Current Affairs March 19, 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of March 19, 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. Former Supreme Court judge and current member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), Pinaki Chandra Ghose has been named as the India’s first Lokpal (anti-corruption ombudsman). The Lokpal Act, which was passed in 2013 after a nationwide anti-corruption movement, provides for setting up of Lokpal at the centre and Lokayuktas in the States to probe corruption complaints against top functionaries and public servants, including the Prime Minister and the Chief Ministers. Mr. Ghose was appointed as judge of the Calcutta High Court in 1997 and went on to become Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh before his elevation to the Supreme Court in 2013.

2. Former ISRO scientist, Nambi Narayanan has been conferred the 2019 Padma Bhushan by President Ram Nath Kovind. It is the third-highest civilian award in the Republic of India. He is best known for his role in developing the Vikas Engine which was used for the first PSLV (Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle) launched by India. The engine was used in the most historic missions of ISRO, such as the Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan. Narayanan, who was heading the cryogenic project at the ISRO, was falsely implicated in the ISRO spy scandal of 1994. He was accused of selling state secrets comprising confidential test data from rocket and satellite launches. He was arrested in December 1994 and charged with espionage. The Supreme Court later cleared him of all charges in 1998 and awarded him compensation in 2018. He had also played a critical role in the development of Polar Satellite Launch Vehicle (PSLV), Geosynchronous Satellite Launch Vehicle (GSLV) and in the initial phase of making cryogenic engines.

3. The Soyuz spacecraft carrying NASA astronauts Nick Hague and Christina Koch, and cosmonaut Alexey Ovchinin of Roscosmos has successfully docked to the International Space Station (ISS) from the Baikonur Cosmodrome in Kazakhstan. The crew members will spend more than six months conducting about 250 science investigations in fields such as biology, Earth science, human research, physical sciences, and technology development. The Soyuz (SAW-yooz) is a Russian spacecraft. It transports crews to the ISS and returns them to Earth after their missions. The crew rides in the part of the spacecraft called a capsule. Up to three astronauts or cosmonauts can ride in a Soyuz capsule. The Soyuz is like a lifeboat for the space station. At least one Soyuz is always docked at the space station. If there is an emergency, the station crew can use the Soyuz to return to Earth.

4. The 4th session of United Nations Environment Assembly (UNEA) was held in Nairobi from 11th to 15th March 2019. In it, UNEA adopted two resolutions piloted by India on single-use plastics and sustainable nitrogen management. The 2019 theme of the UNEA was Innovative Solutions for environmental challenges and sustainable production and consumption. In a significant first, the global nitrogen use efficiency is low, resulting in pollution by reactive nitrogen which threatens human health, eco system services, contributes to climate change and stratospheric ozone depletion. Only a small proportion of the plastics produced globally are recycled with most of it damaging the environment and aquatic bio-diversity.

5. The registration of political parties is governed by the provisions of Section 29A of the Representation of the People Act of 1951. A party seeking registration under the said Section with the Commission has to submit an application to the Commission within a period of 30 days following the date of its formation as per guidelines prescribed by the Election Commission of India (ECI) in exercise of the powers conferred by Article 324 of the ECI and Section 29A of the RPA Act of 1951. As per existing guidelines, the applicant association is inter-alia asked to publish proposed Name of the party in two national daily news papers and two local daily newspapers, on two days in same news papers, for inviting objections, if any, with regard to the proposed registration of the party before the Commission within a 30 days from such publication.

6. Chinmoy Roy (79), the veteran Bengali actor, has passed away in Kolkata on March 18, 2019. Born in Kumilla district in present day Bangladesh in 1940, Roy had started his career in Bengali films in the 60s and became indispensable to the film makers for his portrayal of comic characters retaining the very essence of Bengaliness. He was equally noticed along with big names such as Soumitra Chatterjee and Rabi Ghosh in films like 'Basanta Bilap' and 'Dhonni Meye'. Roy was cast by Satyajit Ray in a small role in children's fantasy 'Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne'. He had immortalised the character of Tenyda in the film 'Charmurti' which became a major hit in the 1980s.

7. The State Bank of India (SBI), ICICI Bank and HDFC Bank would have to comply with additional capital requirement norms by 1st April 2019 as the banks continue to be in the Reserve Bank of India (RBI)’s list of Domestic Systemically Important Banks (D-SIBs) for 2018. D-SIBs are required to maintain higher capital as compared to other banks. It means that these banks are too big to fail and failure of any of these banks will have cascading effect on Indian financial system. The D-SIB framework requires the RBI to disclose the names of banks designated as D-SIBs starting from 2015 and place these banks in appropriate buckets depending upon their Systemic Importance Scores (SISs). SIBs are subjected to higher levels of supervision so as to prevent disruption in financial services in the event of any failure.

8. The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has directed the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) to prepare a noise pollution map and remedial action plan to solve the issue across the country. A bench headed by NGT Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel directed the CPCB to identify noise pollution hotspots and categorise cities with specified hotspots and propose a remedial action plan within 3 months. It also directed state pollution control boards to undertake noise level monitoring in conjunction with police administration and take remedial action. The NGT further stated that the absence of implementation of noise pollution norms affects health of citizens, especially infants and senior citizens. It also affects sleep, comfort, studies and other legitimate activities. Additionally, the green panel suggested manufacturing of public address systems with equipment that can monitor the noise pollution parameters and alert authorities once the prescribed limits are crossed. The CPCB is a statutory organisation under the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEFC). Its head office is located in New Delhi.

9. For the first time, Uttar Pradesh has undertaken census of otters in its protected areas. The exercise that began in the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve (PTR) will be completed by the end of March 2019. Otters are an important part of the forest ecosystem. A thriving population of otters means a healthy river ecosystem. These mammals, listed in schedule II of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972, are rarely seen due to their extremely shy nature. They feed on fish, bird eggs and small creatures like frogs. The den of an otter is known as holt and it is close to water bodies. The PTR is in the foothills of the Himalayas, south of Nepal. Covering an area of approximately 800 square kilometres, the reserve sprawls across parts of Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri and Bahraich districts. With the Sharda and Ghaghara rivers encircling a considerable part of the reserve, it is rich in water bodies. The forests of PTR are to home to tigers, leopards, elephants, different species of deer and monkeys and reptiles like snakes, mugger crocodiles and gharials.

10. Indian psychologist, psychoanalyst and co-founder of the postcolonial theory, Prof. Ashis Nandy has been chosen for the prestigious 2019 Hans Kilian award for his efforts to adapt western traditions of thought such as psychoanalysis to non-western context. With this, he will become the first Asian to receive the prestigious award on May 9 at the Ruhr-University Bochum in Germany. The award is given to researchers whose outstanding scientific achievements provide insight into the historical and cultural existence of humankind and the constantly evolving human psyche. It was instituted by the Kohler Foundation in Germany and named after social psychologist and psychoanalyst Hans Kilian. It is awarded every two years and was first awarded in 2011. The prize includes 80,000 euros.

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