India moves to 78th position on Corruption Perceptions Index 2018
India improved its ranking on the 2018 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) by three points and moved to 78th position with a score of 41. India ranked at 81st place on the Corruption Perceptions Index 2017. In the list of 180 countries, China and Pakistan lagged far behind India at 87th and 117th position, respectively. According to the Index, Denmark is the least corrupt country followed by New Zealand; while Somalia, Syria and South Sudan are the most corrupt countries in the world.
India signs agreement with OECD for participation in PISA 2021
The Union Human Resources Development Ministry on January 28, 2019 signed an agreement with Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) for India’s Participation in Programme for International Student Assessment — PISA 2021. The student assessment by PISA will ensure learning outcome through education. It would lead to an improvement in the learning levels of the children and enhance the quality of education in the country. It would also indicate the health of the education system of the nation and would motivate other schools and states in the subsequent cycles.
Train 18 named as ‘Vande Bharat Express’
The Union Minister of Railways and Coal, Piyush Goyal on January 27, 2019 named India’s first engine-less train, ‘Train 18’ as the ‘Vande Bharat Express’, acknowledging its made-in-India status. The train was manufactured by the Integral Coach Factory (ICF) in the period of 18 months under the ‘Make in India’ initiative of PM Narendra Modi. Vande Bharat Express is the next major leap for Indian Railways in terms of speed and convenience. It is India’s first semi-high speed train equipped with world class passenger amenities.
Modi conferred with Philip Kotler Presidential Award
Prime Minister Narendra Modi was on January 14, 2019 conferred with the first-ever Philip Kotler Presidential Award. The Award focuses on the triple bottom-line of ‘People, Profit and Planet’. The award will be offered annually to the leader of a Nation. As per the award citation, the Prime Minister has been selected for his outstanding leadership for the nation. It is under his leadership that India is now identified as the Centre for Innovation and Value Added Manufacturing (through Make in India initiative).
Bill on marital rape
A private bill titled the Women’s Sexual, Reproductive and Menstrual Rights Bill 2018 has been introduced in the Lok Sabha by Congress MP Dr Shashi Tharoor. The bill proposes to make marital rape a crime and gives more decisional autonomy to women in termination of pregnancy. The bill proposes the deletion of exception 2 to Section 375 of Indian Penal Code, which states that sexual intercourse by a man with his own wife is not rape. It also grants women an absolute right to termination of pregnancy where they may terminate pregnancy merely by request until the 12th week of pregnancy.
Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana
The Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 24, 2019 launched the Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana (PM-KISAN) from Gorakhpur, Uttar Pradesh. On the launch day its 12 crore farmers are expected to benefit from PM-KISAN. The Pradhan Mantri Kisan Samman Nidhi Yojana was announced in the Union Interim Budget 2019 by Finance Minister Piyush Goyal.
Saudi Crown Prince visited India
The Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, who is also the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence of Saudi Arabia, visited India on February 19-20, 2019. The Prime Minister and His Royal Highness condemned the recent Pulwama terror attack on Indian security forces on February 14, 2019. Prime Minister expressed his thanks to the Saudi Crown Prince for ordering the release of 850 Indian prisoners from Saudi jails
Jayasuriya banned for 2 years
Former Sri Lankan Cricket captain Sanath Jayasuriya has been banned from cricket for a period of two years. The information was shared by the International Cricket Council (ICC) through a statement on February 26, 2019. The veteran cricketer has been banned from all forms of cricket for two years after he admitted to breaching two provisions of the ICC Anti-Corruption Code. The 49-year-old former cricketer admitted failing to co-operate with an investigation and concealing, tampering with or destroying evidence.
Centre implements safety measures for women
Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh along with Women and Child Development Minister Maneka Gandhi jointly launched three significant initiatives to promote the safety of women in their living spaces, working spaces and the public spaces on February 18, 2019 at Vigyan Bhawan in New Delhi. The initiatives include Emergency Response Support System, Investigation Tracking System for Sexual Offences (ITSSO) and Safe City Implementation Monitoring Portal. The Ministry launched Emergency Response Support System in 16 states and union territories including Andhra Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan, UP, Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Gujarat, Puducherry, Lakshadweep, Andaman, Dadar Nagar Haveli, Daman & Diu and Jammu and Kashmir.
India replaces Japan to be world’s largest steel producer
India has replaced Japan as the world’s second-largest steel producing country, only behind China, which is the largest producer of crude steel accounting for more than 51 per cent of production, as per the latest report by World Steel Association. The report noted that India’s crude steel production in 2018 was at 106.5 MT, which is up by 4.9 per cent from 101.5 MT in 2017. The rise in India’s crude steel production in 2018 means that India has replaced Japan as the world’s second-largest steel producing country, as Japan produced 104.3 MT in 2018, which is down by 0.3 per cent as compared to 2017.
