OAS Prelims-2019 Current Affairs: March 2019

IAF Chinook Helicopter


  1. Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose appointed India’s first Lokpal
  2. Malaysia joins International Criminal Court
  3. India is world’s second largest arms importer
  4. India conducts successful anti-satellite missile operation
  5. PM launches National Common Mobility Card
  6. Prayagraj Kumbha Mela 2019 makes it to the Guinness World Records
  7. CCEA approves Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana

Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose appointed India’s first Lokpal

Former Supreme Court judge Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose was appointed as the country’s first Lokpal, the anti-corruption ombudsman. The appointment has come through five years after the Lokpal Act was notified for effecting a panel of ombudsmen to look into cases of corruption and maladministration by public servants.

A selection committee, comprising the Prime Minister, Chief Justice of India , Lok Sabha Speaker and an eminent jurist, finalised Justice Ghose’s name in a meeting last week after the Supreme Court set a deadline.

About Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose

Pinaki Chandra Ghose (born 28 May 1952) is currently the Lokpal of India since 23 March 2019. He is a retired judge of the Supreme Court of India. Prior to his elevation to the Supreme Court, he had served as Chief Justice of the Andhra Pradesh High Court, and before that, as a Judge of the Calcutta High Court. At the time of appointment he was a member of the National Human Rights Commission. During his tenure as the judge of the High Court at Calcutta, he was the Executive Chairman of West Bengal State Legal Services Authority and the Andaman and Nicobar Legal Services Authority. He was also appointed a member of the National Legal Services Authority. Justice Ghose has had along standing association with The Ramakrishna Mission. He had his schooling at The Ramakrishna Mission Vidyapeeth at Deogarh and Purulia. Justice Ghose serves as a Vice President of the Institute of Culture, Golpark. He is the Chairperson of the Board of Governors of Belur Vidyamandir – B.Ed College.

He served as a member of the Executive Committee of the National University of Juridical Sciences at Calcutta as the nominee of the Chief Justice of India. Justice Ghose as the Chief Justice of Andhra Pradesh was also the Chancellor of the National Academy of Legal Studies and Research. He was appointed as the first Lokpal of India on 19 March 2019[6] and President of India administered oath to him on 23 March 2019. He will remain at the post till 70 years of his age or up to maximum 5 years whichever is earlier.

Justice Pinaki Chandra Ghose is son of Late Shri Justice Sambhu Chandra Ghose, former Chief Justice of Calcutta High Court. He is a fifth generation lawyer from a renowned family of Lawyers. Hara Chandra Ghose, who became the first Indian Chief Judge of the Sadar Dewani Adalat at Calcutta in 1867, was a member of this family.

Malaysia joins International Criminal Court

Malaysia has become a member of the International Criminal Court, in a boost for the beleaguered institution at a time it faces growing criticism. The ICC is the world’s only permanent war crimes court and aims to prosecute the worst abuses when national courts are unable or unwilling. But the tribunal in Tuknuhe Hague has come under fire over high-profile acquittals, while Burundi became the first country to quit the court in 2017 and the Philippines has announced its intention to withdraw.

Malaysia’s new reform-minded government, which came to power last year, had vowed to join the ICC, and human resources minister M Kula Segaran confirmed the country signed the tribunal’s founding treaty.

Malaysia becomes the 124th member of the court since its establishment in 2002.

India is world’s second largest arms importer

After eight years of holding the position of the largest importer of weapons, India has been superseded by Saudi Arabia and dropped down to become the second largest importer of weapons in the world, a report said on Monday.

According to the annual report released by the Swedish-based think tank Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), titled ‘Trends in International Arms Transfers-2018’, “India was the world’s second largest importer of major arms in 2014-18 and accounted for 9.5 per cent of the global total.”

Russia accounted for 58% of Indian arms imports in 2014–18, compared with 76% in 2009-13. Israel, the U.S. and France all increased their arms exports to India in 2014-18. However, the Russian share in Indian imports is likely to go up sharply during the next five-year period as India signed several big-ticket deals recently, and more are in the pipeline. These include S-400 air defence systems, four stealth frigates, AK-203 assault rifles, a second nuclear attack submarine on lease, and deals for Kamov-226T utility helicopters, Mi-17 helicopters and short-range air defence systems. The report noted that despite the long-standing conflict between India and Pakistan, arms imports decreased for both countries in 2014-18 compared with 2009-13.


