY) and Google India had collaborated together to launch a nationwide awareness campaign ‘Digital Payment Abhiyan‘. The campaign was launched by the Communications and Electronics & Information Technology (IT) Minister Mr Ravi Shankar Prasad on September 19, 2019 at the Google for India event in New Delhi.
  • Google launched an integrated payments, jobs app and Google Research India- an artificial intelligence (AI) research lab in Bengaluru, Karnataka.
  • Google partnered with National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC) and Skill India to introduce the job-centric Spot codes to offline locations and NSDC centres.
  1. Beneficiaries under PMMVY scheme crossed 1 crore
  • Pradhan Mantri Matru Vandana Yojana (PMMVY) achieved a mark of reaching 1 crore (1,00,11,200) beneficiaries in India. The total amount disbursed under the scheme crossed Rs. 4,000 crores.

Key Points:

♦Top 5 states: Madhya Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli and Rajasthan are the top 5 states/ union territories (UTs) in the implementation of scheme.

♦Odisha and Telangana have not implemented the scheme.

♦Its implementation is monitored by the central and state governments through a web based software application named PMMVY-CAS.

  1. Open defecation decreased by 47 % between 2000 – 2017 in India: WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP) report 2019
  • As per the WHO/UNICEF (World Health Organization/United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund) Joint Monitoring Program (JMP) for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene, report 2019, “Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities”, the open defecation practices in India between 2000 and 2017 has decreased by 47 % & 43 % of Indian people have gained access to basic sanitation facilities.

Key points:

♦Development: The report highlights that  one-third of the population of Nepal and Lao People’s Democratic Republic, more than half of the population of Cambodia and Ethiopia, and nearly half of the population of India have stopped open defecation practices since the year 2000.

♦Global report:  A total of 91 nations decreased open defecation by a total strength of 696 million people, with Central and Southern Asia witnessing for three-quarters of this reduction from 2000-17. 2.1 billion people gained access to at least basic services with Central and South Asia (807 million) and in Eastern and South-Eastern Asia (698 million).

♦Initiatives:  The Indian Government has launched Swachh Bharat Mission on 2nd October 2014 (by Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi) to achieve a clean and open defecation free India by October 2, 2019. It consists of two sub-missions Swachh Bharat Mission (Gramin)-(SBM-G) and Swachh Bharat Mission (Urban).The Mission has got global recognition as the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (Washington, U.S) will give its Global Gatekeeper Award 2019 to Prime Minister Narendra Modi on September 24, 2019 his work under the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA) Mission.

  1. Ayushman Bharat signs MoU with Ola to extend healthcare benefits for its driver-partners and families
  • The Ayushman Bharat – Pradhan Mantri Jan ArogyaYojana (AB-PMJAY) scheme which is the world’s largest healthcare scheme signed a Memorandum of Understanding(MoU) with mobility platform Ola whereby the scheme would provide health insurance to 2 million driver partners of Ola. The MoU was signed between Vijay Ghadge, Vice President(Operations) of Ola and Dr. Praveen Gedam, Deputy Chief Executive Officer(CEO) of AB-PMJAY and National Health Authority(NHA) in presence of Dr. InduBhushan, CEO, AB-PMJAY and NHA.

Key points

♦This MoU would extend the benefits of the healthcare scheme in providing healthcare to secondary and tertiary driver partners. The MoU was also signed by a representative from Common Service Centres (CSC) under the Electronics and Information Technology (IT) ministry as part of the third party administrator.

♦First phase: The first phase of this partnership will be rolled out in Delhi as a pilot project after which it will be extended to other states.

♦AB card: All Ola employees and eligible driver partners can avail the AB card at a cost of Rs.30

  1. Indian Railways for the first time installed PET bottle crush machine in Mumbai Rajdhani express
  • For the first time in India, Indian Railways installed Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET) bottle crush machine in Mumbai Rajdhani Express which runs between Mumbai Central and New Delhi. It was implemented by the Western Railways as part of the Indian Railways’ Swachh Bharat and Go Green missions associated with the ban of single-use plastic imposed by the Centre.