India becomes the 4th largest space super power
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on March 27, 2019 announced that India has established itself as the world’s 4th largest space super power. Modi stated that the feat is historic, as till now, only three countries in the world – United States of America, Russia and China have achieved this. The Prime Minister announced the success of ‘Mission Shakti’, in which Indian scientists successfully targeted and shot down a live satellite on a Low Earth Orbit with an anti-satellite missile (A-SAT) within a matter of just three minutes. He announced that India has joined the elite league of space powers and the whole mission required a lot of complex scientific maneuvers and techniques, which India was able to see through successfully.
Chandra Ghose appointed as India’s first Lokpal
India gets its first Lokpal six years after the passage of Act, former Supreme Court judge, Pinaki Chandra Ghose was on March 19, 2019 appointed as India’s first Lokpal also known as the anti-corruption ombudsman. Ghose appointment was approved by the President Ram Nath Kovind. Currently, Ghose is serving as a Member of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC). Besides this, the President also appointed four judicial and four non-judicial members of the Lokpal.
India to host FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020
Gianni Infantino, the President of International Football Federation (FIFA), on March 15, 2019 announced that India will host the U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2020. The 2020 World Cup will be the seventh edition of the U-17 Women’s tournament. The announcement was made during the FIFA Council meeting in Miami, USA. The U-17 Women’s World Cup will be the second FIFA tournament that India will be hosting, the first was the U-17 Men’s World Cup held in 2017.
Bohemian Rhapsody wins the most Oscar
The 91st Academy Awards, popularly known as Oscar Awards, were conferred on February 24, 2019 (February 25 as per Indian time). ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’, nominated for five Oscars, won the most Oscars at the award show. The ‘Period. End Of Sentence’, a film on menstruation set in rural India, won the Oscar in the Documentary – Short Subject category at the 91st Academy Awards. The film has been directed by Rayka Zehtabchi and produced by Indian producer Guneet Monga’s Sikhya Entertainment.
Balakot surgical strike
In retaliation to the deadly Pulwama terror attack, the Indian Air Force fighter jets crossed the line of control in the early hours of February 26, 2019 and attacked Jaish-e-Mohammed terror camps in Pakistan occupied Kashmir. The same was confirmed by the Indian Foreign Secretary, Vijay Gokhale during a press conference in New Delhi on the same day. The Foreign Secretary revealed that India has struck the biggest training camp of JeM in Balakot. The Indian Air Force used Mirage-2000 jets to drop 1000 kg of laser-guided bombs causing an estimated casualty of 200-300. In the intelligence led operation, India struck the biggest training camp of Jaish-e-Mohammed in Balakot, Khyber Pakhtoonkhwa.
75th anniversary celebrations of battle of Kangla Tongbi
The Platinum Jubilee of the Battle of Kangla Tongbi, also known as Battle of Imphal, was commemorated on April 7, 2019 by the Army Ordnance Corps at Kangla Tongbi War Memorial near Imphal, Manipur. The 75th anniversary celebrations honoured the martyrs of Ordnance Personnel of 221 Advance Ordnance Depot who made their supreme sacrifice during the World War-II on the night of April 6/7, 1944. The Battle of Imphal or Kangla Tongbi is referred to as one of the bloodiest battles of World War-II.
Madras High Court bans TikTok
The Madras high court on April 24, 2019 lifted the ban on Chinese short-video app ‘TikTok’, three weeks after it had asked the Government to prohibit further downloads of the popular application on Google and Apple app stores. However, the high court asked the owners of the app to ensure that the platform does not allow pornography. Hence, the users can now once again download the app from the Google Play Store and Apple App Store after the app is made available on these platforms. Earlier April 16, 2019, Google and Apple blocked the access to TikTok on their app stores following the refusal of the Madras High Court to lift the ban imposed on the app on April 3, 2019.
India’s rank slips to 140 in world press freedom
The Reporters Without Borders (RSF) on April 18, 2019 released the World Press Freedom Index 2019, reflecting growing animosity towards journalists. India’s rank in the World Press Freedom Index 2019 dropped down to 140th from 138th in 2018, two points below the previous year. As per the Index, one of the most striking features of the current state of press freedom in India is violence against journalists including police violence, attacks by Maoist fighters, criminal groups and corrupt politicians. At least six Indian journalists were killed on duty in 2018. The year 2018 witnessed a surge in attacks against journalists by supporters of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in the run-up to Indian General Elections 2019.
