Gyaankosh – Current Affairs for March 2019 – Set 1

  • External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj addressed at the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Abu Dhabi on 2nd March 2019. This is the first time that a leader of the non-Muslim country has been invited to the OIC conference as guest of honour.
  • India has signed a deal with a Russian firm to manufacture 7.5 lakh AK-203 rifles. These are the latest derivative of the AK-47 rifles. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman stated that the AK-203 rifles will be produced at the Indian Ordnance Factory at Amethi’s Korwa. 
  • Divya Karnad, 33-year-old Ashoka University teacher and Wipro Sustainable Fellow, became the First Indian Woman to be honoured with the ‘Future for Nature Award’ for her work on marine conservation. She is the second Indian to receive this award after Dr. Charudutt Mishra. The award is given to 3 people annually, and this year it was given to Oliver Nsengimana and Fernanda Abra along with Divya Karnad. It is a prestigious international award that celebrates achievements in protecting wild animals and plant species.
  • With a net worth of $54 billion, Reliance Industries Chairman Mukesh Ambani has broken into the global top 10 richest billionaire list compiled by Hurun Research. The Hurun Global Rich List 2019 is topped by Amazon chief Jeff Bezos for the second year in a row, while the senior Ambani is placed 8th with a network of Rs 3.83 trillion. Ambani is the only Asian among the top 10.
  • Manu Bhaker and Saurabh Chaudhary clinched the gold medal in the 10m Air Pistol Mixed Team event at the ISSF World Cup in New Delhi.
  • Gandhi Peace Prize for 2018 was conferred to Japan’s Yohei Sasakawa for his contribution in Leprosy Eradication in India and across the world.
  • Roger Federer has claimed the 100th ATP title of his career after beating 20-year-old Greek Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships. The 20-time grand slam champion is the second man, after American Jimmy Connors to claim 100 titles.
  • West Indies opener Chris Gayle has become the first batsman ever to smash 500 or more sixes in international cricket. 
  • Gram Samridhi Yojana, a Rs 3,000 crore scheme funded by the World Bank and the Government of India, is being worked upon by the Ministry of Food Processing Industries in order to strengthen the unorganized food processing sector concentrated in rural areas. NITI Aayog has given its approval to the scheme. World Bank will be giving Rs 1,500 crore, Rs 1,000 crore will be borne by the Centre while state governments will put in Rs 500 crore. The scheme will be run in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra and Punjab for a 5-year period in the initial phase and thereafter in other states of the country.
  • NITI Aayog’s flagship initiative Atal Innovation Mission and software giant Adobe have partnered to enhance digital literacy and creativity skills. Adobe would implement the Digital Disha Programme across 100 schools under Atal Tinkering Labs (ATL) initiative.
  • Tata Steel has been recognized as one of World’s Most Ethical Companies by the Ethisphere Institute for 2019. Ethisphere Institute is a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. Tata steel has been recognized for eighth time under ‘Metals, Minerals and Mining’ category. The other Indian company to find a place in the list of World’s Most Ethical Companies 2019 is Wipro.
  • National Science Day is celebrated across India on February 28. Famous Indian scientist Sir Chandrasekhara Venkata Raman or CV Raman discovered the Raman Effect on this day in 1928. For his discovery, Sir CV Raman was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1930. On this day HRD Minister Prakash Javdekar launched the STARS (Scheme for Translational and Advanced Research in Science) scheme to fund science projects.
  • President Ram Nath Kovind has presented Swachh Survekhshan-2019 Awards in New Delhi.  Indore bagged award for the cleanest city for third straight year in Swachh Survekshan. The second and third positions were clinched by Ambikapur in Chhattisgarh and Mysore in Karnataka. Madhya Pradesh has reason to cheer as it has the highest number of India cities which are the cleanest in their segments – Bhopal is India’s cleanest capital and Ujjain is cleanest medium city having a population between 3 lakh to 10 lakh.
  •  Kylie Jenner was named the youngest self-made billionaire of all time by Forbes magazine, thanks to the booming cosmetics company (kylie cosmetics) she founded three years ago.
  • The Centre has announced a new Rs 20 coin which will come in 12-edged polygon (dodecagon) shape. The coin is part of the new series of visually impaired friendly coins of various denominations.
  • Google has launched a new app ‘Bolo’ that aims to help children in primary school to learn Hindi and English. The app uses Google’s speech recognition and text-to-speech technology. Through an animated character Diya, the app encourages children to read stories aloud.
  • Ravneet Gill, Former India chief of Deutsche Bank, took charge as the Managing Director (MD) and chief executive officer of private sector lender Yes Bank. He will have a three-year term.  Mr.Gill succeeds Rana Kapoor, the co-founder of the bank, whose term ended on January 31, 2019.
  • Cricket is included in the sports programme for the 2022 Asian Games to be held in Hangzhou, China. The decision was reportedly taken at the Olympic Council of Asia’s (OCA) General Assembly. Cricket was omitted from the 2018 Asian Games in Indonesia after featuring in 2010 and 2014.
  • India’s star wrestler Bajrang Punia won a gold medal in the 65kg freestyle final at the Dan Kolov-Nikola Petrov International wrestling tournament in Ruse, Bulgaria. Bajrang Punia defeated Jordan Olivier of USA. In the last six international tournaments, this is his 5th win.  He was ranked the world No.1 wrestler in 65kg category by United World Wrestling in November 2018.
  • The Defence Ministry announced that permanent commission will be granted for Women in all the 10 branches of Indian Army. The extension of Permanent Commission to Women will provide women with a career in the Army till their retirement. The Short Service Commission entails an opportunity to serve as a Commissioned Officer for 10/14 years. At the end of 10 yrs, 3 options will be provided, either elect for a Permanent Commission or opt out or have the option of 4 years extension.  The Women Officers will now get a permanent commission in branches such as signals, engineers, army aviation, army air defence, electronics, and mechanical engineers, army service corps, army ordnance corps, and intelligence.
  • Iniyan Panneerselvam defeated Ukraine’s 37-year-old Grandmaster Sergey Fedorchuk in Noisiel Open chess tournament in France to become India’s 61st Grandmaster. Viswanathan Anand is India’s first Chess Grandmaster and he achieved the norm way back in 1987. 
  • The new-age digital insurance company, ACKO General Insurance was awarded the prestigious Golden Peacock Innovative Product Award – 2019, for their contextual micro insurance product -“Ola Ride Insurance“. The award was presented to Biresh Giri, Appointed Actuary & CRO, Acko at an event in Dubai.  Launched in March 2018, Ola Ride Insurance is a first of its kind insurance in the Indian market where Acko partnered with the leading ride-sharing company, Ola.
  • President Trump notified the Congress his intent to terminate trade benefits for both India and Turkey under the Generalized System of Preference (GSP) eligibility criteria. About 2,000 products, including auto components and textiles, can enter the US duty-free if the beneficiary developing country meets the eligibility criteria. India was the largest beneficiary of the GSP programme in 2017 with $5.7 billion in imports to the US given duty-free status. President Trump has accused India of failing to ensure the US of “equitable and reasonable” access to its markets. The US is pressing India to reduce US trade deficits and has repeatedly called out India for higher tariffs.
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