Key Points:

♦This machine can crush up to 3,000 bottles per day, enable recycling of 90% PET waste bottles from 200 ml-2.5 litre size, reduce carbon footprint by 100% recycling and avoid littering in landfill from bottle waste.

♦It has an internal storage bin of approx 20 litres which is equivalent to 1500 bottles.

♦Western Railways has set up selfie points at Churchgate and Andheri stations, Mumbai to raise awareness on plastic ban.


  1. Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal launched ‘champions campaign’ against dengue
  • The Chief Minister of Delhi, Mr Arvind Kejriwal of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) launched “champions campaign” in the fight against dengue.
  • Earlier, he had also launched 10Hafte 10Baje 10Minute campaign. He had urged the Delhi residents to give 10 minutes every Sunday from September 1- November 15, 2019 to check the surroundings to prevent the breeding of dengue-carrier mosquitoes.


  1. World’s largest hand-woven carpet at UAE’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque
  • A 5,630 square metres of hand-woven carpet is located in Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque.
  • This carpet is the world’s largest as it can accommodate about 40,000 worshippers at one time.
  • The Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque is also famous for its 80 domes and gold gilded chandeliers.

Banking & Finance

  1. DoNER Ministry approves projects worth Rs 3,000 cr
  • Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) has recently approved more than 200 projects worth Rs 3,000 cr in the Entire North East including ASSAM.
  • According to the information provided by DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, 110 projects worth Rs 1699 crore were sanctioned for the development of the North-East states where 66 projects costing 820 crores have been completed.
  • Construction of double-lane road from Lanka to Umrangso costing 199.50 crores, the first Bamboo Industrial Park in Assam and Digboi town water supply scheme construction worth Rs 44.52 crores are some major schemes.
  1. London overtakes India’s financial capital Mumbai in rupee trading
  • London has overtaken India’s financial capital Mumbai to become the top center for trading the nation’s currency.
  • Average daily volumes for rupee in the UK soared to $46.8 billion in April, a more than fivefold jump from $8.8 billion in 2016, according to the latest survey from the Bank for International Settlements released this week. That exceeded the $34.5 billion recorded in India.
  • Trading in dollar-rupee offshore non-deliverable forwards increased threefold over the three-year period.
  1. Till March 31, 2020, Banks to not declare stressed assets of MSMEs as NPAs: Sitharaman
  • After meeting with the heads of public sector banks(PSB) to discuss various issues, including follow up on transmission of monetary policy rates, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that in order to overcome the slowdown in the economy and increase business activities, the government asked banks not to declare stressed loans of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) as Non Performing Assets (NPAs) until  March 31, 2020.

Key points:

♦Banks will also hold an open meeting with NBFCs (Non-Banking Financial Companies) and retail borrowers in 200 districts before September 29, 2019 with the intention of giving loans to farmers, retail loan creditors ,loans for housing, vehicles and other purposes.In the second phase, such meetings will be held in 200 other districts from October 10 – October 15, 2019. That is, there will be meetings of this kind in 400 districts in total.

♦On September 5, 2019,  Reserve Bank of India(RBI) has asked banks to link all new types of floating-rate loans (home, auto loans & and micro, small and medium enterprises (MSME)) to external benchmark like repo rate from October 1, 2019 for the welfare of the consumers.

  1. Reserve Bank bars unregulated fintech firms from accessing the consumer credit data
  • The country’s central Bank, Reserve Bank Of India(RBI) has directed the banks and non-banking finance companies (NBFCs) to stop sharing the pattern of consumer’s credit information held by credit information companies (CICs) with analytics firms , IT (Information Technology) companies, institutional agents and unregulated parties. The banking bodies have been given 15 days time period to implement the measure.

Key points:

♦The report by RBI highlights that such data sharing actions are against the Credit Information Companies (Regulation) Act, 2005 (CICRA) and any further default will face strict actions and penalties.

♦The data will be provided by Banks & NBFCs to 4 consumer credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian , TransUnion CIBIL ( Credit Information Bureau (India) Limited) and CRIF High Mark  and it will be confidential manner.

♦The decision will strongly affects digitally lending institutions that rely on their partner banks & NBFCs to get access consumer data by using  credit companies.