Sri Lanka first satellite ‘Ravaana’ launched
Sri Lanka on April 18, 2019 launched its first satellite ‘Raavana-1’ into space from the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Virginia’s East Shore. The satellite, which weighs around 1.05 kg, will have the lifespan of around one and a half years. The launch marks Sri Lanka’s entry into the global space race. The satellite was designed and built at the Kyushu Institute of Technology in Japan by two Sri Lankan research engineers.
Isro launched RISAT-2B satellite
RISAT-2B launched successfully by ISRO from Sathish Dhawan Space Centre SHAR, Sriharikottah. This is the fourth flight unit of the RISAT programme and it would be used for reconnaissance, strategic surveillance and disaster management.
Oman wins the “Man Booker International Prize 2019”
Oman author Jokha Alharthi won the prestigious ‘Man Booker International Prize 2019’ for her novel “Celestial Bodies”, the novel that confronts Oman’s history of slavery, which was abolished in the country only in 1970.
World’s first floating nuclear power plant to begin operations
Akademik Lomonosov, world’s only floating nuclear power unit is ready to start commercial operations in Russia. The plant was launched by Russia on May 19, 2018 at the St Petersburg shipyard. The power plant is to be the first of a fleet of floating nuclear power stations to be stationed in the Russian Arctic. It is capable of producing enough electricity to power a town of 200,000 residents, far more than the 5,000 living in Pevek. It is expected to operate for 40 years, with the possibility of the operating life being extended to 50 years and the two reactors will be refueled once every three years.
World’s largest nuclear power icebreaker
Russia launched the world’s largest nuclear-powered icebreaker ‘Ural’ at the Baltic Shipyard in St Petersburg in order to improve its ability to tap the Arctic’s commercial potential. Russia is preparing for shipping via the Northern Sea Route (NSR). The Ural will be given to Russia’s state-owned nuclear energy corporation Rosatom in 2022 after the other 2 ice-breakers Arktika (Arctic) and Sibir (Siberia) enter into service. The Arktika was floated in 2016.
Walmart appoints Suresh Kumar as chief technology officer
US-based retail chain Walmart appointed Suresh Kumar, an IIT Madras graduate, and former Google executive, as chief technology officer and chief development officer. The appointment comes at a time when Walmart is transforming its customer and associate experiences. He has 25 years of technology leadership experience, coming from Google, Microsoft, Amazon, and IBM. He has a unique understanding of the intersection of technology and retail, including supply chain, and has deep experience in advertising, cloud and machine learning.
US removed India, Switzerland from from its country monitoring list
US Government removed India and Switzerland from its currency monitoring list. The monitoring list includes countries with potentially questionable foreign exchange policies and practices currency manipulation. It is prepared by the US Treasury Department. India had a significant trade surplus while Switzerland had a material current account surplus. In its semi-annual report to US Congress on International Economic and Exchange Rate Policies, the Treasury Department removed India and Switzerland from the list. At present, the list includes 9 countries namely China, Japan, South Korea, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Singapore, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
Swachh Survekshan League 2020
The Swachh Survekshan League 2020 has been launched with the aim of sustaining the on-ground performance of cities. The Swachh Survekshan League will be a quarterly cleanliness assessment of Indian cities and towns.
ISRO launching its satellite by 2030
ISRO, in one of its most ambitious projects, is planning to launch its own space station by 2030. The full details of the mission will be revealed after the successful completion of India’s first manned space mission – Gaganyaan. The weight of ISRO’s own space station is likely to be 20 tonnes. It will be used to conduct microgravity experiments. The ISRO Chairman clarified that India will not join the International Space Station (ISS) but instead build its own.
Virat Kohli breaks the record
Virat Kohli has become fastest batsman to score 11,000 runs in one-day internationals cricket. He grabbed this position after scoring a fifty Pakistan on June 16, 2019. Kohli broke the record of Sachin Tendulkar, who reached at this milestone in 276 innings. Tendulkar is followed by former Australian skipper Ricky Ponting who reached the milestone in 286 innings, and Sourav Ganguly in 288 innings.
J&K reservation bill passed
Union Home Minister Amit Shah had introduced the Jammu & Kashmir reservation bill in Parliament, while also proposed to extend the President’s rule in the state by six months. The Amendment proposes that people who live along the LoC, LaC and UB should be included in the 3% reservation, over 3.5 lakh people will benefit from it.
Meet miss India 2019 winner
Suman Rao, Miss India Rajasthan was crowned the winner of Femina Miss India World 2019 during a star-studded grand finale of the beauty pageant, held on June 15, 2019 at the Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium in Mumbai. Miss India 2019 winner Rao was crowned Miss India World 2019 by her predecessor, Miss India 2018 Anukreethy Vas from Tamil Nadu.