  1. SIPRI is an independent international institute dedicated to research into conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
  2. Established in 1966, it provides data, analysis and recommendations, based on open sources, to policymakers, researchers, media and public.
  3. The SIPRI Arms Transfers Database contains information on all international transfers of major weapons (including sales, gifts and production licences) to states, international organizations and armed non-state groups.
  4. SIPRI data reflects the volume of deliveries of arms, not the financial value of the deals.
  5. As the volume of deliveries can fluctuate significantly year-on-year, SIPRI presents data for 5-year periods, giving a more stable measure of trends.

India conducts successful anti-satellite missile operation

On 27 March 2019, India tested an anti-satellite weapon during an operation code named Mission Shakti. The target of the test was a satellite present in a low Earth orbit, which was hit with a kinetic kill vehicle.

The ASAT test utilized a modified anti-ballistic missile interceptor code-named Prithvi Defence Vehicle Mark-II which was developed under Project XSV-1. The test made India the fourth country after the US, Russia and China to have tested an ASAT weapon.

The test sparked concerns regarding the creation of space debris. The Indian government tried to address these concerns by saying that the debris generated from the test would not last for a long duration.

India’s successful demonstration of the ASAT capability is said to signify its ability to intercept an intercontinental ballistic missile. The ASAT weapon is meant to act as a deterrent.

PM launches National Common Mobility Card

Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated a payment card which can be used to pay transport charges across the country. Called the National Common Mobility Card (NCMC), it is the country’s first indigenously developed payment system for transport. The National Common Mobility Card (NCMC) is a bank-issued debit, credit or prepaid card which can be used for payments for all transport facilities including metro, bus, suburban railways, toll, parking, smart city and retail.

The stored value on card supports offline transaction across all travel needs with minimal financial risk to involved stakeholders. The service area feature of this card supports operator specific applications e.g. monthly passes, season tickets etc.

Prayagraj Kumbha Mela 2019 makes it to the Guinness World Records

Prayagraj Kumbh Mela 2019 has been placed in the Guinness World Records in three sectors. It includes largest traffic and crowd management plan, the biggest painting exercise of public sites under paint my city scheme and biggest sanitation and waste disposal mechanism. A three member team from Guinness World Records visited the Prayagraj for this purpose. Exercise at large scale were done before the team members for three days from February 28 to March 3. Around 503 shuttle buses were pressed into service in one go for the team on February 28 on the highway. Several people participated in painting exercise on March 1 and 10 thousand workers engaged in cleaning at Prayagraj Kumbh performing their duties all together.

Only a single bathing festival of Mahashivratri of the six main bathing festivals remains. Five bathing festivals of the Kumbh have concluded successfully with more than 22 crore pilgrims taking a holy dip.

CCEA approves Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN Yojana

Recently, the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has approved Pradhan Mantri JI-VAN (Jaiv Indhan- Vatavaran Anukool fasal awashesh Nivaran) Yojana.

The scheme will be supported financially by Viability Gap Funding (VGF) to Second Generation (2G) Integrated Bioethanol Projects using lignocellulosic biomass and other renewable feedstock.


  1. The objective of the scheme is to create an ecosystem for setting up commercial projects and boost to Research and Development in 2G Ethanol sector.
  2. Under the scheme funds have been allocated for supporting 12 Commercial projects, 10 Demonstration Projects:
    a) Phase-I (2018-19 to 2022-23) 6 Commercial and 5 demonstration projects will be supported.
    b) Phase-II (2018-19 to 2022-23) Remaining 6 Commercial and 5 demonstration projects will be supported.
  3. The ethanol produced by the scheme beneficiaries will be mandatorily supplied to Oil Marketing Companies (OMCs) to further enhance the blending percentage under Ethanol Blending Programme (EBP).
  4. Centre for High Technology (CHT), a technical body under the aegis of MoP&NG, will be the implementation Agency for the scheme.


  1. This scheme is promoting Second Generation (2G) Biofuels Technology moving away from food crops used in First Generation(1G) to feedstocks, nonfood crops agricultural residues or waste.
  2. Making progressive Blending/Substitution of fossil fuels for achieving Green House Gas emission reduction targets.
  3. Stopping burning of biomass/ crop residues & improve the health of citizens and improving farmer income.
  4. Creating Employment opportunities in 2G Ethanol projects and Biomass supply chain.
  5. Contributing towards Swacch Bharat Mission by disposing of non­food biofuel feedstocks such as waste biomass and urban waste.
  6. Development of Second Generation Biomass to Ethanol technologies in the country by promoting Research & Development.


  1. Times of India
  2. OBJECTIVE IAS Infomaterials
  3. The HIndu
  4. News18
  5. NDTV
  6. PIB

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