Business & Economy

  1. Overview of Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019
  • Union Minister for Finance & Corporate Affairs Smt Nirmala Sitaraman in a Press Conference in Goa notified that Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance 2019 was introduced to make certain amendments in the Income-tax Act 1961 and the Finance (No. 2) Act 2019.
  • The new provision gives any domestic company an option to pay income-tax at the rate of 22% subject to the condition that they will not avail any exemption/incentive.
  • Any new domestic company incorporated on or after October 1, 2019 making fresh investment in manufacturing was given an option to pay income-tax at the rate of 15%.
  • The total revenue foregone for the reduction in corporate tax rate and other relief was estimated at Rs. 1,45,000 crore.
  1. SEBI sets up committee to suggest structure and norms for social stock exchanges
  • Capital market regulator SEBI (Securities and Exchange Board of India) has formed a 15-member committee headed by Ishaat Hussain, Director at State Bank of India(SBI) Foundation and former Tata Sons Director, to suggest possible measures and regulations in creating the ‘social stock exchanges’. The formation of this committee comes after Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman’s maiden union budget speech to take the capital markets closer to inclusive growth and financial inclusion.

Key points

♦Committee’s work: The work of the committee is to examine and make recommendations for the social stock exchanges within the securities market domain inorder to facilitate the fund raisings by social enterprises and voluntary organizations.

♦Committee members:  The committee members include T V Mohandas Pai (Chairman of Manipal Global Education and former director of Infosys), RoopaKudva of Omidyar Network India, Amit Chandra of Bain Capital, Saurabh Garg (Principal Secretary to Odisha government), Shamika Ravi (Brookings India Director of Research and member of PM’s Economic Advisory Council), Vineet Rai of Aavishkaar Venture and Girish G Sohani of BAIF Development Research Foundation and other members from stock exchanges, corporate and economic affairs.

  1. OECD lowers India’s economic growth forecast for 2019-20 to 5.9% from 7.2%
  • As per the intergovernmental economic organisation, OECD(Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development ) latest update on OECD report 2019, India’s GDP (gross domestic product) growth expected to grow by 5.9 per cent for 2019 (FY-Fiscal Year 2020) and 6.3 % in 2020 (FY21).

Key points:

♦Scaling down:  It cut its forecast for FY20 to 5.9 % by 1.3 percentage points & for FY21 to 6.3 %  by 1.1 percentage points ( which is higher than projected for china-5.7%) due to a broad-based slowdown in consumption and investment demand in India.

♦Global Growth: OECD also predicted the global growth to 2.9 per cent for 2019 & 3 % growth for the 2020 due to trade war between the US (United States) and China that affects global growth momentum toward the low point last seen during the financial crisis.

♦India is one of the  7 nations whose economic growth projections are slashed down by the OECD by more than 0.6 % points. The other countries are Argentina, Brazil, Saudi Arabia, South Africa and Australia.

♦Other ratings:For FY 20,The  World Bank (WB) projected India’s GDP growth rate remained at 7.5%,IMF(International Monetary Fund) -7%, ADB(Asian Development Bank)-7%,Economic Survey of the finance ministry -7%,Reserve BankIndia(RBI)-6.9%.


  1. ICC banned Srilanka’s Dananjaya for illegal action
  • The International Cricket Council (ICC) has ordered to ban Sri Lanka’s spinner Akila Dananjaya from bowling for one year due to an illegal action.
  • Initially, he was banned in December 2018 due to his illegal bowling action for one year. Now, another 12-month ban was sanctioned as he was found repeating the action again.
  • Akila Dananjaya underwent an independent assessment in Chennai that revealed he is practising an illegal bowling action.

Appointment & Resignation

  1. Samuel Joseph Jebaraj appointed as DMD of IDBI Bank for 3 years
  • The Board of Directors (BoD) of Industrial Development Bank of India (IDBI Bank) approved the appointment of Samuel Joseph Jebaraj as Deputy Managing Director (DMD) for a period of 3 years with effect from September 19, 2019 succeeding KP Nair. This is the first major appointment on the Bank’s Board after Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) acquired a majority stake of 51% (January 2019) in the bank.
  • He currently serves as Chief General Manager of the Loan Administration and Human Resources Management Groups of the Bank.


