Current Affairs 8th January 2019

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8 January 2019

Mysore-born Gita Gopinath has joined International Monetary Fund (IMF) as its chief economist, becoming the first woman to occupy the top IMF post. She succeeds Maurice Obstfeld, who retired on December 31. Ms Gopinath considers the perceived retreat from globalisation as one of the top challenges being faced by the IMF.

8 January 2019

World Bank President Jim Yong Kim on January 7 announced that he will step down from his position on February 1 - much before the end of his term in 2022. Kim, 58, has been in this position for over six years now. Kristalina Georgieva, World Bank CEO, will assume the role of interim President effective February 1. ♦ World Bank Headquarters - Washington, D.C., United States

8 January 2019

Gruh Finance, the affordable housing finance arm of HDFC, will be merged with Bandhan Bank, the newest commercial bank. The move would help the Bandhan Bank to cut promoter stake from 82.3% to 61%. According to the deal, 568 equity shares of face value of Rs.10 each of Bandhan Bank is to be issued for every 1,000 equity shares of a face value of Rs.2 each of Gruh. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals. The swap ratio implies a 2.05% premium to the shareholders of Gruh. The combined entity is valued at Rs.84,000 crore. Post the deal, HDFC will have 14.9% stake in Bandhan Bank. The move comes after the restrictions imposed by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) on Bandhan in terms of branch expansion and the remuneration of its MD & CEO Chandra Shekhar Ghosh, for inability to bring down promoter stake to 40% within three years of starting operations.

8 January 2019

Lupin, the major Drug maker, received the approval from United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA), the U.S. health regulator, to market Lurasidone Hydrochloride tablets in the U.S.  The firm can sell its product in strengths of 20 mg, 40 mg, 60 mg, 80 mg, and 120 mg. The drug is a generic version of Sunovion Pharmaceuticals Inc.’s Latuda tablets. The drug is indicated for conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar depression. United States Food & Drug Administration (USFDA): ♦ Established on: June 30, 1906 ♦ Headquarters: Maryland, United States ♦ USFDA is a federal agency of the United States Department of Health and Human Services ♦ It is responsible for protecting and promoting public health through the control and supervision of food safety, tobacco products, dietary supplements, vaccines, biopharmaceuticals, blood transfusions, medical devices, Electromagnetic Radiation Emitting Devices (ERED), cosmetics, animal foods & feed and veterinary products

8 January 2019

The Indian Navy is planning to commission a new airbase 100 miles north of Port Blair in the strategically located Andaman and Nicobar islands. Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will commission the base, INS Kohassa on January 24. This will be India’s fourth air base and the third naval air facility in the archipelago, which are more closer to Southeast Asia than to the Indian mainland, overlooking key sea lanes of communication and strategic choke points. The base will initially operate choppers and Dornier short-range surveillance aircraft. The base can also act as an alternate runway to Port Blair for civilian traffic in case of emergencies.
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8 January 2019

The Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016 recommended that the Assam government should help settle migrants especially in places which are not densely populated, thus, causing a lesser impact on the demographic changes and providing succour to the indigenous Assamese people. The Union Cabinet cleared the redrafted Citizenship Amendment Bill and it will be tabled in Parliament. The Bill paves the way to grant citizenship to six religious minorities: Hindus, Jains, Sikhs, Parsis, Christians, and Buddhists, from Pakistan, Afghanistan, and Bangladesh who came to India before 2014. The BJP-ruled Assam showed strong resistance to the bill as it would pave the way for giving citizenship for people came after March 1971 in Assam, which adds burden to the State, in violation of the Assam Accord of 1985.

8 January 2019

The Cabinet approved a Constitution Amendment Bill to provide 10% reservation to the economically backward sections in the general category. The Bill will also cover those from the Muslim, Sikh, Christian, Buddhist and other minority communities.  The quota will be over and above the existing 50% reservation to the Scheduled Castes, the Scheduled Tribes and the Other Backward Classes (OBC). The government is likely to bring a Constitution Amendment bill in Parliament. According to article 368, the Bill must be passed in each House by an absolute majority (over 50% of total membership) and a two-thirds majority of members present and voting. Eligibility: ♦ People earning Iess lakh annually ♦ People who own farm land below 5 acres ♦ People own a measuring less than 1,000 sq ft ♦ In its famous lndra Sawhney judgment, the Supreme Court had set a ap of 50% on quotas ♦ A Constitutional Amendment Bill would be required as the Constitution does not provide for reservation on the ground of economic conditions. It envisages Amendments to Articles 15 and 16 of the Constitution

8 January 2019

♦ The 125-year-old Old High Court Building in Nagpur, Maharashtra; ♦ Two Mughal-era monuments in Agra - Haveli of Agha Khan and Hathi Khana; ♦ The ancient Neemrana Baori in Rajasthan’s Alwar district; ♦ The Group of Temples at Ranipur Jharail in Odisha’s Bolangir district; ♦ The Vishnu Temple in Kotali, Pithoragarh district, Uttarakhand are the Six monuments that have been listed. In 2016 and 2017, no new monument was included in the list of sites of national importance. The last monument to be included in the list, in 2015, was the Vishnu Temple in Nadavayal in Kerala’s Wayanad district.

