Current Affairs March 15, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of March 15, 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 4th edition of the Internet of Things (IoT) India Congress 2019 will be held in Bengaluru on August 22-23, 2019. The event will see digital technology leaders converge to discuss and explore business opportunities in mainstreaming IoT. It will include tracks on segments such as healthcare, manufacturing, telecom, smart cities, energy, retail, cyber security, skills and development, IoT Standards, legal and regulatory, and agriculture. The two-day Congress will host live zones and hackathons where people can touch, feel and experience IoT and solve sector-specific challenges.

2. Erode turmeric (of Tamil Nadu) has finally got a Geographical Indication (GI) tag on 6th March 2019, which will help the farmers and traders from the region to claim sole rights over the famed ‘Erode Manjal’. The Geographical Indication Registry of India granted the coveted status based on the application filed by ‘Erode Manjal Vanigarkal Matrum Kidangu Urimaiyalargal Sangam’. The GI tag is granted to products that are special for a particular geographical area and prevents misuse of the popularity of the products by others. ‘Erode Manjal’ is famous across the globe. The cultivar is called Erode local, i.e., Chinnanadan. Erode turmeric is a rhizome, both finger and bulb obtained from the Erode local cultivar. The crop is grown in hot moist conditions prevalent in the area with temperature ranging from 20 degrees to 37.9 degrees Celsius with an average of 600 to 800 mm rainfall in a year. The turmeric thrives best on the loamy or alluvial soils. Quality parameters of the turmeric included 2.5 to 4.5% of curcumin content, a golden yellow colour and resistance to pests after boiling.

3. The Dialogue and Development Commission (DDC) of the Delhi government has constituted a 17-member high-level committee to reform higher education in the capital. The committee, chaired by DDC vice-chairperson Jasmine Shah, will recommend goals, metrics, policies, and actionable plans for reforming Delhi’s higher education system within a year. The DDC is the premier think-tank which advises the state government on key policy issues. Nalanda 2.0, a non-profit policy think tank with a “mission to making India’s higher education system world class”, is collaborating with the DDC as the knowledge partner in the initiative.

4. Young Mumbai sailor Upamanyu Dutta bagged the bronze in the Laser Standard race for men in the Asian Open Laser Sailing Championship in Singapore. It is the India's first ever medal in the competitive single handed Laser Standard Category. Nethra Kumanan of Chennai achieved a creditable 4th position in the Laser Radial event for women.

5. M R Kumar has been appointed the new Chairman of Life Insurance Corporation of India (LIC) and will hold the post for a period of five years. Prior to this post, he was Zonal Manager (in-charge) of North Zone. LIC is the largest insurance company in India headquartered in Mumbai. It was founded in 1956 when the Parliament of India passed the Life Insurance of India Act that nationalised the private insurance industry in India. Over 245 insurance companies and provident societies were merged to create the state owned Life Insurance Corporation.

6. Indo-Oman joint military exercise titled “Al Nagah III 2019” has started at Jabel regiment headquarters, Nizwa, in the Arab country. The exercise is scheduled to end on March 25 at Jabel Al Akhdar Mountains. The Omani contingent was represented by Jabel Regiment of the Royal Army of Oman (RAO) while the Indian side was represented by troops of the Garhwal Rifles Regiment. The Indian Army contingent is represented by four officers, nine junior commissioned officers and 47 other ranks. The aim of this exercise is to enhance interoperability in counter terrorist operations in semi urban mountainous terrain.

7. The Special Olympics World Summer Games 2019 has started at Abu Dhabi in UAE on March 14. It is a multi-sport event for athletes with intellectual disabilities in the tradition of the Special Olympics movement. The event has already made history by welcoming a record-breaking 200 nations at the Games. Of the 200 nations, 195 will compete in the Games and five will observe. Held in the West Asia for the first time, 7,500 athletes will take part in 24 Olympic-style sports over seven days. With the highest number of women taking part and the largest number of Unified teammates on board, the World Games will capture the attention of the globe. More than 2,500 women will fly the flag for their nation, with almost half of them performing in athletics competitions. Saudi Arabia will send female athletes for the first time, with 14 women participating.

8. The Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has decided to inject rupee liquidity into the system through long-term foreign exchange buy/sell swap — a first-of-its-kind instrument used for liquidity management. The RBI would conduct dollar-rupee buy/sell swap auction of $5 billion for tenor of 3 years on March 26 to inject rupee liquidity for longer duration. Under the buy/sell foreign exchange swap, a bank will sell US dollars to the RBI and simultaneously agree to buy the same amount of US dollars at the end of the swap period. The liquidity generated due to the buy/sell USD/INR swap auction could support credit growth and soften bond yields. The move is seen to lower the dependence on open market operations which have been a significant amount of the overall borrowing. According to RBI, the market participants would be required to place their bids in terms of the premium that they are willing to pay to the Reserve Bank for the tenor of the swap, expressed in paisa terms up to two decimal places. The auction cut-off would be based on the premium. The auction would be a multiple-price based auction -- successful bids will get accepted at their respective quoted premium.

9. Recently, a study titled “Hotspots of human impact on threatened terrestrial vertebrates” published in the journal PLOS Biology has reported that human impacts on species occur across 84% of the earth’s surface. A team of scientists led by James Allan (University of Queensland) found this when they mapped the distribution of 8 human activities — including hunting and conversion of natural habitats for agriculture — in areas occupied by 5,457 threatened birds, mammals and amphibians worldwide. Malaysia has been ranked first among the countries with the highest number of impacted species (125), followed by Brunei and Singapore. India ranks 16th in such human impacts, with 35 threatened species impacted on average. The Southeast Asian tropical forests including those in India’s Western Ghats, Himalaya and north-east — are among the ‘hotspots’ of threatened species. These affected areas are also ‘cool-spots’ (the world’s last refuges where high numbers of threatened species still persist). They could be result of protection or because of intact habitat.

10. The UK’s Royal Mint has recently issued a new commemorative 50 pence coin inspired by the late legendary British physicist Stephen Hawking’s seminal work on black holes. The coin was designed by British engraver and printmaker Edwina Ellis. The purpose of the commemorative coin is to celebrate the life and "ground-breaking" achievements of Hawking, who passed away in 2018. Hence, Hawking joined an elite group of scientists having appeared on coins—including Sir Isaac Newton and Charles Darwin.

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