  1. Vice President Venkaiah Naidu released ‘Himalayan Odyssey’ book by MP Veerendra Kumar in New Delhi (1255/110)
  • The Vice President of India Shri Venkaiah Naidu released the book in New Delhi named ‘Himalayan Odyssey’ written by Member of Parliament (MP) Veerendra Kumar. The book is an English translation of the Kendra SahityaAkademi and Kerala SahityaAkademi award winning Malayalam original ‘Haimavathabhuvil’ by Veerendra Kumar, who is also the Chief Managing Director(CMD) of Mathrubhumi.

Key point:

♦Other Awards: The other awards for this book are MoorthideviPuraskar, Dr. ShivramKaranth award, Vayalar award and Amrita KeerthiPuraskaram.

♦Book titled ‘Turbulence & Triumph: The Modi Years’, jointly authored by Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan set to release

♦Book titled ‘Turbulence & Triumph: The Modi Years’ jointly authored by Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan is set to release in October 2019. It is published by Om Books International. It depicts the journey of Prime Minister Narendra Modi from this young days to becoming 14th prime minister of India.

Science, Space & Technology

  1. ISRO, DRDO ink MoUs to provide technologies for Human Space Mission
  • The Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) joined hands with Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for development of human-centric systems for the Human Space Mission to demonstrate its human space flight capabilities.
  • The purpose behind the development is to provide technologies for human-centric systems and technologies specific to the Human Space Mission.
  • The technological capabilities existing in DRDO laboratories for defence applications will be customised to meet the requirements of the human space mission of ISRO.
  • Some of the critical technologies to be provided by DRDO to ISRO include space food, space crew health monitoring and emergency survival kit, radiation measurement and protection, parachutes for the safe recovery of the crew module and others.
  • ISRO aims to demonstrate human spaceflight capability before the 75th anniversary of India’s independence in 2022.
  1. Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd delivered second Scorpenesubmarine “KHANDERI” to Indian Navy in Mumbai
  • India’s biggest warship builder Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Ltd(MDL), delivered the second of the 6 scorpene class submarine, Indian Naval Ship (INS) khanderi to the Indian Navy in Mumbai, Maharashtra. The submarine will be commissioned at Naval dockyard by the Union Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh on September 28, 2019.

Key points

♦The acceptance document was signed by Rakesh Anand, Chairman & Managing Director(MD) of MDL and Rear Admiral B Sivakumar, Chief of Staff Officer (Tech), Western Naval Command.

♦The first of the scorpene submarine named INS Kalvari, was commissioned in the year 2018. The last of the submarine is expected to be delivered by 2022.

♦Khanderi name: The submarine Khanderi is named after wide snouted Sawfish, which is a deadly sea predator of the Indian Ocean.


  1. 74-year-old museum specimen-species of giant salamander becomes the world’s largest amphibian
  • researchers from the Zoological Society of London (ZSL) and London’s Natural History Museum have discovered a discovered a new species of giant chinesesalamander which is now considered to be the world’s largest amphibian. The study of this species is mentioned in the journal “Ecology and Evolution” and its scientific name is Andriassligoi.

Key point

♦It is described in this journal that there are 3 distinct species of Chinese salamanders which are now considered as critically endangered species. Apart from Andriassligoli, the other salamander species is named as Andriasdavidianus while the third is yet to be named.


  1. Shyam Ramsay of Ramsay Brothers passes away
  • Shyam Ramsay of the Ramsay Brothers passed away in Mumbai. He was 67.
  • Shyam Ramsay and his six brothers, together known as Ramsay Brothers in the Hindi film industry, started a mini cottage industry of small-budget horror films with scripts which wasted no time on non-essentials: the humans were just an excuse for the parade of colourful, crass otherworldly creatures.
  • Shyam helmed movies like Andhera (1975), Saboot (1980), PuranaMandir (1984), Purani Haveli (1989), Dhund: The Fog (2003), Koi Hai (2017) among others.


February 28, 2020

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