January This week (Current G.K)
- Human Resource Development Ministry has launched five documents developed by University Grants Commission. UGC covering the 5 verticals of Quality Mandate-Mulya Pravah, Guru Dakshta, SATAT, CARE, and Evaluation Reforms. These five documents cover evaluation reforms, eco-friendly and sustainable university campuses, human values and professional ethics, faculty induction and academic research integrity. The quality mandate aims at evolving higher education system to equip country’s next-generation with vital skills, knowledge and ethics for leading a rewarding life.
- Ministry of Women and Child Development has invited applications for Nari Shakti Puraskar for the year 2019. The National Award is given annually to individuals, groups, institutions in recognition of their exceptional work towards the cause of women empowerment, especially for vulnerable and marginalized women. Nearly 40 Nari Shakti Puraskar will be given on International Women’s Day observed on 8th March 2020. Details of eligibility criteria and guidelines are available on the portal – www.narishaktipuraskar.wcd.gov.in. The last date for submission of applications is 7th of January.
- Renowned Hindi author Ganga Prasad Vimal was killed in a road accident in Sri Lanka. His daughter, granddaughter and a local driver were also killed in the accident. HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal ‘Niskank’ condoled his demise. He said that Vimal’s death is an irreparable loss to the world of literature and a personal loss for him. Born in 1939 in Uttarkashi, Vimal wrote more than a dozen poetry collections, short story collections and novels.
- The MiG-27, which proved to be an ace attacker during the 1999 Kargil War roared through the skies for one last time on 27 December 2019 after serving the Indian Air Force for over three decades. The swing-wing fighter was the backbone of ground-attack fleet of the Air Force for several decades and the IAF bid adieu to its squadron of seven aircraft from Jodhpur Air Base. Defence Ministry said, the upgraded variant of this last swing-wing fleet has been the pride of IAF strike fleet since 2006. All other variants, such as MiG-23 BN and MiG-23 MF and the pure MiG-27 have already retired from IAF. It said, the fleet earned its glory in the historic Kargil conflict when it delivered rockets and bombs with accuracy on enemy positions earning the moniker ‘Bahadur’ from IAF pilots. The fleet also took active part in Operation Parakram.
- In spite of a decline in the GDP growth rate, Foreign Portfolio Investors (FPIs) seem to have flocked to the Indian capital market in a big way in 2019 with a net inflow of over 1.3 lakh crore rupees, including 97,250 crore rupees in equities, the highest in last six years. As the year draws to a close, the debt market has seen a net inflow of nearly 27,000 crore rupees by FPIs, while a further amount of 9,000 crore rupees found its way to the hybrid instruments, shows the capital market data compiled by depositories. Experts believe the positive trend may continue in 2020 as well, but downside risks might arise in the form of the US-China trade war and any further deterioration in the domestic credit market conditions.
- Asian Development Bank, ADB and Government of India have signed a 490 million dollars loan for public-private partnership, PPP project to upgrade about one thousand six hundred kilometers of state highways and major district roads from single-lane to two-lane widths in Madhya Pradesh. An additional 286 million dollars investment will be mobilised through private sector participation under the PPP modality. The state highways and major district roads provide a crucial link between rural roads and national highways and up-gradation of these roads under the project will improve rural and peri-urban connectivity in the states and improve access to markets and better services.
- Saudi Arabia and Kuwait have ended a nearly five-year-long dispute over shared oil fields and have agreed to resume oil production from the divided Neutral Zone, but stressed this would not change their OPEC commitments to crude oil production cuts. Local media reported that about 300,000 barrels per day were being pumped up to half-a-million barrels per day.
- Iraq’s parliament has approved a new election law aimed at giving political independents a better chance of winning seats in parliament. The new law changes each of the country’s 18 provinces into several electoral districts, with one legislator elected per 100,000 people. It also prevents parties from running on unified lists, which in the past have helped them easily sweep all the seats in a specific province. Instead, seats will go to whoever gets the most votes in the electoral districts. Drafting a new election law has been a key demand for the hundreds of thousands of protesters who have taken to the streets in Baghdad and the predominantly Shiite south since October 1. They have already forced Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi to resign late last month. Iraqi security forces have responded with lethal force, killing at least 400 people. Iraq’s 329-member parliament was elected in May 2018. The vote is held every four years, but the protesters have been demanding early elections.
- Global watchdog for terror financing, FATF has sought more clarifications and data from Pakistan on actions taken against madrassas belonging to proscribed outfits. This follows after Islamabad submitted a report to it detailing steps taken by the government to curb terrorism and money laundering. The Paris-based FATF, which kept Pakistan on the Grey List for an extended period till February 2020, had warned in October that Islamabad would be put on the Black List with Iran and North Korea, if it did not comply with the remaining 22 points in a list of 27 questions. Pakistan submitted a report comprising answers to 22 questions to the FATF on December 6. In response to the report , the FATF’s Joint Group has sent 150 questions to Pakistan, seeking some clarifications, and most importantly actions taken against the madrassas belonging to the proscribed outfits.
- Indian weightlifter Rakhi Halder with creating two new national records clinched a bronze medal in the women’s 64kg weight category at teh Qatar International Cup in Doha. The Commonwealth championship gold medalist superseded the senior national record in both snatch and total lift with her personal best effort of 218kg 95kg in the snatch with 123 kg in clean and jerk. India ended the Olympic qualifying silver level event with three medals. The points from this tournament will come in handy when the final rankings for 2020 Tokyo Olympics cut are done. To qualify for Tokyo Games, a weightlifter must complete in at least one event in each of the three periods of six months spread over November 2018 to April 2020, at least six events overall and in at least one gold and one silver-level event.
- Pat Cummins, with a base price of two crore rupees, become the most expensive overseas buy as he was sold to Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) for a whopping 15.50 crore rupees. Glenn Maxwell was sold to Kings XI Punjab for 10.75 crore rupees while Aaron Finch was picked up by Royal Challengers Bangalore for 4.4 crore rupees in the Indian Premier League auction. Yusuf Pathan remained unsold while India’s Test specialist Cheteshwar Pujara also failed to find any bidders in Kolkata. England captain Eoin Morgan will be playing for KKR in the upcoming IPL season as he was bought by KKR for 5.25 crore rupees. Robin Uthappa, who was released by KKR, has been bought by Rajasthan Royals for 3 crore rupees. Dale Steyn, Adam Zampa and Colin De Grandhomme failed to attract any bidders at the auction while Piyush Chawla signed for 6.75 crore rupees by Chennai Super Kings.