|Weekly G.K. ( 16 June to 22 June )|
- The 5th International Day of Yoga was celebrated across the globe on June 21. Prime Minister Narendra Modi participated in a Mass Yoga Demonstration at Ranchi on the occasion. The Prime Minister said that he now wants to take the message of modern Yoga, from the cities to the villages, and to the homes of the poor and tribal communities. He emphasized that Yoga must become part of the lives of the poor and the tribals, because they suffer the most on account of illness. The prime Minister said Yoga transcends the barriers of age, colour, caste, community, thought, sect, rich or poor, State, and border. He said Yoga belongs to everyone. Mass yoga demonstration programmes were held at various places in New Delhi. President Ram Nath Kovind participated in the Yoga day event organized at the Rashtrapati Bhavan. Speaking on the occasion, Mr Kovind said, yoga is India’s gift to humanity and it holds the key to healthy living and to that fine balance between mind and body. Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu participated in the Yoga Day celebrations organized by Brahma Kumaris at Red Fort.
- President Ram Nath Kovind has said a strong national economy is possible only on the foundation of a strong rural economy. Addressing the joint sitting of both the Houses of Parliament, Mr Kovind said, farmers are the pillars of rural economy and large scale investments have been made to strengthen rural India. Mr Kovind said in order to enhance agriculture productivity, an investment of 25 lakh crore rupees will be made in the coming years. The President said, rural women are the biggest beneficiaries of freedom from smoke through Ujjwala Yojana, vaccination through Mission Indradhanush and free electricity connections under Saubhagya Yojana. He said, women are also being given priority in the registration of houses built under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana in the rural areas. He said, under the housing scheme, nearly 2 crore new houses will be built in the villages during the next three years. The President said, work is underway to transform India into a Global Manufacturing Hub and a New Industrial Policy will be announced shortly. He said people after evaluating the government’s first term, have given even stronger support for the second term in the Lok Sabha elections. Listing the government’s initiatives, the President said it has been decided to provide the ‘Prime Minister Kisan Samman Nidhi’, to every farmer in the country. He said the government’s ‘pension scheme’ for small shopkeepers and retail traders, will benefit around three crore small shopkeepers in the country. The President said, the world’s biggest healthcare scheme Ayushman Bharat Yojana has been implemented, providing ‘Health-Protection-Cover’ to 50 crore poor people. Mr Kovind said, the objective is to set up about 1.5 lakh Health and Wellness Centres in all rural areas by 2022.
- NDA nominee and BJP MP from Kta, Om Birla was unanimously elected as the Speaker of 17th Lok Sabha. All major political parties including Congress, DMK, TMC, BJD, TDP, YSR Congress, JD(U) and Shiv Sena supported the motion moved by Prime Minister and Leader of the House, Narendra Modi to choose Mr. Birla as the Sppeaker. Later, Pro-tm speaker Dr. Virendra Kumar declared Mr. Birla as the Speaker. Prime Minister along with other leaders of different political parties escorted Om Birla to the Speaker’s chair.
- Information and Broadcasting Minister Prakash Javadekar has said the government has put in place an institutional mechanism to deal with matters of misleading advertisements. Replying to a question in Lok Sabha, Mr Javadekar said the government takes cognizance of the rise in misleading advertisements in different media including television in the country. He said the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting had constituted a standing and permanent Inter ministerial committee to examine content related matters of programmes and advertisements telecast on TV. The minister informed the House that for Print media, the Press Council of India is mandated to maintain and improve the standards of newspapers and news agencies in the country. Mr Javadekar said in 2015, the department of Consumer Affairs launched a portal, Grievances Against Misleading Advertisements (GAMA). He said between March 2015 and May 2019, 6710 complaints related to advertisements have been successfully resolved. The minister also informed the House that the Advertising Standards Council of India looks into complaints across all media such as Print, TV, Radio, hoardings, brochures and SMS.
- Environment Forest and Climate Change Minister Prakash Javadekar ah said that his ministry has issued letters to all states to consider the inclusion of bamboo and medicinal plants in the afforestation activities being undertaken on degraded forest land and contiguous areas. Replying to a question in the Lok Sabha, he said the ministry also issued advisories to states to take up plantation of local and indigenous species which would also include Neem, Peepal and Banyan on various occasions like Van Mahotsav and World Environment Day. The Minister said, Human Resource Development Ministry has already taken up the programme of Smart Campus, where greening of the campus is a major component.
- Bangladesh has emerged as the fastest growing economy among the 45 countries of the Asia-Pacific region according to Asian Development Bank (ADB). In the financial year 2018-19 Bangladesh attained growth rate of 7.9% which is its fastest rate since 1974. The bank predicted that the growth will be 8% in the next financial year. The ADB country director handed over the report to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina.
- Mexico has ratified the US-Mexico Canada agreement. This makes it the first country to give the new North American trade deal final approval despite recent tensions with the US. The Mexican government called the deals passage a clear message in favor of an open economy and deepening economic integration in the region. President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador claimed the deal would bring in more foreign investment and jobs in Mexico, and access to the US market. The deal aims to replace the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), which helped turn Mexico into an exporting powerhouse over the past 25 years. It now falls to Canada and the US to ratify the deal.
- A UN report said, Foreign Direct Investment to India grew by 6 percent to 42 billion dollars in 2018, with strong inflows in the manufacturing, communication and financial services sectors, and cross-border merger and acquisition activities. The report ranked India among the top 20 host economies for FDI inflows in 2017-18. The World Investment Report 2019, released by the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) said, Foreign Direct Investment inflows to South Asia increased 3.5 percent to 54 billion dollars.
- India’s exports grew by 3.93 per cent to around 30 billion dollars in May on account of healthy growth in sectors such as chemicals, pharmaceuticals and engineering. According to Commerce Ministry data, the imports have also rose by 4.31 per cent to 45.65 billion dollars. The trade deficit has widened to 15.36 billion dollars in May. The Ministry said India’s overall exports (Merchandise and Services combined) in April-May 2019-20 are estimated to be 92.33 billion dollars, exhibiting a positive growth of 4.32 per cent over the same period last year.
- India’s ace cueist Pankaj Advani beat compatriot Aditya Mehta in the quarterfinals of the Asian Snooker Championship in the Qatari capital Doha. With this victory, Advani assured himself of a medal. Mehta was one frame away from ousting the 21-time world championship from the tournament but Pankaj’s resilient efforts saw him enforce the decider.
- Sports Minister Kiren Rijiju felicitated the Indian archery contingent for their superlative performance at the World Archery Championships held recently in The Netherlands. Meeting the archers at the Sports Authority of India headquarters in New Delhi, Mr Rijiju congratulated them for winning an Olympic quota for Tokyo 2020 and bagging three medals in the championship. India won one silver and two bronze medals at the event, making it the best-ever medal haul in an Archery World Championship. India had won two silver medals in the same event in 2015, which is the country’s second-best performance at the Championship. The Indian men’s recurve team comprising Atanu Das, Tarundeep Rai and Pravin Jadhav won a silver medal at the Championships.