Current Affairs March 26 2019

In this post, GKToday presents Current Affairs of March 26 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 Reserve Bank of India (RBI) has recently appointed 5-member committee under the chairmanship of Nandan Nilekani to further deepen digital payments and enhance financial inclusion through Fintech. The panel would assess the current levels of digital payments in financial inclusion, suggest measures to strengthen the safety and security of digital payments, provide a road map for increasing customer confidence to use digital transactions, and suggest a medium-term strategy for deepening of digital payments. Financial technology (often shortened to Fintech) is computer programs and a new technology innovation that aims to compete with traditional financial methods in the delivery of financial services. The committee will submit its report in 90 days from its first meeting.

2. India has moved up two places to rank 76th on a global energy transition index 2019. This annual list, compiled by Geneva-based World Economic Forum (WEF), has ranked 115 economies on how well they are able to balance energy security and access with environmental sustainability and affordability. Sweden remains on the top on this annual list and is followed by Switzerland and Norway in the top three. Among major economies, the UK is ranked 7th, Singapore 13th, Germany 17th, Japan 18th and the US 27th. Within Asia, Malaysia is ranked highest at 31st, Sri Lanka is 60th, Bangladesh 90th and Nepal 93rd. The report said that India is amongst the countries with high pollution levels and has a relatively high CO2 intensity in its energy system. Despite this, India has made significant strides to improve energy access in recent years, and currently scores well in the area of regulation and political commitment towards energy transition. The report suggested there was a ground for optimism regarding India despite the current outdated energy system not being ready for the transition because an enabling environment is being built to support the future transition.

3. The World Meteorological Day (WMD) is observed every year on 23rd of March to mark the establishment of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) on this day in 1950. This year, the organisation is celebrating its 69th anniversary. The 2019 theme ‘The Sun, the Earth and the weather” recognizes the critical role that the Earth’s nearest star plays in what transpires on the planet. The energy that the Sun sends towards the Earth is taken up by all life forms to perform their biological functions. It also regulates global climate, which, in turn, influences local weather conditions. The same energy is also absorbed by the oceans which carry it around the planet, creating further conditions for diverse marine life to exist.

4. Australian researchers, at the Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics, have developed a new automated non-invasive technique for diagnosing eye surface cancer. The novel technique involves custom-building of an advanced imaging microscope linked with computing and Artificial Intelligence (AI) operations. It results in an automated system that is able to successfully identify between diseased and non-diseased eye tissue, in real-time, through a simple scanning process. The new technique scans natural light given off by specific eye cells -- diseased cells -- that have their own unique 'light-wave signature'. This new technique offers the potential to reduce the need for biopsies, prevent therapy delays, and make treatment far more effective for patients. Eye surface cancer, also known as Ocular Surface Squamous Neoplasia (OSSN), is a common malignancy of the cornea and conjunctiva parts of the eye.

5. The International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination is observed every year on 21st of March to redouble its efforts to eliminate all forms of racial discrimination. This day commemorates the lives that have been lost to fight for democracy and equal human rights in South Africa during the Apartheid regime (a regime which embraced racial discrimination). The 2019 theme is “Mitigating and countering rising nationalist populism and extreme supremacist ideologies”. The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) has also reiterated that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and have the potential to contribute constructively to the development and well-being of their societies.

6. The Sree Chitra Tirunal Institute of Medical Sciences and Technology (SCTIMST) has recently developed an anti cancer anti-inflamatory drug conjugated to the human serum Albumin. It is an intravenous delivery system, enabling 100 fold increase in drug bio-availability and is a mix of human serum albumin and a plant based drug. This combination is the first of its kind as human albumin which is more compatible to the human body is being used. Clinical trials in humans have to be completed and results assessed as the ensuing steps towards commercialisation. The institute has also developed the technology of isothermal based DNA amplification device to detect TB bacterium in sputum samples in less than 30 minutes. Nearly 2-3 million people are infected with Tuberculosis and the prevalence of totally drug resistant TB (TDR-TB) is very high in India. The TB screening device employs a nucleic acid amplification technique to detect TB in less than 30 minutes with high specificity and without false positives. It can simultaneously screen 20 patient samples in one assay and at considerably lower cost than the existing devices ( costs approx Rs 2500/ sample). The device will also help in mass screening of population of people for TB at a substantially low cost.

7. Indian paddler Archana Kamath clinched a silver in the under-21 women’s singles section of the Seamaster ITTF Challenge Plus 2019 Oman Open table tennis tournament at Muscat. Archana started playing table tennis at the age of 9 years. She won her first U-12 and also a U -18 State title in 2011, and retained her Karnataka State No 1 Sub-Junior ranking throughout 2012 with some consistent performances. Since 2013 her career graph has seen a very steep rise. As a player, she describes herself as a fierce attacker.

8. On 21st March, Italy’s PRISMA Earth observation satellite launched into orbit by the European Vega rocket from the Guiana Space Center in Kourou, French Guiana. PRISMA (or Precursore Iperspettrale della Missione Applicativa) is a small hyperspectral imaging satellite i.e. designed to provide information about environmental monitoring, resources management, pollution and crop health. The satellite includes a medium resolution camera that can view across all visual wavelengths, as well as a hyperspectral imager that can capture a wider range of wavelengths between 400 and 2500 nanometers. The satellite will operate in a sun-synchronous orbit, meaning that it circles the Earth in such a way that the sun is always in the same position as the satellite takes pictures of the planet below. PRISMA has been constructed by OHB Italia and will be operated by the Italian Space Agency “Agenzia Spaziale Italiana (ASI)”.

9. The Financial Technology (Fintech) Conclave has been organized by NITI Aayog in New Delhi and was inaugurated by Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor Shaktikanta Das. The objective of the conclave is to shape India’s continued ascendancy in FinTech, build the narrative for future strategy and policy efforts, and to deliberate steps for comprehensive financial inclusion. Nearly 300 Representatives from across the financial space - central ministries, regulators, bankers, startups, service providers and entrepreneurs are participating in the conclave. India is one of the fastest growing FinTech markets globally and industry research has projected that USD 1 Trillion or 60% of retail and SME credit, will be digitally disbursed by 2029. The Indian FinTech ecosystem is the third largest in the globe, attracting nearly USD 6 billion in investments since 2014.

10. The Langkawi International Maritime Aero Expo (LIMA-2019) has started in Langkawi, Malaysia from 26 March 2019 to 30 March 2019. Indian Air Force (IAF) is participating in the Maritime Aero Expo for the first time, during which it will showcase its indigenously developed Light Combat Aircraft (LCA)-Tejas. The participation of IAF in LIMA-2019 will provide an opportunity to air-warriors to interact with their Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) counterparts and foster close relationship between the two services. This will serve as a foundation for any future interaction with the Malaysian Air Force. It will also provide an opportunity to RMAF to assess the capabilities of LCA.

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