Current Affairs March 08, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of March 08, 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. Tech giant Google has recently launched a new app 'Bolo' that aims to help children in primary school learn to read in Hindi and English. The free app, which is being launched in India first, uses Google's speech recognition and text-to-speech technology. The app features an animated character 'Diya', who encourages children to read stories aloud and helps if the child is unable to pronounce a word. It also lauds the reader when she completes the reading. The Bolo app will be available on Google Play Store in India for all smartphones running Android 4.4 (Kit Kat) and higher, and can also work offline.To ensure safety of the child, all personal information always stays on device. The users are also not asked for details like email ID and gender for logging into the app.

2. The Congress government in Chhattisgarh has recently constituted a high-level committee under a retired Supreme Court judge to review cases against tribals who are in prison for alleged involvement in Left-Wing Extremism (LWE). This marks a shift from the stance adopted by the previous BJP government which was often accused of targeting social rights activists working in Naxal-affected districts. The panel, headed by Justice (retd) A K Patnaik, will review the cases registered against people belonging to Scheduled Tribes (ST) in the naxal-affected area.

3. In Madhya Pradesh, ancient tribal language Gondi will be taught in tribal districts to save it from becoming a thing of the past. The rapid decline in the number of people who speak that tongue is a matter of concern; hence, Chief Minister Kamal Nath has decided to include Gondi in the primary education curriculum of the state's tribal-dominated districts.

4. The National Centre for Good Governance (NCGG) has recently signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs (IICA) to ensure better utilisation of infrastructure facilities during training programmes. The NCGG has been set up by the Government of India (GoI) under the aegis of DARPG (Department of Administrative Reforms and Public Grievances). It aims to promote good governance through capacity building on public policy and governance both at national and international level and carrying out studies research on issues relating to governance. Its head office is at New Delhi. The IICA, registered as a society, is under the Ministry of Corporate Affairs with the primary objective of establishing, managing, maintaining and running a world class institute.

5. The 3rd edition of the bilateral joint exercise “Al Nagah 2019” is scheduled to be held between India and Oman from 12th to 25th March at Jabel Al Akhdar Mountains in Oman. In the exercise, both the armies will exchange expertise and experience in tactics, weapon handling and firing. The aim of this exercise is to enhance interoperability in counter terrorist operations in semi urban mountainous terrain.

6. The Rice Knowledge Bank – Assam (RKB-Assam) is an agriculture web portal i.e. dedicated to enhancing knowledge on rice production techniques, agricultural technologies, best production practices and state agriculture facts. It serves to address the challenges for agricultural development by supporting fast and effective transfer of technologies and knowledge from the research laboratory to farmer's fields. RKB-Assam has been launched as part of the World Bank funded project- Assam Agri-business and Rural Transformation (APART). The portal is the result of efforts of Assam Rural Infrastructure and Agricultural Services Society (ARIAS), Assam Agricultural University (AAU); with technical assistance from International Rice Research Institute (IRRI).

7. Thanga Darlong, the 99-year old tribal musician and music guru, has been conferred the first Atal Behari Vajpayee Life Time Award for preserving the musical form during the 37th Agartala Book Fair in Tripura. Darlong is the last tribal musician to play Rosem – a bamboo made a flute-like musical instrument. Earlier, in January 2019, he was conferred with the prestigious Padma Shri award for his contribution to the field of music. Born on 20th July 1920 at Muruai village of Tripura, Thanga Darlong was initially trained in folk music from his father Hakvunga Darlong. He was later taught and groomed in the nuances of playing Rosem – a traditional musical instrument of the Darlong community by traditional music maestro Darthuama Darlong. In 2016, he was also showcased in ‘Tree of Tongues in Tripura’, directed by the National Awards winner Joshy Joseph Josy Joseph.

8. Hewlett Packard India has recently signed a MoU with the Andhra Pradesh Innovation Society (APIS) and Andhra Pradesh Economic Development Board (APEDB) to build a Center of Excellence (CoE) for Additive Manufacturing (AM) powered by HP’s 3D printing technology. APIS would provide infrastructural support and enable necessary certifications and accreditations while APEDB will drive and encourage the usage of the CoE by government departments, defence and public sector enterprises. The CoE is part of the state government’s vision to accelerate adoption of 3D printing in various industry sectors such as automotive, aerospace, defence, consumer goods, healthcare, apparel and construction. It will be equipped with HP’s 3D printers that can handle short run production and functional prototyping. The 3D printing centre would give Small and Medium Businesses (SMBs) and start-ups in Andhra Pradesh an opportunity to learn more about the benefits of Additive Manufacturing (AM).

9. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) has recently said that five candidates have been presented by FAO member countries for the post of Director-General, to be elected in June 2019. The 194 members will cast their vote on a ‘one country, one vote’ basis in a secret ballot that requires a simple majority for a valid outcome. In it, India has nominated NITI Aayog member and agricultural economics and policy expert Ramesh Chand to lead a specialised agency of the United Nations focussed on achieving food security for all. The other candidates are Qu Dongyu of China, Medi Moungui of Cameroon, Catherine Geslain-Laneelle of France and Davit Kirvalidze of Georgia. The next Director-General of FAO will be appointed for the period August 1, 2019 to July 31, 2023 and will be eligible for only one additional mandate of four years.

10. The Prime Minister’s Science, Technology and Innovation Advisory Council (PM-STIAC) has identified nine Science and Technology missions with focus on ‘Science for People and People for Science’. These missions include Natural Language Translation (NLT), Quantum Frontier, Artificial Intelligence (AT), National Biodiversity Mission (NBM), Electric Vehicles, Bioscience for Human Health, Waste to Wealth, Deep Ocean Exploration and AGNIi (Accelerating Growth for New India’s Innovations). The missions are aimed at understanding and conserving biodiversity, developing sustainable agricultural processes, leveraging precision health for personal well-being, recovering wealth from waste, developing and using AI, quantum computing, connected mobility solutions and other technologies to address frontier scientific questions and the challenges that the country in particular and the planet in general face.

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