Current Affairs April 27, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of April 27, 2019 in Short Notes form for preparation of IBPS, Banking, CLAT, SSC, Railway, UPSC, IAS/PCS, UPPSC, BPSC, MPPSC, RPSC, TNPSC, MPSC, KPSC and all other competitive examinations of India.

1. The World Malaria Day (WMD) is observed every year on 25th of April to raise awareness and funds for the treatment and prevention of the disease. The day also highlights the need for sustained investment and political commitment for malaria prevention, control and elimination. As part of the WMD 2019, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has launched grassroots campaign ‘Zero malaria starts with me’ to keep malaria high on the political agenda, mobilize additional resources, and empower communities to take ownership of malaria prevention and care.

2. The global startup ecosystem map Startupblink has released its latest 2019 Startup Ecosystem Ranking. In it, India has been ranked 17th out of 100 countries, based on the strength of its startup ecosystem. The index is topped by United States, followed by UK, Canada, Israel, and Australia. The ranking is carried out on the basis the impact startups have been able to make in the country. Additionally, it has also considered how many startups and support organisations are there such as accelerators, coworking spaces, startup events along with technology infrastructure, red tape, bureaucracy, etc. It used data from startups, accelerators and co-working spaces registered on its platforms as well as data received from global partners such as Crunchbase and SimilarWeb. StartupBlink also ranked cities globally in its top 25-city ranking that included Bengaluru at 11 and New Delhi at 18 andMumbai at 29.

3. Fitch Ratings has recently said in its APAC sovereign credit overview report that the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) is the first Asia-Pacific (APAC) central bank to begin interest rate easing cycle by cutting the policy rate back-to-back in the last two monetary policy reviews in 2019. The Monetary Policy Committee (MPC), headed by RBI Govenor Shaktikanta Das, cut rates in February and April, citing prospects of benign inflation. In the four months of 2019, the RBI has cut policy interest rates twice twice by 0.25% each to one-year low of 6%. Earlier in April 2019, Fitch Ratings kept India’s rating unchanged for the 13th time in a row at BBB- , which is the lowest investment grade, along with a stable outlook. The agency cited various challenges faced by the country such as high public debt, weak financial sector and lagging structural reforms.

4. The Kotak Mahindra Bank (KMB) has become the first Destination Bank to go live with Net Banking and Debit Card-based authentication solution on NPCI’s e-Mandate API platform. The facility will enable its customers to create electronic mandates (similar to the erstwhile eNACH with Aadhaar + OTP) via both the Debit Card and Net Banking channels. This allows Kotak to go live as a sponsor or acquirer bank for corporates and merchants seeking recurring payments. In a first-of-its-kind initiative in the industry, customers can register both physical and e-mandates on a single platform with validation on the mandate fields to remove rejections on account of various reasons.

5. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has divested its entire stake in National Housing Bank (NHB) and the National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (Nabard) for Rs 1,450 crore and Rs 20 crore, respectively. The move is part of ending the cross-holding in regulatory institutions and follows the recommendation of second Narasimham committee report of October 2001 and the RBI's own discussion paper on the same entitled 'Harmonizing the role and operations of development financial institutions and banks. The current change in the capital structure of both these financial institutions was brought in by the government through amendments to the Nabard Act of 1981 and the NHB Act of 1987 which were notified on January 19, 2018 and March 29, 2018, respectively. With this, the Government of India (GoI) now holds 100% stake in both these financial institutions.

6. Russian state-run atomic energy corporation Rosatom has successfully tested the world’s first Floating Nuclear Power Plant (FNPP) – Akademik Lomonosov. The FNPP has a capacity of 70MW and is equipped with two reactors of 35MW each. It has an operational life span is 40 years, with the possibility of being extended up to 50 years. According to Rosatom, in the second half of 2019, the FNPP will be transported to its final destination to the port of Pevek in Russia's extreme north-eastern region of Chukotka, where it will replace the Bilibino Nuclear Power Plant and the Chaunskaya coal-fired power plant. An FNPP is basically a mobile, low-capacity reactor unit operable in remote areas isolated from the main power distribution system, or in places hard to access by land. They are designed to maintain both uninterruptible power and plentiful desalinated water supply in remote areas.

7. Michelin-star chef and filmmaker Vikas Khanna has been named as brand ambassador of Indo-American Arts Council (IAAC) at the Consulate General of India in New York City. The IAAC will organise the New York Indian Film Festival (NYIFF -2019) that will showcase 30 Indian feature-length films, including three documentaries. It will also bring to the audience of New York 30 shorts and 19 regional films, including Bengali, Assamese, Marathi, Tamil, Malyalam cinema. The fest is the North America's longest-running and most prestigious Indian film festival from May 7 to 12. It will also showcase the celebrity chef's film 'The Last Color' and Nawazuddin Siddiqui-starrer 'Photograph'. Khanna's 'The Last has won rave reviews at various international film festivals for its lead actress Neena Gupta, who plays a widow living a life of abstinence and isolation in the ancient Indian city of Banaras.

8. Rajendra Kumar Nayak, the 1983 batch officer of Indian Defence Accounts Service , has been appointed as the new Controller General of Defence Accounts (CGDA). With over 35 years of experience, Nayak has held important assignments in the Defence Accounts Department and on deputation in the Government of India. He has vast and varied experience in handling Finance, Personnel, Pay & Budget matters of Ministry of Defence. The CGDA heads the Defence Accounts Department (DAD) and operates under the Ministry of Defence. It is the cadre controlling authority of the Indian Defence Accounts Service.

9. Pakistani journalist Cyril Almeida has won the World Press Freedom Hero award of The International Press Institute (IPI) for his critical and tenacious coverage of the civil-military relations in Pakistan. Almeida is an assistant editor and columnist at Pakistani daily ‘Dawn’ & is currently facing sedition charges in the country. The IPI is a global network of editors, media executives and leading journalists in over 100 countries. IPI’s World Press Freedom Hero Award honours journalists who have made critical contributions to the promotion of press freedom, particularly in the face of great personal risk.

10. Rana Dasgupta has won the 2nd edition of Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize 2019 for his 2010 novel "Solo", a tale of estrangement and the ultimate failure of material existence. The award consists of an amount of $10,000, a Tagore statue and a certificate. Beside this, the Rabindranath Tagore Literary Prize for social achievement was awarded to Yohei Sasakawa, the World Health Organization Goodwill Ambassador for Leprosy Elimination, for "his incredible efforts to uproot leprosy and great contribution to world peace". The Prize was also awarded to Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen as "a beacon of democracy".

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