January This week ( Current GK)
- Chief of the Defence Staff, CDS General Bipin Rawat has directed various branch heads to come up with recommendations for inter-service synergy and jointness in a time bound manner. After assuming charge as CDS, General Rawat held a meeting with important functionaries of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff during which he directed that a proposal to create Air Defence Command be prepared by 30th of June this year. He also set out priorities for execution of synergy by 30th June and 31st December this year. Some of the areas identified for jointness and synergy by 30th June and 31st December this year. Some of the areas identified for jointness and synergy include creation of common logistics support pools in stations where two or more services have their presence. Emphasizing collegiate system of functioning. General Rawat directed that all three services and Coast Guard must be consulted and their views obtained in a time bound manner. However, decisions will be taken to ensure optimization of resources. Efforts will be made to cut out infructuous ceremonial activities, which are manpower intensive.
- The Indian Railways has integrated its helpline numbers into a single number – 139 for quick grievance redressal and enquiries by passengers during their train journeys. The new helpline number 139 will take over all the existing helpline numbers and will be available in twelve Indian languages. It will be based on Interactive Voice Response System. A call can be made on this number from any mobile phone and not just smart phones, thus, providing easy access to all mobile users.
- The Union Ministry of Science and Technology have awarded Swarnajayanthi Fellowships basic research in frontier areas of science and technology. The fellowship of 25 thousand rupees per month. A research grant of five lakh rupees for five years is also being provided in addition to their salary. Instituted to commemorate India’s 50th year of independence, Swarnajayanti Fellowships are awarded to young and brilliant scientists to pursue unfettered research with financial freedom and flexibility.
- The Election Commission has launched a Political Parties Registration Tracking Management System to enable applicants to track the status of the applications. Under it, applicants, applying for the party registration from 1 January 2020 will be able to track the progress of applications and will get the status through SMS and e-mail. An association seeking registration has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days from the date of its formation.
- A total of twenty two tableau proposals including 16 from states and six from Central Ministers have been short-listed for participation in this year’s Republic Day parade. Ministry of Defence had received a total of 56 tableaux proposals comprising of eminent persons in the field of art, culture, painting, sculpture, music and architecture.
- India will overtake Germany to become fourth-largest economy in the world by the year 2026. According to a report by the UK-based Centre for Economics and Business Research (CEBR), India is all set to overtake Japan to become the third largest economy by 2034. The report titled ‘World Economic League Table 2020’ said that India is also set to become a 5 trillion dollar economy by 2026, 2 years later than the government’s target of 2024. India has decisively overtaken both France and the UK to become the world’s fifth-largest economy in 2019. The report said that Japan, Germany and India will battle for third position over the next 15 years. The World Economic League Table is an annual calculation by CEBR jointly published by CEBR and Global Construction Perspectives. The base data for 2019 is taken from the IMF World Economic Outlook.
- In the second special open market operation (OMO), the Reverse Bank of India on Monday day bought 10,000 crore rupees of long-term government securities and sold 8,501 crore rupees of three short-term bonds. The RBI had announced to purchase and sell simultaneously government securities under Open Market Operations (OMO) for 10,000 crore rupees each, last week: Though RBI offered to sell four securities in the auction, it accepted bids for three bids only.
- Iranian Major-General Qassem Soliemani, head of the elite Quds Force, and Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in an air strike on their convoy at Baghdad airport on the orders of US President Donald Trump on 03 January. The Pentagon in a statement termed it a decisive defensive action to protect US personnel action to protect abroad. It said, General Soleimani was actively developing plans to attack American diplomats and service members in Iraq and throughout the region. The US Department of Defense said, General Soleimani and his Quds Force were responsible for the deaths of hundreds of American and coalition service members and the wounding of thousands more. Deputy commander of Iraq’s powerful Hashed al-Shaabi paramilitary force Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the airstrike. The attack occurred amid tensions with US after an Iran-backed militia and other protesters breached the American Embassy in Baghbad.
- North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has declared an end to moratoriums on nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile tests with a threat to demonstrate a new strategic weapon soon. The announcement was reported by Pyongyang state media on 1 January. Washington has responded by urging Kim to take a different course. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that the US wanted peace not confrontation. Meanwhile, President Donald Trump said he believes Kim will stick to his commitments on denuclearization, even as he threatened the new weapon. A self-imposed ban on such tests has been the centrepiece of the nuclear diplomacy between Pyongyang and Washington over teh past two years. Despite three meetings between Kim and Trump, little tangible progress has been made.
- Indian Olympic Association (IOA) has withdrawn its threat to boycott the 2022 Commonwealth Games in Birmingham over Shooting’s exclusion. It also announced that the country will bid to host either the 2026 or the 2030 edition. During its Annual General Meeting in New Delhi, the IOA, on the advice of Commonwealth Games Federation (CGF), also decided to submit a formal proposal to host a Commonwealth Shooting Championships before the main Games, an idea mooted by both the national and international shooting bodies to make up for the sport’s exclusion from 2022 CWG, CGF President Dame Louise Martin welcomed India confirming participation at the Birmingham Games. The country’s apex body for Olympic sports will next approach the government for the necessary clearances to host the multi-sport event. The country hosted the 2010 edition in the national capital.
- Indian grandmaster Koneru Humpy has become the 2019 Women’s World Rapid Champion. She defeated China’s Lei Tingjie in a dramatic final in Moscow, Russia. After losing the opening game, Humpy made an impressive comeback and collected nine points each in 12 rounds to be tied with Tingjie. The duo then played a fierce game to break the deadlock. Tingjie finished with a silver, while Turkey’s Ekaterina Atalik won bronze. This is a significant triumph for Humpy who is India’s best-ever women’s chess player. She is more at ease in the classical format and was clearly trying to take her skills in the rapid format to a new level. Norway’s Magnus Carlsen claimed the men’s title.