8 January 2019

The government has amalgamated three Regional Rural Banks -- Punjab Gramin Bank, Malwa Gramin Bank and Sutlej Gramin Bank -- into a single RRB with immediate effect. The sponsor banks of the RRBs are National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD), the Government of Punjab and Punjab National Bank, State Bank of India and Punjab and Sind Bank.

8 January 2019

The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is likely to transfer an interim dividend of up to Rs 30,000 crore to Rs 40,000 crore ($4.32 billion-$5.8 billion) to the government by March. The funds are crucial to meet the fiscal deficit target of 3.3 percent of the GDP for the financial year ending in March, as the government's revenue shortfall may be as high as Rs 1 lakh crore.

8 January 2019

Alok Verma reinstated as the CBI chief by the Supreme Court, three months after the government divested him of his powers and sent him on forced leave. Alok Verma and his deputy Rakesh Asthana were both sent on leave in October amid a bitter feud between the CBI’s top two. Supreme Court strikes down CBI Chief Alok Verma’s removal. However, at present, Alok Verma cannot take any major policy decisions. Supreme Court stated that the High Power Committee under the DSPE Act needs to act within a week to consider Alok Verma’s case.

8 January 2019

The Polavaram irrigation project in Andhra Pradesh created two Guinness world records for ‘pouring the highest amount of concrete’ and ‘largest continuous concrete pour in 24 hours’. The Polavaram irrigation project is located in West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. The project has entered the Guinness World Records for pouring 32,100 cubic meters of concrete non-stop in 24 hours. The total storage capacity of the water reservoir is 120,000 million cubic feet (TMC). The current record is held by a Dubai-based contracting group which poured 21,580 cu m of concrete in about 35 hours.

8 January 2019

During the visit, Ms Erna Solberg hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. She will also call on President Ram Nath Kovind and Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu. She delivers the Inaugural address at the Raisina Dialogue and will address India-Norway Business Summit. Several agreements will be signed after the talks including one on facilitating dialogue to boost bilateral trade which currently stands at 1.2 billion dollars.

8 January 2019

Sheikh Hasina’s Awami League-led alliance won 288 of the 298 seats in the December 30 election. President Abdul Hamid administered the oath of office to 71-year-old Hasina at the Bangabhaban. This is Hasina's fourth term in office overall. Hasina will lead a Cabinet of 24 ministers, 19 ministers of state and three state ministers. Hasina was first elected prime minister in 1996 and then again in 2008 and 2014.

8 January 2019

Maharashtra is all set to host the second edition of Khelo India Youth Games which will officially begin tomorrow in Pune. More than 9000 players from different states will participate in 18 different games at Khelo India Youth Games. It has already been announced that Youth Olympic Gold Medallist in shooting Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhari, as well as weightlifter Jeremy Lalrinnunga, will be among the cream of India’s youth sporting talent competing at these games. Three 10-year-old athletes including footballer Pratima Kumar from Jharkhand, hockey player Laltlanchhungi from Mizoram and West Bengal’s 10m air rifle shooter Abhinav Shaw, will pick up their first experience of competing in a large-scale multi-discipline event.

8 January 2019

Vice-Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Harivansh Narayan Singh launched Manohar Manoj`s book ‘A Crusade Against Corruption’ at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.

8 January 2019

Twenty-Five years old Indian fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah finishes 2018 as the highest international wicket-taker of 2018 with 78 wickets after taking 9 wickets in the 3rd Test Match against Australia held in Melbourne Cricket Ground, Australia. South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada ranked 2nd in the list of Highest International wicket taker of 2018 with 77 wickets.

8 January 2019

Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) announced at a ceremony organized by St Joseph’s College, Trichy, Tamilnadu which is celebrating its 175 anniversary that the Union Government has allocated 10,900 crore rupees for the development of 40 satellite launch vehicles in the next four years He also informed that the Chandrayan-2 Mission will be launched within three months and It will land in one of those parts of the Moon which is still unexplored. Human spaceflight Gaganyaan is planned to be launched by 2022, on the occasion of 75th anniversary of Independence. He also stated that the next year ISRO will be organizing the Centenary year celebrations of ISRO founder Dr. Vikram Sarabhai in which ISRO will dedicate itself to become a world-class organization, capable of addressing the varied socio-economic challenges of the nation.

8 January 2019

Union Minister of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Shri Prakash Javadekar stated that the HRD ministry introduced a 70-point grading index to assess the quality of school education offered by states. A state performance grading will be done wherein the states will be marked out of 1,000 scores on 70 parameters. By doing so the ministry expects that it will give the correct picture of where every state stands and will create an atmosphere of a fair competition to improve each other’s performances. In another move the ministry has also decided to print more books of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) as against only 2 crore books two years ago. The ministry has set the target of printing 6 crore books this year so that the parents who want to send their wards to private schools, should get cheaper and quality books.

8 January 2019

BJP formed 17 groups for upcoming Lok Sabha election. The election is expected to be held in April-May. The party’s president Amit Shah announced the formation of 17 groups in preparation for the election.  Senior BJP leader and Union Minister Rajnath Singh is to head the party’s “sankalp patra” (manifesto) committee. Finance Minister Arun Jaitley will head its publicity wing. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari will head a 17-member committee to reach out to social and volunteer organizations.  Defence Minister Sushma Swaraj will preside over a group that will produce literature for the polls. Mr.Prasad will head the party’s media group while Union Minister Prakash Javadekar will lead the wing which will organize meetings of intellectuals.

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